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» Player as PC: Deconstructing character
 Posted: Jan 12 2014, 05:23 PM
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Posts: 456

Hey guys.

It's been a while since we had a big discussion-type head here. I thought I might start this one, as it's been on my mind a bit lately.

My basic question here is this: why in playing RPG's do we feel the need to play a constructed character? As an extension of that question, could we conceive of playing or own selves add characters, or some version of ourselves?

This is coming from a few different observations. One is that often in the game we adopt a logic that is fairly far-removed from our own, if we were in the situation ourselves. That can come from the desire to act in character, but experientially it's very difficult to differentiate what the character feels (which is usually pretty immediate and irrational "id" stuff) and what the player thinks is best (which is a grab bag of character goals, genre knowledge, personal desires and beliefs, etc.). The thing is, playing a character in an RPG is basically very different from performing a scene in a play. Aside from the fact that actors need a higher craft competency than gamers do, they also know the scene, or in the case of improv actors, they know formulae and principles that help them move the scene through conflict into resolution.

But RPG scenes are generally not structured. They move on the whims of the collective mind of the players and GM. This mind is not a disciplined one, because RPG's are more entertainment than art, when you get down to it, especially for players.

It's this basic nature of the game upon which I base my suggestion: that playing characters with vastly different personalities and backgrounds from our own may not be an appropriate way to approach RPG's. What if instead we created characters that intentionally come from our own personalities and experiences? The experience of RP is more for our benefit than our characters -- we play out our own story more than theirs.

This doesn't mean that we can't explore different kinds of character narratives. Anecdotally, I have one past character whom I designed more as a reflection of myself, but who, through the course of RP, ended up evolving into something quite different. I'm referring to Lady Arabella Vane from the WoD America arc. I originally meant her to reflect my own self-image: introverted, strategic, a little detached, and confident. But what came out, as I attempted to stick to this interpretation, was rather different. Arabella was confident and logical, but actually quite extroverted and spontaneous. She ended up more like a friend of mine than myself.

My point is that the evolution was natural, and more powerful than my own will. I even resisted the process, and it happened anyway.

Please disagree with me. I'm certain that I have part of this wrong.
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 Posted: Jan 12 2014, 05:37 PM
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Posts: 625

I think I failed to metabolize a few of those paragraphs, but pretty much every character I have played was created in the following way.
Take one or two aspects of myself.
Multiplied them by 10.
Make them the defining characteristic of the PC.

Is this what you are getting at or am I still off the mark?
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