In previous posts for this month’s carnival I have spoken about different manifestations of darkness. Creatures. Places where it exists. Some folks have spoken about how to banish it by bringing light. Others have spoken about introducing it to your players to change the mood.
This time I want to talk about the darkness within a character. Those urges we choose to ignore or fight against. Thieves fighting their kleptomania. Killers battling back their homicidal tendencies until they are needed. The curious stopping themselves from going too far in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge.
It’s these boundaries we sometimes feel unsure of when sliding into our fictional roles. We may ponder them at character creation and then forget about them as the characters gain in experience and ability. Or we may bump into them frequently, using them as great opportunities for role-playing.
I’ve played two different characters where this has come into play.
First was Didius Cato, an escaped slave who definitely had some psychological problems. When he encountered slaves, he often attempted to convince them to rise up against their masters and seek the freedom they were denied. When he encountered slavers, he often lost his mind.
In one instance I can remember, we had to enter a slave market and DC was faced with an impossible choice. Let things stay the way they were and maintain a low profile, ensuring his own continued freedom. Or attack the guards and give their chained charges a chance to escape.