A Role-player's Characters' Common Traits: Ponderings on why some role-players play similar character.

By: Al Ray

As I have noticed certain things when in my role-playing role-playing experiance and I have read thing on the web that show I am not the only one who did. One of the things I noticed is that many role-players have characters who have characters that share traits. These traits can be anything from looks to attitude. Why is this? I noticed this in myself and did introspection on what they are and why I made them so.

There are several things that my characters share First is that they are most often human or human based. Second they are all male. Third is that they are most often are Mediterranean in appearance(mostly dark hair, dark eyes and olive complexion) like myself(I look very Greek). Fourth is that they are kindheart individuals that are flawed in some way. Recently, I have notice that I have given my characters tragic backgrounds, often dealing with loss of loved ones.

Why is it that most of my characters have these common traits? Well, to tell the truth, the answer is different for each of the above . They all go back to my own experiences, what I am comfortable with as a role-player, my opinions and my worlds views. I will ask myself questions on why I do this.

The first question I ask myself is why do I overwhelmingly play human characters(the number of none-human ones can be counted on one hand)? The answer has its roots in my views on humanity(anyone who read my riddle-poem or seen some of my past posts on the Gamer Chick Planet forum has seen glimpses) and that fact that there are unlimited possibilities of what humans can be. Also I can get into the minds set much easier and do a far more believable character then when I usually do a none-human one.

The second question is why do I only do male characters? Well, for one thing it is not sexism. I have the utmost respect and love for the female gender(having three sisters and no brothers can, thankfully, do that to a person). It is actually the fact that I can't, like most males, get into a female mindset quite well. I avoid, for the present, doing a female character because I don't what to unwittingly portray a stereotype or a one-sided character because I failed to get into a mindset. Eventually though, I will be more confident in my self as both a person and a role-player to do a female character, but for now I will stick to males.

The third question is why do I do characters have a similar appearance to myself? The answer to this one is simple. It goes back to mindset. To have a character that has similar body dimensions and coloration is to better know how the character sees world from his/her point of reference. A character that has a similar size to mine has a similar point of reference. Also a character that has a similar coloration to myself has similar reactions from other of the different color, especially in medieval campaigns. The mindset of a person use to different reactions would be somewhat different and is one I have rarely explored.

The fourth question I ask is why do I mostly play good people. Once again the answer goes back to my personality, views and mindset. I find much easier to get into a moral, honorable mindset than a not so honorable one. It is because of what type of person I consider myself. It would be a fun role-playing challenge for me to do a not so good intentioned characters though. Eventually, as my skills as a role-player improve, I will be able to do it, but for now I will stick to what I am good at.

The last questions is why has my most recent characters have tragic backgrounds? Well my most recent character have been in the World of Darkness setting. I though to add to my characters more depth in the Storyteller system. I wanted to make them more believable and truly explain how they came to be what they are for more that the half detailed and somewhat shabby background I created in the past. I true believe that character development begins with a good back ground

After you read this I hope you can understand why many gamers, perhaps including yourself, have characters with common threads between them. Ask yourself questions on why they are similar. If you think about it enough you might be surprised at the answers. You could learn something more about yourself. Also knowing the common traits could inspire you to try something different and expand your skills as a role-player, thus increase the fun of the game. Who knows, these questions could even cure the munchkin of his/her condition.