One of my group’s inside jokes comes from the ex-husband of a former player, who (I’m told) always played the gimpiest, most oddball characters he could come up with.

GM: This campaign is set in 1960s Europe, at the height of the Cold War.
Player: Can I play a cheetah? Like a cat-man, you know — but I only want him to have one leg.

What’s the deal with players like this?

The most common response I’ve heard to the question of why some players like playing weird and useless characters is, wait for it, “roleplaying.”

Character flaws are good. Unusual characters are good. But when you wind up with a one-legged cheetah, that’s not roleplaying — that’s creating a pointless character that will drag down the rest of the group.

And, in my experience, a character who will demand a disproportiniate amount of “onscreen” time, at the center of attention.

Is there a deeper social issue at work here? A common (and unfortunate) personality trait common to some gamers, along the lines of cat-piss man? Or is there a purely gaming-related reason behind this behavior?