Poor Gunslinger. It looks like he bought into the hype. While there’s no denying that warlocks have something of a 3edgy5me reputation, they aren’t necessarily all Hot Topic rejects. They don’t necessarily line up in a brooding queue every night. They might not even know who Elric of Melniboné is! For example, I’ve always pictured our own Warlock as a whoa-dude surfer bro. (It fits his persona as Archfey’s boy toy, which you might be familiar with from our Handbook of Erotic Fantasy comics.) But if you do decide to roll up a non-angsty warlock, I will say this: It pays to remember that you are playing against type.

Some tropes come with extra baggage. Just look at all those wonderfully tormented monsters over in the World of Darkness. The name of the game there is personal horror, with PCs coming to terms with their loss of humanity being a primary theme of the game. It’s possible to go manic-pixie-dream-Malkavian in Vampire, and those characters can be a lot of fun to play. However, chances are that you’re going to be in conflict with at least one serious-face edgelord on the squad.

Can you fit a quirky character into the same story as a Byronic hero? Absolutely. Any Critters out there might point to Percy + Scanlan or Jester + anybody. But if you do want to go full-on The Crow with your characterization, it can be awfully hard to sustain. That has to do with some of the same issues we discussed way back in “Creepy Ghost.” Maintaining a somber tone is freaking hard! Your partymates will crack wise, laugh with nervous tension, or otherwise break the mood. The same holds true of self-serious heroes, as exemplified by Fighter’s unwelcome battle cry way back in “Dignity.” In other words, it’s awfully hard to be Darth Vader when the world seems to think you’re Dark Helmet.

So how about it guys? When you want a serious character, how do you go about toeing line between compelling and parody? Is it possible to run an edgy character without falling into the 2edgy4you trap? Or is it better to leave humorless Batman PCs behind in favor of ones that aren’t afraid to look a little silly when the dice go against them? Let’s figure out how to run an ideal edgelord down in the comments!


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