Part 1: Theory

I’m a daydreamer. I love writing, thinking, and imagining. Though I’m long past my “prime,” I still use my imagination on a daily basis, even when so many around me have already lost that spark. So it’s no wonder that, when creating characters to role play, I tend to go a bit overboard with backstory and personality. And–my acting of the character aside–I think I do a pretty good job.

My theory is this: When we create a character for use in a role-playing game, we are, in some way, shape, or form, creating an alter ego—a person who exists as an alternate extension of ourselves. Of course, some characters are based more heavily than others on our “self”. If you choose to play an evil necromancer dwarf who enjoys tossing babies down into magma-filled volcanoes on our days off, but who also has a weak spot for kittens, there’s a very good chance that the part of you coming out in this character is not the vertically challenged psycho maniac. Maybe you’re just a cat lover.

Granted, the psychology of your character could also be more subtle and heartfelt, and not always incredibly obvious. And, I propose, this might actually be contrary to your actual self. A quiet person opting to play an outgoing, charismatic warrior could be attempting to champion fear and fight their own personal demons, just as much as it might be a safe outlet to explore pent up heroism, or even aggression. Similarly, a character could convey desire. Opting to play a character completely opposite oneself could signal a desire to break from conformity, or perhaps a desire to remember a long-gone stage in one’s life.

Granted, it might not always be obvious when we sit down to map out our character how we’re going to get there. And despite every attempt to break from your own self, it’s nevertheless understandable, and even expected, that your character will end up being an offshoot of your own psyche. Even if only by a single tendril of one root.

Adding to the interest of the theory is when a player assumes multiple characters and multiple roles; not necessarily, however, for the purpose of playing one game. The race we choose, the class we choose, and the manner of character we choose to play are inherently a part of ourselves, whether directly or indirectly. You might choose to play a healer to balance out your party, but the personality of that character is, of course, yours to choose. And, more often than not, he or she will begin to seem all the more like yourself, the longer you tangle with him/her.

But though this is all a very good and interesting theory, it’s most likely ticked some people off by this point. So, I think it would be more fruitful for me to get the point of this essay and head off the raging hate mail at the pass. The above is merely my theory. If you really, truly are completely different than your evil necromancer dwarf who enjoys tossing babies down into magma-filled volcanoes on your days off, but who also has a weak spot for kittens, well… kudos, and good for you.

What I will attempt to do, for anyone who still is attempting to read this, is to try and discern what is “me” in my multiple role play characters. I can’t call myself obsessive. However, I have put a good deal of time and thought into my three main characters, and I think it would be good to finally do them some justice as to just how much of “me” ended up in them when everything was said and done. For as odd as that sounds.

I’ll make an attempt in this piece be thorough, witty, and brutally honest with myself. However, I can’t promise that all things will be explained, since that would be 1) cheating my fellow role players out of the opportunity to discover some things for themselves about “me,” and, 2) possibly embarrassing to myself.

Currently, the following three characters exist in a kind of strange and wonderful limbo period between games. And, more interestingly, they all belong to different role playing games with different rules and storylines. I think, however, that you’re going to begin to see an overlap of personalities, character traits, and even some meshing of setting very quickly. Hey, it might even be fun.

For the sake of some sort of order, I’ll begin with the first character I created:

Clover

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