Friday, July 30, 2010

Character Types Part 10 - The Wanna Be Hero

Today marks a big day for the Character Type series on this blog, today the series hits double digits with the 10th installment. I considered trying to do something super special, but honestly when talking about character types you are essentially talking about character tropes so how do you really do special with that? Instead, I figured I would go with one that is fairly basic, you see it in a lot of fiction, in a lot of tv shows, movies, comics, books, but I haven't seen a lot of it around the RPG table. Today, I want to talk about those characters, those young and naive fools, who want to be a hero.

Even if you think you don't know what I'm talking about, I bet you can name - or at least recognize - a few that fit this trope at least early on in their careers. People like Luke Skywalker, Eragon, Parn from Record of Lodoss War. Almost any time you have a main character that is young and naive but has spent their days dreaming of going off on epic adventures you have the Wannabe Hero.

Now, this is important to note, I am specifically talking about the young and naive types here, not the ones like say Boromir from Lord of the Rings who are actually accomplished adventurers already and just have a craving for Glory. That is something totally different.

Playing The Wannabe
So what do you need to play a wannabe? Honestly, not much. This is one of the tropes that really just needs RP on your part. It will help to be bringing the character in as low powered, the beginning of the journey. In  a new campaign you can expect your enthusiasm to get you a bid for the party leader`, and enthusiasm really is the name of the game here. This isn't going out on adventure, this is Going Out On An Adventure! The stuff you've dreamed about your whole life, perhaps even been scolded for. Even if the game starts with a negative sweep, the enthusiasm the character has for living their dream will probably show through, if muted by the tragedy that just befell.

As the game goes on the character should grow up, if you really get into the Role Play expect a few depression stages as the real world shows that adventuring is not all fun and games like it is made out to be in the stories. There actually are hardships, and while camping out is cool it loses the fun when it's the 300th time in a row you've done it, your tent has holes in it, your most recent stab wound is inflamed, and it is raining...again.

If you're lucky, and you keep with it, you will learn a lot about the character as the dream is stripped away and you find out what is beneath. Do they have the stuff of heroes inside them? Will they manage to persevere and pull through? Or end up jaded and bitter at the world, just another cruel and vicious bastard who has learned how to wield a sword better than most others around them. That is the development choice you get to make though.

Statting Yourself Out
One of the great things about this trope is that it can actually fit into almost any character class you can think of. Traditionally though, you're looking at a bread and butter Warrior, Knight, or Paladin type. The idealism really seems to suit the Paladin and Knight types, and the Warrior catches most that fall through the cracks. Don't let this stop you from doing it with other characters though, while it may be strange on a rogue, the key thing you are looking for here is young, naive, and enthusiastic about being on an adventure. Long as the character can dream big, and starts off with limited knowledge about the world you're on the right track.

Things to Avoid
There is a tendency for people to add a bit of edginess to their characters, it's perfectly fine and cool usually but something you want to avoid with this character type. This is one of those characters that marks itself as different because of how normal it actually is. No great trauma at home (the GM may fix that later), both parents who loved them, very likely a traditional upbringing in some small and quiet town. In fantasy you can expect to be from a farming area of some sort.

This character type actually makes itself unique by embracing normalcy and cliche. As said, loving parents, quiet upbringing, normal morals, nothing traumatic in the past, just young and eager to make a difference in the world while believing that one person genuinely can if they're good enough. Try it out, it is a lot of fun.

There really isn't a lot more to this, quite basic, character type than that. You can really do what you want, and when you play it right you get to experience the full Hero's journey (or some modification there of). Talk to your GM when you want to do this, ask them to help set things up. If the other members of the group don't mind, it may even be worth it to set things up so your character could in fact be the hero of prophecy or legend that is coming around to save the world.

Just have fun with it, and Happy Gaming.

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