Jan 08

New Beginnings: Rebooting characters

 Blog Carnival LogoWelcome to the Nearly Enough Dice January Entry for the Blog Carnival! The Carnival’s topic for this month is about New Beginnings, so we figured a good topic for this is rebooting character concepts!

If, like some you seem to churn through character quicker than a party of Level 1 wizards in the Temple of Elemental Evil, or have just played in quite a few campaigns, you have probably had quite a few character concepts. Along with the stereotypical character concepts that are out there, some would even say it is quite hard (if not impossible) to come up with an original character concept.

So the question I put forth is, why do we feel the need to have a brand new character concept for each game we play in?

System clash

Sure, there is plenty of different systems out there that mean your romanticised Bard may not work so well in a Cyberpunk game, but you can still have a musician with the same style of back story. Sure a generalised low intelligence, high strength fighter might seem a bit out of place in a Legend of the Five rings, but we could easily see the concept of a character who isn’t the brightest spark in the toolbox but purely focused on their martial prowess. Take that initial character concept and using it otherwise is perfectly feasible.

Stories can continue!

I would, however, go one step further. Remember that romanticised bard we talk about earlier? Remember their back story? Why can’t we take that and use it somewhere else? Or even further, why can’t I use the exact same character that I had in a previous Pathfinder game pop up in this new campaign? Sure, there is the slight difficulty of why they are suddenly level 1 rather than level 11, but with a bit of effort on both the player and GM’s side, you can make it work. It is, of course, much easier if it isn’t exactly the same story, or not a story that happens years after the first. But it could be so simple as the character is level 1 now is because they have amnesia, and completely forgotten their skills/spells/abilities. As time, and the adventure goes on, things start to be re-remembered. Skills are relearned or the muscle memory suddenly makes sense. Now the character remembers that they were not just a rogue, but an assassin with an agenda. It could make for some excellent plot during a campaign!

Of course, it could just be as fun to take that character history you spent months, possibly years moulding in a previous campaign and reusing it. That deep rich story that was forged in adventure and mystery doesn’t have to be put back into a box just because a module has ended. It can be brought back to be a wonderful continuation but in another world or just another story.

This is one of the biggest appeals for me with Living campaigns and the idea of a character you create that lives through systems like the Pathfinder Society. Suddenly this character you have created has become a story you started forging when at your local university group, and if you move away from work can come with you. The character, and their story, doesn’t have to stop due to a logistical move for financial security.

Breath of fresh air

Of course, there is the wonderful feeling sometimes of removing that heavy, tragedy filled story from your shoulders and playing a light, upbeat character. There is the joy of just “trying something new” and usually I prefer to leave a character once they are done where I left them.

Sometimes nostalgia can be great, but the idea of a great game, with great character and trying to relive that can result in disappointment as suddenly it doesn’t quite live up to the story your character was originally involved in. Or worse, you cannot really live up to the angst filled teenager years that the character was originally played in!

However something I shall definitely try in the future is revisiting old character I have created in the past, and try the concept of bringing them back to a new campaign and see how it evolves.

Opening the floor

What do you think? Do you think I am maybe just having a desperate search for times that have gone by? Have you ever tried to bring a character, or at least the concept and/or history, back from the dusty tombs of yesteryear and seen how they flourish in a new game? is it just better to play a brand new character each time to keep it all fresh and new? Give us your comments and let us know!

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