FAQ U: What is a Blorbo?


This is a friendly response to my friend Sandro's post about blorb vs blorbos! Since people caught wind of the latter term in the TTRPG scene, there has been some confusion about what "blorbo" means—especially in how it relates to another term, "original character". Let me define both and try to go over the nuance between them.

  • Original Character: A character someone makes up. Originally, it was in the context of fan fiction or forum role-play where the character is original with respect to the media property. However, in more recent usage, the characters could be detached from any property whatsoever and are just conceptually fun characters that the creator likes to imagine.
  • Blorbo: Someone’s absolute favorite character from a work of media, that is, one over which they’re completely obsessed. The original phrase “blorbo from my shows” is about a hypothetical blorbo named Blorbo, to kind of illustrate its inherent goofiness as well as the lack of context that observers have when looking at your (Tumblr) posts about them.

It’s not until later that categories of blorbo and OC begin to converge, and never definitionally but just in that a given character might fulfill both aspects (i.e., one could be your OC and your blorbo). This tends to be most common in artist subculture, since artists will often develop character concepts they like to imagine and illustrate.

The fandom-based D&D subculture draws influence from artist subculture, both in that people are drawn to D&D actual-plays like Critical Role or The Adventure Zone to participate in the fandom, and also in that those artists may find D&D to be an interesting framework to conceptualize their own original characters in a widely familiar aesthetic context.

This character relationship trickles down to D&D players introduced to the game from participating in a fandom space. Players create characters in whose shoes they want to imagine walking, to explore situations that engage (and develop) the character's background and personality. This character is both an OC of the player's imagination, and a blorbo with whom they are completely obsessed.

The fun of D&D in this context is to create your own blorbo and put them in an ant farm with other blorbos! Players like to imagine characters with whom they can relate, and through which they can explore aspects of themselves. They have creative custody of their character in the same way that a traditional game master has creative custody of the game world, and ideally everyone works together to develop a situation that engages everyone.


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