I don;t know how you keep all your PBP games straight!
But do tell us how it goes. Always looking to learn new things.
hehe... well, MOST of the games are terminally slow - some don't even update once a week, more's the pity. And, truth be told, I'll be cutting them back pretty soon if they don't pick up.
The other bit (keeping characters straight) is sort of a dichotomy with me. I heartily believe in the idea that this is JUST a game and that a new character is only a few dice rolls away.
On the other hand, I have (hopefully) a good imagination. It is easy for me to get drawn into a character, especially when CHARGEN takes a bit longer and is more involved.
For me, it always starts with the dice rolls. I never go into a build thinking, "This time, I want to make a... PALADIN!!!" (I can honestly say in 26 years I've NEVER gone into a build thinking I wanted to play a paladin.) I have to roll the dice and see what it gets me. Thought the number of dice I roll varies (3d6, 4d6c1, 4d6c1 three times and keep the highest, etc.) for each stat, I like to roll the stats in order and not arrange them. That helps set up, in my head anyway, what class(es) the character should be.
I don't think I'm a Min/Maxer, but I do try to build a character that has played on his strengths and weaknesses as he's developed into an adventurer. If I roll up a 15 WIS and a 17 INT, I would probably go with a mage (unless I had plans of dual classing, in which case I'd go with the cleric first and get a few levels and some better hit points before switching to a mage). And I've been known to pick a race specifically for a stat bonus, if it will net me some bonuses.
If they are starting off at 1st level, I try to at least do a 10 minute background
for the character. This helps me flesh them out and it gives the DM some hooks to use if they so choose.
Then I like to find an image of my character... something that seems to capture his essence. Going off of the image helps me develop him even more - where did he get that dagger from? Why does he wear dark clothes? etc.
All of this work makes me more invested in the character. And when I'm invested in a character, it is much easier to write for them, to figure out how they would respond to a situation, to try and work their personality into the game. And, hopefully, keep them all at least a little different from the other characters I have.
It's probably the main reason why I can't stand pregen characters or starting a game off at a higher level. You miss out on so much character development. Your Sword +1 is just a sword +1; it isn't the glowing sword you slipped off the corpse of a wood giant (who was using it for a dagger) after you infiltrated his tomb and fought off a horde of animated stick-figure guardians to obtain.
When you're invested in your character, the game is more fun. It is more exciting. It makes you think things out instead of rushing headlong into a fight. Because it sucks when your character dies...
Still... the next character is just a few dice rolls away. And maybe you'll come up with something even BETTER than the last one.