The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

6 Styles of Characters

Over the years the type of characters a player will create changes. And while every player experiences his own shifts in playing style; there are identifiable trends throughout the gaming population.

The Game Piece Character

The very first type of character many players make is the game piece character. This is the character that has no personality, is often spoke of in the third person, and is generally little more than his statistics. This character is like a playing piece in monopoly – it may look a little different from the other pieces, but its looks don’t affect how the player plays the game. A player will usually play characters like this till he has had some exposure to real role-playing; once that exposure occurs most players are quick to move on.

The Self Character

The second type of character most players play is the self-character. This character has some personality, and is sometimes well played, however, as the character has the same personality as the player, the role really isn’t a stretch. This type of character lends itself to a different view of gaming than is standard; rather than assuming the role of a character, the player instead is imposing himself on the story. Some players never grow out of this stage, and continue to play self-characters for years. However, others move past this for the same reason players move past game piece characters; they see others role-playing and wish to role-play also.

The Cliche Character

The third type of character players will play is the cliché character. This character is one that falls into one of the many over used stereotypes. The gold loving dwarf, the noble paladin, the preachy cleric, the tree hugging elf, and the sleazy thief are all examples of cliché characters. Although some players do manage to go beyond the stereotype and develop in depth characters at this point, many allow the cliché to dominate the personality of their character; in essence the character is the cliché and nothing more. Although, like the last stage, many players never get past this stage, many more are driven to move on because they run out of clichés to use; after playing every cliché they know a dozen times players become bored of the same routine over and over.

The Counter Cliche Character

The next type of character a player will play is the counter cliché character. This character is exact opposite of a cliché character; he has a trait that goes totally against a stereotype. The tree hugging dwarf, the sleazy paladin, the faithless cleric, the gold loving elf, and the noble thief are all examples of counter clichés. Very little change in playing style usually occurs between playing cliché and counter cliché characters because the motive for changing usually was just a lack of clichés. Characters of this type may or may not have in depth personality, and it is quite likely the counter cliché will dominate their existence. Players will progress beyond this stage either because of positive influence from another player or because of personal growth.

The Bizarre Character

The next type of character a player will play is the bizarre character. This character has something about him that is totally unusual. Perhaps he has a physical handicap, or character flaw, or a history that makes him totally unique; but there will be something about him that will set him apart from every other character the player has ever made. Although usually by this stage most players are creating detailed characters, some do reach this stage while still lacking role-playing skills. For those few the unusual feature will dominate the character, but for the majority the feature will just be one more thing about the character. Players are driven to abandon this style of character creation when they find that the bizarre has become routine; after making so many unusual characters there is nothing unusual about them.

The Tapestry Character

The final type of character that players learn to create is the tapestry character. This character is a mix of several of the previous styles and more. The character will have little bit of the player in him, a little bit of cliché, a little bit of counter cliché, and little bit of the bizarre. This character will be fully developed, have a deep story and personality behind him. This is the character that truly is a role to play.

Gamers Are Always Evolving

From the way I’ve stated it this progression seems very linear, however, it is not. Different players take different routes, and end up in different places. Also different styles of characters are better suited to different players and groups. However, whatever route a player may take, all active gamers are always evolving – rumors that experienced gamers are stagnant have been greatly exaggerated.

Have an opinion about this article? I love comments. Please feel welcome to leave your thoughts.


November 7, 2010 - Posted by | RPGs | ,

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