In an Eberron game I am playing in, we recently added a player who will be playing a previously prominent NPC leading us on an adventure. A wealthy Lord, the DM made the character as a bard as he thought that captured the feel he was looking for. The player of this character had something to say about that, though...
"Song of Rest? No. I'm renaming that. I call it '...the Sooner You'll Get Paid.'"
So, after a single session, the iconic image of a bard singing melodies of healing suddenly became an impatient nobleman prodding his hirelings to expedite the mission. As he continued crossing out other power and feature names only to replace them with more appropriate alternatives, the very nature of the character changed. He was no longer a bard. He did not sing or have an instrument. He was a cunning leader who knew the power of proper motivation.
And it's awesome.
That is the type of re-characterization that D&D4E can lead to. I think this is important to the game as it lets you take the mechanical trappings that the rules give you and make it the character you want. With a little thought, any variety of ridiculous character can be created.
|Now I understand tactical history!|
- Armchair tactician with a giant history book that he uses to defend himself? Lazy Warlord with a Warhammer & Shield (conceptualized as a single item).
- Street Fighter's Dhalsim, a yoga master who shoots fire from his mouth? Pyromancer Mage.
- Red Alert 2's Yuri, a mysterious psychic master with the ability to crush people with a thought? A psion.
So, that is a good explanation for why I do this. Granted, the original motivation was to provide a series of alternative characters for D&D Encounters since Wizards of the Coast stopped providing new ones. However, it has become more of an expression of what the system really is capable of with the right thought process.
So, for those playing at a D&D Encounters game, I hope you use the novelty characters I have provided and enjoy the experience. The sinister Sabrak dwarves of the Sunset Mountains, the vile Feywild hag Soryth, or the Lost Heir of Neverwinter will never expect Dhalsim, Link, and Leisure Suit Larry to stop them.
As an addendum, the art on this page was taken from the DeviantArt site for njay, njay.deviantart.com. It has been used without permission but consistent with 17 U.S.C. 107 (Fair use).