Hello everyone, this is what I am going to call a “Get Involved” post, and by that I mean I would very much like for people to read this post, think about it and then comment about themselves (so long as they feel comfortable to do so). I am looking at favourite characters/character types that I like to read about, view and play. It is more than just gaming!
My favourite books are the Wars of Light and Shadow Series by Janny Wurts. They are High Fantasy, which is my favoured genre to read and write, and are truly epic in scale spanning 500 years (so far). I won’t tell you any of the plots, but I will describe my two favourite characters. The main protagonist, Arithon is the exiled heir to a pirate kingdom (who ultimately learns that he is also heir to a much larger kingdom on the world of his exile), a trained mage, and frequently called master of shadow due to his power over elemental darkness. Arithon is cursed with a geas, as is his entire line, that means he has forced empathy (and as misfortune would have it, his mother’s line gives him the second geas of foresight). This manifests in an extremely powerful conscience and sense of guilt, which means it is very hard for him to be near near any individual without feeling their pain. As a result he has a vicious temper that he uses to drive people away in order that he better protect himself. Here is the thing, he is loyal to a fault and carries the weight of everyone’s burdens and is a brilliant strategist. This causes him to make horrendous choices in the name of sparing lives (He orchestrates what amounts to a war crime because his talents showed him it was the path with fewest lives lost).
My other favourite from the series is Sethvir, a seemingly immortal sorcerer of the Fellowship of Seven. Appearing as a caring older man who lives in Althain Tower, an ancient fortress on the planet Athera. Sethvir is the Warden of Althain Towerr, which stands on the grave of the previous Warden, Shehane Althain – a Centaur. Both Sethvir and Shehane hold/held the title Warden of Althain, and Guardian of the Earthlink. Sethvir is supremely powerful, as with most of his fellowship companions, however the Earthlink is what sets him apart. He is gifted with the knowledge of everything that passes on the planet. It is remarked that a sparrow cannot fall without his knowledge, and allies of the Fellowship often call for help by inscribing runes in blood on stones and dropping them in water. He also has a past – but that is spoilers.
Probably my favourite movies to watch are The Prestige, and The Count of Monte Christo.
The Prestige is a very intricate story about two rival magicians, played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. What I like about this film is the fact that when magicians are rivals, their plots against one another become more and more elaborate and clever. If you have never seen the movie, I thoroughly recommend it though it is one you need to pay attention to. Cracking performances from Jackman, Bale, David Bowie, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansen.
The Count of Monte Christo is based on the book by Dumas, which I still have not read yet (one day), about a young man betrayed by his best friend, imprisoned, and given the gift of knowledge by a fellow inmate and partner in an escape attempt. I really enjoy elaborate revenge stories, and that is the Count of Monte Christo through and through. The protagonist escapes his imprisonment, and creates the Count of Monte Christo in order to trap and defeat his betrayers.
Over the years I have read many comics, but without a doubt my favourite character is Doctor Strange. He has been my favourite since around about the time he got a cartoon movie back in 2007/8 – which was awesome, but sadly never followed up. I like Doctor Strange as he has a journey to go on to become who he is, learning humility along the way to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. I think I tend to find his character appealing because I am slightly physically disabled and therefore rarely identify with the physically powerful hero types. I tend to relate more to the characters that use brain and wit.
I don’t play many traditional wargames, though I have dabbled in the past and I currently play Star Wars Armada. I will talk about it and Warhammer 40000.
Star Wars Armada, for anyone who doesn’t know is a fleet battles game set in the Star Wars Universe. I play as the Empire and have done numerous unboxings on this blog. I think I like the Empire as there is a sense of order in the Imperial Ideology, though it obviously fell from any grace due to the intervention of the Emperor
In Warhammer 40k I have bits of a Dark Angel Space Marine Army. I chose the Dark Angels because they are exceptionally competent soldiers and strategists, that are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their objectives (Including fighting dirty), and they have a shadowy objective that most of the Universe doesn’t know; the secrecy of which appeals to me. And, as you will find out in the roleplay section, I am a fan of Clergy type characters, and the Dark Angels have what are called Interrogator Chaplains. Imagine a 10 foot tall supersoldier in near impenetrable (by today’s standards) black armour with their helmet made to look like a skull. They protect the ideology of the army, and their presence is terrifying.
I am going to talk about Descent here. More often than not, I play the Evil Overlord, though that is a result mostly of circumstance. I own the game and know the rules, so I tend to play the villain. On the rare occasions I get to play one of the heroes I tend to pick Leoric of the Book , or one of the other Wizard characters.
In my entire life of roleplay games, I think I have played a character that was built to be a main combatant once. His name was Gabriel, he was a Vampire and the concept behind him was a modern day Grail Knight.
One of my earliest Characters was Zack, the fixer. Zack was the guy you went to when you needed stuff or information. He had it or could find it. And he had people to do his dirty work for him.
I have played multiple wizards, usually morally ambiguous, but willing to adhere to the law in the pursuit of their darker goals.
I use this descent miniature to represent my current wizard, Felix, in the game I play in. He isn’t actually a skeleton, though he is physically feeble and sickly. Plus this miniature was painted to look like Skeletor. Nyehhh!
I have played two priestly type characters, a Dwarf Priest of a War God and Moon Knight from the Marvel Universe. In both cases, they were closer to line fighter characters than I usually play, but their story was about building a flock. In the case of the Dwarf, it was a community we built of the dispossessed in a castle that my group had assaulted. In the case of Moon Knight, it was basically a cult of the disenfranchised praying to a god of healing, protection and vengeance. And I was that will made manifest.
And most recently, I play the character Mycroft – which you can read about in my ongoing series The Mycroft Journals. Mycroft starts as a peasant in Dark Ages Wales, though he is unusually smart for his time. I have said to my Games Master that his journey is about him becoming a master strategist and politics type character. Early in life he is a hunter and an artisan, but later he will be much more shadowy, mysterious and the sort of person who avoids physical conflict where possible.
I look at all of these characters and see small parts of myself in all of them. I see the desire to succeed by means other than force. I see the desire to be smart about things. I see the desire to build consensus and community, and I see my desire for there to be order. I also see various examples of where words are more powerful than weapons, and that appeals to me.
I think I am most drawn to characters that are smart, that win by their wits rather than their flesh. I think I slightly identify with the outsiders, because I sometimes feel like an outsider (not in a bad way). I am drawn to characters that deliver good dialogue (ok, that is a no brainer…) and after years building confidence I think I prefer playing characters who spend more of the session talking than fighting.
I don’t think every aspect of every character represents some characteristic of mine or other. I think each character I enjoy reading has at least one trait I identify with, whilst the characters I play do this plus a few things I don’t – just to see what happens.
And here is the part where you can get involved.
This is a long post, and I certainly don’t expect anyone to replicate it. However, have a think about characters you enjoy in fiction, and characters in games that you play. Do you pick characters based on traits you identify with? Or do you have different criterion?
What do you read/watch/play, and why?
All the best!
19 thoughts on “Our Characters of Choice: Who do we read/watch and who do we play?”
Seriously cool post this one, really enjoyed reading it. As for my favorite alltime character, one only has to look at my blog’s name: Raistlin. He is a mage from the Dragonlance saga, and truly my alltime favorite character ever. I love his sarcastic evilness, but also his vulnerablility.
I like the character Raistlin. Admittedly have only read the first 3 dragonlance books and his character was probably my favour too. He has been my inspiration for multiple characters, including my mistake recent DnD mage, Felix. I hope other folks enjoy and engage with the post as you did
Well, the first three books were awesome, but if you really want to read more about Raistlin, you should definitely check out the Legends trilogy, as this focusses completely on him and his brother Caramon 😊 I hope so to, as it was a great post 😀
Whenever I truly put myself into something, I am usually a mage who is diplomatic. However, my base starter for most things is the simple noble human warrior to get a feel for the game/world. However, my love of political intrigue and so on leads me to usually play the anti-hero or morally ambiguous pro/antagonist! Assassins, turncoats and so on….usually male now I come to think of it. Charmers and liars….in short, what has come to be known as the “Loki” type! The other type I love playing my hand at is the Hive-Mind Queen. I created basically a rip-off version of Starcraft where it was Alien-types versus humans throughout the Universe but it was very short lived and had great potential….
I haven’t had a chance to play D&D or any other such RPG game and mostly have only played online/video games or RPGed online in forums and such. But yes. ^u^
I know a lot of folk who love the loki character. Am curious, was your Starcraft clone a homebrew rpg?
I excel at the charming rogue and it’s hella fun to do tbh. Especially as many people love it when I go full on proud jerk mode and revel in whatever I’m doing….it feels good to be bad, I guess! xD
Yes, it was based in a world where there was humans spanning different galaxies and like, 3 other species who sort of distanced themselves for the most part. The fourth species had been dormant for a long time: an insect type race composed of “queens” who develop a colony. Each queen/hive/colony develops differently depending on personality/environment. There was a big war till the Insect-kind withdrew into hibernation. Three queens remained and alll others were purged for the good of the species for now. There were two rogue queens, stirrings of the Queen Mother, Queen of Queens, having been found and waking, old hurts (including my fav character an expert fighter and general, Var’esca, who survived a gladatorial pit by some sadistic humans) and things….*sighs* I have lots of worlds but just not enough people who RPG online. *shrugs*
I can’t give a good answer for this; I haven’t gamed for years. The last game I played was possibly Baldur’s Gate, which is ancient. Haha!
I loved Baldur’s Gate, so when it came out on Steam a couple years back I snapped it up. It is on my list of things to do a lets play for
Sweet! Do you have a YouTube channel?
A very new one. Currently has a few unboxings and clips for this blog. The most recent video on the channel is my unboxing video for Star Wars Armada. However there will be a new post tomorrow which also uses a video I made today
I’ll keep a lookout for it! I live vicariously through YouTube gamers. 😉
I have two standout characters, both mages in a broad sense of the term using the original 90’s World of Darkness rules (we majorly mashed them all up..). My all time fave was Rachel Goldstein from a Mage The Sorcerers Crusade game set in 15th century Europe. She was a member of a faction of the Order of Reason (which would in time become the Technocracy of Mage the Ascension) that specialised in finance, spy-mastery and general all-round sneakiness – although secretly she was actually a member of a syncretic secret society that sought to bridge the gulf between the Order and Hermetic Traditions (aka p.c. party).
As a Jewess in a time when both women and Jews could be violently suppressed she developed mastery of misdirection & duelling and started off with magic in Mind, Body and Time. Over the course of a couple of hundred years she became extremely powerful and bonded with the a part of an antediluvian artefact called The Spine of God which was attuned to the Sphere of Mind, making a composite entity Rachel/Logos which could transcend the normal limits of human mastery of magic. Skip forward to 2025 and Rachel/Logos is one of the secret patrons of the futuristic city-state of Muratan located in Indonesian waters, a high-tech freeport where enlightened technology has built the worlds first arcology, Eastern and Western Kindred co-exist peacefully (kind of) and the Technocracy does not hold total sway.
Enter my second favourite character, Kyle. He’s an Australian street mage (technically a Trenchcoater, using an obscure set of rules I found somewhere), cynical, sarcastic and generally a bit of a pain in the arse (the rest of the characters were Vampires by this point and Kyle, the token human, was probably the bleakest in an ironically amused kind of way).
Anyway, after some time and various shenanigins Kyle gets zapped by one world-threatening big bad or another and apparently dies with a sardonic quip on his lips. However it is later revealed that in fact he wasn’t dead, merely taken apart at an atomic level and spliced back together in a shamanic initiation type style with additional powers, becoming the worlds (or at least our gameworlds) first genuine super-hero! Yep, flight, super strength and a certain amount of invulnerability in addition to his (frankly not very impressive by this stage) previous magical ability. And, being a professional curmudgeon he wasn’t happy about it, I got to complain loudly and refuse point blank to wear spandex for the remainder of the campaign.. Just to annoy/amuse even more he got a sidekick in the form of an intelligent mouse with exactly the same power set (minus the magic) who was very happy to wear spandex and even a cape.
Rachel and Kyle are in the centre of this image: http://herbanicus.deviantart.com/art/Team-Shot-32407254 which is the half of the player characters who could out in the daylight. (Yes there is another image somewhere of all of those who couldn’t. It was a large group and we played for a very, very long time..)
I guess having read that back I like playing slightly transgressive or outsider characters who point out the flaws of fossilised establishments whilst trying to contribute to building something better. And complaining. I like complaining in character as I try not to so much in real life. Being sneaky and manipulating the bad guys (as I try not to do that in real life either as it’s pretty crappy). The kind of books and comics I like tend to resonate, (The First Law by Joe Abercrombie, pretty much anything by China Mieville, Banks’ Culture sci-fi novels, Hellblazer, Fables, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Transmetropolitan, The Invisibles) they have similar anarchic/transgressive agents of change fighting a moribund system kind of feel.
I playing and reading indirect characters. My most recent character is Ethan/Mycroft of the journals and given his horrendous appearance he appears to humans as a spirit he and his sire invented. The Old Man. Love playing this personal and talking in the third person manipulating folks out of what he considers his territory. Which is good as the alternative is death and he isn’t a killer.
Oh god, I have a huge disconnect between the characters I would like to play and the characters I eventually play. I don’t have any role-playing experience, but I do have a lot of Skyrim-esque video game experience. What happens is this:
Me: Hmm, create your own character? I think I’d like to be some kind of stealthy assassin, quietly biding my time, being smart, being patient. I like to be smart. I like to be patient.
My mind: BATTLEAXES? CHARGE!!
Yeah I get you. For skyrim I solved that problem by simply not choosing a character to play and just levelling everything. Stealth and archery first, of course. Thanks for your comment, Andrew
I lean towards jack-of-all-trade characters in PC games, but that mainly comes from situations where I know that without certain skills I will miss out on content. In RPGs the straightforward dwarf is my toon of choice, he might not be smart but he knows what right and wrong are, though his methods of dealing with those situations might tend towards the…. directly.
I think my favourite character in a video game has always been Garrett from the Thief series. In books, I like Kaladin from Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive.