Guest Author - Jay Shaffstall
When you play a role playing game, playing your character can be the toughest bit to get used to.
You control an alter-ego in the game world, and that alter-ego is the way you affect the ongoing story. But what should they do? How do you decide what actions they'll take?
Here are some of the ways players answer that question.
The Problem Solver
Players who are really into solving the problems presented by the story will often have their character take actions that help to figure out what's going on.
This sort of player often views their characters as parts of the solution. If they know the story involves magic in some way, they'll play a wizard to have the best chance at solving the problem. Actions taken by these characters rarely fail to contribute to a solution.
Player who run problem solving characters are often also into fully understanding the rules of the game.
As Seen On TV
Some players get professional help figuring out what their characters would do in any situation. They base their character on a character they've seen on TV, or movies, or read about in books. That way they have a large body of prior work to draw from when figuring out what to do.
These characters will often use the same trademark quotes as their media counterparts, and act the same way in scene after scene.
Method Role Playing
Some players get so into their character that they think and talk like their character through the entire game. They don't have to wonder what their character would do, because they're so deep in character that they just react in an appropriate way.
This is a fun way to go, but often uncomfortable for newbies.
Players will often take a stereotype and thinly wrap a character background around it. These characters are not based on characters from TV or books as much as the archetype of all those characters.
Examples of this are the dumb fighter, the wimpy mage, the rampaging monster, the wealth loving thief, etc. Because they're stereotypes, it's easy to figure out what they would do in any situation. Because they're not based on a single other character, you aren't constrained by what that character would do.
Just Like Life
Hardest of all is to create a truly original character, and allow that character to grow and change over time. Obviously, this only works for campaigns that run over extended periods of game time. But if you understand what shaped the character's life, you can have them react in realistic ways.
Seeing characters like this grow over time is amazing fun for the GM. It makes her feel that her work in providing the game world has been appreciate by the players.
Have other methods you like? Stop by the forum and let us know!