July 16, 2014
Finding A Match
Players and Gamemasters alike draw on many different sources of inspiration for envisioning a character. Movies, television, comic books, anime, a particular color, all of these things and more can lend themselves to our imaginations. The multitude of wonderful, creative characters that gamers dream up is always astounding to me, and yet there is the unfortunate problem that not every character can fit in every game.
Characters dreamed up in science fiction settings often do not have a real place in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, just as a super hero capable of lifting entire mountains does not belong in a game of World of Darkness. When we draw up a character idea in our minds – assuming we do so independently of any game – we often dream up whatever setting would go along best with them, even if we do not realize it.
This leads us to two possible ways around this situation. The first is to find the setting/game that best fits your character and try to get something rolling – pun intended. The problem with this is that if your groups already have other games they are playing, it might be a hard sell to get them to change gears mid-campaign just so you can play some cool character you made up in a different setting than the one they are currently in. If you are anything like some of my groups, you will soon have an entire cue of “games to be played” all lined up and ready for whatever game you are currently in comes to its end. It can be even harder if you are insistent on being a player rather than the Gamemaster, as the Gamemaster is normally the one to decide what game is to be played, after all they are the ones who have to run it. Sure, they should be keeping their players’ desires in mind, but in the end it is really up to them.
The second option is to, as they say in the writing world, “kill your baby.” Your original idea is always precious to you, and we all understand that. However, sometimes something has to give and character ideas will likely have to undergo many different alterations when built for any system. Sure, it might be cool to base a character off of Son Goku or Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z, but do not expect your starting character to be as world-shatteringly powerful as these super-saiyans fresh out the gate from character creation. Be prepared to see some of what you may have had in mind not make it into the final version of your character. Understandably, this can be a hard thing to do if you grow really attached to a character idea. Players and Gamemasters alike are people, after all, and people are generally stubborn by nature. In my opinion, nowhere is this made clearer than in a creative setting such as a role-playing game. Believe me, I get it. I understand that sometimes it feels like you are being forced to give up some vital element of your character that changes who and what they are as a whole, but trust that this may not be entirely a bad thing.
Often, wonderful characters are born out of a fusion of an original idea with a game system. By working within the limitations of your system, you come to see just what your character is capable of and you might even find certain strengths or even some endearing flaws that you never before even considered. Having to give something up from your original idea will hurt, but what you will gain from it is often going to be so much more.
As always, thanks for reading and I wish you all good gaming.
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