19 April 2013

Q is for Quincey P. Morris, Esq.

A Texan, a British Lord, and a British Doctor...which one is out of place?

Mina: What is that?
Lucy: It's a Texan!
--Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
I'm drifting into more generic roleplaying territory today as Q is a difficult letter. So, onward!
There's always one in any group. You have a nasty Chill RPG game set set in Victorian England, but there's a guy who wants to play a Texan with a big Bowie knife always at his side. Or maybe you're running Star Trek, an original series Federation campaign, but someone wants to play a Klingon or an Orion pirate! Or you're planning a campaign in your custom game world that doesn't have monks and, by the way, it's a "humans-only" game. So what happens? Yeah, you got the picture.
Brother Silence, a most troublesome monk who is NOT an elf!
So what does a good DM do? Does he stick to his guns or does he cave? Personally, I like having players with the QPMS (Quincey P. Morris Syndrome); they might make things difficult, but you know what? The player is ENGAGED; he's INVESTED in the game. Maybe he likes his characters to stand out and not fall into the background. Let's face it, Quincey is one of the more more memorable characters in Dracula; he's also the one that actually deals the mortal blow to the vampire...WITH A BOWIE KNIFE!!! Rarely have I seen a player with QPMS actively try to derail the game; it's usually just a fellow trying to have fun, and you know what? This is a game; we're supposed to have fun. I think some people lose sight of that fact at times.
The odd man out is actually a trope in most forms of literature. Sometimes he just stands out and is different from the herd (Quincey). At other times, he's unique in his plainness in an otherwise flamboyant group and serves as lens for the audience: Bilbo in The Hobbit, for instance. Bilbo is the one who allows the audience to understand the narrative. What this means in the roleplaying context is that as a DM you have a player who is accessible; you have a hook to use. So work with it.
Until tomorrow, gentle readers, when we reach R!

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