Saturday, November 2, 2013

Game Idea: People We Hate

People We Hate
by Tobie Abad

Sometimes, through role-playing we get a glimpse of the other perspective.  Other times, it can be a means to just blow off steam and do something different.  So for today's article, the idea is to try playing a character based on the kind of person you'd probably really hate.  This might be an interesting resource for those who love playing Sabbat games, or anti-hero games, or maybe just a new challenge for those who have been gaming for as long as I have.

Why?  Because you can.  Or because you want to try something different.  (And if your reply is, "But I'm already that" then let's just move on to the next topic, shall we? :-) )  So here are ten character types to try playing, inspired by the article on 'Top 10 Toxic People to Avoid' by Marcia Sirota.  While I personally have varying reaction to the source of inspiration itself, I'll stick instead to how the same list can be worked into a gaming resource as character challenges to try.  I don't plan to have ten samples, though, given many can be combined into a single concept.

So without further ado, the infamous list that some players might want to try playing:

Character Challenge:  Short-Tempered Source of Trouble
Maybe the character has a short-fuse and tends to get angry about things very quickly?  Or maybe the temper tends to manifest in a specific area (He's okay most of the time, but when its combat, he becomes a brute)  Or perhaps even he's the kind of person who loves to make a fuss over the little things (I think the fashion and celebrity scene has many of these kinds of characters)

Added twist:  What if the character was all bark and no bite?  (Most of them are in real life)

Character Challenge:  The Silver-Tongued Charmer
Interestingly, this character type already exists in World of Darkness' Slasher book.  But I can definitely see other games that would support such a concept.   The question is, is your character a con-man out of habit, or out of desperation?  Does he do it for the fun of deceiving others?  Or does he do it simply because he is good at it, and its something that needs to be done?

Added twist:  Maybe he's so lost, he spends the mornings facing the mirror and lying to himself.  Without such a mirror, maybe he'd self-destruct?

Character Challenge:  The ME Concept
No one else matters but your own character's needs and feelings.  No one is more important and more vital than yourself.  Sometimes, it is about greed and wanting all for yourself.  For others, it is less greed and more the intense need to be acknowledged as being the one who made it happen.    Worse, these concepts have a tendency of viewing everything under a lens that it revolved around them.  That warrior that defeated the otyugh?  Oh, without my Bless spell he probably would have died.    You were worried about those drowning in the storm outside?  Good thing I told you about them, right?

Added twist:  You love being the center of everthing, but you HATE saying it yourself.  So there's always this passive aggressive attempt to make others say it.  "Is there anyone you want to thank?" is a common way this is shown.

Character Challenge:  The Drama is my Universe
Nothing goes "okay" when you are around.  Either they're too hot, too cold, or not the way you want it to be!  You hate the fact that people "can't seem to get it right" and how you always "have to do it myself just to get something so simple right!"   Some would say you seem perfectionist, but the truth is this has less to do with perfection and far more to do with you just wanting to always have something to rant about.

Added twist:  Be in a position of great power and influence.  Think you can make the pettiness start a war? Go for it!

Character Challenge:  Just being "Honest"
You love popping the joy and fantasy of anything that happens.  You love rubbing into people's faces how most marriages end up in divorce.  How love is just really a chemical reaction that happens similar to when people eat chocolate.  There are no unicorns for you. Nor happy endings.  In Changeling the Dreaming, these were called Banal characters - devoid of excitement and creativity.  But you can portray this in other games based on a number of reasons: His cynicism was born from experience?  His hatred of other people being happy is just him reminding them such things are temporal and not worth really enjoying?  He will never have something positive to say, because in as much as there are ups and downs in life, he only sees the slopes down as inevitable no matter how many times you can head up.

Added twist:  This happens so long as you are facing the world as usual.  But then, you actually fall in love... and to that person you're rose-tinted all the way.  Suddenly, that one SINGLE person get's it right.  Suddenly that one single person understands it all.  Grasps it perfectly.  And is the only one with the right to correct you.

Character Challenge:  You Shouldn't Have Done That!Anytime things don't go smooth, you have a reason why it is their fault.  You know what's the best course of action, but you don't see the point in even sharing that.  Why?  Because they never listen anyway.  And even if they did, they never do it right.    Worse, you never forget someone's blunder.  The guy who misspoke a word?  You'll be teasing him about the need to own Google Glass that shows nothing but dictionary pages for him as your hot joke for that player for the next few days.  Name calling comes naturally for you.  Even more natural than passing the blame, you tend to silently consider the best course of action, then watch others do the wrong one, and finally voice out what they should have done instead.

Added twist:  Play a character with visions or some kind of prophetic power.  So yes, people do know you do usually KNOW what is best.  But even then, you still don't normally share the information.    It is almost as if you enjoy watching others squirm and try.

Character Challenge:  The Forever Victim
They're all the ones who made it happen.  They're always the ones who force you to do things the way you do them.  They're the ones at fault!  Things would be better if they just let you do what you want.  But they never do! They always judge.  They always force you.  They always coerce you.

Added twist:  And you like it.  Handling responsibility was never your strong suit.

Character Challenge:  The Octopus of Social Graces
You have many friends who are connected to many great places.  So why feel bad about using the connections to push yourself forward in life?  Connections are a blessing and you're just reaping the benefits of being at the right place, and surrounded by the right people at the right time.  If they didn't want to help you out, they wouldn't be there, right?

Added twist:  You don't really need the connections.  You are wealthy. And influential.  But you prefer having them move you further than use the resources you actually have.

Character Challenge: The VisionaryThey will never understand you.  They will never appreciate your ideals.  So don't bother waiting for them to grasp it.  Just embrace the whole new world before you and approach things the way you feel are best.  At least, if you are on a sinking ship, it was one of your own making.

Added twist:  You're deeply afraid of being wrong.  Frankly, you just want someone to tell you to stop.  But each time someone does, your first instinct to rebel kicks in.  Maybe there is someone who CAN make you stop.

Character Challenge: Petty Petty 
You have grown older, but you never grew up.  While for most, that means embracing their inner child, for you it means never embracing responsibility or seeing the bigger picture.  You want what you want, and you'll get it when you want it.  You'll make a fuss, you'll start a fight, or you'll cry just to push everyone else to giving in to your demands.  And they should, because you deserve it.

Added twist:  You realize the truth.  But you have to keep up appearances and stay petty, or you will have no choice but to face the music.
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