The Evolution of Your Character

2007 August 28
by Stupid Ranger

As your character gains experience and continues to explore the great wide world, you may notice the need to evolve. Not to worry, it’s completely normal for your character to evolve. There have been many, many campaigns in which I developed a character only to realize that some facet of my character doesn’t fit with the group dynamics.

Evolution for the Good of the Many

I originally intended for Skythorn to be more of a background character, there for the battles but nearly invisible during NPC interactions. However, the realization that Lumbar had a tendency to make things more… chaotic meant that Skythorn had to take a more hands-on approach with some NPC’s to ensure the party survived the interaction long enough to actually accept the quest. Skythorn did became more of a negotiator and spokesperson than I had originally planned, but she didn’t go out and introduce herself to everyone in town or seek additional attention. She evolved for the good of the party without betraying the underlying Skythorn-ness that made her unique.

Evolution for your Own Sanity

Recently, I found myself in another situation in which my original character concept was in contrast with the rest of the group. We started a new campaign, and I build a multi-class Fighter/Cleric since most of the rest of the group were not combat-types. I didn’t have a lot of time to develop my backstory , so I fell back on one of the classics: country bumpkin. Silvia was from an unknown outlying community, brought to the group because she could offer support in battle and with healing; she didn’t appear to be highly educated and seemed very naive. Unfortunately, the rest of my group all hadbackstories placing them in wealthy families from town or other lines of nobility. My country bumpkin just wasn’t working out, and it was making life difficult for me to keep Silvia on good terms with the rest of the group. So, when we were dismissed from our meeting with the king’s representative, I dropped the hokey accent and explained to the rest of the group that while I was from a small community, I only played the “simple country lass” around the authority figures to avoid having to deal with their stupidity. She now has two personae: one for the bureaucrats and one for the group.

Evolve Modestly and Logically

If you’re having difficulties with something about character after a few sessions, try examining the problem. If it’s just that the guy across the table has decided that his character will be in perpetual conflict with yours, nothing you do will change that. However, if your character’s personality could be tweaked for the better good (where better good = you having more fun), start identifying a few small steps that would improve your character. Once you’ve decided on a change, don’t just stand up and announce your intentions; find some in-game roleplaying opportunities to introduce your newly evolved character traits.

I do believe, however, that you shouldn’t change just for the sake of changing. Evolution doesn’t just occur because everything is going great; some catalyst sparks change for the best. Examine the circumstance. Review your character’s personality, backstory, profession, race. Take a look at everything carefully before deciding if you really need to change. Then, if you feel that a slight evolution would be for the best, start planning how to implement that change. Remember, this is all about having fun, and if you’re not having fun, maybe it’s time to change.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Yax permalink
    August 29, 2007

    Great article.

    I played a White Wolf game in which we received extra XP for writing down something we learned during the game.

    Often I learned something about my own character.

    Is that rule an official WOD rule or was my storyteller making stuff up?

  2. Dante permalink
    August 29, 2007

    I don’t know about official rules, but I do know that I always, without question, reward roleplay and taking responsibility for the party with either experience or some sort of in-game reward.

    From the sound of it, you had a DM of similar pedigree. 🙂

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