Consistent characters across games


#1

My question actually got read by the Waypoint staff in episode 160 of Waypoint Radio (timestamp 58:45 or so). I’m the creator of Jean, my female avatar, who, due to the use of create-a-character options, has appeared in a lot of games I play (My reality land name is Jeff and I am/identify as male, for the record). I was elated to hear Austin, Patrick, and Rob weigh in on it and actually provide examples of themselves doing it. I honestly didn’t think it’d be that well represented, maybe only Austin actually having something to say about it, but I guess it’s more widespread than I thought.

Do any of you do this too? Is this a constant among gamers? Do you feel comfortable sharing your own head-canon of your digital selves?


#2

Generally speaking, my avatars are almost never me - my Fatebinder (Tyranny) was a black woman, my Watcher (Pillars of Eternity) was a male Nature Godlike, my runners (HBS’ Shadowrun games) were a male Latino ork decker and a female Indian troll mage respectively. I find the differentiation helps me get into that specific character’s head, and by extension the world around them.

That said, I did do something similar to Jean with the D&D RPGs (Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, etc.): not the same character per se, but rather members of the same Lawful Evil adventuring family. Had a whole headcanon and family tree for a dynasty of blackguards, necromancers and tieflings who were constantly being dropped into situations where they had to save the world.

Sword Coast Legends kind of put the brakes on that - the game was so bland I never made much progress with it, and I wasn’t quite comfortable continuing the meta-story in a completely different setting like PoE or Divinity. Pathfinder: Kingmaker might be a good fit, though…


#3

I think a lot is restricted by how the game expects the player character to act. But, within the parameters of that, quite a lot of players have a few avatars or at least broad principals (templates) from which to craft each individual character.

I know Danielle has talked a lot about how she plays a lot of Danielles, when games allow for the gay combat medic who plans to make the world a better place (ideally with knocking people out and then putting them into the recovery position).

I find there’s a lot of back and forth based on the size of the gap the game has left for the player character to fit into (be that two main paths, as a Mass Effect or inFamous offers, or various range of options around a theme or defined character, as most dialogue options try to offer). Lots of games with named characters are less about providing you with a blank slate and more about how you play into the written story. That said, I still find the space for expressivity and user-authored stories often provides a lot of room. When playing The Last of Us, I quickly decided my Joel hated guns (something there is clearly space to justify in the canonical story, but mechanically that’s not how the game expects you to play it) and that created an individual character to my play (and happened to reinforce the themes in the game when I, during the last chapter of the game, unloaded my almost infinite collection of ammo as Joel broke). That fits into the consistent character principal I typically play when stealth is an option (Garrett is an unseen ghost, Corvo was never there) and also seemed to work well with the specific character I was role playing in that game.

I’d definitely say I’ve got a range of templates from which I’m most comfortable reaching for when a game asks me (or even just leaves the slightest gap) to add personality or traits. That’s mechanical and also often aesthetic - the fantasy RPG healers I create in various games often have a look that spans those specific games (assisted by the way games lean into genre styles).


#4

I have a few but lately I’ve been trying to branch out a bit after realizing I’ve become a bit of a person that always plays the same character in tabletop games. Hoping branching out in my OCs and headcannons will translate over there.

Anyway while not “exactly” the same character I translated my FF14 character as best I could into the FFXV multiplayer. That was a fun experience.

My Dark Souls and most of my tabletop inspired (baldurs gate, pillars of eternity) characters are the same character. A paladin about to lose their faith in an ever increasingly hostile world. (Works really well for all 3 of those)

Edit: Oh and all my elderscrolls characters are descendants from the same Dunmer house. This started in Morrowind but chronologically starts in ESO. Using ESO as a kind of mythological tale of the founder of the house. Someone who could not have possibly done all the things credited to them.


#5

I don’t have a lot of actual consistant characters between games, but I have a load of consistant motifs and such between characters. I’ll always call a character with an emphasis on Shieldry some variant of “Captain placename”, and they’ll usually have some sort of valorious streak. And anyone who uses whips is a Belmont, for sure, though I will of course come up with a vision of what the Belmont Clan looks like in that world. In Dark Souls I imagine they are a talented lot who study and train to defeat Vampires… only Vampires don’t exist, so despite their expertise in medicine and combat, they aren’t treated with as much respect as they would be without the whole Vampire pretense.

Cyrus Belmont is the only character I’ve braught from one game to another, I made him in DS1 with the intention of recreating him again in Dark Souls 2, the narrative being that he chickened out of linking the fire and went hollow for hundreds of years, only to be snapped out of it in Drangleic, where he was determined to right his mistake, and link the fire. I’ve a very detailed mythology of my own characters within the souls series, it’s fueled my love of it for years.

Also similarly to the Belmont stuff, I really enjoy twisting established characters and the like from other series into other worlds. What does Dante from the Devil May Cry series look like in the Dark Souls universe, for example. It’s a great narrative construction excersise, and makes running cosplay builds a lot more interesting. Gives me something to keep my mind occupied.


#6

i’ve got exactly three characters i use in any fantasy themed game: Vali, the happy-go-lucky thief child with a fascination for anything magical; Anya, the uptight nerdy mage girl; and Eyra, the upright knightly warrior who hides her shyness by being stern and forbidding. i have whole backstories for them and everything which i generally adapt a little to suit the game world, but which never loses certain elements (eg, Annie and Eyra are sisters, but have a distant relationship which is why they never appear at the same time in the same game). i prefer using consistent characters because i know them pretty well by now, so any choice that comes up i can just say “oh i know how Val/Annie/Eyra would choose” and not have to worry about what i would do

i haven’t worked out anything similar for sci-fi or other settings but i’m sure i could adapt the girls to one if i had enough time.


#7

The fact that people do this kind of blows my mind. I’ve never even THOUGHT of this being a thing before the question was read. I basically just hit random and then name the character after myself every time.


#8

I’ve kept the same character through my Dark Souls playthroughs. In each game, I make a version of Moose, a character inspired by a favorite NPC from the first pathfinder game I was the DM of. He’s a scrawny, sandy haired kid who is not at all prepared for what he’s about to get pulled into, and usually ends up being a dex fighter, or a rogue when I make him in stuff like Dragon Age.

Otherwise, I like to make badass ladies in games where I’m building strength or magic. My FFXIV character is just the latest in a long line of ladies with the height and muscle sliders turned all the way up.


#9

Typically, I use characters from stories I write here and there since it helps save time in character creation because I already have a set backstory and appearance in mind. Like for example if it’s an action game, an ashen haired lady that is a former soldier that is extremely good with military stuff but is also very disillusioned with the military informs my decisions going forward on her appearance and choices in the game and so on.


#10

Mine is more along the lines of a “James Bond is actually a code name” or “the Hero of Time is always named Link” type of thing.

If my character is:
Rogue Aisling. After the forest sprite in Secret of Kells.
Mage Kivrin. From the time-travelling scientist in The Doomsday Book. As in, any sufficiently advanced technology will look like magic to those not familiar with it.
Warrior Saorise. Samurai -> wandering samurai -> Ronin -> Ronan. Pretty sure the first time I did this, I actually named the character Saorise the Ronin and it just stuck.


#11

Im someone who has character templates. I go back to them pretty conostantly, usually for Fantasy. In sci-fi stuff I like to go a little more off the beaten path, so to speak.

My main one is Gil, whos a Dwarf Fighter. He’s derived from my old WoW character, Gilmach, who was a Paladin. Since then Ive always role played him as a ex-Paladin turned Fighter. He’s diplomatic, but a little snarky and he has no problem with violence against certain people (he’ll punch a fantasy nazi). He’s also an amatur painter and smokes too much for his own good. Ill be honest, he’s basically my fantasy insert character. I dont smoke anymore though. My most recent itteration of Gil is Pillars of Eternity 2. I brought him through the first game as a Paladin, but in the five years between the games he became disenfranchised with his religion because of he events of PoE, becoming a Chanter (basically a Bard but they use magical chants as their core abilities not arcane spells and instruments). He took the dicipline and zeal of his time as a Paladin and put it into song and performance, but he still has all the martial abilities to back it up.

I have a few more. There’s Lex, who’s an Elf Ranger. Shes really reclusive and tends to live alone with her animal friends in the woods. There’s Sabille, who is a Lawful Good Cleric. Dev is a roguish type. Deck is my drunken monk. Most of these characters come from old D&D campaigns or characters I rolled for campaigns that never happened. I also always love when a game lets me make a whole party. Like in Icewind Dale the whole crew comes together for a big adventure.


#12

Honestly, I can’t even keep characters consistent across the one game I’ll make them for. I simply cannot imagine the mental fortitude required for character building across a hundred hours.


#13

I’m really curious if/how this will change for me as I start to transition.

Digital avatars have always been a way/place I could express myself visually. The consistency doesn’t always track 1:1 in games, depending on what is available customization wise, or activity wise, but generally fairly consistent.

Huh. Hadn’t really put much thought into it until now though.

Interestingly, I think it resulted in the fastest I’d ever invested money in a free to play game, when Fortnite would randomly make my avatar male about half the time. Had the strongest desire I think I’ve ever felt to change that immediately.


#14

I did this in my first characters in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls 1, when those originally came out, with a character named Brothbarrel. Brothbarrel was a very large and grumpy middle-aged bald man with as close to black-metal corpsepaint as you can get in those games. I think he was born out of being completely incapable of making a non-ugly person with those early Souls character creators, giving up, and just trying to make the grumpiest person possible. He started Demon’s Souls as a barbarian and ended as a knight, so naturally in Dark Souls I started as a knight and ended as a paladin. I liked the idea of him continuing his arc of self-improvement across time and space.

I also used a family-based naming scheme in Dungeons of Dredmor, where every character on every run followed the naming convention of “(Fruit or Vegetable) Quincy,” and I imagined they were all related in some way, each delving into the dungeon to try and find out what happened to the last one who went in. So I had for example Yams Quincy, granddaughter of Broccoli Quincy, who herself was the cousin of Asparagus Quincy, the son of Arugula Quincy, Vampire husband of Apples Quincy, etc. I have no idea why I started doing this but it was a fun challenge to think up new fruits/vegetables I hadn’t used before for each run, and it imbued the game with a sort of tragicomic personality entirely of my own making that I haven’t really experienced in a game before or since. I never did avenge the Quincy family legacy though, because I am shit at Dungeons of Dredmor.

Nowadays I almost always play as female characters whenever possible, since it’s nice to be able to express gender in games in ways I don’t feel comfortable expressing yet in real life. The only through-line is that I often use plant-based names, which I hadn’t realized was sort of a continuation of the Dredmor scheme until now lol.


#15

I name Link “007” in every Legend of Zelda game that lets you label file saves.

I have no idea.


#16

Same, but now I kind of wish I had. This seems weirdly fun.

I think the closest I’ve ever come to a consistent character across games would be… Shepard? But I suppose that one doesn’t even really count as it brings most of the core stuff over. (Admittedly I did roleplay my Shepard as going a bit darker/more morally grey after his whole resurrection in ME2 though, but still)


#17

For reasons I can’t recall, all my Links are named “Ipo” or “Ipo the Brave” if it fits. I don’t remember how I came up with the name, just a habit at this point.


#18

Never too late to start. Try it out next time you have to sit down with a create-a-character mode.