1. A man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds
and noble qualities.
2. A man who is regarded as having heroic qualities and is considered a model
3. See Hero Sandwich
4. a small loaf of Italian bread.
5. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
6. Class. Myth
a. a being of godlike power and beneficence who often came to be honored
as a divinity
b. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftan of special strength, courage, or ability
c. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.
Random House Dictionary of the English Language-1968
So why am I talking about heroes? Much less in the context of D&D,
and especially so in relation to the old Bandit Kingdoms days?
Well, today Jeff and I discussed, as we do occasionally since the Phostarius
Wars, getting the band back together and ravaging the countryside.
Now, ever since 3rd ed. came out, the topic ends up in a morass of rules.
Doc was a Bard9/Wiz11. Is he a 20th level character? (No. The conversions put him
at 14th now.) The bard has changed, so is he still a bard? We used know it,
throw it, so is he sorceror? How about Munge? Doc's henchmen? His Keep?
Currently in question, should we go Gestalt? Also, what about equipment?
As most familiar with my larcenous ways will attest, I cringe when regulation
is brought up. I declared war with the Modrons on principle.
Why this preamble?
Partially, the reduction. Characters have a assigned gp value for all their possessions. I have a sidekick who wields Thor's Hammer. You can see
where I'm going with this. The ring of protection +3 on my finger?
(Ignoring how much I obviously identify with doc)
From the cleric Timbruc's gnome Sgt. Brungila. Sam & Tobit's armor?
From the Githyanki who fried Ray's wizard. The thirty or so suits
of +1 chainmail? Hell if I know. Every item pried out of somebody's
cold, dead gauntlet. (Except for my hand crossbow+1. I let her go.)
The economics don't really concern me, but this builds.
I suggested some tweaks to Jeff, on the subject of Munge, and he replied
"are we still playing the same game?"
Well, Doc's ability to raise a keep was a hack of the fighter rules.
My temple came from a dungeon economics article. My access to the quick
+1 enchantment came from best of Dragon#1. Likewise, my bandit retinue
were from the bandit npc class.
The rationale for the streamlining is that a new player would have to
try and adventure with our freaks.
Who's going to adventure with Professor Challenger?
The old heroes in the earth articles were an inspiration for how
gonzo we could go. We even built a block for Doc, around the
concept of a 1st. ed. bard.
How many hit points did Beowulf have?
Now Doc is a fiction. I'd be even scarier if I didn't realize that.
One adventure, We'd be on Vecna's plane. Another, I'd be swordfighting
Shoggoths. As a fiction, he's a numeric abstraction of the concept
of action and magic. This is a sticking point.
Gandalf was a sixth level Wizard.
In an issue of Dragon, the teenage Merlin is a 12th Lvl Sorceror.
Similarly, Xerxes is a 10th Lvl. Fighter. Alucard from Helsing
is 30-something, but he's Dracula, so I'll cut him some slack.
(We're family after all.)
When the boldface above was first stated, Dragon was in it's double digits.
Now, Doc raised an army of hundreds of skeletons and killed over a hundred men
in a single battle. He never cast a 6th Level spell.
Am I just singing the praises of my 128th level Eleminister?
The Cornelius Chronicles.
My concept of Doc was a Crowleyan individualist, reshaping the landscape
of Greyhawk to fit his Will, but never a dominator, always holding
the ideal of personal freedom. A Champion of Chaos, whether fighting
the madness of Tharizdun, or the predations of the dragon mound.
Also, never forgiving a slight and putting every copper towards the future.
Doc, now about a decade old, was the product of my twenties.
I fought free of my Engineering curriculum, my stifling honors program,
transferred to a small private school, entered the arts, spent two years
on the beat. Doc was an artificer, effortlessly making an army's
worth of arrows with fabricate, or raising a ashton-smith statuary
garden with stone shape. Doc was a pillar of human potential, an ideal
when I still had need for such things.
Now I'm in my fifth year at a dead-end job in retail.
Jeff proposed a Pendragon model where we had an adventure that represented
what happened that year. "Eventually, we'd be Liches, or Spectres."
Do one interesting thing every year, and slowly turn into a monster.
Hell. I can do that just fine right now.