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Geode
06-28-2009, 06:30 AM
Well, I finally summed up the courage to start being a GM. It was quite a journey to come to such a decision, but I feel oh-so ready to make some new memories with my friends.

I recently had an interesting conversation with my sister. We decided that a fairy tale DnD would be, at the very least, interesting. We theorized about the different characters and what class they would be. My sister developed a really cool bard character based on the Golden Harp from the well-known tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.

I started going down the list, trying to fit characters into every class.
I never realized how hard it would be to fit someone into the Cleric/Avenger/Invoker (all holy) class. I can't think of a GOOD priest in all of Grim's Fairytales! In the stories they show up, they always have an affair with the main character's wife! Gah! NOT holy!

Anyway, I wanted to know what everyone thought about Fairy tale DnD.

Would you base your character on a specific fairy tale?
What class would you pick?
Can you think of a good "Holy" person in a fairy tale?
What would you want out of a Fairy Tale DnD game?
Would you want fairy tales to mingle and connect with one another?

Duellist
06-28-2009, 01:19 PM
Priests tend to be supporting cast in older stories, as they are tied down to a church or town and many of those stories involve going places. To be fair, most D&D players think of clerics as supporting roles at best and heal-bots at worst.

Anyone whose greatest strength is faith could be a priest. Some knights could be considered priests rather than paladins, so maybe you might want to look at Arthurian myth and even Charlemagne. Galahad could almost be a cleric. If you stretched it, there were priests implied in the tale of Tam Lin and some tales (I cannot think of them off the top of my head sadly) involve the gods working through avatars.

How about Friar Tuck in the stories of Robin Hood? If you interpret Robin Hood as Robin Goodfellow (Puck, Pwcca, Pooka, Hob Goblin) then the others might start to take shape too. Alan-a-Dale is very much a bardic type in the vein of Taliesin, Will Scarlet (in some versions) has a very Redcap feel about him.

Of course, all fairy tales are archetypes and not really tied down to the tales themselves. They might not need to be visible in a famous tale, as long as you make them consistent with other characters. Give them strengths and foibles that match the feel of the tale. Tuck was a dissident priest consorting with bandits because of his beliefs, after all.

Q-man
06-29-2009, 02:01 PM
Its tough to pin down the holy characters. As Duellist said all the obvious choices were supporting characters kept more or less in the background.

I've had a hard time figuring out what archetype the cleric is in 4E. Its become a lot more physical in this edition, or at least my interpretation of it is anyway. I don't think you'll find a lot of characters in fairy tales that match what clerics in 4E do.

I think the characters in the Arthurian legends fit Paladins better, but we're talking fantasy here so you can envision them pretty much anyway you'd like. It just depends how close to the original stories you want your adventure to be.

korhal23
06-29-2009, 04:53 PM
Oddly enough, Clerics are hard to find as the good guys in fantasy. But if you think about it, they're not that uncommon as bad guys. Necromancers are a kind of evil cleric, or can be, depending on where their power comes from, as can be witches or satanists, or the evil-infused "Black Knight" sort of character. Priestess type characters are fairly common, but as for a holy warrior, most characters pre-D&D are much more of Paladins than Clerics.

Grimwell
06-29-2009, 06:55 PM
I know I'm not answering any of your questions in this box, but please be sure to use the site's blogging feature to write notes about your campaign ideas! This isn't something that I'd DM myself, but I'd love to read what you do and steal nuggets that work for me!

Tamburlain
06-29-2009, 08:23 PM
Well, I finally summed up the courage to start being a GM. It was quite a journey to come to such a decision, but I feel oh-so ready to make some new memories with my friends.

I started going down the list, trying to fit characters into every class.
I never realized how hard it would be to fit someone into the Cleric/Avenger/Invoker (all holy) class. I can't think of a GOOD priest in all of Grim's Fairytales! In the stories they show up, they always have an affair with the main character's wife! Gah! NOT holy!

Anyway, I wanted to know what everyone thought about Fairy tale DnD.

Would you base your character on a specific fairy tale?
What class would you pick?
Can you think of a good "Holy" person in a fairy tale?
What would you want out of a Fairy Tale DnD game?
Would you want fairy tales to mingle and connect with one another?

Wow. What an interesting undertaking!

Your task is difficult, largely because religion, as we speak of it, is only present allegorically or superficially in the kind of fairy tales you are talking about, i.e. Grimm's and the western oral tradition of marchen. Later, coming out of the high literary traditions, you get examples of fairy tales being reworked from religious perspectives (cf. Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene').

If you stick to the marchen, the closest you will come to "holy" is the fairy godmother or the wise advisor tropes. Even then, it's really a misnomer, as holiness really has no place in traditional fairy tales. There are of course evil wizards, djinn, and witches galore; but, it's going to be hard to find a fit for a good character.

I personally wouldn't pick D&D as my first choice of rpg for bringing to life a traditional fairy tale. There are other games that are better designed for the task. Fairy tales have one, maybe two, protagonists, and it can be difficult to run a D&D adventure for one or two persons. Another problem is character power. Fairy tale protagonists generally are not powerful individuals. Even if restricted to first level, can you imagine Red Riding Hood unleashing an Eldritch Blast upon the big bad wolf? How big and bad could he be?

That's why most adventure games like D&D focus on generes such as the epic tale, legend, or myth. It's true that fairy tales have some elements of adventure, but they also often carry a large measure of psychodrama and highly compressed symbolism. If sufficiently modified, D&D can handle the adventure part of the equation, but psychodrama and symbolism are going to be pretty hard to pull off. Don't get me wrong. I think it's really cool that you may want to try it; I just don't think D&D is the best game, if your goal is to truly simulate a traditional fairy tale.

But... if D&D were my only choice, I would do one of two things: 1). pick classes whose powers and themes could be easily "re-skinned" so to speak, to match the world of your tale; and then power them down to a sufficient level; or 2). instead choose an already created fairy tale-like adventure, possibly re-skin AD&D's Alice in Wonderland-inspired modules Dungeonland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeonland) and Land Beyond the Magic Mirror (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Beyond_the_Magic_Mirror).

Again, if you don't mind abandoning the idea of using marchen proper as your setting, then I would recommend George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Princess_and_the_Goblin) or Ali Baba (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Baba) from 1001 Nights. Of course, they are both literary fairy tales, not marchen, but they are chock-full of adventure, and the symbolism takes a back seat. Another benefit is that I believe they are in the public domain.

korhal23
06-29-2009, 09:18 PM
Even if restricted to first level, can you imagine Red Riding Hood unleashing an Eldritch Blast upon the big bad wolf?


That sounds badass, actually. After all, sometimes a different spin is just what the doctor ordered. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_McGee's_Alice)

kitsune1842
06-30-2009, 06:56 PM
Way different look on Fairy Tails and myths, in my mind I suddenly see an Ork fighter, a Goliath Barbarian, a Shifter monk, and a Human Cleric/Avenger being sent out to retrieve a mystic scroll from the other side of the known world.

And now I want to dig up my copy of Journy to the West again.

Oh, and Little Red Riding Hood was totaly a Warlord instead of a Warlock. Just imagine her using her powers that grant the woodcutter extra attacks against the Shifter Rogue that was impersonating her Grandma.