Character Motivation


Im trying to find a good motivation for my character, I need something that I can have him work towards so when we go to a town I know what I want him to be looking for or doing. As it currently stands I have no idea what I want to do and just follow other player and our party (all being relatively new and with similar struggles) heavily leans towards going into one fight after the other but we are trying to work on doing more role play.

So my old character died and now I'm playing as a level 8 true neutral Druid who hates being in his human form. He uses his Wild Shape ability to always be in a Earth or Air Elemental form. When this character was introduced, the party found him in a different plane, brainwashed into doing chores for the past 5 years.
One idea I had was since the party saw him in his most weakest and most vulnerable state, he felt so deeply shamed that he cant move on knowing they have seen this side of him. He doesn't want to straight out kill them but rather he wants to create a series of "accidents" that lead to their deaths. Although I'm not completely sure howIi could create these "accidents" so I would need ideas if thats the motivation he had.

Silver Crusade Contributor

Have you heard the message of Zyphus? ^_^

That said, this is perilously close to PVP, which not all groups may be comfortable with. I would recommend seeing how your GM feels. If you're all relatively new, this sort of thing could go very wrong...

I haven't, what is Zyphus?
The GM has done PvP like this before with us but usually the player is actively killing someone rather than making accidents or putting the group in dangerous situations. That being said I don't think the GM would have a problem but I dont know if i want to have PvP be like a motivator. It was the first thing that came to mind that seamed like there was some actual motivation behind so I thought I would mention it but if there are better ideas I would much rather do those than try and do PvP with my party.

Silver Crusade Contributor

I did some looking around, and the various online sources don't have much info on him. Zyphus is Golarion's god of accidental and meaningless deaths; he encourages his followers to set up lethal accidents for others. I've been using them in a couple of campaigns, and this made me think of that. ^_^

More thoughts on motivation to come.

Silver Crusade Contributor

If you're looking for a reason to go non-PVP (which appears to be the case), you could soften the character's feelings just a touch. Rather than wanting to eliminate the witnesses, as it were, he might simply remain withdrawn until the others start to earn his trust or find a way to encourage him to be more open.

I would also examine why he hates the human form, as well as why he prefers elemental forms in particular. Perhaps he lost someone important and, rather than deal with the grief, blamed it on the weakness of their form. Thus, he eschews the human form in favor of immortal and impervious (earth) or unreachable (air) elemental bodies. It's a great metaphor for emotional states - rather than wild like fire or loose/flowing like water, he prefers distance and an unbreachable reserve.

As for town goals, the easiest is "looking for someone/something". Perhaps the lost loved one wasn't killed, but merely captured, and clues might be out there. Maybe there's a powerful elemental relic, such as the Moaning Diamond, that he's heard rumors as to the location of.

Alternatively, maybe there's something he'd like to do. Who brainwashed him? Can he revenge himself upon them? If they were part of an organization such as a religion or empire, perhaps he might devote his time in towns to rabble-rousing and building opposition. If he's not socially skilled (druid, so likely) and the party includes a bard or other social character, he might eventually have to swallow his pride and reach out for help - the results might help him grow to accept the others.

Take some time with that, and see what you think. ^_^

I don't know you or your group well enough to know whether that kill-the-witnesses idea hovers closely enough to player-vs.-player to dissolve the game into out-of-character drama. Whether or not that's really a direction that will work for your group, is up to you and the group to decide together.

It sounds like your character isn't comfortable in her current form, or with the world she was born into.

That reminds me of the way that some varieties of fantasy fiction, like that from Lovecraft, Dunsany, and Neil Gaiman and Guillermo Del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth") and so on, can work on characters who are awkward outsiders trapped in a mundane or hostile world they don't feel they belong in, who eventually find their places by escaping into another world they felt they were always meant to be in.

Perhaps your character knows that she doesn't belong in the world she was born in, and needs help getting back home, to her own form... your character's ultimate goal is to find an escape from the game's setting, a way of transforming permanently into the form she feels she belongs in, and start over with a happy new life on the Elemental Plane of Air or Earth, or the Dreamlands, or Faerie, or whatever. The rest of the party can either help her achieve those goals, or stand in her way, so that her trust and cooperation with them depend on how much they help her with finding the gateway to this other world and the spells (or whatever) needed to make the transformation....

Silver Crusade Contributor

That's not bad. ^_^

(A note, though: the character is male.)

I used to do the whole "he/she" and "him/her" thing all the time, but I'm too lazy to these days, so I just pick one or the other pretty much randomly now - seems like I get it wrong every time, but I guess I'm just Chaotic Evil that way, hope nobody minds :)

In any case, I hope the idea helps, and good luck :)

I'm not a fan of "setting up traps to kill the other party members." That's PvP and should only be done in PvP explicit settings. Else no party will be long for this world.

how about a different motive:

1.) you were so brain-washed when you were a slave that you barely remember Who you were. you just don't belong.
2.) Having been so enslaved, you cannot abide being indebted to someone else, even having been saved.
3.) You must right the imbalance by saving each person who saved you more times than they save you. Ham it up, keep count and be super nice to PC's that you've saved more: talking openly with them, spoiling them with gifts or acts of kindness.
4.) get stiff with a PC if they tip the balance in their favor.
5.) Over time, soften into friendly rivalry. Let the other players figure out what's up so they can damsel in distress intentionally for you.
6.) Let other PC's engage you, telling you what matters to them, then help then do it! Score one for you!

As a Druid, you're superbly equipped to save people from myriad dooms. Perhaps you come to terms with your enslavement, perhaps you eventually transcend into a feelingless elemental.

There are a lot of African, Native American and Middle Eastern inspirations for debt culture.

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