Friday, January 8, 2010

Paladins in the Sandbox World of Rogues!


Over on Zak's D&D with pornstars blog--http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2010/01/sandboxes-and-roguish-work-ethic.html--he writes a very entertaining and interesting article about the ease of integrating roguish characters into a S&S/Old School/Sandbox campaign. Zak explains how *upstanding* heroic characters are more or less "reactive" as opposed to the roguish characters being "proactive" in pursuing and developing adventures. For roguish characters, as Zak testifies, practically write their own adventures, with little preparation required from the GM.

While I agree with much of what Zak says, I must disagree not only with him, but anyone else that maintains that *Old School* D&D/Sandbox/S&S campaigns highlight roguish characters while being unsuited to "Upstanding and Heroic" characters.

I certainly agree--the S&S literature, historically speaking, highlighted such roguish characters. However, in any *Old School/Sandbox/S&S* campaign this not only need not be so--but that heroic, upstanding characters, such as heroic soldiers, devout clerics, valiant mages, and righteous paladins can easily have as much to do as any roguish character.

In such a amoral, cynical and corrupt world as is often featured--and assumed--in S&S campaigns, etc, adventures are just outside the castle gates, or just beyond the temple doors for heroic characters. For example, the righteous paladin--in such a world, there is no end to the corrupt nobles scheming at court against the King; also, there is no shortage of wicked, corrupt priests, and a plethora of evil enchantresses and witches seeking to bring evil and darkness to the realm. Not to mention the savage countryside is full of barbaric monsters and ruthless brigands at every turn. Furthermore, even within the relatively civilized walls of the sprawling city, there are streaming hordes of vicious, grasping unwashed masses, seeking to riot, rape, burn and plunder at the slightest provocation. Let us also not forget there are packs of cruel and evil ruffians lurking in the dark alleys, as well as slave rings, thieves' guilds, and an assortment of criminals, murderers, weird cultists, and the like scheming night and day.

In such an environment, the said righteous paladin never needs to even leave the city gates to keep himself busy crushing the wicked and bringing death and fire to the enemies of the gods, and the realm at large.

A good GM should be able to effortlessly unveil numerous adventures for the righteous paladin, or any similar heroic character, just as easy as for any group of shiftless rogues and greedy mercenaries!

I suppose I believe that it really is only easier for a GM to run a group of roguish characters at first glance; giving the situation a quick look from a different perspective, and running heroic characters in a dynamic environment easily and dramatically comes to life.

Semper Fidelis,


1 comment:

  1. I don't find it all that difficult to DM a group of good characters, including paladins. I think it is easier to run a long-term campaign with characters who have a certain moral purpose to their adventuring, but that is just me.