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I have been playing in several roleplay groups taking place in different systems. I have noticed that while the personality of my character can vary to a degree, I always end up playing with a nature theme: loving trees, helping plants grow, using earth and plant magic, and so on.

Is this a sign of a problem? Should I take these as signals that I’m getting too attached to a particular concept that could eventually lead me to a situation similar to how Bob the fighter dies and his player makes Bob Jr. that has the exact same build and personality as his father?

Should I force myself to play a character with a different theme for the sake of diversifying myself?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Oblivious Sage, KorvinStarmast, NathanS, JP Chapleau, mxyzplk May 21 at 20:17

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What you should do is a matter of opinion. Is this causing an actual problem in the games you play? What is that problem? I would suggesting rewording this so that you're not asking for our opinion on what you should do and instead ask about solving the actual issue you're having. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey May 21 at 11:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think I’m this case the “shoulds” are a red herring: they’re just expressing “is this a problem (because if it is, I should fix it, right)?”. I edited it to explicitly ask if it’s a problem, instead of it just staying implied. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 21 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fundamentally, I think this question is too opinion-based to answer here because one person could convincingly answer "Yes, you should play different kinds of characters" and someone else could convincingly answer "No, it's fine to keep playing the same sort of character" - and both would be equally "right". There's no real way to choose a "best" answer for a question like this. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 21 at 23:47
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So You're a Specialist Player

Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering offer a classification of player types. Among them is the Specialist, and it seems you are one:

The Specialist favors a particular character type, which he plays in every campaign and in every setting. The most common sub-type of specialist is the player who wants to be a ninja every time. Other specialists might favor knights, cat-people, mischief-makers, flying characters, or wistful druid maidens who spend a lot of time hanging about sylvan glades with faeries and unicorns. The specialist wants the rules to support his favored character type, but is otherwise indifferent to them. To make a specialist happy, you have to create scenes in which his character can do the cool things for which the archetype is known.

Nothing Inherently Wrong With That

It's not that rare for well-established circles of friends to have a tendency to spread niches or themes in a certain manner. So long as everyone's having fun, it's OK. You shouldn't base you decision to keep playing the same archetypes vs. trying new ones on whether the archetypes is the same, but rather on whether you and the others are enjoying the game or finding it stale.

Of course, while you can decide for yourself whether you want to stick to the familiar or try something new, you can't read minds and need to ask other players about whether they're tired of, say, always playing with this or that druid of yours. If there's a difference of opinions between you and the players, or among multiple players and/or the GM, well, that'll require a discussion, hopefully finding a compromise that allows everyone to have a reasonable amount of enjoyment from the game.

Regarding Variations on a Theme

You express a worry about ending up making clones of a character, as a result of some sort of slippery slope. However, in my experience that doesn't happen unless a player wants it to. What ends up happening is more like an increase in nuance and variation within the chosen theme/archetype, because being well-acquainted with it, you'll become more perceptive to and capable of portraying differences that may have been too subtle for you earlier.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably only a newb would say this, but what's a "flying diameter"? \$\endgroup\$ – Doug Warren May 21 at 19:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DougWarren Oops. Flying characters. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh May 21 at 19:57
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Have fun.

That's the most important thing. You do what you want to do, so long as you have fun doing it, along with everyone else.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't change it up every now and then. Switching it up can give you new experiences. The elven druid is one thing, but the halfling barbarian, or the half-orc bard is a completely new adventure. Try new things, experience new stories.

The other thing to consider is keeping in character. You might need to follow a few practices at first, to keep you from reverting back to your original character values. This post has a few good suggestions for keeping in character.

But just remember, the goal is to have fun. If you're having fun with your character, keep going. If you want to try new things, go for it!

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There are some ways that this could be a problem. Some that I've seen in my own gaming career include:

  • The player that always plays Elfs (or whatever race) can be a difficulty if the GM is doing something non-standard with that race.
  • The player that always plays the Wizard can be an issue if someone else wants to do the same, throwing party balance off (in systems where that matters)
  • Your GM may just be fresh out of ideas to make your preferred role interesting.
  • Your characters all start to look alike. (I really have seen the 'Bob Jr' situation play out, with Rana Pippiens [sic], Killerana, and Rana III as I recall.)

This is, of course, a personal experience-based and therefore non-exhaustive list.

However, even though I've seen all these happen, they are still ALL HYPOTHETICALS for you, and serve mainly to provide a new angle for the introspection you are already performing.

The hard bottom line, as other answers also indicate, is this: If you're having fun, and you're not accidentally interfering with the other players' fun, then there is no problem. And you can always ask the GM or consciously step back to create your player last, for the next game, to see if anyone wants the slot you usually occupy.

The meta bottom line, though, is this: If you read all these answers saying there's no problem, and you agree with them, but the issue still nags at you... then maybe you're just getting a little bored or twitchy, subconsciously. In that case, my advice is to try something with a low overall impact-- play something against-type in a convention game (if that's something you do) or a one-shot (if you can get your GM to run one) or consider GMing something yourself, possibly a short game or a one-shot. That is how I try out new ideas I am nervous about, and I think it may be valuable here, as well.

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No. Players are free to play the characters they want to play. As long as your character concept doesn't disrupt the group, you should play what you want.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Brevity is acceptable, but full explanations are better. In particular, this answer does not address the player's concerns about the potential outcomes of a lack of broad diversity in their character choices. You will probably get a better response, and your solution will be more useful, if you address that portion of the question as well and provide more detail--perhaps you have some experience with similar situations? \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 21 at 10:05

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