Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Hate Making Characters

This evening I was invited to participate in a White Wolf game. I have decided to accept the invitation and I'm working on my character.

...the problem is, I suck at making characters.

I will crank out NPCs all day. I will whip up NPCs on the fly. I have, many times in the past, created NPCs who have become beloved of the party (or particularly loathed, which I satisfies me just as much.) However, for some reason, creating a character that I actually want to play is damn near impossible for me. I tend to do very well with games that largely (or totally) randomize character creation, or one shots/convention games where the characters are pre-generated.

This has been a problem of mine for years. I'm not sure whether it is a cause or symptom of the fact that I vastly prefer running the games to playing in them.

The other pain in the ass problem I can't seem to get past is the fact that once I actually manage to crank out a character I'm happy with, I am usually bored or disappointed with said character in a handful of sessions. This often leads me to start making "backup characters" in my notebook and sort of hoping my character bites it so I can play one of the back-ups. Yes, I know this is obnoxious. If I knew of an easy way to remedy this restlessness, I'd have done so long ago. Curiously, this ennui doesn't strike when playing a pre-generated character, since I often enjoy taking what I'm given and running with it. It also does not strike when playing basic D&D type games.

So, what to do? Do any of you ever have this sort of problem (even if on a lesser scale than I?) Failing that, anybody got a character concept they want to foist upon me?


  1. Mmm...when I saw your post, at first I thought, "man, I LOVE making characters!" But to play one for multiple sessions without getting tired or bored and wanting to move onto something new and shiny?

    Hmm...maybe I have experienced similar things.

    I have to say that I think I got more character burn-out with D20...and perhaps certain other RPGs...than with Old School D&D. D20 had just so many OPTIONS for character creation, that plotting and planning a character (from level 1 to 20) was for me MOST of the fun. Actually playing out the battles and XP grifting got...well, a bit boring after awhile.

    By contrast AD&D and B/X characters are such wide open templates...so generic really...that I find myself more interested in how the 'blank slate guy' is going to develop over the course of the campaign.

    Of course, regardless of how I "set up" the guy's personality, it always starts drifting back towards mine. And THAT is tiresome, for sure...it's like every character ends up being me "dressed in a different outfit."

    I like playing DIFFERENT characters...that's part of the fun of being a DM with NPCs...or an actor, for that matter. However, actors don't drift because they have a script and a director.

  2. Now that I think about it, I do love making characters if I never have to play them; if I'm just making them to get a feel for a system.

    I also agree about d20... having your character plotted out is fun at first, but when you start playing, everything is already laid out for you and you don't really have anything to look forward to. I tend to avoid games that have a strong "build" element to them.