Generic PC: “So the orcs killed my parents and torched my village. Then I learned how to use a sword, and I’ve been adventuring ever since.”
Rogue PC: “I’m an orphaned child who grew up on the streets of the big city. I became a thief to support myself.”
Me: Yeah, you and everyone else.
Drow PC: “I’m the only good-natured member of my evil race, exiled to live as a misunderstood loner.”
Me: Take your standard-issue scimitars and get out of my sight!!
All of these character concepts are viable. The problem with them is that they’re way too overdone. Ever wanted to play something *really* different? Here are 10 fun character concepts that are anything but boring.
Some people adventure for glory. Others adventure for wealth. You’re a first-rate pack rat who lives for all the random junk you find along the way. Even if you can’t use something right now, you know it’ll come in handy someday. Maybe you could even strip its parts and use them to put together a really awesome magic item of your own! Then again, you might blow up yourself and your friends, but you can live with that.
The 2-Legged Calamity
Speaking of blowing things up…
Nothing ever goes right for you. It’s like you were cursed – and maybe you were! Whatever the cause, you have trouble pulling off the simplest tasks. You always say the wrong thing, make the wrong decision, and trust the wrong people. Items break in your hands, you run into trees, and you’ve never met an animal that would tolerate you. Life sucks for the 2-Legged Calamity, but they can be great comic relief for a game.
You’ve finished mage school. Now what? You’re like a newly-licensed doctor without a clientele. Nobody trusts your abilities, and you don’t have a big inventory of magic items to sell. Worse, you owe the Academy. Big time. So, for lack of a better option, you set out to live the life of an adventurer. Or you could be an honest fighter obliged to support your elderly parents back home. Regardless of who you owe money to, you’re only adventuring to pay the bills.
Somehow, somewhere, you were reincarnated. You can’t prove it, of course, but you still remember your previous life. Maybe you were a dragon who soared above the landscape, sinking your talons into anyone who angered you. Or maybe you were a hero of legend, and you still remember how it felt to wade into battle and leave your enemies in anguish. But now you’re trapped in an inept and unskilled body. What do you do?
This one’s best for evil PCs. Somewhere over the course of your life, you developed a taste for flesh. The flesh of your own kinsmen! Maybe you were forced to eat someone as part of a survival scenario, and now you crave the taste. Maybe you want to devour your enemies’ brains because you think you’ll absorb their powers that way. Cannibalism is the driving force in your life, and it’s downright disturbing.
Picture by Loup-Vert
You look exactly like someone else. No, really. The problem is, this person has a nasty reputation. You’re always getting yelled at, hassled by guards, and spurned by merchants because of the horrible things “you” did in the past. Who is your evil twin? Are they an unknown relative, or are they actually impersonating *you* for some reason?
Worst Hangover Ever
The last thing you remember was falling asleep with a buxom wench and a pocket full of jackpot coins. Then you awoke with a pounding headache, a missing fortune, and a summons from a local lord. What have you gotten yourself into now? You realize that you make really bad decisions when you’re drunk, but that doesn’t stop you from tipping a tankard every chance you get. It’s going to be an interesting life.
You retired from the adventuring life, the army, or the city watch. You put down roots in a little town and maybe even founded your own inn. You got married, had kids, and bounced grandbabies on your knee. Now something sinister is threatening your town and everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Dust off the chainmail, Grandpa; it’s fightin’ time!
Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist
Nothing’s as it seems. You just know the king is in league with dark forces, and that’s the reason why life is so miserable in your neck of the woods. That guy that tried to hire you? He just wants to send all malcontents to their death. That caravan guard gig? You quit because you knew it was a front for weapon smuggling. People tend to look at you funny, but you’re convinced that something big and bad is going down, and all the powerful folks are in on it.
It’s a cliché from 80’s movies, but it’s still a pretty fun premise. You were an average kid who got sucked into a fantasy world while playing everyone’s favorite evil game: D&D! What do you do now? How do you convince your new PC buddies that you come from another world? Will you ever find your way back, or would you rather cast off your former life and embrace the role of an adventurer?
What’s the most unusual character concept you’ve ever seen in play? Share your favorites in the comments section!