This malarkey happened to me once. It wasn’t an evil twin, but it was my wizard’s morally questionable long-lost brother. My GM introduced him as this ne’er-do-well type figure. Shamed by his thieving ways, my parents had disowned him when I was young, and so I had never even heard of the guy until he came suddenly back into the plot, all out of breath and desperate.

“Brother! You’ve gotta help me. Evil cultists are after me!”

Long story short, he had stolen a valuable magic item from some lawful-creepy clerics. These guys happened to be high-muck-a-mucks in a rival kingdom’s court, so thief-bro needed me (his rich and famous adventurer sibling) to broker a sale without causing an international incident.

Here’s what makes this interesting to me. Shortly before that session, I had complained to my GM that my PC hadn’t seen much in the way of character development lately. My backstory was admittedly shallow, and I wanted something to add a little depth. What I got was a mirror image of myself.

Understand, this PC of mine was the quintessential fireball-slinging, loot-seeking, murder-hobo-with-a-wand type wizard. He was very much on the Chaotic end of the alignment chart, and just a hair’s breadth from being a full-blown thief himself. So when I asked for character depth, what did I get? A young adventurer who was skirting the law in the name of a quick buck.

This malarkey has been on my mind lately thanks to an an article I stumbled across by Stephen R. Donaldson. The whole thing’s worth a read, but this is the bit that stuck with me:

“Put simply, fantasy is a form of fiction in which the internal crises or conflicts or processes of the characters are dramatized as if they were external individuals or events.”

I had asked for character exploration, and I got an external expression of my internal conflict. Neat to see this theoretical stuff in practice.

How about the rest of you guys? Have you ever had a character who had to deal with some internal conflict in the form of an external threat? What did it look like? Did it have a goatee?


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