this will eventually go to the article section
In a hobby where players are allowed to create characters as unique as themselves, it's frightening to see how many character concepts fall into the realm of the clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©. ClichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©d character are not always stereotypes, in fact they often defy percieved stereotypes... just in the same way as everyone else.
Sometimes they turn into assassins, sometimes hackers, and they almost all end up killing their parents. Physical or sexual abuse does not make your character interesting. It is a cheap and overused method of adding drama to a characterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s background.
If there was a history or background for the character that the GM and player knows, then this can be quite intestesting. In many cases it is a crock, as the player puts together an uber character and tells the GM that they remember waking up in a ditch somewhere naked. So the GM has to make sense of this character.
As a young child, you were tormented by the other children. You withdrew with your intellectual interests, and because of this became incredibly talented at them. Most often, these characters withdraw with a computer and become a computer hacker.
YouÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re a priest with lots of combat stats. Occasionally this involves some justification about cleansing the world of evil. Variants most often use the words monk and shao-lin.
Lesbian Asian Schoolgirl
IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m not even going to get into this one. Not only is your character concept a clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©, but so is the sexual fantasy youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re desperately hoping to enact in-game. Save it for the AOL chatroom.
Lone Wolf Cop
YouÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re a cop, and you donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t follow the rules! Unfortunately, neither do any of the other clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©d law enforcement characters. Police who constantly break procedure tend to end up in one of two placesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ the unemployment line or jail.
It is a common misconception that criminal organizations exist only to fight each other, instead of turn a profit. This character stems from this misconception. Rather than serve a useful purpose in the organization, you were recruited to beat people up. You have no other skills outside of combat. Variants change the organization, examples include the yakuza, the Russian mob, and street gangs.
Okay, in some games ninjas are appropriate. Please, limit your ninjas to these games. They have no place in medieval England, the modern world, or the future. Furthermore, Ninjas do not carry Katanas. Neither, for that matter, should anyone else. They are on the very short list of clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©d weapons, along with the Desert Eagle and MAC-10.
Orphan Bent on Revenge
Probably the most common clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©, your parents were viciously murdered and now your life is dedicated to getting revenge. Usually, this involves years of studying the art of killing. Variants usually involved changing the dead party to a significant other, child, or other close friend.
Trust Fund Child
Usually in college, this character has near unlimited resources from their parents. Variants gain their funds from an inheritance, instead. Often, this character seeks trouble out of boredom, or hatred for their parents. In my experience, this is the number one method used to justify a wealthy character.
So, now we know some of the clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©s, let's talk about avoiding them. First off, try to keep your character largely realistic. The more believable your character is, the more special the exceptional things about your character will seem. Be careful using the word 'but' in your character concept, as in 'he's a company man but he wants to escape', or 'he's a ruthless killer but he has a heart of gold.' Bucking a stereotype often falls into the realm of clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©, believe it or not.
For those of you who find this list objectionable, please stop and examine your reasons. If you are happy playing a clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©d character, don't let me stop you! While I'd encourage you to try something new and original, the most important thing in a game is having fun. Furthermore, I understand certain clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©s are appropriate to certain games, settings, and styles of play.
Finally, this list is not intended to be exhaustive. If you would like to make suggestions, please feel free.