I play one type of character in role playing games. Gobshites.
Fighting can be fun, shopping less so, but I do enjoy just having a good old chinwag during an RPG session. Why wouldn’t you? After all you can kill monsters, take their stuff and sell it to buy more stuff in a videogame RPG. But thoroughly confusing a disguised Rakshasa by claiming that you are their long lost nephew can only be done in an unscripted game with room for improvisation.
Now I am not nuanced about this. I don’t spend ages building a character history for my PCs any more than I do my NPCs. They are schtick, a mouth and a piece of paper with stats on it. I frequently just play variations on two themes – the smart criminal and the heroic idiot. I’m not alone, I’ve found most people have character types they tend towards.
At one time it used to annoy me, but I embraced it. In my campaigns I now just throw in the same NPCs in again and again even if they’re in different continuities/universes. And I kind of treat player characters as different incarnations of the same characters. You can probably blame Leiji Matsumoto and Michael Moorcock for this.
Here are some examples of characters I’ve enjoyed playing.
1) Rusty Blade, swashbuckler, AD&D 2nd Edition, Spelljammer
Not the first character I played with the main group I’ve played with, that was a hobbit whose name I’ve long forgotten, but this was the first memorable character, in the first memorable game I played with them. In part it was memorable for the module we played, namely the awesome Wildspace, but a lot had to do with the gusto at which I could play the character. Leaping into action with a quip and his wits to save him. Lots of fun.
Of course, the rules bending Vorpal Sabre he had probably helped on the bravado front.
2) Miguel Manticore, peasant hero, AD&D 2nd Edition, Dragon Mountain
My arch-heroic idiot, Miguel was a charismatic fool who dreamed of spending all the gold the party was hauling from Dragon Mountain on building a statue of himself in his home town. Eventually he carried swords as if they were golf clubs due to the sheer variety of modifiers on them and was responsible for the confusing of the Rakshasa. Based in part on Miguel from Ruin Explorers.
3) Larry, elf, AD&D 2nd Edition
This was a character that I inherited from another player. As I was away at university on and off for 4 years, I frequently ended up playing spare characters others had started. I noticed that his weight had been written down wrong on his character sheet and he apparently weighed 500lbs. Rather than correct the weight, I played him as a morbidly obese elf with appalling dietary habits and an appetite for trying new “foods”.
4) Carter Sharpe, Ragabash Glass Walker, Werewolf the Apocalypse
This character was pretty much my arch-criminal character. A grifter with mob connections he was pretty much the only character in a party of living weapons that could sweet talk our way out of situations. He often needed to given the tendency to smash things in the rest of the group. I was never overly keen on the World of Darkness, I tried to run Mage and had little fun. In what few sessions of Vampire sessions I played very little happened.
But the Werewolf campaign I was part of was a lot of fun, involving planting bombs inside vampires chest cavities, becoming the leaders of a paranoid anti-government survivalist group, using the back cover of the Tricky vs The Gravediggaz EP as a shopping list of vampire hunting equipment and battling Chronos. Yes, Chronos out of Guyver. We also had a homebrewed World of Darkness Guyver in our party.
5) Frederico Rodrigo, gnome illusionist/cleric, AD&D 2nd Edition, Thieves World & other realities
I remember this character less for what he did, and more for what happened to him.
We had a guy in the group called Barry. Now I got accused of my adventures being weird plenty of times, however I could never compare to Barry. And that’s why I loved playing characters in his games. His Thieves World campaign was the first I was involved with (though I think the presence Sanctuary was the only real nod to the books) and this gnome was my character.
The thing about Barry was that he clearly loved magic items like the Deck of Many Things, but didn’t think they went far enough. So at one point he had a home made list of random magic effects that you rolled on with a d1000. In Frederico’s case the party encountered a room of magic mirrors, Frederico rolled on the chart and all of a sudden I had two characters to play one CG, the other LE. Eventually the LE sacrificed the CG one by pushing him off a magic carpet so he’d be eaten by whatever monster was pursuing the party.
6) “Captain Badger”, fighter/cleric/wizard, AD&D 2nd Edition, Forgotten Realms
I can’t recall the real name of this character, but he was from another Barry campaign. Again, he was an inherited character, so I went with the schtick that he claimed he was a ranger. He’d catch/buy all these animals claiming that he was using his ranger abilities. One was a badger that the party decided to make their honorary ship’s captain. Alas, badgers having low saving throws, he was not long for this world. But that didn’t stop his captaincy. We fashioned him into a glove puppet and his captaincy was stronger than ever as he could now talk.
This character also realised that while he could never tame a lion to be his follower, he could buy a lion cub and just cast haste on it until it was an adult, with the mind of a kitten. The campaign ended with nuclear bombs dropping on Faerun. I can’t recall why, but I think Gnolls were involved and also a crossover with Barry’s Underground campaign.