Do you ever intentionally cripple your RPG characters for better game play experience? Let me give you an example – in the Fallout New Vegas post Zel mentioned that he played a diplomat character. That means that during character creation he min maxed his stats to create a fragile intellectual with little combat prowess, and during level-ups he heavily favored non-combat skills. I also remember someone blogging about playing Fallout 2 with an exact opposite of that character: a really, really dumb but strong character.
Regretfully, I realized that I have never actually done that. I am all about role-playing, and I do in fact sometimes play dress-up with my characters but I don’t actually remember ever customizing my character build to fit a certain theme. Or rather these themes were always standard: sneaky stealthy character, pure warrior, magic user, etc… When it comes to stats I usually lapse into the min-maxer mentality. I guess that’s my deeply suppressed inner munchkin coming out.
I guess part of the problem is that I rarely re-play role playing games. After all, you don’t usually want to hit insurmountable wall on the first playthrough. So I tend to stick with safe builds most of the time, leaving experimentation to future playthroughs. Those usually never happen, because by the time I’m finished with a given game, I have another shiny one I want to play with. There are some exceptions of course – like Morrowind, but that’s probably because it is impossible to complete all the quest chains for all the factions with a single character. It just can’t be done, because some quest chains will effectively lock you out of the others, and faction reputation does count.
Which brings up another point: most modern games are not long and complex enough to be worth playing multiple times. In games like Oblivion and Fallout for example I was able to complete every single named quest in the entire game (I checked with the wikis) with a single character. There was just no reason to re-play the game after I was done because I have already seen everything. Similarly, even though I loved Mass Effect 2, I have quit my second run halfway through because playing full renegade after full paragon changed almost nothing, other than few conversations. Then again ME2 was not really a game which would allow you to make a really wonky build that would be fun to play with.
So sadly, I don’t have good “themed character” stories to talk about. How about you? Have you ever intentionally crippled your character to conform to some concept? Have you ever played a non-combatant? An intellectual? A diplomat? A dumb brute? Did the game support that character choice? Did it matter? Did it make the game unplayable after certain point? Let me know in the comments.