Friday, October 30, 2009

Good Guys

I've always liked playing the good guy.

Nothing surprising about that, I guess; most people want to play the good guy. It's part of what got me into reading fantasy. From my first real fantasy novels, the original Dragonlance trilogy, I wanted to be the guy who beat the bad guy. I never wanted to be a guy like Raistlin, all about the search for personal power at the cost of others - I wanted to be like Sturm, the unfailing knight, who felt so strongly about doing the right thing that he died for it.

So when I started playing D&D, and saw the paladin class, I thought, "This is it." The paladin was a beacon for good in the D&D world; he followed the gods of good, lived by a code, tried to help others, and fought evil even though it hurt him. And so that's the first character I played. For a while, anyway. As things went on, I got sidelined; I played a dual-scimitar-wielding drow ranger for a while, in shameful imitation of Drizz't Do'Urden; when the Dark Sun setting came out, they didn't have paladins, and so I played a hard-bitten gladiator, instead.

After that, I was dragged to the dark side and started playing other games, specifically White Wolf games, and ran a long Werewolf: The Apocalypse game through high school. Even though I was running it, I still kind of ran a character, and my character was the closest I could manage to a paladin, a member of the Silver Fang tribe. He lasted for a long time, fighting a great war against the oncoming Apocalypse along with his packmates. I still use his name as part of my e-mail address.

And then, in college, 3rd Edition D&D came out. It was a revolution to me, and it revolutionaized the way I saw gaming. At college, I had plenty of willing subj...err, new players, and so I ran games there, of several different systems, though D&D was at the forefront. I collected book after book, both of gaming and of fantasy novels. My interest in playing the good guy was reaffirmed - even if the paladin, the ultimate iconic good guy, was based on worship of a god or gods, and I found myself leaning towards the agnostic or atheist, depending on the day.

Even in video games, I find myself playing the good guys. In Knights of the Old Republic, I can't make myself play a Dark Side Jedi; I played a good guy in the Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights games. In the Fallout trilogy, especially in the recent Fallout 3, I still played the nice guy, even when I got screwed because of it. I couldn't seem to make myself play the bastard or the bad guy. I'm not really sure why that is, but all I know is this:

I've always liked playing the good guy.

1 comment:

  1. Well I seem to have the opposite reaction to fantasy and game materials. I like to be the rapscalion. It's seems to be a kind of release for me. I'm already a good guy who usually does the correct thing anyway. Now I can do the wrong things with no real consequence. Things I would never do in real life.
    It's amusing to see how the game unfolds for a deranged barely in-check serial tire slasher/pet molester. The good guys still have apeal to me but rarely as shining paragons. I like them as the hard bitten almost off the edge types. It would be easier to be bad but then they don't. A world of John McClains.