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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    I'll even take it a step further.
    In our decades long home game, we switch up the GM periodically. Sometimes we keep the same characters and play the same game with a new DM continuing the story. Sometimes we make new characters for a different story.
    Sometimes we change systems altogether. Sometimes we make new characters for the new system, and sometimes we keep the same characters under the new system just because we were having so much fun playing that particular character.
    The mechanics don't matter.
    If they did, we wouldn't be able to completely swap systems with the same character. But that's happened before.
    I played an immigrant refugee on the run from the law (to oversimplify it). The character itself is system independent. In DnD he was a Rogue. In Hunter he was a Defender. Who he was and What he did for the group played the same. How he did it was all that changed between systems. The mechanics changed, but the character played the same.
    The character. That's what matters. That's what will help save you from burnout.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2017-12-06 at 03:19 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    I try to do the character's mechanics and personality side by side, piecing things together. Sometimes I"ll get on a run of mechanical choices that I wrap a character around, then I'll come up with some details that I want to try to reflect in and out of what's on the sheet.

    "Huh, I want to play a Paladin, they seem neat."
    "What kind of person is drawn to a paladin type job? Someone who believes in goodness, right? We'll start with that."
    "Dragonborns have some good flavor and I like their abilities (4e)"
    "A noble dragonborn who believes in doing the right thing, misguided as he may be. I kind of want him to be naive to the outside world, but eager. I like happy characters"
    "Oh, I can reflect this in his stats. That's cool. High CHR for positivity and magnetism..."

    This helps me build a character I like while tangibly reflecting them in the build. It helps obfuscate the mechanics a bit by wrapping them in fluff.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaappleton View Post
    Wow.

    Somewhat overwhelmed by the responses.

    I do think someone hit the nail on the head; I optimized the fun out of it.

    And maybe it's simply a lack of inspiration, to some degree. One tactic I used to do was to browse artwork and find something that really jumped out to me.

    There's a lot to digest in this topic. A lot of answers to the same question, a lot of different ways to approach solving this problem.

    I think... I've got an idea.

    Tabaxi Nobleman turned Pirate


    Now, that can be a Rogue, that can be a Bard, that can be a... A Ranger, I suppose, a Paladin if he was the Robin Hood kind of pirate, etc.

    I suppose this is the point where I say, 'How does he pirate?', and that answers the Class question, right?
    Really, pirate is more of a background than it is a class. The literal definition of pirate by the Oxford Dictionary of English is just “someone who attacks and robs ships at sea”, that can be of any class really. In fact, I could probably come up with a pirate build for each class at the top of my head. Perhaps these ideas maybe of some inspiration to you...

    Barbarian: the Brutish rower and boarder that quit being a nobleman so it would become more socially acceptable for him to get drunk and bash heads. Just Reflavor rage as drunken stupors (not an original idea, but I have no idea where I heard it from)
    Bard: swashbuckling tales are some of the people’s favorites, and why not learn a couple first hand? After all, who needs to come up with creative ideas for stories when you can just find inspiration form the things that try to kill you on a daily basis?
    Cleric: you worship a god of deceit, domination or the accumulation of material wealth, and what better way to spread their god’s ideals than directly ensuing it on the high seas?
    Druid: all these merchants ships coming into your beautiful natural habitat will result in the pollution and destruction of your home. Stories of a vicious pirate that can transform into a bird and scout them out then turn into a shark and devour them dissuade merchants.
    Fighter: What better way to put your weapons to good use than to further your wealth and reputation alongside a crew of vicious brigands?
    Monk: you are the world’s best fist fighter, and sailing all the way around that world makes that fact known to everyone
    Paladin: these greedy merchants are robbing from the poor, and there is no way you are letting them get away with it!
    Ranger: hunting animals can make some people rather wealthy, but hunting ships makes you more wealthy. What better prey is there to hunt than one who instead of being filled with organs is loaded with gold!
    Rogue: do I even need to detail this one?
    Sorcerer: You have inherently been given unbelievable power, and you believe that the person who said “with great power comes great responsible” did not think it through as much as you did
    Warlock: back when the seas were unexplored and wild, cthulhu could take a good nights rest, but now people keep breaking into his home in rlyeh and taking his stuff. While the easiest solution would be to address the directly, the stars have not aligned yet and he still likes naps. Why don’t you take care off his problem for him while he is snoozing?
    Wizard: sea-fairing people are notorious for being superstitious, and they tend to rever those that wield magical power. You want to become the most supreme ruler of the seas, and most people are more afraid of someone who can summon a Kraken than they are of someone with a sharp metal stick.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    One thing you might try is to leverage the Inspiration system to flesh out your character. Make it a goal to get Inspiration every session, which requires you to play out your personality traits, ideal, bond, and flaw. And don't randomly generate those - tie them to who your character is.

    Fate is a good model for this. In Fate, your backstory and personality traits /are/ your powers. You describe how these Aspects influence whatever you're trying to do, and that gives you a bonus to your role. For instance, you might have a Bond where you are the bodyguard of one of the other players. When you take actions to defend them you can ask for Inspiration to help them out.

    One of the key things with this is to make sure that your traits, etc, are relevant to the game you are playing. That requires you to work with the DM and the other players to come up with stuff that will see the light of day in the campaign. If the adventure revolves around Undead, a cleric of Kelemvor will not only have good tools to fight them, but will also get Inspiration when he puts them down due to the Ideal of their religious devotion. And once you've established that devotion, it's easier to have it come up in other circumstances where your faith might be relevant. Another good trait is to have some connection to a campaign villain, giving you a good reason to tangle with them as well as the mechanical support to make confrontations with them epic.

    Even a dungeon crawling game can make use of inspiration. Think of why your character goes to these dungeons: what in his personality drives him to these places and how would that impact their approach to the game? For instance, maybe your barbarian loves the Thrill of a Challenge and would get inspiration any time they survive a Hard or Deadly encounter. Once you've established this motivation, then you can play it out during the fights as you put yourself in danger or just get excited as things get more dire. It could also influence your RP as you push yourself to take on greater and greater challenges, driving you to the tougher dungeons.

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Requilac View Post
    Really, pirate is more of a background than it is a class. The literal definition of pirate by the Oxford Dictionary of English is just “someone who attacks and robs ships at sea”, that can be of any class really.
    Yes. Correct. That's the entire point.
    Class/mechanics is/are an afterthought to the character. He's burned out on the mechanics. So they shouldn't be a factor in creating a person to play.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    Yes. Correct. That's the entire point.
    Class/mechanics is/are an afterthought to the character. He's burned out on the mechanics. So they shouldn't be a factor in creating a person to play.
    Umm, I do not disagree with you, so I do not quite know what this means. Are you saying that I may be confusing the OP by telling him to create a role playing concept first then contradicting myself by talking about mechanical possibilities? I do not quite know what you wanted me to respond with in this post. It seemed to be aimed at me, but I am at a loss for what you expect me to do.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Xanathar's life builder is actually a pretty great muse for creating an interesting character. Give it a try, or one of the many others that have existed throughout RPG history. There's a fantastic one to start with that I can't link here called "Who the *#@! is My DnD Character", try using the first thing that pops up and fleshing them out.

    A wood elf grave cleric I played with a few weeks ago used these things to create a sad, miserable devotee that had a perfect home life before an uncaring death god chose him as his mouthpiece, twisting his life into one of misery that he's incredibly bitter about, losing the two loves of his life and running up a tally of enemies he's on the run from. His roleplaying was a highlight of those games.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Requilac View Post
    Are you saying that I may be confusing the OP by telling him to create a role playing concept first then contradicting myself by talking about mechanical possibilities?
    That's pretty much it, yeah.
    If you quote me and ask me questions,
    and I continue to not respond,
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    you on my Ignore list.
    Congratulations.

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Play something fun, or that you've never played before.

    Screw optimisation and builds. Just pick based on fluff.

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Laserlight's Avatar

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    It's okay to start with stats. Or concept. Whatever works.

    Then give him a tag. Something he does to differentiate him from those around him. "He's a redhead" is not something he does, so that doesn't work, but if he's often--at least once a session--braiding it, or pulling it back to a ponytail, or messing with it, that works. Particularly if that signals something else. "He's tying his hair back, that means he's expecting a fight." He speaks with a heavy accent, if you can do the accent. He carries around the doll his sister gave him, and treats it as if it were alive--making sure it can see, for example, unless he's in particularly ghoulish circumstances, when he will make sure to cover the doll's eyes so it doesn't get scared. But don't (at first) give him lots of tags. Just do one or two, and bring them up often.

    Then give him a motivation--something other than "stays alive" or "hauls in a lot of loot." Perhaps he has a burning desire to impress the princess. Or he's a devout worshiper of Shar and will actively advance her interests. In the campaign I'm running right now, the Disgraced Young Nobleman wants to go back to his home city and win a particular political office; his marginally Trusty Manservant wants to keep him in exile so as not to risk further shame to the family; the Xena clone wants to wipe out slave traders and also to seduce the druid; and the druid wants to do whatever she wants, without much regard to concepts like "modesty" or "monogamy" or "not turning into a giant snake in a city which hates and fears the Serpent Cult". Ideally you want to pick a motivation which leads to a specific event which could be filmed: "In this scene, the Family Matriarch formally thanks the Trusty Manservant for keeping Disgraced Nobleman away from the City." Then measure your choices not by "how risky is this" or "how much money will I make", but "does this lead me to that scene I want?"
    Junior, half orc paladin of the Order of #3 St Dale the Intimidator: "Ah reckon y'all need to repent."

    I'm a spell!

    "Leather is the best armor for stealth--it's literally made of Hide." -- K Larson

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BardGirl

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    I personally find it inspirational to "scry the bones," as it were. I let randomization guide me and force me into making a connection to the stats as a character first. Sometimes I get an idea within the first step of randomization. Other times I randomize everything from which Abilities to input my Standard Array, to race, class, background -- even to spells, fighting styles, and skills.

    At some point I "get it" and run with the bubbling conception, (hopefully before I gotta randomize quickstart equipment! ).

    It's not for everybody, but it does apply pressure upon me to conceive a character.

  12. - Top - End - #72
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by opaopajr View Post
    I personally find it inspirational to "scry the bones," as it were. I let randomization guide me and force me into making a connection to the stats as a character first. Sometimes I get an idea within the first step of randomization. Other times I randomize everything from which Abilities to input my Standard Array, to race, class, background -- even to spells, fighting styles, and skills.

    At some point I "get it" and run with the bubbling conception, (hopefully before I gotta randomize quickstart equipment! ).

    It's not for everybody, but it does apply pressure upon me to conceive a character.
    Very true.

    When I have neither concept nor aspiration, the dice can be a source of inspiration.

  13. - Top - End - #73
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    That's pretty much it, yeah.
    I doubt that what I said was throwing the OP off that much, I was simply showing him that his character concept could be whatever mechanical mix he wanted, and possibly giving him some inspiration on what to do. I can see why that might be confusing to some though. I still think it was a good idea to include. I guess that addresses that then, right? Still confused as to what I am supposed to say.

  14. - Top - End - #74
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    One thing that's helped me in 5e is to make sure I'll have something to do in the game. If you create your character and give them a place in the world, a personality and all that, and the DM doesn't engage that in any way, you need some way to be able to express that through whatever play is available without monopolizing table time with exposition or pushing side quests.

    • Taking 3 levels of thief rogue gives you a lot more organic play options as you can inject lots of irregular activities into turns that you'd generally expect to be able to do and the expertise grants you a more distinct level of competence preventing your characters life experience from disappearing into random chance.
    • Elf and warforged offer a bit more wiggle room as well with their short rest time. This gives them extended down time that doesn't cut into the rest of the party's time that can be used for fulfilling the character in some way.
    • It's also helpful to focus your character on something. Don't necessarily min/max, but ensure that your character has a wide variety of weaknesses so that they have reason for practical interaction rather than merely superficial interaction.
    • Some low investment RP injections involve things like crafting and performance. These let you explain or describe something that shares mood and subtext to your actions and don't require much more time than a brief description.
    • I'm also a fan of the elemental evil elemental cantrips as an expressive method. They support the idea of a highly magical character and allow them to manipulate things in a way that can show who they are. It's a shame you can't use these spells as a bonus action in a way similar to an arcane trickster's mage hand, they provide tons of flavor and it would be cool to let the operate in combat without wasting everyone's time.


    Or just freeform RP and ignore the game for the most part. I'm not a fan but it works for some people.

  15. - Top - End - #75
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    So many great responses so far. Let me see if I can add anything helpful to you from my experience.

    Initially, I did the same as you. I optimized based on mechanics. Created an archetype but not a character. Anyone could take on this role. So after some experience, I began trying to roleplay more than roll play.

    One of the biggest things that have helped me? Explaining in-game as the character, how I learned all my new tricks when I leveled up. I try to rationalize the process of leveling up from the character's perspective. Once I have that road map figured out, I fill in the details on who would want to walk this path and what motivates them to keep walking it.

    For example, I had a Sun Soul Monk that was known as the "****ty" wizard in the group. Even though, his comrades made fun of him especially when the actual wizard could do far more effective magic then he could, he would still smile because they called him a wizard. All he could do was make smaller fireballs (Produce Flame), fix broken things (Mend), and thanks to what a Druid showed him, make some really good berries that kept hunger at bay (Goodberry).

    What kind of character could this be? Why would he still be happy? The reason is he came from a city where magic was everywhere and if you couldn't do it well, you were second class. He tried everything in school but couldn't do more than the 2 cantrips. This led to him being bullied a lot. He got really good at avoiding firebolts from his peers (good dex) and really understood the world around him (good wisdom).

    He began working in the Library to try and learn how to like his peers and finally accepted. One day he found an old battered tome that seemed to have a magical quality to it. He opened it to discover many pages gone. He asked the head Librarian about it and she explained it to him. The book was found in a massive crater and though damaged seemed to be "frozen" in that state, for nothing could mend nor damage the book. One day, one of the city elders found a page written in the same text, that could also not be damaged. Bring the page and book to each other, the page returned to the book and could no longer be torn out.

    This inspired him. He read what remained of the book and kept seeing things about the power of the Inner Light (Ki) and decided he would find the remaining pages and learn what the book had to teach.

    There is more of course, but as he leveled, the book would be more complete and reveal more tricks and power (Sun Soul Monk class progression). My DM loved the idea and I loved playing that "****ty" wizard.

  16. - Top - End - #76
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaappleton View Post
    I've either played it or built it a hundred times over.
    5e hasn't been out that long. Are you playing multiple times a week every week?

    I would get burned out too.

    As for 'internal conflict' and the story structure...D&D is its own thing.

    1) Characters are part of an ensemble. Bad characters are ones who are written to be the central protagonist. No one should be building Luke Skywalker. A table of Luke Skywalkers is a bad idea.

    2) D&D is improv with the audience being the performers. It's not a book, or a movie, etc. Character traits need to be shown as the results of actions in game.

    My advice is to not over-complicate things. Pick a strong fantasy archetype. Stay single class, spend time on the background bonds/ideals/personality traits and the inspiration system are great tools here.

    The bottom line is to ensure that character defining attributes are strong enough to come through in an ensemble where the only way we know about your character is through your actions.

    A complicated backstory explaining the character's inner struggles isn't going to cut it.

    Instead think about well known characters from fantasy and describe them in a couple sentences. What has stood out about them? What have they done in those stories that we remember? Why are they memorable?

  17. - Top - End - #77
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    5e hasn't been out that long. Are you playing multiple times a week every week?
    I wondered the same thing. I guess 100s of characters may be a bit of an hyperbole from the OP, but really, how can you go through all those options? Are characters dying left and right? Are you playing 30 hours a week in multiple simultaneous campaigns? Did all the characters get complete, successful story arcs justifying retiring them?

    I've played for close to 10 months in a weekly game (3-4 hours per week), and I've only created 5 characters (and 2 of those never got used).

    I cannot even imagine reaching the point when I'll have gone through enough permutations of the basic PHB options to feel bored...

    One suggestion that has not been made to the OP: maybe you could bring out some of your earlier characters from retirement? Or try using pre-made characters? This way, you would not worry so much about the "character creation" game and could instead focus on the "playing" part of the game?

  18. - Top - End - #78
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    I had a bit of burnout once with 3e. I told the DM to make me a character with amnesia, who was learning who he was as we went along. Every level was a surprise as new memories were unlocked and new abilities were granted/remembered.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2017-12-07 at 08:46 AM.
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  19. - Top - End - #79
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    You're just a bit burnt out. It happens to everyone.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...ntal-downtime/

    OP, go take a break. Go ride a bike, hike, camp, cook, read a few books, go on a movie watching marathon, whatever. You're tapped, and you need some downtime to replenish.

    Just make sure it's not a 'production' hobby. Be intentionally lazy and just feel and absorb.
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  20. - Top - End - #80
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    jaappleton's Avatar

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    To those asking how often I play:

    I have played once a week since 5E was released, and had a two year 4E campaign before then. Of course, some sessions were missed for life reasons.

    The kicker, though, is that my head would constantly churn out new ideas, new builds, new concepts.

    So in 5E, I’ve played.... Maybe 14 characters since 5E’s release? However, I’ve built.... Hmm. This is honestly not an exaggeration: I’ve build, as in put pen to paper, full character sheet, everything statted up... 90? 100 more?

    And I had fun with almost every character I played. Some more than others. I retired some that were TOO strong (Tempest Theurge, and a Totem Barbarian that got too many Boons). And I had fun writing up all those other ones I never played.

    But lately, over the last two months, there’s been just... Nothing. Nothing popping into my head, making me excited to put pen to paper, no new concept. And most of them were ‘optimal’. No Charismatic Half-Orcs, for example, though I do think going against stereotypes is awesome, but my table is a high-casualty one, so things need to work pretty well. It’s not high-casualty due to anything in particular; Bad rolls, poor but hilarious planning, etc. Encounters are tough but never outright impossible, and I’m proud to say I’ve done plenty to outright invalidate some of my DMs encounters with my creativity.

    But yeah, lately, it’s just been.... There’s nothing there.

    We’re a party of two, so I often feel pigeonholed into the role of ‘Mage/Healer’. I’ve played a lot of Clerics, I’m currently a Life Theurge. And honestly, I’m kicking a lot of ass in combat. The DM has been fairly generous with healing potions, even occasionally dropping a ‘Mana’ potion so I can recover some spell slots (since we’re such a small party).

    Drunken Master looks exceptionally fun to play and RP. I picture some Jack Sparrow style combat, where I comically duck and cause enemies to hit each other via Tipsy Sway, for example, but I will likely die in three sessions because we’ll be missing my normal healing and spells, so why bother getting invested in that character?

    I’ve spoken with my DM about feeling the need to fulfill certain combat roles, and would encounters change if I did, and the response was ‘Find out’. He’s coy about everything.

    I’m really heavily leaning Rogue or Monk for my Tabaxi Pirate. Something as opposite of what I’ve been playing as possible.


    EDIT: For the record... I want to play. I'm excited to play. I still love the game. It's just that the creative juices have dried up.
    Last edited by jaappleton; 2017-12-07 at 10:05 AM.

  21. - Top - End - #81
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    Asmotherion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    I know the feeling.

    Try exploring something you have never considered. Instead of focusing in the mechanics and numbers, focus in the actual role playing aspects of the character.

    The same character sheet you have (from a lower level) could very well represent a very different individual. See an other perspective. Make an other story for a character, and delve deeper into his backstory. Change the appearance. Change alignment. Change Religion. Change Race. Change Favored Weapon/Spell. Give a small trinket that has a lot of value to the individual (a carving of a dragon from his grandfather, or a dagger that is in the fammily for generations).

    You can keep the same stats and numbers, but explore more the Role playing aspect.

    Please help/contribute in creating the: Complete list of Magically Created Constructs, Elementals etc

  22. - Top - End - #82
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    That's why I come up with a fun concept, and build my optimization around that, instead of just making the build.

    I.E.- X looks interesting without delving into the mechanics, I figure out a concept that would be fun that can fit into X and then optimize from there, or I'm watching/reading/playing Y, and I try to figure out how to modify and play something like that with optimization.

    If you just focus on the mechanics, it's very easy to get burnt out. Of course part of being inspired is being in a game that can make you inspired, so if you're just making the characters without an actual world to put them in, that can easily make you run out of steam as well.

  23. - Top - End - #83
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaappleton View Post
    To those asking how often I play:

    I have played once a week since 5E was released, and had a two year 4E campaign before then. Of course, some sessions were missed for life reasons.

    The kicker, though, is that my head would constantly churn out new ideas, new builds, new concepts.

    <snip>

    EDIT: For the record... I want to play. I'm excited to play. I still love the game. It's just that the creative juices have dried up.
    It sounds like you aren't burnt out on characters as much as disappointed you get to play so few of those you've made. Have you looked through your old characters to see if any of those seem fun to play now?

  24. - Top - End - #84
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaappleton View Post
    To those asking how often I play:

    I have played once a week since 5E was released, and had a two year 4E campaign before then. Of course, some sessions were missed for life reasons.

    The kicker, though, is that my head would constantly churn out new ideas, new builds, new concepts.

    So in 5E, I’ve played.... Maybe 14 characters since 5E’s release? However, I’ve built.... Hmm. This is honestly not an exaggeration: I’ve build, as in put pen to paper, full character sheet, everything statted up... 90? 100 more?

    EDIT: For the record... I want to play. I'm excited to play. I still love the game. It's just that the creative juices have dried up.
    So let me get this straight, you have made like 100 characters but have used less than 15% in actual play. No wonder you are having problems Jaappleton, you do not need to create more characters, you need to actually use the 86 you have not played as! Take a character from the graveyard of sheets that never got used and play as them, don’t create another to add to the hoard unless you intentionally want to run out of ideas. The answer to your problem is lying in a heaping stack stashed someone in your house or brain right in front of your nose.

  25. - Top - End - #85
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaappleton View Post
    We’re a party of two, so I often feel pigeonholed into the role of ‘Mage/Healer’. I’ve played a lot of Clerics, I’m currently a Life Theurge. And honestly, I’m kicking a lot of ass in combat. The DM has been fairly generous with healing potions, even occasionally dropping a ‘Mana’ potion so I can recover some spell slots (since we’re such a small party).
    Thanks for further clarifying your situation.

    I can see how, with a 2 players group, you would dedicate a lot of time to the "character creation" game (nothing wrong with it, it is a fun game and certainly a creative endeavor as valid as many others).

    Maybe this is the area you should look at? Finding more players would make the game go "slower"; you could also dedicate more time to expending your various character's relationships with the rest of the party (something that is difficult to determine in advance at character creation).

    Have you considered asking the DM to allow each player to control 2 PCs instead of 1 each? You could use more of your existing backlog of characters, the game's pace would slow, it would certainly make the DM's job easier in terms of planning (it must be difficult to always plan for only 2 players, adjusting CR, etc.), it would also let you feel less pidgeon-holed in specific character roles (like healer).

    Or, as many people have said, maybe you just need to take break and come back to the game with a fresh mind. Holidays are coming up; it's often a time for gaming groups to take a break anyway, so the timing could work well for you.

    In all cases, good luck!

  26. - Top - End - #86
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    jaappleton's Avatar

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    Jul 2016

    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Requilac View Post
    So let me get this straight, you have made like 100 characters but have used less than 15% in actual play. No wonder you are having problems Jaappleton, you do not need to create more characters, you need to actually use the 86 you have not played as! Take a character from the graveyard of sheets that never got used and play as them, don’t create another to add to the hoard unless you intentionally want to run out of ideas. The answer to your problem is lying in a heaping stack stashed someone in your house or brain right in front of your nose.
    It's such a big haystack to burn to find the needle!

    I'm really loving the idea that I mentioned earlier: A Tabaxi Nobleman turned Pirate.

    He's a Robin Hood style of Pirate. Not necessarily the sea faring one. He's quite a low ranking nobleman, barely registering as one, but he still knows some people. His adventuring life is somewhat of an alter-ego, using his adventuring life to cut through the bureaucracy and red tape which prevents real action from taking place.

    For Class, I've decided to go quite far from the standard Spellcaster that I've normally been. I wanted to rely not on spells, but on skills and raw ability. That led me to two Classes; Rogue and Monk. Honestly, while powerful, the limited attacks of a Rogue frighten me. The thought of waiting for my turn to just swing and miss is quite disheartening. So what's the opposite of a single attack? A ton of them.

    That led me to Monk. While synergizing naturally with the insane speed of a Tabaxi, it's also one of the only Monk archetypes to have abilities which lend itself insanely well to outside of combat: Shadow Monk.

    So, I have a class I've built before but have never actually gotten the opportunity to play. I have some spell style abilities without being a 'Mage'. I'm a race that sounds damn fun to me. The character has some fears, as if people discover whom he is, he's likely to land it quite a bit of hot water politically. As a Tabaxi, it's funny to me if he also has a fear of water.

    I'm excited. I'm really excited!

  27. - Top - End - #87
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    ElfRogueGirl

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    Aug 2015

    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deox View Post
    One of my personal favorite methods is to randomly generate then just go with it.
    I like to use some online tools (such as "who the F is my D&D character") to start overarching or broad themes. Once I've generated 3 to 5 I find genuinely interesting, I move on to (IMO, one of the greatest published WotC books) the 3.5 Hero Builder's Guidebook. In there, I will use the wealth of tables to randomly generate everything about the character. From home climate to town size to family and personal political affiliations, it has amazing starting points to help fill out the "extra bits".

    Once all that is done, I'm always left with a compelling character. The rest is filling out numbers.
    This is often how I do it as well, although I do a little more iteration back and forth between mechanics and characterization. It helps me indulge my natural urge to optimize numbers without feeling "trapped" by the need to pick the "correct" choices.

    For the OP, as a case study, here's how I created my most recent character.

    Spoiler: Chathi Hasim
    Show
    Step 1: Find an arbitrary starting point for the character concept.

    The site "Who the F*** Is My DND Character" randomly generates a description in the form "a [personality] [race] [class] from [location] who [personal quirk or experience]", and it's a popular tool for this. You can also use the background randomization tables from Xanathar's, or define a personality, alignment, and/or mechanical role based on what's missing from an otherwise complete party.

    (For the OP, I wouldn't recommend the latter, because it sounds like you've been doing that already, and the "gap" in the party build is always the same in your group.)

    For this character, I used "Who the F", and got "a courageous half-orc wizard from the scorched plains who was a weapons instructor for the city watch".

    Step 2: Find something interesting in this description to focus on.

    For me, the thing that stood out was that literally every race feature of half-orcs is geared toward melee combat, making them very awkward wizards. Plus, this half-orc was a weapons instructor, so how did they end up learning magic in their watch career anyway? The bit about the "scorched plains" didn't really grab me, so I didn't focus on it.

    Step 3: Here's where it gets fuzzy. Basically I follow the interesting bit wherever it takes me. That could be the character's personality itself ("top-down design", in Magic: the Gathering terms) or the mechanics ("bottom-up design").

    Here I started by filling in the story of this courageous half-orc wizard in the watch. I settled on the idea that she was the daughter of a scribe, giving her a basis for learning magic. And looking through the published backgrounds, I noticed there was one for City Watch, with a suggested variant of "Investigator". That sounded like a perfect role for a bookish, Int-based character like this one, and was interesting enough that I discarded the detail of being a "weapons instructor" specifically.

    Turning back to the mechanics, I wanted to actually use the half-orc features and not just make a wizard with bad stats. I looked around and what others had done, and discovered some discussion of high-Str mountain dwarf abjurer builds, using the armor proficiency to survive on the front line. It doesn't work quite as well, but I decided to do something similar, relying on Mage Armor and Shield to survive and using Booming Blade with a 2-handed staff as my main damage output.

    Going back to the background, this wizard investigator wanted some appropriate investigator spells, so I went with Detect Magic and Identify as thematic choices. They're not amazing, but they're not completely useless. They also something about the character: She specialized in magic-related investigations. Cool.

    From this, I had the idea that she actually learned magic to help with investigations specifically. Also, with her being a half-orc, who are generally regarded as brutish and violent, I decided she didn't just apply to join the watch, but actually encountered them first as a prisoner (falsely convicted due to bigotry). While serving her sentence, she used her knowledge and intellect to assist the watch in their investigations, eventually getting a pardon and becoming an official investigator herself. Her study of magic came when the watch provided her with materials to study, specifically so she could be even more useful even while she was imprisoned.

    Finally, I went back to the mechanics. She was a front-line wizard with 8 HP, 16 Str and 14 Int, two 1st-level spells devoted purely to keeping herself alive, and two more 1st-level spells basically there for flavor. Her primary damage output was a melee strike with a simple weapon. In other words, she represented the character concept quite well, but was far from optimized mechanically.

    This let me feel free to straight-up optimize the remaining spells for power and utility, so I chose Sleep and Find Familiar (Owl), plus Minor Illusion and a damage cantrip to round things out.

    The result was a character I like so much I ended up writing [url=https://www.myth-weavers.com/showthread.php?t=417182]1700 words of backstory[/link] for her. The last 600, incidentally, came from having to merge her backstory into the start of the campaign she joined, so she ended up being a member of the Baldurian Watch wandering around Phlan because she had killed in self-defense and needed to lay low until her captain could sort out the political situation.


    So far, she's been great fun to play, because I know her character so well. I know why she will go along with a given plot hook, I know how she will respond to other characters, and most importantly for me (since she's in a play-by-post game), I know how she speaks. From her experiences, I know that when someone begs for help after a random goblin raid, she has a slight doubt in the back of her mind because goblins are an easy scapegoat, and when she sees lazy guards neglecting their duty, she rants about the philosophical role of law enforcement entities for the next hour.

    She's not responsible for a ton of damage output in combat, but the owl familiar provides absurd amounts of utility, so she's hardly useless. The build may not be optimized, but it's more than good enough to let me focus on playing the character, not the numbers.
    The Burning Plague - Miria, Halfling Rogue

  28. - Top - End - #88
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    May 2015

    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaappleton View Post
    I'm really loving the idea that I mentioned earlier: A Tabaxi Nobleman turned Pirate.

    He's a Robin Hood style of Pirate. Not necessarily the sea faring one.
    <snip>
    he also has a fear of water.

    I'm excited. I'm really excited!
    That sounds like amazing fun!

    Let me ask you a question. Is this a new way for you to create a character, or is it just the working through the process that has you excited again?
    If the latter, that's still good. But if the former, don't lose your momentum now, and actually try to stay in character pretty much at all times. Then you'll really see what we mean by "play a character, not a build." If the former, and if you stick with it, this is going to feel like a completely different game now.
    If you quote me and ask me questions,
    and I continue to not respond,
    it's probably because I have
    you on my Ignore list.
    Congratulations.

  29. - Top - End - #89
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Though it sounds like you've got it covered, I'll chime in late.

    One thing I find is I need to play a class/race I will enjoy, so I come up with that first. It may be optimised, but maybe it's not. For example, I wanted to play an earth genasi land (desert) druid, who could cast erupting earth and earth Tremor but be immune to the effects (and maybe have long strider too). I also wanted find familiar, because I'm a druid... I should have a pet.

    Then after I've figured out the fiddly bits, I ask: how did this happen? How did this character get to here? That's when story and character and creative juices get going.

    For example:

    Name: Saphir Al-Hazim (female)
    Race: Earth Genasi, but disguises this and acts/dresses like her foster parents, desert tribes people who travel the northern lands as part of a performance troupe.
    Class: Druid
    Background: Customized. Circus performer. Skills: Sleight of hand, Performance. Tool proficiency: Jewellers tools. Extra language: Gnome.
    Bonus feat: Magic initiate (Wizard): Mold earth, Prestidigitation, Find familiar (most often an elemental lizard named Jub-Jub).
    Racial abilities: Can move through difficult terrain of rocks, rubble and earth at normal speed. Can cast pass without trace once a day. +1 Str, +2 Con.

    Druid cantrips: Magic stone, Thorn whip.
    Druid spells: Animal friendship, earth tremor, longstrider.

    Going to go desert druid and add absorb elements and guidance at 2nd, Silence, Blur, Dust Devil at 3rd. (Yes, not optimal. But I'm from the desert and look like a mummy. I need dust devil!)

    Str 14 Jump 14', 7', 5'
    Dex 14 Sleight of hand +4 Performance (dexterity) +4
    Con 14
    Int 10
    Wis 14 Animal handling +4 Perception +4
    Cha 11 Performance +3

    Alighnment: Neutral Good.

    AC 13 (leather armor)
    hp 10
    Init +2
    Speed 30 (walks slowly with her staff, more like 20-25 when acting frail)
    Spell Attack +4
    Spell Save DC 12

    Saphir, so the story goes, is the daughter of a dao, one of a score of children the foul earth prince is said to have sired during a rampage through the desert clans of [insert name here]. He vowed to return 16 years later to claim the children for his court, to act as servants to his every whim. Saphir's mother vowed not to let that happen. She gave him up to one of the dreamwalkers, a travelling druid of her people, and told him to spirit her as far away as possible, and to hide her true nature, for Saphir didn't just have piercing blue eyes, she also had what appeared to be Sapphires peeking out from her dusky skin.

    The druid raised her as a father and took her far across the desert and into civilized lands, where he chanced to fall in love with an acrobat with a travelling menagerie. He joined the troupe as an animal handler, and they toured the northern lands, while their 'daughter' learned to hide her identity beneath a cloak of infirmity. They claimed exposure to sunlight burned her flesh, and kept her wrapped up and mostly inside.

    Naturally, a kindly gnome magician with the troupe took pity on her and began to tutor her, first in simple sleight of hand tricks, the gnomish language (for many of his spellbooks were written in gnomish) and later some elementary magic, though she didn't have the knack for more than a few parlor tricks. She was also learning the ways of the druid from her adoptive father, too. And with that knowledge came boldness, and in a moment of weakness, at the age of 15, she showed her true self to the gnome. Unfortunately, an agent of the dao saw it as well, and her adoptive father was forced to slay the man before he could inform his master. Her father and mother were arrested, but not before they sent her off, telling her to get as far away from circus as possible. So begins an adventuring life.

    Now she vows to use her abilities to gain enough strength to face her true 'father' before he finds her.

    Trait I hate being wet. I use prestidigitation to keep my 'bandages' dry.
    Trait I try to hide my strength and mobility beneath a performance of infirmity.
    Trait I do not let others see my true self. I guard my privacy zealously.
    Ideal None should be held by the bonds of slavery.
    Bond My father is a powerful dao who wishes to collect me. I will do anything to prevent that from happening.
    Flaw Against my better judgement, I am fascinated by gems, particularly sapphires, and wish to acquire them.
    Part-time DM, part-time player in 5e. I aim to be reasonable.
    Homebrews on the stove (5e):

    Wizard School: Black Magic
    Druid Circle of the Many
    Druid Circle of the Silver Moon
    Bard College of the Chord

  30. - Top - End - #90
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Default Re: Burned out, no characters seem appealing?

    Glad you figured it out.

    A great method is to use a film or book character as inspiration. Ignore the genre. Personality, motives, preferences, attitudes, style, etc. can stem from that selection. Here are two examples.

    1. My last PC was styled from Cody Lundin of Dual Survival. He was a Druid with high strength who always walked barefoot. Other class options I considered were Barbarian and Ranger. But since I never played a Druid, I went with that. When playing this character I wore a bandana and kept a picture of Cody with my character sheet. Reminders like that helped me role play the character. With that high strength he wasn’t primarily a summoner. He was a toe-to-toe combatant that held the front line with the fighters.

    2. My current PC is modeled from Robert Redford’s role as Sundance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Sundance is a handsome, gambling gunslinger. So he gets high charisma and high dexterity. High charisma suggests swashbuckling charm, so I flavored his background as a sailor. From a class perspective, you could go rogue or archer, but why waste the high Charisma? So he’s a Warlock (gunslinger) with pact of the blade Rapier which is a finesse weapon (swashbuckler). Then I multiclassed into Sorcerer after 3rd level. That’s not optimal for a Sorlock, but character flavor was more important to me. And he’s a blast to play. Sundance informs how that character is played. In our party’s first combat he sat at a table and placed bets on the Half Orc beating the goon squad sent to harass our group.

    You could do this exercise with any number of characters from books, TV, or movies. For instance, take John McClaine from Die Hard (or Hans Gruber), or Gordon Ramsay from Hell’s Kitchen, or Gene Hackman from Unforgiven (a whip-cracking lawman). Each suggests something different, and could give you ideas when playing.

    At this point you’re so good at optimizing it would probably be hard for you to create a bad character. You can trust that your optimization mechanics will be sound. So be willing to take a few risks in that area. That means you will not always make the most optimal choices. But your choices will honor the spirit of your character.

    So pick a person, a personality, that excites you and trust your gut to make it work.

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