These are questions that I feel players might actually benefit from with their characters after every campaign. During a campaign characters are bound to experience a multitude of things, hardship, suffering and triumph. But like real people characters become more interesting when they change along with these situations.
This doesn’t mean of course that all characters should become something else, but there’s a bit of benefit to showing how a character has been irrevocably altered by his or her circumstances. Some learn to become better, others make the choice to become worse. But one thing that change does implement is that it makes characters memorable.
If you’ll forgive another “Let me tell you about my Character” moment, I’d like to take Shiba Tetsuya from the current Legend of the Five Rings campaign. He began as a tortured soul suffering from an unrequited love for the woman that his best friend married. Instead of lashing out in jealousy, he found renewed purpose in raising their daughter as his own when his best friend died, and the woman had to return to the spirit world.
At first everything seemed clear cut. Tetsuya was a stickler for the rules, but what was a surprise to himself was how deep his devotion for his ward ran. When it became clear that the Empire itself was a danger to his ward, Tetsuya forsook all bonds of honor and status, abandoning his duty as a Samurai in order to steal her away and make sure that nobody would be able to harm her.
Throughout the campaign he found himself doing things that he would never have considered as an honorable samurai, but slowly began to rationalize things along the lines that he was a true villain. Now that the campaign is winding to a close, Tetsuya knows that he’s done so much and broken enough of the societies rules that he’ll never really have a place in the empire he’s worked so hard to save.
What will become of him? Well, we’ll find out this weekend, but it doesn’t look pretty.
That being said, Tetsuya wouldn’t be half as interesting if he stayed the same, never learned, never adapted to the situations. Did he become a better person? Well… it’s debatable. But he sure as hell became a memorable character.