For today's Player Platform, I thought I'd do something a little different than my usual breakdown of some small aspect of D&D and instead focus on a broader topic of character development and character progression.
When going into any roleplaying game, it's usually a good idea to have at least some semblance of who your character is. Having this to work from allows the character to develop in response to events that occur as the game progresses. Maybe they lose a friend in battle, and become bitter and seek revenge. This would be a defining event that allows you to develop reactively.
But you can also develop proactively. You can have this sort of change prepared and planned, and work with your GM to introduce it, or even introduce it on your own or with the help of the others players to just sort of "make it happen." A good example of this would be a player who has a Paladin PC that they intend to have fall to evil at some point in the game. This fall from grace is scripted, because the players wants to have a shot at trying out some evil stuff later on. And there are any number of excuses for it. Maybe the character loses faith in his beliefs, or maybe he is slighted by an ally, or gives in to despair after a crushing defeat. There's nothing wrong with planning these out, because it allows the player to get their desired experience from the game.
Likewise, you can plan your character's progression beyond their internal character development. In terms of progression, I'm referring to mechanical changes and choices as opposed to the roleplaying based ones of character development. In this regard, it's quite common. You might be a rogue at level 1, but know full well that you're going to be an arcane trickster at level 3. Planning this sort of progression is incredibly helpful and encouraged, as it is ultimately beneficial to the long term survival of the party (and thus the game) to know what skills and resources you'll have at your disposal. Coordinating these skills helps establish a workable party composition for your team, and helps to generally improve the flow of gameplay.
So try to make plans for things. You should definitely have a plan for how your character will progress, but you might also consider having a plan for how they develop as well. Because ultimately, roleplaying games are just that: games. You want to create your ideal experience as much as possible so you can have fun, provided that you don't compromise the fun of others at the table. Planning helps you achieve that goal, and by sharing information you can all be considerate of one another while still getting what you want.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.