Monday, April 29, 2013

Nerd World Problems

I may have mentioned before that as part of my tabletop roleplaying experience, I paint miniatures.  I also collect them. Over the years I've purchased far more tiny figurines of sword-waving warriors and staff-wielding wizards than I'll ever be able to paint.  But I love admiring the little people and creatures and imagining how I would paint them if only I had the time (and didn't likely have incipient arthritis in my thumbs).

I used to obsess about finding the "perfect" miniature for every player-character.  My favorite miniature manufacturer, Reaper Miniatures, releases new figures quite often, which frequently led me to find what I thought was the ideal mini for my game character only to see a new one three months later that was even better suited.  I had one character that I played for a couple of years for whom I painted five different figures.  Manufacturers kept releasing new figures that were better and better representatives of that character.  I still have one figure that would have been perfect for that character, but the game ended before I could paint it. 

On other occasions I couldn't find any mini that I felt was really representative of my character, and would keep switching minis because I wasn't really happy with any of them..I have friends who are so troubled by this issue that they just don't use a mini, instead representing their characters on the table by using chess pawns or board game tokens.  I can't do that.  I love minis too much not to use one, even if the one I'm using isn't really what I want.

But since I've developed other interests that are also hard on my hands, namely learning to write Chinese characters, I've cut back on my mini painting and collecting. As a result, I've started picking the mini first and then designing the character around it.  That prevents me from struggling to find the "perfect" mini for a character quite so often, but it has its own drawbacks.  Every time I look at a mini, I think of a character to use it for.  I've created half a dozen potential new characters for a game that I already have a character for, and it's unlikely I'll ever need a new character for this campaign because the GM doesn't like to kill characters.  I could retire my existing character and bring in a new one, but that seems rather silly when there's nothing wrong with my current character.  It's just that I have all these ideas that I fear I'll never get to use. 

It does distract me a bit from putting my best into my current character when I'm thinking about what else I'd play if for some reason I could no longer play that character.  I don't want my character to be killed off, nor do I want the campaign to end.  But at the same time I really want to try out one of my other character concepts.  It's like a kind of gamer ADD.  Yes, I know, I should probably just stop looking at other miniatures.  I could also use the new character concepts in another campaign once the current one is finished.  But often I find that something I designed with a specific campaign in mind doesn't translate well to another campaign.  I could design generic characters to be used in any campaign, but I don't find myself as inspired if I don't have a specific campaign in mind during the character creation process..

Perhaps I'll turn some of my character concepts into fiction concepts.  But most of them will probably languish forever on the USB drive where I keep them, gathering virtual dust, their potential unrealized. Still, I won't delete them.  I might get to actually play them, someday. 

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