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Favorite RPG Characters & Moments

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A surprising number of people responded to a D&D thread a while back, so I thought it'd be fun for the local RPG gamers to share highlights of their favorite games: characters you enjoyed playing, really great sessions, unusual campaign settings or scenarios, even obscure games you tried once and really enjoyed. Be as detailed as you like.

This doesn't have to be limited to Dungeons & Dragons: talk about Deadlands, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, Vampire, and anything else of the tabletop RPG variety. Sharing this kind of stuff often gives tabletop gamers ideas for roleplaying better, making unusual characters, making new campaigns, and whatnot.

Paging Dr Trashcan

My new group started a campaign using the Stars Without Number system, which is really fun and allows for free exploration of entire galaxies and endless opportunities for (mis)adventure. It helps that our DM encourages us to push the plot forward, rather than holding our hands or leading us on leashes, and also allows us to play unusual characters. Generally in SWON you play a warrior who excels at fighting, an expert who excels at non-combat skills, or a psionic freak who engages in psychic buffoonery.

I don't like combat in RPG's. Even a brief skirmish slows the game to a crawl, and I just don't find it engaging even if it's an unusual fight. That's why I favor characters who excel outside of combat scenarios: for this campaign my character was a medical droid named Hermes, who served as the ship doctor. He was two feet tall, shaped like a trash can, and talked like a really drunk George Takei. He could only use one arm at a time, out of the four he stored internally.

Hermes might be my all-time favorite character, out of all the weird characters I've played over the years. He often makes awkward and borderline obscene use of his little mechanical arm, or his flagella-like data jack which he uses to interface with computers (and which has been castrated on more than one occasion, leaving him depressed and insecure). He gets used as a footstool, a crutch, and a variety of other household items. He runs on an outdated AI that still feels obligated to follow its nanny-like ship doctor protocols no matter how disgusted or annoyed he is with his crew. He does have a sense of self-preservation though: when his crew was about to be arrested in their hotel room by the local police, he pretended to be a cleaning droid and waltzed right out of the building. Hermes's first noteworthy action was almost getting pickpocketed by a street urchin, who was immediately scared off by the robot's Shoostin' Arm, which was equipped with a big-ass revolver.

Hermes mainly has the gun as a joke, and as a last resort. Like I said, I'm not a combat player, and Hermes is NOT a combat-oriented character: he remains in the background as a support unit while everyone ELSE gets their dumb asses killed. Because of this, Hermes has, to date, singlehandedly saved the entire party twice. Once he sweet-talked a crazy female AI out of crashing the party's ship into the ocean for a massive TPK; the other time was when he purged the ship of an alien parasite infestation. Basically while everyone else was busy fighting and losing to the monsters, Hermes was casually running around the ship making homemade alien repellant. He flooded the ship with this junk and killed the aliens, then played nanny to all the injured party members while we flew to another, hopefully better star system.

Hermes was recently eaten by a giant landshark -- down to his last two hit points -- and spent several days in the repair shop getting put back together and de-fragging his hard drive. He is currently trying to learn how to use a yo-yo.

Stars Without Number is a pretty cool system. And I believe it's free!

Can She Take A Stone Selfie?

Another system we tried recently was Cliche, where we created characters based on cliches. For example, you could choose "hardboiled detective" and "kaiju" as your two cliches, and all of your skills would be derived from (and limited by) those cliches. My party members were a dragon wizard with a space ship, a mafia wizard with a mansion, and a magical pirate with a magical galleon. In other words, a magic powerhouse of destruction.

My cliches were "medusa" and "call girl."

She was a college student, she didn't have any weapons, and she couldn't even turn people to stone. She was a nice-looking gal -- basically an albino babe with snake hair -- but the only offensive abilities she had were a stun gun in her handbag, and the fact that her snakes had a poison bite. She didn't even have a bow and arrow like stereotypical medusas (she was in the middle of class when the plot began, why would she have it on her?)

Yet just about everything the party wanted to do -- from locating missing wizards, to coordinating a group spell, to acquiring a giant kraken -- was accomplished by my character's call girl skills: her massive contacts list and ability to talk to people. Didn't have to lift a finger otherwise, so she spent most of the game getting drunk, freeloading off the other party members' facilities, and freaking out when people shot at her with missiles. She also spent a good portion of the session with little to no clothes for a variety of reasons, through no pervy schemes of my own: her clothes would get drenched and someone would interrupt her while she was changing or drying, or she would be teleported to a starship wearing nothing but a bathrobe that didn't even belong to her.

At some point we picked up a yeti, which was basically a Star Wars wampa, and locked it in the brig just so we could say we had a yeti. After all her thankless efforts, my medusa ended the story by doing shots and snorting cocaine with the yeti, both of them depressed about how nobody understood them.

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