Characters: What keeps you?

  • Tutorialist

    Please note: I don't attribute any value to how long someone does or does not play a character (though I know that many people do). But this is a thought brought up from @JustNobody's thread.

    What keeps you on a character for a long time? What keeps you playing it? Why do you stay? For me it seems to be: Start low, and make my way up. I guess, basically, you could say that I like to play out the classical Hero's journey. I like to be involved in plot and feel like I've gotten some spotlight (though I do not need all of it).

    Of the four characters that come to mind of "I played them a long time" I can note (plus my two LARP characters):

    • Maia: psionic, science, eventually athletics / mild action.
    • Girah: engineering, even less action but some.
    • Peta: Lots of action.
    • Cytosine: Medical stuff, investigations, less action than Maia but more than Girah.
    • LiteBrite: Angry. So angry. Action, adventure, maybe doesn't count because she got stored away often so I could ST.
    • Amara: Action. Action. Action. Cruac rituals.

    So what overall story keeps you coming back? And what details of the story/hooks/types of play keep you coming back?

  • Hanging out with friends and shooting mooks for the most part. I've made lots of characters with deep intricate stories that I got bored with because I didn't mesh with other players on a particular mu, and others that climbed through the ranks and worked towards goals. If the atmosphere isn't fun, with people I like to chat with, I get bored quickly.

  • A combination of players who are patient and interested in discovering what I've made in my character, and events or discussions that evolve that character. The same for those I play with.

  • Pitcrew

    I tend to suck at playing characters long term, but what does make me stick with a char is having something to do. As long as it doesn't get too overwhelming (Like when Brigit was getting three sets of recurring dreams from three different plots, or Branwen trying to keep track of a half dozen plots at once)

    But aside from that basically feeling useful and having something to do makes me stick with characters. Also having one that is fun to RP, and cool people to bounce off.

  • Pitcrew

    They need to have something interesting in their psyche that will make their interactions with the outer world a fun challenge to play. That's the characters I really get into.

    Or I'll make a character who is wholly inside my comfort zone, so they'll be easy to slip into and not require effort. Then I can play confidently and it's easy to get fun.

    Generally, character creation is such a big effort for me, that I seldom chargen unless I intend to play the character for a long time. So I also invest into it, because I'll be playing it... Which makes chargen more of an effort... vicious cycle, haha.

    One thing I never do is port old characters over. I am too proud for that. I know I can create another satisfying character. To cling to an old one just because I liked them would be to admit creative defeat.

    The ephemeral and chaotic nature of mushing makes my way of chargen very impractical. I lose characters with a lot of potential due to situations outside of my control. I figure that's another application of the phrase, "kill your darlings." Or rather, let them stay dead. Make new, better ones.

  • Pitcrew

    Interactions with other characters that make me want to know what happens next, and feeling that my character is useful within the context of the game. Not central or vital necessarily, but USEFUL. If I have someone who focuses on politics, and that's either nonexistent or not a viable way of solving SOME challenges, then I get frustrated. If my character can't form any interesting relationships with a variety of other PCs, I get bored.

  • A couple things.

    Regular RP. If I'm not playing him, I lose interest. This not only applies once the character is approved but before. If I create the character then have to wait for the game to open or there's an excessive wait time on approval, forget it.

    But most important, the character has to come alive. His reactions have to come naturally. If I need to think about them and be the puppet master, the character doesn't work and I get bored. That's not play, that's work. For the record, that's not always a good thing. Sometimes the only natural reaction is something I'd prefer to not have happen. I can sometimes tweak it but to change it means changing the character/

  • Admin

    People. People keep me. Games keep me because they're people-containers.

    Every one of my 'successful' alts happened to prosper in an environment where I was surrounded by talented, involved, active players. When their activity and interest dwindled so did mine.

    If I'm in a faction or coterie I like... well, I can keep doing it forever. If my character concept needs tweaking I'll do that, if he needs to evolve he will. I'll talk, communicate to make sure we're going in a direction everyone enjoys to keep things fresh as much as possible.

    But it's never about my PC - he's not an island - it's about his surrounding cast.

    On my last Werewolf I was playing constantly, doing multiple hours pretty much every night in scenes and running/being in plot. When this one factor changed I vanished within a week or two.

  • Pitcrew

    Honestly for me it is usually the game itself not having specific kinds of drama or the like that get me to leave.
    I honestly can't remember the last time I dropped a character that wasn't due to IC death or me leaving the game, except for cases where the game closed, or became completely dead.
    Well that is not true there is one I can remember. RfK my character left town when his regent left town and then I ended up not making another but in that case the leaving the game was independent to dropping the character but I didn't make a second there.

  • People. My most 'successful' characters have been the ones that others have been interested in/intrigued by/found funny.

  • @Quibbler said:

    People. My most 'successful' characters have been the ones that others have been interested in/intrigued by/found funny.

    Same. I start out playing a character I find interesting, but I stick with it because of the way he/she bounces off other people and if they continue to develop interesting IC relationships and stories (that don't become static).

    I also need stuff of consequences to occasionally happen ICly that I can be a part of, but that's a more general 'what keeps you on a game' thing and isn't character specific.

  • What keeps me on a character?

    I have to be interested in the character and what happens to it, but the characters I've played with most have been throw-aways. The more I plan the character, the less interesting it seems to me.

    To pick a character I played almost nobody knows about: Sywin Billard was unattractive and fae for a guy, butch for a girl. He was 100% based on the original Virtual Adept archetype in the original Mage book. "Let's make this person as a character," I said, and as I did I wondered why he looked asexual and how this would have affected his life. This showed in the character portrayal and I think this interested other people.

    A character that too many people know about: Vera Goodwin. I had a different character in mind, but the sphere staffer at the time flipped out that a minor was involved in her background, so I said "fuck you; I'll make Tank Girl". An entirely throw-away concept that I kept playing because taking a surreal comic book character and putting them into modern-day Vienna is going to create fictional anomalies. Those anomalies defined the character.

    If I can grab three seemingly random aspects and just play them up, I'm happy. If I am forced to plan more through some games' background requirements then I'm not.

    • Morally ambiguous chemist going around as a pharmacist.
    • Psychopath held in check by being someone else's personal driver.
    • Painfully introverted Satyr (old Changeling).
    • Friendly Coloradan meets New York City politics.
    • Betrayed original covert faction by necessity, but constantly regrets it.
    • Well-balanced and friendly stinky hobo.

    You know, I've enjoyed more characters than I thought. Cool.

    edit: This one I'm actually interested in playing: Someone who was on the bad side of the law or life or something and through deed or situation found themselves without needing to live that life anymore, but gave it up to return to the less secure life that they knew. Or maybe they start the game in the secure position, but they really pine for the excitement of their more dangerous life.

    This one came to me watching the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. "Thank you, evil gang; it turns out you're good all along. Pardoned! You are now our protectors." / "Nope. Seeya." (This doesn't actually happen in GotG, but my mind went there while waiting for the more obvious conclusion.)

  • Pitcrew

    Growth, and the capacity for it, mostly.

    I am a very slow chargen person, I don't super enjoy or get excited about the process.

    But the two characters that I played on a consistent basis and who I thought about a great deal and enjoyed the most both started out as relatively blank slates, and over the years progressed in directions that frankly I never had even thought about or intended in the first place. Both had a great number of people and partners come in and out of their IC life too, which was sometimes frustrating but also propelled a lot of those changes.

    I also enjoy having real reasons to hook in to the larger world. The PCs I've had that were just as complex and growth oriented but who tended to be very limited in their interactions with others beyond a very small 1-2 person group tended to fizzle, even if the other person(s) did not flake.

  • I definitely need progress to stay interested in a character. Whether it is a plot small or large in scope, or attaining something I have had to work for, I need to be able to accomplish something with my character in order to stay engaged. For the same reason if I can get something easily or very quickly, that doesn't quite cut it. Failure and consequences make things fun and exciting for me. I'm the type of player that wants there to be a chance to die in a combat scene. I was once in a game where the first person to die in any scene stayed dead, but to avoid ending the entire chronicle, the results were fudged for anyone else. It turned out really fun. If I feel like there's no chance of failure or serious consequence I tend to do over the top stuff just to keep interest. Then people tend to get annoyed at me and that usually goes downhill from there and eventually stop playing the character.

    Running plots as a side ST is also fun, but if it doesn't have some kind of connection to my character, I tend to wrap them quickly and move on to something else so I rarely maintain long plots as an ST unless I'm running the game.

  • Character growth, fun, and friends are usually the big things I'm after. I also like to be able to ST, so I game where I can do that as well as play is always a big plus. My most fun characters that I've played the longest vary as to why.

    Since The Reach is the last big game I've played I supposed it's the best place for me to cite examples. Everett the werebear was fun mostly because of who I got to play with and off of (Axel, Carlos, Ian, Warrick, Roscoe, Vic, Gil), and the scenes Demascus, Camelot, Ian, and Carlos were running. The biggest props for the latter goes to Carlos, and how he made my becoming scene so fun. In Mage it was Sylvester, and most of that fun came from him being fairly active-ish during the EotW and all the stuff involving the Reservation (especially thanks to Fern). Dmitri also kinda counts. He lasted about 5 months, and I had a lot of fun thanks to my friends and all the cool stuff we did together (Elaine/@Olsson, Lucienne/@Cobaltasaurus, Nerissa, & Noel ). Even his end was kinda fun, although not something I would have ever imagine. My current character on the Reach, Sage, may be another long due to friends as well (@Royal, @Olsson, and a few others that aren't on MUSoapbox).

  • The character growth I've enjoyed has never been connected to the plots I've been involved in. Being involved at all has given me the sense of accomplishment for the character, because regardless if I hit a magical "win" goal, the character has probably changed because of it.

    I am one of those strange people who are more willing to sit on XP than spend it, tho. Stat advancement for me is only a means to the ends of portraying the character's vision with their dice pool.

  • Pitcrew

    The only game where I was enthusiastic about improving my sheet has been RfK, because there were actual things I could accomplish with the stats. Other games, once I make it through chargen, I'm pretty meh about buying anything more.

    Character growth: for me it happens mainly through deeper interactions and connections with others. Not in plots but through interpersonal scenes and even TS. Scenes where I feel I've gotten a better hang of the character's motivational setup, where I know how they react to things, where they evolve and establish themselves. That's what ultimately makes me stick with a char, opportunities to do that. Not monster-of-week or one-shot PrPs; but then I don't go for those.

    If I play a vampire, they develop in scenes with their ghoul, coterie mate, sire, childe. So for me it's not about having many people to play with; it's about having those two-three solid players around who will continue to inspire each other and build things together.

  • @Thenomain said:

    I have to be interested in the character and what happens to it, but the characters I've played with most have been throw-aways. The more I plan the character, the less interesting it seems to me.

    Like you, I have to be interested in the character. Unlike you, I've found that investment helps give the character staying power. The deeper the background, the more likely I'm to stick with it.

    That doesn't mean I have to spend a lot of time slapping it together, mind.

    Also, others. Others are important to make the depth relevant. Playing in the shallow end becomes boring real fast.

  • I tend to stick with characters more often than not, compared to playing them briefly, dropping them, switching over to others, etc.

    I've never been a WoD person so the thought of just having a character that might be killed at pretty much a moment's notice has never been a thing I've dealt with. It's always been the more consent-based places for me, usually superhero stuff or occasionally branching out into book worlds (Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire), or a more original place like Aether.

    If I'm playing an original character, I try to make them into someone I can grow along with if it's a genre or setting I'm new to, so that tends to lead to me sort of forming a "connection" with them in the sense it gets easier to slip into their heads because I feel like I instinctively understand what they'd do or how they'd react to most situations. That's a comfort zone there, and I'm not necessarily saying a character leads me instead of me leading them because in the end it's our choices that determine what our characters do, but I think you know what I mean when you feel you know them so well that it becomes second nature.

    If it's a feature character of some kind, like the comic book examples, there are some that develop into personal favorites and the fun comes in taking what's known of them and building on that in different ways, putting them into new situations to see how they come out of it, and generally just interacting in ways the comics don't always touch on.

    I'm not saying "TS all the time," though I know a lot of people do that and I have no qualms about playing that side of things when the mood hits, but comic books only show what the writers decide to do with the characters. They pick what team someone is a part of, who they fight, who they're friendly with (or not), and the appeal of the superhero (or any other world - take Firefly for example) is of being able to put your own mark on someone and do different things, hopefully while showing enough to make people believe that character is still what they're familiar with.

    So, for me part of it is a personal connection I develop with most characters I play in a creative sense, but ultimately it comes down to who I have the privilege of RPing with in creating shared stories and ongoing things. The overall continuity and evolving story is something I don't like to just toss aside the moment activity begins to wane, so sometimes I may hold on to a character longer than others would.

  • What has kept me attached to characters was... the theme of the character. I can generally only play a very narrow spectrum and actually stick with the character. It's probably just that I'm bad at RP.

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