New characters – new names – new backstories.
I’ve been playing the same characters in our every-other-Sunday game for 14 years. Sure, we’ve paused for a few interlude games, but over all my effort has been focused on these three – Flynn, Ivonna, and Ciara. Last year I took a background I had been playing with in my head (and on paper) to join a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition game, but since the game is mostly combat focused, the back story doesn’t really matter, it’s more a test for how the character plays in those situations.
That means I haven’t put the major thinking into a new fully fleshed out and ready to play character in some time.
Then we start moving towards a point where Flynn may retire as a character. So I start writing up Wren, the Cygnaran noble writer. Doing a lot of research since I have not played a Cygnaran, a noble, nor a writer (Bard without music? Vigilante? Other?) in this setting before.
While that’s still bouncing around, I join a casual Saturday night game themed around the ‘Welcome to Nightvale‘ podcast – but given a fantasy setting twist. So I take advantage of the unusual setting to play a race I’d never have access to otherwise – a Sylph (descendant of an air elemental in Pathfinder’s setting). To add to the wispy aloof nature, I make her an Inquisitor of the church. In writing out backstory I played with trying a very different ‘voice’ and since I’m not quite happy with it, the story continues to ricochet around in my mind.
To add to the madness, a friend invited me to join an In Nomine game on a live stream – you can actually watch the first game on September 16th at Back In The Deck’s Twitch when we kick off the campaign! So in letting concepts kick around, I generated a more modern take on the role an Ofanim (the messengers of Heaven, who have a true form that manifests as a wheel of fire) might adopt in a vessel form – the restless energy in the form of an Uber driver, working for Yves, Archangel of destiny – as she tries to encourage people to get to their true destiny, while driving them to their actual destination. But that’s another being who needs to be given some depth occupying the corners of my crowded skull.
When you’ve played a character for a long time, it gets easier to slip into their skin, you know their quirks and issues. A new character takes a great deal more concentration as you learn who they are and how they tick. I can honestly say a few times my own characters have surprised me with the people they actually are once put into play. Balancing three at once is a feeling that borders on disassociative personalities populating my madness muddled mind.