Sunday, January 22, 2012

MIXED BAG. TABLETOP TALES. #3 FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC: THE BUDDY COP CAMPAIGN PT. 1

TABLETOP TALES PRESENTS
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC: THE BUDDY COP CAMPAIGN PT. 1 Introduction
I love Dungeons and Dragons. I have been playing, more or less, once a week for over two years and I don't ever plan to stop playing. Most of the times I've played Dungeons and Dragons, I have been the Dungeon Master. For those who don't know, a Dungeon Master is the guy who is in charge of telling the story, determining what monsters and characters the other players come across and, in essence, is the god of the world the players explore. As an author, it gives me a chance to flex my creative muscles.

 Yet, while Dungeons and Dragons can breed a lot of original ideas, it doesn't hurt to fall back on familiar ideas, tropes and characters inspired by works of sci-fi fantasy. I find myself borrowing/parodying from all masters of the imagination; from L. Frank Baum to Walt Disney to Jim Henson and on. Yet, if there is on author that has had an effect on my dungeon mastering, story-telling and humor it is Terry Pratchett.




Terry Pratchett is my favorite author. Out of all the worlds I've visited in my reading, Discworld is the one I want to revisit again and again. Despite the fact that Terry Pratchett is a great satirist, poking fun and adapting everything from Hamlet to Conan the Barbarian, he is also the creator of some of the most endearing characters I've ever read. Somehow he managed to take the best parts of so many iconic characters, inject them with his own personal wit and insights, and create a world of characters that shine.
There are two things I learned from reading his work: anything is possible through the power of imagination (sound cliche, but it takes quite a lot of nonsense to make one believe in what most people consider to be nonsense) and the power of fantasy. He is a defender of fantasy, the oldest genre of fiction, and its power to bend reality around a story. I try to bend my fantasy world, The Wold, around every story I create. Perhaps no campaign has ever been a better example of this concept and a better homage to Pratchett's works than my 2010 campaign that, as of today, will be forever remember as FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC as a reference to the Ankh-Morpork's City Watch's motto (which cannot be translated to "Make my day, punk!" That would just be silly.))

In terms of pure improvisational story-telling and role-playing, few of my campaigns have ever been as successful as the Buddy Cop campaign. I don't remember how it all got started, but it began unlike any other story I've ran. First of all, there were only two player characters and both were originally created as an homage to two of Terry Pratchett's characters, Carrot Ironfounderson and Angua. I made the characters on a lark.

First, up we got Carrot Ironfounderson. Pratchett's Carrot is the perfect model that we would all hope a cop would be; honest, diligent, trustworthy, kind and generous etc. An orphan raised by dwarves, he came to the city to become a watchman after he discovered he was human, and has quickly become one of the most well-known and liked figures in the city of Ankh-Morpork. He is considered the "most linear thinker" in Discworld, and is so naive that he doesn't even realize that he has been living above a brothel for several years, but one must not confuse being "simple" with being "stupid". Carrot is a great detective, a great problem solver, and if someone crosses his honest nature will find themselves in trouble fast. In my campaign, he was played by my friend Chris Baker who, despite never reading a single Pratchett novel, plays Carrot just as Pratchett intended. I handed him the character, which I made a paragon paladin, and he gave one of the most likeable role-playing performances I've seen from a gamer. Chris managed to play a goody-good character that was hardly boring and hardly incapable of solving problems. When it came to making the other character, it easy to say that things got a little bit more complicated.

The other character I made turned out to be a composite of two Terry Pratchett characters. Initially, I made a longtooth shifter dual-blade ranger based on a female character. The character was based on Angua, a werewolf cop who joined the force after escaping the land of Uberwold. Only problem with using her in my campaign? I needed another male character instead of a female. The solution was to combine Angua with the main watchmen character of Ankh-Morpork, Samuel Vimes. The end result was a gruff werewolf cop by the name of Viktor "Vik" Von Uberwold, the old drunkard bad cop to Carrot's goody-two-shoes cop. Vik was played by my friend Nick Mawby. Nick is great at playing characters that are anti-heroes, villains, and cowards. He played Vik as an old beatcop in the body of a young werewolf. His character often acted on instinct and he uses his werewolf powers to take care of business. The end result came out like an insane mix of Wolverine, Dirty Harry, and McGruff the Crime Dog.

How well did these two different characters interact and how did the adventure play out? Well, you'll have to check back later this week with Part 2: UNICORNS & ZOMBIES


To read my other Tabletop Tales, click the links below.

#1 YAMA HACHIYAMA

#2 THE STORY BOOK CAMPAIGN: THE LIZARD OF LOLZ Pt. 1

#2 THE STORY BOOK CAMPAIGN: THE LIZARD OF LOZ Pt. 2

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