The votes have been tallied, and this month’s Patreon poll went to Inquisitor in a landslide. (Better luck next time, Barbarian! I’m sure that your daddy will visit one day soon).

Dark elves have it rough, man. Living in the shadow of everyone’s favorite Menzoberranzanite exile is a burden shared by any player that’s ever scrawled “drow” on a character sheet. If you want to play a drow ranger, you’ve got to question whether scimitars are worth it. You’ve got to tread lightly around “chaotic good rebel from an evil society,” even though that storyline is de facto default for dark elf PCs. Sure as shit you don’t want to pick up any feline animal companions.

When a pop culture character goes iconic, it begins to cast a shadow over player characters. No one wants to be accused of ripping off the guy on the cover of the adventure, and that means your options are necessarily limited. So sure, you can play a Drizzt clone or a Bilbo clone or a hulking brute with an Austrian accent, but whether or not you choose to embrace the similarity or run from it, it pays to know the tropes.

Suppose you want to play a wise old male human wizard. You know that you’re competing with Gandalf and Dumbledore and even Ben Kenobi for conceptual space, so you’ve got to figure out what makes those characters distinct. Magical fireworks? It could be fun, but it’s probably a pass. Phoenix familiar? Badass, but Fawkes is just a bit too famous. Magical floating training orb? Actually, that one gets a pass. It would make a pretty legit magic item.

My point is that the quest for originality is a difficult one. When you’re playing with iconic characters and all their baggage, you want to know those archetypes inside and out. That way, whether you mimic the character or consciously avoid it, you’re doing so with intention.

Question of the day then. Have you ever seen a PC that bore a suspicious resemblance to a famous pop culture character? What was it? Did it work well in-game? Let’s hear it in the comments!

UPDATE: The Handbook of Heroes has a new store! We’ve got T-shirts, phone cases of protection, +1 travel mugs… We’ve even got a Cyber Monday sale! Get in here and spend those sweet gp!