OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Should a character’s “thing” be unique?

Jack Harkness in Torchwood Miracle dayI just finished watching the latest series of Torchwood. Despite its many flaws, it’s a fun series. The final cliffhanger of the series though has left me asking a question that applies to other TV series, roleplaying games, and any ongoing stories.

Spoiler warning!

Rex Matheson, one of the main characters of this series was shot and killed. Unlike Captain Jack Harkness, the series’ long-term protagonist, Rex isn’t immortal; that’s Jack’s “thing”. An overdose of TARDIS energy left Jack unable to die, which despite making him a bit of a godmodder it’s actually given them a lot of interesting things to do with this character, so I don’t mind. But now it seems, Jack’s passed this immortality onto Rex after a blood transfusion. Rex’s gunshot heals and he regains consciousness.

I don’t like this, I don’t like that there’s now two characters that are immortal. I don’t think you should have two people with the same special ability in the same TV show. Whenever a special ability is duplicated, it’s not original, and it’s no longer Jack’s “thing”.

SEE ALSO: Give your characters flaws

Obviously I can’t expect never to double up on special abilities, the Marvel universe for example has many of characters that can fly, and many characters that are invincible. But at least they try to be a little but unique about each character’s abilities.

So within a roleplaying game, do you think it’s okay to have two characters share the same special ability, or is that boring? What do you think would happen if a new character was introduced with exactly the same special abilities as your character? Would you be happy about it? Use the comments at the bottom to answer.