It would be difficult for anyone to describe her as “idle,” “ignorant,” or “passive,” particularly after watching her spring into action, diving into each endeavor with reckless abandon. Incredibly effective when she set her mind to a task, her greatest difficulty was in actually choosing a task in the first place.
Whenever the group had a clear goal – be it “kill the monsters” or “scale that tower” or “save the burning village,” she devoted everything she had to that end, using all of her skills and training to see it done. Without a clear consensus however, she couldn’t – or wouldn’t – contribute to the discussion or act of her own accord.
She wasn’t a mannequin or automaton without personality, quite the opposite in fact. She enjoyed life and living, and took great pleasure in having a purpose, for however long or short that purposes lasted. It was just that she was unable to forge a path forward for herself, of her own accord.
Could it have been a wizard’s dark experiment that removed her ability to decide on a goal? An oath sworn to a spiritual faction? A life spent leading an adventuring group putting her off of the idea of ever making decisions for others again? Did she consider each choice so deeply that she could never come to a definitive conclusion?
Whatever the reason, she never spoke about it, no matter how free she was with other stories from her life. Her adventuring party accepted her – quirks and all – because when it came down to actually performing, she excelled.
They just had to make sure their collective mind was made up.
I wanted to present a new take on a “True Neutral”-aligned character, one that had a lot of variability in origin story, without any of the goofy or hackneyed moral ambiguity that alignment is often played with.
Think about how Groot acted in the prison scene of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, for an example. Rocket was detailing his plan, and Groot saw how it could contribute, and then executed that contribution, albeit with some unexpected timing.
Ideally this concept works for most any character class, so long as the lack of agency doesn’t become a true burden – it’s not that the character can’t decide what they want for breakfast, it’s just that when given a choice between breakfast and lunch, she’ll always defer to the group and their preferences.
One pitfall with this kind of character trait is that it could easily fall into being a “gimmick” that defines the character, rather than an aspect that contributes to a well-rounded story. Similarly, with a contentious or unmotivated party, this concept would not contribute much to the whole.
Important things to think about whenever making or introducing any character, but particularly when she can’t make large decisions on her own.
I would actively discourage usually passive players from portraying a character like this, because to be successful I actually think an extra or unusual amount of energy needs to be put into the role-play in order to make it believable as a story.
Header image created by Emortal982.