Being Your Role-Playing Character

Posted by mouthyb | Posted in | Posted on 11:47 PM

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Some people say they fall in love with their characters, that they identify intensely with their character's struggles during a path, that they are truly bothered when their characters die.

Many (MANY) years ago, I took the first round of drama classes, mostly out of curiosity (and to use up some electives). The professor assigned me the role of Emily Dickenson, at a press conference. If you know her history, you know she would never have submitted to one after her public humiliation at the hand of local literary critics, and that press conferences, such as they were, would not have been held for her. He gave me a day to research her, then I had to perform her.

As a character, she's an odd mix of brash and shy. I thought it would be appropriate to have her trembling, barely able to lift a cup to her mouth, hands fluttering like birds around her chest, trying vainly to be unseen, unless asked about her work. She was a lion when asked about her work. While I didn't fall in love with her, I felt I understood her.

The Traveller game we just started has me playing a noblewoman who is vapid in society and sharp in private. It's a lot of fun to play these characters, to step into those shoes and try to think like someone who had been taught to be a social ornament, but longs to be a captain of industry.

I played tabletop a little when I was young (not much, as it was the eighties and D&D meant you were asking to be possessed by Satan.) I don't remember having nearly as much fun with it as I am now that I know I'm not being possessed by demons and I less ashamed of my nerdiness.

Each game we start gives me a new chance to be someone else. It's fun to escape from work and life for awhile and be an explorer in a personalized universe.

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