Monday, April 11, 2005

Arise ye Living Greyhawk!

Well it looks like I have 4 players (myself included) and a DM. That's the minimum group to do an official Living Greyhawk event at my house, so it looks I guess night is a go. I don't know how poor James is going to manage to wrangle Pat and Bruce and I. Doug (the nice fellow from St. Joe) will probably be James's new best friend by the time the evening is over, simply because he won't be half the handful any one of the rest of is will be.

So anyway, I made a monk. Somewhere at home is a chart marking out 16 levels of progress for this character: multiclassing, prestige class choices, feat selection, the whole kit-n-kaboodle. How does monk 2/swashbuckler 1/ranger 2/fighter1/dervish 5/tempest 5 suit you? I've also been boning up on my 3.5 rules in hopes of A) building an effective character and B) using it effectively in play. I've been reading tactics and tips articles on Wizards' site, hanging out more on EN World, and I even bought a couple of items to help with my game. The Power Gamer's 3.5 Warrior Strategy Guide from Goodman Games and a little PDF all about the dreaded Attack of Opportunity.

As a minor postscript to this char generation stuff my PC is a black female. I usually play dudes with lily white skin (like myself) or pale greenish skin (like a half-orc) with an occasionally foray into Drow black or Xvart blue. When I say that Ahjay, my PC, is black I mean black-as-in-African, not black-as-in-that-Drizzt-jackass. Ethnically she's a Touv, which is the Greyhawk pidgeonhole for all African types. Hey, at least Greyhawk has a pidgeon hole. How many Tolkien ripoff style settings have any black folks at all? You can find Arabian knights (like Greyhawk's Backlunish people) or usually some crappy Sino-Japanese hybrid (Kara-Tur, fr'instance) but sometimes it seems that the Southern hemisphere doesn't exist in most fantasy worlds.

I have to give credit to RPGnetter Amado G for the idea of playing someone who isn't just a another white guy. He has a policy of only playing a Caucasian or a male when constrained to do so by campaign limits or other metagame considerations. I can dig that. Of course he's like twenty times cooler and smarter than me so its a surefire bet that he won't stumble over the role. When you play someone of a different ethnicity or gender you have to steer clear of two obstacles. The obvious one to avoid is falling into the trap of playing a stupid stereotype. I think I can probably handle that one on most days. But on the flip side is the "Whaddya mean you're playing a black chick?" snare, where your character is so lusterless and uninspiring that no one can even tell that you are playing a role beyond Human Monk Level 1. If you fall into this trap then gender and ethnicity become nothing more than the words in the sex and skincolor fields on a char sheet. I might end up caught by that second problem, but I still think it is important to try. Some days I squirm at the fact that in too many campaigns black people don't exist and women exist primarily as sex objects. Not that I'm against sex objects. This is a fantasy game, after all. But I think there's room for other stuff beyond typical puerile swords & sorcery stuff.

With all the thought I've put into this PC she's probably doomed to die in the first encounter.