How to have fun, and get stuff done!
I am not a CoA Veteran, a titled garnered by years of consistent play, but of late, I have played a number of successful and enjoyable pcs that people have told me they had quite a bit of fun running around with, and I suppose I ought to point out a few key features that I try and grain into my pcs as 'flaws' or perhaps 'bonuses' that will ensure conflict and develop relationships from the beginning.
I will be using my PCs as examples so this might be seen as horn tooting, be warned!
Malleah Tulla was a Jinx, as well as chaotic evil. A ferocious, hateful, self-loathing creature who was adamant in her ingnomnity (inhumanity) and perceived herself as unworthy of being scene as equal to anything in this world. She fed upon anything remotely edible, but had a fondness for the flesh of other sentients- particularly those who wanted to hurt/maim/kill her, or had. Yet, she also zealously pursued fairy tales and stories involving the fey out of a secret, wretched hope that she can become one. She wanted to stop being a THING and become a creature who cast aside her demonic ancestry and fully embraced the feywild, become a tittering creature of madness, violence and destruction- without the abyssal burden of evil urges or flawed appearance. She wanted to be beautiful, glorious, and gorgeous. She wanted to be a fey.
So, how would I pursue this?
Violence- My character would be violent, often turning to it as the first solution to her problems. Didn't get what she wanted? Attack it and hope to take it from them. If she lost? Beg for mercy and be as pathetic as possible to hope to inspire pity in the person looming over her.
Adventure- By adventuring, and telling her 'fairy tale' she would garner the attention, or perhaps, the scorn, of other fey. Where upon if they scorned her, she would eat them, and thus become more fey-like, believing she took on some part of what she ate (literally believing you are what you eat).
General chaos and havoc- she hated being told what to do, and often attacked party mates and 'allies' or people she just met at a perceived insult in order to cause the two situations to arise. The more of both, the better that in this chaos the opportunity to truly rise to fame and infamy would take place, and thus- garner the attention of her fey.
Was I successful? Not really, the fey all hated my PC. Dms would possess fairies to taunt and attack me. An unseelie knight outright rejected me. My PC stewed in her despair but clung onto this glimmer of hope till her very end. It was a tragic, awful tale. It was fun to tell.
She was also an urdlenite, this guaranteed Zool love.
Oglaf came from a cave deep in the King's Forest, and was a lawful good ranger werebear, driven out by the Primordial Flooding and the fact his home was now a swamp. Stubborn, unyielding, Oglaf lived by a series of rules which guided his life and purpose. Most were 'directives' guidelines for behavior (like masculinity etc…) but others dealt out certain punishments, covered the rules of territory, and forced him into conflict with all other lycanthropes and dwarves in a region as he could not abide either competition (he viewed lycanthropes as competitors) and dwarves (defilers). Aasimar and Tieflings were also subject to his wrath as he felt that they were alien and unknowable, and fear of this unknown and this otherworldly presence around them drove him to violence against them.
I wanted him to be a GUARDIAN of druids (he ended up murdering one for aiding his enemy ((an Aasimar, go figure)).
I wanted him to be a cherished HERO of the wilds, he ended up being a reviled villain everyone was begging Blank to Murder.
I wanted him to be part of the Wards Plot. It was sort of coming to an end on its own, and thus was uninvolved.
I wanted him to seen as a Justicar of the wilds. Crimes in the wilds would be brought to him and he would mete out punishment. People came hunting for him.
I wanted him to live a lot longer, but he died in fair pvp.
I consider him a successful PC, despite not meeting a single one of his goals. Why? He was fun to play, and others had fun playing with him as well. He was a short, sweet PC whose stubborn nature led to his own demise and his unrelenting prejudices guaranteed conflict with the entire server.
A fey'ri who didn't know she was a 'fey'ri'. She regarded herself as an elf, pure and beautiful. She felt the abyssal bloodline she inherited from the servitors of Orcus and her forefathers were merely the seeds of a new awakening for elven civilization, and wanted to rebirth the Old Elven Empires of Olde and reconquer Faerun and give rise to the elven civilizations that triumphed over all, before the Crown Wars crippled the ancient elven mastery of what was.
She'd achieve this through necromancy or warlock pacts- I chose necromancy due to Clar Banda and undead apparently being a big thing on the server, and getting a DM interested in Orcus felt less likely (plus Clar Banda is hot).
-She produced an elven newspaper to speak to elven superiority and not so subtly put down non-elves
-Produce elf-hate so elves would feel isolated and thus fall into evil temptation easier.
-Convince elves to accept augmentations from demonic flesh to undead grafts and become far more potent and powerful for it.
-Create a cult to orcus.
The last two didn't happen, I ended up applying for Divine Champion of Clar Banda, going "fuck you" to orcus, and running around and kidnapping people, drawing their blood, offering flesh and trapping people into tombs so they would be devoured by undead. I had a blast, others had a blast, and it was amazing fun. She died making a tragic mistake.
Anyways, what I can say, find out what you want to DO. Be more than a cleric of tempus- be a cleric of Tempus who wants to start a War with Sembia in order to drive out the influence of the Shadovar and conquer it for Cormyr, thus gaining access to wealthy Sembian Trade Ports. Earn the title of WARLORD of Cormyr and leads its armies in conquest against Cormanthyr as well, and subjugate the elven realm...
Be more than a simple mercenary, be a simple mercenary who wants to be the mercenary in highest demand. Hold auctions for your person's sword in battle. Hold tournaments where you try and rig it so you win consistently, paying people to discretely allow you to win over them so you'd look more impressive. Soon, your wealth and fame will be unmatched, and people will drown you in gold for the mere opportunity to have you along...
Be more than a paladin who wants to protect Arabel. Be the Paladin who wants to TAKE the title of LORD from Hardcastle, a sickly,corrupt man who allowed infernalists and blackhearted Thayans into his city. Become the Paladin Lord of Arabel, modeling yourself on the Waterdhavian King, instigate a rebellion by gaining the aid of Knightly Orders throughout Cormyr or the region and deal with Cormyr later and forcefully enact lawful reforms that guarantee the rights of all Arabellians under the law...
Be more than a Paladin of Slaughter wanting to murder shit for Talos. You don't want to destroy Arabel, nay- you want to turn it into a Citadel amidst natural destruction. Expand the Helmlands so that they encompass Arabel entirely, and force the entire city to pay tithe to Talos, and allow none to leave without leave of the CHURCH. The wild magic of the helmlands is obviously Talos' tool of destruction of the world, and you must placate him constantly.
Be more than a wizard- be a wizard who wants to achieve lichdom so he may watch the end of the world happen, working to bring it about through an army of undeath that will run wild throughout the land, enchanting it so that every creature slain and person gnawed upon undead jaws rise as undead themseves in a horrible plague. You are the instrument of Apocalypse. You are the Doom of the World.
All of this will involve others, all of thise will have others fighting you, all of these tell stories in some manner or form, and can be exciting, entertaining, and awesome to see unfold from a perspective, looking in or out...
Or maybe I should stop writing shit like this at 12:10am in the morning and just go to sleep. :)