February 26, 2004
WISH 85: Character Inspirations

This week, Ginger asks...

What inspires you to create characters? Do you have partially-developed characters in mind for use when you get into a new campaign? Do you shop characters around, or do you come up with new characters when you get into a campaign? Why? If you GM, are you bothered by receiving a solicitation for a “generic” character, or does it enthuse you to get a solid proposal even if it’s not closely tailored to your game?

Mmph, loaded question.

For one thing, six months ago I would've told you I don't reuse characters. Then I did.

I used to think that each character had to be completely unique. Spring from a new source in my brain, a new personality, a new voice. Then I realized I had some characters who had been SO short-lived that I wanted to give them new life. I have found homes for the two now -- Jinx has a new home in SoM and Devon in Galren (the only thing that transported was the attitude...).

I prefer to come up with something suited to the game. If I do draw inspiration from my own past Voices, I have to make them different somehow. Tailor them. Otherwise they get all muddled up.

But I've realized something. I'm not terribly unique. I have a pattern, and it has been pointed out to me before. And I knew it anyway, I just didn't like to think of it as a flaw. Now I begin to wonder if it is ... if I have become boring and predictable.

I play the innocent in Amber. Naive. Often a bit self-centered (okay, often a LOT self-centered). Many many traits the same between my characters (i could list them all -- it ain't important). Different pasts, different motivations, but when it comes down to it, they are all heart, with a logic all their own. Trouble, usually. Catalysts. But still, in some heart of the matter, all the same.

And while that disturbs me that perhaps I am typecasting my own playstyle, I have realized that hey, I have fun. And I try to make sure the GM and other players have fun. Use me... I try to create characters that are in the middle of things and can *become* catalysts.

I'm rambling.

Switching topics to GMing.

I prefer a unique character, crafted to fit my game. I need to have hooks, some way of getting inside the character. I run a character oriented game, and if I can't "get" you, I can't give you a good time. Y'know?

That said, there are several characters in RoP which *were* brought in from other games because it first ran as a one-shot at ACUS. People didn't realize it was going to be a campaign so they brought characters they loved, who then got adapted into the game. And it has worked. The characters have changed and diverged from their original selves.

I think a character can be reused IF it is made new at the same time. If it does not bring baggage with it. If it becomes a part of the new game, and nothing of the old game remains.

What I really want to see is someone who cares about their character. Someone who gives me hooks to hang a plot on, and to hang character interaction on. When I was given Rhiannon (who is the young Brieanne from SB actually), I was told that she was Random's shadow. Which worked PERFECTLY. She had a history that fit into the game, and the pieces that didn't fit, we tossed out. Those that worked, we kept. And she has grown in her own directions now.

Rambling back into my own head now.

I've been inspired by movies. By seeing a picture (Leigh was inspired by watching That 70s Show and seeing Donna). By music (Kale was based purely on the Leah Andreone song in her soundtrack). And sometimes I just open my mouth and a character comes out. Romance novels, yes. Adrienne was inspired by the concept of the heroine with seven elder brothers all protecting her, when she was bloody willful enough to kick their asses and protect herself. Devon? Heh. He came from a twist in my head and just started talking to me.

I think this is why I usually find it so hard to play the Elders in an Amber game. They aren't mine. I have to MAKE them mine before they become workable for me. When Arref proposed the double-Dara idea to me for GA it inspired everything that Dara became. Because I suddenly had a way to make her mine all mine instead of having to be what the books said she was.

It is often that... a phrase, a side conversation, a sudden thought, and the character is there. Another Voice in my head.

Posted by Deb Atwood at February 26, 2004 11:26 PM | TrackBack

I agree with what you say - makes sense to me. Looking for some propecia?

Posted by: propecia on November 18, 2004 07:46 PM
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