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Thread: How to Truly Role-Play: Find the Flaw

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    Default How to Truly Role-Play: Find the Flaw

    How to Truly Role-Play: Find the Flaw

    So you wanna be a role-player eh? Not just another schmuck at a convention rolling funny-shaped dice to kill random goblins (oh, who am I kidding, we all love that!) but rather an honest-to-gods role-player?

    Find the Flaw.

    I'm not talking mechanics here, though if your DM/GM is willing, both DnD 3.5 and Pathfinder (along with many, many other less well known systems) have built-in lists of flaws as a means to give a character depth. The problem is that most folks ignore their flaws in order to just further build their superhero PC (as, in those systems at least, taking flaws leads to extra feats).

    So, for now, forget the mechanics of the whole thing. Let's say you're setting out to apply to a game. Like most people, you pick a race and class. Like most people, you fill out your sheet. Like most people, you write a relatively generic background in order to fit into the game's unknown world. Now, here's where you set yourself apart from many, many other players: Instead of thinking about your PC's strengths (a fighter's feats, a rogue's skills, a wizard's spells), focus on his or her weaknesses.

    Let's say you chose a big strong human fighter (perhaps the single most common build in DnD games). Make him a coward. Or a shamed outcast from his home. Or an amputee. Or a secret theatre lover. Whatever. Make him anything except for another cardboard cutout warrior from Lord of the Rings. Or maybe you go for a rogue who can't stop sneezing. A bard that stutters. A cleric who harbors atheist fears. A wizard who's losing his/her memory. Whatever you go for, choose something that would set your PC apart from the others. Because, truthfully, a memorable PC is often a good PC to role-play.

    This isn't to say that you have to mechanically kick your own PC's ass. This is flavor stuff, pure and simple. If you and your DM work out the mechanics of it all, great. If not, just play the hell out of your weirdo PC and let everyone else in the game learn a thing or two from you.

    Still not convinced? Think of every fantasy story you know. Now think of your favorite characters in the story. If you're anything like me, I bet you picked the folks with flaws. Look at Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. Tyrion, the twisted imp, is great from the start (flawed as all get-out) but his brother Jaime only becomes interesting once his hand gets chopped off.

    Flaws make stat sheets and general ideas into fully fleshed-out characters worth playing, growing, and, perhaps one day, loving. So don't be the guy or gal who tries to craft yet another bland superhero. Instead, be the player who makes everyone at the table (real or virtual) say, "Damn...I want to play a PC like that!"
    Last edited by Raistlinmc; 09-03-2013 at 02:17 PM.


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