Hello, I’m Patrick, and I have a problem. I have Multiple Character Disorder, known in MMO circles as “altitis”. When playing games where you create your own character, I can’t stop creating characters. I’ve got about 30 characters spread across various realms waiting for me to return to in the World of WarCraft. In City of Heroes alone, I was running a dozen different Turkey themed characters. It’s a mild case, and I know where it comes from, those rotten pen and paper role playing games.
It all started with TSR’s “Marvel Super Heroes” in high school. I was a big X-Men fan at the time, and the ability to play Wolverine or, better yet, play along side of Wolverine, filled me with geeky glee. There were so many different powers to try out, and the creation system was so much fun. I spent hours rolling up random powersets and then trying to come up with characters and costumes to fit them. I never really played any of them, I just liked creating them.
When I went off to college, I was exposed to many other RPGs, ones that I actually got around to playing, which lead to more character creation. D&D, Paladin, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Macross, Heroes Unlimited, Shadowrun, and, most importantly, the West End Games version of the Star Wars role playing game. As big a fan of the X-Men as I was, I was ten times the Star Wars fanboy (still am). I started with a bounty hunter named Xak Tsaroth. He was followed by outlaw Pax Tharkas, Wookiee heavy gunner Thorbardin*, Marcan Tevyeh the pacifistic curious explorer, Tusk Par’lya the Bothan splicer, Greyshade the Coruscant based superhero, Severen Tsaroth the Dark Side brother of Xak, Blackwood the assassin, Garrick Antilles the Rebel Saboteur, Jack Dancer the interstellar transient, Joog Fyzzk the Gand Findsman, Jace Averex the Rebel Infiltrator, Tark Shakiv the Shistavanen bounty buster, and Kartch the Jawa tech.
Okay, I admit, I had to look some of those names up, but I remember playing all of them. Pax Tharkas had a reinforced guitar that he used in melee combat and to sneak into Imperial bases. Severen Tsaroth made half a Stormtrooper platoon and a Sith Lord crap their respective pants. Tusk left an animation of a dancing ewok as his calling card. Garrick nearly blew up the entire party on his first mission. Jace used an Alderaanian party member’s collapsing emotional state of over the sudden destruction of her home planet to have sex with her. Thorbardin had his arm blown off. Tark was drunk most of the time and liked kicking people in the groin…and there were three of them. The character I played most though was Xak. I spent seven years with the character. Enough time that even he became multiple characters. Starting off as a bounty hunter, he soon developed into a Quixotic Jedi, the a Novice Jedi, then a Jedi Knight, then a disgraced Jedi, then he lost his powers and became a pilot, then toward the end, he morphed once again into Xak Tsaroth, Corellian Badass. Then Darth Vader chopped his arms and legs off for shooting frozen poop at his ship.
Yeah, we got kinda crazy in our Star Wars games.
I stopped playing once I left college, just didn’t have the time or found a group to play with, until I found a D&D group run by a guy that hung out with a lot of the same people I did in college. I started off with a Wild Elf Outlaw Mage named Rilik. Rilik turned out to be my favorite character since Xak, and I have a blast playing him…but I soon started getting that old itch again. I created a Dwarven Paladin for a secondary character. Then a gnome thief. And I’ve got ideas…man I still have ideas…. It’s not that I don’t like playing Rilik…I just need to play other characters as well.
Maybe it’s the actor in me, stretching into multiple roles. Maybe all the stories of “Killer DM’s” have me preparing replacement characters, just in case. Maybe I just like having options. All I know is I like it and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. You’ll have to excuse me now, I’m working on some Gurps characters. No, I’m not actually playing in a Gurps campaign right now…but you never know….
* Dragonlance fans will know where I got the names for those three. And yes, I’ve played kenders as well.