Wow. These get harder as the Challenge goes on, no?
What makes a good, or great character? Not what most players think I'll tell you that.
This is gonna get ranty...
Players nowadays are all about Player Empowerment, or Player Agency, as it is most commonly known. That's great. I am totally behind that. Unless, as often happens, it prevents the game as a whole from working.
In ye olden days, final say on most any matter related to a campaign was that of the GM. This gave the setting, and stories within it, a singular voice, and a unifying vision. Today things gets very muddied, and it's hard to even start a campaign as every player has separate and distinctly different ideas of what the game should be. When these ideas mesh, it's great! When they don't...ugh.
Player Agency is wonderful, but there are usually two, or more players. Ever try to get something done when you need the approval of several different agencies? Time consuming, and difficult. Good luck with that.
That's not really what I want to address though. What I want to talk about is the player that writes a long, drawn out, complex backstory for their character, and it supersedes what is going on in the game.
I love a player who has thought out their character's background. It gives me, as GM, material to work with. However, if you have produced so much material that it takes me 15 minutes or more to read it, allow me to clue you in on some things...
- You aren't the only player. Get over yourself.
- The game isn't about you and your backstory. It's about whatever it's about. That includes you and your backstory of course, but other things are going on.
- As GM I need to be able to move around, and have things happen. If you make your backstory such that I can't tell the campaign's tale without tripping over yours, loosen that thing up a bit, 'kay?
A lot of players are so into their own characters that they don't get immersed in the campaign. They don't care about 'the game'. They end up playing this separate world that's all about them, but they do it while sitting at the same table as everybody else.
Don't frickin' do that! It frickin' sucks for the other players, and the GM.
Imagine there are two or more players doing that. Yeah. Sucksville.
What makes for a good character you ask?
A solid idea of who the character is, it's motivation for doing WHAT YOU AND THE GROUP (GM included) HAVE DECIDED YOU"LL BE DOING IN THE CAMPAIGN (kill the loner Superhero whose player knows full well there are four other PCs in the group. Please! JOIN THE FREAKIN' TEAM JERKWAD!), and who has proactive ideas on how to accomplish their goals, and those of their group.
Have your character have goals. Have your character have ideals. Have your character have likes, dislikes, friends, and enemies.
Leave room to have, and develop more as you experience the campaign.
Please, dear lord, leave room for more.