August 3, 2013
What Is Your Type?
Players often have a type. I am not talking about what sort of person they might find most attractive, though players often have that too. What I am referring to is the type of character they most often like to play. Some players like characters who are over-the-top, heroic, larger than life, and always in control. Some players like to play up nobility and honor. Some like to play the anti-hero, the dark, mysterious adventurers with haunted pasts. The longer you game with different players and the more characters you see they play in various games, the easier it is to see what sort of characters they like to play. Often, this reflects on their own personalities, either in how they see themselves or (more often, I think) how they would like to.
One friend of mine often finds himself in the position of “surrogate father-figure” for much of the rest of the group. This is because he tends to build characters that are somewhat older than the others, either significantly or just by a few years. His characters also tend to be very mature, composed, and most importantly, protective. In Shadowrun he is playing a dwarf decker who has taken it upon himself to look after the less experienced, young women he has found himself running with. In Anima: Beyond Fantasy he is a Knight of the Order of Heaven, a noble warrior and protector of the weak. He often stands at the forefront of battle, seeking to draw enemies to him rather than let them attack his companions. Another player in my groups has a tendency to play noble heroes. In The Dresden Files RPG he played a True Faith who sought to one day take up one of the three Swords of the Cross in order to fight against the evils of the world. In Pathfinder, he played a cleric of the goddess of healing, granting his divine protection to his fellow adventurers.
Sometimes, the choice of character type means a great deal to a player. Another friend of mine is a transsexual, and her characters are often strong, beautiful, and intelligent women who have had to deal with a great hardship in their lives (given, that last part is sort-of the norm for table-top characters). In addition, many of her characters are either homo or bi-sexual, allowing her to express herself through play in ways that can, at times, be difficult in real life. Understandably, these are very mature elements to bring to a game, and fortunately we have a group that is comfortable with and mature enough to handle these issues respectfully and realistically within the context of the game. It has been an enlightening and enriching experience to observe her growth both as a player and as a person through gaming, and her characters are always incredibly fun to interact with.
The type of character you like to play can say a great deal about you, even if you do not mean it to. Everyone has a type; even players who like to play very different characters. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact I would say that having a preferred type is a great benefit to a game. It means you have found some element of the game, be it a mechanical element or a role-playing one,that you feel strongly about. It means that you have found something special. Have fun with it. Embrace it. After all, what is the point of playing a game if you are not going to have fun doing it?
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