|Captain Andoran. Really.|
Recently a friend gave me some grief that my Yogi Gamer blog is mostly about yoga, and not much about gaming. He is correct, so let me offer the following- it’s fucking hard to practice yoga while playing Dungeons & Dragons.
When I say it’s hard to practice yoga, I don’t mean that it is hard to make a DC 15 acrobatics check to get into downward dog. I mean that it is hard to practice raja yoga concepts like santosha and ahimsa in a game that is largely based on killing critters and taking their stuff, and where in many sessions your most noble motive is revenge.
A few weeks ago I was playing my “no character development, please, I’ll stick to two dimensions” character “Captain Andoran”, a paladin from a thinly disguised fantasy version of the early United States (and the subject of endless builds on the Pathfinder boards). Our group of adventurers had come across a town being threatened by a band of hillbilly ogres, a band who had already taken over a close by ranger fort. The few surviving rangers gave us information on the fort and a back way in. To protect the town from raids by the ogres, we decided to scout the fort and see what we could do.
After sneaking in through a hidden entrance we encountered a guard who made a run for it. Assuming he was going to warn the other ogres, I hurled my shield at him and… smashed his brains out. It was that or we wouldn’t be able to protect the town, right?
Soon after that we encountered another group of ogres who promptly surrendered to us. Were we to trust that they had seen the light and wouldn’t warn their marauding comrades? Trust that we could tie up a pair of 12 foot tall ogres and they wouldn’t be able to break the ropes? Or trust that shit happens when you kill rangers and ransack towns and sometimes that means getting killed right after you surrender? Our party, with two paladins mind you, voted for the latter.
On we went through the fort, killing everything in our path. At one point Captain Andoran ran heroically into a courtyard filled with ogres in an attempt to rescue a fellow adventurer who had been captured. I arrived too late, and as his head was tossed to me the good Captain was surrounded. In a fighting retreat I left nine dead ogres in my wake before we used a variety of magic and explosives on the remaining foes in the courtyard.
It turns out the Captain Andoran is not a pacifist.
Danger- geek math ahead!
I do think that it is possible to make a Dungeons & Dragons (well, Pathfinder, really) character who doesn’t leave trails of bodies in his or her wake. I’ve had my head wrapped around the idea of a dual scimitar wielding Cavalier (Knight of the Blue Rose) 2 / Paladin of Sarenrae X with the Blade of Mercy trait. Not only would this let you not take penalties to non-lethal attacks, but it would also give you +3 damage to all non-lethal attacks. While dual wielding that extra damage would really stack up. Crappy against zombies, but I would just have to stay out of Bissel (extra credit if you get that gamer inside joke).
Not sure who I’ll be playing next; probably a return to Gilbert, who I mentioned in my first post. That is, if I can return to my original body and reverse the sex change.