Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WWtCD?

In a previous post, I had discussed the differences between player and character expectations, and I thought it was a topic that deserved some more room to breathe.  Specifically, I got to thinking about my time as a GM in a Gamma World campaign, and what a pain in the ass it was trying to create a world in which ordinary, every day items were wondrous artifacts of a bygone age.  Rolling up the "treasure" and finding they had discovered a fire extinguisher, and trying to describe it without giving it a way ("a red, tube shaped object with a hose running off of it that ends in a cone").  As much of a pain as it was, though, it was vital to keeping the "feel" of the game alive, because most people, or at least most people I have played with, sort of idealize themselves when they roleplay, so getting them into the heads of their characters can be a real challenge.  If I had told them that they had found a fire extinguisher, they would have been off to the Preservationists to hawk it without a second thought.  Instead, they went all the way through the "Figure Out an Artifact" chart, and were at one point using it as a bludgeoning weapon. 

When I play, I try and come up with a concept for my character as early in the character generation process as possible.  If I can do it beforehand and then fit the stats into the concept, all the better.  Once I've got that character, I try and react to situations as I feel my character would, which can lead to conflict in some cases with my fellow party members.  Playing a 1st level Elven Fighter, my fellow adventurers cannot understand why I won't go near the front lines, even though I have the biggest number of hit points.  Well, if you're an Elf that will live for thousands of years, provided you don't trip down the stairs or get impaled on the end of a spear, and you're only one or two sword strokes away from death, I think you'd be getting well acquainted with bows and arrows.  Similarly, when I played a Warforged Psionicist, the Evil, Evil GM had us square off against a monster that devoured metal.  My Warforged watched the fighter's shield turn to dust and broke and ran to "go for help".  It's those sorts of things, in my humble opinion, that make role playing fun.  Sure, there's always room in the party for a square jawed hero who laughs at death, but take the time to humanize your character!  Get in their head, and ask, WWtCD?

2 comments:

  1. I have to agree. Many of my most memorable characters, and longest-lived, knew how to run away.

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  2. Running away not only helps your character live longer - it also provides catharsis for those evil, evil GMs who bust a gut laughing at the antics of cowardly characters. :)

    - Ark

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