Sunday, September 8, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 8

Question: What's my favorite (D&D) character as a player?

It was not the first time I played AD&D that generated my favorite character ever, but it was a year or two later at the same convention and under the same DM. Those games were 14 to 16 hour affairs and I came to believe that AD&D has a nice flavor, but, after all is said and done, it seemed less elegant and slower than other systems I knew. But the guys we played with were three years older and "far more experienced", so, naturally, I must have had the wrong impression...

Anyway, it was fun playing with the big dogs, so we decided to join another game by the same guy (well, "were allowed to" may be a bit more fitting...). Nothing published, but some adventure he'd done himself. High level. I was asked what I wanted to play, I went through the options and decided for half-elf bard. Level 12. He had Fire Balls, Lightning Bolts, Invisibility, some Magic Items and an Attitude. I called him:

Edal Worfang

One of our first encounters was a Nymph. No fights and not much game until then. The gladiator was the first to see her - and dropped dead. The DM described her as "the most beautiful thing on earth" and I was like, hey, I'm an artist, I gotta see this. So I took some paper and a drawing pencil, failed the save by one fucking point and dropped dead*. Well, would have dropped dead.

But the DM started to fear a TPK by the first (and non-violent, I might add) encounter, so he was eager enough to look for a +1 bonus to my save vs. death. Luckily enough some character (could have been a blade singer? a paladin?) stood close enough to provide a +1 with his aura. I was saved. "The game must go on!" and all that.

That day I started to love this character. But I wouldn't get many opportunities to play him. I don't play that much and on the rare occasions I do, it's hard to implement a level 12 AD&D character. We did redo him for a few HackMaster sessions. This time I started him at level 1. But it turned out he was the same competent no-good bastard**. Good times.

And something else occurred to me while writing about my favorite character:

The Bard as class works because it doesn't...

Many people don't like the bard. And I get that. System-wise he is a bit problematic (in most cases). But I guess, for me at least, that's the point. His unfitness might be seen as a chance for a player to experience a freedom of movement he wouldn't discover with a fully "functional" class. I don't think I realized that at the time, but now I'm pretty sure that's why I loved the character so much back in the day. In the end, the limits of such a class open so much more possibilities for the player. In it's essence, this is what role playing is about...

*As soon as I'm a player, I suck at rolling dice. Can't help it. As a DM I'm a killer with the dice, as a player the dice will always fail me.
**They tend to get an own will with time, don't they? Even when playing the same class over and over again, the individual result will play different than those before him.

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