Raise your hand if you find it difficult to play a character that is not reflective of you in some way? Alright, put your hands down, I can’t see you. When I started playing TTRPGs, I found it very easy to play someone who reflected my perspective. After playing several characters and getting used to role playing, I wanted to branch out, so I decided to play a female character.
While this is not outlandish by any stretch of the imagination, it was a new experience for me. The first step I took was to identify and avoid negative stereotypes. To this end, I talked to several of the women players in our party about how to play a character who avoided these stereotypes. I purposely wanted to play a female character that was young, embraced her femininity, and did not have a tragic backstory.
After talking to my party mates, I sat down and went through the rest of my character creation steps. Trying to avoid a tragic backstory, her family was alive and well (We recently celebrated her older brother’s birthday). The rest of the party enjoyed meeting them, and have enjoyed the backstory of this character.
Through this experience, I found that it is certainly possible to play a TTRPG as someone who differs from yourself. Identifying negative stereotypes through research and speaking with members of your gaming group that are more similar to the character than you may be can provide insight into different perspectives that open role paying to a much wider spectrum.