The votes have been tallied, and our latest Patreon poll has a clear winner. Meet Kineticist, the latest resident of Handbook-World. (Better luck next time, Duskblade!)

For those of you unfamiliar with the class, Pathfinder’s kineticist is all about channeling the forces of the elemental planes. It’s got a bunch of neat tricks up its sleeve, but shooting energy blasts is the central gimmick. Similarities to any popular animated franchise you might be thinking about are purely coincidental.

We’ve actually taken this topic piecemeal on other comics. Last time we touched on genre mashups a dirigible had fallen on the Heroes’ campaign. When last we talked about PCs based on pop-culture characters, Fighter and Cleric nearly came to blows. For my part, I remain convinced that both practices can be a good thing. You’ve just got to have buy-in from the rest of the table. Setting expectations is critical when you’re trying to introduce Ash Williams into a pirate campaign for example. (True story, btw. Dude turned out to be a pretty great PC). But what happens when one of these unwelcome ripoffs rears its head unexpectedly?

In all honesty, that’s a genuine question for the comments, because I’ve never seen it happen as such. My buddy who played Ash wasn’t literally playing the protagonist from Evil Dead. The man-out-of-time conceit was just a springboard. Same deal with Laurel’s latest Firefly PC (here, have some bonus concept art), who turned out to be a takeoff on this lovable Russian hunk of metal. My point is that riffing on existing characters can produce solid results. Trying to actually play Drizzt Do’Urden or literally roll up Ghost Rider seems like a new player thing to me, and I don’t know how seriously I could take that mess in-game.

So here’s the question of the day: Have you ever met a PC that crossed the line from homage to ripoff? How did it play out in-game? Let’s hear it in the comments!


ARE YOU AN IMPATIENT GAMER? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!