Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Play a Better Character with 3 Simple Questions

Today's post is a short one, but I hope useful as well. I've found that a ton of blogs (most of 'em?) focus on giving tools to the GM to run a better game or generally make his or her life easier. This makes a lot of sense since the kind of people who tend to read and spend time on gaming blogs (you know, you people) tend to be those who run games and organize their gaming groups. At least this is the assumption, but I figure there have got to be people out there who buy game books, spend tons of time planning out cool character concepts or setting elements, and will never have a real chance to run a game. I call these people players. Anyway, today is my first concentrated effort to address some of the interests of the less served, let's call them "silent majority" of the gaming community.

Today's just a couple of questions to help you organize your ideas and scheme for a character either in a new game or even a character you're currently playing that lacks some direction. These go beyond what your Strength is or which feat you want to start the game with. Answer these three questions and try to tell me you don't know how your character would react to any situation a vengeful GM might throw at you.

1. What does your character want?

2. Why does he or she want it?

3. What is he or she willing to do to get it?

Really it's very similar to the way a character is built in Mouse Guard with beliefs and instincts and all that. It really works for any character that I can think of, and is applicable not just for building an RPG character but good when trying to brainstorm or work through some writer's block and get inside a character's head. There's no reason it can't be used for prominent NPC's as well (in fact, I would think if nothing else, these three questions would be enough to get any good villain off the ground running in a good direction). Try it with a character you're bored playing. Pick a new direction for him or her and see how it goes!


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