Posts belonging to Category Character archetypes

On Differentiating Antagonists

We know all characters need to be differentiated one way or another, but it’s particularly important for antagonists. After all, even in standard fiction, villains drive the story enough that it takes a really spectacular main character to make up for a bad one, and—well, since the protagonist in a game’s been outsourced to the [...]

Networking Characters

Most characters’ power seems to lie either in themselves or in a relatively easily accessible source. Among the mundane characters, you get the strong, and the clever, and the beautiful, and often combinations of the above; among the powered, you get innate superpowers, you get drawing from magical leylines or the local equivalent… you get [...]

In Defense of Destroyer Rationality

UZ, in an eloquent response to the Generic Villain riff on filling the destroyer archetype, commented that
In short, every destroyer is an aggrieved child throwing an elaborate and highly effective tantrum against the fact that life is not fair. As a reader or player invested in the reality of the fantasy story, we’re not supposed [...]

Ways to Meet the Antagonist

Yesterday, I talked about antagonists who just plain don’t show up on stage, and what can go well or wrong with them. So if you’re finding yourself with an antagonist who really should be up there but for whatever reason can’t be, what sorts of things might you do about it? Here are four (three [...]

The Absent Antagonist

Most antagonists have a lot of screen time, even a tendency to chew up the scenery when they show up. It’s to be expected, right? They’re the ones who are pushing half the action, and without them there wouldn’t be a plot. But sometimes you get one who for whatever reason is never on stage. [...]

Three Concept-Breaker Archetypes

Some villains try to take over the world. Some try to destroy it. And then there are the ones who end up targeting concepts, as often as not ones important to the protagonists. Yesterday’s Generic Villain post, and some conversations I had about it, got me thinking about these sorts of antagonists, and I found [...]

Presentation of Madness, Axes of Insanity

For me, the toughest part of presenting insane characters has always been their portrayal. There’s a lot to balance: making the character different without making her obnoxious. Not turning her into a one-note character, nor offending/triggering people who have had to deal with real live mental disorders (one of the reasons why I tend not [...]

Insanity: Creating a Pre-Maddened Character

Insanity is an interesting character trait, when done properly. It creates a little differentiation between the character and those otherwise like her, lets you explore a slightly different style of logic (particularly when you’re going for rational except for a few important details, or when the challenge is seeing what kinds of things you can [...]

Willing to Talk

One of the advantages I’ve always found of tabletop RPGs as compared to console RPGs is the ability to talk to one’s enemies, whether it’s face to face, by distant proxy, even (perhaps especially) in the middle of a battle. In fact, battle banter is one of the few situations in which I will almost [...]

Character Exercise: Comfortable Authority Levels

Like everything else, how much authority and in what form people are comfortable with varies from person to person, and from character to character. I find, though, that there are certain bands in which they lie, and knowing about these bands can make for an interesting way of further differentiating characters and figuring out where [...]