Tuesday, September 3, 2013

D30 Days: Day 2 Favorite Playable Race

Well, here I was hoping not to be behind, and I'm already behind by a day.  I have a good excuse, dear readers.  I am in two bands and that requires time and practice.

'Nuff said.

On to my favorite playable race.

This is a preference that has evolved over time for me.  It used to be that I liked playing anything with a ton of interesting powers.  Many of us do this when we first start out.  "Why be a human, something so ordinary, in a fantasy game?" we think.  We want to make it as fantastic as possible, and the lure of special ability after special ability heaped on top of each other still induces drooling in me from time to time, especially when thinking back on The Complete Humanoid's Handbook.  (Here's where I say that if you haven't played a voadkyn before, beware lest you become stuck in a dungeon corridor.)

However, over time, I've become enamored of Humans in D&D.  I never have to remind myself what the character looks like outside of costume or weaponry or coloration, and I don't have to worry about hiding pointed ears.  Plus, the benefits of being human in more recent editions of our game have proven to be highly enticing.  Pathfinder's benefits for being a human are nice, as were v.3.5's.

That said, I want to relate the tale of a character named Relivane that I played in a 2nd Edition campaign long ago, during high school.  He was a human thief, and he couldn't do anything right.  The dice were cursed at every turn for him.  Climbing a wall meant inevitably falling and hurting himself.  Sneaking around meant getting caught.  Finding a trap meant unleashing it on himself.  And it really was just how the dice fell - nothing I did on purpose contributed to this.  But it was the most fun I ever had holding the player's end of the stick, which I admittedly haven't done nearly as much as I'd like to have done (I'm one of those guys that is found running the game most times).  

Why was Relivane so much fun?  Well, I took a sick delight in seeing his every bone crushed as he fell repeatedly from heights of 30 feet or more.  I also enjoyed wading into combat, only to miss my attacks and be spitted on someone's spear.  When the cleric felt he shouldn't heal him any more because he was costing too many resources, I found that a peculiar sort of challenge to see how long Relivane could hold out without being healed.  Turns out, he was never killed in action.  The campaign retired before he could meet his end.

I'm sure by now you're asking why this rambling post has anything to do with humans being my favorite race to play?  Well, let's put it in straightforward terms.  I enjoy the day-to-day foolishness of the human race in the real world.  I like to bring some of that to every human character I play.  I've never played the vicious, merciless fighter.  I've never played the stalwart paladin or cleric.  I've never played the prancing bard.  Those stereotypes don't interest me.  With a human character, I feel as if I have carte blanche in the campaign world, and it's nice.  Relivane was a fool and a charlatan, and he was horrible at his job, but it wasn't his fault.  The dice hated him.  Every time.  But he gained a reputation for being horrible at thieving, and that was the best part about that character.  Through no fault of his own, he was a fool.  I played him seriously, and I often would argue the point that his faults were not his own, that fate had it out for him.  It became a shtick, and it was great.

(My next play goal is to have a linguist character who talks the party out of bad situations instead of carving those situations to pieces with steel.  That might drive some of the other action-oriented guys a bit nuts from time to time, but I'll pick and choose my times.)

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