Proactive protagonists

This summer, we’ve gotten back into RPGs. Specifically, we’ve been playing 4th edition D&D with friends. My husband’s the DM (dungeon master, for those who may not be conversant with the lingo), our son’s playing a wizard, we’ve got a dwarven battle cleric and a halfling ranger, and I’m playing a paladin to round out the party.

Yesterday, we wandered into a room that had a trapped demon — which some wererats let loose. My paladin immediately moved to stand in front of the demon (and miss spectacularly with her radiant smite). When it was the demon’s turn, it attacked my paladin, as I said, “Because she volunteered.”

And that’s the kind of character I created — the strong arm who stands at the front of the fray in the path of evil to protect others. (At first level, this also meant that the cleric spent a lot of time healing my paladin who had fallen unconscious and was dying from one to three times per encounter.) The character who sees a problem and goes to face it, whether it’s rescuing innocents, talking diplomatically to the local council, or fighting the monsters. Sometimes, her actions aren’t effective, or even sensible (don’t ask why she buried her greataxe in a gilded throne), but she’s in there trying.

She also relies on the other party members — not just the cleric, but the ranger (deadly with her daggers and clever in her acrobatics) and the wizard (whose flaming sphere has saved the party more than once). If she tried to do anything on her own, she’d be just another dead and forgotten would-be hero.

I’m not always as good about making active characters when I write — they may dither over choices or examine every side of a situation or change their minds. But my paladin? She’s a protagonist to be proud of.

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Protagonists” — August’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonanno.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

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  1. Good post, Erin. I never got into D&D, a little after my time, I think. It sounds fun.

  2. Ashe Elton Parker

    I still remember my male half-elf bard who was resurrected as a female centaur after a particular encounter with a dracolich during one campaign when I used to play D&D. I miss it. It was great fun.

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