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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Character Characteristics

So the world is truly awful right now, and terrible things have happened to good people, and some terrible people haven't suffered any consequences. Puerto Rico has been demolished, and the US citizens there aren't getting the support they deserve because, frankly, the administration is racist. Shit is hitting fan in a big way.

I don't know if I have anything to say about that, that hasn't been said. Climate change is real, support and protect people even if they're a different colour to you, and stop being such pricks to each other.

So instead, rather than sink into the dark place of seething at the evil and inaction of others, I am going to take my brain for a walk into the world of role-playing games - a favourite hobby of mine.

Let me ask you this: is there a group of people you know so well, that you can predict how they will react to most situations with a high degree of accuracy?

If you've gamed for a while, with a similar group of people - like maybe three or four gaming groups, or say ten or so people that are in various games you are also in - then you may notice that people have habits with their characters. I know I have blogged before about the traits I like to see in characters, especially my own. Sometimes, though - people have traits that they don't even necessarily recognise in themselves.

Like for example one of the guys I have known since I was a wee bab - he has a series of traits that are solid enough to warrant remark if they aren't adhered to:

1) The character must be a survivor, above all else.
2) The character should be able to make a pit, hole or trap of some kind, rather than engage directly.
2.5) The character might have a follow-up trick that makes that pit, hole or trap deadly.

Further musing on this revealed that it isn't just him that has stuff like this. I am not gonna mention names - hell, the people reading this might know who they are - but still.

Another player has a total lack of emotional connectivity to the character, or anyone that character really interacts with. They also have a habit of getting bored, and either escalating the situation exponentially, or sitting it out.

Yet another usually ends up playing a Viking. Whatever character they are playing, they manage to become a Viking - and generally have the same problem-solving attitude.

In a similar mould, another player always appreciates a good big guy. Not always - this has changed recently - but the big guy with the big gun or the big axe is a solid fan favourite.

We all know the player that wants to talk before they fight, and that's a good thing to do. The same player also has a knack of working out a way around actually engaging a situation as expected, instead taking a side route or defeating a challenge via left-field methods.

A particular chap has three character traits nearly omnipresent in their characterisation - sarcasm, a noir aesthetic, and a willingness to try almost anything. Usually accompanied by a blink, a head wobble, and the word "Sure".

Everyone also knows the one with the detailed backstory. Family, special things that they do, a long list of traits relevant to the place their character is from. This doesn't always necessarily translate into something useful in a fight or a conundrum, mind.

One guy I know always plays a Dwarf, another always plays an Elf, regardless of what their actual characters are.

One person in particular has a tendency for their characters to have vices that they indulge in at any opportunity - not to a disruptive level, nor an unrealistic one. They are just particularly venal. They always cleave strongly to a particular theme, too, which changes from character to character, and may not have much to do with their class or type.

Another is deceptive. Like at every opportunity. Wheedling and conniving, even if there's not necessarily anything to be gained from doing so.

Do you see yourself in any of these particular traits? Do you see a weird, potentially embarrassing list of RPG quirks that I display when we game together? Pop a comment down below.

Something with depth, next week. I promise. I just needed to get out something less grim.


  1. We have one guy who consistently lags behind the group when in 'dungeon' like situations. For example, party enters a crypt, upon entering the first chamber discover a circular room with two exits (excluding the doorway you enter through), a plinth in the centre with a large gem on (screaming trapped!!) and some decoration between the two exit doorways with a gem sized hole (convenient!). The party investigates the gem discovering it is indeed trapped but unable to determine what the effect is and how to get around it.
    The party decides its best to move on for the moment and get the bigger picture. Now insert said roleplayer; who decides to examine every nook and cranny of the room while the rest of the party trundle down one of the paths (the right one, as decided by coin toss).
    The party enters the next room (200m away down a corridor), and encounters three Skeletons which rise up and attack (naturally). Meanwhile the Paladin is still examining the exact angle at which the gem is resting on the plinth and counting the amount of fleur de lis' there are in the decor. Ultimately completely missing the fight.
    This is a regular occurrence with this particular player.

    Oh and there's the player who's always the thief, even when it's not their class. 'I loot the body' every body then horde the loot (neglecting to disclose this to any of the group) expected behaviour from a thief, not sure it fits a monk though 😕

    I could go on

    1. Ah yes, two classic archetypes: Looter and Overthinker...