The character I'm going to talk about is Ragna, from Mage: The Ascension (20th Anniversary Edition). The game started at the end of 2017 or the start of 2018, when we took a break from Exalted, and we came to the end of the first arc a couple of weeks ago (opening up the gaming slot to a different Exalted game, set in the First Age - a sort of alternative history to the game I had been playing in, in that some of the characters are recognisable but the plot doesn't necessarily match the history of Taji and Kito's world).
She's a new character, and those first few months are generally where you learn the most about playing a character, so this question feels well-timed to me.
So, what have I learnt?
She's a lot more innocent than I originally wrote. I knew I didn't want her to be the cut-throat, achieve-at-all-cost wannabe actress stereotype, which has ended with her being innocent in a sweet and earnest way. She has the 'martyr' demeanour, which combined with her sweetness means she will try to do everything she's asked because she wants to please people, but she never gets upset or passive aggressive about it. If someone points out she doesn't need to take so much on (usually her grandmother) she'll chew her bottom lip and fret because she doesn't want to let anyone down - including the person telling her to take less on.
She's quite quiet, especially around authority - almost mute around authority, in fact. This is in character because she's completely intimidated and often afraid, and out of character because Taji's the dominant, talking one in Exalted, and Chrissie often takes the lead in Aberrant, and I wanted to make sure Bells could take on that role in this game, especially where Howard (his character) has the 'overconfident' flaw. She will talk to authority, or powerful-seeming characters if he's not around, but if he is she'll stand slightly further back, as if hoping they won't notice her.
Despite this, she has a backbone of steel and will stand up for what she believes in. She is often afraid, but will still try to shield her mind from the Warden of Los Angeles to protect a secret she promised she'd keep, for instance. She'll still agree - offer - to do the things she believes are the right things to do, even when they scare her. After the confidence of Taji and the relative indestructableness of Chrissie (mega stamina how much?), I've enjoyed playing someone who is in danger, understands she's in danger, and does her best anyway.
She's not afraid to ask questions, or ask for help when she needs to, especially from her mentor. This is in contrast to Howard, who's almost desperate to prove himself capable and competent so will do everything he can to solve a problem by himself. It makes sense given their family histories: he's estranged from his pushy, overbearing parents who didn't understand him, while she's close with her family (even if they're the other side of the world) and was raised with love and respect and freedom in her decisions about her future (even if her parents weren't enamoured with the idea of her trying to become a film star, they were prepared to support her decision - although they found out about her decision after she was already in LA, which I think shows that determination and backbone that's hidden by her quietness and desire to please).
The biggest surprise was in realising she'd been in LA for 2 year or so without managing to make any friends. She's nice - sweet - but her determination to make it as an actress followed by her awakening as a Mage never gave her the time. She makes friends as the game progresses, but still doesn't have many.
What about you? Let me know below!