Faces of Role-Playing
When role-players are asked to describe some of their most memorable characters, three types of characters seemed to emerge. These character types are also largely corroborated by the role-players themselves in a latter question asking them to describe the range in and any common tropes or fads they observe among role-played characters. Roughly, these three types are the Tragic, the Zany, and the Interaction-Scripted.
They killed my parents, my sister, my dog, and my entire village
One pervasive theme among created characters was having a tragic past (the "Tragic"). Descriptions of slain parents, loved ones, and pillaged towns during early childhood were common in the background stories of many characters.
With the boy still not willing to give up his beliefs and learn the ways of magic, the wizard took a drastic step; he killed every single member of the order while the boy was out studying the wildlife. [WoW, M, 20]
From the time she was seventeen or so, everyone she became close to inevitably was killed. [Neverwinter Nights, F, 23]
Her family's farm was destroyed when she was four, and her family killed, but a valiant hero on a horse managed to rescue her, and bring her to Northshire Abbey, where she was raised to be a priest. [WoW, F, 18]
To a certain degree, this mechanism might serve to avoid the possibility of having to deal with a certain category of people. As one player put it succinctly:
On WoW, everyone is an orphan. Well, that's true most places where you roleplay because it's easier than having any kind of relationship with ... parents. *gasp* [WoW, F, 21]
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