Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Most Memorable Characters - Vladicus

My second most memorable character was inspired by the Blue Oyster Cult song, Veterans of the Psychic Wars. When I first heard those lyrics, written by Michael Moorcock, I knew someday, I would play the protagonist of that song:

You see me now a veteran
Of a thousand psychic wars
I've been living on the edge so long
Where the winds of Limbo roar

Now, I'm sure the song is a metaphor for madness or drug addiction, or some other boring crap, but to me, it spoke of a millenium war on a thousand alien worlds where psionic supersoldiers battle for the future.

In the mid-90s, I was playing a GURPS Space campaign and I finally got my chance to build my psychic warrior. Vladicus (Vlad to his friends, of which, he had none) was an amoral soldier with frightening psychic abilities and an X-ray laser rifle for hire. Having seen far too many battles and too many comrades die, Vlad cared little for anything or anyone. He lived only for the thrill of the battle and the sweet release of death. That death finally came in spectacular fashion as he and his fellow mercs were escaping an enemy base they had just infiltrated to retrieve some data files which were important to some nameless benefactor, just like a hundred before him. This time, however, they ran into a combat robot with twin gatling laser cannons pointed right at them. Somebody had to keep the combot busy for a few seconds to cover everyone else's escape and that somebody probably wasn't going to make it out alive. Vlad, for some reason which to this day, no one knows, decided to be that somebody. Two volleys penetrated Vlad's powered armour and he was all but vapourized. In the end, the last verse of the song proved prophetic:

You see me now a veteran
Of a thousand psychic wars
My energy is spent at last
And my armour is destroyed
I have used up all my weapons
And I'm helpless and bereaved
Wounds are all I'm made of
Did I hear you say that this is victory?



Derobane-bane said...

I love the poetic self-filled prophesy of this tragic anti-hero. Most people could play RPGs a lifetime and not have such a dramatic character.

the real irony here is that you are anti-poetic/ anti-art/ anti- bard.

If you ever play a bard, you would make the masses weep with your character development. You could sell the story to Hollywood and have a movie made.

We need to play space D&D more often.

Rognar said...

Bah! Bards are not heroes, they write songs about heroes.

Obiri said...

Are there any good space settings? Don't say star wars because we all know that its not really about space. Or maybe we just never play the space fighter jocks.

Rognar said...

The classic one is Traveller. The first edition of the game presented your standard human interplanetary empire, with thousands of populated planets, surrounded by several smaller alien and human empires. The second edition, called Megatraveller, presents the same empire, but fractured into several competing factions following the assassination of the Emperor. The despised third edition presented the aftermath of the civil war. The galactic empire is in ruins and an artificial intelligence virus has infected whole fleets, making space travel extremely hazardous. I would say Megatraveller is probably my favourite. It seems the characters can have more of an impact in that one.

Rognar said...

I should also mention Rifts Phase World and several GURPS settings, such as Terradyne or Humanx.