The Danger of Internal Arcs with External Motivations

I had a realisation. Oh geez, I know, I’m going to look back at this post in a year and cringe. But my realisation was this: I make characters whose arcs are internally seeded but externally motivated. By that I mean that when I create characters, I build psychologies based on their past, their hopes for the future, their traumas and the poles they are dragged between – the people they are, the people they want to be, the people they fear becoming. That’s awesome, it’s super fun, I love making these rich characters*. I have these intense arcs to explore that will take them through emotional changes. Except…a lot of the time, I’ve struggled to get those characters to the point of an emotional change. I’ve usually resorted to asking another player out of character to intervene in their spiral of degeneration before they hit rock bottom, or instigating a scene with an NPC that will lead to that kind of change. My characters are always primed to change, but rarely have I made a character already in the process of changing, someone who realises that something is wrong and that they need to fix their life. Continue reading