How Do You Get in to Character? [ was "Character Totems"]


First Post
Some while ago, I got in the habit of sticking some small object in my dice bag to represent any PC I was playing in an ongoing campaign.

I had a small pin depicting a pair of knitting needles and green yarn for Mrs. Horn in Sagiro's campaign.

Dylrath had his mouthharp for Piratecat's campaign, and Cadrienne before him had a beautiful pair of ivory and ebony colored dice with astrological symbols in place of the numbers. Also there was a particular skirt which I generally wore when I was playing her.

A cleric of Brandobaris I ran in college had a small porcelain pendant inscribed with a single footprint, which could be tucked inside the metal bead next to it so the footprint wouldn't show. the footprint was glazed with "hobbit blue" glaze.

Another college character had a bundle of hat pins, to remind us of the time she had managed to diffuse a tense situation in which the party was being interrogated by soldiers who wanted to know what arms we were carrying, and she looked up at them in tears and emptied her pockets which had nothing in them but some seashells and hat pins, and was so generally pathetic and meek that they let our whole party go without searching them. Despite the knives she had strapped to each ankle, and the considerable pack of whupass the rest of the party had in more or less plain sight, apart from it being dark out.

A character that I ran in an Al Qadim campaign had a particular pair of earrings I always wore to get into character. And that I eventually needed to trade to an NPC to survive an episode.

And, quite by accident, my current Delta Green character has a decaptiated doll head. I don't know why it's symbolic for her yet, but it wound up in my dice bag, so we'll let it ride for a bit and see what happens. She's only chopped up one body so far, and most of the head was already missing by the time she got to it.

Do any of you have particular things you use to get in to character--clothing you wear, objects you carry, apart from your character sheets, etc?

I know of one player who always has a theme song for his characters that he likes to listen to in the car enroute to the game. (I've been using that technique for my DG character as well, but I can't tell you which song, because then I'd have to kill the lot of you.)

What else do you guys associate with your favorite ongoing characters?
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Dave G

First Post
Well, I don't so much anymore, but I've got a couple of pretty similar examples from my gaming past...

When I first moved to Lawrence, I joined up with this D&D group... after 18 months or so without regular gaming. They played in a world that was so screwed up, with ultimate munchkin race and class choices. It was completely twink. I played a minotaur fighter... I made enough gold early on to coat my horns with silver... (did I mention the most common PC races were 'natural' lycanthropes and silver was lethal to them?)

Anyway, I got a CD player in my car, and one time after work, on my way to the game, I had my new Kid Rock Devil Without A Cause CD in the player, and this song came on...

I am the bullgod...I am free...and I feed on all that is forsaken

I'm gonna get you....I see through you...I'm gonna get you

I'm like a train I roll hard...lettin' off much steam

In the Carhart flannel and dusty jeans baby

I never was cool with James Dean

But I be hanging tough with my man Jim Beam

I swing low like a chimp

Back in '86 man I was seein' a shrink

But now I'm humble and I can only think

About New Orleans and those jumbo shrimp

So ask no questions and I'll tell no lies

I got big ol' pupils and blood shot eyes

I'm on the brink if you know what I mean

And a 12 step program couldn't keep me clean

'Cause I'm the understand

The illegitimate son of man

The T-O-P to the D-O-G

Or the P-O-T to the G-O-D

And I'm trippin'

Said I'm trippin'

I am the bullgod...I am free...and I feed on all that is forsaken

I'm gonna get you...I see through you...I'm gonna get you

A lot of people poke fun and that's alright

But when I start pokin' back they get all uptight

You can't cap with the master son

So sit your ass down before I blast ya one

Cause I'm so greasy you can call me mud

And I feel a little Hank runnin' through my blood

I wanna flood the world with my twisted thoughts

You can bet all day but I can't be bought

Uh Break it up let's tie one on

I gotta get set to go and cut the lawn

So I grab my walkman but before I cut

I got behind the garage and fire it up

Cause I'm the understand

The illegitimate son of man

The T-O-P to the D-O-G

Or the P-O-T to the G-O-D

And I'm trippin'

Said I'm trippin'

I am the bullgod...I am free...and I feed on all that is forsaken

I'm forsaken yeah

I ain't nothing

Yeah yeah yeah yeah

Come on get 'em up

Come on get 'em up

Come on get 'em up

I am the bullgod...I am free...and I feed on all that is forsaken

I am the bullgod...I am free...and I feed on all that is

I get a feeling of peace, from a low so high

As I sit in my chair and watch life go by

These thoughts I have can't mold to sense

Through the forest of my mind, they're all past tense

Born and raised in the outer lands

And at times you can say I'm outta hand

I'm in a band of gypsies, we're on the run

Everytime that paper hits my tongue

And sometimes it seems so odd

When my veins are popping and I’m on the nod

I am the understand

And here in my head is my master plan

Uh I'm gonna get you

I see through you

I'm gonna get you

I see through you

...and then from every game we played thereafter, I'd crank up this song on my way to the game... I got so into character that way...

Last year when we were playing our first Werewolf: Revised game, and I was playing a Glass Walker metis named Neol. Somehow, I'd ended up with one leftover arcade token and a counter stone from some CCG or other. My character was a hacker, but also a theurge, so for some reason, through that game, I rolled all my d10's along with this arcade token and this dragon's tear. I seemed to roll better that way... :)


First Post
I had associated a ranger character of mine who was given a feather by a swan may. Later I found a white feather, cleaned it and brought it in the folder of the character with me. There were two dice that were designated weapons on the character so these dice were always used when the ranger was played.

Other than that, I have been running a game more than playing, so lately I found that when I create an NPC, I try to give them more life, and not just stats.

Blood Jester

First Post
In my (sadly infrequent) Deadlands game I decided to always wear... Button-down shirt, black wool slacks, suspenders, and (at least when we start) a black hat. I keep a bottle of Jack Daniels next to me, and at the first game had iced tea that I was drinking out of a tumbler (looks like Jack if you don't smell it.;)). I was of course playing a Huckster. It was the first time I'd done something like that for a game, and it was silly, but you know what? That (albeit small) group gets into character better than any of my previous groups, and I like to think my over-the-top start helped cause that.

Now if we only played more often. :(


Clockwork Golem
I have a black feather boa that I used to wear for a Vampire character. I never get to play DnD games long enough to find a totem though :(


First Post
I keep all my dice in an animal skin (don't know which kind) neck bag my Grandmother gave me about ten years ago. Used it for a barbarian char once in 2e. It was his spiritual totem that he carried his mentors ashes in. Since it was the first campaign I'd played after my Grandmother's death it had a lot of sentimental value.

That char would blow up whenever someone insulted his ancestors and everyone in the group knew to step back when I (in real-life) would start to touch the bag.

It only holds my dice now. But it is still my favorite player totem ever. Of course, all my dice seem to have a slight curse on them... darn 1's. :p


First Post
For me there's two things I use to get into character.

I have a different set of dice for each character

I use a different accent for each character.

Especialy the accent aids a lot in getting in character.

(on one occasion I dropped the accent. I was playing a wild-elf rogue/sorcerer and was using a weird kind of accent based on how the Ferengi talk (ya know StarTrek) but for some reason it made the other players freak out, so I dropped it. Its hard to stay in character that way if everybody is rolling on the floor laughing)

The most success I've had with my 2 Irish characters, especialy as I received the greatest of compliments: One was an old fisherman in 7th Sea and the other an Irishman traveling to the USofA in search of his grandpa in Deadlands. This was with the same group of players/DM and they told me they were amazed at how differently both Irish gentlemen were, and even how they sounded different
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Sito Rotavele

First Post
Sialia said:

I know of one player who always has a theme song for his characters that he likes to listen to in the car enroute to the game.

Hey, I resemble that remark.

My $.02: Get the eyes and the inflection down for different moods. Know what makes them angry, what makes them laugh, and what makes them cry. And know how they look and sound in every case. I use the extremes as fencepostsuse to define the character - for example, the one Siala refers to has about 7 different levels of irritation to reveal, but only 1 or 2 shades of happy. ;) Once you've established the fenceposts, you can roam around inside the character...and occasionally hop the fence.


First Post
Theme Songs

I am a big fan of theme songs, and I have a tendency to identify a theme song for my character, as well as (in my mind) theme songs for other PCs, and sometimes even for the entire campaign. The best role playing experience I have had (which sadly ended on a premature note) was in a group where I got so used to thinking in character that I would find almost a weird psychological overlay when I was "at the table"---my personal feelings about players would literally be over shadowed by my characters feelings about their character, with no effort. Kinda creepy, in a way.

However, some great theme songs I have used:

For Arella, the tortured Bard and part of a band manipulated by the Goddess of Fate, I used the Suzanne Vega song "Marlena on the Wall", for a somewhat fey touched sorceress I used to listen to Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon or Sister of The Moon en route, and for a poor man's superman, who was quite unsure of himself and underconfident, I used to listen to "Kryptonite."

Sadly, my personal life has gotten in the way of gaming of late so I have no current characters or theme songs. :-(

Inez Hull

First Post
A couple months ago we were playing in Warhammer's Old World and all our characters had hammy euro accents. The accent warmup session before we started play each session was priceless.


First Post
I have a brand new character, we have only played once, but my totem item is central to his being.

Oddvar is a simpletonmonk with a very low intelligence. He depends heavily on the teachings of the masters to navigate the complex issues he encounters in everyday life. So I keep a small pocket copy of Tao De Ching on hand. It is uncanny how there always seems to be a passage or phrase handy to call on in any in game situation.

The simple, unarguable wisdom has been proven invaluable already, after just a single session.

I find myself carrying the book around with me at all times, cracking it open and reading a chapter or two. One even inspired me to create a monk feat.


First Post
I'm in two RP groups, and one other guy is in both groups. I get in charecter by talking to him, and slowly just get back into it. It works really well for one of the groups, since i play a svirfneblin and he plays a LN drow

Sito Rotavele

First Post
Sialia said:
Any chance you'd spill about which theme songs you use for which characters, Sito?

Only two worth considering, really:

Claris, a cleric/monk devoted to the God of Vengeance - always used "Stars" from Les Mis, the song where javert vows to hunt down Val Jean. The best line in ther for Claris is when javert compares the stars to silent unwaving sentinels. Sigh.

And then there's Tamemo, a cleric devoted to the God of Money. Or really, a cleric devoted to bilking every sentient being he meets, and talking his way out of even the deepest trouble. I always liked to listen to "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago before playing Tamemo. Surprised, Si?
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