In my Internet ramblings yesterday, I saw that Topless Robot was running a contest about the worst RPG characters a person’s ever played. The contest ended that morning, roughly five hours before I woke up, so it was far too late to enter, but I figured that I might as well share my story.
See, I’d played around on RPG forums before. This was when I was new on the Internet, and did not know the depravity to which the tubes could sink. I must have been 12 or 13, and was extremely awkward. I don’t mean that in the hyperbolic terminology of contemporary society; I mean that I was extremely awkward. I’d wind up in these Forgotten Realms-type chat rooms where everyone was a ranger, and my character would lurk in the corner of some tavern or something while God knows what went on. In my chair in front of the computer, I’d be just a little more scarred.
But that’s not an example of the worst character I’ve played. Indeed, those characters, while bad, were mainly just… meh. No, the worst character I played was created to be bad. He was an alcoholic Wood Elf Wizard named Bubbeleh with a raven familiar named Boychick, and this is his story.
I was playing a campaign in D&D 3.5 with a group of other postgrads in Woolf. The setting was one of our kitchens, on a Friday night when most of the other self-respecting postgrads were getting ready to get shitfaced. The cast of our tale is as follows:
- The Dungeon Master: Our DM for the campaign was Giannis. Giannis is an extremely friendly Greek guy from Athens with a love for symphonic metal and Dungeons and Dragons. When I learned that I was shocked–the guy was in the military for a few years, for God’s sake. Of course, then I learned what went on in the Greek military, and it all made sense. Giannis had learned English by playing the game; so while his vocabulary in a lot of day-to-day or academic circles was lacking, when it came to trolls, gnolls, spells, and potions, Giannis was the next Shakespeare.
- The Barbarian/Warrior: The muscle in the grou
p was a guy named Tuna. Tuna is a Turkish guy currently in Afghanistan with an aid group and is, in all seriousness, The Most Interesting Man in The World. In addition to that, he is The Most Intimidating Man in The World. Tuna took his role as a stupid hulking Orc very seriously, to the point of threatening to kill me because “Bubbeleh looks like a girl” and head-butting the wall when one of his roll checks failed.
- The Sorceror: The Sorceror was played by another Turkish guy named Selim. Selim was a bit taller than Tuna, had more of a lankiness about him, and, more than once, threatened to kill me because I wasn’t taking one thing or another seriously. (This pertains to filming The Attack of The Weretimberwolf-Hybrid, when he said he’d throw me into stinging nettle because I was “a fucking wannabe director.”) I think he was a Drow. Drow, for the record, are supposed to be the most xenophobic, up-themselves race around.
- The Tanky-Type: The Tanky-Type Warrior Guy was played by a Brit named Ross. Ross was a full-on left-winger who, at one point, worked for the Ministry of Defense. “Every time I stamped a page about funding the war,” he’d said, “I heard bombs dropping.” He quit that job to go back to Uni and get his Master’s in International Relations–I have no idea what he’s doing now. His character was a Moon Elf. I said, “Dude, we’re like brothers!” Giannis informed me that, in this campaign, Moon Elves hated Wood Elves.
- The Sneaky One: The Sneaky One was played by yet another Turkish guy, this one a boiling cauldron of rage named Burak. Burak, hilariously, had chosen to play a Halfling rogue who, for some reason or another, had teamed up with Tuna’s Orc. They both hated me. The Orc because Bubbeleh looked like a girl, and the Halfling because the Orc thought Bubbeleh looked like a girl.
- The Cleric: The Cleric was played by a Greek girl named Eleni. She was pretty quiet through the four hours we played, which fit the whole xenophobic characteristic of the Drow.
- The Wizard: This was my character. Bubbeleh had once been a court jester for some small kingdom in the woods, but, one day, after learning a couple spells he thought would be neat party tricks, he incinerated the Queen and the King banished him from the kingdom on pain of death. Shortly after that, he took to drinking heavily and having philosophical debates with his raven, Boychick. He wandered around the world, passing out in abandoned huts, which is where the group found him.
The Campaign: Supposedly, we were supposed to make our way to some vast, underground kingdom and combat a spider goddess. We didn’t get anywhere near that. The campaign started off right after a raid on a village, in which I was passed out in a hut and the Warrior Tanky-Type found me and dragged me out of there. Soon after, the Orc and the Halfling came along, killing for killing’s sake, and then the Drow popped along and observed from a distance. Then we were attacked by a vampire, which took forever to kill because of the following:
Every class in D&D has certain spells they’re expected to posses prior to beginning the campaign. This being my first time playing, and Giannis having a very laissez-faire attitude to the endeavor, I didn’t know any of these spells, and just dicked around choosing stuff I thought looked cool. Anything that exploded and I could learn, I learned. Anything that melted peeps, I learned. And then there was another spell that I thought was the absolute tits.
Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.
It made people laugh for a roll of 1d6. (Or: One six-sided dice.) For however many turns was rolled on that dice, the target(s) would burst into laughter. The first time I played this–when there was going to be a massive confrontation between everyone in the group, and my character, drunk, figured that laughter was the best medicine–Ross responded with, “Are you fucking serious? You chose Tasha’s Hideous Laughter? No one chooses Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.”
Burak said, “What else did you choose? Good God, you didn’t choose anything good. Re-roll.”
I told him no, and Giannis backed me up.
A groan went around the table, but I won out in the end: The brief, sudden explosion of laughter defused the situation and everyone was friends. I slurred words of diplomaticness in Drow (I knew six languages, somehow), and then we were attacked by a vampire because Giannis was getting bored of everyone threatening to kill each other.
This is where my horrible, but funny, choice of spells went wrong. See, these vampires had invisibility. I, as a wizard, had a detect spell I could have chosen, but I didn’t because that didn’t seem like I could get the lulz from it.
So our group spent the encounter hurling AOE spells in the hopes that something would hit and kill the vampire and the Orc shouted in rage–while, in real life, everyone cursed me for not choosing detect. Eventually, we killed the thing with fire and, shortly after that, called it for the night. We planned to play the next week, but the Fates had mercy and the campaign was abandoned.
After that, I figured I’d stick to Fallout or WoW if I had an RPG itch–at least that way you can see the stuff in front of you and don’t have to imagine it. Cause, pfft, who wants to imagine stuff?