On one level, this is similar to watching basketball or chess players and coming to conclusions about their play style, strengths and weaknesses. On another level, it's akin to reading one's creative work and coming to conclusions about the player's conscious and subconscious issues, philosophies, and goals.
Keill BlackthornWhen my age was in the single digits, I remember rolling up a D&D character, and named it Keill Blackthorn. Funky spelling of first name? Check! Stereotypical fantasy last name? Check!
Never played him, as I didn't have a regular crew to play with.
In my teens, at a Recreational Center in the U.S. where I had to build a high-level character (several levels lower than the average in that group, of course) Keill was reborn as a half-elven fighter / thief.
My conscious goals were to keep things simple, keeping magic out of my concerns, and just focusing on doing combat stuff. Subconscious goals may have been:
- play a character who doesn't have to lead, to be in front the whole time (as fighters were wont to do);
- provide more skills to the group beyond fighting -- scouting, theivery, and the ever-popular backstab from the shadows;
- emulate a more finesse- or swashbucklerish-fighter with multi-classing;
- be mysterious and not have to talk much, because I was shy and uncertain of myself.
The campaign was great fun, and though I eventually drifted apart from that group, Keill Blackthorn was my first real ongoing PC in a game.
It was also an eye-opener for me in terms of the separation of playing a class from playing a role, because of a trap that shifted the minds of the various players into different bodies. I learned that I could actually play a character's personality separate from the stereotype of the class (forgive me, I was slow and didn't quite understand the role-playing aspect of the game yet). It freed me to play a truer character in future games as well.