Saturday, April 25, 2015

U is For Unique

In comics, books, and roleplaying games, there are often new characters, villains, and technology introduced with great frequency.

Sometimes these things are merely copies or built upon ideas formerly launched in the past. The recent run of Spider Man with it's whole Spider Universe for example, brought in numerous variants of Spider Man including some of whom have gone on to get their own series like Spider Gwen and Silk.

On the other hand, often there are new characters or monsters introduced that are unique.

Look at fantasy role playing games. New magic items, new spells, new classes, new variants to generate that 'unique' feel people want.

One of the original things people looked at when reading Elric for example, is that he was the opposite of Conan. He was not a barbarian. He was not a brawny thief. He was a spellcaster who worshiped a chaos god and used a magical sword. Not just any magical sword but a soul drinker. Perhaps not the first of its kind but quickly imitated in mass from that in games like Warhammer Fantasy and others.

Games like Dungeons and Dragons don't come out with numerous Monster Manuals and Fiend Folio's and have 3rd party supplements because people want the same old same old.

People want the unique. They want the unusual. They want the different encounters.

Sometimes this will be a hit. The original Fiend Folio from Advanced Dungeons and Dragons for example, has the race of Gith, the Elemental Evil Princes, Death Knights and other entities that stand the test of time for the last twenty years. On the other hand, some like the Flumph, while enjoyed by some, have not stood out quite so well. Pathfinder by Paizo even did a book to 'redeem' a lot of those monsters.

But don't be afraid to take risks. People may get a chuckle out of a failed unique encounter, but when it hits the right bars and that magic comes together to create a great encounter, you've got a home run.