Monday, September 2, 2013

30 Day Dungeons and Dragons Challenge, Day 2: My Favorite Playable Race

 I liked playing with the Half-orc as it made my life more interesting, and interesting was what I needed when the rest of the game was about watching the Dungeon Master fellate his own ego
 
When I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons my favorite playable race was the Half-orc. In third edition to play the Half-orc is, in many ways, to start the game with one hand held behind your back. Your character is subject to a whole slew of negative racial effects and is often the included as the favored enemy of your party's Ranger; and your ability bonuses are actually a cumulative negative two (+2 to Strength, -2 Intelligence, and - 2 Charisma). That's the only race to have a cumulative negative ability bonus in the Player's Handbook, most races have a cumulative ability bonus of zero (0). 

I liked playing with the Half-orc as it made my life more interesting, and interesting was what I needed when the rest of the game was about watching the Dungeon Master fellate his own ego as he professed the superiority of his narrative over that of any other. While he mentally masturbated over his bullshit story Kid Icarus, who was also playing a half-orc, and I would busy ourselves with tormenting the non-player characters. We set fire to their beards, burned down their rooms, killed their livestock, and gambled with their children. We were terrible influences and it was exceptionally fun for us. Our Dungeon Master, on the other hand, could not believe that we would act in such a manner and eventually we were not allowed to return. No matter, we had moved on to better games long before he banned us and didn't even find out about the ban for two years after the fact.
I wanted a taciturn, greedy little bastard that could fight a dragon and duck tape himself back together just so he could have a split of the treasure. I wanted the Trollslayer and the mad dwarf. I wanted to bring fear to those who stood against me and comfort to my allies.
As I continued to play the game I gravitated towards the Dwarf - unfortunately for me the dwarf that I had in mind was more like the one from Advanced and Second Edition Advanced. I wanted to have dwarves that couldn't cast arcane magic and that hated the ground sorcerers walked on. I wanted a taciturn, greedy little bastard that could fight a dragon and duck tape himself back together just so he could have a split of the treasure. I wanted the Trollslayer and the mad dwarf. I wanted to bring fear to those who stood against me and comfort to my allies. 

What I got was a more neutered version of the Dwarf. 

According to the Player's Handbook I was to be a tamed beast with a dour demeanor. Sure there was greed but it was a clinical greed that hardly seemed worth mentioning in the grand scheme of things. Mine was a race on the decline but with such a general statement your imagination was to fill in the blanks - and mine did. There were plagues, assassinations, wars, curses creeping in on my dwarves at every turn and we held fucking grudges against those who wronged us and those who were more fortunate. We hated the dragon and feared neither man nor beast. We were, in a word, not your average dwarves.

I never played my dwarves the way that the Player's Handbook told me to nor did I play them according to the expectations of others. It's gotten me into trouble with three different Dungeon Masters, each of whom informed me that i was playing my dwarf wrong. One even went so far as to give me direction, "The dwarf is supposed to love alcohol above all else. He's supposed to have a big beard and hate elves. Oh, and he has to speak with a Scottish accent." said he. I answered him when I broke my beer bottle over his knee and told him to fuck off. 

Strangely, he still invites me to play Dungeons and Dragons with him, and I continue to decline. 
I came to the game with a simple mantra: I am the baddest mother fucker on the planet, and everyone will fear me. 
Finally though, I was drawn back home and began to play a human character. At first the decision was because I had decided to just play something that no one else ever played in our groups. There were dwarves and half-orcs, but more than that there were elves, shit tonnes of fucking elves. So I chose to play a human. 

In so many of our campaigns we had used humans as evil creatures. They were the traitors and the villains. They were the vile cultists, the bandits, and the slavers. Not once in four years had a human being been a hero, so I came to the game with a simple mantra: I am the baddest mother fucker on the planet, and everyone will fear me.

I broke every basic rule of combat we had ever held. I ripped arms out of goblins who struck me and beat them to death with their own appendages. I used kobolds as clubs and castrated a giant who dared to cross me. I burned villages to the ground and salted the earth. I took prisoners only so that I could quarter them with their own horses. I terrified the villains and led the fight against the forces of evil no matter who they were. 

It didn't hurt that I learned a big secret about humans: they're the most powerful race in the game, regardless of edition.

2 comments:

  1. Very entertaining. Gotta love that attitude :) I knew players like that (well, close enough anyway, there was no abuse of beer bottles), but they are a rare breed nowadays. Instead it has more of the DMs you're describing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my defense, the beer bottle was empty.

      Delete

Let's Make Something Challenging Together

The more that I've thought about creating a 30 Day Challenge list the more that I've become serious about actually doing it; and a...