First, a quick apology for how quite I've been of late! Still settling into the new place, have been extremely tired, and then Husbit accidentally poured orange juice on my laptop which seems to have killed it, which has all combined to slow down my post rate (I'm currently borrowing his tablet, which has its own little keyboard and isn't bad, but is smaller than I like to use for this).
Today's post is in response to a challenge Mark Knights of RPG Knights put up in the G+ Tabletop Roleplaying Games community, asking us to write a short piece about one of our favourite characters. I thought I'd talk about my Exalted character, Taji.
Where to start with Cathak Taji? She's the youngest of 6 children (7, with the half-brother she's recently learnt about), and lived as a peasant in rural Creation until the night before her 8th birthday, when her home was destroyed and she and her twin brother, Cathak Kito, escaped and fled to Thorns. From there, they discovered they were actually the youngest descendants of the head of House Cathak, and spent the next several years raised as young Dynasts. Instead of becoming good little Dragonbloods, though, they became Solar Exalts, Kito Dawn caste and Taji Eclipse. If you want to learn more about their adventures, check out the story index.
The characters I normally enjoy playing are compassionate and gregarious. With Taji, I wanted to challenge myself so wrote someone who is only averagely compassionate, who isn't afraid to take charge (something that I find frightening), and who can talk her way out of (or into) most situations (something I find hard in games, because I mentally freeze). Playing with a sympathetic group means I've grown in confidence and started to overcome those difficulties. I find her lower compassionate difficult at times, but her confidence makes her an absolute joy to play. I particularly enjoy those moments when something knocks that confidence - experiencing her struggle to come to terms with it and the rebuild to extreme cockiness is engaging. I love a bit of emotional bleed!
I think part of why I enjoy playing her so much is that I have played her from the days leading up to her 8th birthday to where she is now, in her early 20's. That was a lot of time to get into the head of the character, and really see how she became who she is. I know it isn't for everyone, but I (and I think Kito's player) have got a real kick out of it.
I love the contrast between her and her brother. Kito sees the best in others, but is a much tougher fighter. Taji is more cynical (her ability to manipulate people means she's inclinded to believe everyone's at it), but she has utter faith in her indestructibility, which often leads to Kito nearly getting killed - because her faith comes from the fact that her brother has always stepped in to save her. She doesn't realise the danger she puts herself in and doesn't notice how much he does for her. She's quite selfish, really. They've surrounded themselves with powerful friends, and Kito's recently realised that some of them, at least, are using the twins for their own purposes. Taji was shocked he didn't already know this; in her mind she's using them right back, and believes she isn't beyond discarding friendships that no longer benefit her (I think she'll find she's wrong about that).
And this is it. Because Taji is so different to the characters I normally love to play, and so far from my ideal image of myself, I don't mind when things don't go her way, and can enjoy the process of her learning from that. I hope to take that experience with me when I go back to other beloved characters where I take it more personally.