Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My first Paladin

Brian, who found out about our Busan gaming group by discovering this here blog, is gonna start up a Pathfinder game two Sundays from now.  I never got a chance to play a Paladin before, and I've had a few ideas about what could make for an interesting (and hopefully not cliche) one.

So I've rolled up a Human Paladin.  I almost went with a Half-Orc, as I've got a soft spot for the ugly ones.  But I thought about the character I really wanted to play, and decided he should be a human.  Named Elwood.  On a mission from God.  Probably with a healthy helping of Johnny Cash wisdom thrown in. 

And I'm now encountering one of the things that made me want to drop 3E in any form as a DM and return to Classic D&D.

I may well be not only the only human character in the group, but the only character with a race from the standard Tolkienesque racial lineup! 

Jeremy wants to play a warforged fighter.  Robbie wants to play a kobold sorcerer (although he did consider a halfling ninja).  Greg wants to play something called a 'stonegrunt' and while I have no idea what they are exactly, I can guess.

Now, I'm not passing any value judgements.  One of the big selling points of 3E-based games is the whole openness of any race+any class, no level limits, blah blah blah.  And veteran players like to try out things they've never done before (like myself, who's never played a paladin before, although Gwydion my old Fighter considered the option before becoming a land-holder and moving up the ranks of the nobility).

I guess it's just a different perspective.  I take a stock character type and try to breathe a unique and hopefully fun personality into that archetype.  Everyone else is trying to be unique through their 'build.' 

As a DM, it used to drive me nuts.  Players always asking to be the weirdest things they could imagine, just because they could.  As a player, I'm more mellow about it.  Sure, you're some freaky Rock-beast Fighter.  Just be sure to do something with the character to make it an interesting rock-beast Fighter, rather than just the same as if he were a Dwarf, only with different numbers on the sheet.  :)


  1. I never got to play much 3.xE, but the myraid number of races was a hurdle to me as well. 4E hasn't lessened it, but I have restricted races to just Human and 1/2Elf in my new (6 or 7 sessions!) 'Olde School" 4E campaign I am running. I've also removed a few classes I didn't want to deal as well. I've gotten away with it so far because many of us either are from pre 3.x editions or new to D&D.

  2. Gah! I hate that gonzo stuff too. I don't mind so much if the traditional races are absent from the game world altogether. But the whole adventuring party-as-menangerie-of-rare-species thing really kills the buzz for me.

  3. I wasn't gaming anymore during the 3.x era, so Pathfinder/4e, etc... all seem like someone else's game to me. As an outsider, it seems more like a fantasy superheroes game. Which could certainly be fun, but it's just an entirely different set of assumptions on the part of the players.

  4. @John, we've got a mixed group. Some old school leaning, some new school leaning. And the new school guys definitely don't want any restrictions on things.

    @Brian, yeah, the menagerie effect is really silly in most campaigns. And the problem is that everyone wants to be "that one lone oddball" but then you've got a party of five or six of them.

    @Iron Goat, that's pretty much what you need to have fun with the newer games. It's not their fathers' (read 'our') D&D, but something different. 4E didn't do it for me, but I find 3E+ can be fun to play. I just didn't like having to DM it.

  5. What a difference a day makes. Robbie didn't find a PF kobold conversion, so he went Human Sorcerer.

    And the mysterious stonegrunt race was from some 3rd party book, and in 3E apparently had a +4 level adjustment. No wonder Greg wanted to play one! We're starting at Level 1, so now he's thinking if that's not an option to go with a Half-Elf Fighter/Rogue.

    So maybe we won't have quite the walking menagerie I feared.

    Still no word on what Bill's gonna play, though...

  6. As a DM of this game-to-be, let’s say that I am a bit disappointed in the players’ race choices. In the document I sent to all the players, I strongly urged them to pick standard races and emphasized the human-centric nature of the world. I even went so far as to say that having a veritable zoo of exotic races walking around would cause social problems for them.

    I’m not a powergamer/min-maxer at all. Using weird races for the sake of getting cool stat bonuses or trying something new or being different doesn’t really interest me as a player. I’m like you Gwydion in that I’m more interested in finding a new take on an existing class or race. I love to roll the dice, bash heads and grab loot as much as the next guy, but I’m also into participating in the creation of the story; for example, I’m loving how the story of the megadungeon crew is unfolding and growing – and though they are bog-standard races/classes, the characters are starting to become somewhat unique. Right now I’m having trouble wrapping my head around why your human paladin would ever want to adventure with such a freak show.

    But in the end, I suppose it’s my own fault. I have the final say on races allowed. But I want everyone to enjoy the game and I want to be inclusive, so I thought I’d throw everyone a bone and be open to the idea of alternate races. I guess I just wasn’t expecting the lion’s share of my players to opt for the off-the-wall race choice. Personally, I’ve never been involved with a group that has deviated too much from the standard races, so this development was a bit of an unwelcome surprise to me. I am aware that what I find interesting and exciting may not be the same as what others I play with find exciting. It’s their game too. So I’m willing to live with it and make the best of it. Beggars can’t be choosers. I’m just happy to be playing at this point.

  7. Well, it looks like things are coming around. Depending on what Bill plays, and whether or not the other Brian joins us (and if he does, I'd suspect he'll stick to basics), then only Jeremy with his Warforged will be unusual.

  8. "I’m just happy to be playing at this point."

    Amen, brother. Amen.