2015-01-02

D&D 30 Day Challenge — Day 2

Favorite Playable Race

Human. I know this is the most vanilla white-bread answer possible to this question, but my fascination for human characters extends from what the game means to me, and the way I best love to play it. I think that any sense of character in D&D should largely extend from the decisions and choices that a player makes. And as such, I like the idea that the range of choices available to players and their characters should be as wide as possible.

However, in a lot of campaigns and default settings, the cooler the race, the more baggage it carries with it — and the more baggage, the more things a player is often obliged to do just because that’s part of what the race is about. Elves and dwarves have endless histories and enmities that always somehow manage to work their way into the backstory of every elf and dwarf character in the game. Halflings and gnomes are almost always defined culturally by how they fit into the societies of the “big folk.” Characters of the l33tkewl races like drow, dragonborn, and tieflings often have to actively fight to generate any momentum of character story beyond the baseline of “This is your place in the world and here’s why everybody else hates you and therefore you’re a rebel against existing convention desperate to prove your worth blah blah freaking blah” that their race imposes on them.

This notion isn’t an absolute one, to be sure, and if your campaign and your characters manage to do better than the baseline, kudos. Likewise, it’s definitely fun to play a character who’s an outsider, and outsider status built on the basis of race is a standard trope in gaming and all other forms of storytelling. But for me, the best part about playing D&D is being able to step into the guise of a character for which literally anything should be possible, and sometimes the most generic choice of race creates the widest range of options.