Unfulfilled Expectations

Not all wizards are played by Sir Ian McKellen (Click to Enlarge)

Even if you are not playing a team-killing Munchkin, there is a certain wisdom in keeping tabs on what the other Player Characters in the group can and can not do. Not all Elves are good with a bow, not all Dwarves know how to use a forge, and (as shown here) not all wizards have Giant Eagle friends.

There is an enjoyment to be had playing against archetype though, the entire Knights of the Old Republic comic book series (Dark Horse, John Jackson Miller) was approached from the point of view of a good-hearted Jedi who was frankly terrible at his job. He did the best that he could with a motley group of friends and the story was that much better for it.

Next time you play a “known” type of character, be it a dashing gunslinger or wise old wizard, make sure to throw in something completely against type. It makes for an enjoyable change to explore, as well as helping keep things from getting in a rut. This goes doubly for a GM! If the party fingers the goatee-twirling Grand Vizier as the obvious bad guy, let them discover his secret line of hair-care products while the Harmless Old Stablehand plots his oddly-efficient demise of the King. Always check your horse’s saddle straps, folks.

Surprise yourself and surprise your other players! However, don’t be so obfuscated as to cause party fights or needless PC deaths. Being a little different from the pack is good, but try to keep whatever it is from getting the whole party killed. You’ll never live it down.

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