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Old 05-12-2018, 12:43 PM   #1
Astromancer
 
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Default 13th Warriors

Yesterday I watched this Youtube essay on RPGs. Although I get his points on why these characters are trouble, still, one type seemed different. The type he called "13th Warriors."

The 13th Warrior, after a film with Antonio Banderis which I liked alot, is a PC who is really odd for the setting. A fish far out of water. However, as he explained his point, I thought up an Arab Player Character for a Viking game that would be fun and useful to the group.

In each of his playful sets of PCs with a 13th Warrior, I could see how that odd PC would be both fun to play and useful to the Group. Bill Nye the Science Guy with Rambo and other similar action heroes? Yes, he knows stuff they don't and he's got good social skills. Captain Jack Sparrow with a team of Wizards? Yes, he has gifts they lack and if the lich lord read Jack's mind all he'd get would be a contact high. Even the WWW wrestling star teamed up with Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, and Columbo could work.

I think 13th Warriors, if set up intelligently and with regard to the other PCs, can be a blast. You do have to respect both the setting and the game, but still, the oddball can be useful.

I once played an 18th century English Antiquarian lost in time in a Conanequese Sword and Sorcery game. My practical knowledge of things from fortresses to bobby traps to herbal medicines made me a utility player. As a humanities professor in a Flash Gordon game I had insight as to the meanings of old tales, the local economies, and how that let you in the citadel's back door, and the meanings of sacred symbols, and the traps they led to.

What kind of 13th Warriors have you successfully played? And to be fair, what kind of 13th Warriors have ruined your games?
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: 13th Warriors

I was hoping for responses. Hasn't anyone played a "Fish out of water" PC and had a blast?
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: 13th Warriors

Most adventuring groups consist of a wide variety of character types. The only way to get a fish-out-of-water type is to play in a party that consists of all-the-same types. All the other players would have to play ordinary Viking warriors for you to play your fish-out-of-water Arabian ambassador. And unless the game were focused around your character and not theirs, you'd probably be the disruptive element in the game.

I can't imagine this is a common trope among player characters.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: 13th Warriors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
I was hoping for responses. Hasn't anyone played a "Fish out of water" PC and had a blast?
Played one? Yes. Had fun doing so? no.
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: 13th Warriors

A few that I can remember
A Romanesque Mage in late TL 4 Italy, that went OK but slowly.
A tribal shaman in an ancient Greek style espionage game, that didn't work so well but maybe for other reasons.
A maid in a knight centric game. That worked out quite well on the end.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: 13th Warriors

One I've seen and yet didn't work out too well. Here was our D20 Modern/Urban Arcana "down the rabbit hole" party:

Retired Marine cab driver (Tough Hero)
Ex-Army helicopter pilot (with civilian chopper mechanic training) working for a minor corporation, pistoleer (Fast Hero)
Nordic biker (Strong Hero)
Self-Proclaimed "Office Eye-Candy"/Executive Assistant who OOCly called the rest of us "gutter-crawlers".

One of these four didn't fit. Guess who kept trying to get the other three to change their chars. Especially when the first session was essentially a shoot-out at a Panda Kitchen against a bunch of kobold bikers; the eye-candy was all "Why couldn't you start us off in a nice 5-star restaurant?! There's no reason for me to slum it!" It got worse when the second session was at a country-western bar....
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: 13th Warriors

Last game I had involved an East Coast academic in a crew of hard-bitten Wild West stereotypes. Advanced degrees from Miskatonic University turned out to be useful when the eldritch horrors showed up.
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:24 AM   #8
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Last game I had involved an East Coast academic in a crew of hard-bitten Wild West stereotypes. Advanced degrees from Miskatonic University turned out to be useful when the eldritch horrors showed up.
Heh. Sometimes that degree in Parapsychology comes in really handy. ;)
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: 13th Warriors

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
The 13th Warrior, after a film with Antonio Banderis which I liked alot, is a PC who is really odd for the setting.
Actually, as defined in that video, a 13th warrior doesn't fit the game. That doesn't have to mean either not fitting the setting (though it might) or not being useful -- it means they're disruptive to the intended theme of the campaign.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:59 AM   #10
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I had a player do a weird fish person in a monster hunters game. The character struggled to contribute, as it was mostly just an odd monster. Though to be fair that may have been the player. He dropped out eventually.

In contrast, my current game started with three high ranking Romans And a greek merchant. The Greek fits well, giving lots of opportunity to explore small cultural differences and to explore who is "us" in "us vs. them". He's been made a senator at this point, but we had lots of fun getting there.
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