Friday, May 4, 2012

DMG Rogues Gallery: Gonzo, Ranger Knight

How Gonzo, Ranger Knight, came into possession of a suit of chainmail +2 is now the stuff of legend; the immortal saga is told on page 226 of the Dungeon Masters Guide.  But little is known about other aspects of his career; his origins, his other armaments, and whatever colleagues might have accompanied him on his quest for magic armor.  The only thing that fixes Gonzo's place in history is that majestic suit of chainmail.

In truth, Gonzo, as a character, barely coalesced in the gaming-verse.  He was the creation of Trevor, a rather insouciant 19 year old attending a smallish midwestern university.  Trevor, though an avid gamer throughout his youth, had not engaged in any gaming since matriculation.  Rather, the drunken pursuit of fornication had preempted his gaming ambitions for the time being. 

Early in the spring semester both of his interests--gaming and fornication--seemed to converge when his lab partner, a reasonably attractive sophomore named Jennifer, mentioned that she played in a regular Thursday night AD&D campaign.  So, on a chilly evening in February he found himself in the cramped dorm room of a plump, bearded junior named Vincent along with Jennifer and two male adventurers, Drew and Scott.

Two things were immediately obvious to Trevor:
  1. Vincent, despite effusive efforts to convey a good-natured image, was actually a pompous ass.   
  2. Neither Drew nor Scott was at all happy to have Trevor in the group.  Probably, he assumed, because reasonably-attractive Jennifer had asked him to join.
Based on these observations, Trevor deduced that this was likely to be his only session in Vincent's campaign. As such, he dedicated little energy to the characterization of his new, high-level ranger, nor did he put much effort into engaging his co-players--other than Jennifer--in any sort of banter; in-character or otherwise.

Introductions were made, a large pizza was ordered, and the gang got down to gaming.  Vincent, in the most patronizing fashion possible, directed Trevor to Appendix P of the DMG: Creating a Party, so that he could roll up and equip a character of adequate level to join the existing gang which included Jennifer's Master Thief Serena, Scodrick the Necromancer, and Drelfig the half-elven Champion/Prefect/Enchanter.  Seeing as the party was well stocked with spellcasters but lacked muscle, Trevor elected to run a ranger whom he gave the first name that popped into his head: Gonzo.

Anyone in possession of the ancient tomes can read about the succession of dice rolls that bestowed Gonzo the Ranger Knight with his suit of chainmail +2, but what goes unmentioned are the unwarranted sneers of Drew and Scott when Trevor announced his chosen class or the grimace of  revulsion that wracked Vincent's face when Trevor named his character after the crook-nosed oddball from the cast of the Muppets.

Though pretentious and overbearing, Vincent was undeniably an evenhanded DM and a courteous host; he steadfastly refused payment from the others for the pizza and Mountain Dew when it arrived, and even tipped the frostbitten delivery guy generously.  But Trevor's presence was obviously turning the party's chemistry into a volatile compound, and Vincent was unable to rectify the matter.  Only limited progress was made that evening, and witnesses of the event remember little that happened beyond the sardonic jabs Drew and Scott directed at Trevor and the hubbub that arose when the precariously placed pizza box slid off the gaming table, taking with it the map and a 16 oz. glass of chartreuse-colored soda pop.

From the viewpoint of Serena, Scodrick, and Drelfig, Gonzo was a man of ill-defined features who never seemed to take full form; like an earthbound cloud formation that just sorta' looked like a dude in +2 armor.  He seemed to have little understanding of where he was or what he was supposed to do, proved to be easily distracted, often professing interest in insignificant-seeming details of the dungeon.  Though in combat he proved an effective comrade, when the action fell off he tended to lose focus and, in these moments, often acted in direct opposition to the other party members.  Ultimately, he disappeared from the milieu as if he had lost his tenuous grip on the material plane and passed into another phase of existence.   

Scodrick and Drelfig both reported uncharacteristic feelings of disdain toward the ranger and felt compelled to needlessly obstruct him whenever such would not result in harm to themselves.    Meanwhile, Serena, a halfling, seemed to feel an unnatural attraction to this ethereal character.  After his abrupt departure from the adventure, she seemed to lose focus herself and grew detached from the campaign and quickly she, too, disappeared... for a while.  She returned some time later emanating a carefree attitude that was not reflected in her saddened eyes.  Though rumors were whispered that she had gone in pursuit of Gonzo, it was quietly agreed not to mention his name in her presence.  Soon, as seems appropriate when dealing with a luftmensch like Gonzo, he was forgotten entirely.

1 comment:

Trey said...

The tale of Gonzo's appearance and disappearance remind me of many a delver who spend their hour upon the stage awkwardly, and are gone.

Good stuff.