I’m Not An NPC

I’m the Hero, dammit!

Big Damn Heros... ain't we just?I was thinking about some past comments over on the Facebook page that kinda threw me off. I had posted a picture where random cashier realized they were essentially an NPC. Almost immediately after posting it, two people made comments to the extent of “What’s an NPC? I don’t get it” and “I don’t play those dorky games so this wasn’t funny.” My immediate reaction was exclaiming out loud that such people had no reason to be on my blog’s FB page. Of course that isn’t true… while this is a Geeky blog, some of the things I post on Facebook may be more accessible to a broader audience. It just struck me as odd that at least two people who regularly follow my silly posts and photos wouldn’t have any idea what NPC stood for… Non-Player Character or Non-Playable Character.

You see… I’ve always found that joke to be fairly apropos to most people’s lives. 90% of the time we’re all likely just going through our normal days, sitting in classrooms or manning a desk, typing away at a computer, staring at complete nonsense online, having rambling conversations about the weather or the news, sleeping and then doing it all again. So NPC was something I could relate to… especially when I was a cashier many, many years ago.

Thinking about those comments on that photo and about how I’ve often felt like an NPC, I’ve decided instead to consider what sort of player character I would really be. Now I don’t expect myself to actually be a big bad hero, charming brigand or esoteric mage but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all (at some time or another) considered who our character would be in the games, movies, and novels that we’ve grown to love. Hell, almost everyone I know has a fully formulated decision on what Hogwarts house they’d be in (Slytherin) and sound reasoning to back up why they’d be sorted there.

But instead of thinking in terms of who and what I would WANT to be in an RPG/Tabletop Gaming world, I thought I’d look at it more logically and determine where I would really fit if forced into a Fantasy Roleplaying Game archetype.

Not quite the hero…

To begin with, I considered a few defining moments of my life along with odd regular occurrences. I’ve determined I’m actually quite hardy and can take a beating without faltering. Reasoning for this lies in the multiple times I’ve been hit by cars, years of playing football & lacrosse, the fact that I’ve never broken a bone except for my middle finger one time, and the wonderful tumble down a flight of stair onto concrete that I took a little over a year ago now. I’ve had my physical fortitude tested and come up passing most of my rolls. So we’re going to give me a high CON score.

Shiney new dice to go with a shiny new character.

Hey look, its a generic “character sheet and dice” photo cause this is a gaming post. :P

My DEX on the other hand is not so great. It isn’t bad but there’s nothing to really make it stand out. I can’t juggle or do crazy pen twirling, I’ve never been able to shoot a bow & arrow properly (its pretty sad how ad I am at it), and the closest thing to parkour I can do is awkwardly jumping onto those concrete parking space things and promptly stepping off from lack of balance. But I do get yelled out for how stealthy I am for my size. So we’ll give my DEX a low but average number.

I love playing Mages and magic using classes in games; throwing bolts of eldritch power, summoning strange demons to my aid, and exploding heads with my mind. These are the classes that are heavily dominated by intelligence and wisdom. I’d like to give myself a decent INT score. I’m fairly intelligent, well read, high-ish IQ, and a storehouse of useless knowledge. But my WIS may be lacking. I’ve often found myself to but pretty dumb for someone who should know better. So I have the knowledge but I don’t have the experience to know when and how to always use it to its fullest. Decent INT, Lower Wis.

Charisma… the most common dump stat in D&D. Who cares if our fighter looks good or can actually hold a conversation. He just needs to hit things, right? Well, I’m no silver-tongued charmer, definitely not a charismatic leader, and my intimidate rolls are horrible despite my size because I can’t help but smile or looking like a teddy bear. People like to talk to me though… they’ll pick me out in a diner at 4am and decide I’m the perfect person to tell their life story to at that moment. I can hold a conversation and somehow keep people interested. I’ve talked my way out of some pretty bleak situations and had people believe me, side with me, sympathize with me, etc. So maybe CHA isn’t my dump stat.

Strength is my dump stat? No, probably not but I can’t say its that great either. I’ve never been able to do a pullup in my life, I screwed up my right shoulder in shotput back in High School, I have nerve damage in my left arm from surgery a few years ago. But I’m not feeble… maybe just low average here. I’m pretty awful when helping people move to new homes or apartments… usually taking frequent breaks because I just can’t lift that well. All my power is in my legs but that doesn’t help in an RPG unless you’re a lithe, dexterous Monk.

If I were forced into a D&D-esque character, how would I set up my stats? Lets look at a standard array of 16, 14, 14, 13, 10, 8.

  • Str – 13
  • Con – 16
  • Dex – 8
  • Int – 14
  • Wis -10
  • Cha – 14

Actually, I think that makes me seem pretty damned good. Gotta love how D&D automatically makes you more awesome than you thought you were.

Class, Race, & Gear

But when I don, I allow PsionicsNow we come to choosing a race. I’m going to be lazy and say Human. Why? I may be tall and broad but I’m no muscular Orc. I may be scruffy, occasionally beardy, and stubborn but definite not in a Dwarven sense. Elf is right out. Couldn’t even say Half-Elf. I’m a tall, broad, generic human. Well that’s just boring.

Every time I’ve played in a sport I’ve wound up in a defensive role. In lacrosse I was a defenseman and for a short time a longstick midfielder. I kept the goalie safe, mitigated danger, and harassed others in order to avert trouble. Back when I played football, it was defense and offensive lineman. Take a beating, knock people out of the way, keep others from achieving their objectives, and keep my people safe. Sounds like I’d fit into a classic Defender role or a bit of a hybrid. Someone who can tank a bit and support his allies when needed.

Apparently D&D 4e thinks my stats would work for a Swordmage. I definitely don’t think that fits though. Or a Battlemind… I like that a bit better. The Resilient Build suits me. I can take a strange amount of falls, scrapes, hits and so forth while coming back better off than most with perhaps a few new scars that will fade soon enough. I always did like the idea of Psionics as well.

Gear is a silly thing to worry about since I’m not really playing this character. But if I had to choose a few things I’ve found that chainmail actually feels pretty comfy to me and my many years of lacrosse made me very comfortable wielding what was essentially a 6 foot long metal polearm. So lets go with that.

Quirks, Merits, and Flaws

Here I’ll throw in some of the oddities that help define why this character (Me) is not just a boring, generic old guy. First off, I’ll give myself a dot or two in Dumb Luck (Yes, I know I’ve just switched gears from D&D to WoD). I have a way of always breaking even on lotto and scratch off tickets. Things around me are often chaotic but in the end it tends to even out somehow. My dumb luck keeps me out of trouble and safe. Though the downside is that I have to deal with the initial horrowshow until the universe decides to right things.

Need some dots in Indecisive and Procrastination. I can’t even decide where to go to eat when asked. I’m so complacent about so many things because I’ll be fine with whatever the outcome is to the point that I can’t even make a decision. The procrastination is pretty bad too. As an example, it’s currently 5am and I’m just writing this damned post now despite having this concept in my head for a few days now. Let’s also give me a dot in Stubborn. I may be very easy going but when I have made a decision I can be a stubborn ass about it.

Strange quirk and/or ability… and I’m not joking here… I swear I attract lightning. Luckily I’ve never been struck by it but it has struck within extremely close limits to me far more often then I can actually count. Seriously, if there’s a storm happening then you either need to stand right next to me or run away because if you’re within 20 feet of me then you’ve just greatly increased your chances of being electrocuted. First time it happened was both frightening, disorienting and hilarious… get a few drinks in me when I’m hanging around my longtime friend Matt (who was there at the time) and I’m certain you’ll hear the tale.

Alignment… Does anyone even care about it anymore?

Predictable? That's no fun at all.D&D basically killed alignment. Most other games I’ve played have no standardized measurement for anything like alignment (Unless you count the vagueries of NWoD’s morality, wisdom and so forth but those never work as intended anyway). You will not be surprised by my choice giving its similarity to my site’s name… Chaotic Neutral.

The caffeinated part happens because I easily drink more coffee before lunch on any given day than most people drink all week. But yes, we’ll go with Chaotic Neutral. I’ve run the gamut from altruistic to apathetic to downright evil over the course of my 30 years. The evil bits have been out of my system for a while but I was a horrible teen (though I hid it very, very well).

When a fight breaks out, I’m a toss of a coin away from standing by your side or taking bets from the onlookers. Often I like to stay out of trouble and under the radar but some days I just want to stir the pot, step back and see if things start exploding.

Has the pretense run thin?

There are some games out there that try to turn your real life self into an actual character. Outbreak: Undead immediately comes to mind. Their website features a test you can take to turn yourself into a fully realized and playable character. I believe the intent was to make the game more immersive by removing the disconnect between yourself as a player and yourself as a portrayal of the character’s persona.

The above pusedo-character I formulated based on myself would likely be an awful hero in a campaign but good game worlds always need some side characters… so if you want to turn me into an NPC you have your basics now. That would be slightly ironic I suppose though. Here I am trying to show that as generic as real life can be, we’re not just NPCs in someone else’s story. So I devise how I could be a hero in a Fantasy D&D sort of campaign world… and now I’m giving you free reign to take any of the bits above and actually turn me into a real NPC. d-_-b

Have you considered what you would be if translated into RPG Hero? This would possibly be easier for some gaming friends of mine considering they’re doctors, lawyers, police, marines, former army medics and so forth… I’m sure they could more easily translate their learned skills and professions into usable skills, stats and abilities. But how about the rest of you? What are you, who are you, how are you?

Let us know what you think in the comments below, via email at CaffeinatedNeutral@gmail.com or, if you’re a blogger as well, maybe even consider writing up a companion or counter-post to mine. I’d welcome insight no matter how you choose to do it. SO, once again, thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope you come back again soon and don’t forget that you can subscribe via email and follow us through RSS.


  1. When I saw that comic re-posted on RHU I laughed heartily and sunk into a deep moment of ‘Oh Gods that’s me’ – love this post as a kind of rebuttal, and am quite inspired to be a sidekick. =D

  2. CommentFromAGuy · · Reply

    Cool Article :)

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