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D&D General Help me with a character personality

(Mild spoilers for the first two adventures of the Pathfinder Strange Aeons adventure path)

I have a conundrum.

I'm playing in my friend's Pathfinder game, which he told us up front would be heavily influenced by the Lovecraftian mythos and involve a lot of madness and horror. He also told us that the campaign would start with us having amnesia, though we would at some point manage to learn what we had forgotten. Now we're maybe six sessions in, and we've gotten out of immediate danger and to a fairly safe spot, and I'm realizing my character doesn't have a personality. I want to fix that.

See, I've been gaming with this GM for over a decade now, and we both like games that are character-driven, that are willing to touch onto mature and uncomfortable topics, and where PCs have internal struggles that run parallel to the external threats on their adventures. We trust each other, so I asked his permission to lean hard into the amnesia element.

I created a character who only remembered the tiniest fragments of her past, and who's a psychic so perhaps those aren't her memories, and - on top of that - she's an actress. So she's not even sure her memories aren't just from roles she played in the theater. I also wanted to lean into the Lovecraft element of the campaign, so when the game started and we all woke up, I was wearing yellow robes and a mask directly out of The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers. It is as yet unclear if I was just performing that role, or if I'm actually a cultist of Hastur.

(My character's name is Amrita Chambers, as an homage to Robert Chambers.)

Each of the other players have characters with cool horror gimmicks, but they still have parts of their memories and so have personal history and fears and drives. We have:

  • The folksy shifter with sort of a Huckleberry Finn demeanor who remembers having a family but doesn't remember where they are and is afraid that he's slowly degenerating into a bestial monster.
  • The self-loathingly moral half-drow who has forgotten some great sin he committed, but remembers that he sought redemption by covering his face with an owl mask to show his devotion to an owl demigod.
  • Twin dhampir brothers who fled the political life of their wealthy family to be wandering troublemakers - one a swaggering braggart, the other a well-read schemer.
Then there's me. I gave the GM a few snippets of recollections - suffocating with ashes in my lungs, standing in the embers of a house over the charred body of a man (maybe her father), some vague recollection that my father recited mantras to control his thoughts, a moment of terror when I was attacked by a swarm of bees and caused them to all burst into flames, a vivid image of seeing my reflection have someone else's face.

And there were the game mechanic choices that probably add up to explain my backstory - I'm a 'changeling,' the child of an ash hag, slipped into another girl's crib, and I have a psychic link to that girl, whom I can sense is still alive, but a hostage. I'm fascinated by fire, and occasionally suffer urges for intense cruelty.

But the problem is I don't have a sense of self. I spent most of the first few sessions navigating some awful danger by using illusions and charm magic to pretend to be other people, and now that the party has reached a relatively safe town and is looking into the time we've forgotten, I realize that I as the player haven't established a core personality for my character. The other PCs have interesting speaking patterns to distinguish themselves from their player, and they all relate to situations based on their past, but I'm such a blank slate I'm having trouble deciding how I should react. I might have a broad goal of 'figure out what happened to me,' but I need to figure out what should be my distinctly personal way of doing that.

So, any ideas?

Maybe I should default to an overwrought thespian's elocution, like I'm Ben Affleck in Shakespeare in Love? Or I could take a page from a goth friend of mine from high school who was detached and mysterious and unimpressed with anything but would occasionally get passionate about some topics and not explain why (and only many years later did she confide in me some of the traumatic abuse she'd suffered growing up). Or should I play up being a blank slate and be fascinated by mundane things as if I'd never seen them before? Should I shift into the mannerisms of whomever I speak to, and let the pot of uncertain identity simmer under the surface until it boils over in some later adventure? Or have I solved my problem by talking through it and I should just slam all these elements together?

I think it would be fun to maybe foreground this with the other players, and have my character point out that she's struggling to remember what her personality should be -- to the point that she could think she's intentionally deciding to adopt the personality of a character she liked playing on stage - which becomes 'her' personality for a few months, only for her to later on have her suffer some mental break due to the horrors of the mythos (or when she regains her memories), which reminds her that no, she isn't real, and all she has ever been is just a mask over an empty costume.

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You are already UNFATHOMABLE DISTANCES OF SPACE AND TIME ahead of the pack when it comes to character motivation and personality. Anything more would be excessive.

I will offer one suggestion. Eventually (considering the genre) you will go irretrievably mad or die. And just before you do, you should say - with a certain sense of bemused wonder - "OH. Oh. This is who I am."


Yeah, I don't think in this instance you'd want to have just one personality. At minimum you should have two-- one of yourself, and the other of the girl with whom you have a psychic link to. And you would then flip back and forth between the two of them. The cruel side being you, the child of the ash hag, and the other being the scared lost soul of the other girl.

Although if you truly are a changeling and the daughter of an ash hag... who's to say this has only happened once? If you really want to go to town with it, your mother has been using you as a replacement baby over and over again, you taking the place of the child that the hag then steals (for whatever she uses it for), and then once the kidnapped child dies, your soul is reincarnated and she uses you to replace another one. So now the reason why you don't have a personality is because you don't have ONE personality. You have a myriad. All the memories of all the children for whom you've had links to over the centuries. And now you are slowly having each of them flood back into your head, causing you to behave differently all the time.

That way you don't need to settle on one, you can just play as many different ones you want.

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