I was recently having a conversation on Twitter dealing with my dislikes of the Apocalypse World system and I was finding it was difficult to convey my frustrations in a 140 character limit, so that means I will now inflict my complaints on all of you! Continue reading
So, the crew over at Gamerstable wrapped up their Conan Character Submission Contest this week in preparation for their next Savage Worlds actual play podcast. I (and apparently plenty of other gamers out there) caught wind of the contest and decided to jump headlong into the creation process, albeit with two minor problems. The first problem, I had only ever created five Savage Worlds characters, so I’m pretty much a n00b to the system. The second problem, the extent of my knowledge regarding the Conan universe is limited to the 1980’s films Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer. Ignoring these minor inconveniences, I forged ahead (thanks to my copy of Hero Lab and plenty of time spent at the Conan Wiki). Although I was not one of the lucky winners, I’m still proud of the characters I drafted and have decided to share them here, in all their fleshed out and statted glory.
If you’ve been paying attention to the articles and podcasts on this site recently, you are aware that Matt and Robert are playing a Play-by-Post run by another contributor known by his moniker “The Typing Dice”. Matt has regaled you with his love for both the Play-by-Post itself and for his super jerk anti-hero Malachai (sorry Matt, but he’s a jerk :P). Well guess what, I’m playing the game too and I got to be one of Matt and mine’s favorite things, a Dwarf! I assume it’s because I called it first, though I would have had no issue if Matt had been one too (Dwarf Bros!), but maybe he just wanted to try something different. Being a dwarf is awesome, but I’ll tell you what’s even more awesome, being a FILTHY RICH Dwarf from a family of FILTHY RICH Ale Brewin’ Dwarves! I’ve been really digging what it has done to challenge my play style, so I decided to lay it all out for y’all.
It has been a long while since I’ve GMed anything. My last attempt was a failed D&D 4E campaign that lasted two sessions before it fell flat and turned me off of GMing for a time. Thinking back on it, I’ve realized that campaign was destined to fail before I even started. My love of board games, in addition to the tactical nature of 4E combat, created a perfect storm of me fighting in ways that a group of unskilled fighters never would. I started the game with one of the two tropes that I absolutely hate in any game, an unkillable bad guy (My attempt at creating a nemesis), and my GM rust had left me with expectations that players would take adventure hooks just because they were there and not role play the scene. Finally one of my players really hated all things 4E. All of these things together made for a game that was unfun for the players and frustrating for me. Continue reading
I love to create both Player Characters and Non-Player Characters as I feel that the individuals that populate game worlds are as important (if not moreso) than the game world itself. The rest of the group has verbalized many, many, many times that I can get so wrapped up in my affinity for creating that it often gets in the way of actually playing a table-top RPG. Be that as it may, I know that I am first and foremost a player, so this week, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite creations – past, present, and in limbo.
So, if you’ve been listening to the podcast (which you should), you’ve no doubt heard numerous times that I do indeed love Dwarves. Not small people (though I certainly have nothing against them), but the tough-as-nails, personable-as-a-stubborn-mule fantasy race of stocky, hard-drinking warrior craftsmen. Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret… they are awesome!
My first exposure to the traditional fantasy Dwarf was through the reading of The Hobbit, well before my gaming days. I was captivated by J.R.R. Tolkien‘s portrayal of the rough-and-tumble folk, ill prepared for their journey to the Lonely Mountain to defeat Smaug and retrieve the Arkenstone of Thrain. Although Thorin’s band are pretty much a greedy bunch of stubborn jerks (typical for Dwarves), it was late in the novel that numerous aspects of Dwarven culture revealed themselves and truly appealed to me.
Once Robert and I started playing AD&D 2nd Edition together, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a Dwarven warrior, and rarely have I strayed from this particular character archetype. I’ve always felt that the characters we create in the game serve to reflect and amplify the aspects of ourselves that we either find most endearing or want to greatly improve. It’s paradoxical really, but psychologically it makes sense. No one, when envisioning an ideal self, wants to scrap the things they like the best about themselves, only amplify them (if this is not the case for you, I suggest professional help). In a fantasy setting, when I could be anything I wanted to be, I chose the race that I felt most fulfilled whom I was and continue to be. Concepts of honor, loyalty, family, drinking, home, hard work, community, drinking, fighting, and drinking are all dogs that bark up my tree. So what better than to roll up a surly Dwarven Battlerager with the Russian name Razumihin that loved to fight more than anything?
Now, I’ve dabbled with character of other races in the past, even elves, but from a playing perspective, I find myself most at ease playing Dwarven characters both in combat and when role-playing. Dwarves by nature are pragmatic and direct; it’s all about function over form, although form does not go unnoticed. This realistic and straightforward approach often boils down to a matter of absolutes:
- In combat – If it’s not my friend, hit it until it’s dead.
- In roleplaying – If it’s not my friend, don’t trust it and if need be, hit it until it’s dead.
- In diplomacy – If you don’t give me what I need or want, prepare to be hit until dead.
- In drinking – I will keep drinking long after your liver is dead.
Needless to say, when The Lord of the Rings hit the big screen with John Rhys-Davies playing Gimli, I damn near shed a tear at seeing (in my opinion) a perfect portrayal of the quintessential Dwarf. I couldn’t help but feel a swell of pride for my adopted people and the gamer in me still loves seeing the role on film. Even now, with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey still 10 months away, I can barely contain myself with 13 times the numbers of Dwarves heading to the big screen. December might end up being a life-changing experience for this Dwarf loving podcast monkey.
Now that you know just some of the reasons I love this particular fantasy race, let us know which are your favorites and why!
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – Last words of Thorin Oakenshield, King under the Mountain