This tweet made me nostalgic for some of my old D&D characters:
you, a Fool: dnd isn’t a competitive game! it’s about working together to create a story that everyone at the table is involved in and cares about!!
me, an intellectual: dnd is a competition and you win by being the first person to make the dm say ‘fuck you’
— jimmy ? amecon (@the_seamripper) July 25, 2018
I still have fond memories of many of them, and of the reactions they got from both the D&D and many of the other characters.
On the one hand it’s a shame that I never actually played a troll character. On the other, from a certain point of view *every* character I played was a troll character.
— David R. MacIver (@DRMacIver) July 26, 2018
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, so I decided that I might as well let “at some point” be now. Sadly many of the details are now lost to time and memory, but here are the highlights that I remember.
I think my absolute favourite was Nicky. Nicky was a sorcerer. You could tell he was a sorcerer because he had a big floppy pointed hat and a magic wand with a big star on the end. He was 10 years old, but had come into rather a lot of power rather earlier than expected as the result of some sort of ancestral power inheritance ritual and a premature death in the family. He had been fobbed off on a long-suffering cleric family friend who basically acted as companion/baby sitter. He really wanted to go adventuring, and the pair of them were in turn fobbed off on the party by some local high ranking NPCs.
We were working on a spell points system in that campaign, and it was quite high level, so Nicky was able to be quite free with his use of magic. Mostly he only used two spells though: Fly and Polymorph Other. Sometimes when he was feeling versatile he used telekinesis.
If you are currently imagining me playing a hyperactive ten year old with more or less unlimited use of those spells, that look of absolute horror on your face is exactly the correct response. This was so much fun to play.
Nicky’s signature combat move was to stay well above the fighting, look for likely looking enemies, and shout “FROGGY. You’re a FROG!” at them. Often this would then turn out to be the case.
My absolute favourite Nicky moment was the following exchange. The party had been sent to help out some wizard. We met him at his front door. Specifically, Nicky insisted on being the one to knock.
The exchange went as following:
Nicky: Hi! I’m Nicky! I’m a sorcerer!
GM in condescending adult-talking-to-children voice: Why hello there. I’m <wizard name>. I’m not a sorcerer. I’m a wizard. Do you know the difference?
Nicky: Yes, you need to read books! That’s boring and silly! I just get to cast spells. It’s much more fun.
GM: Oh yes, and what spells do you know?
Nicky, smiling mischievously: Well… there is one spell I know.
At this point, a dawning look of horror crosses the face of the entire party, and the GM is trying hard not to crack up.
GM: Go on then, show me.
Nicky: *waves magic wand* FROGGY! YOU’RE A FROG!
GM: *critical fails saving throw*. The wizard turns into a frog. He hops around in a very annoyed manner.
Eventually the party persuaded Nicky to turn the Wizard back into a human. This proved to be a mistake as he turned out to be the villain of the story and was much harder to turn into a frog the second time around.
Nicky disappeared off into parts unknown when I had to leave the group due to disappearing off into parts London. Unfortunately they were at the time in an entirely different plane, and Nicky didn’t know planeshift. I hope he’s OK.
Sokor was another fun character. He had three major features of note:
- He was a wizard with a rather unconventional approach. He used a lot of force bubbles, teleport spells, and high explosives kept in a bag of holding.
- He was actually a pretty decent person, but coded supervillain in a massive way. Among other things he had a fairly diabolical laugh and a companion named Lacky.
- Sokor was a small green squirrel, due to a prior unfortunate run-in with an overpowered NPC who cursed him (i.e. because I thought it would be funny).
Sokor was from the same campaign as Nicky, but they didn’t get along due to Nicky “helpfully” trying to turn him back into a human and it not going so well. This allowed me to swap the two characters in and out as I felt like.
Eventually after some adventuring lead to us finding a really nice dungeon Sokor decided to turn it into his new lair. Also at some point he started a burger emporium – it had been a running joke that the only meat available in the local area was chicken, and Sokor spotted a business opportunity that could easily be solved with high level magic…
Sokor was separated from the party when they went dimension hopping.
One of the first characters I played as with this group was Gherran. Gherran was a wandering elven mage who the party happened across and in the usual D&D way went “OK I guess we’re BFFs now”.
NB this was a lie. Gherran was neither elvish nor a mage. He was a fallen (he preferred “tripped”) celestial with a weird and wonderful assortment of powers. His spell set was actually divine in nature, but between a suitable choice of spells and his native abilities he kept the party in the dark about this for a good six months. Eventually he was outed by an NPC, at which point an awful lot of discrepancies in my character build and options suddenly became clear to the other characters.
Gherran was overpowered as hell. The most significant of his overpowered nature was his alternate form which could pass through walls and throw bolts of energy at will (he could only assume this form a limited number of times per day). I also really enjoyed his ability to alter his appearance at will.
Unfortunately despite being overpowered he was also quite fragile. He decided to solo a demon he 100% should not have, and ended up being lost to the party. Due to his celestial nature, no rez was available. He then ended up in the wrong afterlife and things went rather downhill from there.
Marek was the character I played after Gherran. He found the party when looking for Gherran (who he knew as “the coffee maker”. I don’t really remember the story behind that).
Marek was a psion with a level dip in monk. Personality wise he was actually pretty boring, but his speciality in creation was super game breaking. He could basically create arbitrary mundane objects. This frequently lead to him doing things like building bridges over complex traps and puzzles the GM had put in our way.
He also had a bag of holding and a decanter of endless water with a “hot water” mode, so among his more mundane utilities he was able to provide hot baths for everyone who wanted them while on the campaign trail.
All of this meant that his actual combat abilities were merely OK. He wasn’t awful, but he was almost as fragile as a wizard and without the level of heavy hitting required to make up for that. Towards the end of that campaign the party were caught in a full scale battle.
Marek looked around, rated his survival odds and
Marek cast planeshift. He was never heard from again.
Those are all the most notable examples, but there were a number of characters who didn’t last as long who I still have a fond memory for.
- There was a paladin character who was a surprising amount of fun. I decided that just because he cared about truth and justice didn’t mean he couldn’t be extremely scathing. He was constantly sarcastic and very good at dismissive putdowns of people who didn’t live up to his standards, which was most people. He also rode a griffin and wielded javelins of lightning, which was a delightful combination in combat.
- There was the plot-critical time travelling heir to the throne. He was a fairly generic warrior build, with a specialisation in duelling and some weird trait that gave him advantages if he had something in his offhand and wasn’t too specific about what that something had to be. It was often a drink. He was irresponsible, constantly drunk, and frequently got bored and wandered off in source of a drink and/or fight. During a Very Important Meeting in which plot that was directly relevant to him was happening he decided to go try and teach the bartender how to make cocktails from his era. “Unfortunately” because he was actually very important the party ended up constantly scrabbling after him trying to keep him alive. Fortunately despite all this he was actually very effective in combat, so that wasn’t as difficult as it sounded.
- I played a bard based on the observation that intimidate is a Charisma based skill. His specialities other than that was illusion, which due to a feat he could combine with his bardic music. Basically his only role in combat was to control the battle field with illusions that would freak the enemy out while bolstering the party’s morale. One particularly memorable fight involved him playing his fiddle to “summon” an army of dancing skeletons. Another notable scene was 100% my best ever in-character full-on rage at another PC (out of character I wasn’t too annoyed. It was pretty much in his normal range and it was funny, but there was no way my character would have let is slide). Sadly I flubbed the intimidate roll on that, even after spending an action point to reroll it, so it didn’t actually work out that well in game.
I also played a few other less notable characters. There was the tiefling warlock who never really got around to betraying the party, the other bard whose only notable achievement was a rather inappropriate deployment of a “Feather Token: Oak” on a floating city (I don’t really remember why or now it went, but that was the very first character I played with that group and it probably gave them a taste of what they were in for), and I think a few others from one-offs that were even less memorable.
Sadly I moved away from that D&D group. I’ve made a few attempts to start up again since, but it’s never really gone anywhere. It’s a fairly large time commitment, especially for the GM.