07 December 2006

Your Favorite RPG Character

I'd like to know, gentle reader, if you have a favorite RPG character of your creation. Last night I found mine, Shizuka from our Sorcerer game.
It doesn't take much for me to cry at movies or in dramatic moments on books or TV, so it's no surprise that I'm really sad for my Sorcerer character Shizuka. At first I thought she was just a nervous wreck, near a breakdown, but I realized this morning, after pondering what transpired last night, that perhaps she just enjoys pain, arguing, and being unhappy. That really sucks for her, because her demon's need was that he needed to make her happy. And we all know that not even the funniest clown can make someone who wants to be unhappy become happy. She wasn't feeding his need, so her homicidal demon husband left her. The last straw was that after he admitted to killing their children, she asked him to get a demon vasectomy, which seemed to be a logical request at the time, but probably not something one should ask if you and your partner are not getting along, or when you're both high on opium. After I said it, Vincent, the GM, flipped through the book to clarify demon rebellion and unbinding. I thought, aw, crap. Shizuka is screwed. Even my husband, who has very little to say about my gaming experiences because I tend to talk to him about it when I come home and he's geekin' over his Think Tanks game quickly chimed in that it was a bad thing to say. It's a bad thing to say when I mention the V word between us. But every time I say "let's have another baby", he gets all prickly and grimacy, too. I don't get it, but I digress...
The kicker started out as something just to be scary: She finds a dead baby in a beautiful wooden box. But her reaction to it was the kiss of death for the marriage. She didn't trust Tai (demon husband) anymore. She thought he had something to do with the appearance of the box (I'm still unclear of how it appeared), and that maybe he put it where she would see it to be cruel. She's touchy about babies, having had 5 that just disappeared, and she overreacted.
Speaking of babies, at first I thought she was all about having the babies, but also came to see her mother wanted grandchildren much more than Shizuka wanted to make them.
Her price is that she has large gap memory loss (and I play it that she conveniently forgets painful things as well, and remembers things incorrectly, or just enough not to have an accurate account of what happened) So all these years she's relied on Tai to tell her the truth about what's happened, since she can't or won't remember. She doesn't trust him, and her denial and desire to forget a succession of traumas (the husband killing all 5 of their children mere weeks after they were born, year after year), caused her not to ask the all-important "why?" When she got the answer (they would have turned into really horrible demons) Tai was on the way out the door. Sad. (And still the Shizuka in me thinks, would they really go evil? Tai's not that evil and he's the father.)
I love it when you think you've formed something about your character that ends up only being true on the surface. While your initial statements about your character may be X, their reactions and expereinces show that Y is truer. Like the baby in the box thing. Since her cover is that she's an ethnobotanist, I've explored that maybe she tends to abuse opium, which can also account for a lot of memory loss, mental confusion, hallucination, delusions, etc.
I've found it great fun to play characters whose inspiration comes from a part of me I'm not comfortable with, and I had to get past the fact that I was exposing my own bad sides. I got inspiration for Shizuka from me....
~Ages 19-22, when I not-so-secretly enjoyed being unhappy.
~Ages 22-24, when I was very unfortuneately romantically involved in two toxic relationships and cared very much for both people. (one of whom I'm still friends with, but the toxicity is all cleaned up)
~On those days when I wake up in the morning and am just looking to pick a fight with anyone who crosses my path (and it tends to be the husband)
~That phase before I met the husband when I loved the Bad Boys.
~That part of me that can be really passive aggressive to the husband, even though I know it's wrong.
~The part of me that has nightmares of the husband leaving me without any explanation or contact afterwards. And that came through in play in an eerie scene. Shizuka tried to summon Tai. She wrote in her own blood a long letter of contrition [My beloved Tai, I'm sorry I've been such a bitch lately...Perhaps a vasectomy is not a good idea at this time...If you come back, I'll laugh at your jokes, praise your superior cooking, work at being a better wife who is attentive to your needs...], begging for forgiveness, did her ritual summoning of placing the letter in water, chanted, burned inscence, surrounded herself in Tai's possessions. Due to my crappy roll of the dice, the summoning failed, and Tai did not show. That he did not respond in the least was beautiful. Horribly beautiful. I've had that nightmare before--where the husband and I have a fight, he walks out, and I can't talk to him. That scene gave me chills.
Everyone else's stories are intense and depressing. There isn't much of an emotional reprieve, except for the fact that Shizuka has only interacted with Harriet, Meg's character, whom Tai tried to brain with a hammer. I get to sit and listen to Joshua and Emily do their story-telling. Amazingly, Harriet agreed to help Shizuka locate Tai. It could have been a light moment in the whole game, but Shizuka willingly cut off the tip of her pinkie to feed to Harriet's knick knack making, bone eating well demon, as retribution for Tai's attempted murder of Harriet, and clogging her well with 6 yen pieces. We've stayed consistently dark, even darkly funny.

So there's mine. What's yours? What was (even if so far) your favorite scene? What inspired their formation? How did they evolve? Where did your characters end and you begin, and round the other way?
I've only been doing role playing games for less than a year. I have been really lucky to have played with wickedly imaginative GM's too! Growing up I played lots of pretend, and in high school I had a couple of friends that I did a free form kind of role playing-story telling thing. In nursing school we did lots of role playing to gain perspective on patient/nurse relations. And I do SCA here and there, love to dress in Renaissance and Faire garb. I like to play pretend, but my "formal" role playing experience is pretty limited. (Shhhh....I've never played D&D, and don't really plan to...) I'm amazed how drawn into a story and how attached to a character one can get. So I'm curious to hear other people's experiences with characters that really stuck to them or haunted them.

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