Gaming Thursday: how2RP part 2February 26, 2015
After reading the last post, you’ve chosen to dive in and give this RP thing a try. You come up with a backstory, you’ve gathered the vision for your character, and now you’re at the table… and waitaminute, just how does one get used to being someone else? Where to start?
If you’re not used to thinking as another person, it can be tough to get into character around the table. Not necessarily daunting, but simply difficult to put yourself in your character’s shoes. This can be especially challenging in the face of the difference between what you, as the player, knows and can deduce from your comparatively omniscient position vs your character’s more limited view, without the benefit of the rules and genre conventions. And then there’s the element of the character’s flaws… how do you knowingly put yourself into a disadvantaged situation?
Here’s a case where being a cliché may actually be useful.
Or, more so, creating a character with some pretty strong character traits. The more extreme, outrageous, and yes, even clichéd they are, the easier it is to remember them and to figure out how to bring them up in game. Is your character always hungry? Guess what they will talk about during the middle of the dungeon. Where they’ll first spend their gold. Maybe they’ll choose not to meet the mysterious informant to instead take a table at the expensive restaurant they’ve been trying to get reservations for months. Maybe they’re always carrying around beef jerky, which proves to be useful in distracting guard dogs. Or, maybe, that same jerky attracts dogs while you’re sneaking up on someone, causing all sorts of trouble. Darn jerky!
There is some care to be taken to not go overboard and pick a trait that’ll become obnoxious (“must punch every person in the face” as a trait would would probably be… poor); if you’re unsure, run it by your fellow players and GM. That aside, I recommend stealing a few traits and characteristics from some characters you enjoy from your favourite books, movies, anime, or etc, and go to town. As you get familiar with it and get more playing time under your belt you can begin to introduce more complex and subtle traits. You may find yourself naturally toning down the overtness and simplicity of the character’s traits, allowing other traits and relationships to develop. It will become easier to think from the character’s perspective, and to develop a personality that fits for them.
Role Playing a character is a simple matter of skill, and as all skills, it can be developed. Every game is a chance to do just that. Try something out – if it doesn’t fit or work in your group, try something else.
You might just surprise yourself!