Name: Gloves Shieldbearer
Campaign: The Eight Arms and the Memento Mori
Often the simplest character ideas are the most interesting. Not everybody needs to break the mold with a celestial necromancer, or a cleric librarian with delusions of adequacy, or a cat person air pirate sorcerer (more on him later, though). Some characters just take the simplest idea possible and run with it. Some characters wear gloves, carry a shield, and are named “Gloves Shieldbearer”.
This can go too far, like the pyromancer Medium Rary. We’re not talking about that.
Gloves was a former slave who carried a giant’s shield and used it as his primary means of attack, defense, negotiation, and, presumably, locomotion. He was a good reference point in a campaign with a half-ton healer, a swarm of rats, and a turtle with apocalyptic ambitions. As part of a group specifically tasked with finding and stopping giant monsters he could work his way through most situations with skill and aplomb. When things were good he was even-headed and happy to think things through before acting. When things got rough he could intimidate with the best of them. And when things got really, really bad, his shield was also a chainsaw.
The biggest issue I had with Gloves was not unlike the biggest problem I had with Egan, which shows how amazing I am at learning nothing. The world of the Eight Arms has racially-aligned countries; there’s a human country, a dwarven country, and elven country, and so on, where people are free to move about them but each government and culture is based around a single race. As part of this I wanted to have countries for the elemental races as well because I liked what they added to the setting and it gave plenty of chances for me to have “monsters” live and act like “civilized races”. Gloves threw a spanner into that particular work by hailing from one of the countries I had created, and also declaring that humans were the dominant race there and the elementals were very, very secondary.
I was upset. I’m still upset; letting things go is not my strong suit. But honestly, this makes more sense than what I had. There’s no country of just ifrits or oreads, that would be silly. Logically, these countries would be dominated by a more common race, and the elemental race would color it. I keep having to remind myself that this is better than what I was planning and adjust the setting accordingly. And it wouldn’t have happened without Gloves. (Though I also want to throw an assist to a certain video game character with Greek-styled armor and a chainsaw shield, who may have served as some inspiration perhaps.)
Of course, this campaign had players, and players hate going by the DM’s plans, especially when they explicitly agree to said plans. The monster-hunting party quickly became the monster-friending party and Gloves got a lot more chances to work his verbal skills than his spinning shield. But in the final session he did help murder a bard in his sleep and fight a scary bird, and in the end that’s really what matters.