chapter  23
16 Pages

Players and Their Characters in Role-Playing Games

WithSarah Lynne Bowman, Karen Schrier

This chapter explores topics pertaining to the relationship between players and their characters. These topics range from the psychological, such as identity and personality transformation, to sociological concerns, such as representations of gender, race, and sexuality. In some cases, sociological and psychological concerns overlap, such as when players develop parasocial relationships with their characters. The chapter presents the term character refers to the portrayal of a consistent persona in a fictional world of a role-playing game (RPG). The term avatar, commonly used in video games to refer to virtual representations of the player, will be used similarly to character. The chapter provides to distinguishing between avatar and character as distinct entities is not that important. For example, tabletop role-playing games may feature miniature figurines that represent characters for use in battles or dungeon crawls. Role-players may also visually render their characters through works of art or photos of celebrities that look like their alter egos in the game.