PLAY SORCERER 26: Building a Human Player Character

Sorcerer_Cover

Some things to keep in mind when building your Character:

Your Character begins with a positive Humanity score. That means, by definition, you Character is not a monster. Your Character is person with all the human feelings that all of us have: Connection to others, a desire for love, hopes, fears, a knowledge of right and wrong. When you dreaming up your Character during the Character creation session, never forget this. Your Character is one of the main Characters of a story. Just as we need to be caught up in the story of the lead characters on a television show or a movie or a book, so your Character must be the kind of fictional creation that would appeal to other people—not just you.

How do you do this, especially with the awareness that your character might do horrible things. Brutal things. Inhuman things.

Well, the first thing to think about is context. Why is the Character doing these things? What are the circumstances of the Character’s life? Why did the Character contact, summon and bind a Demon in the first place? What was the compelling reason? Who does the Character love? What is at stake? What does the Character desire? What is the Character trying to make right? What wrong is the Character trying to inflict and for what reason?

If you look at the bibliography listed in Sorcerer you’ll find plenty of stories to tap for inspiration. And I’m going to suggest you look hard at that list.

From my own experience, I tap the Greek Tragedies, Shakespeare’s Tragedies, television shows like Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, Rome, Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Shield and feature films like The Godfather Parts 1 & 2, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Memento, as examples of solid references for lead characters who do horrible things for reasons that are clear and even sympathetic in their context. They might not have the supernatural vibe that fills a Sorcerer game, but you’ll note that all the main characters of those stories have reasons that we can empathize with even if we don’t agree with them and lives full of connections to other characters that are at risk as they move forward with their plans.

I can tell you right now that the men and women who created those stories listed above wrote from their hearts—”When would I do the wrong thing, to protect my wife, my husband, my children, my career, my nation, my faith, my society, and so on… if I knew I could and only had to get away with it.” Or, “What justice would I impose…?” Or “What prize would I bring home…?” Or “What need would I fulfill…?” Or “What desire would I make mine…?” whether inspired by hate or love or passion.

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