Image by churl via Flickr
I’ve spent the past several days playing around with Writing.com (WDC). It’s been good for me, as it’s helped get me motivated again to actually write. And I’ve enjoyed the feedback I’ve gotten from some truly skilled writers over there. Tonight, I decided to further participate in the site by joining my first writing contest. I chose to submit an entry to the Character Creation Contest. I figure I’m pretty good at character creation, so it’s a good place to get my feet wet. I’ll move on to more challenging contests — one that force me to work on my weak points — as time goes by. So I put together a character profile for Hargath, a dark priest.
Hargath is actually a recreated and edited version of a character I played in an online freeform roleplaying campaign. The way I came up with him always amused me.
When the group on the BBS decided to set up the room for the campaign, I hadn’t decided if I was going to participate yet. So I sat back as people started making posts introducing their characters. I noticed that everyone was creating noticeably good — as in morally upright — characters. As I watched the party form up, I realized that this was looking like it would be a campaign where the players worked together perfectly well.
Now, perhaps it’s because one of my favorite roleplaying games (though I never got to actually play it) was Paranoia, but that state of affairs didn’t sit well with me. I felt that like good storytelling, good role-playing (I’m also of the opinion that the difference between the two is almost negligible) required some conflict between characters. It wasn’t enough to just have to overcome the obstacles of the NPC’s. There needed to be some obstacles to teamwork that needed to be overcome as well.
So I decided to introduce a dark priest. I forget what his name was, and I don’t think I described him quite as well as I’ve described Hargath. But he was definitely the dark cloud looming over the party. And his presence did make for some interesting role-playing.
Shortly before the campaign fell apart (those of us involve simply found ourselves with not enough time to continue it), I remember an exchange between my priest and the mage that my friend, Ben played. At one point, the party came up against a particularly nasty captain we had to get rid of. The party agreed that assassination was the best course of action, and my priest volunteered to do the dirty work. The mage decided that my priest needed a disguise in order to get close enough. The mage happily helped out in that department obliged, by transforming my priest into a woman!
Of course, my priest got his revenge. His new disguise allowed him to get the captain in private and dispatch the captain in a formal ritual sacrifice to the dark goddess. And the mage’s spell further enabled my priest to psychically link said mage to the victim. The end result, the mage experienced everything done to the captain as if it was happening to him. Ben thought the whole idea was a hoot. In fact, he wrote the entire scene for me because I didn’t have time.
Of course, my choice of characters did create problems between me and at least one other player. Another friend, Jared, played a Druid. Jared was interested in Druidism himself at the time. And my priest character did a couple things (like steal the soul of a horse so that it would bend to his will) that freaked Jared out. Note that I said it freaked Jared out rather than his character. Jared was mad at me for days. That much was unfortunate. But as I explained to him, part of role-playing and fiction is allowing some characters to do things we wouldn’t dream of doing in real life. After all, if all characters were the goody-two-shoes most of us try to be, our games and stories wouldn’t be nearly as interesting.
And I admit that playing an evil character helped me write such characters much better.