Let me give you a bit of insight to my gaming group. After all who I play with is more important than what I play – contrary to what any of my rants about rules and systems would indicate.
I've been role-playing with Matt for 24 years. I can always rely on him to play interesting characters. His favorite character archetype is the swashbuckler – the outwardly confident character with some not immediately noticeable flaws.
He remains the baseline of role-playing for me. I'm always impressed at the amount of energy and thought he puts into his characters, both mechanically and narratively. He has a keen intellect and an uncanny understanding of games – he is my Dominion nemesis. Sometimes it's hard to get him to write up his character's beliefs, but once he begins role-playing, the characters are always unique and vivid.
Matt tends to playing instigating characters, ones who are ready to throw an insult then dig in their heels.
Jaron joined the group in the fall of 2005. His first session with us was perhaps one of the most absurd sessions I've every played – A regular comedy of errors.
Jaron is exceptionally quick on his feet and an all around brilliant guy. He's a confident role-player, willing to push his character. More importantly, he shares the spotlight and works with other players to drive the story. He's not afraid of complications so long as the story keeps progressing.
Jaron ran our group through a part of the Scales of War until we all agreed that we weren't having fun on the railroad adventure. He did a good job with the material, it's just that adventure path is one gigantic string of combats.
Jaron tends to play risk-taking characters; He knows that he can always make a new character, and is willing to ante-up his character to see where things will go.
Joe joined the group in either 2004 or 2005. He is one of the group's regular GMs – he is running the Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker. Of all the current players he has tendency for most old school mischief – always pestering players if they are going to put on the unidentified magic item.
More than anyone, Joe offers the dissenting voice in our group. He has a different perspective on games. We've argued about various topics, either game systems or the “broken-ness” of some magic item or game mechanic. Ultimately I'm glad he's around because of his different perspective.
Joe tends to play risk-averse characters; They are typically very slippery in their element. I would love to see his characters step up and take greater risks.
Aidan is my son. He's been off and on again gaming with me for years. His first long-term stint was as Delfar the Eladrin Wizard in our Scales of War campaign. As you would expect from a 14 year old boy, he has chaotic tendencies.
He is a very capable character role-player, chuffing and muttering as Menas the Dwarf High Captain. Our group is working on helping Aidan be the commanding leader that a Dwarf High Captain would be.
Aidan is very interested in exploration; He'll gladly go off on his own to pursue some outrageous wild tangent. He is definitely not afraid, in mid-combat, to pull some extra monsters into the current battle. Ultimately, however, he wants to be part of the team and part of an interesting story.
Savannah is my daughter. She has always expressed an interest in gaming. During the Scales of War campaign she would often times sit at the table and draw maps of the game, or help Jaron roll dice.
She is also a very capable character role-player. She is a good actor and plays her part quite well. She wants her characters to be a bit mysterious, but won't hesitate to throw off her cloak and heal a captured enemy.
Savannah is very interested in the teamwork aspect of gaming; She wants to be part of the action and make an impact for the better. Every character she has made has been some kind of healer.
There are others with whom I've regularly played, and for the most part they fall into one (or more) of three camps – my kids, those with technology backgrounds, and those with theater backgrounds. More on them at another time.