My experiences with roleplaying a character very different from myself.
Four years ago Epic Fred told our group he wanted to start a new campaign. We eagerly hopped on board. We didn’t know if it would be a one shot or a continuous arc and to be honest I’m not sure Fred did either. The one directive we got was that our race had to be one of the uncommon/rare ones. Other than that we had free rein.
So I decided to create Bhulan Sauril. An orphaned chaotic good aasimar paladin. I wanted her to be a challenge for me to play. I had started to feel that all my characters were the same. They all tended to be, well, me. They were sarcastic, pessimistic and typically socially awkward. So I set out to create something new. So I made Bhulan. She is young, idealistic, optimistic, innocent and impulsive.
The challenge of Bhulan
It has honestly been one of the hardest things for me to play. Brash and idealistic were easy. Optimism has been a HUGE challenge and for a while I completely lost that part of her character. The game itself had been a pretty unforgiving run of survival and our team struggled to earn a big win. The final blow for Bhulan’s optimism was when she unintentionally caused the maiming of an NPC she had befriended. Both Bhulan and I struggled with the consequences of her actions. I was angry and it came out in my character.
It took a break from game play and my re-reading her character profile to gain it back and realize that because of my playing Bhulan had not been following her oath. She had not been appreciating the beauty of life around her – like at all. Thankfully I realized this issue before my DM did. But what really caught me off guard was that I was really unhappy playing her when I wasn’t doing it properly. I had even considered discarding her.
So I sat down with the commissioned art piece I had and took the time to think how I could play optimism. I went online and spent time researching optimism. Obviously playing a constantly sunny disposition (A Polly Anna type) wasn’t working for me. But I didn’t want my paladin tarnished because of me. After spending some time doing some research on optimism and positivity I found a path that would work for both Bhulan and I. Instead of a constantly shiny bright attitude I decided that Bhulan’s optimism would take on a “there is always hope” and “things will turn out” aspect. So even when things looked bad and she was feeling defeated she would have this unwavering faith in things getting better.
Once I had found that compromise for her Bhulan became one of my favourite characters to play. She is strong because of her belief that things will be okay and this new outlook also allowed her to bond with her party members in more meaningful ways. She became fun to be and no longer a chore.
To date Bhulan is my most played character and the bond I feel with her has spilled into my life. I actually find it easier to set aside my own pessimism and find the hope and faith that things will be okay. And the more she spilled into me the more I created of her in my own spaces. I have art; some commissioned, some of my own, stickers, a hoodie with her name on it and finally a BEAUTIFUL set of commissioned dice for her. Not going to lie I want the Bhulan collection of things to grow and am now eyeing crochet dolls … because a Bhulan stuffy would be awesome.
It is impressive how a character from my own imagination can make real life changes. Despite the bumps I have had playing Bhulan I am always excited to return to her. This time around I am even more excited because I have a beautiful new set of dice to play with!
Dew and Daisies Dice also created the stickers in above photo based off the commissioned art piece and our conversations about Bhulan.