Friday, April 11, 2008

P is for Narwhal

I've been meaning, for months, to blog a bunch about my favorite PC of all time. It was an Amber DRPG character, made by a good friend of mine, J. Starr Welty. Since it's an Amber character, and a picture is worth a thousand words, I put a few in-game Trumps of him just to the left of this paragraph.

The character came about because of a conversation Starr and I had at the used bookstore we were both working at. Someone was selling the store a copy of the Blue Planet RPG. Checking the binding, I flipped it open to a random page, and there was a picture of a dolphin. The text was about play Cetacean characters. The rules were pretty minimal, suggesting something to the effect of "the GM will decide what is and isn't feasible for a cetacean to have. For example, a dolphin with the hang-gliding skill would be inappropriate."

I turned to Starr and said "that's the difference between a game like this, and the Amber Diceless RPG. In Amber, as long as you had a good story to explain it, the GM would have no problem with a hang-gliding dolphin." Apparently that struck a chord with Starr, and that weekend saw the launch of the coolest (in other words, weirdest and most poetic) RPG campaign I've ever been a part of.

I introduce you to Lucid, the Parachuting Narwhal. A quick look to the right will show that he has a Narwhal body, plus little T-Rex arms, big Kangaroo legs, and a red parachute. What you wouldn't know by looking is that the Parachute is a magic artifact capable of sailing air currents between worlds or alternate realities, and that the Narwhal is an incredibly powerful psychic (1st Rank in Psyche plus a 10-point Telepathy power). You also wouldn't guess he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being tortured by Clowns. It sounds so goofy on the surface, but he was actually a very serious character and Starr put a lot of thought into him. Lucid was a complex, and truly unique. There's just nothing else like him.

He evolved significantly, having an awesome development arc over a couple years. Bits of his story have shown up on this blog from time to time, occasionally getting the "Narwhal" label. Sometimes it's hard to tell I'm talking about a Narwhal, since he eventually purchased the Shapeshifting power. I'd tell you more, but he's really Starr's intellectual property, and I'd hate to steal her thunder.

Lucid the Parachuting Narwhal was freakin' cool, and despites years of really good gaming before and since, he remains my favorite character of all time.

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