Friday, 16 June 2017

Thogetor Hawklight

This is the story of Thogetor Hawklight, my first major character in tabletop role-playing game.  Now unlike a lot of people writing about tabletop role-playing on the internet.  I got my start in the hobby, with Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.  One of the most reviled editions of that particular game ever published.  In an attempt compete with the MMORPG craze of the early 2010s, Wizards of the Coast made a game meant to appeal to the players of such games.  Most people consider it to have been a flop.  Turning new players off, with the slow combat system and old ones off with gimmicky character options, rewriting of certain campaign settings, in order to include those gimmicky character options.  I played it for a total of two years in high school and spent three years prior to that poring over the rulebooks with no one to play with.  D&D 4E was like my first serious relationship when it came to tabletop roleplaying games.  Sure it took your virginity, but the relationship ended in disaster because you really didn't know what the hell you were doing.  Now neither of you will talk to each other.  D&D 4E was my first game and Thogetor Hawklight was my first character.

Who was Thogetor Hawklight?  That's sort of a difficult question as the answer is quite complicated.  While playing him I found that he had something of an identity crisis.  Before he was Thogetor he was a generic Human Barbarian, whose name I have long since forgotten.  Generic Human Barbarian was a character I played in a sort of home-made D&D wannabe that I saw an at-the-time casual acquaintance of mine playing at lunch in High School.  He was GMing this home-brew for his sister and her boyfriend.  I sort of asked if I could join, by showing that I had knowledge of role-playing and wouldn't need to have it explained to me.  We rolled up a character, which was pretty much a collection of hit points determined by a random d20 roll, a name and an occupation.  The highlight of this home-brew was my character fighting minotaurs with a giant two-handed fish.  My knowledge of role-playing impressed this casual acquaintance and he invited me over to his house when he found out I actually owned rulebooks for D&D 4E.  Thogetor was rolled up that very weekend.  Along with another fighter that I never really played much after.  The name was taken from a random online generator, it just stuck and I never bothered to change it.

After the weekend over at the acquaintance's house (who will now be referred to as GM to protect the innocent), I went home fired up a third-party character generator that GM had found online.  Revising the initial character that I had created over at GM's house.  Thogetor had this habit of going through revisions, as the group of players that eventually formed around GM and I came to understand the game better.  Realize that their initial character choices weren't that strong and the like.  He went from just a simple 1st level generic human barbarian with alright, but kind of par for the course Ability Scores.  To a revised version of that, wielding a Greatsword or a Battle-Axe in both hands, depending on which I preferred to use at the time.  To finally this 'roided out version with insanely high Strength and Constitution with a dump stat of 4 Intelligence, wielding a Bastard Sword.  It was this final version that saw the most mileage reaching just short of Level 11 or 12.  It was a Rageblood Barbarian, multi-classed with a Fighter that left the biggest impression on me.

The revised versions of Thogetor took a great deal of inspiration from Conan the Barbarian.  More along the lines of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, than the stories written by Robert E. Howard. At that particular point in time Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, were the only real reference I had to emulate a barbarian.  I had read on Wikipedia that the D&D class had been largely inspired by Conan and had wanted to incorporate him into playing my own character.  Thogetor wasn't very big on background or personality.  I pretty much ripped off Conan's own backstory as described by Wikipedia "Son of his tribe's blacksmith, left home with a Dwarven trading party to fight against Orcs in search of adventure."  Thogetor's primary focus was combat effectiveness, which he had in spades.  His job was largely DPS and acting as a Tank alongside our party's Fighter.  Thogetor's shield-brother was the Dwarven Fighter Darok Ironfist.  Again a largely combat focused character, who really didn't have much in the way of personality.

Speaking of personality the young warrior of clan Hawklight seemed to never be able to make up his mind on what his was.  At times he'd just be silent and brooding, other times he'd be incredibly energetic.  His intelligence also never seemed to match what his stats said it was either.  Sometimes he'd be incredibly witty and eloquent, other times he'd just yell any stupid thing that'd come into his head.  All of this was largely due to me getting drunk on the placebo effect of thinking my tankard of ginger ale was in fact filled with the real thing.  Depending on my intake of the soft-drink, I could be as obnoxious as any roaring drunk that's had one too many.

Some of the highlights while playing this character.
- Getting to let out my inner wild man.
- Being able to say that I clotheslined a halfling.
- Kicking in the door of Tavern that was racist towards Dwarves expecting to have to fight it's entire clientele.  Only to get a bunch of odd stares because the GMPC wizard had used the invisibility spell on our resident Dwarf Darok Ironfist.
- Making bad jokes and puns when Thogetor went through his "witty phase" most of which consisted of making fun of whatever manner I had killed a monster in.  Sneaking up on a guard to cut his throat and then asking "What are you doing in this neck of the woods."  Throwing a decapitated Lizardman Head at another Lizardman and shouting "Heads up!"

Largely though Thogetor was a product of my youthful enthusiasm, immaturity and inexperience with what role-playing is really all about.  He did play an integral role in forming my identity as a gamer though.  I look back on his accomplishments with a mixture of pride, dismay, shame and amusement.  He was a fun character to play and honestly I hope to one day bring him back.  I've read that some role-players keep standard characters that they bring back and play over multiple games.  Sort of like how ventriloquists have a stable of puppets, that they use on stage every show.  Perhaps Thogetor could be one of mine.  I don't play the fantasy genre of RPGs as much as I used to, but if someone ropes me into playing D&D again or Pathfinder or Dungeon World.  Chances are that some incarnation of my Conan Expy Thogetor Hawklight triumphantly return once again!

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