Are all tieflings evil? Of course not. Are all tieflings played by inexperienced players evil? Possibly. This article discusses James’ first character, Uiel Firetongue, the chaotic neutral tiefling bard. This tiefling was created in a similar manner to our first article topic, Anakis the chaotic evil tiefling rogue. Basically, the player saw tieflings, read about the classes in the Player’s Handbook, and thought “I have the perfect idea. This is gonna be great.” In essence, James and I both created the character that seemed coolest.
While I stand behind the belief that Anakis was the coolest possible character combination, James refers to this combination as being “warped” In that case, what went wrong, or became warped with this tiefling character?
Behind the Adventurer
Every great, good, best, or worst character begins with the story behind them. Anakis’ story was in her relationships, the people who kept her tethered to this world and reigned in her evil tendencies. Uiel’s story begins with an orphaned tiefling.
He was a murderer, who FouND HiS PaSSiOn iN MUsiC. Also an orphan. The whole bit and shebang. – James
Many tiefling are abandoned or orphaned due to their infernal heritage. These cursed children are seldom privileged with kind upbringings, and Uiel Firetongue was no exception. He was orphaned, and became greedy, “a weasel”, and significantly, a murderer. James describes him as an edgelord, which I discovered, after some time on google, is essentially somebody who does taboo or shocking things. For a young player, and perhaps some older players, this would likely be cool and amusing.
Like Kevin, the creator of the attempted hobbit from last week, this character had more than a few out of character moments. For example, every adventurer awaits that prized moment when they roll a natural 20, or critical success. While some of us do not use these rules, many of us take them a step further and use them not only for attack rolls, but also for ability checks. Uiel’s first critical hit was during an eventful out of character moment in which he stabbed a party member in the back.
While we might appreciate the irony of this moment, many of us have grown attached to character and had them die, or had a session ruined by what some call a “murderhobo,” a character that focuses only on killing, with no ties to the community. It can be frustrating watching a character destroy the tavern you are trying to protect, killing the bartender you were just flirting with a minute ago. For all intents and purposes, Uiel was a murder hobo; however, he did have some moments when he shone, and perhaps others in which the NPCs dealt karmic justice.
How to Play…Anyone
While there were out of character moments, there were also roleplay-based aspects of adventures. In fact, some of the most memorable aspects of Uiel’s adventures were non-combat scenarios. In these adventures, we see the value of roleplay.
In one magnificent and comedic feat of roleplay expertise, the characters in Uiel’s party were up against a god of Trickery. Naturally, a god is a dangerous foe not to be taken lightly. Knowing this, the character naturally prepared for the fight of their lives by preparing their most powerful…riddle. While trickery was likely second nature to this god (or, actually, first), they nonetheless were bested by these characters immense cleverness and charm.
In another instance, the universe (or the DM) seemed to be meting out punishment for acts such as stabbing things that ought not be stabbed. During one adventure, Uiel stayed in one section of a dungeon while others went to explore the remainder. This was a product of greed that led him to search for whatever gold he could find while separated from the party. While searching, he jumped down a hole and got stuck. After some impressive acrobatics, he climbed up out of the hole, only to get stabbed during this attempt. Is this karma? Only the Dungeon Master knows.
What is Wrong With a Murderous Bard?
What went wrong with this character? Was it the out of character moments? The tragic backstory? Allowing his character’s greed to lead him into a dangerous in-character situation? More than anything, James wishes he hadn’t taken the game so seriously.
Taking a game too seriously can certainly lead to problems, particularly in a game such as Dungeons and Dragons, when a character can easily be killed and these attachments can lead to out of character moments. A character might avoid stealing something, despite the fact that their rogue criminal has a negative Intelligence modifier and a flaw that advertises poor impulse control. A Dungeon Master might have goblins run past two characters, provoking opportunity attacks just to have them attack the one character they don’t like.
I wish I wouldn’t have taken things so seriously, and played a Bard like they’re meant to. – James
James’ other regret was that he did not play his bard like a bard is meant to be played. As one player, BirdtheBard, once asked, is there really a wrong way to play D&D? While some might argue that murderhoboism is wrong, there are groups that enjoy that. It really depends on the individual. What does James think is the right way to play a bard?
His description of the bard was simple and elegant, ironically describing the abilities of the bard, as they cause physical harm with words alone. As James put it, a bard should “Insult whatever moves. Have sex with whatever is left. Or vice versa, either or.” This certainly leaves potential for fun, though whether you actually roleplay certain aspects of that description is entirely between you and the other players.
While there were definitely some growing pains, James feels that he learned a lot from this first game. We have seen that there were moments of fun and intensity, which informed who James is as a player now. Overall, there was still some roleplay, which is difficult for some players, and the game helped him to learn about the formatting of the gaming platform he used, a chat website called roll20.com that integrates some things like rolling dice right in the chat window.
The Next You Make Your First Character
What should the next tiefling bard do? How should they create their character? How should they play the character once they created it? We’ve already established that there is no wrong way to play, but here is some advice that might help your first game, or your next game, go smoother.
For new players, don’t go with cool/edgy stuff so much as stuff you think is interesting or fun to play, unless it is fun to play. Don’t take things too seriously, and remember that you’re playing a character, they will do things you wouldn’t do and keep that in mind. In character actions made on out of character thoughts that don’t fit aren’t fun for everyone. No metagaming either, Gygax will turn in his grave. – James
While I could go on about this and add my own advice, this advice is well phrased and needs little fluff to make it sound interesting of useful. Put simply, remember that it is a game, and don’t be afraid to play someone other than yourself. They don’t have to be the coolest or most unique character. A human fighter can be a memorable legend if they are played in an interesting way.
Who was your first character? Who was your best or your worst character? Message me on Facebook, send feedback in the Contact Us form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like me to write a post on it. I am always looking for new stories, and if you enjoyed this article, chances are others will enjoy your character’s story.
Please comment below and like this post if you enjoyed reading about James’s first character!