The Geek Emporium

The Great Geek Revolution is NOW!

Quirks…What’s in YOUR Character?

Take a moment and look at the people within your circle of friends.  Find the 100% normal one.  I bet you can’t.  You know why?  Simple.  Everyone has a quirk.  Everyone has something that makes them a little different.  I once chatted with a professional football player (a linebacker at that) who enjoyed woodworking.  Hollywood star Vin Diesel was, at least at one time, a gamer himself.  Your boss has an unhealthy obsession with Winnie the Pooh.  Trust me on that one if you value your job.

Everyone, everywhere, has something that makes them a little different.  No one is completely normal.  So, why should your characters be any different?  In ages past, I’ve blogged about stats and backgrounds, but there’s a certain something that has to come out in role playing that no amount of background or stats or skills will do.  For example, who cares if, in your background, you have a character who’s afraid of spiders.  what’s absolutely vital is that you role play it!  If not, it was nothing more than a waste of paper.

One of my more popular characters was a minotaur who lacked social skills.  He cussed constantly, and really didn’t know how to communicate without it.  That character actually had almost no background at all.  It was the way he was played that mattered.  I gave him a quirk, and ran with it.  Now, two different DMs have used him as NPC’s, and one has made him a god!  I only mention that to show how a good quirk to the character can make a character stand out for the long haul.

Here are some good examples:

  • narcoleptic
  • perverted
  • atheist
  • a jackass
  • generous to an extreme

Now, these are someone unusual in the D&D setting (OK, depending on your group, the second could be pretty damn common), and that makes them work.  A narcoleptic mage is just as unusual as a narcoleptic rogue or any other class.  You and the DM could have a lot of fun with this one and provide some interesting role play to your party.

Now, not everything you can think of makes a good quirk.  For example:

  • Honorable.  While there’s nothing wrong with an honorable character, it’s not unusual.  Let’s face it, it’s common.
  • Kleptomaniac.  Oh yeah.  Like no rogue has ever gone this route.
  • Angry.  So what.  Being angry for no reason doesn’t make you unique.  It makes you a jerk.
  • Intellectual.  Yeah…another one that’s become cliche.

Of course, keep in mind that with the right character, these can work too.  For example, an honorable rogue or an intellectual fighter or the kleptomaniac cleric can all be quirky and unique.

Whatever you do, don’t stick to the stereotypes.  The rules are vague on these things because the game designers want you to create unusual characters with unique personalities that don’t conform to anything else previously seen.  So take advantage of that and run with it!

Trust me.  You’ll be glad you did!

August 4, 2008 - Posted by | RPG | ,


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. And once you get through the obvious ones, you can delve even further:

    A barbarian that likes to paint.
    A cleric who’s studied up on unarmed combat.
    A figher that plants yew tree saplings wherever he sleeps, and ghostwood saplings where he fells his enemies.
    A rogue that is so absent-minded he forgets how to backstab, but knows more facts about any subject you can imagine than a library.
    An asshole sorcerer that hates everybody but breeds an endangered rabbit species to be released back into the wild.

    Comment by Liambic | August 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. Those definitely qualify too. Some pretty interesting ideas actually. I might have to rip some of these off from ya later 😉

    Comment by Tom | August 9, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: