So Rowan has a nice post on character names, and it galvanized me to finally write a post I’ve been meaning to do for a long time (having the day off helps too). Like Rowan, I have a character name or two that I tend to reuse. Actually more than that. I have a host of them, each for a specific purpose, and most of them modeled off of Jungian archetypes.
So for example, I have a character named Erhlinger in many of my games. Ehrlinger is dark. Often a rebel, he (or at times, she) does not fit in with the culture he grew up in. He craves power, but for protection and security of self against the perception of a world that has declared war on him personally. There is opportunity for growth and learning and perhaps even a chance to play the hero, but it will take the impact of others around him and the shared experiences of that adventure. So how does that change from game to game?
Well, in Everquest, that’s my Erudite Shadowknight, in World of Warcraft, my Forsaken Rogue. So the specifics of race and background change from game to game and setting to setting, but some core part of the character remains. And that creative tension is sometimes nice. In Everquest, the character has access to some pretty strong magic. In Warcraft, not so much. How does that change the character and their outlook? And that’s just one example.
Its a lot of fun then, for me, to approach new games and newly created characters (one of the reasons I have altitis, obviously).
Its also one of the reasons I really enjoy a sandbox game. The truth is that even a really good writer could not give me a story as interesting or compelling as the ones that I am making up as I go with all that rattling around in my head. I need a good set of lore and a stage on which to play it all out.
Do I ever have “new” heroes? Yep, you betchya! Sometimes the game just calls for it, or I want to take a break from playing with my usual toys. And then, if those are fun and good enough, I add them into the stable of heroes to pull from again later. And then sometimes I break out an old favorite. Ehrlinger hasn’t made an appearance in a long time (and he is not the oldest in my stable). When ArcheAge releases, maybe I take him off the shelf, dust him off and play with him again. After all I wanted to do an Occultism/Shadowplay/Vitalism character there…so, consulting the table, that would make him a Doombringer. Well now…how about that? Looks like this time, Ehrlinger is not fighting a losing battle against the world, he is fighting a winning one.
So the rest of the stable? Well there are too many to really go through in a single blog post. But if there is interest, I could from time to time highlight a new hero and some of their various incarnations over the years.