Jan 30, 2013

[Gaming] You Always Play Your True Self

Part of our dice collection
I've mentioned before that I only got into tabletop RPGs after getting involved with my partner Tobie, which has been a very good thing. Beyond this being a great social activity for a normally reclusive geek like myself,  it has been a lot of fun. I get to explore different stories, different worlds and try new things all with good friends present.

Now over the various game chronicles and one-shot sessions, I've put some conscious effort into trying different character types in order to explore the medium better. My very first character was more an intellectual type of character - sort of a reflection of how I see myself. And it was okay but not all that exciting. So from that point on, I promised myself that I'd be a little more daring and explore other skills builds and archetypes just to see how things would turn out. And while we've utilized various gaming systems over the years, over time you kind of pick up on the common themes and how to tailor your characters according to what you want.

What has been surprising for me across the different games and regardless of the other players who might be involved in the sessions, more and more I've realized that I tend to play similar characters. No matter how many stat points I pour into one attribute or another, I always end up eventually slipping into a particular game mode.

Sure, your character backstory may change and perhaps you'll put on an accent to get a better feel for your "role." However all that is just superficial to how you fundamentally play your characters. And this is especially true with the more dramatic RPGs (sorry, I still have not taken the time to try a D20 game) - regardless of the trappings around you, your core character sort of emerges and shines through. And this isn't just true about me - I see it time and time again with the players that I share game sessions with.

My primary dice sets
This remains my working theory around the somewhat social aspects of gaming. No matter what character you design or how diverse the statistics seem to be in comparison to who you think you are or the other roles you have played, a core character style will always come out. And what is more surprising is that your core character may not necessarily be the person that you think you are. And thus I feel it is more the person that you truly are inside - your core personality.

In my case, it turned out that I'm a lot more social a player than I realized. At its worst I can be manipulative and very sneaky. At it's best my characters try to charm and disarm through words and innuendo. My character can have more intelligence-based attributes or even combat-oriented physical skills, but at the end of the day this social aspect of my character comes out and it's how I feel more comfortable playing the game. And this all seems so ironic given I'm not a social person in real life. I don't exactly look forward to making new friends and I tend to favor online interaction over real-life encounters.

So no matter what roles we play or the setting or the mix of people you're gaming with, in the end the same person comes forward to help you make your decisions and steer your character in the right direction. It's not necessarily a bad thing. But it is certainly interesting.

What do you geeky gamers think? Do you feel that you tend to handle your various characters in the same way?
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