To paraphrase the incredible Jack Kirby: "We believe in heroes because, ultimately, we believe in ourselves."
I think people are so drawn to heroes and the "heroic" because we would like to think that somewhere, deep down, we have the ability to cling to something good even in the midst of a world full of gray. It is so easy to make the "wrong", selfish choices, and we would like to think that we can have the strength of character to make the "right", selfless choices when it really counts.
It is a role playing challenge in its own way to play "good". You have to make tough moral choices pertaining to the fates of those other than yourself. You have to think beyond yourself and your own desires and work for the betterment of others. You have to risk your well-being to inspire hope and courage and to protect those who cannot protect themselves. You have to accept the idea that you will do what you do not for reward or reknown, but out of a sense of responsibility and duty. It is irresponsible for you not to take a stand for others. If you don't do it, who will?
I find playing "good" fun because I like exploring these ideas. I like playing the guy who stands before the demonic legions as says, "No! I will not let you hurt a single soul...even unto my dying breath!" That dramatic heroism is a lot of fun to play for me. I think it's fun because it is dramatic and not something that you see in "real life" that often. The idea that some people will not crumble and betray their sensibilities in the face of adversity or mortality.
That said, I don't always play characters of that sort. It is fun to explore other personality types as well. But when all is said and done, even my more "neutral" or "selfish" characters have at least a spark of goodness somewhere within them that will manifest under the right kinds of circumstances. I don't play characters without a conscience...good, neutral or evil.
HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD
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