How boring would Achaea be if characters were all archetypes, right? If a knight is nothing more than honorable or valiant or strong then he might as well be a denizen. Cliches suck. Tell me how you make your characters interesting, specifically their flaws (and just general ideas on the topic as well).
I don't mean simple character traits as much. Being impulsive, arrogant, gullible etc. are 'negative' character traits, but these by themselves are things that are easily justified from your character's point of view, and they're not going to lead to internal conflict or development. These 'flaws' can just as easily be called quirks.
What I mean by 'flaws' are contradictions in your character's beliefs or his situation- often ironic!. Like a priest who is greedy for gold and turns blind to his faith, or a fighter whose superstitions hinder him, or a nihilist that is really attached? Is your character actually really pretentious? (As a conscious decision by you the player though, as opposed to you the player being unable to create a convincing character,
) I don't know. I'm sure you all could come up with much better, and I'd love to hear.
Side question (if there's room for one!): What do you think about there being an 'end' to your character? In a play, there are several acts but there's also an appropriate time for the curtains to fall, isn't there? Does it ever feel forced to have to think of new reincarnations of your character over and over, like sequels to sequels to sequels that won't end. Do you sort of just play a static character?
Hell, even denizens can be deep an intriguing. Look at Tritons for example.
Myself, I do make a lot of effort to present the honorable, noble, predictable-to-a-fault Knight cliche, because that makes the character distinctive, and when I do something that appears "un-knightly" (intentionally or unintentionally) that surprises people, because they're familiar with my character's persona through those cliches. If I didn't project that cliche, then it wouldn't be unexpected or remarkable when I broke from it. I do, of course, have depth and layers, but like @Tahquil says, I don't put those nuances on display, reserving them for people who interact with me often enough to see the different sides.
I think, in a lot of cases, folks get so caught up in their own character building, devising complex personalities and deep-set hopes/dreams/fears, they forget that a vast majority of the people you interact with won't know anything more about you than what you present on the surface, and if you present an inconsistent surface, either by intentionally avoiding cliches or by accidentally revealing your nuances before the audience even has a grasp of your basics, most people will just assume you're an inconsistent character.
To quote @Tenebrus on this topic, as I often do, "Everyone wants to play Drizzt, and no one wants to play the thousands of normal drow that make Drizzt unique." And so I am personally very content to play the cliches on the surface, hopefully providing a bedrock that others can rely on, either as a paragon or a foil.
- With sharp, crackling tones, Kyrra tells you, "The ladies must love you immensely."
- (Eleusian Ranger Techs): Savira says, "Most of the hard stuff seem to have this built in code like: If adventurer_hitting_me = "Sarathai" then send("terminate and selfdestruct")."
- Makarios says, "Serve well and perish."
- Xaden says, "Xaden confirmed scrub 2017."
An example, and just a loose one - a few of us have a tongue-in-cheek game set up, where you earn a point for every description you see that features "almond-shaped eyes". I would imagine that most people write this description thinking they're being pointedly descriptive, and with something you don't see often -- but with everyone having this same thought, 90% of the population winds up with those eyes.
So given that mindset, in our little Achaean world - traditional cliches are actually a rarity, and I relish encountering those individuals who wholly embrace them, and play characters that are seen as "normal", rather than the soul-possessed-by-demons-parents-murdered-as-a-child-kidnapped-and-raised-by-wild-mhun sorts.
I guess that's a bit of my character.