Friday, September 9, 2011

Embracing Chaotic Evil

The thing I really like about games like B/X or DCC is that you have the freedom to play any character class you WANT to play, regardless of the random dice rolls for abilities. And yes, this is a plus because I REALLY LIKE random dice rolls for ability scores:

A) It speeds character creation
B) It models the inherent “randomness” of genetic selection
C) It prevents min-maxing munchkinism

Now sure, with both B/X and DCC there are some limitations with regard to demihuman characters; B/X requires (fairly easy) minimum ability scores and DCC requires the proper 0-level background career. But as far as the main human classes go, it is wide open: you can play a human fighter with a Strength of 7 or wizard with an Intelligence of 4 and it ain’t a problem. In other fantasy games with random chargen, this isn’t the case, either because of explicit rule (AD&D chargen) or emphasis on ability scores (D20 and later). For both B/X and DCC, a character’s CLASS and LEVEL are the most important factors with regard to in-game character effectiveness.

So, yeah…I like it, and not just because I’m a dude who values his own independence and personal freedom of choice. I especially enjoy it because of what that freedom reveals about the players at the table.

After all, if you have the freedom to choose any character class, aren’t you going to take the one that sings for you?

Maybe not…perhaps you’re still going to take a cleric simply because you rolled a high Wisdom score. This in and of itself may reveal something about a player (either he’s a “gamer” concerned mainly with maximizing his traits, or perhaps he lacks a certain amount of imagination).

For me, it allows me to indulge my own primal fantasies of traipsing around a fantasy countryside, acting especially loud and obnoxious, and hitting things with an axe whenever I have the opportunity. My current DCC character has a Strength of 10 and an Agility of 8 (out of a 3-18 range)…the guy does NOT have the archetypal stats one would expect to find in, say, a D&D barbarian (of any edition). And yet, my character insists on walking point, kicking in doors, and getting “stuck in” at every opportunity. The “warrior” class abilities of DCC insure an ample chance for surviving this style of play (initiative bonus, attack/damage bonus, “mighty deeds” ability, etc.) and if I wasn’t so enamored with the battle axe, I could optimize my character even more with a long sword and shield.

But sword-and-board doesn’t suit my personality.

I also seem to have gravitated towards a “chaotic evil” style of play in this game. I’m not sure why, exactly…unless it has something to do with the “reward system” of the game (haha…that’s an in-joke…wait till you see my next post). Certainly, when I’ve played other games…like Spirit of the Century or Risus, just to name a couple recent ones…I haven’t played all “gung-ho,” nor been so quick to dive into the local slave trade.

Something about DCC seems to bring out my inner demonic self.

I suppose it’s really just a bit of pro-active role-playing…the game doesn’t offer anything in the way of real, in-game objectives (what? Yeah, you heard me) and consequently, one only gets out of it as much as one puts in. My over-the-top actions are a defense against waiting around, stagnant, for the next opportunity to “roll the dice.” And the whole campaign setting seems pretty dark and twisted to me…starting up a charity organization for the local widows and orphans just doesn’t seem to be the right course of action in this particular game world.

Anyway, I’ll post more about my “wallowing in decadence" in the future (perhaps); right now, I need to watch my boy. After that, I intend to vent a complaint or two regarding my recent role-playing experiences, and that I'm afraid will require a separate post entirely.

1 comment:

  1. All correct CE fighters need a big axe...Death Dealer comes to mind. :)