Tuesday, August 20, 2019
RPGaDay Challenge 2019 - NOBLE
Nobility is not a thing I equate with most Role-Playing Games or Gamers, at least as it applies to games.
Allow me to clarify...
The typical 'Heroes' of a Fantasy Role-Playing Game just slew anything and everything in sight before stealing all of the treasure that could find. They then proceed to a nearby village where a beggar, hearing of their exploits and seeing their bulging sacks of coin, asks humbly for pity and a few coppers from the brave adventurers.
He is likely killed.
So is the guy eyeing them as they entered town who just happens to work for the city guard and is not accustomed to wealthy armed strangers entering the gates. This brings in the rest of the guard who are also killed as the 'Heroes' defend themselves from a 'clearly unfair' GM. Before long the town is a burning ruin and the 'Valiant' PC party are off to their next crime.
I have seen Nobility. True Nobility. Noble Heroes gilded not in shining armor or gold but in self-sacrifice. I have seen PCs put themselves in harms way to save each other and NPCs. I have seen players have their PCs do what is right, not what 'makes the most sense'.
A few examples:
The Asst. Chief Engineer of our Star Trek campaign starship had developed an interesting personality and backstory over time, such that he was a favorite NPC of much of the crew. He was of Indian descent, had a wife and a young son, took any opportunity to cook real food for his friends and family (as opposed to synthesized food), and collected old timey watches and clocks as a child.
In a particularly serious session the Engine Room was flooded with deadly radiation and evacuated, but someone needed to stay behind to shut down the main reactor manually due to computer/system damage. The PC Chief Engineer decided to stay and get everyone else out. Our Asst. Chief insisted he stay. The two argued, valid points on both sides, and it eventually turned into a wrestling match, fist fight as they each struggled to save each other.
Finally, it looked like the PC had won but just as he turned his back on the prone Asst. Chief, the NPC sprang up and saved the PC, the massive blast door trapping our favorite clock-fixing, chef in the radioactive Engine Room. He managed to manually disengage the system just as the PC ship was about to suffer a TPK overload.
The players were sad for weeks. The Chief Engineer was so guilty he became a surrogate dad to the NPCs family. It was the height of Noble.
My buddy was playing a Smuggler who was one part Han Solo and two parts Wild West gunfighter. Throughout the campaign, though he was helping the Rebellion against the Empire, he never once claimed he wasn't still in it for the money. He had no Princess Leia to love, no Luke to befriend, and his co-pilot/companion was a droid.
As the final battle of the campaign began, the Smuggler and his droid, now a full on independent being, reunited to lead an attack on the Imperial Interdictor that served as the command ship of the series long big bad. Not only did he drop the veneer that he was just a mercenary doing this for a payday but he rallied the ships and fighters in the fleet with a rousing speech about fighting for what they all believed in; truth, honor, justice, and freedom!
From Ne'er Do Well to Noble in 12 sessions.
Where do I even start?
Starguard (my PC) saved Pulse (our PC speedster) half a dozen times at least. Pulse saved civilians constantly. So did I. Omni (telepathic leader PC) saved everyone a least a dozen times. Tachyon overloaded his powers, preventing him from being able to use them again, in order to save New York City from the villainous Sundown!
Then there is this, wherein PC Superheroes sacrificed their lives and even the very fabric of their reality in order to defeat an enemy who threatened to destroy the infinite multiverse!
This looks like a job for being Noble!
As I've mentioned before, my own D&D universe is actually patterned after Superhero comics and features a world-spanning order of heroic individuals united to protect the innocent, the weak, the struggling, and the oppressed from harm both natural and Arcane!
Saving fishing villages from floods, defeating brigands, and battling monstrous creatures is all in a days work for The Order of the Winghorn Guard. It should be noted that while the Guard will sometimes claim treasure unaccounted for, the goods stolen by brigands are always returned to the merchants they were taken from. A portion of all gold and other coin found is donated to the people of near by towns. The Winghorn Guard members also give a portion of their findings to the Guard proper to fund their continued operations.
My D&D is not about killing things and taking their stuff. It's about the Nobility of being a hero with a purpose.
I am sure your game features truly good and heroic people doing truly good and heroic deeds. Like mine campaigns, your players imbue their characters with a sense of Nobility that raises them above the common riff-raff and scallywags of most gaming groups.
At least I hope so. There is no more Noble act than Noble acts.