Unusual Character Concepts

Back in May I decided to try an experiment over in the Table Talk section, discussing unusual character concepts. The ideas were received so well that I thought I'd give them their own section. The Fourth major weekly installment, this page will be home to all my unusual character concepts. If you see something you like then please, take it and run with it!

February 10, 2017 The Child Summoner
We tend to think of summoners as masters of the arcane, and learned in the art of conjuration. They have made a pact with a powerful outsider, and their power grows from that bond... but what if the outsider reached out to them? And what if it did so when the summoner was little more than a child in desperate need of help?

January 13, 2017 The Urbane Druid
Druids are always seen as fur-wearing nutbags, living out in the woods, or the tundra, or the desert. But where does it say you can't be a charming, witty urbanite there to protect the animals and the green? After all, nature really is everywhere.

2016


December 17, 2016 The Half-Elf, Half-Orc Arcane Archer
Arcane archers have to be elves or half-elves, according to the prestige class... or do they? Because, with the right rules, you could add those levels onto a different race. And that's when the fun begins.

November 19, 2016 The Pill-Popping Paladin
Paladins are one of the most stereotyped classes in fantasy RPGs, and one thing they're never associated with is drug use. But since they're immune to disease (including drug addiction), and they can heal the damage done to their attributes with a few simple spells, they're one of the only classes who could seriously benefit from shooting up.

October 21, 2016 The Gearhead Fighter
Fighters, as a class, are one of the classes tied most closely to their gear. So why shouldn't some fighters obsess over their gear, discussing every aspect from the type of steel used, to the sort of methods used to care for it in the field?

September 23, 2016 Gaspar Dell'Amore, The Black Rose of Edme
Gaspar Dell'Amore is many things. A hero to some, and a nightmare to others, but his fists and his spirit are dedicated to making his country, and his city, a better place. One bare-knuckle brawl at a time.

September 19, 2016 5 Paladin Multiclass Characters (You'll Never Expect)
The paladin is an iconic character, but when you multiclass, you may unlock hitherto unforeseen powers and abilities. These five combinations are sure to surprise your table.

August 26, 2016 The Calistrian Dom
If you want to flip the script on the typical elven dominatrix, popularized by older editions of the Drow, then the Calistrian Dom is what you've been waiting for. This is a bard the likes of which no one will forget, if you play it just right.

July 22, 2016 The Escaped Slave Wizard
Former slaves populate the ranks of our games, but we tend to think of them as martial characters. What happens when a slave is given lessons on reading, writing, and the arts arcana, though?

June 25, 2016 The Academic Sorcerer
Sorcerers have a great deal of raw power coursing through their veins, but we often forget they tend to be highly-educated and greatly knowledgeable about specific subjects. After all, if you spend your life learning about where your powers came from, then you might be the leading expert on the planes, the undead, dragons, or any of a dozen other subjects. Why wouldn't you be a tenured professor, with that knowledge base?

May 28, 2016 The Single-Handed Swordsman
Always beware the one-handed swordsman, wise trainers tell their young cadets. Because if you've only got one hand, then that hand is apt to do some serious damage when it's filled with steel.

April 30, 2016 The Social Bruiser
The World of Darkness is a classless RPG setting, but that doesn't mean it's free from assumption and stereotype. If you've wanted to do something eye-catchingly different, may I suggest the Social Bruiser? Good for ANY WoD setting!

April 2, 2016 The Savage Wizard
Wizards wield great power, but we often expect them to all look the same. If you really want to throw your table for a loop, then bring someone draped in skins and carrying an ax, instead of an academy graduate with his class ring.

March 4, 2016 The Unexpected Barbarian
When you hear the word "barbarian," what do you think of? Chances are good it isn't the crown prince of the realm... but if he's anything like Alvin Dragonborn, you might just be facing down a nobleman with a few barbarian levels on his sheet.

January 29, 2016 The Compassionate Antipaladin
Antipaladins, blackguards, or whatever other name they bear in your campaign, are all inhuman monsters. But what if the thing that made them monsters wasn't their sins, but their attempts at virtue and selflessness?

January 3, 2016 The "Paladin In Name Only"
We all have a definite image that comes to mind when we think of paladins. So what's the proper reaction when you realize the holy warrior with a strict honor code and regular prayer schedule doesn't have any levels of the class he so seems to embody?

2015


December 16, 2015 The Lawful Good Rogue
Because not all rogues are sneaky, skulky backstabbers. And even those who are might have a writ from the king, or a badge that gives them the authority to carry out their duties.

December 11, 2015 The Intimidating Wizard
Intimidate is usually thought of as something that fighters and barbarians, people with big swords and big muscles, rely on. But wizards can play that game, too. In fact, with the right mechanics, they might even be able to play it better.

November 8, 2015 The Military-Grade Evoker
Wizards are generally thought of as frail scholars, whose great power comes at the cost of physical robustness. However, what happens when an entire division of a nation's military is dedicated to creating war casters? And how devastating would they be as part of a party?

November 4, 2015 The Daredevil Paladin
For those who want to think outside the stompy, metal box that most people see when they think of paladins, here's an unusual way to play what many consider the most iconic (and boring) of classes. After all, who says paladins can't fight with a rapier and dueling cloak?

October 16, 2015 The Devil's Own
Tieflings and half-orcs struggle to find acceptance, and there are some who are able to rise above the prejudice that others put on them. Some, though, choose to take the fear they're regarded with and to turn it into a weapon.

October 10, 2015 The Chaplain (A Badass Bard You Might Mistake For A Cleric)
People always assume that clerics are automatically priests who are officially employed by a holy order. By the same token, they assume that anyone who is a priest must also have levels of cleric. The Chaplain defies those expectations, and gives you a new twist on the battle bard.

October 4, 2015: The Anti-Undead Necromancer
Not all necromancers wear black. If you want to cast a master of death magics as a hero, or even as a warrior who stands against the scourge of the undead, then here are some tips for realizing that concept. Pharasma approved!

September 14, 2015 The Swashbuckling Brute
Another unusual character concept, but this time published over at Kobold Quarterly. If you want a swashbuckler that's more of a heavy-shouldered thug like Porthos instead of Aramis, then this is the post you've been waiting for.

September 11, 2015 The Littlest Titan (Explaining Massive Weapons, and Massive Damage)
We've all had that itch to play the hulking brute who wields a greatsword like its weight barely matters. Here's an interesting way to take that concept, and inject some unexpected story into it.

August 14, 2015 The Barbarian Samurai
The third installment in my unusual character concept series is here. Should this become its own page, or should it remain a part of Table Talk?

July 4, 2015 The Risen Antipaladin (Or How You Can Play A Paladin In An Evil Campaign)
Sometimes you just want to go against the flow, and if your brain is being contrary why not take the challenge of playing a paladin in an evil campaign? This week's character concept is about how you can do just that, and make it compelling for everyone.

May 22, 2015 The Android Barbarian
This week I'm trying something different; throwing a character concept at you and seeing what you, the readers, think of it. We start with The Android Barbarian, and I explain how you can mechanically and thematically make it work... if you really want to.

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