|A reference as unsubtle as the character itself, which is pretty subtle, now that I think about it...|
There have been a lot of awesome characters that I have seen, especially this year: Uria Lazerface, Sir Tancred Flashhammer, ...any other of the Flashhammer clan, Beri, Janus Hellstalker, amongst others. To choose just one has been very difficult. However, ultimately I settled for the character that more than any other has kept us all thoroughly entertained without fail, to the point that I believe this character has been reincarnated in various forms about 6-7 times now. I can’t describe just one without getting mixed up, so allow me to introduce the (usually) half-orc barbarian, Grog.
It’s important to remember that 10 is average intelligence. Being average means that to balance out the number of wizards with intelligence scores in the 20s, mathematically there must be an even larger number of characters out there with 4s and 5s and 6s. Grog is one such character. Yes, the dumb half-orc barbarian is a stereotype, but Jason plays him with such simplicity and such a total lack of depth that it is utterly believable. Grog never has a dark, traumatic past. He likes hitting things. And puppies. Yes, that too is a reference, but who doesn’t like puppies?
The DM has instituted the ‘Grog roll’ to determine if Grog is smart enough to figure out certain moments, like a sudden plot twist or a complex surprise. It’s usually around DC 10, but with a penalty to intelligence, that’s a pretty tough roll to make. This has been instituted in other games as well, if a character is being particularly stupid. To give you a sense of Grog’s less-than-keen intellect, take a moment on board an airship, where in order to get people up to the top deck, we shouted that there was a fire down below. People panicked, and Grog failed his Grog roll to figure out what we were doing. He panicked too, running for the deck and grabbing the nearest person to ask what’s going on. Fumbling, Grog picked up a chair, held it up to his face and yelled, “What’s going on?!”
The chair’s response was wooden.
Grog of course makes up for his lack of intelligence by being a beast in combat. There is very little he can’t handle in a fight, and his strength is usually boosted to something extreme, partly because my characters seldom fail to leave the town without a potion of Bull’s Strength. ‘God Destroying Grog’ is a cleric that was once made, who could buff himself and had some obscene abilities, potentially giving him strength 30 at a very low level. Jason was very happy with this.
Grog never fails to crack us up in any situation, in any campaign. His antics are seldom so extreme that they completely wreck the adventure, and we’ve learned to keep a tight leash on him (not literally. We don’t have the grapple checks). Sometimes they can be... excessively destructive however, such as the time that he and a group of druid allies took on some guards and an Owlbear. Having had such a good fight, but with the rest of the party in a nearby house looking for loot, Grog got bored. We didn’t have any allies left after the next round. And the moral of the story is: never leave a barbarian with low intelligence, high strength, a short attention span and high testosterone alone with nothing to do. Unless he’s in the middle of the enemy army. Then get as far away as you can.