Thursday, March 1, 2012

3d6, Traps and Thieves?

Aside from a fun play on the title of a song my wife loves and I can't stand - the name of this blog is meant to evoke a little of the OD&D feel, and also tip the reader off to my own profession-of-choice back when I first started gaming.

My first PC was a Thief - Bain Nightblade. Not a Rogue. A Thief. Not that he stole from his comrades...well - not much, but he was a scout and a trapdodger of the finest sort. He also pretended to be a Cleric, in the beginning. But that's another story.

3d6 comes from the way OD&D characters were meant to be rolled. The hard way. That's how Bain was rolled - cold and brutal. That's how he ended up with a range of scores from 8 to 17. I was always lucky with the dice. Which is probably why I chose to be a Thief. You have to be lucky with the dice as a Thief. You have the life expectancy of a fruit fly and only Magic-Users have it worse. You have hit points you can count on one hand, you can barely wear armor, you're expected to scout ahead all by yourself, and you deal with all the traps. Lucky and clever are the main job requirements. Bilbo Baggins had it easy.

Despite all the cool monsters and shiny magic, traps captured my attention early in D&D. Not just because I was a Thief and traps were my bread and butter, but traps were also a fairly new concept to me. At the time, I had only The Hobbit to draw from for my fantasy experience - though I started collecting and checking off books from the Inspirational Source Material section at the back of the Basic Rules right away. Still, the one thing the D&D game had that The Hobbit lacked was traps. Men, Dwarves, Elves and Halflings? Check. Clerics - well, maybe not Clerics...Fighters, Magic-Users, and Thieves? Check. Spells? Lots. Magic Items? Indeed. Dungeons? You betcha. Dragons? Absolutely.

But no traps. Those were a new type of danger. I hadn't seen Indiana Jones or read Robert E. Howard yet. I made a Thief because I wanted to be the guy who snuck around and went one-on-one with the most remorseless and unpredictable "monsters" of all. I wanted to get by on my wits and skill. I wanted constant challenge and danger to keep me sharp. And, you know what? Bain lived! I have him to this day. The first character I ever made and the one who has possibly seen and done the most. He shaped the way I play the game even now and I dedicate this blog to him.

"For the last time, I am a trapdodger. Thieves die in dungeons." ---Bain Nightblade

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