Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Unforgettable, that's what you are...

For no real reason other than a desire to wallow in self-regard: My Top Five Characters Ever. Of all the characters I've played, they are the ones I remember with the greatest fondness.

Zone, the Shark Totem Shaman, from a Shadowrun campaign circa 1996-7. Zone was a native Hawaiian who had been savagely beaten pre-game and left permanently hobbled. (I used the bonus points from this flaw to buy heinous mechanical advantages, needless to say.) He had a tattoo of a hammerhead shark emblazoned across his back (cheesy as hell, but hey, I was only 15) and a great penchant for blasting people with lightning bolts. During his illustrious career he managed to, among other things, kill a vampire by severing its head with a power-axe, learn how to pilot a miniature submarine, blast two other player characters into oblivion in separate incidents, carry on an affair with a crimelord's wife, and eventually open his very own shark sanctuary with his ill-gotten gains.

'Twas Brillig, the Half-Elf Bard, from an AD&D campaign in the mid 90's, when I was in a deliberately quirky phase of my life. (I really did find that name amusing: what an irritating teenager I must have been.) 'Twas Brillig, who started off as a kind of comic relief character, ended up as one of the longest-lived and higest-ranking D&D characters I've ever come up with; I think he eventually reached level 14 or thereabouts. Most of his life was spent in Athas (the Darksun world) where he eventually became a kind of Gith overlord, with his own tribe of bodyguards to protect him from his Thri-kreen enemies.

Biscuit, the Minotaur Street Samurai, from another Shadowrun game. Biscuit was a Basque Separatist and demolitions expert who is now chiefly remembered for the sheer number of occasions on which he blew up either himself or another runner. He also, if I recall, had a dwarf sidekick named Yosemite Sam. (I believe this character also came from my mid-90s smart-alec quirky phase.)

Gorky, the Dwarf Fighter, from one of my forays into D&D 3e in the early 2000s. Gorky was an almost psychotically xenophobic creature, whose innate suspicion of any non-dwarf was only outdone by a monumental sense of his own greatness. He was probably the most fun to play character that I can remember - his unshakeable self-belief led him into all kinds of impossible situations, like trying with his battleaxe to chop down an oak tree full of crossbow-wielding kobold snipers, or leaping over pits full of poisoned spikes and falling in. But he always survived.

Maria Correia, the Solo, from a more serious Cyberpunk 2020 game. She was an ex-revolutionary who had been fighting with the Shining Path in Peru before abandoning Marxist ideals and becoming a mercenary. Over the course of the campaign she gradually gave up the pursuit of money and went back to being a Maoist again. I believe she is one of only two female characters I've ever played - and no, I didn't do a female voice.

What are yours?


  1. Garfield: my second Shadowrun character (I was also 15), he looked like a bald Wolverine, and had the temperament of the Hulk.

    JJ: my third Shadowrun character, envisioned as a street punk with fancy hacking skills, but somehow generated with vast amounts of cash, so soon traded in the skateboard for a sports car. Most of my game time with this character consisted of him trying to convince his girlfriend not to dump him, although in one memorable scenario, he felled a free spirit with a roundhouse kick.

    I Forget His Name: a huge Call of Cthulhu character vaguely reminiscent of Jaws from the Bond films, who survived a TPK because he'd been shot in the face with a shotgun and was in hospital when the rest of the party were killed by some kind of proto-Blair Witch.

    I Forget His Name II: my one and only World of Darkness character, he was a Gangrel vampire, whose bestial features were more like those of an ape than the usual wolf/bat (since the rulebook never specified). A barely concealed ripoff of Beast from X-Men, he was a scholar and a pacifist, and didn't get on with all the whinging goths; I suspect he was a manifestation of my unconscious desire to be playing anything other than Vampire.

    Nicodemus: My one and only D&D character (I briefly played a female Scottish paladin in AD&D), this chap was a mage whose face was always concealed by a hood, and who spent more time hitting things with his sword than casting spells. I'm toying with resurrecting him for a 4e game.

  2. Two all time favorite D&D characters.

    Calvert McAllister, paladin. Played him as a kind of hybrid of Roy Rodgers and classic Superman, preferred fisticuffs and tumbling to heavy armor and a sword. When he finally relented and started wearing plate mail, it turned out he'd somehow gotten hold of a suit of cursed "Armor of Missile Attraction", but he never really noticed, since he was such a tank. He just figured he was taking one for the team... High point, killing a giant mounted on a giant gryphon with a pocket knife. (Aided by a fly spell. Cut the strap on his saddle with a crit and gravity did the rest.)

    Zzapokk the lizard man. When his egg shards were read at his birth, they foretold a glorious destiny. Great for bizarre cultural references drawn from nature shows. Once complimented a powerful, but very fat, bishop by saying he must truly be mighty for having killed and devoured so many enemies. High point, calling the attention of a passing black dragon so that he could pay his respects, and making a natural 20 on his diplomacy check. (Meaning that the party only lost a mule and all the jewels in Zzapokk's gullet from the whole deal. I probably deserved a beating in real life for that stunt, seemed appropriate to the character at the time...)

  3. Lethe, my cold-hearted, gloriously glamourous, ice-blonde AD&D assassin (I was 15)

    Sir Huillam D'Averc, my consumptive Pendragon knight with a perilously low CON, an affected high camp manner and a fine sliver of cruelty

    Larry 'Fat B****rd' Milano, a character who has remained memorable and even well loved even though at the time I *loathed* him - he was a CoC character whose only attribute above 11 was SIZ

    Arlene, my psychopathic, sociopathic Star Wars Outlaw: she regularly behaved in wildly unpredictable ways, usually so as to cause her fellows to despise her.

    Scarlet, my LARP Scout, who was as inept at scouting, tracking and general acts of thievery as I am (of course), but who somehow made it up to level 8 despite having achieved nothing in the game other than survival (I regularly endured the refs head-shaking disbelief as I failed to spot runes on the floor and monsters in the bushes, and missed every opportunity to backstab or, well, help the party at all really.

    Mostly I DMed, though (perhaps for good reason? Sociopathy suits DMs better)

  4. Sorry - it was Galeris D'Averc, and he was based on (ripped off from) Huillam D'Averc from Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon series...

  5. Viriconium: Nobody's history would be complete without a player character ripped off from a novel.