Friday, November 25, 2016

The Stable of Character Ideas, Part II

I mentioned before that I would be working on a set of character archetypes that I knew I would enjoy at the game table. These are the character ideas that I will rotate through the next few times that I need a character. While some of these characters might lend themselves particularly well to a specific class or race, they are meant to be character concepts for roleplaying purposes, not for mechanical purposes. This way they can be used in different game systems, regardless of what RPG I happen to be playing at the moment. While my examples below focus on D&D specifically, they could easily be re-imagined for science fiction or a number of other genres.

The Mislabeled Hero

For whatever reason, this character is seen as something that he is not, and that identity crisis is a driving force in his life. He's on a quest either to prove that he is who he says he is, or to prove he isn't who he's accused of being.
Example Characters: Spider Man trying to disprove J. Jonah Jameson's headlines is the first example that comes to mind. My current character is also a good example. He's a warlock who is convinced that he's a wizard, and he wants everybody else to know just how great at wizardry he is. And those voices in his head telling him to do things? His muse, obviously. You don't have one, you say? Of course you do. He just hears his muse more clearly because he's a master wizard with a trained mind.

The Conspiracy Theorist

Paranoia personified, this character is always on the lookout for people being out to get him, and has at least one theory about what really happened that most of the population would think was ridiculous (even if it turns out to be true).
Example Characters: I loved the Lone Gunmen from the X-Files, and this character could easily join their crew. I've never gotten to play a character like this for long, but I wrote a background for a character who believed he was an integral part of Corellon Larethian's plan to restore the elves to their former days if glory. Anyone who didn't respect the "old ways" of the elves was obviously an agent of Gruumsh or Hextor or some other evil force, there to prevent him from restoring the world to its former glory.

The Trickster

This character is totally consumed with amusing himself. He's adventuring either because it's fun, or because he had too much fun at the expense of others and now he's on the run.
Example Characters: Loki is the most obvious example from comics, but I think he's actually a little too ruthless for me. I think I'd rather play something more akin to Supernatural's portrayal of Loki/Gabriel in the later episodes. Rogues and illusionists jump to mind as the most appropriate D&D classes, but this could be any character that appreciates the idea of a good prank.

The Rebellious Idealist

Young, bold, oppressed, and ready to stick it to the man. Whatever problem he has with authority is his motivation for taking up the adventuring life.
Example Characters: Name a teenage protagonist, and you'll probably find some aspects of this character archetype. Mikey from The Goonies is a fun example. He's eager to stand up to the people trying to push his family out of their home, but he's not so caught up in the moody teenage angst that is so common in more recent films.

The Bumbling Fool

Probably not an ideal teammate, this character needs a lot of guidance. He's not the brightest crayon in the box, but he does have skills that are useful. He's adventuring because his skills are useful enough to put up with his lack of intelligence, or he's not smart enough to realize how much danger he's really in (or both).
Example Characters: Jayne from Firefly might fit this category. A more extreme example might be Goofy. But hey, when in doubt, just play a gully dwarf. Am I right?


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