Two Edges, Same Blade.
Good and Bad
Though perhaps a bit late, it bears mentioning that most heroic stories are the product of Good people bettering the world. Granted that is a very simplistic view, but even when you consider the other types of heroes, they are usually doing something to better the world. (Or maybe just themselves.)
A character that has some desire to help others is useful to everyone involved in a story. This does not mean that all players will be creating over zealous volunteers for local charities. Some may find that their desire to help is due to their faith in a god or dedication to a cause, but there are other choices. Anti-Heroes are also valid. Just because you are helping to save the orphanage doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting paid for your services, either in Gilder or favors. (And, lets not forget Reputation.)
Your characters motivations are first and foremost up to you. If you cannot get into the mind of the character you will not enjoy playing the game. With that said, here are some reasons that your character’s morals come into play:
- Compatibility is fairly general but is very important. Your character has to have some ability to socialize. This is a group activity and others will be trying to have fun also. It becomes difficult to bring two characters with completely different and conflicting personalities into a game together. One way this could occur is in the societies that players choose to associate with.
Example: Novale is a devout follower of the Vaticine Faith. He believes in Theus with every fiber of his being and knows that if he cannot save your soul, he may as well destroy you before you can corrupt others to follow the dark paths. Marion is a member of the Rilasciare. He has seen the evils that occur when men are placed above other men by rote. The Church uses it’s Inquisition to destroy families for no other reason than a difference of opinion. Any Vaticine should be eliminated to stop the oppression. They are both evils. Fanaticism does not leave room for others’ views and that can lead to impasses in a game. There is, thankfully, a way to salvage these wonderful character concepts without changing them too much. Just use moderation and make small changes. Allow for doubt and talk to the other players. The story of Novale and Marion could create the greatest friendship of all times if the players work together to create it.
- Never and Always are strong words with dire consequences. I will always fight evil! Sounds good in practice. But try this one out: You and your companions are trying to find some abducted children. You have absolutely no idea where they might have been taken but you have found a lead to the docks where some local slavers are currently doing business. When you get there you meet some people from the Crescent Empire who are not currently transporting slaves but are self admitted Slavers. They have the information you want but only one of them speaks your language and if you pick a fight with them you probably won’t get the information you need. If you will Always fight evil, you can’t allow these self admitted slavers to go on their way. And even if your plan is to get the information and then give them a sound beating, do you have the time for that? (Think of the children or the paycheck, your call.) This can make for some exceptional role-playing moments; the drama never gets thicker than when you have to go back and tell the parents that your pride and dedication to doing the right thing allowed their children to be used as human sacrifices. To top this off, and possibly the worse consequence, there was probably some other player, (Or the rest of your team) who really really didn’t want to throw down just then. Once the “I told you so.”s start, things get personal.
The real message here is simply to point out that regardless of what you would like to do with your character concept, you are not the only one at the table. To have a truly enjoyable game you need to have a group that is invested in each member getting something out of the experience. So please talk with them or at the very least your Game Master to see if there are any pitfalls in your design that can be worked with or bypassed peacefully.