member, 244 posts
 Anime Fan
 Virtually all genres
Sun 25 Mar 2018
at 22:09
Advice wanted
Dear players and gms
This is probably the most hated question on rpol. How to be unique?

Everytime i create a character it is based on something gone before, filtered through my own biases and prejudices.

For instance, years ago i used characters inspired by the story of Malek from the original Blood Omen Legacy of Kain. Several FF3e, 1 dnd and 1 Anima character.

If i try to create an Exalted character. I invariably fall back on 3 archetypes seeker (inspired by the image of soshi uidori from 5rings gold) self imposed exile, or honourable monster (Tolling of the Black Bell, deathlord)

How do i break this cycle?
 member, 640 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Sun 25 Mar 2018
at 22:19
Advice wanted
I also used to trap myself in a cycle of playing roughly the same character on repeat. There's actually nothing wrong with it, especially if you have fun with those tried and true characters that you love, but if you're truly set on ending that habit, my advice would be to try GMing a published module of some kind.

Running a game based on another persons work is a great way to stay focused on a story, gives your players confidence that your game will have a satisfying arc, and critically for you: forces the GM to play a large number of roles they would have never otherwise tried.
 member, 42 posts
 I've Been Touched By
 His Noodly Appendage
Sun 25 Mar 2018
at 22:22
Advice wanted
The best way I've found to break that kind of cycle is to be aware that you're in it, which you already seem to be. :) You already know you have a tendency towards certain archetypes, so when you're creating characters you can make a conscious effort to avoid those.
 member, 47 posts
 Tagmar, D&D, oWoD
 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sun 25 Mar 2018
at 22:28
Re: Advice wanted
How do i break this cycle?

Some games have a method to randomly pick some of your character's, well, characteristics. Consider it a challenge, picking up a collection of random character snippets and figuring out a way to make them work as a fleshed out, tridimensional character. Sort of like the RPG equivalent of theater improvisation classes.
 member, 1175 posts
Sun 25 Mar 2018
at 22:32
Re: Advice wanted
Look online. There are several free downloads of charts for creating archtypes (usually for NPCs but I can see them for use in creating a PC). Most are listed under Dungeons and Dragons but they are by no means limited to that system.
 member, 447 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Mon 26 Mar 2018
at 07:11
Re: Advice wanted
"The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."

The way to change your characters is to change the set of biases and prejudices on which you base them just a little.  That starts with examining your current set of biases and prejudices, and figuring out why you hold onto them.  In effect, you are embarking on a journey of self-discovery.

You might broaden your literary horizons some.  Read in the myths and legends of various cultures, and see how certain parallels are made in every culture in these stories.  If you're already familiar with Greek or Roman myth, look into Egyptian, Sumerian, Chinese, Japanese, or Indian mythology.  There's tons of good material on archetypes through human history in a work by Sir James Frazer called The Golden Bough which is available in the reference section of most decently stocked libraries.  (The full edition of this work is in 12 volumes.  What is more common is the abridged edition.)

There is also the possibility that you gravitate toward the same set of characters not so much because of biases or prejudices, but because those characters and their embodied archetypes are in some way reflective of aspects of your character which you wish to understand more fully.

Or it could just be that you're in a rut.  Steer hard a-port!
 member, 163 posts
Wed 28 Mar 2018
at 00:00
Re: Advice wanted
I do like Mr Qwerty's answer, something random.  Although you may want to roll several such characters and see what results.  Something different, but still playable.  Some players can take any character and play it, others will have problems.

If you don't like that character, or the character does not fit into the game, you have those problems to overcome in addition to playing.

Maybe have a friend review your character, adding some flaws and quirks to use.
 member, 50 posts
 Tagmar, D&D, oWoD
 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Wed 28 Mar 2018
at 01:13
Re: Advice wanted
It doesn't need to be completely random, just enough to pull you out of your comfort zone. In D&D, it may be enough to roll for race and attribute order, maybe also background in 5e; in systems with disadvantages like GURPS and many superhero systems, maybe pick one randomly. This should already be enough to get the creative juices flowing.

I must admit, I was surprised with how much fun I had playing with fully random characters in systems that support that out of the box, like stuff from Sin Nomine Publishing; however, I know that may not be everybody's cup of tea. Dip your toes, or jump headlong into the pool, or do anything in between.
 member, 20 posts
Wed 28 Mar 2018
at 03:38
Re: Advice wanted
In reply to horus (msg # 6):

Seconded- writing characters really is a journey of self discovery.

As to the topic at hand, however, I'll give you some advice I've recieved, and some I've learned. Recieved: pick a quality you hold, and emphasize it. Make it the basis of the character, and then round and hammer out the edges. Learned- this may sound mystical, or intentionally vague, but I assure it is not: try listening to the story, and see what it thinks, and wants, instead of what your inclinations are. Often times, you'll be surprised.

Another thing, if you really are so inclined... take whatever your first idea for a character is, and run the opposite way. There's a plethora of other options, as well. You can spend plenty of time inverting and subverting common tropes, for example, or scrapping out anything that's even remotely similar to anything you recognize from common archetypes.

This message was last edited by the user at 03:39, Wed 28 Mar 2018.

 member, 1320 posts
Wed 28 Mar 2018
at 04:21
Re: Advice wanted
Try this, take three opposite/highly different characters. For each one, pick three personality traits that best define that character. For the new character, pick one trait from each of the source characters (picking randomly works well), then build your new character around these traits.

Use a system, like DnD, and randomly generate everything. Rolled stats, random class, etc. For each part that doesn't seem to work with everything else (high strength for a wizard), try to explain why it is that way (maybe he has a touch of giant blood), and how the character uses or shies away from it (maybe he uses it to carry around lots of books and materials, maybe he is embarrassed by his size and strength).

Also, collect premade characters, such as from modules, starter kits, etc. Play them, and don't play the rules, play the character. This gives you a great time doing something different. You'll also come to understand the character more and can use them for inspiration or as a source character for the first technique I described above.

This message was last edited by the user at 04:24, Wed 28 Mar 2018.

 member, 186 posts
 35 years of gaming
 Still going strong
Sat 7 Apr 2018
at 02:16
Re: Advice wanted
Wanna break that cycle?  Create a character that you have never played before.  For instance, if you're stuck on Dwarves, play an elf.  If its a fighter type, play a healer or vice versa.

Everyone has a favorite type of character they like to play, its natural.  When joining a game, some people rush themselves and run into a type of block and can not think if a new character archetype to play and fall back on the one they know the best.

Grabbing characters from literature or movies is also a good way, as mentioned before.  Take one and modify it to your tastes.  But don't select the one type that you always play.

But i have to ask, do you like the one you normally play?  If yes, then change a couple of things.  The changes could be minor, like the type of weapon or attack mode.  Does your character normally use a sword?  If so, use a bow as a main weapon, or maybe dual wield handaxes.

It may seem daunting at first, but take your time and tgink about it over the course of a week or two.  Jot down the ideas you come up with.   Then select from those.
 member, 186 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Sat 7 Apr 2018
at 03:43
Re: Advice wanted
I have also found that using random methods of character generation can be inspiring. Even if you don't end up actually rolling the character randomly, throwing some dice at the game can often give you some inspiration if you let it mull.

I wouldn't necessarily throw yourself into Opposite Land arbitrarily.  You clearly have a taste, and playing directly against type deliberately can result in some weird meta-roleplaying.  But tossing a dice at a few random tables and chewing on the results can add some new, more oblique (and less obvious) angles to try something new.

Also, you might consider mixing-and-matching in unexpected and unconventional ways.  Take two characters you like but that seem at odds and jam them together.  I took Oogway from Kung Fu Panda (a total ripoff of which I played as a Tortle Sun Soul Monk in a one-shot), and jammed him into Geralt from the Witcher (who I had been trying to jam into D&D for awhile without seeming too derivative), and came out with a crossbow-wielding, superstitious, but well-meaning Tortle ranger who hunts monsters, is very old, and might be senile.  Just mixing up the blend a little bit can often create something new!

This message was last edited by the user at 03:49, Sat 07 Apr 2018.

 member, 714 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Sat 7 Apr 2018
at 05:23
Re: Advice wanted
I have also found that using random methods of character generation can be inspiring. Even if you don't end up actually rolling the character randomly, throwing some dice at the game can often give you some inspiration if you let it mull.

I believe this was the intent in the current D&D rules when they included random personality traits with each background. They're meant to be examples of suitable traits, while the random bit is there for players who simply have no idea what they want with it -- they can just grab some dice and see what turns up.

An old friend of mine was dead-set against this particular feature, claiming it inhibited roleplaying and imposed unnecessary restrictions on characters. I pointed out to him
  1. that the entire list of personality traits was just a set of examples, and the book made it amply clear that players were free to come up with their own, and
  2. said friend is an accomplished stage actor -- and he's trying to say he can't take a character with established personality traits and act the part?