Secrets From The Dungeon: Roll Playing The Ego With Dungeons & Dragons
My last week’s article covered a brief character creation ideal, which was to create your Dungeons & Dragons character based entirely off your own ego. I think for most people, most characters are made this way, or at least partly. You might add features or traits that you have, eg. your character suffers from an untamed shaking in one hand that won’t stop due to real life PTSD that you struggle with. Or perhaps your character wears a certain handkerchief in one pocket as a symbol of a past event that changed him, and he wears it to remember. While these small details are mostly forgotten along the character creation path, to really explore those details can add a lot of fun and/or humor to your game play style.
Creating a character based off your own ego is hard because, well, we aren’t always in touch with that side of ourselves as perhaps we should be. Society likes to say that to be egotistical is a bad thing, that you should not be self consumed, yada yada, but what about really looking into the ego itself? What is a person without one and what is a character without one? What is it that shapes a person? The definition of ego is “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance,” and I think in making our characters we need to really focus on what makes us feel important or different. It’s a wondeous thing to be different and unique. A person’s ego, i.e. a character’s ego, really shapes what you want that character to do and be, so understanding ego in this case is a great thing.
Some difficulties you may have when making a character based off your own ego is the constant decision making of “am I like that?” Or, “is this really me?” You might find yourself jumping around a bit between classes and races just to try and understand yourself. You may find your powers are more illusive or perhaps more flamboyant than you were expecting, or perhaps you will find that how you see yourself is completely different than how others see you, but ultimately how you see yourself is what matters. You might want to take some time with this one because once you figure out a little bit about yourself as a fantasy character, you might just find it improves your self-esteem or even helps you to understand something about yourself that you weren’t at first aware of.
I would recommend looking into a lot of different races and classes via the Player’s Handbook, Unearthed Arcana or Dungeon Master’s Guild to really find which character suits you best. Unearthed Arcana also just released a new starter spells list and they look really fun and interesting, so check ’em out! Also, if you aren’t already following them, the Nerdarchy YouTube channel has a huge amount of ideas on character builds and ideas. You might also want to add some things to your character that maybe the books don’t have, and at that point I would recommend asking your DM about your options. This is, after all, your character, so get it right and really get into role playing as your own ego-based character self.
The best thing about this idea is that it’s a really fantastic way to bond with your group! When the idea first got passed around, it was cool to see how serious people took this. Everyone really had a fun time discussing races and ideals that we all had based on our past experiences. I think just taking the risk of playing yourself is what makes or breaks any relationship anyways, so why not just go with it, be you, have fun and remember that those people you game with are your friends and will appreciate watching you play who you are as a fantasy creation.
D&D is an amazing, mind altering, character-building and healthy hobby that really can shape friendships or the way you spend your time with your friends. My favorite nights are when our friends come by, we all have some drinks, laugh, roll dice, talk about life and just take time to disappear into another world for a few hours. Aside from getting to be a little self creative and introspective on your own character, playing the ego allows you the time to really ask yourself …”what would I do?” Give it a try sometime!
Happy gaming my friends, Stay Nerdy!
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