Monday, June 11, 2012

Who Put a Cowboy in My Dungeons and Dragons Game? (Part 1, Pathfinders & Kingmakers)

I have been a role-playing gamer on and off since I was about ten years old, and to my surprise have spent some of the best gaming days in my 30’s.  Gamers tend to stick to a couple of key genres, notably science fiction and fantasy.  As you may have noticed over the course of reading this blog, I do enjoy those genres but am much more a fan of westerns.  Thankfully, both modern sci-fi and fantasy steal a lot from westerns, and I have found it pretty easy to sneak cowboys into other games.  I played Star Marshal Jorge Dubya Overholster of New Texas in a Star Trek game, have had two characters by the name of The Crossbow Kid in various D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) games, and have played a host of other characters who were fantasy versions of gamblers, gunslingers, and mountain men.  

Most recently my group of friends has been playing a long running campaign called Kingmaker, from a D&D rules system called Pathfinder.  The story takes place in the Stolen Lands, a area that was once filled with towns and farms but over the course of centuries fell to various bands of bandits and monsters.  The whole place to me feels a lot like west Texas after the Civil War, at time where the soldiers, rangers, and fighting men all went off to kill Yankees and the outlaws and Comanche rolled back the frontier a couple hundred miles. 

In Kingmaker, you are part of a group of adventurers who are chartered with taking back the Stolen Lands, developing it into first a barony, then a duchy, and finally a kingdom.  You need a monarch, general, grand wizard, and particularly a diplomat.  Diplomacy has always been my strong suit and gaming, and I dutifully created a character named Ezekiel Medveyed-Narikopolus, a holy man somewhat touched in the head, distantly related to noble families in several nearby kingdoms, a prophet of the wilderness, and a wicked shot with a longbow (Half-elf nature oracle of Erastil, if you’re the kind who keeps track of stuff like that).  Call him Zeke for short.  A mix of Shane and Natty Bumpo with a dash of Have Gun-Will Travel, Zeke was ready to make the Stolen Lands fit for settlers again. 

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