We can all agree that adventurers are a little crazy, right? They delve into some of the most dangerous places of their world. Why do they do it? Some for greed, some for a moral mission, some for just the thrill. They all have a reason, but it requires a touch of madness to live a life of near constant kill or be killed. Many of them have tragic histories. They train obsessively at one thing and even make deals with devils for power. So what if you embrace it and play someone who is a lot crazy?
Mad people have more fun!
Just make sure you don’t piss off
your friends and have fun at the expense of the game.
Picture by The Alieness
31 Different Flavors
This isn’t a startling revelation. I’ve seen lots of people play characters who are completely nuts, but they always do it the same way. Chaotic to the extreme, usually violent, saying and doing things for seemingly no reason. That gets boring and frustrating for the group very quickly. Beyond that, it is not very accurate! There are people in the world like that, but they are the most extreme cases. There is a broad spectrum of mental illness out there and interesting character options along the whole scale.
- Mentally ill people are not always manic, as gamers tend to play them. Often they are low, depressed and even suicidal. Getting into three life or death fights a day? That sounds like someone with a death wish to me.
- It’s tempting to just go “space aliens are invading my animal companion!” and get a laugh from the table. You’re crazy right? Madness can result in delusions, but it is not a typically a completely random affair. People who are remotely functional still have a logic. It may be a twisted logic or based on faulty assumptions, but there is a consistency to it.
- They don’t know they are crazy and others likely don’t either. If you want your character to be playable, he must be functional. It might become clear over time that something is off, and things are often exaggerated for roleplay purposes, but that doesn’t mean your character goes around announcing it.
So you can see the guidelines in actions, I’ll provide some examples of characters who are a bit mad but are not just the manic, random-spouting crazy normally seen in games.
Dalton is an illusionist wizard. Over the course of his studies, he has seen master illusionist create phantasms that fool all senses, even displaying some level of autonomy. Questions plagued him during his schooling. What makes me more real than the illusions? How do I know I am not just an illusion, or the whole world around me is? If someone can make a permanent illusion that can fully interact with the environment, isn’t that more real than I am? He quests to advance the knowledge of just what it is to be real and how to be sure anything is.
Tyrus is an avenger of Melora. He destroys logging camps and mining operations and punishes those who occupy them. His peers think that he goes too far, causes too much destruction and kills those who were innocent peices in something much larger. But he enjoys his work, it makes him feel powerful to destroy the enemies of Melora. Isn’t that what his faith is supposed to do?
Alphen is a rogue who trained at a thieves guild and now works with an adventuring party as a scout and trap finder. A lifetime of hanging around backstabbers and looking for deadly traps has deeply affected him. He’s grown paranoid and anxious. He hardly sleeps and only in private places. He ritually checks door and window locks and any potential hiding places before relaxing. Even his party members are not beyond suspicion, he is always on guard for an eventual betrayal.
Ayzore is a fighter with strong faith to Pelor. After losing her husband and daughter to a fire, she was also drained of her will to live. Her faith and nature prevent her from committing suicide, but there are other ways. She signs on for any reckless and doomed cause. She stands in front of the group, drawing the enemies attacks and making the riskiest moves. She secretly looks forward to the day when something is too much for her and she can be reuinited with her family.
Have you played a character with a touch of madness? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.