Spotting Personal Problems via PC Behavior?


Gamer Life General Discussion


Has anyone else gamed with someone and started to suspect they have a personal problem, or even a psychological condition, based on how their PCs act? Not how the player acts sitting around the table, but just the actions of their PCs?

My example: A friend of several years who's laid-back and funny, always fun to hang around with. But his PCs are, without exception, always absolutely furious. Every character he plays is seething with rage and eagerly advocates torture, mutilation, and vicious murder wherever possible. They're always boiling over with hate. But I must emphasize: this is ONLY when he's roleplaying. Outside the game, he's his same old self.

And it has me wondering if something is bothering the player.

Dark Archive

Not really. It's just like video games... people treat it as escapism but there is no evidence of a pathology.


I learned a great deal about myself by considering how I play characters. I don't think it's an iron-clad rule, but I do think that aspects of ourselves we might not otherwise express can flare up in characters we play.


It could be that your friend uses rpgs as a way to vent. It could also be that he purposely plays that way as a challenge. I see nothing wrong with talking to him, but what you mentioned may not a symptom of anything.


This sounds like The Purge RPG edition.


Oh yeah??? And what's so wrong about a little murder, torture and mutilation??? You judgmental f...

Ahum. Sorry about that. Now returning to normal scheduling. Ahum.


I have noticed that I learn a lot about people by how they play their characters. One guy I quit playing with (very short run) I actually think he hated women on the inside. Ever female player and NPC his character encountered he was incredibly hostile with to the point of being disruptive. we quit playing with him very shortly there after. He seemed so nice and polite normally too.


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Sissyl wrote:

Oh yeah??? And what's so wrong about a little murder, torture and mutilation??? You judgmental f...

Ahum. Sorry about that. Now returning to normal scheduling. Ahum.

Its anger Issues IN CHARACTER not just all the time! Gah Sissyl!!

;D

Scarab Sages

Vidmaster7 wrote:
One guy I quit playing with (very short run) I actually think he hated women on the inside. Ever female player and NPC his character encountered he was incredibly hostile with to the point of being disruptive.

The idea of "hating" women makes absolutely zero sense to me. It's not like racism, which is based on xenophobia and is often a consequence of war and/or economic rifts. The opposite sex is 50% of everyone you know. Sexism is one thing - that's cultural indoctrination, which the weak-willed are suckers for - but how can you "hate" them?

The most bigoted person I've ever met in gaming hated Elves. HATED them to the point that it felt real. Took every opportunity he could get to badmouth Elves. One got the sense that if an actual Elf were to walk into the room, there might have been a problem. The first thing he said when he joined the group was to tell the DM "If I see an Elf, I'mma kill 'em" - he said the same thing about Necromancers and "Chaos," too. He wound up playing a Dwarf Fighter/Barbarian (it was an absurdly high-powered gestalt game). I think his problem was, in a nutshell, too much Warhammer.


I know a guy who very definitely plays to relieve stress by hitting imaginary things, he's even said as much. I'm pretty sure he's not going to snap and go on a RL murder spree. I also wouldn't personally push him once he gets angry.

There's another who always plays to win and who takes a lot of disadvantages, whatever the game system used is. As he's a long-term sickness beneficiary I suspect he likes the idea of overcoming those disadvantages to win.


I think it was a lot of resentment. The guy was not attractive and actually seemed to repel the opposite sex. The if they don't like me I don't like them reaction I guess.
I think he bottled all that up and you only saw it when he wasn't guarding himself against showing it.

Scarab Sages

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think it was a lot of resentment. The guy was not attractive and actually seemed to repel the opposite sex. The if they don't like me I don't like them reaction I guess.

That I can actually believe.


Just my thought anyways wasn't around him long enough nor cared enough to make a deep assessment.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
The opposite sex is 50% of everyone you know.

Probably not for them. A couple of generations ago it was very normal (even traditional) for men and women to have entirely separate social circles. Some people hark back to that era.

As to hating women, they're likely putting blame for something that happened to them on a particular woman or two, then generalising it to others.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
The opposite sex is 50% of everyone you know.

There are lots of ways to get separated from women. Join a nearly all-male occupation, get involved with an all-male gaming group...

And then there are the men who meet a lot of women but don't really 'know' them because they can only see women in sexual terms. ("This woman isn't attractive to me so I have no reason to waste my time on her. That woman is attractive but would reject me. This other woman is a good prospect; I need to impress her.")


Or he just doesn't understand people, and admitting that he hates himself is too difficult. Misanthropy is not for everyone.


Sissyl wrote:
Or he just doesn't understand people, and admitting that he hates himself is too difficult. Misanthropy is not for everyone.

definitely has a ring of truth to it.

Scarab Sages

Matthew Downie wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
The opposite sex is 50% of everyone you know.

There are lots of ways to get separated from women. Join a nearly all-male occupation, get involved with an all-male gaming group...

Even so, the opposite sex is everywhere. Job and hobbies are a big part of one's life, but just one part of life nonetheless. Except perhaps in the most extreme cases (like maybe a cloistered, celibate cleric whose monastic lifestyle means he manages to NEVER interact with women, but must still constantly resist his innate sexual urges), there's simply no opportunity to develop the xenophobia that "hatred" is based on.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
The opposite sex is 50% of everyone you know.

There are lots of ways to get separated from women. Join a nearly all-male occupation, get involved with an all-male gaming group...

Even so, the opposite sex is everywhere. Except perhaps in the most extreme cases (like maybe a cloistered, celibate cleric who NEVER interacts with women but must constantly resist his innate sexual urges), there's simply no opportunity to develop the xenophobia that "hatred" is based on.

There is probably a lot of mixed emotions in their. simultaneously wanting the contact but at the same time being used to being rejected so already assuming that you will just be rejected which equals distancing yourself from them. Sissyl had a point too probably a lot of self-loathing.

The Exchange

All my characters are fragments of myself...I suspect we could put all the characters I've created in a single party and they'd get along fabulously, despite differing alignments.

I think I still have yet to manage true character/player separation.


Just a Mort wrote:

All my characters are fragments of myself...I suspect we could put all the characters I've created in a single party and they'd get along fabulously, despite differing alignments.

I think I still have yet to manage true character/player separation.

I don't think that is actually possible. To have true separation. at least not without Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I do the same thing I try to really emphasis some facet of my personality to make the character seem unique.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Job and hobbies are a big part of one's life, but just one part of life nonetheless.

Hm. Not sure what you're getting at there. What else is there in life that involves human interaction? Must be one of those things non-socially-isolated people do...


Matthew Downie wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Job and hobbies are a big part of one's life, but just one part of life nonetheless.

Hm. Not sure what you're getting at there. What else is there in life that involves human interaction? Must be one of those things non-socially-isolated people do...

Yeah I'm having to think way to hard to think of something else too...

Scarab Sages

Matthew Downie wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Job and hobbies are a big part of one's life, but just one part of life nonetheless.

Hm. Not sure what you're getting at there. What else is there in life that involves human interaction? Must be one of those things non-socially-isolated people do...

Family?

Random people on the street?

Businesses you patronize?

Cops/teachers/doctors/postal workers/housekeepers/other service workers?

Other hobby groups you're part of?

And increasingly, people on the Internet, where you never quite know who you'll wind up interacting with?

I'm very socially-isolated, doesn't stop me from engaging with all these people and more from time to time.


Yeah and he acted relatively normal outside of the game. Would not of known if it hadn't been for role playing with him.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Family?

Yes, in my case.

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Random people on the street?

I suppose I sometimes get harassed by people asking for money if I make the mistake of taking my headphones off? Does that count?

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Businesses you patronize?

We have automated tills where I live so I can go to the shops now without having to talk to anyone.

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Cops/teachers/doctors/postal workers/housekeepers/other service workers?

I tend to avoid police, don't go to school, don't have a housekeeper, postal workers at most ask me to sign something... I might interact with a dentist every year or so?

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Other hobby groups you're part of?

Doesn't count for 'things other than jobs and hobbies'.

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
And increasingly, people on the Internet, where you never quite know who you'll wind up interacting with?

But you never know for sure what gender they are, so for the original question of "does everyone interact regularly with the opposite sex?" I'm not sure if unconfirmed interactions count.


It is all too easy today to never meet other people. If you also only count the people you do not have a professional relationship to, many or most people have their family and a few friends. Sure, there are those who "know everybody", but deduct those they have the shallowest of contacts with, and they too end up where everyone else is.

Perhaps it has always been so. They say early humans traveled in packs of up to thirty people. It could well be we don't really have the functionality for much more.


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Hmmmmmm. I always play as an idiot. What does that say about me? By the way, I swallowed a whole ice cube the other day and I haven't pooped it out yet. I'm really scared. What should I do?


JTDV wrote:
Hmmmmmm. I always play as an idiot. What does that say about me? By the way, I swallowed a whole ice cube the other day and I haven't pooped it out yet. I'm really scared. What should I do?

Drink more water.

(should be about the safest advice I can give.)


Just a Mort wrote:

All my characters are fragments of myself...I suspect we could put all the characters I've created in a single party and they'd get along fabulously, despite differing alignments.

Gathering all my characters in one big party would be a good recipe for disaster. Most of them would probably get along reasonably well or at least manage to maintain a chilly distance, but there are enough outliers on all sides of the spectrum that they would be trying to kill each other before long, and drag everyone else into the fight while they're at it.


It is hard to tell if they are just using the character to escape or if it is revealing some inner person.

Do remember, however, that you cannot solve a OOC problem IC.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber
Calybos1 wrote:

But I must emphasize: this is ONLY when he's roleplaying. Outside the game, he's his same old self.

And it has me wondering if something is bothering the player.

Two questions:

If you believe that his in-character behavior is his "real" self, what actions are you going to take?
Are you going to stop playing games with him? Are you going to cut him out of your friendship circles? Are you going to start carrying weapons to protect yourself from him?

If you believe that his in-character behavior is not his "real" self, why does it bother you so much?

If you really are only wondering if something is bothering him, why not ask him? Or are you afraid you'll trigger a dangerous response?

Taking to the internet to diagnose psychopathology is far less useful than asking a friend you care about if something is bothering them


But not as fun!


I don't think you can generalize, and yeah the behavior the original OP describes could just be the "I had a hard day at work and I just want to smash thing" mentality a lot of folks game with.

I mean I do think people put a lot of themselves, either what they idealize or what they are subconsciously dwelling on, into there characters and style of play. But unless something seems really off or some of those aspects of characterization start popping up elsewhere, I think it's a bit unwise to take PC behavior as indicative of the person's in real life.


Putting all my characters together would be... first of all, a rather massive gathering. There would be three teams. One would be Team Good. They range from agreeable to saintly, and would get along very well. Then there is Team Chaos. A large number of generally amoral, uncontrolled thrillseekers. Some of these would like one another. Others might go for the throat.
Then there is Team Ass. Mainly three come to mind:

Spoiler for ewww:
twi'lek who enjoyed murdering, inflicting misery and teaching people to become monsters, a Dark Heresy human hillbilly who was much the same, except a bit more controlled and had a prize-winning collection of STDs, and a pict warrior in Conan whose greatest joy in life was eating peoples' brains while they were conscious.

All of Team Ass is blissfully dead. If they weren't, I believe Team Good and Team Chaos would be rushing to see who got to murderize them first.


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I always try to play characters who want to do the right thing, because, um...can I go now?

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