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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Hey guys. I've always had the idea of playing myself. (2nd level human fighter and/or monk btw) And I'm wondering what your opinion on the thing is? It would certainly ease roleplaying if my character would do what I do, but it might not be as fun, or it might be more fun. Anyone have any experience playing themselves? Thanks, and as always, go nuts.
    Player: I'm going to make a new character, I suck at bard.
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    Me: Everyone dies when they do stupid stuff between two rogues.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Yay, as hard as I can yay!

    I'm a long time Immortal: The Invisible War player where the whole point of the game is that it's you and your friends with funky powers.

    Our group thrives on self-insertion, and most of my favorite characters over the last 20 years are ways to explore different themes within myself. It's fun - try it. Just remember to put a hard line between game you and real you from the point the game starts.
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Yay. Yay all the way.

    I don't know, it just feels great to play yourself in a zombie apocalypse RPG. You get sad when you die, but what the hell, we all get sad when a character of ours dies.

    Besides, we get a map of the city when we play it like that. It's pretty awesome.
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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
     
    Mark Hall's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Yan.

    A lot depends on the setting and how invested you're going to get in the character. It can be fun to play an expy of yourself, or simply a break... but it can also lead some folks to get heavily invested in that character, and have issues when they're rendered irrelevant... someone else consistently outshines them, their build doesn't turn out as good as they hoped, fed to wild badgers, etc. You know, usual game stuff.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Cyrion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    In most games, I'm not sure RealMe would be all that useful in an adventuring setting; it's not often that a character with epic-level juggling stats is called for.

    However, I often take aspects of my personality and push them to the point of interesting or follow them to logically odd places, and then I make that one of the driving forces for my character. I did that for one of the circus characters I perform as and ended up with Renfield. I waffle between whether that's cool or disturbing...
    I drive a quantum car- every time I look down at the speedometer, I get lost.
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    NAY, definately nay

    your character is only that, your character, that lets you free to be stupid if you want to play a stupid character. Or evil if you want. If your character is a reflection of yourself, you would try very hard for him to live up to your standards. If your character who is just your character fails, that's fine, that's funny. If you fail it isn't.

    having said that, you can certainly give your character some of your traits, that way you will relate to him much more. But the distinction must be there.

    EDIT: One time i played a character like it was me... it was the most boring thing ever. I was just too worried on taking the most logical decision that i didn't have fun. Didn't roleplay either, since the character was solely based on me, it wasn't really relatable to the setting presented. when the character died however... man... that was maybe the best moment on that table, finnally being able to play a pirate ******* who was an arrogant idiot was a great thing after playing a character who i worried would look stupid or not cool.
    Last edited by zinycor; 2014-07-02 at 11:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Generally nay. It's a gimmick -- possibly cute a time or two, but
    • it gets old quickly
    • you'd better be playing with people you trust
    • it limits the ways in which you can make a good story
    • people really don't know themselves very well
    • I like RPGs because I want to try things that are not me


    Among games I'm familiar with, the one exception I'd still make today is for Wraith, an ooooooold and unsupported White Wolf game. If I had people to play with who I could trust to hold my heart in their hands, I'd play myself or something very close. It's about the Jungian "shadow", the part of the psyche that you don't want to admit to having but have to deal with anyway. I could explore my own brain's catacombs and end war against the lich-king dwelling there -- perhaps even forge an alliance -- if I were to play myself in a good game of Wraith.
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    Anderlith's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    It's fun to play yourself in WoD, though you have to always be brutally honest with yourself. Would you really charge in there & possibly get killed or would you more likely slowly back up & hide & come at this another way? Could you truly live with yourself if you killed someone/something? etc.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    It depends on how true to yourself you need to be. Some people, like me, would do piss poorly as any sort of protagonist in any story. Too lazy, too cowardly, too unskilled; whatever.
    If you can stretch 'you' into more fantasy - the one you wish you were rather than the one you are - it can be quite fun.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Playing the idealized version of yourself of course, although, regardless, it's a chance to test your mettle right? Kinda, sorta.
    Player: I'm going to make a new character, I suck at bard.
    Me: Your only saying that because you died.
    Player: So?
    Me: Everyone dies when they do stupid stuff between two rogues.
    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    Your companion? The goblin you are using as ammunition.
    Surprise! You've got no legs!

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    A friend of mine tried this. He made a character in a RPG based on himself. He then tried to work out what he liked to do, turns out he liked role playing, so his RPG character made a version of himself in an RPG, then tried to work out what he liked to do, turns out he liked role playing so his RPG character made a version of himself in an RPG....


    Its terrible he is 48,281 itterations down and I sees no sign of it stopping.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    The most successful campaigns I've run have been games where the players played themselves. Of all the many games (throughout many different game systems) that I've run over the last few decades, the games that my players have looked back most fondly on have been games where they played themselves.

    Now, I'm not sure how much of those games' success is due to the players playing themselves and how much is due to other factors (like the fact that these were free-wheeling sandbox multi-genre game settings). But it certainly can lead to great success.
    Last edited by SimonMoon6; 2014-07-03 at 09:26 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I tend to play people I wish I could be for a while, as opposed to the person I am. I play the person I am in real life, and she's pretty fun to play, but when I game, i want to be somebody else.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Yay.

    Everyone should play as themselves a time or two. Step one in learning how to imagine what other people would do in an imaginary situation, is imagining what you yourself would do in an imaginary situation. Many of the supposed negatives, like getting too invested in a character, are actually easier to learn out of once you've done this. Because if you can take bad things or insults thrown at a yourself, having bad things or insults thrown at a character who's one or more steps removed won't feel half as bad.

    The idea that you, as a character, aren't or wouldn't be interesting is somewhat biased. You yourself are probably a terrible judge of that, since by default you usually know yourself better than most. So before you take that as an incentive to not play as yourself, consider your audience: how well do they know you? How well do you know them? Fictional scenarios through roleplaying can reveal stuff out of people that you'd never think to ask. It may also reveal things you consider dull and plain might not be so to many other people. To me, drinking coffee, swimming and playing soccer are normal aspect of my life. It was mind-boggling to learn a long-time acquitance had not done any of the three.

    Finally, not all games are about the characters. Some of them are about the crazy stuff that's happening.
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I'm boring as hell, so nay for myself.

    But it can be an interesting exercise, I suppose.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I did it in a one shot. It was interesting but I'm not sure I'd do it again. The premise was that it was a one shot where everyone played themselves to introduce a new system before starting a campaign.

    The first problem is the obvious one. How accurately do you play yourself? When robots busted down the wall of the local ice cream shop, my character sprung into action instead of soiling himself and hiding under the table. From that point on I was playing heroic fantasy me, which was an entirely different character. I think the rest of the table came to the same conclusion. Since we diverged from ourselves so quickly, it didn't feel like we were playing the game we signed up to play and that was a bit of a let down.

    The problem we didn't expect was balance. The GM premade our characters and gave us equal points. Egos were bruised when we found out who he thought was the smartest. Egos were also confused when the least intelligent (in-game) was the strongest character, because she had extra points left over. If I had to play this sort of thing again, I'd either let players model themselves on character sheets or not impose balance. It's a one shot, who cares how fair it is? Also, if it's a demo I'd like to see what characters do at different power levels, even if I'm the one playing Bilbo.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I've done this twice. I'll give you a fairly brief rundown on the details, good and bad.

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    I ran a superhero game with Mutants and Masterminds 3e rules that was meant to go to 11 sessions (1 day each) but player initiative sped up the timeline to 9 sessions. Designed to answer the age-old question "what would you do if you had superpowers?" the players built themselves as PL 2, and I then randomly assigned thematic power suites up to PL 6 with 90 additional points. We had an undead summoner, a technophile slowly turning into a machine, a brainiac super-learner, an animal shapeshifter, and a sort of mystic with 7 alternate forms based on the 7 chakras.

    The players were among 11 people at a party that blacked out and woke up with superpowers. There was an overall campaign story, but it was a very sandboxy game where the players had lots of control over the story. Session 1 began with them all waking up and slowly discovering some of their abilities throughout the day (the discovery of which would continue each session until all their powers were revealed). Through the first few sessions, the technophile and brainiac used their powers to get wealthy, but got on the wrong side of some major players in the process. They got into a rumble with some gang members, and restrained a fellow superhuman (NPC) who was out of control. So far, they are a morally grey, violent, selfish group, but keeping themselves in check.

    Things started to get out of hand when the necromancer decided "death is not the end!" and decided murder was a morally ambiguous act. He killed a guy just to avenge some ghost, got a visit by the police whom he also killed, and was basically one of "America's Most Wanted." From there the whole thing devolved into gang wars, murder sprees, and general mayhem. All the PCs except the mystic get in on the act and rationalize it in various ways.

    That's when the PVP began. It all culminated with the villains attempting to increase their power by replicating the way they got them in the first place (which they had discovered by this point) and the mystic banding with NPCs to try and stop them. In the end, they ALL got a power-up, along with a whole bunch of non-powered NPCs that were on the mystic's team.

    Cue another black-out, and when they wake up they try to settle their differences with words. Many joined in this agreement, which created a sort of supervillain cold war; the mystic and a few others simply left.

    And that's how it ended. Too much PVP starting around the campaign halfway mark, and players as "themselves" end up completely criminal. I think the worst of it was that everyone seemed to have fun except the mystic (who was enjoying it until it got into PVP). If she had turned criminal as well, the game would have been smoother, but I guess she wouldn't be playing it true to "herself."

    Spoiler: D&D&Me
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    In this one I was a player. Standard 3.5 D&D, we all start as level 1 experts with 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 ability scores in whatever order we assign ourselves. As we progress, our ability scores increase more rapidly than normal and we can choose whatever classes we want after first level.

    We start in the modern world but are magically transported to a D&D setting. After some in-character confusion, we realize what is going on, are astonished, and begin to ask around if anyone knows anything. No one does, except one epic NPC, but we can't get to him yet. So we need to adventure.

    It started off pretty standard adventure-wise; the main difference was the roleplaying, since we were us. We eliminated some kobold bandits, took an investigation mission from a guild, etc. I eventually was going warlock/binder/anima mage with bloodlines to pump up my soul binding; one player was a barbarian; the third was a cleric.

    We ran afoul of some vampires, and the cleric (voluntarily) was embraced. In-character, this creeped me out. The vamp was doing all sorts of nefarious things, but kept it mostly behind our backs. I decided, though, that the real guy was gone, and this was just an evil husk. Still, we tried to adventure together. We collected magic item sets, each keyed to one of us. I accidentally got the one intended for the vamp, and it made me turn evil. It also made us fight over the item. Eventually I was relieved of it, but the barbarian also got her hands on it, at a somewhat pivotal moment.

    See, we had been drugged by a gypsy, whom the barbarian swiftly killed, grabbing the nearest weapon - the evil sword. The vampire was sucking on his neck, disgusting me (who went to draw my binding seal), but attracting the attention of some nearby vampire hunters. The barbarian, now with the evil sword, kills the gypsy's horses, animates them, and uses them to run me up a tree, laughing at me. The vampire, meanwhile, is fighting three vampire hunters on his own, and losing badly. I blast the horses, and jump back to the ground to complete drawing my seal, but it is too late; the vampire (who refused to run) got dropped to 0, turned to mist, and floated away to his master's house, not having a coffin of his own.

    From there, it was PVP again, and the cleric had it in for us, but was biding his time. I destroyed the sword, he got pissed and destroyed my items, but we settled down to work together. From there the game went okay for a while, but it eventually just died off.

    The cleric/vampire was the same player as the necromancer from the Normals story.

    So there you have it. More PVP, mainly because of alignment discrepancies.

    It might work better if you don't have one player that considers his real self borderline evil.
    Last edited by prufock; 2014-07-03 at 10:59 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Eric Tolle's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Trust me, a GM isn't going to want to deal with me as a character. I'd be constantly in-character questioning the assumptions of the scenario.

    Also, I'm vehemently opposed to the rpg character lifestyle, or in going out and being heroic. If I did, instead of playing rpgs, I'd be out worKing for Blackwater or something.
    "Conan what is best in life?"
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I've often played 'my best self'. Sometimes known as 'the man I wish to be.'

    This is usually a noble Paladin who goes forth writing wrongs just because he can. A reflection of the young boy who played Mario and Zelda one time too many and got so used to saving princesses it became second nature.

    But ya know, every time I play that Paladin, I wonder if I should instead be trying to right wrongs in the real world by getting into politics, or at least interest groups.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    There's too much that can go wrong with playing yourself, mostly from the perspective of if you have a big ego, or if you have a self-deprecating sense of humor.

    If you make a character for yourself and you're lowest stat ANYWHERE is a 15+ and you're not trying to joke around, you should not be allowed to play as yourself. Or at the very least you need to run your character past a few friends of yours who you can trust to call you out on your bull****.

    Example: I played a Post-apoc zombie campaign and everybody playing was playing as though it was us in the city we were playing in. Stats for me: were Str 15 (I'm 6'5" and I have deceptive reserves of raw strength, but ain't got **** for long athletics like running) Con 13 cause I don't get sick as often as other folks but I still catch flu's when they sweep through the neighbor hood. Dex 16 cause I've got good aim from occasions where I've shot bows and guns, and I have a talent/enjoyment from putting stuff together like from IKEA or similar things. INT 17 cause my memory can go to levels of "Holy ----!" at times and I can come up with good ideas and plans pretty quickly. Wis 10 cause my common sense qualifies as "Timmy fell down the well" at times, and my CHA is a flat 8 because I can't talk to people at ALL IRL.

    If you have a realistic view of yourself and can stay in good humor about it, rather than playing yourself as a Mary Sue/Marty Stu who can dual-wield katana's, I say god speed and good luck.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I wouldn't in 3.5, nor in several other systems, because I'd be way too min-max'y - INT is definitely either 17 (3.5) or either 18 or 19 (PF), my WIS is sky-high too, my DEX is decent and everything else is terrible. I guess I'd be, like, a factotum or something?

    In some of my own systems (AIE or Paragon) I might try it, because they're a lot less I-Hit-It-With-My-Axe than 3.5 usually is and I might actually be a viable character.

    But it's a good thought experiment.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I can imagine playing as yourself would be very fun in certain games, such as a zombie apocalypse or Lovecraftian horror game.

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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I think playing yourself is actually the hardest thing you can do. It requires high amounts of introspection skill. And let's not even get my started on how you would build the character...

    I'll have to go with nay, it seems too much that can go wrong with very little benefit.
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    A potential problem is the Dunning-Kruger effect. Superior people are more aware of their limitations, and tend to underestimate their own abilities, while people with lesser skills tend to not see their own limitations as well, and over-rate themselves.

    I played a game once in which the DM designed our characters to be ourselves. I discovered how incredibly fun it is to play "myself" as designed by somebody whose opinion of me is unfairly high.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    I played a game once in which the DM designed our characters to be ourselves. I discovered how incredibly fun it is to play "myself" as designed by somebody whose opinion of me is unfairly high.
    Well, he wasn't about to make your character an idiot/*******, was he?
    This is the end. Unless, possibly, it isn't.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I wouldn't play myself. Granted, all my characters are reflections of myself, and aspects of myself, but that's not me. I like to think I'm pretty smart and decently strong, and I definitely am quite well-read, but using D&D stats and terminology and being honest with myself, I'm no higher than a 14 in anything, and probably below 10 in at least one, maybe two or even three stats
    Admittedly, I'm of the opinion that, at least using D&D 3.5 or PF rules (the rules I'm most familiar with), most modern American humans (and inhabitants of other first-world countries) would be best modeled as low-level Experts, with some Warriors, Aristocrats, and Commoners. The ratio is almost certainly different in, say, Somalia, but I'd be surprised if there were more than a few people in the world worthy of PC class levels.
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    And then you wrote about it on your livejournal, dyed your hair black and started taking warlock levels.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    I personally wouldn't do it. It makes the game much more personal than it's meant to be.
    Plus, if I were to roleplay myself in the typical D&D game I would have to bring to the table my own personal moral code, which starts with "never kill if you can avoid it in any way", and we all know how annoying those characters are to the average party.
    Last edited by Kalmageddon; 2014-07-05 at 11:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by janusmaxwell View Post
    There's too much that can go wrong with playing yourself, mostly from the perspective of if you have a big ego, or if you have a self-deprecating sense of humor.

    If you make a character for yourself and you're lowest stat ANYWHERE is a 15+ and you're not trying to joke around, you should not be allowed to play as yourself. Or at the very least you need to run your character past a few friends of yours who you can trust to call you out on your bull****.

    Example: I played a Post-apoc zombie campaign and everybody playing was playing as though it was us in the city we were playing in. Stats for me: were Str 15 (I'm 6'5" and I have deceptive reserves of raw strength, but ain't got **** for long athletics like running) Con 13 cause I don't get sick as often as other folks but I still catch flu's when they sweep through the neighbor hood. Dex 16 cause I've got good aim from occasions where I've shot bows and guns, and I have a talent/enjoyment from putting stuff together like from IKEA or similar things. INT 17 cause my memory can go to levels of "Holy ----!" at times and I can come up with good ideas and plans pretty quickly. Wis 10 cause my common sense qualifies as "Timmy fell down the well" at times, and my CHA is a flat 8 because I can't talk to people at ALL IRL.

    If you have a realistic view of yourself and can stay in good humor about it, rather than playing yourself as a Mary Sue/Marty Stu who can dual-wield katana's, I say god speed and good luck.
    Well, I'd say that you have a very high opinion of yourself there.

    For your INT to be above a 13, you would have to be a genuine genius.
    As a Phd student in physics, which is stereotypically associated with being smart, I'd say my INT is about a 13 MAYBE 14 at a push.
    A strength of 15 would place you as strong as a nationally ranked powerlifter. I lift, and am stronger than my non lifting peers, but my strenght is probably a 12, a 13 at a push if I am feeling big of ego.
    If you watch game of thrones and are aware of the huge Icelandic guy who played the mountain....well I'd say he'd be a strength 17/18, to put it in perspective. You say you are 6" 5 which is pretty damm tall, but unless you go to the gym or have a physical job a STR 15 is pretty damm huge.

    CON also related to how far you can run, so with a CON of 13 you should be able to run a half marathon......

    CHA of 8 implies you are unpleasant, having a hard time talking to people would merit a 10, maybe a 9 if you wanted to be harsh on yourself.

    Most peoples stats would not be above or below 11/9 really, perhaps with a 12 or 13 and maybe a 14 for the truly gifted.

    Now I should say that I by no means intend to specifically say that you are s##t , but that if someone thinks that they have any 14+, or more than one 14+, they are probably delusional.

    Playing yourself with realistic stats would suck, as ~99% of the population has stats not found in an adventuring game.
    Last edited by Azel; 2014-07-05 at 12:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    A potential problem is the Dunning-Kruger effect. Superior people are more aware of their limitations, and tend to underestimate their own abilities, while people with lesser skills tend to not see their own limitations as well, and over-rate themselves.
    The Dunning-Kruger effect for RPGs: 99% of players think they have significantly above average intelligence, while dumping stats they don't care much about.

    Then there's the problem of lack of good benchmarks. Some people go "I am smarter than all my friends, I must have 18 int" or "I wash regularly and don't make people vomit as I pass by, I must have 15 cha". And then there are people who go "phd means 13 int" or "a marathon runner means 12-13 con". Like Azel above for example.

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    Default Re: Playing yourself yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Azel View Post
    Well, I'd say that you have a very high opinion of yourself there.

    For your INT to be above a 13, you would have to be a genuine genius.
    You'd have to be more intelligent than 74% of the population, which isn't that much when you consider it - If you have 4 people in a room, the expected number of people with 13 or more intelligence is 1. You also have to ask what population you're comparing your intelligence to - the world on average is probably stupider than most of the people you meet, or even the

    As a Phd student in physics, which is stereotypically associated with being smart, I'd say my INT is about a 13 MAYBE 14 at a push.
    PhD students should probably be smarter than more than 83% of people, at a guess. I'd rank you higher - hells, my IQ puts me in the top 1% of people (grabbing me a nice 17 right off the bat) but the idea of succeeding at a PhD is daunting to say the least.
    A strength of 15 would place you as strong as a nationally ranked powerlifter. I lift, and am stronger than my non lifting peers, but my strenght is probably a 12, a 13 at a push if I am feeling big of ego.
    Strength 15 does drop you above over 90% of people in the world, but there are lots of people in the world who are... not very strong, to say the least.

    If you watch game of thrones and are aware of the huge Icelandic guy who played the mountain....well I'd say he'd be a strength 17/18, to put it in perspective. You say you are 6" 5 which is pretty damm tall, but unless you go to the gym or have a physical job a STR 15 is pretty damm huge.
    If you think he'd be strength 18, then you're saying he's stronger than over 99.5% of people. That one I'm not sure I believe either!


    CON also related to how far you can run, so with a CON of 13 you should be able to run a half marathon......
    Is a quarter of humanity capable of doing that? Also, it's possible he has 13 constitution and no feats which help him run long distances, and some people who are capable of running marathons but not taking hits might have those feats.

    CHA of 8 implies you are unpleasant, having a hard time talking to people would merit a 10, maybe a 9 if you wanted to be harsh on yourself.
    A quarter of people have CHA 8 or below. Fewer than a quarter of people are actually unpleasant.

    Most peoples stats would not be above or below 11/9 really, perhaps with a 12 or 13 and maybe a 14 for the truly gifted.
    You only actually have a little over a 1 in 3 chance of rolling any of those three numbers!

    Now I should say that I by no means intend to specifically say that you are s##t , but that if someone thinks that they have any 14+, or more than one 14+, they are probably delusional.
    P(at least 1 14+)=1-0.837^6=0.66 which is most people.
    P(at least 2 14+s)=1-0.837^6-6C1*0.837^5*0.162=0.26 which is a good quarter of the population.

    Incidentally, P (Nothing but 14+s)=0.162^6=0.000018, so anyone who thinks they have that is, yes, probably delusional.


    Playing yourself with realistic stats would suck, as ~99% of the population has stats not found in an adventuring game.
    I dunno. I just rolled 6 lots of 3d6 and got 15/14/10/10/9/7, which would make for an excellent gritty character.




    The reason for statements like "Anyone who thinks they have a 14+ is delusional" is an intrinsic misunderstanding of how normal people actually function in D&D. The Alexandrian's Calibrating Your Expectations shows us that, if you assume real people are 3d6 array and Epic 5th, D&D makes a surprising amount of sense. Modelling real people on the probability distribution of the 3d6 array (If you're in the top 1%, you have a 17, and so forth) therefore gets fairly gritty, realistic characters if done right.

    There's also the question of how one does it right. Obviously, things like the mentioned Dunning-Kruger effect will have a say, as well as actual game balance. Of course, we could hand out point buys and tell people to model themselves on that (this has problems, though - I'm apparently a 24 point buy (8/12/8/17/14/8) and Janus reckons he's a 38 (15/13/16/17/10/8 - which for the record is, for all I've had to say, very unlikely overall even if none of the stats are on their own particularly unlikely).

    Alternatively, you could rank your stats in order and roll for them, but the probability of getting anything like your actual stats is then unlikely (the expected result of 3d6 is the nonelite array, which is why random NPCs have, you got it, the nonelite array) - I'd probably end up with something more like 9/11/8/13/12/10, which makes me look too strong, not perceptive enough, not autistic enough and nowhere near as intelligent as I am. Even the stats I rolled as an example would end up being 9/10/7/15/14/10, which is a little better but not great.

    You could, of course, make your players choose from a list of arrays - maybe 17/11/10/9/8/7, 15/13/11/10/9/8, and so forth - these aren't great, but they let you create a character who isn't too powerful, or too unrealistic, but allows for a range of different hypothetical PB values without actually making you OP.

    Or, you could play something other than D&D 3.5, but that's hypothetical here.

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