Looks like Antipaladin is as good as his word. After many thankless sessions serving as point man for the Evil Party, our not-so-bad boy in black has found some self-respect. Leaving his many abusive bosses behind, he’s struck out for the open market. Only time will tell whether he and Patches integrate seamlessly into Team Bounty Hunter. But by the look of things, at least today’s job interview is more convivial than his last one.

We talked about party composition and conflicting playstyles not so long ago, so let’s not retread too much ground. Instead, I’d like to take Antipaladin’s lateral career move as an opportunity to talk about conceptual flexibility. Bear with me as we go through a little Handbook-World dev history.

Back when we first invented Team Bounty Hunter, we had some specific design goals in mind. The original concept was to create a set of Wile E. Coyote type antagonists for the Heroes. They were meant to be a group of ruthless mercs who would stop at nothing to bring Fighter et al. to justice for their rampant murderhoboing. They also came into being at about the same time as our Patreon. Since we planned on making The Handbook of Erotic Fantasy a thing, that meant a trio of sexy lady adventurers would kill two birds with one stone. So Team Bounty Hunter was supposed to be Charlie’s Angels by way of Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Now compare the “purpose” of our bounty hunters to Antipaladin’s. When he first came on the scene, we were following up on Necromancer’s disastrous romance with Paladin. We’d posted a poll asking our fans to vote for the next character, and Antipaladin narrowly edged out Assassin for the job. The idea was to round out the party of bad guy characters that Witch was getting together, and a “reluctantly evil” guy seemed like a fun addition to the team. He only fell in with Demon Queen much later. In fact, we didn’t even realize that he was Demon’s Queen minion in her first “talk” with him. (Note the inappropriate use of “Sir” in that last one.)

The point of this insider history is best summarized by our pals from Powered by the Apocalypse. When you sit down to the table in an RPG, you play to find out what happens. That can be unfamiliar and a little scary. After all, whenever it’s time to create a PC, it’s only natural to bring a few expectations with you. You might set your dude up to  avenge their father. To learn to harness their crazy ice powers. Maybe the culmination of the arc is finally finding a way back to Earth. And if you’re reading a novel or watching a film, you may feel disappointed if these expectations are dashed. That’s because the narrative arcs in these media get foreshadowed, built up, and ultimately paid off through linear stories. For better or worse, we tend to attach those same feelings to RPG characters, willing them to follow that pre-conceptualized path. That might work out, and it might very well yield a satisfying narrative. But on the other hand, the dice will have their say. Other players will bring their own oddball character choices to the table. The GM will decide to pull the game in an unexpected direction. In those moments, you can cling to what you thought your character was “supposed to be,” or you can adapt.

On the surface, Antipaladin may not have much in common with Team Bounty Hunter. I certainly didn’t see them teaming up back when these characters were first introduced. But I know I’m excited to see what happens when they get together. It may not be expected, but I certainly expect it to be interesting.

Question of the day then! Have you ever played a PC who changed dramatically from you initial vision? Was it an errant reincarnate spell? Did they actually fall to the temptations of Evil? Or maybe they just departed from your build and multiclassed in response to a story beat? Whatever it was, tell us all about your most unexpected character reversals down in the comments!


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