9 Character Stereotypes

Most of the time you’ll be trying to avoid creating a stereotypical character in an RPG. For those other times, there’s this article.

Halfling Thief


Your Halfling thief should be: scared of everything, fat, whine and complain, and furthermore he should try to steal anything valuable he sees…ever. No matter how stupid it would be to do so. This includes robbing your allies and the king of the land. Always remember that you love food and comfort. Try to con the GM into giving you a ring of invisibility.

In combat: you backstab people and run away.
Out of combat: you try to steal things and then run away.
In your spare time: you eat stuff and sit on a really big sofa.
Your attire: black clothes, a hood, a short sword, and lock-picks.

Elven Archer


Your elf could be a ranger or a warrior. Regardless, he must possess a bow which he uses to the exclusion of all other weapons. Your elf must love trees, hate dwarves, and act aloof. In most situations your only response will be to raise an eyebrow. You are the friend of animals, and you hate fire. If the party finds anything magical, you must always take it.

In combat: you shoot people with lots of arrows.
Out of combat: you hug trees and eat lettuce sandwiches.
In your spare time: you sing and play a harp.
Your attire: green; with leaf patterns on it.

Dwarven Warrior


Your dwarf should love beer, gold, and all valuable gems. Anything made of any form of metal or stone must instantly be claimed by you because your ancestors created it. You are honor-bound to do whatever you feel like and kill anyone who offers you a minor insult. You hate elves, orcs, goblins, giants, and practically everyone else. You always wield an axe in battle. If the enemy is too far away, you throw axes at him. You must have a beard. You must wear heavy armor. Practice your Scottish accent.

In combat: you try to cut peoples legs off with your axe or chop them in the head if you can reach that high.
Out of combat: you drink beer and shout insults at people.
In your spare time: you craft objects of beauty and then never let anyone see them.
Your attire: earth tones, and the heaviest metal armor you can afford.

Stupid Barbarian


Your strength is your highest score and your intelligence is your lowest. Your solution to any problem is to yell loudly and smash it. You never wear armor and you hate cities. Your favorite response to any question is to grunt. You have long hair and you appreciate good food.

You don’t have to be a barbarian. You could easily be a warrior instead in which case you would be allowed to wear armor while still having the I.Q. of a turnip.

In combat: you yell and try to chop lots of people up.
Out of combat: you pursue women with the famous pick up line of *grunt*.
In your spare time: you sharpen your sword and wrestle with the party magic user.
Your attire: probably only a loin cloth. You might get away with a shark-tooth necklace providing you killed the shark with your bare hands.

Crazy Old Wizard


You are an incredibly old man wearing a robe and a pointed hat. You carry a staff and you think you’re the king of the world. You’re always rude to everyone and you pursue power at all costs. Tossing around fireballs is your favorite pastime.

In combat: you shoot fireballs.
Out of combat: you experiment with deadly magical spells.
In your spare time: you sleep and brew potions.
Your attire: robes and a pointed hat. Color is optional, but it’s usually blue with stars and moons on it. Wand or staff in the right hand, and a pipe in the left hand.

Killer Robot


You are a giant robot with enough weaponry to blow up Switzerland. You were programmed to hunt down and destroy everything. You’re fast, lethal, and trained in all forms of martial arts. Despite your penchant for destroying things on-sight, you’re trying to get in touch with your inner feelings and figure out what it means to be human. In the meanwhile, you blow up anything that twitches.

In combat: you shoot missiles, blast with machine guns, and use lasers.
Out of combat: you scan for people to engage in combat.
In your spare time: you meditate on the nature of existence with one antennae out for your next battle.
Your attire: chrome with lots of weapons on it.

Goody-Two-Shoes

No matter who you are or what you do, you’re just out to be kind to everyone. You try to convert the villain, make friends with shopkeepers, and support the good king. You heal everyone, cast free spells for people, and give all your money to charity. Every cheat and low life in the world can take full advantage of you by telling simple lies you believe automatically. Like Luke and Vader, you see the good in everyone whether it’s actually there or not. You’re always Lawful Good even if alignment doesn’t exist in your game system. If you ever have to hurt anyone, it’s probably with a blunt stick and you’ll apologize afterwards.

In combat: you try to make friends with people
Out of combat: you try to make friends with people.
In your spare time: you sniff flowers.
Your attire: something bright and gaudy like pink or bright orange. You want people to know you’re there and that you mean to be friends with them. A large medical cross on a white backdrop is also a safe bet.

Maniac

You’re only goal in life is to cause the maximum amount of mayhem in the shortest time possible. Regardless of what your character actually is, you always pursue the most deadly combination of killer moves, massive explosions, and game-breaking powers. Your standard mode of game-play is to find the nearest heavily occupied area and try to extort it for massive amounts of money. If they don’t comply, your usually wreck the place. If they give you the money, you build up a horde of mercenaries and find a bigger area to use your tactics on again until someone invariably doesn’t pay up and starts a huge war with you.

In combat: you completely freak out and try to destroy as much as you can as quickly as you can. Buildings are your main target with something as small as individuals being a secondary concern.
Out of combat: you try to extort people in a thinly veiled attempt to goad them into fighting with you.
In your spare time: you recruit soldiers for your army.
Your Attire: isn’t of much concern to you and probably includes about 20 different weapons for all occasions.

Greedy Power-monger

Your goal is pure and simple. Gain the most money and power in the shortest amount of time. You don’t necessarily want to wreck anything like the maniac above, but if you ever see money you jump on it. You always try to get training, grab money, and pick up magic items no matter how little chance you have of surviving. Your motto is “Filthy stinking rich, or die trying.”

In combat: you try to get lots of money.
Out of combat: you try to get even more money.
In your spare time: you try to find the biggest hoard of money around and steal it.
Your attire: doesn’t really matter to you, but you probably have a wagon, 17 donkeys, and 25 dwarves with sacks to haul all your loot back out of the dungeon.

GM Fiat #3: Vacations


What does your group of adventurers do in their downtime? Do they split up and pursue random endeavors of their own, or do they just go shopping for more rope? It’s reasonable to assume that the party isn’t together at all times. After all, how would the shape changers impersonate them?

Given that members of the party will be spending long periods of time away from each other, it can be assumed that they’re spending all of the money they found while adventuring on some kind of activity which won’t help them statistically at all.

The players can choose these activities provided that they: A. don’t pick the same thing, B. it’s something that no-one would actually do, and C. it costs them all their money.

Some of the classic pursuits of adventurers with time on their hands are as follows:

1. Sleeping all the time. While this might not actually cost the character any money, it provides ample time for all sorts of thieves and baddies to get their work done and relieve the character of all his valuables. The rest of the group will probably have to wake him to get on with the next quest.

2. Drinking all the time. This character immediately blows all his money on drink and then becomes so hopelessly drunk that he’s completely defenseless and useless to anyone. The rest of the party will probably have to spend at least a week to get him back on his feet.

3. Gambling. This character immediately bets all his money and loses it. If he wins, he just keeps betting until he loses it.

4. Romance. This character pursues his love by giving her all his money. Better yet, he just buys a million roses for her.

5. Fighting. This character just practices throwing spears, swinging swords, and does a million push-ups over a small candle flame. He probably boosts his constitution by 1 point between every adventure. He also probably uses all his money on more swords because they wear out on him so fast.

6. Eating. This character eats so much that he runs out of money and his health drops by fifty points because he got so fat. His allies must find a way to lever him onto a horse to continue on their adventures.

7. Shopping. This character spends all her money on everything within sight. All of this stuff must be completely useless such as: drapes, doilies, and ancient plowshares.

8. Spell Research. Characters with a magical bent will probably blow all their money and time on: spells which could never possibly work, magic items which are completely useless, and potions which no one would drink if they had any brains at all. If the character doing the research can’t actually cast spells, so much the better.

9. Looking for trouble. This character waits for the rest of the group to leave and then heads to the most dangerous part of town or the wilderness to pick a fight. If he sees anyone who looks a little shady or who can probably outmatch him, he immediately walks over and says, “What’s the problem, mam?”

What’s your favorite character stereotype? Does your character do anything funny or awesome in his or her spare time?








 

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sabrinathecat

Explorer
Force-sensative Brash Female Pilot based on an anime character. Had one guy play 19 variations of this in a row.

The evil priestess.
Frequently drow, or whatever the player thinks is the most bad-ass race. Uses god-given powers to inflict nasty damage and fear effects. Tortures men and small rodents (there's a difference?) for fun. Lots of whips and spiked leather armor.

"I'm just playing this game 'cause my boyfriend thinks it's cool? What does THACO mean? What dice to I roll? Did we win? So, like, we're in the woods? Why don't we just give these gorilla people our food and make nice with them? We kill them and take their gold? It's an animal--where did it have gold coins?"
 

Challenger RPG

First Post
@sabrinathecat : Ha ha ha, I think that just made my day. Loved the last paragraph about the non-gamer!

While I can't say I've run into too many 'Force-sensitive Brash Female Pilots (19??)', I can definitely agree about the evil priestess. It sounds like a pretty classic archetype.

Animals with gold coins: one of the reasons why I love D&D. :p

Thanks again for the great post! Funniest thing I've read all week.

--David
 

sabrinathecat

Explorer
That star wars (West End Games, not WotC) ran from 1994-1996.

Also: "I'm a drow, and I'm a badass. Not only am I black, but I'm an elf. And all the books say that Drow are the ultimate badasses. The only thing keeping them in check is that they fight each other more than the outside world."
Um, wouldn't Lloth want to... I don't know, destroy the disgusting surface elves in some night-time assaults? Maybe? Instead of just the occasional petty raid? Once you've killed all the elves, and their surface-loving supporters, then maybe you can relax and watch your houses start playing petty political games.

In a similar vein is the Assassin. "No one can ever see me coming because I'm so super stealthy. I can just sneak up on anyone and stab them to death until they die. Bu-wha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaah. That's right, you don't get any chance to stop me. Not ever. Not even taking basic normal precautions can work because I will wait patiently for hours for the right opportunity, because I'm too munchkin to play by the regular rules." Too bad the player isn't as charismatic as the character he is playing.

"I'm so deep that my player can't convey the pure gothy emo-ness of the character."

"I'm so charismatic that you are impressed by my character, even though I, myself, haven't said or done anything remotely impressive."

There was a great list of "500 things Mr. ____ is no longer allowed to do". Nice touches like "Clan Kurita pilots do not appreciate having Godzilla posters all over their cockpit controls" and "No taunting the sith lord about who his daddy is."
 

Stormonu

Legend
Let's not forget the twin-scimitar wielding drow (or elf) rangers.

The human two-handed sword wielder who is on a mission of revenge, following after the six-fingered man who killed his blacksmith father, and made his mother his consort. And who remember's the laughing wizard who mocked him when he picked up daddy's sword - knocking the youth out with a simple spell instead of killing him.

And then there's the trail-stained ranger who makes no friends 'cuz they all die (usually due to "his fault"), and solves all his problems by repeatedly shooting them with arrows until they stop twitching.
 

sabrinathecat

Explorer
When R.A. Salvatore did it, it was new and interesting. When every single bloody fanboy in the world started copying him, it was obnoxious. (Esp when they couldn't agree on how to pronounce the names).
 


A

amerigoV

Guest
You need to add the Silent, Loner Anti-Hero. That might work only if you have one player, but even then it does not work. Yet that concept pops up way too often.
 

Fetfreak

First Post
Looking at my own players it would go something like this.

Useless Bard - She played a variation of this character numerous times. He usually gets everyone into the trouble. While useless with spells and combat, her characters always make a night fun for all of us.

The Merc - Different player, she played this character type at least 30 times. He is only interested in money, he is lawful neutral and he fights with a bastard sword.

Peaceful Wise Druid - My friend desperately tried to play this concept numerous times. Sadly his druid was never wise and always power hungry. He would end up being the most powerful character in the party. He once killed The Merc, miscalculating the spell effect.

Dodgy Thief - Last member of our 10 year old group. He loves playing characters that are poor, with wasted lives, of a race that most hate or dislike, and he is 98% of the time a rogue. He usually plays goblins, kobolds and half-orcs. His last character was a kobold rogue who spent half of his life worshiping a large wyvern, he brought it gnomes as a sacrifice. After some knights killed the wyvern he decided to be good and become an adventurer with a personal mission to save 3 gnomes (that's how much he sacrificed).
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
Tinker Gnome - usually into and inside everything technical, for better or worse (usually the latter). Frequent cause for trap mishaps and explosions. Wears leather and metal in a way that makes no sense and tried to turn everything into a steam engine. Considers all other races incompetent when it comes to "science."
 

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