Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Gender
    Male

    Default What makes a character concept useful or not?

    I find the phrase "character concept" to have a bunch of meaning (and thus be quite confusing). Thus, a few questions for the group.

    a) What is a character concept (to you)?
    b) What characteristics does a "good" concept have (given your answer to the first question)?
    c) Does the "goodness" of a concept vary based on setting or system?

    Note: I've used quotation marks around "good" to emphasize that this is subjective quality here. I actually prefer the terms useful or not useful. Just like scientific models aren't really true or false but are useful (given a set of facts) or not, so are concepts (to me).

    I'll present my thoughts in the next post, but I really want to hear yours so we can come closer to understanding the various ways the phrase is used in this community.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    Thematic Spell-List Overhaul: Bringing meaning and specialization to spell-casters for 5e.
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 533 MM and Volo's monsters

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    My (personal, working) answers to the questions I posed are:

    a) a short description of the starting state and general theme of a character.
    b) Useful concepts give enough to start play/build a character without limiting further growth or specifying exact mechanical elements. [more detail below]
    c) Absolutely. A great concept for a superhero game not be valid for a dark-and-gritty game. Various systems handle different regions of concept space, and what's "good" in one place may not be in another.

    More detail about characteristics of a useful concept:

    1) Respect for the setting. Character concepts are least jarring and most conducive to good play when they could have either grown organically in a setting or have a plausible explanation of how they got there.

    2) Respect for the campaign. Bringing a holier-than-thou paladin into a Oceans 11-style heist game is probably a bad fit. As is bringing a classic evil necromancer into a knight-in-shining-armor game. Same goes for tone--a Toon game demands a different concept than a Dark Heresy game or an OD&D game.

    3) Respect for the future. Character concepts that require certain plot points to grow in the desired way ("I have to do X to qualify for class Y") limit the game in what seem to me to be selfish ways. The same goes for those that have very narrow niches (either mechanically or as a concept) beyond which they're useless. Instead, a good concept describes a starting point. Growth beyond that is up to the events of the campaign. This is less important if the campaign is very limited in time or space.

    4) How, not what. The best concepts, I've found, talk a lot more about how the character approaches challenges, not what challenges they face. Pinning yourself as a "dragonslayer supreme" is all well and good...unless you only face dragons very occasionally. Then it's a hindrance.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    Thematic Spell-List Overhaul: Bringing meaning and specialization to spell-casters for 5e.
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 533 MM and Volo's monsters

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    JNAProductions's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fighting Demons!

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    That really, REALLY depends on the game.

    Well, except for (1). That's pretty simple-a character concept is a sentence or two that describes your character, both personality and function. For instance:

    Grok the Barbarian, a rash, reckless tank and damage dealer.
    Alan the Enchanter, a cunning, womanizing crowd control specialist.
    Sir Bearington, the bear summoning bear having bear of a man (who transforms into a bear).

    But how useful it is varies IMMENSELY. In 3.5 D&D, for instance, "Martial Artist" is inherently a weak and less useful character concept simply because the mechanics suck at supporting it, whereas anything magical is much more useful. In 5E D&D, virtually any character that doesn't include "intentionally made to be incredibly weak" in their concept is going to be useful. In Traveller, your concept might change, because character creation is highly randomized. In GURPS, I have no idea, because I haven't played it.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

    Current Avatar by AsteriskAmp, who is awesome!

    Spoiler: Former Avatars
    Show
    Spoiler: Avatar (Not In Use) By Professor Gnoll!
    Show


    Spoiler: Avatar (Not In Use) By Cdr. Fallout!
    Show

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Honest Tiefling's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    I'd say that at it's most basic level, the character concept is the idea from which the player is building their character. Even if it is something as basic as 'How do I get a holier than thou paladin into this Ocean's 11 game so I can use that sweet prestige class?' or as goofy as 'Batman, but with snark...But not Iron Man'. Yeah, sometimes it might only make sense to the player themselves.

    I think the system and setting can decide which concepts are going to fail straight out of the gate (such as a godless cleric in Forgotten Realms), but I think that the table and player are also strong factors. Some people take a simple concept and run with it, some prefer to plan. A concept that will work for one won't do for the other. For some tables, setting is more loose or has more player input to allow bending of the setting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
    For all of your completely and utterly honest needs. Zaydos made, Tiefling approved.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    A.A character concept is the idea from which the player is building their character.
    B.The character concept must be fun for you to play.
    C.Yes.

    For C you can do just fine with a character concept that just goes with the flow of a setting...like a ship sailing on a river. Or you can go deeper, underwater, and be a big part of the settings current and flow. The first are more generic...you make an elf from the high forest that does not like humans, per the setting notes. The second much more specific: Your high elf warlock is a member of the Blacktree human hunters, per the setting notes.

    There will also be the tricky bit of Role Players vs Roll Players with character concepts.

    Role Player-Make whatever is fun for you and play it.

    Roll Player-You must make a mechanically optimized, most often pure combat murderhobo character to fit into the pure mechanical combat murderhobo group.

    The Roll Players are they types that Must have ''whatever'' is cool at the moment in their group. So they will either say things like ''if the group has no Tank, I'll make that character as we Must have one or they will force a player into a concept: "We must have a healbot, so Billy you Must be a healing cleric because we say so.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    JNAProductions's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fighting Demons!

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    A.A character concept is the idea from which the player is building their character.
    B.The character concept must be fun for you to play.
    C.Yes.

    For C you can do just fine with a character concept that just goes with the flow of a setting...like a ship sailing on a river. Or you can go deeper, underwater, and be a big part of the settings current and flow. The first are more generic...you make an elf from the high forest that does not like humans, per the setting notes. The second much more specific: Your high elf warlock is a member of the Blacktree human hunters, per the setting notes.

    There will also be the tricky bit of Role Players vs Roll Players with character concepts.

    Role Player-Make whatever is fun for you and play it.

    Roll Player-You must make a mechanically optimized, most often pure combat murderhobo character to fit into the pure mechanical combat murderhobo group.

    The Roll Players are they types that Must have ''whatever'' is cool at the moment in their group. So they will either say things like ''if the group has no Tank, I'll make that character as we Must have one or they will force a player into a concept: "We must have a healbot, so Billy you Must be a healing cleric because we say so.
    If we're talking D&D, why on EARTH would someone focused on optimization ask someone to play a healbot? That's an incredible waste of resources.

    In addition, you're spouting the Stormwind Fallacy there. People can be excellent roleplayers AND excellent at the game portion of an RPG. Likewise, you can suck hard at the game, but also suck at the roleplaying.

    I'll echo what others have said in the past-it's oftentimes people who are better gamers that are better roleplayers, since they're just plain more experienced.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

    Current Avatar by AsteriskAmp, who is awesome!

    Spoiler: Former Avatars
    Show
    Spoiler: Avatar (Not In Use) By Professor Gnoll!
    Show


    Spoiler: Avatar (Not In Use) By Cdr. Fallout!
    Show

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Honest Tiefling's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    If we're talking D&D, why on EARTH would someone focused on optimization ask someone to play a healbot? That's an incredible waste of resources.
    Because some optimizers really outpace the rest of the group. Having them in support roles can help because they don't overshadow the rest of the party, but can optimize to their heart's content.

    Roll Players aren't the only ones who want to customize the rest of the party to their liking. I've known Role Players also try to demand things such as being the best warrior in the group or not having certain concepts or insisting on evil alignments. Being able to make a character and roleplay a bit doesn't magically make people less of a jerkface.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
    For all of your completely and utterly honest needs. Zaydos made, Tiefling approved.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
    JNAProductions's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fighting Demons!

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Because some optimizers really outpace the rest of the group. Having them in support roles can help because they don't overshadow the rest of the party, but can optimize to their heart's content.

    Roll Players aren't the only ones who want to customize the rest of the party to their liking. I've known Role Players also try to demand things such as being the best warrior in the group or not having certain concepts or insisting on evil alignments. Being able to make a character and roleplay a bit doesn't magically make people less of a jerkface.
    That would explain why an optimizer would PLAY a healbot, but not why they'd force someone else to play one to cover party comp.

    I do hear what you're saying, though.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

    Current Avatar by AsteriskAmp, who is awesome!

    Spoiler: Former Avatars
    Show
    Spoiler: Avatar (Not In Use) By Professor Gnoll!
    Show


    Spoiler: Avatar (Not In Use) By Cdr. Fallout!
    Show

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Imagination Land
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Considering the differing meanings that could be assigned to the term "character concept", ranging anywhere from "one sentence description of personality and character class or play style" all the way to "complete level-by-level character build" or "three page backstory with in-depth roleplaying notes, a family tree, and built-in plot hooks" or some combination thereof, I would say that the only helpful metrics to measure a character concept's usefulness are
    • level of detail,
    • if it is broadly applicable with few if any specific requirements of the game setting or the type of story that it can work in, and
    • that any mechanical choices that are specified (including even basic ones such as race and class) are mechanically sound and make sense within the context of the game in general and with the specific aspects of your group.

    That last criterion includes stuff like "don't play a Paladin when the rest of the party is Evil", "don't make a character that can't contribute to the party", and "don't try to be a laser-shooting robot from outer space in a medieval fantasy game that doesn't include space, lasers, or robots."
    "Nothing you can't spell will ever work." - Will Rogers

    "What you must learn is that these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent. Others can be broken." - Morpheus, The Matrix

    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    A. A character concept is your vision of the character you want to create, to whatever degree of specificity you feel is necessary. For example, you might lay out your character concept as "I want to have a character who blows stuff up with reckless disregard for his and his allies' safety" and then there are any number of ways your system allows you to execute this.

    B. The most important part of a useful character concept is that it has to be fun to play, and that's subjective and not very exciting to say. In my experience, the character concepts that are most fun to play tend to come with stakes in the campaign's objectives. If the GM says a campaign about exploring an unknown land, you might want to have a character who wants to find treasures and get rich, you might want a character who is interested in studying foreign cultures you might meet along the way, and so on. This doesn't mean that sometimes a "reluctant hero" kind of character

    I also like character concepts to start off lean so you can add to it over the course of the campaign. My experience is that large character backstories end up crowding out development over the course of the campaign, and it's those developing traits that end up most compelling. So I prefer something like, "I want to be an elf magician who is quick to blame others when things go wrong and take undeserved credit when things go right" over a seven page backstory.

    It's also good for a character concept to work well with the rest of the group's. You probably don't want that much possibility of violent conflict in your party, like have a wizard who steals people's souls and a paladin who is fanatically and homicidally dedicated to saving people's souls.

    C. Yes, the setting and system will impact what's a useful character concept. In games where your character's personality is impacted by the mechanics, like Pendragon, that gives you numbers for your character's sinful or virtuous behavior, you should probably specify your character's personality in the concepting stage, whereas in games that don't do this so much, like D&D, you can decide on your character's personality while you play.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I find the phrase "character concept" to have a bunch of meaning (and thus be quite confusing). Thus, a few questions for the group.

    a) What is a character concept (to you)?
    b) What characteristics does a "good" concept have (given your answer to the first question)?
    c) Does the "goodness" of a concept vary based on setting or system?

    Note: I've used quotation marks around "good" to emphasize that this is subjective quality here. I actually prefer the terms useful or not useful. Just like scientific models aren't really true or false but are useful (given a set of facts) or not, so are concepts (to me).

    I'll present my thoughts in the next post, but I really want to hear yours so we can come closer to understanding the various ways the phrase is used in this community.
    A: a character concept is the core of the character. it is the foundation upon which all else is built

    B: a good character concept? Hm. well to me, a good character concept is one that captures my imagination and makes me want to tell this characters story, to experience the battles they fight literal or figurative, physical or emotional. Often this means enough pain for me to sympathize with them, but enough strength for them be competent and work with others, often weaving in reasons why one is tied with the other. A good character concept makes them feel like a person that I can bring to life in both good times and bad.

    C: It Absolutely varies by setting! One character I have is completely tied to Anima Beyond Fantasy and no matter how hard I've tried, I simply can't get fit the concept in any other setting, simply because his story is so tied to its specific abilities and how the world works. Another character concept I have is a shadow knight which is similar to him but more general that has more room for fitting in any setting. While I want to play a Sidereal Exalted, but if I tried doing so in any setting that isn't Exalted it wouldn't feel right, yet I've tried to make Solar Exalted multiple times and none of what I came up with ever felt good to me.

    I guess if I was being real general, I'd say I prefer rogue-like, trickster characters, but also action-y combat competent characters, and always good-hearted ones, but the specifics of things of being tricky and clever and having good combats are highly dependent on setting, like its never the characters personality or morality thats the problem, its almost always their abilities. But then again I love to coming up with and playing niche specific concepts like "succubus spy from heaven" or "martial artist who kicks ass through the power of cosplay." or "Only life form to have originated from a black hole" or "ninja that uses paper and ink jutsu, and uses them to make seals" trust the last one is more dangerous and powerful than you'd think. yes those are all character concepts I legit came up with or play or want to play.
    My Fan Fiction:
    To Catch A Mew
    A Kalos based pokemon fan fic. Now up to Chapter 21!



  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    The Fury's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    a) I think of "character concept" as something of an elevator-pitch for the character. As in the most detailed description I can give in one or two sentences.

    b) I'd say a good character concept is one that offers a lot of potential material to work with. Not just for the GM, for me playing the character as well. If I can offer material for the other PCs to play off of too, so much the better.

    c) Based on my answer for b), I'd say it does. On setting I'd add that if your character concept can be used to call attention to the nature of the world, it can make the overall gaming experience that much more memorable. And of course, some systems don't really support certain character concepts so well.
    Iop brain.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Hmmm... My characters generally start with a "Seed" - a single concept from which the rest of the character grows. "How on earth can people play the game for years (or decades) and still not get it, still be this horrible at it?" was the seed that spawned Quertus, my signature character for whom this account was named. "AC can be worse than 10?!" was the seed that spawned Amalak. "You can't make a good X" "Challenge accepted!" is responsible for several of my characters. Etc etc.

    To me, then, "character concept" is everything that grows out of that seed. Despite being an epic level mage, Quertus still doesn't get tactics because he firmly believes that he is an academia mage, not a war wizard; because he firmly believes that it would be irresponsible for him to lose focus on his strengths, as they have saved over 100 worlds, to waste time even trying to learn other schools of thought. Quertus is verbose because a life in academia had only served to reinforce his natural inclination. Etc etc.

    What makes a concept good? Well, for me, how well it facilitates the same things I attempt to optimize (see that thread): my ability to play the character, my (and other's) enjoyment is the character, how true the mechanics are to the concept, how suited the final product is to exploration of the human psyche and the game world.

    No, the inherent goodness of a concept does not vary based on setting. But a different setting, group, or GM can render an otherwise good concept unable to perform its intended function. Thus, yes, those must be taken into consideration when attempting to optimize character selection. But, just because a prom dress isn't suitable for hiking, doesn't make it any less "good" of a prom dress.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Berlin
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    I think part of what makes a concept "useful" is the ability to share the fun with the other players, not just the mechanical aspects of it.
    We're talking about RPG here, so "immersion" can be an important part and creating and playing a character in such a way that the rest of the players (and the gm) can share your personal immersion and can easily envision what you're describing your character is doing is the icing on the cake here.

    Context matters a bit. Some systems are based around some assumptions that certain "roles" or abilities are part of the player group, else the game system will suffer a break-down. Concepts don't happen in a vacuum, should never cater to what the player wishes independent of group and will have to take the overall system into account to be "useful".

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Concepts don't happen in a vacuum, should never cater to what the player wishes independent of group and will have to take the overall system into account to be "useful".
    I come from a drop-in game background, where the group and adventure often don't even exist when the character is first created. In such an environment, concepts by definition have to "cater to what the player wishes independent of group". Now, deciding whether an individual character is appropriate to a given group should, obviously, take the group into account, but there is nothing inherent in the concept or even implementation/creation phases that necessitate taking the group into account.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I come from a drop-in game background, where the group and adventure often don't even exist when the character is first created. In such an environment, concepts by definition have to "cater to what the player wishes independent of group". Now, deciding whether an individual character is appropriate to a given group should, obviously, take the group into account, but there is nothing inherent in the concept or even implementation/creation phases that necessitate taking the group into account.
    That I can't agree with. Characters don't exist outside of a setting (including a particular group). You can play a character with identical initial characteristics, but you're not playing the same character. You're just cloning the starting point and re-implementing it each time. Drop-in games with progressing characters only work in a shared setting and context (even if that context has multiple DMs/games).

    For me, "good" in this context means a positive answer to "is this thing useful for what I want done (or what it's designed to do)." That means that if a particular concept isn't useful at this table (because it doesn't fit the system, campaign, or level/power band), then it isn't good for that purpose. It might be good somewhere else, but not right now.

    And also for me, better concepts apply more broadly and are more adaptable. A hyper-specific concept (that only works if the entire rest of the party buys in heavily and builds the entire campaign around it) is, to me, a bad one 99% of the time. It's a fun dream, but not a useful character. Same goes for characters that require specific events to become playable. "Has killed multiple dragons" doesn't work most places, especially not for a level 1 character.

    An addendum there is that I like concepts that allow change. To pick on you a bit, I find Quertus to be an unbelievable character. People who survive as much as he has, and who are as intelligent as he is, learn and grow. Any concept that requires stasis on the part of a character or that prescribes having a single clear answer to every situation (even if different situations have different answers) is, to me, a poor concept. A character concept should only specify a starting point. So "tactically inept" can be what you are at level 1, but then refusing to change even when you've seen good tactics and had them used on you and by you is bad characterization, IMO. It's not just holding the idiot ball, its being the idiot ball.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    Thematic Spell-List Overhaul: Bringing meaning and specialization to spell-casters for 5e.
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 533 MM and Volo's monsters

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Enemdeebee's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    The Hive

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    There's really no such thing as a bad concept of a character- just a bad execution. Mind you it is possible to come up with concepts that aren't fitting for the setting or the campaign that the GM has in mind, however that doesn't necessarily mean that the concept is bad- it just means that the situation doesn't support such a character. Not to mention- when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons there is no such thing as a Mary Sue... That's what makes it fun to go nuts every once in a while.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    That I can't agree with. Characters don't exist outside of a setting (including a particular group). You can play a character with identical initial characteristics, but you're not playing the same character. You're just cloning the starting point and re-implementing it each time. Drop-in games with progressing characters only work in a shared setting and context (even if that context has multiple DMs/games).

    For me, "good" in this context means a positive answer to "is this thing useful for what I want done (or what it's designed to do)." That means that if a particular concept isn't useful at this table (because it doesn't fit the system, campaign, or level/power band), then it isn't good for that purpose. It might be good somewhere else, but not right now.

    And also for me, better concepts apply more broadly and are more adaptable. A hyper-specific concept (that only works if the entire rest of the party buys in heavily and builds the entire campaign around it) is, to me, a bad one 99% of the time. It's a fun dream, but not a useful character. Same goes for characters that require specific events to become playable. "Has killed multiple dragons" doesn't work most places, especially not for a level 1 character.

    An addendum there is that I like concepts that allow change. To pick on you a bit, I find Quertus to be an unbelievable character. People who survive as much as he has, and who are as intelligent as he is, learn and grow. Any concept that requires stasis on the part of a character or that prescribes having a single clear answer to every situation (even if different situations have different answers) is, to me, a poor concept. A character concept should only specify a starting point. So "tactically inept" can be what you are at level 1, but then refusing to change even when you've seen good tactics and had them used on you and by you is bad characterization, IMO. It's not just holding the idiot ball, its being the idiot ball.
    Don't worry about picking on my examples in the general case - facilitating communication this way is no small part of why I make such examples in the first place.

    In this specific case, of the unbelievable nature of the tactical ineptitude of my signature character, I can only say that the seed of this concept was my own incredulity at just how bad some players could be at RPGs, War Games, etc after years or decades of experience. So, while I completely get your reaction, it's my own experience with it as a reality that was the seed for the character. And I've met others since then who continue to reinforce my belief in the possibility of such levels of ongoing ineptitude. Yes, fact is stranger than fiction.

    While I largely agree with the notion that characters who are broadly applicable being generally better than those who are not ("build a character specific to your campaign? Then it's limited in scope to your campaign. That sounds highly suboptimal"), there is still a place for the specialty character concept. Amalak (aka "this one goes to 11") was built for one specific purpose, and he excelled at that purpose, in a way that one of my more general concepts never could have.

    And I completely agree with the notion of "good for this purpose". A character can absolutely be good for a particular group. Or not. But that does not make the character an inherently good or bad concept overall, at least not in my book. So I think we're on similar pages here in trying to tease apart different meanings, right?

    But the idea that a character isn't the same character, and therefore lacks the ability to grow from their experiences, just because the group changes out from under them, unless there is a shared setting, is quite antithetical to my experiences. Unless, of course, you count "the entire multiverse" as a shared setting, at which point I'd agree, but then I'd feel that the phrase loses any appreciable meaning.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Don't worry about picking on my examples in the general case - facilitating communication this way is no small part of why I make such examples in the first place.

    In this specific case, of the unbelievable nature of the tactical ineptitude of my signature character, I can only say that the seed of this concept was my own incredulity at just how bad some players could be at RPGs, War Games, etc after years or decades of experience. So, while I completely get your reaction, it's my own experience with it as a reality that was the seed for the character. And I've met others since then who continue to reinforce my belief in the possibility of such levels of ongoing ineptitude. Yes, fact is stranger than fiction.
    But those are very different than someone actually living through it. Yes, some people are clueless and remain clueless. But those also don't happen to be people defined by their super-human ability to learn and retain patterns (ie wizards).

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    While I largely agree with the notion that characters who are broadly applicable being generally better than those who are not ("build a character specific to your campaign? Then it's limited in scope to your campaign. That sounds highly suboptimal"), there is still a place for the specialty character concept. Amalak (aka "this one goes to 11") was built for one specific purpose, and he excelled at that purpose, in a way that one of my more general concepts never could have.
    I guess flexible is what I want, not broad. I don't like the idea that an initial character concept is set in stone and no future play can change that (or that you have an right to an immutable concept).

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And I completely agree with the notion of "good for this purpose". A character can absolutely be good for a particular group. Or not. But that does not make the character an inherently good or bad concept overall, at least not in my book. So I think we're on similar pages here in trying to tease apart different meanings, right?
    Yeah, mostly. I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    But the idea that a character isn't the same character, and therefore lacks the ability to grow from their experiences, just because the group changes out from under them, unless there is a shared setting, is quite antithetical to my experiences. Unless, of course, you count "the entire multiverse" as a shared setting, at which point I'd agree, but then I'd feel that the phrase loses any appreciable meaning.
    The same character can run through multiple groups, as long as there's continuity of character and setting. Otherwise you have Ship of Theseus issues. But changing settings requires either something explicit (a portal, for example) and a rebuild. Because your +X ring of Dudeliness doesn't exist (and can't work) in my setting. The underlying fiction doesn't support it. And my own, personal, setting doesn't have portals to other worlds. They exist, certainly, but this one is specifically cut off from them and the whole job of the angelic legions is to keep it that way. I put a strong value on setting coherence. More "everything has a place" than "must follow all logical consequences" coherence.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    Thematic Spell-List Overhaul: Bringing meaning and specialization to spell-casters for 5e.
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 533 MM and Volo's monsters

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But those are very different than someone actually living through it. Yes, some people are clueless and remain clueless. But those also don't happen to be people defined by their super-human ability to learn and retain patterns (ie wizards).
    I've known plenty of idiots who learned to do things the wrong way, and just continued doing it that wrong way. Heck, I've been that idiot (the most trivial example being misspelling or mispronouncing the same word for several decades).

    Being good at learning patterns is in no way a benefit here.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I guess flexible is what I want, not broad. I don't like the idea that an initial character concept is set in stone and no future play can change that (or that you have an right to an immutable concept).
    ... You could be saying lots of things here. If this is merely a reference to my signature character, well, he's not defined as incapable of learning tactics, but, rather, as being among the least inclined to or capable of learning tactics that I can conceptualize. And, from that base, his life experiences have not taught him tactics. In fact, the only character I specifically remember trying to teach him tactics was even worse at tactics, seriously suggesting that buffing the enemy was a good plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The same character can run through multiple groups, as long as there's continuity of character and setting. Otherwise you have Ship of Theseus issues. But changing settings requires either something explicit (a portal, for example) and a rebuild. Because your +X ring of Dudeliness doesn't exist (and can't work) in my setting. The underlying fiction doesn't support it. And my own, personal, setting doesn't have portals to other worlds. They exist, certainly, but this one is specifically cut off from them and the whole job of the angelic legions is to keep it that way. I put a strong value on setting coherence. More "everything has a place" than "must follow all logical consequences" coherence.
    Quertus is quite familiar with magic working differently on different worlds - this is why one of his first custom spells was one to enable him to evaluate the local rules of magic. But his items are his items, whether or not they are currently functional. Just as his spells known does not change just because they are gibberish on a different world. He's written many books on the subject.

    Settings that are cut off from everything else are of no interest to me. However, looking at it from the outside, and killing off all the angels that keep things that way (or just interrogating them, depending on the character), otoh, would be.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    That would explain why an optimizer would PLAY a healbot, but not why they'd force someone else to play one to cover party comp.
    Well, often optimizers and other types of bad roll players, make pure combat characters. They don't want to waste time with healing....BUT at the same time do what their character healed and cared for after a fight. So this leads to the delusion that a group MUST have a healbot and that someone (but not them) MUST be that character. It's part of the modern bad player re-branding to trick other players. ''Sorry Bob, you showed up last so you HAVE to be the healbot as we HAVE to have one to play the game'', and poor Bob will fall for this and be like ''Ok, your right" and do it.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    1: a character needs to some how fit into the setting, or be an enjoyable contrast to it.
    2: a character in a rpg somehow needs to contribute to the progress of the game, preferably in a manner that suits the concept, not be a lodestone to the game.
    3:a character needs to be fun to play.
    yes, I once had a lot of fun playing a neurotic robot from space in a medieval fantasy adventure and courtly intrigue game. (BESM D20 giant robot character, in a DnD 3.5 game). I made a lot of dumb choices with him and I think most everyone enjoyed laughing at my antics. that said I knew when to reel it in and not be such a screw ball.
    at another game I was a barely functioning monk that i intentionally got killed because i had no fun playing it, and the dm was not going to let me change characters otherwise. he perfectly fit the setting to.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Mid-Rohan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    I agree a "good" concept is a useful one, and that criteria will be subjective to at least the character's intended purpose, if not also in the setting in general.

    I don't think every character concept needs to be justified in every setting. For some tables, the setting is just a foil for the game, while in others, the game is just a medium for the story.

    Setting matters to concept to the same varying degree as story matters to the campaign.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: What makes a character concept useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    A.A character concept is the idea from which the player is building their character.
    B.The character concept must be fun for you to play.
    C. Yes.
    That actually sums it up pretty well, except that for B I'd add "and doesn't hinder the rest of the players from enjoying the game", but that's something that actually should be subsumed in "fun for you to play" because ultimately, if your character is hindering the other players enjoyment, either the group will dissolve or there will be some much hostility (possibly both IC an OOC) that it won't be fun for anyone, unless you're one of those people who gets their jollies from ruining other people's fun, in which case, ***** you.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •