View Full Version : Advice on playing out of your "type"?

2017-11-09, 11:00 AM
By playing, I mean writing sicne most of my roleplaying is online, but same difference.

So... I'm kind of noticing I tend to play a certain type of character. Which, I think is fine; everyone has something they are comfortable with writing and playing as.

The problem is... I'd like to try and broaden my horizons on that front. The problem is, whenever I do try to play something different - a personality type which is atypical for me - I tend to really struggle to know what to say, or how to write, or how to accurately play the character. So...

Does anyone have any advice?

2017-11-09, 11:13 AM
Maybe try doing characters with a single atypical characteristic or quirk at a time, to try and ease into something completely different?

2017-11-09, 11:24 AM
Pick a character from a book, show or movie that is out of your type. Play them. Just always ask yourself, "What would <character> do?"

Unless you use some catch phrase or their same name, no one will know you are mimicking a particular character.

2017-11-09, 11:29 AM
If you're stuck for ideas, you can randomly generate a background and motivations. Pathfinder's Ultimate Campaign has a series of tables (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateCampaign/characterBackground/backgroundGenerator.html) you can look through for inspiration, or even roll on if you'd like the dice to decide; I believe other systems like 5e and Dragon Age do as well.

Magic Myrmidon
2017-11-09, 02:53 PM
Maybe explore a concept that is important to you? I often take a concept like "freedom", "knowledge", etc, and make a character that is particularly focused on a subissue in that. "How much freedom can you have from your past? What freedom does a noble have?", "Should all knowledge be known or used? What steps are acceptable in the pursuit of knowledge?"

That way, you can tie the character to yourself in a meaningful way, but branch out in other ways.

2017-11-09, 03:14 PM
Flesh them out more with personality traits, quirks and beliefs.
Try to think about situations in advance and what the PC should do.
Analyze the PCs reaction and consider "is this what I would do or what my PC would do".

Bastian Weaver
2017-11-09, 03:47 PM
Ah. Let me quote the infamous General Tacticus, the part of his book dedicated to playing out of your type. He said "Don't".
I mean, it should be fun. Take some aspect of "your type" and use it more actively. For example, I dunno, Miko is 90% Stick-In-The-Ass and 10% Noble Paladin, but we could base a character on her and make her 50% this and 50% that, and that would be new and fun to play, I think.

Darth Ultron
2017-11-09, 07:37 PM
Well, first off you need to pick something you don't ''dislike'', and more just ''don't like''.

And you need that commitment that you ''will'' do it.

Then you want to plan out the ''type'' of character you want. Write down as much as possible. You want lots of notes to keep track of the character.

Words are a big part of any fictional character. Think of any popular character and think of the words they use. So make sure you have lots of words. Words can do a lot to get you in the ''type mind set''. When you are saying "Great Maker! I'm so hungry I could eat an Ox, and don't spare the spare ribs!" what kind of character does that make you think of? Or ''Hahahha, once the moon is aligned with the solar needle I will drain the sun of power and rule the world!".

A big pit fall to cover is what is your natural type that you might put into a character. Like for example, I'm funny...a very sarcastic, cruel, intelligent, cruel funny (like I once had a co-worker miss a deadline for customs by telling her (believably) that she could not send a fax to Canada as our phone lines are Analog/Imperial and Canada's phone lines are Metric....) So, I can play that character type no problem. But playing other types, even more so non funny ones, can be tricky. So you need to find your own 'hole' to cover.

Honest Tiefling
2017-11-09, 07:52 PM
1) Slow down! Figure out what your type WOULD do. Now, examine the situation. What other options do we have? Are any fitting the character or situation?

2) Outside of the game, try to figure out how the character acts. How do they order something in a tavern? What happened in their past? What conversations can you see arising? If you are so inclined, write something that stars the character.

3) Visualize the character. What physical quirks do they have? What are they doing? How are they standing? What are they wearing?

2017-11-10, 06:18 AM
The best advice I have for playing out of your "type" is to take on the role as GM. That will automatically force you to portray multiple roles with very different personalities and speech patterns. It might be difficult at first, but it is the best way to practice.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with having a type and sticking to it. As a player you should be happy with the role you are playing.

I understand this might not really be helpful but it's the best I can give.

Or maybe... one idea would be to try and find the largest emotional drive of the character you want to portray and do the "method acting" way of holding that emotion inside you while you write. We naturally speak and write differently based on our emotional states so that should, in theory automatically change your writing.

Anger has a way of making sentences short. It is hard, direct and forceful. Demanding. You better practice and get it right. It is hard to be coherent when angry. Words shoot out like daggers. You will easily insult people.

Curiosity on the other hand is an emotion full of positive energy. It will bounce around on the words, asking questions as it can hardly wait for the answer. Tell me more about your idea! What types of characters do you want to play? Which have you played in the past? I'd like to know more and I'll try to help as much as I can!

Shyness is hard as it just wants to hide. Soft words and small suggestions hidden under a layer of "I'm sorry". I... I am not sure if this helped but... at least I tried...

2017-11-10, 06:27 AM
Since you're playing in writing, chance your writing style.

More constructive ideas would require me to see an example of your writing.

2017-11-10, 08:39 AM
SInce youre doing it online, ergo in writing, this is easier than on a "real" table.

Some of the above tips are excellent, let me repeat the most central (in my view of course) in more detail:

first: You dont need to change EVERYTHING from your usual type at once. Let me give you an example: when Is tarted I almost always played Wizards. Why? Bercause I was rather bookish, likely the most intelligent but least wise on the table, and had no problem at all memorizing all my options. Also, going by other players, I usually hit their expecations of "Wizardly playstyle head on. However after a few years I simply wanted a game where I would not be "the brain" or "The main Caster" or similar. So I switched to a still more mentally capable than usual, "Mundane" character. Less Memorizing, a bit more Charisma, a bit less bookish. And it worked. From there on I developed a few other "liked" types to play.

So for example, check for the 4 most dominant characteristics in your play/writing style. Remove one and exchange it for something quite to drastically different.
Check your 4 most regular Character Strengths/Foci, and do the same.

Voila, one Character that is not QUITE your type, but should still be fun to play for you. :=)