I noticed the other day that all my game posts are about games that I run. I have been remiss in not mentioning the games I play in, and have played in. So, here’s a greatest hits of my player career:
- Barabas – Barabas was a half-elven fighter/thief from Waterdeep in a home-brew AD&D game run by my friend, Michael. He was the first character I played for any length of time – up to that point, I’d mainly been running games. Barabas was surly, with a quick temper and a dislike of elves. I had conceived him primarily as an urban character, and the first session had the city of Waterdeep occupied by an orcish army and my character on the run throughout the Realms. He got into trouble a lot because he hated people telling him what to do, and tended to do the opposite. He wound up losing his home, his best friend, his eye, and his mortality, as he threw himself into a battle bigger than he could imagine, and wound up tapped to be a god because of it.
- Jeyg Costin – A human from a Skyrealms of Jorune game, again run by Michael. It only lasted one (extended adventure), but I loved that game. Jeyg was a sneaky, tricky private eye type, who knew everyone and how to make contacts even in strange cities. He was also a deadly knife-fighter. In best noire traditions, he wound up addicted to a powerful narcotic after bearding the main villain in his den.
- V’dreyn Heartshadow – An elven cleric in the continuation of the game that Barabas started in. He worshipped a god of self-sufficiency, and tended to a calm, measured, horrificly stubborn character. Once he got his heels dug in, not even death could shift him. I spent a lot of time as Heartshadow working through the theology and philosophy of such a deity, an exercise that I found surprisingly rewarding. He wound up sacrificing himself to prevent a TPK when our group of 11th-level character ran into a pit fiend by surprise*.
- Anthony Vespucci – My Vampire: The Masquerade character; your basic Ventrue mobster. Again, one of Michael’s games. Anthony wasn’t all that bright, but he was good at following orders, convincing other people to follow his orders, and just not dying. One of his greatest moments was a face-off with the angry sire of one of the other players and his squad of gun-toting henchmen. The sire forbade Anthony to kill a priest (who was right there in the alley with them), so Anthony unloaded his Uzi into the priest’s chest, threw down his gun, and let the six vampires above him fill him full of lead. And then he stood up, brushed off his ruined suit, and asked them if they were finished screwing around. He wound up blowing his own head off with a white phosphorous grenade to prevent him being used by his enemies. He came back after a brief hiatus as a draug bent on vengeance.
- Tom Kozlowski – Anthony’s replacement in the Vampire game after his suicide. Word of advice – it is very, very, very hard to believably bring in a new PC in a game centred around suspicion and paranoia. Tom didn’t fit well, and didn’t last long.
- Julian the Apostate – My friend Clint ran a great Vampire: Dark Ages game, where I got to play the ex-Byzantine Emperor. Clint actually suggested the character, and it seemed like such a cool idea (especially after a little research) that I jumped at it. Julian was an okay warrior and a decent leader, but he really shone when working ritual magic through a system that Clint and I developed for him. He was also renowned for always having a plan and a back-up plan, which he would often neglect to tell his companions. Julian saying, “I have an idea,” became one of the most frightening moments in the game**.
- Gaha’el – An angel of healing in a shortlived game of Everlasting that Clint ran. He was fun to play, from a very alien point of view: I tried to make him very different from mortals, not really understanding their interactions. He was great at dishing out healing, but had no compassion. And he was just as quick to draw his sword. I played him as God’s misericord – he would end suffering, one way or another. And his history was pretty cool***. Unfortunately, the system was convoluted and work-intensive for the GM, so the game folded after only a couple of sessions.
- Asariel, Dee’s Angel – Asariel and Gaha’el were separated by years, but I eventually came back to the angel idea for a steampunk Victorian superhero game Clint ran, using Mutants & Masterminds. Asariel had been summoned during the reign of Elizabeth I by John Dee, and both Asariel and Dee were surprised to find that the other didn’t know how to get Asariel back home. He was a much more human character than Gaha’el, as you need in a superhero game, but still very cool to play. One memorable conversation had another of the heroes asking me about her dead husband, and if he was happy in heaven. Player scheduling killed that game.
- Synry – Clint ran a small D&D 3E game for his wife and me, and my character was a human fighter/wizard. He started as a kind of socially maladjusted ex-soldier with some wizard training, but over the course of the game he wound up being quite the diplomat, spy, spellcaster, planar traveler, and power broker. He also inspired the greatest volume of game fiction I have written for a character.
- Michael “MoJo” Johnson – My friend Erik ran an Unknown Armies game, and I was determined to play someone who was clued in to the supernatural but had no actual supernatural abilities. I made him the webmaster of MojoWeb.com, your one-stop Internet weirdness outlet. He was a manic, paranoid conspiracy theorist who knew more about what was going on than the mages and avatars around him, and so flipped completely out at the stupid things they would do. Of course, he believed most of the stuff on his site without any sort of critical thought, so he was wrong about a lot of things.
- Ladimir Csabor – Michael invited me to play in an Iron Kingdoms game. I’m not a huge fan of Iron Kingdoms, partially because I’m tired of steampunk and partially because I think the world undercuts a number of fantasy gaming tropes that I like. But I like Michael’s games, so I came up with an Umbrean fighter – very plain vanilla. But a melee warrior in a party of ranged fighters and spellcasters really stands out, and he has become a man of action! He joyfully throws himself into the craziest stunts and fiercest battles, sometimes just because he’s tired of all the talking that’s going on. In a world I don’t really like, I’ve managed to create a character that I love.
- Dunael a’Wemistarrin – An elven warlock in Clint’s current 3E game. He treats the oaths and pacts with the powers that give him his abilities in a very shamanic way, viewing them all as small gods that he has little rituals to appease and entreat. He tends to get fixated on one thing at a time, which sometimes makes him seem very cold, and other times just the opposite.
So, there’s a list. It’s almost complete – barring a couple of characters that weren’t all that memorable.
Listing them like this is interesting to me; I’m seeing patterns and commonalities that I hadn’t before. I mean, we all know that we like to play certain types of characters, and that the characters we build tend to share certain qualities, but until you see it all laid out in front of you, you may not see them as clearly.
My characters? Usually a couple of dominant traits:
- Pride. Pride bordering on arrogance in some situations. In other situations, living so deep within arrogance, they can’t see the border any more.
- Stubborn. When they care about something, there is no shifting them.
- Action provoking. My characters all tend to like to make stuff happen.
- In the know. They all like to be in on the secrets of the world.
Now, having listed all these characters, I leave the comments open for those who have known them to comment, and for others to spend a little time telling me about their favourite characters.
*Well, surprise for us. The pit fiend knew right where we were.
**Followed closely by, “The Domina has some questions for you,” and, “Let’s go into the forest.”
***I wish I could find the write-up I did, where he prevented Moses from entering the Promised Land and was both St. George and Dracula.