How Do You Care for your Character?

edited September 2009 in Story Games
In games where you have one character, generally from start to finish, how do you care about your character?

Care does mean: a developed or developing interest in the actions and situations that the character performs or is involved in and can include immersion.

Care does not necessarily mean: a desire to see the character win, overcome or triumph. It can, but it is not the exclusive kind of care.

I have cared for my characters by:
  • min-maxing them (D&D 3.x)
  • planning out a career of powers for them (D&D 4E)
  • developing intricate descriptions of their appearance or past (Shadowrun)
  • illustrating their weapons (Red Box Hack, Sombra Console)
  • creating critical issues for them (PTA, Tenra Banshou Zero)
  • speaking with a voice for them (3:16)
  • naming them (Final Fantasy IV)
How about you?

Comments

  • In all cases:

    o Pay attention to the setting
    o Go out of my way to interact with the setting, especially with the NPCs.
  • edited September 2009
    Posted By: Mark Causeymin-maxing them (D&D 3.x)
    planning out a career of powers for them (D&D 4E)
    developing intricate descriptions of their appearance or past (Shadowrun)
    illustrating their weapons (Red Box Hack, Somna Console)
    creating critical issues for them (PTA, Tenra Banshou Zero)
    speaking with a voice for them (3:16)
    naming them (Final Fantasy IV)
    I just wanted to chime in to say that this is a very awesome post. Poetic, even. How, in fact, do we come to care for our characters?

    My list is similar to yours. I'll post it later.

    EDIT: Eric Provost and I were chatting once (there's a thread around here somewhere) about basically how to get the feel of a huge lengthy campaign but in a shortened campaign of 5-15 sessions: And how that mostly amounts to Caring for your Characters and Caring about What's Going On (with other NPCs, mainly; harder in a mini-campaign, since there's simply not as much face time as in a year-long campaign). We kinda floundered about for a bit, but I think this discussion is a great first step to determining how we care about our characters in the games we play, which may naturally lead us to conclusions that we can bring to other games.

    In other words, people, bring it!

    Also, if you post, personally, like Mark I'd love to see your Example Games.
    I will assume that you're not just listing games you haven't played much where you think that, when played, it will make you care about your character (BAD), but rather the game that made you, specifically, care about the character you played in that game in the specific way you list (GOOD). Vignettes are fine, too.

    Hot damn, I dunno what it is, but this discussion intro is hitting some sweet spot for me.

    -Andy
  • o I make create them filled with hooks so the GM and other players know how to interact with them.
    o I daydream about them from time to time.
    o I am open to being surprised and learning things about them that I didn't know upon making them.
    o I put them into situations where they might/will fail when that is where the game takes us.
    o I play the living shit out of them.
  • edited September 2009
    Posted By: Mark Causeymin-maxing them (D&D 3.x)
    planning out a career of powers for them (D&D 4E)
    developing intricate descriptions of their appearance or past (Shadowrun)
    illustrating their weapons (Red Box Hack, Sombra Console)
    creating critical issues for them (PTA, Tenra Banshou Zero)
    speaking with a voice for them (3:16)
    naming them (Final Fantasy IV)
    Which has led to:
    1. A short burst of fun when my special talent comes out and the realization that the character is useless to me.
    2. A longing for that next accomplishment, sometimes to the distraction of the narrative.
    3. A fascination with the description of my surroundings and imagining how I fit in them.
    4. Full blown mental movie as I describe the scenes where I use my weapons.
    5. A daydreamy desire to run through all the possibilities for the next story bit, and blabbing about all of them at the table.
    6. Disappointment when I'm drowned out or when speech is unnecessary.
    7. Remembering Markbo 20 years later and a fondness for the character and archetype to this day.
  • o I care by being more interested in seeing where they wind up then in making them wind up where I want them to (Dust Devils).
    o I care by going to great lengths to make them wind up where I want them to (9W).
    o I care by making characters I wouldn't normally like as people and then finding reasons to like them anyway (IaWA)
    o I care by making them obvious products of their culture (Polaris, Orkworld)
    o I care by making them reject their culture (Houses of the Blooded)
  • I care by making my characters psychologically realistic (or at least compelling), such that no matter how much of a monster they turn out to be, they're still human. (pretty much everything, but especially The Rustbelt)
  • Posted By: Juddo I make create them filled with hooks so the GM and other players know how to interact with them.
    o I daydream about them from time to time.
    o I am open to being surprised and learning things about them that I didn't know upon making them.
    o I put them into situations where they might/will fail when that is where the game takes us.
    o I play the living shit out of them.
    +1 to all the above.
    • I give them a name
    • I practice their voice
    • I think about things that might happen to them in-game, and ask myself what they might do
    • I let them make bad decisions when it seems natural and right and...
    • ...fight hard to save them from the results of those decisions
    • I have them befriend or fall in love with an NPC, with no tactical motive for it

    Can I just say that this thread is why I read Story Games? It is. Very inspirational.

    It makes me ask myself if I've put enough effort into my characters of late. I think I've become disengaged to some degree. When was the last time I drew a character picture, or illustrated one of their weapons (like Mark does), or - for that matter - "played the shit out of my character" (Judd)?

    Next time I sit down to create a character I'm going to keep this thread in mind. Pure gold.

  • Posted By: ColinCI give them a name
    Man, naming them. Yeah. That is huge.
  • In case you're wondering, this is a direct result of Chris Perrin's thought (as quoted by Paul) on the emergent property of roleplay from early D&D vis a vis leveling up leading to goal setting leading to "caring about your character" leading to roleplaying in this thread here:

    "I think the act of moving towards a goal breaks down the barriers so the mind can assign care...once you care, role playing happens."
  • I try to find ways to have them given to me, rather than making them.

    I plan for their future.

    I find out what they would die for, and then I let them do that.
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