Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Orcs, Goblins, Dragons, and Halflings. Vampires, Werewolves, Changelings, Hunters, Prometheans, and Psychics. Clerics, Warriors, Wizards, and Rogues. Honorable, hammer of the god paladins and necromancers who worship the dark energies they try and control. Heroic figures and shady villians. They are all extensions of who we are, of who we wish to be.
Have you ever noticed that most people when playing Dungeons & Dragons, The Pahtfinder Roleplaying Game, World of Darkness, Call of Cthulhu, Dark Heresy, etc., whatever it may be; always seem to take on a similar role with all of their characters? Some play the self-sacrificing hero, the back-stabbing douchebag, the wise spellweaver, the uncaring brute, or the misunderstood misfit. What is it that draws people to these roles, why do they pick what the pick? Is it a true extension of their personality or is it just something they enjoy playing and do not want to be such things (just using that personality to take out their frustrations).........I think it may be a little bit of both.
I am going to use Dungeons & Dragons for my example since the majority and understand what I am talking about.
Say you have someone who always plays a True Neutral Human Rogue or Wizard (and perhaps both.) He always picks spells that will only benefit himself and is willing to use everyone else as bait, throwing AOE (area of effect) spells without care of who is in the radius. Tries to balance those evil things with "giving money to temples and Charities to show that he can be a good guy". Always picks one party member and will only do things for them and does not give a damn about any other characters at the table. Tries to gain a lot of power in games. Never admits to being wrong. (Also let's say he tries to cheat on die rolls as well. Just a little extra doucheness.)
To me this speaks of someone who is selfish; but can learn to care but really for only one person. Someone who is power hungry and only cares for what iwll benefit themselves. Someone who tries to get the very most of personal gain out of everything.
Now, away from the table though, they are willing to help you when you need it, loan you 20 or 30 bucks if you are struggling some, and cares deeply for his family. However, he is cheap and a always try to find loopholes to get the most out of everything. What does it mean?
The qualities are somewhat similar; but, completely different at the same time.
Now let's look at someone who is the complete opposite of who he plays shall we?
At the table he always plays Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral, Dwarf or Halfling, Fighter or Wizard (Or maybe a spellblade.) He picks a balance of spells or abilities that help his allies and himself and tries his best to defend all of his allies. Always champions a cause and sticks true to his religion and follows a code of conduct. He will go the ends of the earth for his comrades.
Away from the table though, the difference is very clear. The only rules that matter are the ones he makes, and he only follows others rules because he needs to keep his job or doesn't want to end up in jail. But will do anything if he can get away with it. Cares for his friends; but if it is them or he, he always chooses himself. Never the first into battle and always the first out of it.
What do the characters say about these people. Is it them how they want to be personified? Or is it just so different that they enjoy seeing the otherside for once? Or nothing at all?
I guess we can never really now what it means. No one is going to do a psyche evaluation on these people to figure it out; but we can speculate. Tell me what you think. Let me know. I am curious to see everyones opinions.