Saturday, August 11, 2007

Character Creation

Character creation is always my favorite part of RP. Coming up with characters that will be fun to play and fun for others to interact with is always enjoyable.

I create crazy characters, generally. In Vampire, I create Malkavians. In Rifts, it's Crazies. In D&D, it's bards. That's not to say that I always play these. It's just fun to create them and consider how one would play them. Often enough, I pick a different class/breed/type/etc.

The key to an interesting character is the flaw. Superman would be boring without kryptonite. Crazy characters have a built-in flaw. Your Malkavian might have multiple personalities. Your Crazy might rely entirely upon the advice of a stuffed rabbit. Your bard may desperately need to be the center of attention. These are all fun to explore. What, exactly, makes your Malkavian switch personalities? Does the smartest personality suspect something and start journaling for the others to read? What kind of advice does a stuffed rabbit give, exactly? Can the Crazy even decide whether to find the bunny if he loses it, or does he stand there unable to act? Does the bard take unnecessary risks for the sake of attention? Will he take any wager, even though he's probably not going to beat the champion longbowman in an archery contest?

Of course, non-crazy characters can be just as flawed. Your Ventrue may be blinded by lust for power. Your Juicer may be boastful enough to constantly be in a competition of some sort. Your cleric may experience the occasional crisis of faith.

Whatever you do, don't make a boring character. Both you and your GM will be disappointed by the character that has been made to be brutally efficient. It may work well for online play, but RP is not about the best character. It's about the most fun. I've been GM for characters that just didn't have anything interesting to focus on. The players don't have fun until some absurdity can be forced upon them, and I don't have fun until I've created an absurdity. I try never to leave that responsibility on a GM, since I know how hard it can be to present a reasonable absurdity to characters with a lack of absurdity.

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