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Thread: Recurring themes with your OCs

  1. #1
    Defender of the Word
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    Post Recurring themes with your OCs

    Whether you realize it or not, for those of us who rely more on original characters than already-existing ones, there tend to be certain recurring elements that are almost like a "signature".

    For instance, with many of my characters, if they're skilled with various languages, at least one of those languages will be Mayan (sort of as a tribute to the Man of Bronze, Clark Savage Jr.)

    Also, recently, my gaming group has been doing a setting where the characters are all Girl Genius-style Sparks (or like Forge from X-Men, whichever is easier to comprehend). As such, most of them have the Gadgets power, and we all have a tendency to include about 3-4 "frequently-used" Gadgets with our characters.

    But these are just a couple of mine. How about yours?
    "Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do. Let me do right to all, and wrong no man." - Clark Savage, Jr.

  2. #2
    Hierophant FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    Possibly less an OC thing than a setting thing, but my NPCs have a tendency to dismiss oddities of the game world with a worldweary "This is Freedom City", everything from supervillains who could make billions with their inventions robbing banks to spectators not scattering when villains attack because they want to get good pictures to a lawyer claiming that the superheroes would never be able to pin the crimes on him because he'd claim that his Anti-Earth doppelganger was the one who'd done the crime and they couldn't prove otherwise.

  3. #3
    Keeper of Secrets Davies's Avatar
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    They tend to be female with traumatic backgrounds.
    Check out my new super hero/science fiction novel, Unbelievable: A Tale of the Exotica Chronicles.

  4. #4
    Hierophant Ysariel's Avatar
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    They tend to be troubled youth or struggle with controlling parents, and tend to be motivated by a responsibility to use their talent for good. Their costumes are always very revealing, half because they like showing skin and half because they're pressured into doing so. They are mainly battlesuits, energy controllers, and mystics, although I went through a crime fighter phase early on.

  5. #5
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    I tend to go with more street smart vs book smart characters that have minimal powers or a very tight theme. While I've tried my hand at four color types in the past, they always end up being OC's who would being what they were doing anyway in some form with or without powers. Also, trickster type powers and skills is my current preferred bent. I the past I did the whole TK and wolverine/dead pool ish, but they got a bit too popular. No matter the other details, they always are the affable everyman sort personality with little quirks to differentiate them.

  6. #6
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    "Transformation from human" and "not human" are my two big ones (and which obviously have the same end-state). Magic transforming words, super-soldier program recipients, bio-terrorist targets, hybrids with non-Earth beings, non-Earth beings, robots, "emerging new/ancient super-humans", supernatural monsters, etc. It's actually really hard for me to care about Badass Normal humans because they seem so plain.

    Heck, when making settings the big elements I keep carrying over have to do with justifying those elements.


    Among actual played characters they either are multiple people or have some kind of extra personality running around inside because I don't feel like a single individual can constitute a "character": you need some kind of dynamic/relationship between two or more, and just from a practical standpoint that can be hard to reliably wrangle out of a group.

  7. #7
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    My characters are almost always smart asses who are aware of their genre trope.

    Like if I did Maxie Zeus, he'd be aware he's not a Greek God but that he's doing a theme.
    The United Federation of Charles: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/
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  8. #8
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    If there's one theme I go to over and over, it's heroes who either turn into powered forms (like dragon men or animal/human hybrids), or take on some elemental, energetic or material properties (like body of stone, metal or gas or becoming living lightning). When I was growing up, the only super-people on TV were Wonder Woman and the Hulk. The Hulk was always a 'transforming hero,' and, at least on TV, Linda Carter would spin around to turn into Wonder Woman, with a flash and explosion sound, and I guess I just imprinted early on the idea of super-people changing that way, instead of ducking into a phone booth or trying to remember on which rooftop you left your spare clothes webbed up.

    My gold-standard was Knock-Off, from 1st edition M&M, who had the Absorbing Man/Amazing Man like ability to turn into anything he touched. In a game at Origins (or perhaps GenCon), I got to be the tank, turning into marble by touching the steps of the building he was leaving, and then fly to combat in the form of air, and then assume the form of light to do more useful damage. So versatile. Another variation on that was Undertow, a character who could turn into ice, water or a cloud of steam, giving him three distinct powersets, and a lot of utility, while still having a decently tight theme.

    I'm a sucker for themes, and yet also versatility. Firedrake turns into a hybrid dragon-person, giving him decent defense (tough scales), melee offense (strength and claws), ranged offense (fiery breath), transportation (winged flight), and various utility / quality of life powers (enhanced senses, slow reptilian regeneration, breath a cloud of obscuring smoke). Silvertip was based off of the 1st ed M&M sample character Silver Shrike, who had alternate builds of a spider-person, cat-person, etc. taking each of those alternate builds as an alternate form of her 'bird-person' build, so that she could be a hawk-girl, cat-girl, snake-girl, spider-girl, etc., depending on what the situation called for.

    Ah me. It's been what, thirty, forty years since Superfriends went off the air, and I'm still playing variations on Zan and Jayna, or Black Vulcan...

  9. #9
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    Re: Recurring themes with your OCs

    Probably partly an artifact of having played/ran superhero games for decades, but my characters tend to have what I think of as "odd bits"; character design elements that either don't, on the face of them, fit in the simple summary of the character, or make the character operate in a way you wouldn't expect.

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