Friday, July 13, 2012

Characters I Like To Play

It's always a good idea to have a clue about what makes a good character for you to play so that your Game Master, Dungeon Master, Storyteller, etc. can have a pretty good idea about what you want and what you need to have a fun game.

I like being investigative and intelligent, using guile and social skills to trick my way out of problems, and don't get much of a thrill out of being able to slam my way through problems. Don't get me wrong, I like being able to win a confrontation and being combat capable is awesome, but I'll try to stealth, talk, and trick my way out of it. I love being successful - though I wouldn't mind having a chance to crack out some whoop ass or intimidation on occasion.

I also like playing folks that are nicer than they seem. I like playing nice guys, good people, what can I say? But I like giving the impression that I'm an evil monster, whether by race or dress or reputation, or all three. Why? Because I always loved those scenes in the movies where a character realises they could be the victim of the protagonist at any moment -- and the protagonist is either blissfully unaware of the signals they're giving or is actually there to help. I think it's the relief factor. It's nice to be able to inspire relief and gratitude in folks just because you're decent rather than having it be assumed and expected. It's like you rescued them from a bad situation just by existing as an okay person.

Also, it lets you feel like a badass without having to hurt anyone.

Having said that, I will play irritating jerk asses, especially in a group with other players, but I think that is because I'm easily bored unless I have something to do. Goading and poking other characters gives me that something. Besides which, most group games lend themselves toward combat and simpler gameplay paths that gives me little to think about in between. So not only can I not monopolise the Game Master's attention like I would in a solo campaign, but I also don't have anything to think about in between my turns.

So my choices are either to think of little jabs to give other characters, put up with being bored or find something to distract myself - which I know I shouldn't do. It's also a bad habit because in such situations I find myself trying to goad the other characters because, well, we can all contribute equally and consistently in a conversation and it's harder to extract themselves out of a conversation when they have been sufficiently goaded. It's also harder for the Game Master to draw our attention back to the game because the other character feels the urge to argue with me or engage in banter.

Now this isn't to say that my Game Master's are particularly boring. I'm just particularly hyper. I'm one of those people who always has to be doing something. I'm a problem player that needs to be managed by my Game Masters. When I try to manage myself I'll inevitably end up daydreaming, dancing quietly in the corner, or reading rules books so I'm less disruptive.

Yeah, I know I'm a terrible player.

When well-managed, I'm not so bad. I do pretty well for myself in LARPs as I figure out ways to keep myself and other people entertained. I also share information, assist other PCs without demanding harsh compensation, and I roleplay pretty well. In play-by-posts my writing skills come in handy and I've been a Storyteller too long to not try to help other players get the spotlight they crave. It's just hard to manage me in a tabletop (sound like I'm self-justifying, much?)

My game tastes tend toward investigation, stealth, trickery, social interplay, and tactical combat where you have to think about your next move before you do it. My preferred genres are horror (especially apocalyptic horror) and I prefer the modern or near future games with fantasy as an okay second. I'm not a fan of most science fiction genres unless its apocalyptic or horror. Otherwise, I'm just not readily inspired by games in space.

Hmm, well, that was a fun execise. What characters do you enjoy playing?


  1. Unfortunately I think I pretty much fall into the whole "throw myself at it, well that went well" kind of attitude. Whether it be with stock standard tanky combat, or even just aggressive forms of discussion/manipulation.

    I do know I tend to try to build things a little off of the norm, in fantasy terms, Wizards who wade into combat, and Fighters who battle through wits.
    My biggest down-falling though is the chaoticness of my playstyle, I can (and have been known to) talk down two PC's form an extremely validated fight, and then randomly murder a passer-by for his lunch money all within a single session.
    Put simply, I get bored. I'm not an overly diplomatic or political player. Long talkies simply don't hold my interest, I tend to end up wondering off, looking for stuff to "do". Which I know must pull my poor GM's/ST's from pillar to post and great;y disrupts PC when they realise their meatshield has wondered off to try to catch and ride the Dire rat for giggles.
    In oWod and nWod, however these bursts of boredom can and have ended in character death, as the world is much harsher. And instead of "lets go ride the dire rat" it becomes "lets go poke the Gangrel with a stick and see how long it takes to frenzy" Not the best idea in anyone's book, I mean, who seriously uses sticks these days?

    I have been working on these traits, and I think I've improved since my nWod days of playing a combat stacked Devourer rapist (yes I was actually allowed to play this, what were we thinking... and thanks for letting me *evil grin*) who regularly just went FUCK IT, and disappeared for half a session doing his own thing. I try to contain my boredom and channel it toward the parties over all goals.
    On the other hand, the other week my bard did climb down an unknown tunnel to see if some intersteller alien thing known to turn peeps into zombies was in there. Alone. With only a Hydro push left in his daily spell allotment....

  2. Luckily you're more wily than 'Boom Headshot' so you have managed to stumble your way out of situations, but I get what you mean.

    As my fiance said when I told him about this article, 'In one way or another, we're all problem players'. Wise words!

  3. I've gotten a sense of the types of characters you like to play, and Lt. Colleen Rose, one of the pregens in The Ninth Planet, was actually crafted with you in mind. Unfortunately, you haven't really been able to get into the game because science fiction doesn't appeal to you. The endgame is unfolding now, and if you would like to get back in, there will be opportunities to use guile and social skills. The next adventure in the campaign, The Shadow Over Dunwich, may be more to your liking. It's a UNIT adventure set in 1985 in Dunwich, England, It should have most of the things you like.

    I like to play a diverse range of characters. I tend to play an even mix of male and female, with ages ranging from 16 to 72 (though I favor the 18-40 range), of varying nationalities (though I favor British and American characters) and professions. Generally, the type of character I'm most likely to play is one I've never played before, or at least one I haven't played in a while. I have several character concepts floating around in my head at any one time that I'd like to play. I do find it fun to be characters who do things that I'd never be able to do in real life, but my characters do tend to have some aspects of me in them. I also like playing good guys, but not exclusively. I did once play a femme fatale Soviet NKVD spy out to make the world safe for Communism in one of your games.

    My favorite character of all is Sarah Carpenter in Ash. She is just made of awesome, and I designed her to be someone with whom I could fall in love. In a way, she's a composite. Many of her positive aspects are drawn from women I've adored, and there's some of myself in her too. A lot about her is original, however. Sarah has a heart of gold and endless compassion, and has courage in spite of the terror she feels. She doesn't seem like a badass, but she certainly has the potential to be one - the incident where she almost singlehandedly beat the crap out of a Hound of Tindalos to save her father was her best moment.

  4. I like playing characters with some kind of interesting struggle in their psychologies, whether the premise is as simple as my detective (has he mentioned he's heterosexual today?) or complex as my professor (struck an immortality deal with higher powers because he's terrified of running out of time). Lily Thompson, financially (and to some degree, emotionally) dependent on her nasty older brother, was made because I wanted to play a character who's desperately seeking freedom, but has no idea what to do with it.

    I think my desire to always play something *different* from the other players is a problem, though. Creating a lady criminal masquerading as a socialite in a 1920s game is one of my regrets; I think it was irritating to everyone else, who had to help find a reasonable way to fit me in, and she'd probably have gotten into way too much trouble if the game had actually lasted.

    So I try to limit myself to differences that don't burden everyone else. Cecilia being the only female PC (for a while) really didn't matter, and Lily's difference is so irrelevant to everything going on that it hasn't even come up yet.

    Something that always happens, and kind of bugs me: my characters end up being more like me than I meant or wanted them to. I'm not a mother, I've never been married, and I don't live anywhere close to Maine, yet Cecilia started reminding me of myself in unsettling ways. I think a lot of what went on with her was a result of me trying to work out some previous issues, and not even knowing it.

    Those were some fun times, regardless. I still kind of miss the Jack & Cecilia Show. Lily's too eccentric to be a good foil.

  5. I know. Lily makes Jack the straight man out of their little pairing. That's okay. That's why I introduced the new girl. People who want to know what we're talking about can always go to, log in, get permissions to view and post around, and drop by Welcome to Silent Hill to learn more about Lily, Jack, and Cecilia.

  6. Wow, this post has gotten into my Top 10 All Time Posts. I should talk about myself more often....