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Author Topic: An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying  (Read 2635 times)

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« on: August 20, 2003, 11:13:06 PM »
Sorry about the verbose title. In this thread, I will be attempting to write a huge, MoonHunter-style essay on the various types of poorly-conceived characters, and the things that make them the way they are. Bear in mind that I am not half as intelligent or good with words as the Great Swami of Roleplaying Himself (MoonHunter). And so, without further adieu, my essay.

EXAMPLE #1:
This is a very simplistic and easily diagnosed character.

"Grob the Orcish Worrier:

Hee is a really strong Orc. He has armer made from magicul golden steal. He has   a giant axe that deestroyes anyting it touches. He can never dye and he is as powerful as a trandarg."

The issue to address is the fact that it looks like it was written by a third-grader. Spelling, punctuation, and syntax are all quite bad. It is not very detailed, and contains no hint of any sort of personality, or what this "Grob" looks like. Also, what is this armor of magical golden steel? And why does he have an axe that destroys anything it touches? The axe and the fact that he can never die make this character too powerful. Finally, we have no idea what a "trandarg" is, so we cannot say for sure just how powerful or not powerful "Grob" is.

That was quick and easy. Stay tuned for more complicated character critiques.
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Offline Ylorea

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2003, 02:12:21 AM »
In this aspect, you might want to have a look at the gamewyrd site and there go over the very nicely done part where users can post the worst characters ever in the "cliched character concepts" area ( http://www.gamewyrd.com/archives/concepts.php )

At any rate there are quite a few of these types of characters around, you are right.

Spelling may be an isue, but sometimes bas spelling is also caused by the fact that english is not the base language of the writer. Still you will see many characters in english, since "everybody" on the net "try to speak" a common language...

Personaly I like the part about the Trandarg, since it sounds exotic (and powerfull), but perhaps there is a goblin with that name...

But to give you another "nice" example...
Introducing your character:
"I am Hamlock the dwarven fighter who has been cast out of his clan."

"Where did you live?"
"ehhrrr"
"What was your clan?" (Dwarven fighter 2)
"ehhrrr, Well I am planning on being a psion when I can."

This player managed to "run out of time" and to be honest, I did not mind to much that he never returned after the second session.

Yours,

Ylorea
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2003, 11:15:47 AM »
Yes, I am a bit unfair on the spelling bit. A pet peeve of mine.

EXAMPLE #2:

"Kazigor the Barbarian:

Kazigor the Barbarian is 9 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds. He has rippling, powerful muscles and is covered in tatoos. He carries a longsword that can burst into flames and shoot fireballs at his command. He also knows how to cast magical spells and he can sail a boat. He has destroyed all his enemies, and he is noble and good."

First, 9 feet tall and 400 pounds? Is Kazigor a human being? Second, he carries the longsword that can burst into flames and shoot fireballs at his command. How did he get this powerful sword if he is a barbarian? "He also knows how to cast magical spells and he can sail a boat". How did he learn these skills as a barbarian? "He has destroyed all his enemies, and is noble and good." So he never loses? What are his defects? Nobody is perfect. Also, where does Kazigor come from? Why did he leave?
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Offline Ylorea

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2003, 01:55:45 AM »
Just a thought, but a barbarian in my campaign actualy knows how to sail a boat...

His previous occupation is fisherman. (By the way HIS name is Sue.... Don't ask.....)

But a nine foot human....... hmmm he stands  about one and a half times the length of my average dutch students.... tooo .... long.

If any player would want to play this character, I would not mind much.... If he sleeps in a normal inn, the next day he is broken. (Middle age beds are just about six feet....) -2 effective str, dex, wis the next day.

Personaly I feel the description a person gives of their character may be the type you give, provided they have carefully thought it over and understand that it will not work this way in the "real" world.
(A level one character may say his longsword is covered in flames and shoots fireballs, but let him/her find the sword first. (no town where my adventures come from is so big a sword, that expensive would be available))
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2003, 02:15:02 AM »
They are barbarians, they roam in tribes and raid and stuff. In my opinion, "barbarian" is not just a profession that one can switch to from being a fisherman, but hey, it's your game.
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Offline Ylorea

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2003, 05:33:58 AM »
Barbarian surely is not a profession, just like you can not just say.... He today I like the idea, I am going to learn how to be a sorcerer.

However to see barbarians as just "people" roaming the land, is a bit shortsighted in my opinion.

Barbarians, Sorcerers (but also some other classes) may be a vocation or calling or surfacing of talents.
These are not professions, but a expression of who you are.

There is some classes for which you may argue that it is possible to "choose" that profession. Being a Fighter or a Rogue.
But for Cleric or Paladin, you would already need "a calling".
You are right to say that you can not choose to be a barbarian, or a sorcerer, that is something that develops from inside you.

(for my character it is horrible, but he has developed being a sorcer. This is due to the fact that some "nice" friends have felt it nesecary to inscribe a tatoo of dragonblood on my chest one day when I was knocking on deads doors. The doors opened, but I was refused entrance.....)

Yours,

Ylorea
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2003, 10:47:59 AM »
Oh, by the way, it has been brought to my attention that the Vikings were barbarians and that they were very good coastal sailors.
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Offline Ylorea

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An Analysis of Poorly-Conceived Characters in Roleplaying
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2003, 02:48:57 AM »
Quote from: "CaptainPenguin"
Oh, by the way, it has been brought to my attention that the Vikings were barbarians and that they were very good coastal sailors.


Now that you mention them..... ehhhr you are right and they are the cause of some shipwrecks that have been found not to far from where I live.
So Barbarians (from now on) are allowed to be sailors as well.

Hmmmm, vikings.... A hoard of barbarians all in rage storm forward to attack a town. (I hope they have high con bonusses, so as to rage for a long time.)

but oke, a pourly concieved character: (3rd edition D&D rules aply)

Taknor... A level 6 ranger.
Strength 18, Dexterity 14, Constitution 12, Inteligence 10, Wisdom 9(+2), Charisma 9.
The number between brackets indicate the gain of ability during play.
A ranger needs Wisdom 10 plus spell level to cast spells.
The reason why he now has Wisdom 11 is that we recieved a "gift" during a quest and later he increased his wisdom when reaching level four. So now he can cast level 1 spells.... Well, he can cast one level one spell to be exact.

Many of his important skills, depend on charisma....... (especialy the skills that we as a party need....)

History and background.... ehhhr none?? Well he can tell you about the history with the party, but before that, he remembers nothing. (The entire party got killed a long time ago and then Drendary, a godess of death revived them, leaving some of them with a blank memory (those that where to lazy to write some back-ground history))
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The answer is 42, but does anybody know the question?

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