My character was conceived as a druid who is unusually calm, even in stressful situations (in fact he has the trait). He's supposed to have his own grand plans about protecting the balance between good and evil and all that, but because of his laconic, reclusive personality and unemotional manner, these are meant to be very hard to read. He has high wisdom, above average charisma, and... Well, Int is my dump stat. I also added the repressed bloodlust trait, since I figured it would represent him getting a taste for violence after being exposed to the inevitably bloody campaign.
Initially this seemed like an easy character to play, and that's part of why I went with it. But in practice I ran into some issues.
I'm not new to DnD or roleplaying but the other players are inexperienced. I know the crunch much better: What spells are good for what, what skills overcome an obstacle more effectively, what combat tactics work, and so on. I have a big advantage when it comes to making plans that involve mechanics (be it skill checks, actual combat, or any sort of non-ad hoc dice rolling). I feel like I should be acting as a sort of part-time tour guide and help the other players get the hang of the game mechanics. However, I don't want to just give them tips OOC, since it feels like that would be a bit more meta-gamey than what we are going for. So instead I try to have my character take the lead when there seems to be confusion about how to approach a problem (especially a problem that most groups would consider straightforward).
I don't go barking orders left and right, I just dispassionately propose my plan and let the other players decide for themselves if they want to do it. Usually, because they are reasonable and my plans are sensible, they go with it. Every so often they (or their characters) decide they know better and I acquiesce without much protest, but most often we end up doing my plan.
There's the first problem: If I'm supposed to be this stoic, mysterious man of few words with a permanent poker face, how come I'm always the one speaking up and rousing the gang to action? It doesn't help that I'm pretty much the opposite of my character: If I have an idea, I just have to let everyone know about it, and I never shut up. INTJ player, ISFP character, you might say. I can play the role, or I can guide the party, but it's hard to do both at once.
Second problem is that as the campaign progressed, we began going through dungeon crawls. Kick down the door, bash in skulls, collect loot, rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't offer much roleplaying opportunity -- it's been a hell of a long time since the last time I acted like anything besides an inhuman robot with perfectly optimized tactical decision-making software.
- My main motivation is my quest to foil a secret evil plot. But my character would avoid bringing it up until the others manage to worm it out of me, which they haven't yet. Can't do much there.
- My secondary motivation is the druidly obsession with nature and neutrality (TN character). But I'm in an abandoned ruin, killing random mooks. We are too low level for the mooks to be offensive to nature just by their very being. Presumably my druid's opinion of the ruins is "meh", since a bunch of crumbling stone isn't that unnatural. I could keep whining about how I miss frolicking in ye emeralde foreste, but we actually have to beat the dungeon to move the plot, and we all want to move the plot, so it's not like I actually want my character to ditch it and go hang in the woods.
- The earlier issue with taking a planning role goes off the charts: I end up acting more like Lieutenant Richmond Wilmington, esquire than wandering hermit.
- Half the time I'm shaped into a bear anyhow, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I can at least roleplay: I get to pretend I'm a seemingly docile bear who minds his own business, and explodes into vicious fury and mauls everyone without warning. It works with the growing bloodlust part of the character. But a bear isn't terribly personable, so it doesn't really develop anything else.
- There's always the cheap option of taking the limelight to do some ,~*`Roleplaying™`*~,. Say, I could shape into a sneaky animal and scout. But honestly none of this is more effective than "let's everyone charge and go for the jugular", and constantly taking over, being a large ham and chewing scenery seems like it would annoy everyone else. It also doesn't really fit the character.
To be sure, I don't think anybody minds how I play my character and we all know how quickly the most thespian intentions can degenerate into "I hit it with my axe for 17 slashing damage!" anyway. But, I personally feel like I would enjoy the game more if I roleplayed a bit better, except that I'm a bit stuck as to how to accomplish it, given my circumstances. I can't tell if that's just how dungeon crawls are and I should hang in there until we get more social encounters, or if it's something I can help.
If you want to rip apart my character concept, play style, and other such things, please feel free to do so (*takes cover*). I would appreciate some kind of suggestion on how to fix the problems, though.