Making Bad Characters Isn't Inherently Good (or a Substitute for Personality)

Really quick: if you want something similar to Dungeons & Dragons, but which focuses on fun, usability, and quality—yet isn't grossly overpriced—as opposed to social justice progressive politics, propaganda, and irrational, obsessive hatred over mere disagreements and arbitrary thought crime violations, check out Dungeons & Delvers.

I'd intended to respond to a Wired article, but they linked a video to someone who goes by Ginny, one of many irreverent, irrelevant, interchangeable, egocentric “gamer” influencers (so-called), and I decided to attack the source.


Luckily, rather than be forced to listen to her disingenuously whine about invented and perceived non-issues (and to spare you the same), I just used the transcript function to get the necessary text and respond to what could be considered highlights.

You can watch it if you want (for accuracy or complete context, I suppose), but if you've heard one vapid NPC re-regurgitate decades old concepts and opinions that have been discussed to death, and pretend that they’re their own, you've heard them all.

“I'm Ginny Di and I am here to make some of you very mad by being a dyed-hair, woke, millennial, snowflake, female in your tabletop war games”

If you don't know what aposematism is, look it up. And, no, it has nothing to do with Jews.

You aren't making anyone mad. I know that's what you want, to make people angry, so they'll engage you. Give you the attention you desire. Tell others so you'll get more attention. Good? Bad? Doesn't matter. Like how children operate, you'll take what you can get, because you're a narcissist with stock model hair and personality.

This is why you guys are also referred to as NPCs: you think, dress, and act alike (seriously, only thing you missed is shaving half your hair). This is also why it infuriates you: because you know it's all true.

“In this video I am gonna try and convince you that you should, at least once play a D&D character who is built "wrong". That's right, I want you to play a character who isn't optimized.

Precisely the self-centered, sheltered rhetoric I'd expect from a pretentious pretender. You conflate “playing wrong” with being un-optimized, a debate keyboard warriors have been half-heartedly waging on forums for probably around 30 years by now. You're just exhuming an argument that has long since been exhausted, beating a horse that's been dead so long that only dust remains, all in a truly pathetic effort to convince others that you are profound.

And you're either deeply disingenuous or so deluded, so up your own ass that you think this concept is either unique or original. You think that, what, you're the first attention-starved pseudo-gamer to pitch this insipid proposal? Thousands of people have proclaimed precisely this, either out of boredom or mistaking their idiocy for ingenuity, while just as many have done so for more commendable—or at least understandable—reasons, such as experimentation or challenge.

I've met dozens of people, some game, some that merely purport to, making the moronic claim that optimization is bad, that it somehow inhibits roleplaying (and, equally bizarre, that the opposite inherently results in superior roleplaying). It doesn't, and you would already know this if you were a real gamer, or at least had a genuine interest that was even slightly less superficial than your shallow sense of self.

“I know, I can hear the old guard screaming but please let me explain myself.”

No one is screaming. Again, I know you desperately want this to be true. You come across as the sort that gets triggered and incensed over the most trivial of incidents and statements, and either assume or hope that everyone else possesses the same deficit of mental and emotional discipline, so that you don't somehow think less of yourself than you already do.

I'm guessing most don't. Some might get annoying, but Twitter isn't reality. At best, for you, the majority shrugs, or perhaps rolls their eyes and ignores you.

“I play a character that some people on the internet get upset about.”

I'd ask how many “some” is, but I don't think it matters: your ego is so frail that even one person disagreeing with your decision warrants an entire video. How dare they, right? You, a living cliché of every other woman with dyed hair and a cosplay Patreon, living an entitled life free of expectations and responsibilities.

This is why it upsets you so much: you have no real problems, except doing whatever it takes to ensure your subscriber count is high enough to avoid tapping too much into your...I'm sorry, I just assume you have a trust fund, or your parents otherwise pay for everything. In any case, if other people don't give you their money for doing nothing at all, someday you might have to get a job.

Oh, the horror.

“They learn that Aisling is a Warlock that does not have Eldritch Blast, for example, and suddenly it becomes their personal mission to make me realize what a huge mistake I've made.”

Which, I'm guessing amounted to something along the lines of this:

You, Deranged Narcissist Contrarian: My stock model wannabe edgy character that is certainly unique and interesting does not have eldritch blast.

Imaginary Adversary: Really? Huh...why's that? It's a pretty good spell, especially for a cantrip. Might be too good, honestly...

You, Deranged Narcissist Contrarian: STOP GATEKEEPING!

“This past summer I got some flack about how I had built Aisling. And I tweeted something rather radical, I guess.”

Like NPCs who believe whining on twitter is the same thing as anything remotely resembling activism, she conflates tedium with “radical”. Frankly, it's about as radical as pushing for socialism twenty years ago.

“I was frustrated because here I was, just talking about my fantasy magic edgy flower princess and strangers on the internet were acting like I was failing some sort of test.”

Oh, wow, you also describe her as edgy. I shouldn't be surprised. Just figured, hey, NPC's gotta NPC. It got your narcissistic knickers in a twist? Oh boo-hoo, you went on the internet to talk about your stupid elf-game cliche, and everyone didn't blindly, profusely praise your pretentious proclamations.

Again, I'm going to go out on a limb here and presume they just wanted to know why not, and you overreacted like all NPCs do when confronted with even minor disagreement. The only question here is whether you did it on purpose to drum up fake drama to exploit. I've seen your type beg for money all the time, so maybe it was a bad month for you, and you needed something to get your soy-swilling simps to pony up some extra cash to make ends meet.

“The responses ranged from concern that I just didn't know any better and someone should really teach me how to play the game right to people who were furious, telling me that I was not actually even playing D&D.”

Concern. Riiight. Normal people, capable of feeling empathy and positive emotions (or emotions in general), are concerned when you say you are sick. Or if you fall, or otherwise injure yourself. If you say you've had a bad day. You know—or more likely don't—when something actually bad happens.

I find it...interesting, let's say, that people you don't really know simply ask if you were aware that eldritch blast exists, and somehow your mind translates it into concern. One has to wonder whether you've ever felt concern for anyone but yourself. I'm guessing...no.

No one is “concerned” about your stupid elf-game character that you intentionally made worse because you lack talent and personality. I also don't believe that anyone was ever furious with you over not choosing eldritch blast. I think you are lying, so the simps would ask if you were okay, emotionally validate you, and throw more money at you.

“News to me.”

I'm so very sure.

“Now, I think it's totally valid to play D&D or any tabletop game in whatever way is fun for you and your table.”

No, you don't. You people, your type. SJWs. NPCs. Millennials. Woke-folk. You are all such dishonest hypocrites. You always parrot these empty platitudes, but it's a lie. But then SJWs always lie. Not only do you think there are wrong ways to play, you think there are very, very specific things you must do, and if you don't? Well, you must hate your players. You're a terrible person, a racist, fascist, whatever.

You're incapable of thinking for yourself, so must strictly adhere to approved thoughts, statements, and other behaviors. Or at least purport to do so in public, whilst compelling others to do so constantly. But what else would you expect from an NPC, consistency? Fairness? 

“Maybe you love optimizing characters. Maybe figuring out how you can deal the most possible damage in combat. Or have the highest possible AC or stealth is what's fun for you. And if so, that is fine.”

And what is optimizing? Picking a race that grants at least one bonus to an ability score your class depends on? Humans either suffer no penalties, or gain a floating bonus to whatever stat you want: are they optimal for all classes? Is a dwarf fighter “optimizing”? What about an elf fighter?

You people act like this is some grand cerebral pursuit. Want the highest AC? Buy the best armor and shield you can. Maybe there's some stupid feat to stack on top. Maybe there's a spell you can layer on that. There you go, best possible AC.

Most damage? Put your highest stat into Strength or Dexterity, and then get the biggest weapon you can. I know there have to be various feats that can boost weapon damage, so take those.

These are the obsessive behaviors of people with too much time on their hands, few if any friends, and no outlet. They make characters, perhaps read and re-read parts of some books, perhaps mull through forums in the hopes that someone did the legwork they were too lazy to, and watch YouTube videos where narcissists pretend to play games and grift a gullible audience.

The standard degree of optimization is to put your highest ability score into whatever one your class relies on (makes sense), and then picking a race that at least doesn't impose a disadvantage to what you want to do, made easier than other because WotC knows their core audience: millennials, frail in body and mind, spood-fed participation trophies and lies about how they are special, with all obstacles removed and consequences waived so they are never forced to exert themselves mentally or physically.

The hilarious thing is, you stupid, lazy NPCs are so focused purely on what's popular at the time, so incapable of thinking an independent thought and making an independent decision, that you've either ignored or dismissed the solution to your invented problem: any edition of D&D prior to 3rd.

Here you roll stats. Assign them in order. Only 3d6, which means your character will likely only have a score of 10-11. Shocking, I know. That's a modifier of +0. Races had penalties, so your ironically bog-standard “orc wizard” combo could be too stupid to even cast a spell, period, and would most certainly be barred from casting higher level spells.

Assuming you even made it that far, since XP tables were uneven, you had to roll hit points, healed at like 1 hit point per day, and only had one spell at 1st-level. I think the DM was even supposed to tell you which spells you had, or otherwise randomly generate them.

You could make things easier by rolling 4d6 and dropping the lowest, assign ability scores however you wish, but if you did it the default method? You could end up with a lot of very unusual characters, such as fighters with a high Strength but low Constitution. Or an average Strength and high Intelligence. All or good or low stats.

Point is, it was organic. You didn't have a pretentious player pretending like he thought of a fighter, but with an above average Charisma? Or a wizard with a low Intelligence and high Strength. Or any of that other Rian Johnson “subverting-your-expecations” bullshit. It's all been done. You aren't interesting, or smart, or special. Get your head out of your ass and try actually playing the game for once.

Or at least try feigning interest about some sort of media or entertainment that isn't the “most popular” at the time.

“I am not here to tell you how to have fun, even though people love to do that to me.”

You're not a victim. You're someone that was criticized after going out of her way to make a public post out of it—likely knowing this would cause drama for you to capitalize on—and if you were a mentally stable adult would know how to cope with it. But, as has been proven, you're a millennial narcissist with a frail ego.

“And none of these people to be clear are at my table.”

Of course not. Lucky them. You have very specific ways of playing. A one true way. I'm surprised anyone is able to meet your strict-yet-malleable rules and requirements, however short-lived. I'm surprised anyone would bother, as you sound like a horrible, obnoxious player that would constantly vie for attention, interjecting at any opportunity and grinding the game to a halt in an attempt to satiate your starved ego.

“My DM and my fellow party members have no problem with the way that I've built Aisling. All of us are picking skills and spells based on story or what sounds cool. and our whole game is honestly pretty low pressure.”

I'd say this is normal, it is just a game after all, but the tables I've played at were attended by actual gamers that were there to play.

“But there were a lot of people in my replies who weren't so lucky. They were getting this kind of "no you can't" energy not just from the internet where, I suppose, we must expect such things but from their own tables.”

Bullshit.

“And that made me really sad.”

Also bullshit.

“The more I thought about it. The more I thought about how exactly the kind of people who were the most vocal about how others should be playing D&D could probably gain really unique and different roleplay experiences by, just once, creating a D&D character "wrong".”

If they are actual gamers, chances are they've already played characters that you would arbitrarily consider un-optimized, and the only different experience you will get is that the game will be harder for you to contribute in the way that the class is intended to. You know, like playing a game on a difficulty mode above Game Journalist.

“Alright I'm sure that was just enough time for the people who disagree with me to get started on their 500 word comments about how wrong I am”

And I'm sure any such comments would be deleted—narcissist, frail ego, you know how it is—though I did see a huge wall of text comment in which the guy had to shoehorn in a mention about how he's a tranny. No reason. Just had to, so you'd know, and ideally you'd think he's stunning and brave. NPCs gotta stick and script together.

Otherwise, some quick skimming of the comments section revealed a miserable assortment of agreeable-yet-hastily-and-clumsily-assembled strawmanlettes, a flimsy-and-ineffective phalanx against any that would bother trying to disagree. Which is what I'm sure Ginny actually expected, which is why she said this in the first place: get the simps primed to praise her. Let her know they care, or think she's amazing by any metric.

“So, I guess it is time for me to explain what I mean. When I say make a character wrong, what exactly does that entail.”

What she is taking far too long to say is what I already said. She's talking about hamstringing your character mechanically, under the fallacious belief that it will make the character “better”. That's it.

“But I am suggesting that it is okay and even good to try creating a character who has complexity...”

Logical character combinations can also have complexity. It's called personality. You have one, to a point, it's just identical to every other psuedo-gamer cosplay Patreoneer.

“...and doesn't look like every other D&D character that anyone ever makes.”

You heard her, people: don't make boring humans and icky dwarves. No no no, make tieflings and dragonborn, because those aren't common at all, and the most important feature about someone is their skin color, as well as whether they have tails or horns. Individual thoughts and actions are meaningless: only ever scratch the surface.

“First: Weaknesses leave room for growth. I have said this before, lots of people have, but a character having flaws and weaknesses, can be one of the most compelling parts of a story.”

At least, in this instance, you credit others for saying what you’re merely capable of parroting.

D&D isn't about telling your character's “story”. It's about exploring dungeons, killing monsters, and finding treasure. That's the focus. You can focus on your character, should you wish, but remember: it’s a team-oriented role-playing game, not a novel, movie, or single-player video game: everyone else has their own character, and they’re going to be focused on that. They don’t actually care about your cliche-ridden backstory.

“It gives the character something to overcome and somewhere to grow. Let's say you play a clumsy rogue. Their journey as they work to become more dexterous over time backed up by magic items or attribute bonuses as they level could be a really compelling character arc.”

It's not compelling at all. It's a player saying, hey, I rolled up a rogue with a low Dexterity, so I'll suck at what I'm supposed to do until I gain a bunch of levels, and/or find a magic item to bump it up to where it should be. Or gain levels and put points into Dexterity. Then I’ll still be behind the curve, anyway, because a competent rogue will still be ahead of where I am.

All you're doing is making the game perpetually harder for yourself, and forcing the rest of the players to carry you more, all because you're too stupid, selfish, and maladjusted to develop a meaningful psuedo-identity or goal that doesn't involve inconveniencing everyone else.

“And it gives you, as a player, a goal to pursue.”

Yeah, however many levels it takes to get stat bumps to get you to where you should have started. Wow, so very compelling and engaging. Can't wait to see how it all turns out. I am curious how this differs from every other character also looking for items to give them more bonuses to doing things they want to do.

“Play a wizard who for some reason is struggling to learn anything but divination spells.”

That's the best you can do? Pathetic. Play a wizard that doesn't cast spells, period. Either because your character's Intelligence reflects your own, or because your character learned magic but then realized it's a crutch, and so disregards it. Or, your character wants to learn fireball, and refuses to cast any spells at all until then.

No, wait, even better: you want to wish someone back to life. So you've decided to learn the wish spell, but don't care about the other stuff. So you need to get to what, 17th- or 18th-level as a wizard that never uses magic. Bonus points if you still prepare spells and cantrips (as a form of practice, let’s say), but refuse to use them under any circumstances.

“Play a Halfling Barbarian trying to prove to the world that the size doesn't make the warrior.”

This was on the cover of an issue of Dragon magazine. Plus people were doing this all the time in 4th Edition due to the Charisma bonus and Charisma-based barbarian features/powers. So, at best you're...almost a decade too late?

“Intentionally building in a surprising "wrong" choice can practically write an interesting story by itself.”

Except it's not surprising. It's banal. It's been done before. A lot. By many, many people. Other people play Dungeons & Dragons you know. Like, really play it. Granted, they don’t post it on YouTube, but I assure you genuine players actually exist. Also, just thought of this now, but I'm pretty sure older Dungeon Master Guides and several issues of Dragon discuss dealing with and interpreting low ability scores.

“Which leads me to my second point: Shake things up.”

By doing what countless players have been doing for decades, right... perhaps someone should congratulate you for arriving where real gamers have already been for around...40 years? Not me. You sound like a fairly awful pseudo-person. But...someone should. Maybe.

“I'm not saying it's not fun to play an Elf Ranger or a Half-Orc Barbarian. But some combinations have been played to death. And picking an out-of-the-box combination of features can help your character be unique and stand out from your average PC or even from the other PCs at your table.”

This is Ginny's millennial woke programming kicking into overdrive. In addition to always lying and projecting, woke-folk are the worst sort of racists (and sexists), so of course Ginny is telling you to focus on race. Forget personality, forget beliefs, forget actions (heck, forget playing): race (and class) is the most important thing when it comes to your character.

If we're talking mechanics this is true, but Ginny is talking every possible facet of your character. So, don't conform by making an elven ranger. Everyone has done that. It's “normal”. Instead buck the trend and conform to what gamers—both pseudo and genuine—have been doing for 40 or so years and make something that only she could disingenuously regard as “unusual”.

Again: it's all been done to death.

“Ignoring what you "should do", opens up a million fun and fascinating opportunities. Just imagine a Lizardfolk Monk, a Dragonborn Druid, a Goliath Warlock. Those are stories you might not have heard before, and almost definitely haven't played”

Those aren't stories. Those are character combinations. Character combinations that have definitely been done before, and virtually every player played just like a human in a crude costume. Nothing special. Nothing interesting. Not now, anyway. It might have been interesting for a moment, a flash in the pan, when the first player to do so rolled it out, and then everyone forgot once they started playing.

“Third: some of the "right" choices might not line up with your character's backstory or personality. For example, Aisling may be a Warlock but her personality isn't particularly charismatic”

Neither is yours, NPC.

This is about the laziest way one could do this: pick a class, and put a low stat in whatever one(s) it primarily relies on. It's the same as a weak fighter or stupid wizard. Okay, you made a crappy character: so what? You’re like a goth or punk kid who thinks she’s rebelling or not conforming, even though she is, just to goth/punk “culture”. You aren’t original or clever. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did a video on combining chocolate and peanut butter.

“She was raised as an outsider by a weird old witch rejected by her community and relentlessly bullied by her peers. And now she's a fish out of water in a society that she doesn't have the tools to fully understand yet”

Also done to death.

“But being awkward doesn't prevent you from making a pact with a powerful fey being...”

Should it? Why? How? I know a lot of incredibly awkward people that would have made bargains with entities in exchange for power. Mostly so they could act out revenge fantasies, or have financial stability, but awkward people seem like a prime target were a demon or some such decide to parcel out power for souls and slaves.

You know, like your Patreon audience. Except it's money for crap they could find for free. Probably better quality, too.

“I have no doubt that she will get more charismatic...”

Yes, yes, we get it. You intentionally gimped your character because you are so boring that you couldn't compensate with either creativity or a compelling personality. Or come up with interesting traits or quirks, or meaningful goals.

But, shouldn’t be hard to get “more charismatic”, because 5th Edition is a Dungeons & Dragons-ish game that defaults to Game Journalist difficulty. Just level up and pump those ability score boosts into Charisma. I doubt you’ll be up to the challenge of roleplaying a character more charismatic than you, though. Not that I think you really play.

“Along the same lines people have criticized me for her multi-class into Druid. Which nobody seems to think is a very good idea. But that doesn't matter to me. She multi-classed into druid not because it was an effective combo.”

Yes, it does matter to you. It matters so much you made an entire video defending your trite narcissism.

“Her arcane focus is a bottle of dirt for god's sake, it just made sense.”

I like how you say that, “for God's sake”, as if anyone is supposed to be impressed with it, and everyone else should have expected you to do so. As if we're supposed to think, wow, a bottle of dirt, of course you would multiclass into druid. Instead of sticking with warlock and inventing a bunch of nature-themed invocations and spells, maybe class features to gain some druidic abilities.

Which would have made more sense, but would have required effort. And NPCs are not known for that. Or vision. Or common sense.

“Fourth: What's the point of being given choices if some of them are "wrong"”

Presuming you mean “not proper or usual”, welcome to every tabletop RPG I've ever played, and some you've perhaps at least pretended to be interested in. But, what's the point of making unusual choices? Depends: some do it for the challenge. Some do it to see how it works out. Some do it because they randomize their character completely (which is something I have done).

Others do it because they’re bereft of creativity, and must resort to subverting expectations in a last ditch effort to seem clever and interesting.

Like you.

D&D assumes a very bare minimum from its players, and that is that you bother reading up on the Player's Handbook. It might seem daunting, but there are pictures, and given how much time jobless liberals with no responsibilities or expectations spend online feigning both victimhood and that you have anything interesting to say, that you're someone worthy of attention, frankly assuming you can read it shouldn't take more than a day.

After all, it's not like you have anything better to do with your time.

In doing so you'd know what ability scores synchronize with which classes, and what all the feats and spells do, and this would help alleviate most chances of you making an intentionally “unusual” choice. You can gimp your character on purpose, as countless players have done in the past: the game will be harder, and other players might be justifiably annoyed at your personality overcompensation complex.

But, hey, gives you something to whine about later. That other players just didn't “get” you, what you were trying to do, which to be clear, was making a crappy character under the pretense of originality. That they were just mean ol' min/maxers, obstinate optimizers that only play to “win” in a game where your character can die, and you can just hop back in in around 10 minutes and keep going. Because success is bad (just like ugly is good). Liberals don't like that, as it reminds them of their meaningless, joyless lives.

Of course, I think what you actually mean, but are deliberately trying to obfuscate, is an unpopular choice. This is something a game designer can't avoid, though they can try to ensure that, generally speaking, no choice is so abysmally bad as to be essentially worthless or nonfunctional. But these things happen, which is where errata or houserules come into play. No big deal, this has been going on from the start.

But then you liberals show up. In need of constant attention and validation, you can't settle with a “boring” human fighter. No, that won't do. Dwarves are also played out. That Constitution bonus is too useful. Elf? Eh, we're getting closer, but they just have pointy ears. Halfling is more the ticket, but this isn't 3rd Edition and they don't have Strength penalties anymore.

Eventually you default to a “monstrous” race. Something clearly not human, ideally without supporting ability scores. Better to belly up at the table and have the other players ooh and aah at your stunning and brave choices. Like a baby. Of course normally this wouldn't really matter. The game will get going, the players will focus on their own character, and it'll probably take them a while to remember your anthropomorphic representation of your not-so-secret sexual fetishes.

Which is why you'll keep bringing it up whenever possible. Need to keep reminding everyone. Need them to keep paying attention, and at least humoring what you regard as brilliance. Assuming they’re genuinely interested in playing the game, God help your DM and players if two or more of you NPCs collide at the same table.

“D&D lets you build any character you want. You're allowed to combine any race with any class. You're allowed to pick your own spells and subclass and assign your own stats.”

For the most part, yes. Methinks it's gotten too easy though, with a lack of ability score requirements and race restrictions.

I do find your deliberate use of “allowed” interesting, and am not surprised that you interpret this liberty as a blank check or invitation to make an intentionally underpowered character, something the other players will need to tolerate and compensate for, for purely self-serving purposes.

“If all Warlocks were supposed to have Eldritch Blast it would be a class feature.”

You are not declaring any sort of deep wisdom. Not that anyone of note said they must. I'm guessing it's really good, though, and can see people innocently inquiring as to why. A crime, I know.

“Because I think it pretty clearly disproves the idea that there's a wrong way to build a character at all.”

If there is a wrong way, it's your way.

“If it's not against the rules, it's not wrong. Period.”

A fallacious statement, as no one said or even began to imply that what you did was “against the rules”. You're just attempting to sound authoritative and benevolent. That said, there are plenty of things one could do that aren't technically against the rules, but still wrong.

“Imagine if someone held out a tray of rainbow colored cupcakes to you and said, "Hey take a cupcake, any cupcake". And you said thanks "I'll take a purple one". And they said, "whoa whoa you can't pick purple, you have to pick green, or yellow".

Just rainbows? No unicorn horns and/or gummi dildos stuck on top? Also, why is there a purple cupcake in a rainbow tray? Or for that matter, green or yellow?

This analogy, like your characters and whatever snippets of identity you're capable of mustering, is both terrible and false. Here's one that is actually somewhat accurate: someone told you to pick any cupcake, you picked a purple one, and then went around showing it to everyone, jamming it in their face, declaring that you picked purple, and asking them what they thought.

Slowly, carefully, they would back away. Some would say, yeah, that's great. Good for you. Others might say yep, that sure is a purple cupcake, and seek out sane party-goers trying to have actual conversations as opposed to validated emotions. A few might say that they aren't a fan of purple, and wonder where you got a solid purple cupcake from a rainbow tray.

It's the last group that pisses you off. They don't like purple cupcakes? Why not? How dare they. They didn't emotionally validate you, and since you base your decisions on that basis, you feel bad (which, you should, but not for that reason). You can't go, huh, and just do what you're doing. No, everyone needs to enthusiastically agree with you, and tell you how smart and awesome you are.

They don't, because you aren't.

“You'd be confused right, because they said pick any cupcake. So do it. Pick any cupcake. You're allowed.”

The only confusing part about this whole example (besides the purple cupcake on a rainbow tray), is how you somehow conflated making a character that people don't agree with, or might gently question, with someone offering you choices but then saying you can't make a choice.

Which didn't happen. You made a character and an unknown number of people were confused why you didn't make one specific choice. How thin is your skin, seriously? Maybe don't show people your characters if you can't handle any level of criticism.

“My fifth and final point is a bit of an obvious one, but despite that, I think a lot of people forget it...”

Enlighten us, o' profound gaming guru that actually games.

“But in the end it is a game, and we play it for fun”

Normal people do, yes.

“As Matt Mercer so eloquently once stated: "It is ridiculous to tell someone your fun is wrong"”

Ah, an argument of authority. As if Mercer is anything remotely resembling an authority figure in any context. Unsurprising you mention Mercer, yet another NPC that pretends to play for attention and money. What's funny (besides the fallacy) is that NPCs like yourself tell people they are playing wrong at every opportunity. I'd say it's ironic were hypocrisy not a golden standard for woke-folk. 

“If you would have fun playing a character that isn't "optimized" how could that be wrong?”

I love that you're essentially saying, if you are having fun, then nothing else matters. It betrays a child-like mentality, that nothing else matters but your own enjoyment. It's also unsurprisingly hypocritical, as you would be the first to criticize and censure someone for daring to enjoy a hobby in a way you deem inappropriate, even if it didn't actually infringe upon anyone else's engagement.

But, to answer your question: easy. If you intentionally make an incompetent character, a burden that everyone else has to shoulder just to get by, you're doing it wrong. This of course transcends merely not choosing a very useful spell. That by itself isn't enough, so long as you can contribute in other ways.

Playing a Charisma-based class, with a low Charisma, though? Really depends just on how low it is. It almost sounds like the sort of character one would play, so they could use it as an excuse for, or projection of their own failures and personal shortcomings.

“Now whenever I make this kind of video, I know the comments are going to be full of people who think that they have found the one weak point in my argument...”

There's no “argument” here. You're upset people don't agree with a few decisions, and so are trying to brush it under the rug by saying “there's no wrong way to play”. Like trying to defend someone that churns out childish scribbles and claims it’s art. You're seeking emotional validation, as well as fodder for future vapid videos where you pretend to have stumbled upon some grand secret that was already revealed, debated, and settled decades ago.

But I don't think you “know” this. This is just you setting your expectations deliberately low, in order to garner sympathy from your simps. Let's call it simpathy. You know the comments will be people agreeing with you, telling you how smart and “amazing” you are. Like you, they want attention and validation. Like attracts like, I suppose.

“And I should be embarrassed for even making this video...”

You should be.

“First, a lot of people have responded to my defense of Aisling as more narratively than mechanically driven...”

The fallacy here is that you're implying that making a terrible character makes it more narrative. You, well not you, but a competent player can create a competent character that is just as, if not (likely) more narratively interesting. The two aren't mutually exclusive. You just don't have any good ideas, so you're resorting to subverting expectations and hoping the people bothering to acknowledge you are as intellectually bankrupt as fans of the latest Star Wars trilogy.

“By telling me that I shouldn't be playing D&D. And I want to be clear I think it's a great idea to explore other systems and other games. I have been exploring some with my groups lately. And I totally get that there are systems that are more focused on storytelling than D&D typically is.”

Yes, and most are utter trash.

“But also, I like D&D, and so do my friends”

At least, you claim to because it's popular.

“We're allowed to like it, and we're allowed to play it, even if you disagree with how we play it...”

This is Ginny trying to convince her audience that she is being brave and taking a stand. She's implying that there's some sort of menace trying to stop her from playing a game. There isn't, but she needs a villain to “combat”, so that she can seem confident and strong. Wolk-folk love doing this, because they are in reality cowardly bullies that cannot withstand criticism.

It also wouldn't be very dramatic were we to see what, if anything, truly transpired, which is probably a few people just wondering why she didn't take eldritch blast. How can you make a dramatic video out of that, where Ginny goes through practiced expressions and eye movements in order to simulate emotion, overreacting more than she already is to simple questions that could be resolved with, “I don't know, I just wanted to see how things would go without it” or “the last warlock I rolled up had that, I'm just trying to mix things up”.

“At my table, D&D is not stopping us from creating the characters that we want to create and telling the stories that we want to tell. We're having a good time.”

No one implied otherwise. This comes across as forced. As if you're hoping that if we believe you're having fun, that it will be true. I'm skeptical, as you come across as a terrible player.

“Not every table is going to be hospitable to weird, experimental, flawed characters like we've been discussing today.“

Here you're deliberately misrepresenting your imagined opposition. The character you've described isn't weird or flawed. If anything it seems like the standard fare conformity I'd expect from someone trying to be different by purportedly subverting expectations.

Your Charisma is “low”, but you don't say how low. Is it 16? 15? 14? 13? 12? Is it in the negatives? At what level is it universally considered to be “low”? Some people use point buy or a standard array, and would say that 16 is the absolute lowest. Some might think that 14 is the lowest you can go. It would all be based on Challenge Rating math, such as AC and saving throws, which I don't know.

Your backstory also isn't weird, or experimental. But then these would be subjective, anyway. Some players might think tieflings are “weird”, while others might need to witness further extremes, like a gelatinous cube or cranium rat. As it stands, tieflings are featured in so much art that your typical 5th Edition player wouldn't bat an eye. Ironically, I think you'd have better luck perplexing them by playing a human.

Of course the criteria is kept vague. Easier to say that some players, obviously just intolerant of your not-at-all-played-out-creativity (so-called), just can't handle it. They just don't get you, because you're so deep and complex, right? When really they just wanted to know why, or don't even care. But as a narcissist, anything except enthusiastic affirmation is unacceptable.

“Every table gets to work out what kind of game they want to have. And if that's an optimized game, where everyone tries to maximize their effectiveness, then so be it”

Which you also don't conveniently define, but the implication here is that a normal character, with normal ability scores—at least those that a class relies on—fall within the expected range. This is somehow an issue because it's what normal people would normally do. What they would conform to. Instead they should conform to your behavior (which is itself conformist), and make gimped characters, not because it's better for social roleplaying, background, development or whatever, but for its own sake.

"But for those of you who may be playing at tables that you wish were a little more open to getting creative and messy with your character builds."

Which, to be clear, is just putting low stats in key ability scores and mashing races and classes together that arbitrarily "don't make sense" or you mind consider surprising. Even though they've all been done before.

“Maybe this video will help them understand why you want to play that Tiefling Paladin or that Gnome Fighter”.

Wooow, thanks for the suggestions, because no one has ever rolled up a tiefling paladin or gnome fighter before. It's not like tiefling paladins were all the rage in 4th Edition due to their Charisma bonus, and gnome fighters didn't have race-specific weapons since 3rd Edition. Or a Constitution bonus.

Frankly, people have been rolling up tieflings since 2nd Edition, when they made their debut in Planescape. I played a tiefling fighter (paladin was out because of the high ability score requirements), and even used a Skills & Powers article in Dragon to exchange most racial features for wings.

Coincidentally, a gnome fighter was the first character I ever rolled up in 3rd Edition. Terrible combination due to the size-based weapons and other penalties. Toughed it out until 6th-level, then the campaign tanked. Just as well. No reason not to try it in 5th Edition. Not like penalties exist, anymore. Couple that with point buy and you're guaranteed to be at least baseline competent.

“And maybe next time you can all try some weird stuff. That sounds like an exciting game to me.”

Frankly it sounds like a narcissistic nightmare, a table where everyone engages in a character creation contest by way of mad libs, trying to amaze and confound each other with imagined genius as they mash increasingly absurd components together, instead of playing the actual fucking game.

As has been made abundantly clear, Ginny isn't some enlightened gamer preaching anything new: people have been making intentionally underpowered, shitty characters from the start, for various reasons. If you make a terrible character to compensate for a dearth of creativity, don't. The least you could do is not be an asshole and make a creatively bankrupt character capable of pulling his own weight.

If you want to really shake things up? Roll your stats. Record them in order if you want to be daring. You can also roll race, or just play a human if you want to, in your mind, challenge yourself to dig beneath superficial traits like skin color, horns, and tails. At least this way the dice are to blame for any shortcomings. 

Of course you might end up with a really good character, and then have to cope with, I don’t know, luck privilege? You could always give it to a player that’s lower on the progressive stack, if you need to indulge your white savior complex. As an added challenge, skip the backstory (and session 0) and just play the goddamn game. See how fun it is when you aren’t obsessing over yourself for once.

If you're tired of woke content, instead of supporting people that hate youlike Wizards of the Coast and 99% of so-called indie creatorscheck out Dungeons & Delvers. It's based on Dungeons & Dragons (and will give you a similar, more classical experience), but doesn't browbeat you with ham-fisted racist, sexist, Marxist ideology under the pretense of progress. 

The art also features actually attractive women, too.



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