The below is cross-posted from my Patreon:
A list inspired by the myriad of in-game offhand comments and characters that – for one reason or another – take up residence in my brain out of all proportion to their in-game importance.
So here are 10 of my favourites which I feel deserve greater exposure to the world…feel free to use them liberally when you play:
1. Nolexa the sentient elevator. Nolexa features in every game I run of Ursidice’s Clumsy, Heroic, Adorable, Anti-Capitalist Penguins v. Business Goose’s Ivory Tower. As a plot device, she serves to move players between floors in the tower. As a mood, she serves to drop wise but confusing philosophical bombs and to take the characters not to where their brains want to go, but to where their hearts need to go.
2. Frank the cool snek. Frank has a broad, stereotypical Australian accent and DGAF. He wears a snekskin jacket (rumour is, its an inheritance from – literally – his parents), he consumes a packet of candy cigarettes a day, and he is the only fixer worth going to if you want quality information (nose to the ground and all that…). He first appeared in (again) Ursidice’s Hand to Hand Wombat; but has such personality that I’m planning to write he and his mates a series of short adventures.
3. ElLizBette. Details are sketchy, but what we do know is that sometime in the last decade three corgis in a tailored overcoat infiltrated the palace and assumed the persona of Queen Elizabeth II. The conspiracy was discovered by a naughty bunch of goats in Grant Howitt’s Goat Crashers, but agreement was reached over a high stakes croquet game to never speak of it again.
4. Clancy of the Overflow. Admittedly not my own creation; Clancy has been around for a while thanks to one of the great historical bards, Banjo Patterson. He did, however, play a core role in a session of one of my own games – Whiskey In The Jar. If your plot ever finds that a horse needs rustling, a billy needs boiling, or a swag needs humping; Clancy’s your man.
5. Version 5. As humanoid robot sent from the future to integrate with the human species and rescue it from itself, Version 5 is spectacularly unsuccessful. She is very earnest though, and almost always remembers to affect human ingestion requirements using her oral cavity. Has a severe chip on her shoulder (ha. ha. see my punning?!) about measuring up to Versions 1, 3, 4 and 6. Not Version 2 though, obviously, that guy was an ass. (V5 was my incredibly under-powered character in my first ever game of FATE and I still think of her fondly.)
6. Dino Major Caudipteryx. A senior ranking military officer in the nation of scientifically-advanced dinosaurs secretly living below the surface of Earth. DM.C would like you to know that damn right they have feathers! DM.C is fabulous, feathered, fuschia, teal and blue, and 3 feet tall. They’re my go-to Introduction NPC when I run Super Elite Dino Force (sorry! another of my own games) and have educated many a parade of raw recruits as to the harsh reality of Above Ground.
7. The Lyrebird. I know D&D casts the roguish, crow-like Kenku in the role of the (otherwise mute) mimicry artist, but please leave this page to watch five minutes of lyrebird YouTube and then we’ll talk. I don’t care what system you’re playing; if it can’t accommodate a drab, unnecessarily tail-feathered bird that will mimic the sound of breaking glass outside PCs’ bedrooms at 5am for the LOLs, then why am I even playing?
8. The Lawyer in Weaponised Shoulder Pads. My first ‘game design’ experience was to create a homebrew Fiasco playset for a No More Damsels charity event. I titled it Well, Actually and wrote it while drinking wine and watching the 1980 film, 9 to 5. It plants the seeds for many of my favourite things; 80s aesthetic, heists and corporate espionage, black comedy, and therapeutic patriarchy smashing. The hot shot, fire-engine lipped, high heeled lawyer character with bladed shoulder pads (slaying in the boardroom – literally and figuratively) was an incredibly satisfying outcome.
9. F.Lo. F.Lo was the world’s highest selling penguin rapper whose fate took a turn for the worse after a surprisingly impactful dungeon adventure. It was on the journey home that he met the three frogs and accordion that would convince him to experiment with a whole new music style; an experiment ultimately costing him everything except his life.
I was super fortunate to get the chance to playtest The Rolistes’ upcoming game; Paris Gondo – The Lifesaving Magic of Inventorying in which F.Lo took shape. Essentially, F.Lo is a combination of my compulsion for using rap battles as a game mechanic, my love for penguin games (see point 1), and the uncaring whimsy of fate (in the form of both excellent and terrible dice rolls).
10. Planet Bey. I freely admit that I’m not the cool, hip, modern music loving target market for Dasha and Lykksie’s soon to be released Into The Yoncé Verse; however I laughed so hard playing it that I bruised a rib (or maybe that was the twerking attempt…). The game is based on the idea that you’re a party of alternate universe Beyoncés all called into this universe to right some terrible wrong. Being given the ‘Single Ladies’ character archetype I – of course – created Planet Bey; a fierce planet from the Lemonade constellation, complete with several rings. I’m well versed in ignoring rules of a game system, but there was a glorious sense of additional freedom in also ignoring the rules of physics throughout this session.