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?