A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Male

    Default Character development for the long term (roleplay side)

    This morning I thought again about the last D&D character I played (or more accurately, a horrible aberration of D&D I played), a plant focused druid that worshipped the nature goddess. During the campaign he became more and more fanatic, started a religious order / cult after we founded / conquered a city, plotted to convert EVERYONE to the cult, accumulated economic power, and even once negotiated a trade deal with other druids while everyone was high.

    At a certain point though, it felt like the character development was sort of done. He sort of reached his final stage, and other than becoming stronger and continuing in the same trends, I didn't have anywhere to go personality wise with him. There was a larger narrative that would have changed the character eventually if the campaign would have proceeded, and I would have probably done something regardless, but it would have been much slower than the other characters.

    Lately I have a bunch of D&D character ideas, and I realized I didn't really think much about how their personalities could develop. Would they eventually reach the same kind of dead end? Could they develop and change forever? should it even be a goal?

    So, other then sharing my thoughts with you, I wanted to ask: when you are building characters, how much do you think about how their personalities would change during the course of the campaign? Do you think that building a character that could develop endlessly should be a goal?
    A world behind the mirror (stand alone plane)
    (Wall) passer, a rogue variant
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    Wyoming
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    Default Re: Character development for the long term (roleplay side)

    Typically, I don't. I don't usually know how the campaign will go, so there's a lot of ways the character could go. I typically try to set up some goals and desires and general behaviours for them, so that when things do come up I can tell if they're interested and how they'll act.

    It's nice to think that people (and characters as sorta-people) can change infinitely, but the reality is that they'll likely reach a place they're comfortable with and just kinda plateau. I wouldn't say its bad or good, just normal.
    Knowledge brings the sting of disillusionment, but the pain teaches perspective.
    "You know it's all fake right?"
    "...yeah, but it makes me feel better."

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
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    Jul 2021
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    Male

    Default Re: Character development for the long term (roleplay side)

    I typically just create a character that seems fun without much consideration of how the character develops. I don't really think long term character development though sometimes certain directions crosses my mind.
    Just a note i got adhd and autism.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    KorvinStarmast's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Texas
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    Male

    Default Re: Character development for the long term (roleplay side)

    I do emergent character development in most cases. The PC runs into stuff in the world, and if the character survives some in-world, campaign specific, goals tend to arise during play. So the character pursues them. As Tier 2 comes to a close there is usually (with one exception, a Champion in Tier 3 who just wants to keep on fighting and adventuring) an overarching "thing" in world or in an adjacent plane that the PC wants to either create, destroy, or change.

    Trying to set out "my life goal" at level 1 is, for me, not a practical exercise.

    I had an interesting "my life's motivation" play out, finally, at level 12 recently. Bard was motivated by revenge on the {censored} who took down her ship (sailor background) and killed her shipmates. Revenge. Well, at long last, she found that villain and not only killed him, but then took the hilt of her rapier and knelt by his corpse, and slammed the hilt down again and again into the skull, with each blow screaming out "For {shipmate name}!" until she had rendered the skull into a pile of goo and bone splinters. She then threw the entire corpse into a fire and watched it burn.

    She thought that she'd feel better now that she'd had fulfilled her lifelong vow. Instead, she found herself empty. The inner monologue more or less went like this:
    "Now that I've fulfilled my sworn oath of vengeance, what do I do?"
    Magic 8 ball inside her head returned "Future hazy, ask again later."
    Yes, she's got voices in her head. They sometimes sing in harmony when she's giving a public performance.

    Her subsequent adventures have been undertaken both to support the goals of her comrades, and with the desire to establish a more positive purpose to (the rest of) her life than revenge.

    So far, she's still seeking...and I'm working with the DM on some long term goals now.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-11-18 at 09:59 AM.
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    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Character development for the long term (roleplay side)

    I really don't give it any thought.

    Usually, I start with a simple goal, like, "see that bandit attacks, like the one that killed my father, are no longer a problem".

    Usually, in pursuit of that goal, if the character continues long enough, I trace the problems back to their source, and I eventually end up with, "kill all the gods, replace them with something better".

    In between is an unplanned black box.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Character development for the long term (roleplay side)

    Quote Originally Posted by akma View Post
    So, other then sharing my thoughts with you, I wanted to ask: when you are building characters, how much do you think about how their personalities would change during the course of the campaign? Do you think that building a character that could develop endlessly should be a goal?
    Great question. Iíd say yes and no. For me itís a goal but the less I think about it the more successful it is. So when I make a character I want them to have lots of potential for development, but I donít plan how theyíll develop. I like the character development - and for that matter the narrative of the campaign as a whole - to be very organic. I canít plan or predict how my character will develop because I donít know how the campaign will develop and neither does anyone else (including the GM). So as long as I have a strong core concept with some blanks left in it, Iím happy.

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