How to Choose a Character to Play in a Roleplaying Game

This is one way of choosing a character in a Role Playing Game


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    Become comfortable with the rules of the game if you have time to do so. Each game has it's own "flavor" and part of having fun with your character is knowing what is and what isn't possible within the game and the world. In some games it is easy to be a brave warrior, in others a lone soldier is nearly impossible to play in an entertaining way.
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    Find out what everyone else in the group is interested in playing. In many games having a good combination of professions or powers is key to having a successful adventure. So ask around, find out what others are interested in playing. Are you all interested in playing thieves from the seedy part of town? Brave warriors out to carve an empire from the uncaring world? Priests out to restore hope to a bleak world? Dutiful knights or samurai, upholding the precepts of their religion or codes of conduct? In most games it helps if players choose roles, professions or classes that complement one another. If your friend Roy wants to play a Marine and Dawn wants to play the Alien Diplomat, perhaps you should choose a character that would fill this group out. Perhaps a shape-shifting spy, a hard-bitten medic or the reckless-but-skilled pilot.
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    Even if the party desperately wants you to play something they are missing (Who's going to be the Cleric?), never let yourself be forced into playing a character you don't think you want to play. If you feel up to the challenge of playing something you've never tried to before, good for you! You have the makings of a great roleplayer. But being forced to play a role you are uncomfortable with isn't acceptable. This is a social game and everyone should be having fun. A good game master should offer to create an NPC to fill in missing professions in the party. (NPC = Non-Player Character, someone the gamemaster will play as a member of your adventuring group)
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    Coming up with a background and a reason to be in the group makes for better roleplaying. This isn't necessary in all games, but people who play a lot of roleplaying games will expect at least some effort at a background. Choose a character from a movie or book or a daydream, change it a bit to suit the game and have fun! A good background can really make the game a lot more exciting and will help you 'get into character' much faster, thus making the game more interesting for you. The best backgrounds should have 'hooks', or plot devices the game master can use in future adventures. If your character learned martial arts from a secret sect of monks, but betrayed them when he found out their methods were evil (Batman, in one version at least) then you can expect that the gamemaster will have them show up and cause you problems at some point!
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    Think about the decisions your character makes. These decisions will add up and will eventually define your character. Is your character the type to drink away his hard earned cash? Save up for things he wants? Give his money to charity? These things end up defining your character and will, in many ways, decide his ultimate legacy in the world. The Holy Warrior who gives his money to help orphans may lose out when it comes to having fun in town or may not have the "best" equipment, but his kindness may result in assistance from places you never expected it, and may result in the character's name outliving the character himself! Moral decisions are key roleplaying events.
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    Experiment! Some players, who are painfully nice in real life really enjoy playing "dark" characters in games. As long as it doesn't disrupt the game for the other players then it should generally be allowed. The consequences, good or bad, should be appropriate though. ;) A roleplaying game is a great chance to not only let off some steam through imaginary combat, but also a good place to play around with philosophies and worldviews that are at odds with your own.
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    Accents!!! It doesn't matter if you are TERRIBLE at it, even a poor attempt at an accent can really spice up a character. It takes practice, but suffer through the groans and mild protests of your friends and give it a shot. It takes some time but eventually you'll at least be making a recognizable (if not entirely believable) accent! Watch some TV shows or movies with the accent you want to do and try saying things the way they do. Italian Gangster, English Fop, French Resistance fighter... all pretty easy accents to play up and have fun with.
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    Interact with others in character! If your character never speaks to anyone, shies away from conflict or discussion or decisions, then you will never really have fun with it. Talk with NPCs or other characters in the voice and manner your character would.
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    Think about what goals your character has and what goals you have for the character. These can be long term or short term. Does your character want fame? Look for ways that can happen in the game and ask the game master to give you some opportunities for fame in the adventures he/she plans. What do YOU want for your character to be eventually? The best marksman in the galaxy? Does he just want to settle an old score? Find true love? Defeat an enemy? Overcome a character flaw in himself?


  • Play something you will have fun playing!!!
  • Try not to degrade or hurt anybody.
  • Have goals, fears and dreams for your character.
  • Make an interesting background.
  • Play "in character" when possible.
  • Create a distinctive personality or copy one from a TV show or movie you like.

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Categories: Role Playing Games