Friday, October 14, 2011

What's yours?

We've all done it, us (A)D&D players (1). Had a stupidly-powered character. Whether by dint of efficient design (2) or simple grift (3) our dude was maxed out at near, at, or completely over in level, with a stat in the 21-plus range and who had about a hundred magic items and a fucking castle.

I didn't have one such character. I had at least eight.

I created a party at a starting level of two using the last of the supplements from first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Then took them through most of the classic module series (Slavelords, Against the Giants etc.), solo-style. There was Sichoras, a Magic-user (an overclocked homebrew based on the Tsurani Great Ones from Magician) (slash) Ninja. There was Sir Roderick, a half-elven Cavalier. Kirk Rhilato, a human Magic-user. And, later, Belrind, an ogre Fighter that was a randomly generated encounter from a randomly generated dungeon (4) that somehow joined the party (captured and converted?), and became a super awesome character. I remember I even sketched a rough "group photo style" portrait in pen on foolscap of them all together, standing in preserved triumph and likely repressed homo-erotic tendencies. Ah, another one. Chivas—a halfling fighter/thief-acrobat (5).

I think they ended up around the 20th to 24th level and I decided they influenced chunks of the Greyhawk map—Kirk the Guildmaster of the City of Greyhawk Magi guild, for example. I still have their hand-scribed character sheets (6) somewhere in a box in my cupboard of pen and paper goodness.

So ... for any '80s to '90s gamer kids ... what were your stupid-power characters you cherished and loved? Tell us all!

UPDATE (1): Area GM concerned that at least two people have claimed he was cheese enabler. Wait, three. Shit.

UPDATE (2): The other night Craggles remarked that I always seemed to play deeply flawed characters in games. Let's see ... deeply flawed manic little bundles of energy desperately craving acceptance in spite of themselves. Hmmm...


(1) I can't help it. I still prefer the prefix of Advanced. (1a)
(1a) Best line from Community (ep. 14) by Pearce (Chevy Chase), after he played a game; 'I won Dungeons and Dragons—and it was advanced!'
(2) Pete, take a bow. I hand to you the crown of player most skilled at squeezing every legal advantage out of the rules to blend the perfect combination of cheesy smack (2a). If anyone ever needed someone to arse-fuck a pen and paper gaming system and break it, Sneakers-style, so it could be better-built then call Pete 555-bigbrain. He is a systems-analyst without par. Curse him! (shakes fist).
(2a) So much so he actually does hold back ... and confesses he could have gone for an even cheesier version than he is currently playing. Like when a sensei is training an apprentice and going gentle.
(3) Just adding on great whacks of experience points without any justification for its earning. Like when you were playing Monopoly and, just for a lark, decided to uber cheat, sneaking $100 or $500 dollar bills from the bank when others weren't looking and then sliding the bills beneath the board, a slight edge of the money just peeking out, so you could fingernail scrape it into your money pile when needed. However, I rarely did that. My older brother was always the car. I was always the dog. I loved owning the railroads. I once had a tantrum in a game, I was about ten, when I didn't notice someone had landed on Park Lane (with a hotel) and thus when then their go ended and I missed out on the rent. I went total Mad Goat. Mind you, they did mock me with taunting. So in fairness they pulled the rip-cord on it (3a).
(3a) Man-fail confession. I could never start a rip-cord starter motor on a mower. Even in year 12 ... I had to get my mother to do it...
(4) That's by hand, using dice, kids ... and your music.
(5) The slash is represented here as a / instead of the preferred (slash) because it's game-specific. That's how it was scribed.

(6) I loved hand-writing up character sheets. Lovingly ruled up with all the game-mechanics carefully printed out in pen. I used red for the borders, blue for the text. I would photo-copy sheets at a nearby place, using five cent pieces stolen from my mother's Chivas Regal bottle of five cent pieces she kept on her vanity. The coins made a delightful metallic sliding whoosh of tinkling metal-on-glass as they slid, like tumbling children down a water slide, into the cup of my palm.

11 comments:

  1. You may not believe me but I never did this. But I didn't start playing D&D till I was in my early 20s, so I was past the teenage cheese stage.

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  2. You may not have stated until your 20's Cass, but I bet you has a cheesy D&D character - FESS UP!

    I think my cheesiest D&D character came also in my 20's it was a Magic user called Alias- but one of the players called her Killer. Harrangueman, were you responsible for allowing that one?

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  3. ... Damn it ...

    I allowed cheese!

    She was kewl ... and disturbing. Very, very disturbing. Esp after she drank that potion...

    Poor Casso ... no cheese. You need to have a cheesy PC!

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  4. Anonymous1:48 PM

    In point of fact I started your game with a reasonable character which you killed in session 1. I thus made a new one and its all your fault that he was nigh unkillable :)

    I agree, it was a perfect storm of cheese which just kept getting worse. I remember him fondly.

    I don't really recall any specific D&D PC that was godlike. Had one in Werewolf the Apocryphal though - Nickolai the Elder Shadowlord Ragabash of Doom(tm)

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  5. (Sent via email; I sent a link of this post to all the gamer friends I could remember in my highly medicated state).

    Most cherished?

    Hmm (strokes chin beard)

    There’s a tendency to say Chukkos but he’s actually fairly one-dimensional. I thought Faltexxion was cool in that woodsy rangery sense. Mankinessa was always good, especially as she was conceived by a ~18 year old mind so of course she had the high-split skirt and the low cut top. Impractical for dungeoneering yes but rowwwwrrr. In my mind she looks like Michelle Pffeiffer.

    I would probably say Borum (the cleric with the gryphon). Sainted. Diamonds for eyes. Has a castle and a pet cloud giant I think. Can’t beat that. Though from memory he wielded swords which no longer fits with my conception of him or his type.

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  6. Anonymous1:55 PM

    I once had a deep gnome fighter/assassin called Fharkin Awesomeson, son of Bhloody Awesome. He was massivley psycho. :)

    We encountered a group of natives (it started as a large group but Fharkin was very efficient in the opening rounds of combat...) while tracking a lost princess. Outside the gates of a very large city, Fharkin bends over, peers and the ground and intones 'Many men have passed this way.'

    The natives renamed him 'Tidbinbilla, the God of Tracking.'

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  7. Mikey, you gave me one of my cheesiest AD&D characters. I started with a Minotaur who died. The party had him raised and you gave me the choice to take something random from you. I took the offer and ended up with a Formian Worker (not connected to the hive mind).

    And then I did reap havoc with your campaign and loved every minute of it.

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  8. I certainly had a couple of cheese monsters over the years. Early on there was a paladin with a very unlikely number of 18 stats, including 18/00 strength, and oh what incredible luck, psionic abilities. That particular cheese effort included playing no less than four characters in the party, all of them lawful good and old friends. I don't recall the paladin's name, sadly.

    It probably speaks very well of the GM at the time (Phil) that despite allowing all my cheese efforts, the adventure was in no way a walkover. I also learned a salutary lesson about undeserved pride in your character, which is that a bit of deserved ridicule from your fellow players is very deflating.

    I may be wrong, and no doubt someone will remind me if I am, but while I have long been a min-maxing expert who naturally looks for ways to manipulate rules to produce overpowered characters, I don't recall ever playing a character with 20+ stats, a hundred magic items, or a castle.

    Don't get me wrong, it wasn't for lack of trying - I seek cheese like a starving rat. I just don't think I ever managed to leverage it into actual in-game success. I must have played with a bunch of very sensible GMs. Which is odd, because I remember who my GMs were...

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  9. A bard, name of Baron Ovaries. As a class, I'm of the opinion that outside of lore, bards are as useless as tits on a bull. Except for old Baron, of course. He had better stealth and pickpocket skills than most thieves. And his spellcast was spectacular, aided by the nastiest - yet affordable - selection of magic bolts you could imagine.

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  10. Ali, if we're talking AD&D then the closest to a cheesy PC I've ever had was that mage half-dragon in Matt's Ravenloft game. She had some immunities and at higher levels she did get a breath weapon, but it was no more effective than the spells she could sling at that point. I liked her though. :)

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  11. It seems somehow that solo-gaming leads to heightened cheese.

    I wonder why that is?

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