8. Favorite Character. I’m guessing this means favorite character I’ve played. It’s a tough question, since I’ve seldom played a character more than a few times since I was a kid. I can’t even remember his name, but one night I played a high-school bully in a session of Don’t Look Back: Terror is Never Far Behind (more on that session in later questions, I’m sure). We were a group of two bullies and two nerds. My bully was the trailer-trash one who took the Urkle-type nerd under his protection, lit his cigarette off the face of a burning zombie, and later punched out a VJ when our shenanigans were broadcast live on MTV.
My three favorite roleplaying games to play (I have several other favorites to read) are Dungeons & Dragons (and its various descendants), Star Wars Saga Edition (which I suppose is also a descendant of D&D), and Call of Cthulhu. The first orbits a vast body of fantasy fiction around the twin axes of J.R.R. Tolkien and R.E. Howard. The second obviously expands (enormously) on the space fantasy films. The third is based on a body of fiction surrounding H.P. Lovecraft’s Mythos.
Few popular RPGs aren’t based on a genre defined by an author or a group of authors who define a subgenre. The World of Darkness owes a great deal to Anne Rice, who of course owes a similar debt to every Gothic novel ever. Shadowrun and Cyberpunk wouldn’t exist without William Gibson and his comrades in the movement. And every Pulp adventure game really should open with a dedication to Lester Dent and the other gods of his pantheon.
What are your favorite games clearly based on a single author or film or TV show? What games have you played that clearly owe no debt to a literary or film or TV source?
After initial delight to see three-and-a-half of my four-and-a-half Pathfinder Tales are back in the Paizo top 10, my next thought was, “Only three-and-a-half? Unacceptable!”
Then I realized that the surge of the earlier books might have something to do with the current sale on Pathfinder Tales ebooks, a sale that includes my earlier contributions but not King of Chaos.
Take advantage of the sale to check out plenty of great stories set in Golarion, from 69-cent novellas to $4.89 novels. You’ll see work by authors such as Elaine Cunningham, Ed Greenwood, Howard Andrew Jones, Liane Merciel, Tim Pratt, James L. Sutter, and your humble servant.
After you’ve read some, take a moment to lay a big sloppy review on those you like best. The short fiction, in particular, could use a few more reviews.
All of our favorite genres have their cliches, memes, tropes, and other recurring elements. Unfortunately, the words “cliche,” “meme,” and “trope” make them sound like an infection. What I’m really looking for is archetypes, specifically those found in wuxia novels and kung fu movies. There’s the drunken boxer, the wolf girl, the brave archer, the ardent disciple, the white witch, the one-armed swordsman, the loyal captain, the lady hermit, the master of a deadly strike, the vampire-hunter, the acupuncturist, and so on. I’ve begun a list, but I could use your help.
What kung fu/wuxia archetypes can you think of?
A convergence of ill health, heavy deadline, and a few minor emergencies kept me from updating this site recently.
I’ll resume Creative Colleagues once I have a few in hand, and I’m working on another weekly feature to launch in July. In the meantime, while I continue my triumphant return to yard work and increase my meager Mechanical Repair skill, here’s a nice little review to which Google Alerts pointed me this morning.
Incidentally, now is a great time to start reading (or re-reading) the Radovan and the Count novels and stories. I’m just saying, it’s a great time.
Richard Lee Byers and I have both written in the Forgotten Realms and Golarion, the world of Pathfinder. A little bird tells me we’ll soon have a trifecta of shared-world experience in another popular game setting. I look forward to asking him about that in another Creative Colleagues quiz one day.
Until then, feast your eyes on his latest offering, Zombies in Paradise, a collection of stories featuring zombies, vampires, and a ghost. Go now and check out that trippy cover!