This one has been getting me for years and years, and it happens pretty much like clockwork. Group is doing their GNC renbu, and Low and Behold, a Kobold Barbarian! Or some other off-kilter combination of race and class. Now don't get me wrong, having something off the curve is fine, but SO many times, it seems like a good character through session zero, only to hit game, and... it's just the same boring stuff.

Even when I try to engage the point (To use the initial example, a small tribe of kobolds see their barbarous brother full tanking multiple hits from an Ettin, and actually getting up into Melee and taking him to town), there just isn't any interaction there. Like, they're completely flabbergasted to see one of their own who doesn't need numbers, and is fighting literal giants before their eyes, and the character is just like, "Oh... yeah, where's the loot?" and doesn't engage at all with them.

There are plenty of other examples, and varied attempts at the same thing, but I see a lot of players fall into this trap year after year, making characters that should have some interesting stories to them, and the character really wants to explore it according to everything they're saying, but once they're in-game, nothing. They might as well have just done a stock character (Mike the basic human fighter is fine, I've played him before, but I give him that extra personality to bring him out to the forefront.).

What is the best solution to get players to make the most out of these character concepts?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This probably needs a "good subjective, bad subjective" banner/tag, since valid, useful answers will need to come from experience. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 12:12
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Sean, is there a specific system or set of systems where you've had this happen? It may be useful for answers in case it makes certain solutions applicable/inapplicable. (It might also clarify some of the reference made in the question). \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 12:43
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This is an incredibly broad subject to which we could post hundreds of individually valid answers, and anything that narrows the core issue down would make answering this in our Q&A much easier. Are your players enjoying themselves? Why do you want them to explore these concepts? What makes any solution the best solution? I don't know the people at your table and in its current iteration this question could lead to many answers that don't apply at all to your situation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 12:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just one example if why setting matters: if you play Warhammer Fantasy Rpg, being a Breton Knight is vastly different from a High Elven Dragon Knight or a Chaos Warrior. In The Dark Eye, each culture has a background book in 4th edition with some 150 pages on Look and Feel. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 12:54
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds a bit like an XY problem. I don't think changing the race/class would really help. Or that class/race is the core issue here. Seems like it's the way the character is played is what bothers you. In particular, seems you expect more "in-character" stuff and deeper expression of interactions with the world. Whereas the other players might be in it for the dungeon crawling. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 14:02


Browse other questions tagged .