Dungeon's and Dragons!
When I was 9 years old my brother and I stumbled onto our fathers Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books. For those unaware that is the second edition of Dungeons and Dragons released in 1977. My father had played from high school through college. He is an absolutely splendid game master, and could build worlds like no one I've met. When I turned 9 he deemed my older brother and I might be mature enough to try a tabletop RPG. There was some concern that we might get disillusioned with reality, or take it too seriously. However, under his guidance I learned the wonders of fictional worlds. I honed almost all of my mathematics skills from the complicated math based combat and skill systems. He was fond of science based puzzles, traps, and scenarios. Without this heavy influence in my early years I wouldn't be anything like the man I am today.
In time I came to design and build my own world to allow others to adventure in. With interesting monsters, political issues, and magical properties. I have spent more time with the 3.5 edition than any others. I have every book released for 3.5, and I permit all of them as usable exempt 1. Psionics in 3.5 should not exist. Since high school, I have met routinely with groups to play. For about 3 years I was only the Dungeon Master, and sometimes ran campaigns for more than one group at a time. Recently, I have had the privilege to play in my friends worlds. This is especially nice since some of them had never played D&D before I introduced it to them. There is something actually magical about seeing a world blossom under your instigation, and having no idea what interesting enigmas it has in store.
Some of my interesting Characters
Dash the Bard
Dash the Bard was a lot of fun. You see he was a paladin of a trickster god. I only used him while playing in the module Castle Ravenloft. Which I highly recommend to any D&D players from the advanced edition of D&D on. He earned his title The Bard because he was a really chill guy who could calm a Balor demon down with his words, and happened to like playing his violin for anyone who cared to listen. However, he was most certainly not of the Bard Class.
Using a series of feats from the Book of Exalted Deeds (3.5) and combining them with a Vow of Poverty, and the Vow of Peace forced for a rather unique playing experience. For anyone, or anything that was within a 20ft radius of Dash would have to pass a 21 will save or be compelled to be nonviolent. Of course this would fall apart if anyone within that radius was harmed. Instantly that aura of calm would be dispelled. Therefore, in a sincere campaign module where you are intended to fight a myriad of monsters and people this was unexpected. Almost every confrontation would be met with a Mexican standoff and usually through Diplomacy and Intimidation we were able to avoid 80% of conflicts. Even if they were mandatory.
Dash was retired after the module was completed. He spent the rest of his days nursing Strad Von Zeravitch who was perpetually in a vegetative state. We didn't kill him, and he was accidentally paralyzed for life. So, Dash took it upon himself to slowly try to save Strahd. I was told later by the D.M. that Dash was unsuccessful. And that cross you see on his back is actually the housing for a huge sized crossbow he carried around the entire campaign. Part of his penance. A fun character for sure!
Feyn Pond Dreamer
Initially Feyn was an Drow Elf baby whose mother died protecting him in her arms from a Drider onslaught. He was found by a human hunter who decided to take the baby home and raise him. Unfortunately, Drow were not liked much in the society of Reality. Reality happened to be the name of his planet. Luckily, he learned from a young age to cover his body completely and people don't judge your race as much. Though, most folks are uncomfortable with a completely covered masked kid sulking about.
After his adopted father passed away from old age he went back to the place where he was found to think about his path in life. While there he was drawn to a peculiar rock in which he decided of his own free will to pick up. Well, mostly free will. The rock had wanted to be picked up. The rock was not just a rock. The rock was actually an aspect of a Great Old One whose only presence left in the material realm of reality was this rock. The rock had been trying for a couple hundred thousand years to get to a particular place on the planet where it would be able to be reabsorbed by the Great Old One.
Naturally having nothing better to do Feyn offered to take the rock to the place it was looking for in the exchange for some knowledge. It was agreed upon, and over the course of the next 20 years Feyn walked the rock to the sacred place it was looking for. All the while learning from it's secrets each night. While elves don't sleep they do meditate, and whilst meditating near the rock Feyn would have dreams of a great pool of water vibrating with the deep tones of the great old one. And upon dilivering the rock to its final destination, the Great Old one Pararox bequethed upon Feyn the title of Pond Dreamer and granted him the powers of a budding Warlock
However, due to an unexpected turn of events Feyn was sent on his deity's behalf through a portal to another planet. This happened to place him in the midst of some like minded adventurers on a quest to save the world from unspeakable evil. Which ended up being in part a connection to my planet, full of a terrible and corrupt allotment of monsters and people. They refused to call me Feyn though, instead proclaiming me Finn. It stuck.
During our travels we met many odd and interesting people. A silver dragon pretending to be a regular human named Paul who sacrificed himself for us. An impressively jovial half giant fighter named Bursal, who also pretended to be Feyn for a few months. A group of people who ran a dark city and were all called sacrifices. Two radically different factions of the thieves guild. Some travelers who were actually thieves who I later ate while poly morphed as a hydra. An entire island of dragon's and dragonborn's.
In the meantime, we fought a slew of monsters, devils, demons, and even just people. We helped bring towns together, and tore some evil ones down. Saved goblins from a terrible life, helped orcs feel less angry, and humbled a few boisterous leaders. That campaign is on hiatus for a little while due to one of the main party's leaving the state for a few months. But, we are poised to have an all out war with the king of the land, and the armies of evil deeds passing through portals from my planet.
I don't know exactly how it happened, but I also kind of catalyzed the formation of a cult of masked drow and some children. They seem to want to follow me into battle and the upcoming war. Even Bursal who temporally was lost in one of the lower planes of hell returned in part due to a mask that I gave him in good will. We will see where that all goes!
Drom Keen Eyes
Drom was a beguiler. A class released in the 3.5 expansion book the Player's Handbook II. Essentially he was a specialized illusionist who was focused on tricking people and disguising himself. I ended up playing him somewhere between a pirate and faceless man from Game of Thrones. The only things he really cared about were: Money, Magic item's, Collecting interesting people to emulate, and not being caught.
One moment he would be a stark adventurer telling far fetched tales of varying truth. In the next instant he would be a beggar in the street trying to squeeze two copper together for his starving family. With one hand he would show you the stars, and the other hand would slip into your coin purse to lighten your load. Though, one of his favorite pastimes with friends was disguising his face to have just the wrong proportions of features.
At one point the party took refuge at a mages college (not Winterhold). On the way there he pretended to be a statue for almost 6 hours. This ended up allowing him to save his friend from being kidnapped by a mage who strolled by and saw our quadriplegic friend sitting in the cart. After smacking him in the back of the head with my quarterstaff and knocking him out a guard came. The guard tried to take me in, but I insisted to the universe that I was a statue. Since we were in a null magic zone, I had drawn what I wanted to be over a bunch of paper and covered my entire body in it. The guard stabbed me with a knife trying to see if I was real, but I held my composure long enough for him to go away convinced he had had too much mead at the tavern earlier.
That same mage we met later on, and he didn't recognize me. Now from time to time Drom will disguise himself as a statue just for the hell of it and see what trouble he can get into. He would also greet his friends in any form he took on with "Friends see with keen eyes, eh?" And they would respond by saying "Death is in the eye of the beholder". It was a good way to let them know who I was, and to ensure no other shape shifters were hiding amongst us.