Apologies for the brief hiatus, since my last post I’ve been a) abducted after work by Laura and taken to Devon for a surprise holiday, b) taking (and passing!) my driving test, and c) dying from grade-four man flu, all of which means that I didn’t go to the Theros prerelease last weekend! Woe is me…
I’m a little stuck for subject material at the moment, so you know what that means? RPG storytime! Today I’m going to talk about a recurring character/running joke between my friend and I that’s been going on for about seven years now.
To set the scene… during the very first RPG campaign I ran, a horror game set in the town of “totally-not-Silent-Hill” Elberwick (which you can read about here, here, here, and here), my friend Gareth (aka Other Gareth) ran a detective character called Frank Velthor, who rapidly became obsoleted as investigations and social encounters took a back seat to fighting gribbly monsters. Totally my fault, looking back on it; Gareth put a lot of effort into that character and played him well, and I didn’t give him the chance to use his character’s skills. It was decided after one game that Frank would “go missing” in the foggy streets of Elberwick, and the agents would encounter a survivor.
That survivor was David Granger. But you can call him Dave. Dave Danger.
Oh, Dave Danger. Let’s get the basics out of the way; Dave was/is essentially the result of the forbidden love between Johnny Bravo and every 90’s action hero ever. Dave was Elberwick’s resident crazy survivalist, who did nothing apart from work out, buy guns, try and pick up girls, cosplay as Duke Nukem, and plan what he’d do if there was a zombie apocalypse. His mother just wanted him to move out and get a job.
In terms of game stats, Dave was a Strong hero. He actually had pretty good ability scores; he had high Strength and Constitution, above-average Dexterity, and fairly average Intelligence and Charisma. The only thing of his that was (deliberately) rock-bottom was his Wisdom, so he had absolutely zero self-awareness that he was an arrogant misogynistic man-child. He had a customised shotgun, a Desert Eagle, his trusty machete, and some homemade explosives. He’d survived whatever had befallen Elberwick by holing up in his room with his guns and a selection of 90’s action movies, and now he was ready to take back the town, one headshot at a time.
Gareth and I had a good laugh when he rolled up Dave. Little did we know of the legend that we had started to write…
We were at the point in Elberwick where the agents had to go to the hospital; they’d run into another person from their agency, who told them that her partner had been taken by the creatures and was being held in the hospital. Edge, the Doctor, and the other agent made their way there, but in the car park, they were attacked by the faceless knife-hand guys, and some of Elberwick’s ex-citizens, who had all turned into gibbering cultists of “The Wrongness”.
Edge, the Doctor, and the totally-not-a-DMPC put up a fight as best they could, but it looked as if they would be overrun. Cue the Top Gun music as Gareth’s new character made his entrance.
Roaring “Danger Zone” at the top of his lungs (and boy, did he ever botch that Perform (singing) skill check), Dave Danger launched himself into the fray with all the subtlety of a nuclear warhead and proceeded to tear shit up with a double-tapping D’Eagle and some gruesome machete work. With all the creatures dead, Edge and the Doctor decided that it couldn’t hurt to bring the big goon along, although Dave didn’t see it that way; he’d saved them after all, so they were sticking with him for their own good. After some hilarious and awful flirting with Edge, the group were on the move again.
This was actually the last session we ran in Elberwick; I think we all got burned out, or I wasn’t happy with how things were going, or something. Whatever, this last session was actually pretty good. It was essentially a dungeon crawl through a creepy hospital, trying to find the missing agent before Something Bad happened to him. Dave proved invaluable; as the most combat-orientated character, he cleared corridors with his shotgun and explosives, all the while shouting corny one-liners. It was amazing.
One moment that cemented Dave as a great character came fairly early on in the adventure; after going solo (“I work better alone” in Dave’s words, despite just telling the group to stick together) and kicking down a door to the hospital kitchens, Dave was confronted with one of the cultist dudes, who didn’t have a gun, but snatched up a kitchen knife.
It looked as if Gareth would just choose to blow the cultist away with his readied shotgun, but no. That’s not how Dave Danger rolls. Gareth had Dave holster his shotgun and take out his machete, ready for a knife-fight that he didn’t even need to get into in the first place. Fantastic.
“Let’s do this, you freak. I’ve got bigger monsters waiting.”
(gibbers, swings kitchen knife)
This was when things got truly funny. Dave, after all, should’ve handled the cultist easily; he was a 3rd level Strong hero, so his attack bonus with the machete was somewhere around the +6 to +8 mark, easy to hit the cultist’s paltry defence of 15. Gareth was certain the cultist was dead meat. It really didn’t play out that way.
A gruelling combat later left the cultist dead, but Dave had gone from full HP down to 4. Gareth’s rolling had sucked, and Dave was a bleeding mess. Edge and the Doctor burst into the kitchen (Emi and Ry obviously already aware of the hilariously botched fight) and asked what had happened.
“There’s only one body…”
(coughs up some blood)
“Let me patch you up Mr Danger. You’re seriously hurt.”
… and so on. God damn it, I love Dave Danger. Let this be a lesson; when you have a good character played to the hilt by a good player, rejoice, and count yourself lucky.
As I said, that was the last game in Elberwick, but Gareth and I weren’t finished with our new running joke, oh no… Dave would go on to do other amazing things in some special one-off games we devised; he killed Hitler, saved Christmas from Satan Claus, stopped a mad scientist from reversing time… and in time, during a game of Arkham Horror, we came to discover who his father surely must’ve been.