Tuesday, 19 April 2022

P is for Player Character

Player's, possessive? Player? There's a weird debate about the grammar of D&D that can lead down some equally weird rabbit holes.

The Player Character, or PC, is the obverse of the NPC. Each player in a game may be in control of one character, or more, characters. Thus the Player Character.

Like much in this A-to-Z challenge, there have been volumes written about the Player and the Character together or individually. Early TTRPGs tended to think of them as a single entity: the player's intelligence influencing the character's Intelligence, even with the character having a very low Intelligence score. Puzzles tended to be solved by the Player, not the Character; even when the Character may be portrayed as dumb as a box of rocks at the table.

Gaming has evolved. As the role-playing aspect of TTRPGs matured, so to did the separation of the Player from the Character. It is more often now that Players will gleefully play up the stats of the Character. Weak? Dumb? No Common Sense? Clumsy? Often these portrayals of Character attributes are ham-fisted. I find no fault in this and encourage it.

Mechanically, these Character attributes often work well at the table, especially for Players that may not be extroverts or like to speak extemporaneously or have improvisational skills. Social encounters can be deferred to the game mechanics and the Player can set simply the goal of trying to blather a gate guard. Roll the dice, possibly spot bonuses given for good reasoning, and the Character can succeed or fail based on its attributes. The Player can add flavor at the table for the results.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:58 PM in d10