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OSR Theory: What is a Player Character?

Ben Laurence's recent posts have inspired me to do some theory posting myself. Today I want to ask, what is a character? Specifically, what it a player character?  I think the reason to ask this question is that OSR games treat what a character is different than other kinds of games.

I want to premise this by saying that I know some readers took issue with how I discussed story games and "trad" games in my "What's the Deal with DCC?" post. I do want to say that I don't actually hate either of these kinds of games and I will endeavor to be more precise and make fewer generalizations in the future.

And the Mountain View by American Folklore Album cover. I found this image and really wanted to use it. There is no better reason for its inclusion.
So let's list out what a character is:

A Roleplaying Edifice

A character is a mask we put on during the game. They have backstories, personalities, sometimes funny voices (I like giving my characters funny voices…

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