Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Henri d'Orn

So, I've been having a lot of fun lately with the character I'm playing in our current CALL OF CTHULHU game, one of the SuperGeniusGames adventures being run by Sigfried Trent as our Keeper. While I have a few favorite types I enjoy playing in C.o.C. -- the tenacious private eye (e.g., 'Martin Urnst'), the unscrupulous book/artifact collector (e.g., 'Mr. Damascus'), the Woosterish innocent (e.g., 'Capn. Mercer'*)-- once in a while it's fun to play something out of the box.

Hence my current character, Henry Dorn. Or, as he prefers to be known, Henri d'Orn. Most C.o.C. characters start out relatively normal and, though exposure to the Mythos, become increasingly unhinged as the campaign progresses, acquiring phobias and obsessions and frequent guest status in nearby asylums along the way. Not Henry, who lives in a world of his own right from the start (think Elwood P. Dowd). While others who see him see a street person, in his own mind he's a ranger lord, with all the skills and abilities (and responsibilities) to match. For him, life is one long D&D game (1st-edition, of course), and he interprets everything that happens in those terms. Others might be disturbed by evidence of weird half-serpent/half-human creatures slinking around in elevator shafts and ventilation ducts; he immediately concludes that New York City is currently undergoing infiltration by yuan-ti and that he and his newfound comrades are just the folks to stop it.**

All this has its drawbacks, of course. For one thing, for all his belief that he's tenth level, he's still (this being C.o.C.) just a normal human, with only a handful of hit points. Thus, when he bravely took on a maniac attacking a puppy with an axe, he saved the puppy by getting the axe-head buried in his torso. He survived and is even ambulatory, thanks to First Aid rolls, but he's still wandering around pursuing his Quest when he really should be in some hospital somewhere, preferably one that doles out pain medication with a generous hand. . I suspect he'll not fare well in whatever major encounter ends the adventure; we'll see. In the meantime, he's off in a world of his own that has more plausible interconnections with the real world than you'd imagine.

For those who might be interested, here's Henry's stats:

HENRY DORN (Henri d'Orn, Ranger Lord)
Str 12 Int 12 Wis [Pow] 13 Dex 16 Con 12 Chr [App] 8
13 hp (currently 7) Size 13 +d4 damage bonus
LUCK 65 IDEA 60 KNOW 95 SAN 64
mental status: psychotic schizophrenic
limited druidic spell ability. 'animal companion': Mr. Tentoes***

Conceal 50 MYTHOS 15 Dodge 32 Hide 80 Listen 90
Nat'l History 80 'Occult' (D&D Lore) 70 Sneak 85
Spot Hidden 85 Track 90 Weapon (bow) 50

Bat Form, Charm Animal, Cloud Memory, Command Animal (dog),
Deflect Harm ("shield"), Dream Vision, Heal, Heal Animal, Shrivelling
("magic missile"), Song of Hastur ("fireball")

His 'Mythos' score reflects his having memorized the eight pages devoted to the Cthulhu Mythos in the first edition/first printing of DEITIES & DEMIGODS -- which means (for example) he knows nothing about Yig and the serpent people but all about Hastur and the Necronomicon. Similarly, his 'Occult' score reflects his ability to find some plausible analogue within the AD&D rules to something he's encountered (e.g., a spell, artifact, or monster). His spell ability is the best C.o.C. analogue I cd come up with for the low-level cleric & druid ability a high-level ranger shd have. You'd be surprised how many times the police try to take your bow away when you're homeless.

The most amusing thing about playing him? How easy it is to fit anything that happens in our C.o.C. game into the 1st edition AD&D rules which Henry uses to understand the world. And how, after three sessions, they're still letting Henry talk to people when they really shd know better.


current reading: THE PARGITERS by V. Woolf [1932/1977]

*who, after surviving four and a half years on the Western Front as a balloonist, returned obsessed with zeppelins and convinced that what people really wanted in a post-war world as individual (two-seater & four-seater) zeppelins, setting up dirigible-works on his uncle (Lord Worplesdon's) country estate.

*cf. MONSTER MANUAL II -- which of course he carries around w. him in his backpack, along with the other core 1st ed. AD&D books

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