WISH question: Reusing characters

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WISH question: Reusing characters

Postby Nuadha » Mon Apr 14, 2003 11:56 am

A friend, Ginger has a blog (http://www.whiterose.org/pam/) and on it she posts a roleplaying question for people to answer each week.

I thought it would be interesting to post them here for the people here to answer.

This weeks question:

Do you ever reuse characters from game to game? When you reuse characters, what do you bring from game to game: a name and a personality, stats, or more? What kinds of characters do you reuse and why? If you GM, do you like to have players bring in existing characters? Why?

I'll come back later and give my answer.
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Re: WISH question: Reusing characters

Postby SmokestackJones » Mon Apr 14, 2003 12:45 pm

Nuadha wrote:A friend, Ginger has a blog (http://www.whiterose.org/pam/) and on it she posts a roleplaying question for people to answer each week.

I thought it would be interesting to post them here for the people here to answer.

This weeks question:

Do you ever reuse characters from game to game? When you reuse characters, what do you bring from game to game: a name and a personality, stats, or more? What kinds of characters do you reuse and why? If you GM, do you like to have players bring in existing characters? Why?

I'll come back later and give my answer.


Whoops, goofed a post.

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Postby Strand0 » Mon Apr 14, 2003 1:42 pm

What is blog? :o
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Postby The Architect » Mon Apr 14, 2003 2:13 pm

Strand0 wrote:What is blog? :o


It's short for weblog, which is an online journal.
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Postby Nuadha » Mon Apr 14, 2003 2:16 pm

It's a web log, an online journal of sorts. If you've ever read a Live Journal, it's the same basic thing. People post all sorts of things on blogs these days.

As for my answer to the question:

I played in a GM's game once where he built heavily off of the characters that he liked in previous games. Because of this, he seemed to have a strong emotional attachment to the characters and could do no wrong. They were also infinitely more powerful than the new and less experienced PCs. This got annoying as hell for the new players and their characters. It seemed like these NPCs were more important to the plot than the PCs. For this reason, I have been very hesitant to use returning characters in my newer campaigns.

The exception has been the entertaining but generally ineffectual character. In the Changeling game I run, there is a cowardly dog-pooka named Buck that I've kept around from game to game, adapting to settings.

I've also kept an ongoing gag character in almost every game I've ever run: Og. You've heard of the Eternal Champion? Og is the eternal big, dumb, warrior. The level of his dumbness and his strength has been relative to the game he's been in, but he's always there. Occasionally, he's not even been named Og. (In a long-running Star Trek game I ran once, he appeared as a Security officer named Lt. Ogden Tral.) He's fun.

For the most part, I try as a GM to make new characters.

As a player, there have been very few characters I've brought back for other games, but when I do, I try to adapt the basic idea to the game I'm playing in. They've had to be characters that I *really* loved.[/b]
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Re: WISH question: Reusing characters

Postby Albert Deschesne » Mon Apr 14, 2003 4:59 pm

Nuadha wrote:Do you ever reuse characters from game to game? When you reuse characters, what do you bring from game to game: a name and a personality, stats, or more? What kinds of characters do you reuse and why? If you GM, do you like to have players bring in existing characters? Why?

I'll come back later and give my answer.


As a matter of fact I and several of my friends do... we call them Eternal Champions (After the Micheal Moorcook book). Psihawk (My avatar) is one such character of mine. I have D&D, Spycraft, Space Opera, Western Hero and other genre versions of him. It's just something we started doing because we like drawing up the same guy in different genres.
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Postby bushido11 » Mon Apr 14, 2003 8:51 pm

I have a character I like to reuse from game to game. His name is Drake DuKain, and I've made an AD&D version of him (ninja class in a dark future setting), Shadowrun (Physical Adept), Fudge, BESM, Star Wars (Jedi/Scoundrel), GURPS, M&M, and HERO. I personally think HERO, GURPS, and M&M depicted him best (those are gimmes right there). I've drawn many versions of him, the first one looking like a mix of Charlie from Street Fighter Alpha and Trunks from DBZ and his latest incarnation with the very similar lookalike of New X-Man's Iceman (with his head of course).
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Postby MasonsDad » Mon Apr 14, 2003 9:47 pm

Psihawk (My avatar) is one such character of mine. I have D&D, Spycraft, Space Opera, Western Hero and other genre versions of him. It's just something we started doing because we like drawing up the same guy in different genres.

So...we've seen the Metaverse version...let's have the others. Seeing your drawings is always cool.
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Postby Albert Deschesne » Mon Apr 14, 2003 11:09 pm

MasonsDad wrote:
Psihawk (My avatar) is one such character of mine. I have D&D, Spycraft, Space Opera, Western Hero and other genre versions of him. It's just something we started doing because we like drawing up the same guy in different genres.

So...we've seen the Metaverse version...let's have the others. Seeing your drawings is always cool.


Okay, since you asked...
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As you can see, it's an old one from 1991... D&D of course. The others aren't scanned in yet, but you get the drift.
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Postby J.T » Mon Apr 14, 2003 11:09 pm

Nuadha writes

"I played in a GM's game once where he built heavily off of the characters that he liked in previous games. Because of this, he seemed to have a strong emotional attachment to the characters and could do no wrong"


I've been there with a GM as well - it gets worse if that same GM's brother is playing in the games - His character always ends up saving the day and always, always is the leader of the group.

Not only do the NPC's get more play time the games ended up being more of a solo adventure with the GM's brother being the star.

Luckly I went off th college a year later and been gaming happyly for the last 16 years.

This is why I never allow reused characters in my games, NPCs or PCs.
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Postby MasonsDad » Tue Apr 15, 2003 1:33 am

Okay, since you asked...

Thanks AD...I was right, he IS cool.
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Postby Sketchpad » Tue Apr 15, 2003 3:52 am

I use a few characters over and over ... in fact, I've used the shorter version of mt screen name in many games ;) One was a pirate in D&D, another was a galactic explorer and lawman ... and another was an anti-hero that could draw things into life (ala Create Object) :)
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Postby Storn » Tue Apr 15, 2003 5:25 am

I dislike re-used characters. Either as a player or as a GM. I have introduced a few re-used characters, but they've often been because the original was never played more than twice. As a GM, someone tries to come in with a previous character (often done in another system) and they have all these expectations of how that character is going to work out. Well, since I'm not the original GM, it never works out along those lines. The environment, the other PCs, the tactics, sometimes even the system are different.

But truth is, I have more ideas and characters in my head than I have ever created. Ideas are easy. Finding time to flesh them out is not. I want to explore new areas of role-playing, especially characters, not re-hash old ones.
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Postby Chocobo » Tue Apr 15, 2003 10:03 am

I never used to reuse characters, it made no sense to me because you can't play the same character in a different game. No matter what you do they're going to end up a different person.

But about a year ago, I started reading Ultimate X-Men and Exiles. And I started reading the Eternal Champion books. And something sort of clicks... the X-Men are Eternal Champions...

So I made a D&D adventure, with premade characters:
A one-eyed rogue archer called Cyclops
An elemental adept called Storm
A hobgoblin cleric called Beast
A ghostwalker called Phoenix
(no wolverine, that guy gets too much attention already)

It was cool. Not exactly like I hoped, but close enough... the players obviously figured out they were X-Men, but they didn't really have powers - just regular D&D characters. Still they played like they were super-heroes trying to save a world that scorned them as outcasts, not just adventurers looking for treasure. But a lot of the roles are switched around... Cyclops is a thief, and Storm is the brains, Phoenix is a brick, and Beast is a healer.

Anyway, it was fun.
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Postby threshel » Tue Apr 15, 2003 11:22 am

Sometimes I'll revisit themes and ability combos that I really like, but straight reuse? No, unless I feel the character was never really played (only a couple of sessions, etc.). Characters who die fast don't count. They stay dead unless res'd.


Chocobo wrote:(no wolverine, that guy gets too much attention already)


Hear, hear. Besides, you'd just have a table of players who all wanted to play the one character. ;)

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Postby zornwil » Wed Apr 16, 2003 12:47 pm

Nuadha wrote:<snip>

I've also kept an ongoing gag character in almost every game I've ever run: Og. You've heard of the Eternal Champion? Og is the eternal big, dumb, warrior. The level of his dumbness and his strength has been relative to the game he's been in, but he's always there. Occasionally, he's not even been named Og. (In a long-running Star Trek game I ran once, he appeared as a Security officer named Lt. Ogden Tral.) He's fun.

[/b]


Hey, you stole my Og!!!! I want $s for that!

Seriously, though, I "invented" (for the record around 1984) Og, King of Assholes. But I haven't used him much, it's never worked out as well as I'd liked. He's gotten a bit of a revival in my current campaign world in a villain adventure. He is, of course, a complete asshole, who announces it proudly (declaring, "I AM OG..........KING...OF ASSHOLES!!!!"), his personality has an unnerving effect on those around him.

Since I chimed in, generally, I try not to reuse too many characters. I do reuse some but I either change them noticeably or diminish or enhance their role (usually diminishing if it was pronounced in the past, and enhancing if it was small in the past). Also, if particular characters get a lot of mileage (like a dysfunctional and stereotyped Fantastic Four did in my prior campaign) then I usually drop them since they're played out.
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Postby The Fifth Wanderer » Wed Apr 16, 2003 2:12 pm

I tend to reuse character concepts and personalities more than the actual characters themselves. Saves me what I consider the hardest part of character creation.

Of course, they have run into a certain claymore-wielding immortal Scotsman in more than one campaign. :green:
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Postby corwyn » Sat Aug 09, 2003 11:29 am

Storn wrote:I dislike re-used characters. Either as a player or as a GM. I have introduced a few re-used characters, but they've often been because the original was never played more than twice. As a GM, someone tries to come in with a previous character (often done in another system) and they have all these expectations of how that character is going to work out. Well, since I'm not the original GM, it never works out along those lines. The environment, the other PCs, the tactics, sometimes even the system are different..


I never rehash a different variant of an old character (unless the original campaign was stillborn and I never really got the chance to play him - I've done that twice) but I have reused the same actual character in multiple games, a dimension-hopping gnome illusionist-scout named, ahem, Corwyn. 5 campaigns in two systems (DnD2e and GURPS) under 3 GMs. And yes, the later games weren't the same but they were still good experiences, largely because they shared a number of players/GMs and, in one case, another PC (a musketeer who found the fountain of youth and rejoined me ~80 years later in Transylvania).




But truth is, I have more ideas and characters in my head than I have ever created. Ideas are easy. Finding time to flesh them out is not. I want to explore new areas of role-playing, especially characters, not re-hash old ones.


I agree with this in general aside from the above exception. I keep returning to themes (skill-heavy gadgeteers or rogue/mages, depending on the genre) but I try to make consecutive characters very different. The last game I played in - still ongoing - I played a green hornet/sandman type, the new champs character I just started is a brain-in-a-box robotman type brick without an ounce of subtlety.
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Postby Luke de Sade » Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:52 pm

As a GM, I have reused one character in particular in the games I've GM'd. That being Reisell Riggs. The first time I used him was in Call of Cthulhu, as the son of a wealthy enterpenour who wanted to raise Cthulhu. Reisell ended up killing his father to take his place. Then he appeared in Mage: the Ascension as a Euthanatos. Later he showed up in D&D as a vampire lord, and finally, he'll pop up in my M&M campaign (and in the Superlink book I'm working on) as a vampire.

Would I let my players reuse characters? Sure. Why not?
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