The Perks of Being a Bland Roleplayer

(This was originally published on mmos.com on July 14th, 2015.)

A large part of the appeal of role-playing, whether it’s in an MMORPG or on a kitchen tabletop, is being able to take on the personality and appearance of someone new. Personally, I enjoy adventuring in strange mythical worlds, but I keep my characters relatively boring in comparison. My class of choice in Dungeons & Dragons is the fighter, and I play human warriors in fantasy MMOs whenever possible. I play as Mario in Super Smash Bros. and Ryu in Street Fighter. I’m as vanilla as a gamer could possibly get, and I love it!

There are many perks to my blandness: I always fill the tank role in D&D campaigns and MMORPG groups, and never argue with other players about who gets to be the brawler. My characters are simple, so I save time by not having to learn convoluted magic spells or gameplay mechanics. I also never have to worry about whether or not I’m doing my best. If my character is attacking, then I’m doing my job right; there’s very little room for error. If you’ve ever been frustrated arguing about class selection politics at the beginning of a role-playing adventure or struggling to learn how to play your character, then a boring race/class combination might be for you.

Many players adopt a character that, in some way, mirrors their own personality, and I find the average warrior’s philosophy of “hit it with your weapon until it’s dead” very appealing. There’s something charming about being straight to the point and efficient, especially when so many other role-players focus on casting the most immense spell or pulling off the most acrobatic maneuver. The quickest way from point-A to point-B is through a straight line, and the archetypal warrior walks that line proudly. This isn’t to say that picking a human warrior necessarily exempts you from role-playing, however. The heroic everyman and the basic thug are character archetypes worth investing time into, but they also offer a fair amount of flexibility for players that aren’t familiar with or interested in role-playing.

Whether you select the sword-and-board life as a role-playing stepping stone or because you enjoying smacking things until you win, you should embrace that playstyle with pride. If your Dungeon Master or adventuring buddies give you any trouble for choosing a character with a non-existent personality, just remember how much your team relies on you for every enemy encounter. You’ll only need to drop aggro on the boss once to remind your allies of the perks of being a boring role-player.

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