Friday, 22 August 2014

Creating a Character You Will Want To Play

Imagine you are creating a character in a roleplaying game. It can be a videogame, but the idea will work better if we all imagine a character meant for tabletop game. After all, that way your hands are not so tied, as they would, could, or are in a computer game.

Now that you have that character in mind, no matter what setting, you need to actually start filling in the blanks. Who is it? What does it do? Why does it do it? Those and question similar to these always arise and demand answer, but in order to create a character you must have some concept or preconception of the character already in mind. A stereotype if you will, like a paladin, a warrior, a mage, or a rogue. We all know what each of these does. The picture is rather clear, and what we need to do next is find the equivalent of what we want to play in the setting we have available.

You don't want to overdo it. If your group is playing post-apocalyptic sci-fi like Apocalypse World, say goodbye to your regular classes. You will have totally different concept available, and thus if you want to play an equivalent of mage, you will need to bend the definition of the mage in the first place. You will need to discover for yourself how far from your preconceived image you are willing to depart. You might end up as the Brainer, or the Hocus. If you wanted to be a Paladin, you might end up as the Battlebabe, the Gunlugger, the Hardholder or the Chopper. Someone who wanted to be a Rogue might end up as the Skinner, the Battlebabe or even the Gunlugger. Because in that particular setting the Battlebabe who decides to follow the path of righteousness will play radically different than the one that goes and murders any and everyone just for lulz. Both ways are viable, but they bring totally different results.

And yes, you can end up as the righteous Battlebabe that still kills everyone. Just ask some of my friends. They could tell you horror stories of one single Battlebabe deciding to take care of the corrupt sheriff and ending with the entire town blown up. By accident I might add, but nobody would believe me.

Now that we established that if you know what you want to play, you can go a long way, we need to make sure you fill in the blanks. First, describe your appearance, what do you have in pockets, and what weapon do you use. Now, explain why you have all those things, how you got them, and are they of any special value to you? Maybe you have your mentor's dagger, if so what happened to the mentor? I see you have really ragged pair of boots on you? How come? Did somebody rob you? Or did you lose a bet?

In many cases, what you describe from the very start can serve in creating your backstory. You need to remember that time goes in both ways. Backward and forward, and your ground zero is that very moment of creation. For the megalomaniacs among you, this could be the closest you will ever come to being a god. You are creating someone.

You know how people say all the fighters are the same, just like they would be talking about manufactured guns? Well, give those guns to the soldiers, and after they are done with it, not one gun will be the same. Every soldier will tell you how his own gun is different than all the other guns. It has a notch here, it doesn't overheat, it doesn't jam, it will jam at every 27th round. For them their guns are more than just simple tools. Make the same for your character, make it your own.

Also, avoid perfect life. We are all humans, and what we love the most is seeing others suffer. Just ask the ancient Greeks. Tragedy is cathartic because you get to experience somebody else fall to ruin. It is for the same reason that we enjoy chasing our dreams as much as we do, always in search of a better life. We could call it natural human condition. So, no perfect life for your characters. If you cannot have one, no reason for them. Make them suffer, make them feel pain, loss, and agony. And then make them persevere, make them live through it all, make your creation into restless juggernaut of school of hard knocks.

Essentially, don't hold back on the drama. The more the merrier.

Also, when you detect a trope in your character, either embrace it or try to iterate on in. There is no reason why you should lose sleep just because you created what was already created before. Great minds think alike, instead of hating it learn from it, and adapt as necessary.

I hope this helps some of you, and inspires the others to try your hand at some roleplaying game. Before I end, I would like to recommend Apocalypse World to everyone. It's not your generic fantasy setting, encourages the actual roleplaying of the character you created, and rewards the interaction between the players, the world you created, and players themselves. Same goes for anything with the label powered by the apocalypse.

Also, my GM wanted to add a thing: Make your character human, he says. (It can be elf, orc, or dwarf if you want, but make him/her of flesh and blood)

#RPG #CharacterCreation #Tabletop

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