Day 8 of #RPGaDAY – a day late, due to excessive partying on Friday night…
8 Favourite character
Or essentially an invite to say the dreaded words “Let me tell you about my character”… As someone who largely GMs/DMs/STs rather than plays, I’ve got a fairly limited roster to draw on unfortunately. However, before we get to the winning candidate, I’d go through some of the runners up.
Guardino de Paraxa (D&D 3.5/4e, Human Dragon Magic Sorcerer)
Guardino is a disgraced noble, disinherited after the mysterious death of his father and fire at the family estate – both of which he was entirely responsible for, in an attempt to take the family estate from his older brother. A somewhat pyromaniac selfish pampered glory hound, Guardino was also charming, manipulative, and working on becoming the Duke’s new heir. Guardino was part of a D&D campaign a friend of mine ran, with two parties of PCs in the same world. One party was good aligned, and one evil. Needless to say, Guardino was part of Team Evil…
Unlike a lot of evil D&D games however, we had a strong party dynamic, largely trusted each other, worked together to achieve our aims, and weren’t (for the most part) cartoonishly evil. We all had our own motivations, goals and faiths to work towards, and overt acts of evil really wouldn’t have helped to active those. Over the course of the campaign we infiltrated our way into the power structure of the capital city of our region (in no small part thanks to the shadowy assistance of the cult of Vecna), developed a reputation as brave heroes (After all, we didn’t want that orc horde burning the city down any more than anyone else. We did live there…) and made grand schemes for the future of our region.
The whole game worked really well, with a good mixture of action, politics and mysteries. Unfortunately we never made it to the end of the campaign due to players moving away and our schedules becoming increasingly incompatible, but it’s a game and character I look back on with a great deal of fondness.
Guardsman Garvel Malear (Dark Heresy, Imperial World Guardsman)
Guardsman Malear, a staunch Emperor loving sniper and Inquisition agent. He was my first Dark Heresy character, and part of a campaign where the other players and the GM were all of my university house-mates, two of our partners, and a keen wargamer. It had a really good group dynamic, and the GM (Will, for those who know him) did a tremendous job of evoking the setting. I particularly enjoyed my interactions with the party’s psyker, and the unspoken understanding between the two that Garvel had a las charge pack ready for when the psyker inevitably got possessed by demons or otherwise succumbed to the lure of the Warp.
Poor Garvel picked up more and more bionic replacements over the course of the game, including the majority of his internal organs after he was a bit too close to the explosion caused by him stuffing a satchel of grenades into the stomach of a partially manifested demon…
We dealt with crazy Mechanicus cults, spent vast quantities of the Inquisition’s money to get the hands of a saint at an auction (to prevent them from falling into the… um… hands of heretics), barely survived exploring a space hulk that was being boarded by Dark Eldar, quashed a mutant revolt in a hive and prevented the manifestation of a Nurgle demon (with the aforementioned grenade plan along with significant psykic effort). We’d just found out that our main contact with our Inquisitor was a traitor when the game went on a hiatus it never recovered from. Hmm, that does seem to happen to a lot of games…
The Unnamed Undertaker (Unhallowed Metropolis, Undertaker)
Or rather, I can’t find his character sheet, so his name is temporarily lost to the mists of time. An amnesiac, experimental test subject for a super-soldier serum, and Undertaker. Which, in Unhallowed Metropolis isn’t someone responsible for funerals, but rather a state-paid bounty hunter to deal with the animate (zombie) menace. A former member of the Deathwatch (London’s elite military police and animate-hunters), he’d stumbled back in from a mission outside the city walls with no memory of what had happened or any sign of the rest of his unit. He was quietly discharged from the service, and left to fend for himself. He was brutally efficient at his job and emotionally jaded, but that didn’t stop him from bonding with the rest of the party. With a scientist hoping to cure his animate wife, a tea-house owner and gangland criminal, a dissolute aristocrat and a Mourner (a combative part of any wake and funeral, women paid to watch the bodies of the dead for signs of reanimation), we were a ragtag bunch who still proved remarkably capable of dealing with both animate hordes and the machinations of secret societies.
I’m sad we never got as far into the game as going into the wastelands outside of the London walls, and finding out what happened to the rest of his unit. Or if, as I speculated, his unusual Plague resistance and physical prowess were the result of the same serum that created the incredibly dangerous and nearly indestructible Thropes (werewolves) that haunt the wilds. But what we had of the game was excellent, well-paced and atmospheric, and has left me with definite fondness for this odd setting.
And our winning candidate? Probably no surprise to anyone who knows me.
Perun (Mage: the Awakening, Obrimos Free Councillor)
Perun, green energy expert, optimist, transhumanist, and boundlessly curious nerd. He started as an NPC in my first tabletop Mage: the Awakening game, became an NPC in our Shades of Norwich Vampire: the Requiem LARP (I’ve never been shy about recycling material and characters I thought worked well between games), and finally became a PC when I started playing the Isles of Darkness national World of Darkness LARP.
He is, I’ll freely admit, a very self indulgent character, as he lets me explore ideas and themes that I’m very interested in and attached to. Democracy, freedom, the technological betterment of humanity, transhumanism, and exploring the frontiers of science and magic. He’s got strong bonds with his cabal, and has made deep and lasting friendships with other PCs that get him into and out of trouble on a regular basis. And he ticks two of my major RPG archetypes: the rich genius who wants to make the world a better place; and being a wizard. (See Tony Stark and Reed Richards as strong influences on the former of those…)
But as with every live game character, he’s also been shaped by his interactions with other PCs and the game at large. He’s killed more than a dozen people to protect his fellow Awakened (something he still deeply regrets), become a prominent figure in his Order (something I really hadn’t anticipated), and gone from being the background science and ideas guy to Managing Director and public face for his company G-Tech (with the careful management and support of his cabal). He’s become an outspoken advocate for Awakened human rights, and clashed with both liberal and traditional members of Awakened society on matters of principle.
With the Isles of Darkness chronicle coming to an end in April 2015, Perun’s story is drawing to a close. While I’ll be sad to turn the cameras off and stop playing him, it’s probably about time for something new after playing the same character in various different forms for a decade. I’m going to really enjoy the rest of the chronicle I have to play him in, and I hope to give him a good send off into a bright new future at the end of the game.