First off, I want to take a moment to direct you to the right-hand side of the page to see the Goodreads Widget I added. I decided to add that and actually curate the Goodreads page as a way to give some ideas to my readers of what thoughts were in my head when I was writing. Just something I wanted to bring up. Because what informs my approach to role playing games more than anything is my reading. I get ideas for characters from my reading. Campaign ideas and encounter ideas from my reading. And tips for running games and playing my characters from reading. Some GM’s get ideas from movies, others like myself from books, and others from video games. It doesn’t really matter where your inspiration comes from. But I think it would help some to know where my thoughts come from, and it might also lead people to some good books and sources.
Second, I wanted to continue the theme of player characters as superheroes or comic book type heroes. I am always thinking about my Pathfinder character. I think it would be a very good thing for me to get into another game so I won’t be devoting all of my time to just this one character. Anyway, after thinking about our session last week I came up with a cool approach to what I could do with my character. I talked about that last week. But now I want to talk about what that means.
I have decided to embrace the power of the character. Instead of focusing on what he can or cannot do I want to focus on his role in the party. For too long I was focused on what I could do to make him better as a stand alone character. And there is nothing wrong with that, it is playing true to the concept of role playing. Not everyone trains themselves or builds their skills to complement a group, they want to improve themselves. But the reality is that the players have all been doing that in our group for a little too long. We need to get away from approaching things like a group of individuals. And part of that will be embracing our role and power within the group.
At this point, our group really is like a team of superheroes. And every good or great team needs people to play a part. We have our mighty melee Tank in Elly, who is also the party center. We have the artillery fire of our Sorcerer, capable of demolishing large groups in one shot. We have our war leader/mobile strike in Thorvald, who can attack from range, and perform multiple buffs. We have our Team Medic/Undead slayer in Mickey the Cleric. And Viper is supposed to be the Scout/Skirmisher.
I realized last week that in order for Viper to perform that role best he needs to get off the ground. The rules and system, as well as a gradually increasing threat level of our opponents, have made it impossible for me to be the stealthy skirmisher in the party. So, in keeping with my embracing the superhero ideal, I will take to the skies. Because what could be more fittingly heroic than a flying Ranger, shooting opponents from the skies with a bow geared up for endless shots?
The thing is, in doing this I am getting away from the gritty earthbound ranger concept, someone who can track anything, knows a bunch of skills, is at home in the wilderness. Think Aragorn, or Robin Hood from the books. And that is a fun concept to work with. But in a campaign where we have a Paladin in full shining plate with a talking magical sword, a priest of Thor who wears Viking armor and wields a super hammer akin to Mjolnir, and a gnome sorcerer who never met an evocation spell she didn’t like, down and dirty wilderness is no longer a part of things. This is a group of superheroes that gets invited to all the best parties when they enter a new city, singing their own praises, and then spends money on fancy clothes and dresses. The dirty, grubby snake carrying ranger doesn’t fit into that. But the ranger in a resplendent feather cloak and snakeskin, resembling nothing more than a humanoid Couatl would fit. Which explains my taking this next step in character development, Viper is embracing his part in a cast of superheroes.