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LONG BLOG

BoB: Player-Made Heroes

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Shit, this is hard for me, because there's so many I want to talk about. Between Proto Man's surprisingly tragic and awesome story, Kazuma Kiryu's kindness prevailing to me over our cultural differences, my belief that Alma is the real hero of the first F.E.A.R. and all sorts of things, I ended up constantly drifting back to my favorite game, Fallout: New Vegas.

What makes the hero of Fallout: New Vegas, Courier Six, so special?

Nothing. And that's why they are.

Courier Six is just a delivery person, and yet their deliveries, no matter what, have consequences. Between the Platinum Chip of the main game, and the time they, without knowing, nuked a civilization, Courier Six is special despite being a random person. But, it's not that that makes them so special. The Chosen One, the Sole Survivor, the Lone Wanderer, they all had similar stories of going from nothing to a badass savior.

No, where Courier Six stands out is that they are not a character. Link, Gordon Freeman, the Point Man, they claim these characters are "blank slates". However, this is another word for emotionless. The Doom Slayer is better in this manner, showing clear personality but still being silent. However, if you want a blank slate... Six is the best in gaming.

That also provoked me to think of the Dragonborn. Two characters defined entirely by the players. While The Dragonborn has less choice thanks to the lack of the (Utterly brilliant) mechanic in which most characters can be killed somehow that is in New Vegas and having a firm objective of defeating Alduin, these two characters are both defined entirely by their players. One thing led to another, and I realized something:

Holy shit, Dungeons & Dragons is awesome.

 

My preference will always be to define my heroes. It's part of what I love about Stellaris, as well. I love the opportunity to create my own characters and watch them change and define the world. I have, for two years now, hosted D&D, and I have watched a party manage to take every role imaginable. I run two parties at once, doing the same campaign, and it is a fucking delight watching the way the world changes depending on how they act. One group I have consists of four players: An Evil Paladin (I bent the rules a bit) who does the whole renegade Black Knight bit, an Evil Wizard Elf known as, I shit you not, Kermit the Hermit, who has a reputation for using Charm Person to do the most evil thing of all: Get various items at discount price. *Gasp* And two Good characters. My other party is, with one exception, entirely Chaotic Neutral and spends less time on their quest, with much more time spent doing things such as, again, I shit you not, rolling to slurp up mud. It made just as much sense in context.

 

I love hosting these sessions because I love watching characters defined entirely by different minds. It's also why I love New Vegas. My characters always end up the same: Specialization in speech, science, barter, etc. Sometimes my weapons expertises vary and the character themself varies. (I once unironically played a charactrer as a vicious serial killer who gunned down the population of Primm in cold blood) However, other people play entirely differently. Entire runs have been done with, I shite you not, not a single kill made by the hands of a player or their Companion. Some people do runs with minimal intelligence so as to experience the funny dialogue. I couldn't even see myself doing that. That's the wonder of New Vegas, though.

The wonder of player-made heroes is watching them go to work. Whether it's them plowing through an entire battalion of foes, or just interacting with NPCs, it's always a treat to watch players create entirely different experiences. It feels real, and that's wonderful. Plus, absolute treats of dialogue that they can create. Whether it be in a video game or in tabletop gaming, it is a treasure to watch a proper story fly off the rails because the player is a goofball, because the player is evil, or even perhaps because the player is too heroic for their own good.

On the other hand, there are downsides. A player can go too off-script sometimes, and fuck over the enjoyment of the game. I created a whole new setting because one player kept insisting on bringing everything to their character's backstory. Sometimes that happens.

Still, it's majestic, whether you're playing a game, watching others play, or hosting a game, to watch the way player-made heroes interact with the world and the other characters. Whether it be the sheer availability of murder options in New Vegas or the fact I once had a player roll to seduce a Minotaur (A roll they succeeded in, somehow) it's just fun as hell to watch.

In the end, the best part of a game is the fun you have in my eyes. With player-made characters, I have all the fun in the world. That's why they are my favorite sort of hero.

- "No. You don't understand. I've been dead for the past 35 years. Today is the day I live."


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About Riley1sCoolone of us since 6:57 PM on 02.03.2019