Profundity or humor in characters?

I was doing a dry-run of a first campaign I'd like to host, and started coming up with character ideas. I started following this trend of "de-caricaturing" characters and came up with a slew of concepts:

  • Instead of the Verditius crafter being the stereotypical bling-covered, militantly supremacist Gimli/Hephaestus-clone, go to other direction. Make a Verditius who makes magical things, not for himself, or even to sell, but as important tools for the salvation of humanity. Maybe he sees his works as the extension of God's will. Heck, you could even have a Verditius with a vow of poverty, permitted to keep only those things which he needs to serve mankind. Because he believes his work is so important to the whole world, he's clearly prideful, but because he doesn't do the work for his own benefit, he's also sort of servile. So does he still qualify for Hubris? Add a flair for delicate filigree and clockwork mechanics and you have a completely different character than Gimli, even if his stats are numerically similar.

  • A Mendelian or Giordano Bruno-like, philosophically-inclined Bjornaer who sees God's work in Nature. She sees the church as a heinous blasphemy and an insult to God - humans who built a too-small box to contain God and now claim to speak for Him. So now the character is both Pagan (clearly not following mainstream medieval doctrine) and yet Christian. A shapeshifter whose personality isn't entirely based on their shapeshifting ability.

My problem is that many of my atypical character concepts end up being maudlin - they always end up having a lot of fear or melancholy. Does that happen to everyone else? Or is it just me? Because if it is just me, I wonder what it says about me that all my characters end up going that route.

Caricatures can be fun to play (and indeed, 90% of the D&D characters I've seen before coming to ArM were over-the-top caricatures). But profound characters seem so much more "real" to me. So my real question for those of you who have experience playing the game is this: What sort of characters would make you want to play the game more? Profound or cliche? Maudlin or funny? What works, not on paper, but in practice, and from experience?


The longer an ArM campaign runs, the more you are likely to enjoy a character with enough depth to relate to many aspects of a rich, changing world.


Does a bad pun count?

One of the players in the troupe has needed to replace his Grog, and he has chosen to create a barber-surgeon, Veteran of the Crusades, who suffers from Lycanthropy.

Seems he is Irish. The backstory in the e-mail paraphrased is his local lord of the manor traditionally supplies the local abbey with a barber, and the local abbey allows this layperson access under the pseudonym of 'Brother Theodore'. Then the lord of the manor goes on Crusade, and his party includes the current barber's apprentice.
Year's later the now Veteran barber surgeon arrives in London on his way back to Ireland, with skills in Arabic medicine and herbalism. A passing Bishop sees him using these foreign skills, and curses him for aspiring to be the ravening beasts that Muslims are (in his opinion). He catches Lycanthropy and ends up in a shack on the road beside the river Fleet.

The character's name is Suibne, aka Brother Theodore. Looks good on that introductory e-mail. However, the trick is in the pronounciation of the name.
Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of Fleet street

I for one am curious to see how this just introduced character will be played.

You'll have to take that discussion up with certain people from my table.

After 30 years of gaming, I can definitely say: Profundity! I came to Ars some 6-7 years ago, and still continue playing the same Saga, though I exchanged players sometimes..
I was so fed up with those superficial, farcical or comic-like, stereotype gaming (like most D&D Groups I met), who could only personate boring black and white thinkers, and powergamer's.
Now I enjoy playing in an immersive, emotion-drive group with plenty of space to fill up with all the grey matter of "real" personalities, with conflicting interests and diverse facets.

ArM5 made it possible and I probably wouldn't spent my precious freetime for RPGs.. (but funny situations are of course welcome and come up naturally anyway..)