Monday, February 27, 2012

Reverb #6: My Favorite Character

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #6: Describe your all-time favorite character to play. What was it about
him/her/it that you enjoyed so much?

This is a really tough one. I'm going to go with three choices here. Each of them was great, but each falls short in at least one important way.

The first is Jack. Jack is a spy. But, it is more accurate to say that he is a con-man who happens to use his skills for espionage. In many ways, he is very similar to Neal Caffrey from White Collar. He is devastatingly intelligent, exceptionally charming, handsome, urbane, and has a moral compass that doesn't always point the right way. However, he is also slightly broken inside. He is bisexual, leaning strongly towards homosexual. When he was in high school, he was bullied for this. His brothers and father joined in the bullying, ashamed to be related to him. He reacted by using his intelligence to exact petty revenge. He soon learned that he had a knack for crime, and for finance. Unfortunately, he did not have a knack for picking partners, and one of his partners ended up getting him arrested. He was recruited out of prison to become a spy.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure Jack is eligible for this honor, because he is an NPC. However, I love running him, and have worked for a while to try and re-create him as a PC. I enjoy him because he is so intelligent and accomplished, but his past has robbed him of the arrogance and surety that so often spoils such people. He still swaggers, but always does so with a self-deprecating manner that lets you know that he knows it's just an act.

The second is Julian Bravo. Julian was the first character I made for Rifts. He was a mega-juicer (which, in hindsight, was a mistake, as it set the bar of the campaign too high. I should have stuck with the regular juicer). I really got into a lot of the world-building stuff in the Juicer book. Julian was originally in a gang of juicer wannabes. He was a huge fan of Julian Amici, a juicer legend of pulp novels. He was taken in by a shady cyber-doc for an experimental juicer conversion (being one of the very first mega-juicers). Stuff happened, and now he's an independent gun-for-hire, but with very strong morals. He is an overgrown boy scout who is also a hyper-lethal living weapon.

I mark Julian as ineligible for my favorite because he only lasted three sessions before he overestimated how much damage he could take. He never really got to live his story. I've written a couple of short stories about him (though none that are good enough to share, yet). He is my favorite for several obvious reasons. One, he was deeply immersed into the setting, calling out a number of very specific elements and weaving them into his background. (The GM later told me that he was intending for him to end up being the Julian the First that led the Juicer Uprising.) Two, he managed to blend being a total kick-ass action hero with having a certain paladin sensibility. Three, he was a hero in search of a cause, and I really felt like he would have grown tremendously once he found it.

The third candidate is Simon Lord Rellion, nee Simon Parat, nee 'Hiralam al-Paratath Saaman. He is certainly my longest running character by a considerable margin. I played him in a weekly campaign for, I think, four years. His story, therefore, is way too complex to detail here. He was born to a family of desert elves that unfortunately had a secret that could topple the empire. His family was wiped out, and he was smuggled to safety with his mother. He ended up becoming a mage, but also learned how to handle himself as a thief. By the end of the story that we played out, though, he had married a noblewoman, died a dozen times, and become the reincarnation of an ancient powerful race of elves. Like I said, complex.

The primary reason that I consider Simon ineligible for my favorite is that I could never make the mechanics match my vision of the character. He started as a mage/thief, but the multi-classing never gelled right. At one point, he reincarnated as a bard, which worked better, but came with a lot of trappings (like the music) that didn't fit. This was all in AD&D 2e, and is one of the reasons I hate that system. It was endlessly frustrating. His story, though, was endlessly enjoyable. (It helps that my DM was the incredible Ree Soesbee, of L5R and Guild Wars fame). He had a real knack for getting himself into trouble. He had learned his sense of honor from stories and books without ever meeting an actual desert elf to teach him the ways, which seriously skewed his idea of how the world should work. He loved to mouth off to the villains. Oh, and he died. A lot. Seriously, Hades created a special chair to sit on the shore of the River Styx just for him. He spent his whole life feeling like a failed hero. Actually, thinking back on it, he pretty much was a failed hero. He always tried to do the right thing, and always managed to fumble it at the last minute. Someday, perhaps, I will share the Taeloc story, in which he accidentally killed an entire city instead of saving it.

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