Faces of Role-Playing
Another class of character types are deliberately humor-driven (the "Zany"). These characters typically do not have elaborate background stories as much as they have incredibly quirky characteristics or beliefs (typically comically delusional). And even when background stories are invoked, they are almost never tragic or emotionally scarring, but serve to better explain the character quirk.
A crazy scenario. A gnome who was abandoned at birth on the doorstep of someone in Teldrassil. So he's raised by Night Elves and thinks he's just a short elf with stubby ears. [WoW, M, 32]
My most memorable concept was a gnome necromancer in EQ1 who became a necro in order to raise his wife from the dead. He had her soul stored inside a clockwork gnome, which he commonly talked to and followed around the city. [EQ2, M, 24]
Dexter grew up a very poor boy. His father, an abusive alcoholic retired clown with a story of his own, would often throw books at Dexter because, no matter how little Dexter ate, he seemed to always gain weight. The unfortunate fact was, though, that Dexter was suffering from a rare form of Elephantitis, caused by the very books thrown at him. [CoH, M, 27]
This character type is recognized by other players and is sometimes seen as the polar opposite of the dramatic types with tragic pasts, both of which can become stagnant when role-played poorly.
The first style is 'serious' roleplaying, which relies heavily on pre-scripted events, and contains quite a bit of drama and tension, sometimes to soap opera levels. The other style is 'humourous' roleplaying, which usually relies on a few 'concept character quirks' to react non-seriously to any situation. The 'serious' style of roleplaying sometimes turn to angstfests and excessive conflicts, while the 'humourous' style has quite a lot of throwaway gags repeated ad infinitum. [CoH, M, 23]
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