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    What is a main?

    The term main refers to a player’s primary character in a roleplaying game (RPG), especially when they play multiple characters (known as “multiplaying“). This primary character usually receives most of the player’s focus and development efforts.

    Mains are often more detailed, have richer backstories, and are used in more significant storylines compared to a player’s other characters. They are typically the avatars through which the player experiences the game world and narrative most intimately.

    The concept of a main character in roleplaying originates from traditional gaming, where players would often create multiple characters for different purposes or storylines.

    However, players would usually have one character that they identified with more closely or used more frequently, thus making it their main.

    Mains are typically contrasted with alts, which are secondary characters.

    Main FAQs

    How do you choose a main in a roleplaying game?

    Choosing a main often involves selecting a character that aligns with your interests, play style, and the type of stories you wish to explore. This choice can be influenced by the character’s class, background, abilities, or how well they fit within a game’s setting or a specific narrative.

    Can your main character change over time?

    Yes, a main can change over time as a player’s interests or the game’s narrative evolves. Players might find a different character more engaging due to story developments, updates to game mechanics, or changes in group dynamics. These changes can lead the player to shift their focus and resources to this new character.

    Is it necessary to have a main?

    While not usually strictly necessary, having a main can enhance the roleplaying experience by providing a consistent perspective through which to engage with the game world and its stories. It also allows for deeper character development and a more personalized connection to the game.

    In some multiplayer RPGs, such as MMOs, players may be required to identify and stick with a main for a set period of time in order to ensure efficiency and fairness in the division of loot, as well as consistency in things like raid composition.

    How does a main interact with other players’ characters?

    A main typically interacts with other players’ characters in collaborative storytelling and game activities. These interactions can range from cooperation and friendship to rivalry and conflict, depending on the characters’ personalities and the story’s needs.

    Myths about mains

    One common myth is that a player’s main must always be the center of attention or lead every storyline. In reality, good roleplaying involves balancing spotlight time among all players and characters. Skilled game masters and storytellers know this and will work to ensure that each player’s main receives roughly the same amount of attention during a plot.

    See: How to be a better game master: 10 tips for running great interactive stories.

    Another misconception is that once a Main is chosen, it cannot be changed. However, in many games, players are free to shift their focus as they see fit, and exploring different characters can enrich the gaming experience.

    Main examples

    • In a fantasy roleplaying game, a player’s main might be a wizard who they’ve developed a detailed backstory for and use in most of their gaming sessions.
    • In a space opera campaign, a player could consider their main to be the starship captain character they have fleshed out more than their other characters and use in critical missions.
    • In an urban fantasy setting, a player’s main could be a detective with supernatural abilities who serves as their primary means of interacting with the game’s mysteries and plot twists.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."