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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Roleplaying a sociopath...

    I was thinking of an interesting character concept to try out. Playing a character with an antisocial personality disorder otherwise known as psychopathic and/or sociopathic. Basically people with this are characterized by lack of regard towards other people. Now the challenge here is trying to prevent this character from murderhoboing like you most likely already speculate from reading this. Do you think a character like this can synergize well in a party? Anyone play a character like this without the serial killer trope often attributed to this? If so how did the character turn out.

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    The smartest and most successful sociopaths are the ones who don't make their presence obvious. They might have no moral compunction about burning down the orphanage - they wouldn't feel bad about it at all if they did it - but they understand that consequences tend to happen to known firebugs. So they're either going to try to arrange things so that the general public wants him to burn down the orphanage, or somehow do it without anybody knowing it's him.

    My suggestion would be to figure out what, exactly, this guy's driving motivation is, and why he might think that having a group of adventurers surrounding him might be advantageous to that. It might be as simple as, "I like killing things," and "Adventurer" is one of the few professions where that behavior is rewarded. (Having others around to share or deflect the blame can be useful as well, so keeping them on good terms works to his advantage). There are other possibilities, too: simple greed (lots of gold to be had), desire for power (people tend to listen to heroes), basically anything you can think of. Whatever the motivation ends up being, understand that the person will consider any amount of pain - directed at other people - as an acceptable cost to this character for achieving that goal.

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    Imp

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Have you watched Dexter? It's about a psychopathic serial killer, which may seem extreme but it's not far off from a sociopath. Not really.

    Would it work well with a group? Yes, until it doesn't and they realize they have to kill you, unless you roleplay a sociopath half baked. In which case you can survive indefinitely.

    I've roleplayed a pair of characters that were kind of sociopathic. One was a dragon, an actual big fire breathing dragon that had shapeshifted into a human and was attempting to take over humanity from within. It worked well until the friction between an impulsive narcissist and regular people became too much. Another was a mercenary who was also a werewolf and would spontaneously turn when exposed to extreme stress. Turn into a monster, a killer. It worked until he inevitably started hurting his team mates.

    That's what you have to deal with. You can:
    A) hurt your team mates and destroy any trust you have or
    B) compromise your roleplaying for the sake of the group, but at that point why not just play a less douchy character?

    My advice: don't do it.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    I've been playing a character similar to this here on the playground for a few years now. So here are some tips.

    Nearly never feels guilty or remorse. Did the character do something to hurt someone? did something hurt them? Was their spouse killed? Did they break up with their spouse? Did their best friend just get murdered? They might spend a couple of hours feeling bad about it, but come the next day they'll move on like nothing happened. They might still miss their loved ones, but ultimately it happened and they're moving on.


    They can do no wrong. Lets say for example your character decided to gather a bunch of people together in hopes of getting some help against a particular challenge, something inevitably goes south, and almost everyone the character collected is either killed or severely hurt. Is it your character's fault for collecting them all together and getting the attention of the problem at hand? of course not! The people they collected were just dumb idiots who couldn't defend themselves, heck, they didn't even KNOW there was a problem until YOU came along to tell them about it! If they were smart they all would have banded together to face the problem head-on! not run away like idiots in a slaughterhouse!


    If it isn't about you, it doesn't matter. Oh what's that? The mayor just died? Oh well that's a shame. it doesn't affect your character's life though, they're still going to go to the store to pick up some eggs, probably groan and roll their eyes when the shopkeepers are all crying or panicking about the mayor's ethically-lacking nephew taking over in his place. Did your own mother just die? Well darn, there goes the recipe for your favourite brownies, you'll miss that at least. On the bright side no more annoying calls from her every day, and you'll be able to spend more time with that cute elf you've had your eye on without being embarrassed about it!


    Someone else is making bad decisions and dragging you into it? Screw that! You're going to go and do your own thing that you KNOW is a better idea! You'll fix this problem on your own if you have too!


    Hope that helps a little bit
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    The other thing is that sociopaths aren't necessarily sadists. Things like pyromania, sadism, etc., may be co-morbid with being a sociopath, but they're not necessary.

    A sociopath will happily do whatever they need to to get whatever they want. The "what they want" part is the part that is likely to make or break party interaction.

    Also, smarter sociopaths recognize the usefulness of others, and will try to keep their relationships intact because those people are useful.

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    For one thing, I recommend talking with the GM and the group to make sure they are okay with a PC like this.

    For another, be a helpful evil sociopath. This post has some recommendations, although it's for a rather different type of character. Red Fel and Geddy2112's recommendations were particularly fun to me. (Also, to gain Red Fel's attention to this thread: Red Fel, Red Fel, Red Fel. I think he searches for triples of his name to find where folk invoke him.)
    Anyway, that's not the best post, but it has some recommendations on how to be such that your party has IC reasons for wanting to keep you in the team.

    Also, for the above, I'm assuming you will be evil. I could see a really selfish true neutral character, but I'm guessing you'd like to play the amoral killer to a degree if you're going for this.

    As for having played a sociopath, I wound up playing one unintentionally in an oWoD Mage game. At least, he was rather sociopathic in how I played him, if not an actual sociopath. He was a Virtual Adept (magic style based on computers and coding) who believed that all of known reality was a video game MMORPG, with only mages and probably other supernaturals as PCs. If PCs did well, they could ascend and become real people in the real world.

    After a few months of RP, this evolved a bit. He cared about other mages (in a sense) and, if not inconvenient, folk like vampires and werewolves, but he had no empathy for mundane humans. He would prefer not to kill them because it probably did something to his hidden stats if he killed too many, and because he didn't want to bug his teammates, but he believed killing someone wasn't any different than deleting a Word document. And he certainly didn't mind torturing normal folk or ruining their lives, if it was to his benefit.
    He was also very manipulative, and had no problem manipulating and abusing allies if it was to advance the plot, since to his mind that was the only way to ascend and to gain real personhood for himself and likely for them as well. He had morals, but they were rather alien due to his beliefs.
    (At least until that Chorister killed him.)

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Also, smarter sociopaths recognize the usefulness of others, and will try to keep their relationships intact because those people are useful.
    This.
    If you don't want your character to be a murderhobo, just don't do the theme park version of psychopathy and sociopathy.

    Another point I haven't seen brought up yet is simply a matter of legality. Even the most misanthropic, emotioness person on earth with no sense of right and wrong would still think twice about random murder, torture or general villainy. If only because they would still be aware that such acts have consequences, like being hunted down forever and getting locked up in jail or killed.
    Last edited by Freemason Than; 2016-05-19 at 03:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    The key point about sociopaths is that they don't care. Not about others, not about each other. From a role-playing perspective, the easiest model for them is one of two states: either achieving their goals, or not achieving their goals. They're colder than even most evil characters. They tend to become consummate actors not by putting themselves into roles, but by recognizing that certain behaviors and facial expressions (which others interpret as emotions) cause people to react in ways they wish them to.

    They fake emotion, and do it well, because they don't care about expressing themselves to you; they only care about making you think about them in a manner useful to their purposes.

    Famous sociopaths tend to be high charisma types. They are known for their ability to get others to like them and trust them.

    So in playing a sociopath, what I would focus on is making an "empty" core that layers on fraudulent emotions as they are useful to fitting in and making others like them. Play high-charisma, and be extremely manipulative. But do it with an eye towards concealing it, not towards playing a magnificent bastard. The true jarring points of sociopaths come when they find a role is truly of no more use...and they drop it and its emotional context completely. Faster than a dead bird falling from a tree.

    So play an actor. Play like somebody hiding emotion behind a façade...and then remove the emotions underneath so only the façade remains. The façade exists only to facilitate getting others to do what you want. Make them like you. Make them trust you. Make them believe in you, and feel comfortable around you. So you can use them. And remember, when using people, not to use them up unless you're going to totally discard them (this needn't mean killing anybody; just abandoning them and cutting off contact will do). Other PCs should never be on the "discard" list, so play accordingly.

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    One of my favourite character is a sociopath.

    The backstory is that years ago there's an alien invasion. The alien was quickly defeated, but of course some place turned into warzone in the short invasion. And starting with the invasion, people start to develop supernatural power.

    My character was found as a lone survivor in one of the warzone as a little girl. She apparently survived because of her space-warping power, she can teleport short distances and warp space around her for defense. The combination of her superpower that awaken from early age (which make her basically think in non-euclidean geometry, like, for her using her teleport power is just stepping through the shorter route, she find it hard to understand that other people can't see/use the shorter route) and her experience surviving alone in the warzone basically turned her into a sociopath. She got adopted by a soldier, and basically have normal upbringing, though her adopted father actually realize his daughter isn't completely normal, but he basically didn't want to think too much about it.

    In the present day (in the campaign) she's basically a normal, very charming, attractive girl who sell flower in a kiosk, but she doesn't think twice on the fact that she set up the kiosk near a college because she want to stalk a certain student (another PC) she's attracted to. It's just normal cause and effect for her.

    Also, normally people need some sort of reasoning or training to make them able to kill other people, but she don't think too much about it. She don't have any direct attack power, so basically she attack people using mundane kitchen knife. Teleport and stab, things like that. It's just a normal thing to do to advance what she need/want. But she understand that there's law against just shanking people to get their money, or people might panic or uncomfortable if see a stranger stabbing people, so she abide with the rule of society most of the time. I basically play the combination of very charming and nonchalantly do what she need to get what she want without any moral qualm.
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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    I love (functional) sociopath characters. No remorse, superlative liars, the ends totally justfies the means, all for me, by any means practical.

    Smile, play nice, gut your enemies while you whistle a jaunty tune, but make sure their deaths serve to further long term goals. Build a massive fortune by exploiting cheap goblin and kobold labor.

    A sociopath has total freedom from guilt; any action is the right action if it helps your long term vision. Use people, give them warm fuzzies but nothing of any actual value to yourself unless your gain will be greater than your loss. Grant favors freely, and collect when *you* deem it proper; aid others and make them beholden to you. Appeal to others' morals, ethics, sense of honor and duty; you neither care for nor particularly adhere to any of those trappings. Be a good friend to your allies, if only to have someone who has your back. Or maybe because they're actually friends; it could happen.

    Do I seem a little too familiar with this?

    Maybe we should ask THE sociopath to weigh in. Although I think Red Fel recently did this bit already in another thread.
    Last edited by Winter_Wolf; 2016-05-19 at 03:30 PM.

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    d6 Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Phycopath is CE. If your word means nothing


    Sociopath is L/NE but your word sometimes means something.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Funnily enough, one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite RPGs ever is a psychopath. Spoiler warning?
    Spoiler: Shadowrun: Hong Kong
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    Racter, a shadowrunner rogue scientist who joins your team should you accept his help.


    Now, the fact that he is a sociopath doesn't come up till very late in the game - I mean, he is questionable and somewhat not-good-alignment I suppose, but at least I found him agreeable to be around. He is a man with priorities and he achieves what he sets out to do, barely caring about the consequences.

    That said he is not malicious (or very good at deception) as, while you are conversing with him between missions, depending on how you react to his reveal, he does admit that he likes you and considers you a friend or at least a pleasant distraction to have around, especially if you are intelligent enough to discuss *things* with him.

    He does a great job at venting his violent tendencies without being noticed and obvious about it.
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    By using his drone, he 'enters' its consciousness, essentially letting his Id go wild - when the drone maims with the chainsaw or blows heads up with its oversized shotgun, Racter is the one enjoying the act.


    So yeah, I feel like if you are interested in playing a sociopath go for it - just please don't play a chaotic evil INT:8/WIS:8/CHA:8 barbarian or something. You'll get blown to pieces in the starting cutscene. Also, not letting your fellow players know you're one can make for fun reveals and having a way of venting (summons or shapeshifting could be fun) will be helpful if you're not good.

    EDIT: Just noticed Segev's part on acting - this is very important. Said character managed to get through school and childhood by pretending that he cares about others - even tricking his mother and siblings who knew him inside out. Intelligent characters can do this by analyzing human expressions and emotions, charming ones can probably act their way into most hearts.
    Last edited by CrazyCrab; 2016-05-19 at 04:10 PM.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Another point is that sociopaths don't tend to see people as "people". They're more equivalent to machinery. To the sociopath, interaction always has an end in mind, there's always something they're trying to accomplish. Their 'puzzle' in communication is to figure out what series of buttons to press to get the proper response. And if the same sequence of buttons doesn't work in the future, they tend to get upset as the machinery is obviously broken.

    People aren't people. They're more like complicated microwave ovens with bad, and frustrating, user interfaces.

    Also, the sociopath is almost never wrong. They do what they "need to" do, or based on their perceptions. This can never be wrong. If their actions don't get the results they want, then the world/others are wrong, not the sociopath.

    And, yes, they're evil in D&D terms. If they don't harm others, it's only because it doesn't benefit them at that moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter_Wolf View Post
    Do I seem a little too familiar with this?
    You clearly have personal experience in some form.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2016-05-19 at 04:32 PM.

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    d20 Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Bluff. Bluff your donkey off.

    I suppose my favorite character could be classified as a sociopath… maybe with a touch of psychopath, depending on her mood… but mainly as as a challenge to myself: how do I play chaotic evil while also being a functioning member of society/the party?

    So I tried to play the character as one who acted kind and compassionate to those around her whilst also thinking of them as little more than tools and pawns to serve her selfish purposes, using her words and actions to manipulate those around her into believing she's on the up-and-up, making it more likely (as she believed) for them to aid her and less likely to be suspicious of her.

    Of course there's no doubt that someone with a supreme Sense Motive couldn't see past her coy smile (of course having a quasit familiar doesn't help!). However, there's no rule that says an evil or neutral character couldn't perform good acts, at least if done so for selfish purposes; and even if you're caught, doesn't that give you a bit of a trump card? "Those poor little orphans were still rescued from the slaver, weren't they? Would you prefer I hadn't acted and not saved the children? Do you not like children?"

    Performing the occasional "good" act… or simply not being a total jerk… should certainly aid in one's own survival. Don't betray the party. Work with them. Strengthen them. The stronger the party is, the better the chance they have to survive… the better the chance you have to survive… and while committing undo harm or theft could aid you in the short-term, it'll also give you an extra set of enemies to deal with; personally I like the idea of "tricking" them to work with you through benevolent acts, to see them inadvertently aid you in your secret projects and further your dark acts by the simple act of keeping you alive so you'll have the chance to do so. "Dance puppets, dance!!"

    I imagine this all does depend on how Intelligent and/or Charismatic the character is. Thinking about it, I've a ranger that could be considered sociopathic only because she just doesn't care about those around her; not that she'd go out of her way to inflict harm, but she also wouldn't go out of her way to help people unless there was something in it for her: true neutral with an above average Intelligence but well below average Charisma. Very much the strong, silent type with a "survival of the fittest" mindset. Granted, half the point of roleplaying the character was to drive her away from such behavior by adventuring with a party.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Play the sociopath with high intelligence.
    IRL low IQ sociopath's die young or spend much of their lives in jail.
    High IQ sociopath's often become quite "successful", more so than most non-sociopaths, which is quite frightening to me really.
    But I may be more easily frightened than most as I have never desired to watch a show like "Dexter", and very much dislike "serial killer" and "zombie apocalypse" movies. I saw "Silence of the Lambs" in a special pre-release sneak preview (we didn't know what the film would be), and I saw "Night of the Living Dead" and found that I just can't find it in me to enjoy viewing what so many others seem to really like watching.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    For another, be a helpful evil sociopath. This post has some recommendations, although it's for a rather different type of character. Red Fel and Geddy2112's recommendations were particularly fun to me. (Also, to gain Red Fel's attention to this thread: Red Fel, Red Fel, Red Fel. I think he searches for triples of his name to find where folk invoke him.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnell-Master View Post
    I was thinking of an interesting character concept to try out. Playing a character with an antisocial personality disorder otherwise known as psychopathic and/or sociopathic. Basically people with this are characterized by lack of regard towards other people. Now the challenge here is trying to prevent this character from murderhoboing like you most likely already speculate from reading this. Do you think a character like this can synergize well in a party? Anyone play a character like this without the serial killer trope often attributed to this? If so how did the character turn out.
    Short answer? Probably not. Here's the deal.

    First, terms like "sociopath" are extremely charged. They carry weight and baggage. And what you define as sociopath isn't necessarily how others define it, or how it is in fact defined. As a general rule, RPing someone with a mental disorder - particularly a profound mental disorder - is tricky business.

    Second, there's a line between the sociopathic characters you see in media, who may have humanizing traits for narrative purposes, and a true sociopath, a creature of pure id and impulse. Now, in theory, the highly intelligent sociopath is going to be smart enough to know that overindulging leads to people ruining his fun, but even so, that's a character who engages in restraint purely out of self-interest.

    One of the things I have repeatedly emphasized is the importance of Evil being capable of human connections. If your party can't consider you a friend, why are they keeping you around? Why should they help and protect you?

    Now, I've seen depictions of sociopath-ish characters with hidden depths. For example, in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the homunculus Greed describes himself in more or less this way - he wants everything, literally everything, sex, wealth, glory, and so forth, and he's perfectly willing to murder, betray, and destroy in order to do it. Yet a part of this wanting that defines him is wanting people of his own. It's left ambiguous whether he sees people as another "thing" to possess (which is how he describes it) or whether he genuinely craves companionship. That level of ambiguity is valuable, because it makes him relatable as a character.

    But if you're going with a truly sociopathic character, that kind of ambiguity is a facade, a farce. What he wants is what he wants; when he no longer wants it, it becomes so much trash to him. And that's a dangerous road to go down, because if the other PCs realize that your character's interest in them is only for the moment, your character will be a liability instead of an asset.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Cumberbatch's Sherlock is a "high functioning sociopath," as he puts it. Netflix, chill and be inspired.

    Think about what ties your character to the party. Sherlock is bound to Watson, I posit, because Watson is Sherlock's moral compass. There is rich complexity to their interaction on the show, and the above is one facet only.

    It's fun playing non/anti/unheroes, and can work with just about any party as long as you, the other players and the DM all agree to move the narrative forward without ruining anyone's fun. In other words, there should be a reason they accept and cooperate with you, vice versa and the DM should give your mental difference time to shine.

    If they dont agre roll a paladin or something.

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    As already mentioned... famous and successful sociopaths have all had high charisma and high intelligence. They are very logical and strategic, and capable of getting people to trust them.

    They are also calm and collected. They never panic, even if their plan is unravelling, they assess the situation and look for a mitigation strategy.

    Acting like a murderhobo is crass and beneath a high functioning sociopath. Your character would look down at those people as pathetic amateurs.

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    If you really want to portray someone with proper anti-social personality disorder I'd recommend reading the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM, the latest of which I believe is 5). The other thing to realize is the fact that antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) like any mental disorder is really a spectrum, not a binary state of being, and as such you will have to decide how much of it you'll want to portray in your character. Only the most extreme behavior is what makes it onto the lists for these kinds of diagnostic tools, but that doesn't mean that a person with the disorder might be able to compensate for or simply lack a good portion of the criteria for the disorder so as to live a normal life.

    As has been mentioned before there's the cartoonishly villainous embodiment of Chaotic Evil and Lawful Evil that will simply kill their fellow if the opportunity arises, which is potentially incredibly disruptive, you could take inspiration from the examples of the closest we have to true evil in the lower functioning ASPDs such as your Mansons, Dexters, Hectors etc. which is a bit further down the totem-pole of disruptive simply because of the element of constant manipulation, but again it's equally dependent on your party and their tolerance for that sort of character. Lastly, you could try and portray someone who is more inconspicuously ASPD, where the traits are a lot less exacerbated, it might not be as interesting or zany, but it'll probably be a more playable portrayal.

    ASPD does not inherently make someone more manipulative or intelligent, though it is something which classifies the "successful sociopath" as has been observed above. An ASPD might still crave genuine companionship, the intensity of which will vary from person to person (like anyone else), but the regard for what the other person gets out of it is potentially a distant second that doesn't mean that the relationship can't function or even be healthy, just that if boundaries or pushed and limits tested, the results might very well be that the ASPD simply drops the relationship. Similarly, depending on their intellect and where on the spectrum they sit they may simply not have the patience or desire for social interactions, they may instead take to the company of animals as they are far less demanding. I wouldn't be surprised if an isolated ranger, druid or other huntsman-like character would show some degree ASPD, as that may very well have been what's driven them out there to begin with. Lastly for someone who conforms a bit more to the stereotype, the desire might be for an "equal" relationship in the form of someone equally capable potentially a rival.

    A good example of someone who is a more balanced ASPD is Transmetropolitan's Spider Jerusalem, he has a great deal of contempt for humanity and it's laws, is very quick to resort to violence against those who anger him. Even if you manage to make it into his "friend" stratus, you'll be treated roughly and with a great deal of disregard and simply expected to "deal". At times he does show genuine care and compassion for his fellow humans, but it's under very specific circumstances and they're few and far in between.
    Last edited by Arcane_Snowman; 2016-05-20 at 12:16 PM.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by slowplay View Post
    Cumberbatch's Sherlock is a "high functioning sociopath," as he puts it. Netflix, chill and be inspired.
    .
    As much as I love that series I'd hate to be in a party where one of the players were that version of Sherlock. Unless everyone was a monster this would be intolerable and highly disruptive, I've never had a positive experience playing with a player who does not consider the other players. If they're doing it for IC reasons then it's entirely justified for everyone else to murder that character.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    As much as I love that series I'd hate to be in a party where one of the players were that version of Sherlock. Unless everyone was a monster this would be intolerable and highly disruptive, I've never had a positive experience playing with a player who does not consider the other players. If they're doing it for IC reasons then it's entirely justified for everyone else to murder that character.
    Not to mention that Cumberbatch's Sherlock wrestles with issues of human empathy. They are there, they're just very skewed and mostly buried. His feelings for Adler, for example, are strange and disturbing to him, resulting in some out-of-character conduct; his feelings towards Watson, the closest he gets to genuine human emotion in some ways, border on dependency.

    There are types like that, fairly by-the-numbers sociopaths who develop borderline human relationships for narrative purposes. One of my favorite examples is Dr. Hannibal Lecter. According to the books, his interest in / obsession with Agent Clarice Starling seems to become something more, to the point where he is actually willing to make a personal sacrifice rather than see her be harmed. This is out of character for a true sociopath. A willingness to temporarily restrain one's instincts in exchange for a bigger future payoff is not out of the question; a willingness to suffer for the benefit of another person is too much.

    And that's the problem. If you play a cinematic sociopath, you can make it work, by adding those little humanizing touches. And such a character can be genuinely entertaining. But to truly delve into the darkest parts of the psyche, you have to give up on being able to relate to the other PCs - and by extension, once they understand what your character is, they will find him less and less relatable as well.

    Being relatable, being able to justify and humanize the character, is one of the few saving graces of an Evil PC among non-Evil characters. It's one of the only ways to stay away from the gallows. Playing a true sociopath is burning that bridge. And even if your PC plays at being friendly, it won't end well; the other PCs, upon discovering the facade, will react even worse than if you'd never been friendly to begin with.

    It's a fine line, is my point.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Snowman View Post
    If you really want to portray someone with proper anti-social personality disorder I'd recommend reading the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM, the latest of which I believe is 5). The other thing to realize is the fact that antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) like any mental disorder is really a spectrum, not a binary state of being, and as such you will have to decide how much of it you'll want to portray in your character.
    Unfortunately the DSM doesn't even have a proper entry for psychopaths and sociopaths. Anti-social personality disorder is close, but it doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't include very important sociopath traits such as 'lack of empathy'.

    I found a recent article on the subject that is an easy read if you are interested in the opinion of one of the world's experts: link

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Unfortunately the DSM doesn't even have a proper entry for psychopaths and sociopaths. Anti-social personality disorder is close, but it doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't include very important sociopath traits such as 'lack of empathy'.

    I found a recent article on the subject that is an easy read if you are interested in the opinion of one of the world's experts: link
    Here's the DSM 5 checklist for antisocial personality disorder:
    A. Disregard for and violation of others rights since age 15, as indicated by one of the seven sub features:
    Failure to obey laws and norms by engaging in behavior which results in criminal arrest, or would warrant criminal arrest
    Lying, deception, and manipulation, for profit tor self-amusement,
    Impulsive behavior
    Irritability and aggression, manifested as frequently assaults others, or engages in fighting
    Blatantly disregards safety of self and others,
    A pattern of irresponsibility and
    Lack of remorse for actions (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)
    The other diagnostic Criterion are:
    B. The person is at least age 18,
    C. Conduct disorder was present by history before age 15
    D. and the antisocial behavior does not occur in the context of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)
    As found on http://www.theravive.com/therapedia/...-301.7-(F60.2)

    Now, a good deal of those indicate to me a need for a lack of empathy in the person with the disorder, as you'd find it a lot harder to exploit others for your own amusement or benefit if you could empathize with them.

    It is to my understanding antisocial personality disorder has replaced both socio/psychopathy in the more resent editions of the DSM, leaving what you might consider a "true" socio/psychopath as the lowest function individuals, or those who exhibit the more traits to a higher degree, and the people I've been describing as the more higher functioning individuals.
    Last edited by Arcane_Snowman; 2016-05-20 at 10:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    In my opinion, the basic unit in a standard role-playing game isn't the PC. It's the party.

    A sociopath would not consider himself part of the party. For this reason, I would not want to play such a character, or play with one. If all your fellow players are like me, I don't recommend playing one.

    Beyond that, clearly I'm not the one to give you advice. But consider the effect on the other players first.

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Maybe a borderline sociopath would be a compromise. Display traits that put you on the "sociopath checklist" but have some redeeming qualities that make you not 100% unpalatable. Like actually being part of the party instead of just pretending to get along.

    I'm not a sociopath in the clinical sense, but I used to work with mental health professionals. They were all a little "off" and we all kind of figured it was because they spent not less than ten hours a day working with and trying to figure out ways to help people get through life without killing someone. Sometimes literally; a lot of those psychs also made calls at API (the Alaska Psychiatric Institution) which was also shorthand for "crazy house/insane asylum". After a year with those fine mental health professionals I started to get a little "off" myself. Or maybe just started noticing it; the work I was doing was mind numbing and tedious. It also included reading some reports of psych evals for proper filing. When you read about the guy who flipped out and assaulted someone over something trivial and don't think he was out of line, it's time to move on.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    Have you watched Dexter? It's about a psychopathic serial killer, which may seem extreme but it's not far off from a sociopath. Not really.
    Even that goes into question as the seasons go on, although he definitely has some serious mental illnesses. Stick to season one for the closest interpretation.

    ironically, a better example might be Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Even her alleged friends (Mai and Ty Lee) are simply tools for her to get what she wants. And it's pretty obvious that she really doesn't even care about her father, except as his position has benefitted her.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Winter Wolf and Jay R are goddamn right.

    I tend to whip out quite a number of characters which would ping on the psychopathic/sociopathic detector, and I didn't have any issue with any of them. Because no matter how little they care about human life, or really humans and life in general, they always think the world of the party and get one redeeming trait.

    So yeah, play nice with other characters, be part of the group, helpful and thoughtful to your one true allies, and then suddenly nobody really cares if you're stabbing the downed enemy on the ground a little too many times, or are sending a bit too many parts flying as you fight off enemies laughing maniacally.

    Good fun.
    Last edited by Alberic Strein; 2016-05-24 at 05:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    This could be interesting.

    I'd really like to see how long a sociopathic character could interact with the average adventurer group until they notice there's something off about him. To be honest, I am not even sure people would notice.

    Killing people? That's what adventurers do. Just stick to the evil ones, and no one will complain. Torture people? If your character can invent a "good" reason for it, the others will probably go along with it. No compassion for innocent NPCs who get killed or injured because the PCs make mistakes? Well, they're just NPCs ...

    The more positive/useful traits are also rather common in roleplay characters. Fearlessness - how many people realistically roleplay fear? Don't most characters just walk into the dangerous dungeon without a second thought?

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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    This could be interesting.

    I'd really like to see how long a sociopathic character could interact with the average adventurer group until they notice there's something off about him. To be honest, I am not even sure people would notice
    Usually they don't. Sociopaths are also generally well equipped to pass their genetics on to future generations. It's not always head trauma that turns people into monsters. Even genetic mutation can get passed on, right? The question isn't even, why aren't there more, it's how many do I know personally but I can't tell?

    You'd never know if I (specifically me, not "a person") were a sociopath or not because I can keep myself in check and don't go around on a psychotic break killing spree. You might find yourself sitting next to me someday; you'll never know what evil lurks in my heart, and even if I volunteer the information you'll assume I'm just some lying jackass trying to get a rise out of you. see my beautiful friendly smile? You can totally trust me! (Pretty sure I'm not actually a sociopath, I'm just cynical and a bit of a jackass.)
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    Default Re: Roleplaying a sociopath...

    You can play any character in a game as long as you:

    1.Always treat the other PC's as best friends, no matter what your character ''would do''.
    2.Are not an attention grabbing spotlighting hog.
    3.You keep the metagame idea always on your mind to not do anything that will disrupt the game, even if it's what your character ''would do''. The easy way is if your not sure if it will be disruptive: then don't do it.

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