One of my favorite things about writing The Handbook of Heroes is the complete lack of narrative responsibility. Why did Cavalier feel obliged to sink Swash/Buckle’s pirate ship? I dunno. Why does this giant freaking thing exist? Why did Paladin and Inquisitor team up that one time? How did Alchemist ever win his body back from Abercrombie the tumor familiar? We don’t go into these comics with fully-formed storylines. Sure I could make something up. I could explain how Cavalier is a sworn knight of the Order of the Shell, pledged to patrol the lonely coasts and hinterlands of her homeland’s Roaring Archipelago, escorting honest merchantmen through the treacherous, pirate-infested waters between the region’s many active volcanoes. But that sounds like work. It’s far easier to just make a cool choice now (turtle knights!) and see how it shakes out later.

And in a fantastically roundabout sort way, I think we all do the same thing when we build our PCs. Why did you decide to put that grappling arrow on your character sheet? You probably aren’t planning to scale any castle walls in the immediate future, but you never know. It might come up. Same deal with weirdly specific feats (tactical entry!). Same deal with silver bullet type spells (elevator farts!).

Those examples aren’t chosen at random either. Laurel’s archer paladin just got himself out of lava at 17th level with the trick arrow he’s been carrying since 5th. One of my buddies is still waiting for his Kool-Aid Man moment with that stunning irruption feat, but damned if his Macho Man fighter will ever swap it out. And as for the aforementioned elevator farts, a Starfinder of my acquaintance managed to ace a certain jungle expedition (spoilers) by picking up a speculative life bubble spell. These aren’t necessarily the best choices from a tactical perspective. They’re situational, unnecessary, or more fancy than good. But in the same way that a turtle mount looks like a goofy, sub-optimal decision, all of these minor choices have the potential to pay big in narrative terms. They can create unconventional moments. Weird situations that, in an emergent gameplay kind of way, plunge the table into fits of laughter and unexplored territory.

And so, for today’s discussion question, what do you say we talk about the idiosyncratic character choices that paid off at your table? Was it a seldom-used weapon? An obscure feat tree? Perhaps you managed to save the kingdom with naught but a gallon of mayonnaise and your wits? Tell us all about your own unconventional fighting styles down in the comments!


EARN BONUS LOOT! Check out the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. We’ve got a sketch feed full of Laurel’s original concept art. We’ve got early access to comics. There’s physical schwag, personalized art, and a monthly vote to see which class gets featured in the comic next. And perhaps my personal favorite, we’ve been hard at work bringing a bimonthly NSFW Handbook of Erotic Fantasy comic to the world! So come one come all. Hurry while supplies of hot elf chicks lasts!