Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Favorite Archetype

When you play RPGs as much as I do, you tend to lean in one direction most often.  I try to play all sorts of characters, but when I play a game long enough, I do have a style of play I prefer.  Admittedly I mean when I play a game that doesn’t restrict role-playing by forcing you into taking some “class”.  Classes really are intended to just make the game easier for casual players who don’t like to put too much thought into their characters, so not for me.

So what is it?  I love to play Treasure Hunters.  What’s a treasure hunter?  It’s a style of Rogue Mechanic.  The 100 Character Histories book describes them like this:
Rogue who specializes in the use of tools to accomplish his tasks.  When in combat, they tend towards archery.

Let me tell you about treasure hunters.  They tend to annoy most party members because they think you should look into a room before you enter.  They think you should check for traps before you simply open the chest.  They try to sneak, but at times, this is difficult from all the various “tools” they are carrying.  But it’s these tools that make treasure hunters so much fun - for me.

To me, a treasure hunter is the real adventurer.  They spend their off hours in libraries, searching for clues about where ancient treasures are, then they lead their parties out into the wild in order to find these.  They are the nicest “thieves” you are ever going to find.  They need to be able to pick locks and defeat traps, but they aren’t out picking pockets.  They tend to be smarter and less brutish, so they rely on missile weapons more than melee, though they do still backstab when necessary.  If the rules allow it, I prefer to use knockout blows or hamstring more than just killing the guy, because questioning people leads to clues and clues lead to treasure.

But my fun comes in with the toys.  Start with caltrops in case someone tries to follow you.  You see treasure hunters know how to retreat in order to turn around and pepper their pursuers with arrows right when they wander into a mine field.  It’s the mine fields that make treasure hunting so much fun.  Early on it’s caltrops, but later it becomes alchemical mines, bear traps, mini-catapults, and other treats; anything that will make the enemy’s life really crappy.  Nothing better than having some jerk think he’s getting the better of you, only to have him soil his pants when he turns the corner.  These toys are fun in an offensive style too.

Anything else?  Well, treasure hunters tend to loot everything and everyone.  It’s not that they’re greedy; they really are just curious about what’s there.  You never know when you’re going to find a key in some guy’s pocket that’s going let you into the secret treasure vault.  OK, they’re a little obsessive compulsive, but that’s part of the fun too.

I hope you see the fun of these characters.  They’re rogues; they’re researchers.  They keep the party safe, even when the party doesn’t know they are being kept safe.  They also drive the missions by finding out where the best stuff has been lost for centuries.  Anyone can wield a big sword.  Treasure hunters are smarter than that.  Think Indiana Jones with James Bond’s toys - that’s how I see the treasure hunter.

Last point:  When you’re smaller, there is nothing more thrilling than running away from someone, racing up (or down) the stairs and hopping over that trip line you put there.  The jackass nears the top of the stairs, only to get tangled up and then go rolling down the stairs.  If that didn’t finish him off, this is the perfect time to shoot him full of arrows while he’s down and certainly not getting his shield in the way.  The only character art of mine in the LQ book is “Penthor the Kick”, half elf rogue so named because he would hide at the top of stairs and kick people as they came to the top.  Falling down two flights of stairs is more damage than he could have pulled off with his dagger!

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