The Netherbane Way is my ongoing, non-regular column about roleplaying a demon hunter. Sometimes I may stray into other psuedo-classes derived from the demon hunter ideals, but the focus will be around developing a blindfolded demon hunter of your very own.
This post is in direct response to Anna’s post over at Too Many Annas. The topic intrigued me, as it’s one that comes up within the Netherbane quite often. I was originally planning on posting a comment, but I soon discovered that my verbosity once again got the better of me. So I graduated it and transferred it here as a full Netherbane Way article.
Character Power, How to Keep Things Tame.
For the past five years as a demon hunter, I’ve discovered that the easiest way to limit one’s power is by sticking to in-game simulation. This, much like Annorah it seems, can be character / pseudo-class specific, but it’s a solid guideline towards keeping your character “in-check.”
Demon hunters have a very specific list of abilities that come from both Warcraft III and the tabletop RPG supplements. I do my best to simulate these abilities in-game using the abilities of Tharion’s base class (Hunter, in this case). I determined long ago that if I couldn’t simulate it as a hunter, then I wouldn’t allow Tharion to do it in any in-game RP scene against another player.
For example, Felsight can easily be simulated by the “Track Demons” ability. Evasion? A jacked up dodge while under the influence of Aspect of the Monkey (or Dragonhawk) will do the trick. Immolation can be loosely simulated by a well-timed and placed Explosive Trap. But what about Mana Burn or the ever-so-coveted Metamorphosis? I can do neither as a hunter, therefore those are abilities that Tharion either does not have, or chooses not to use for one reason or another.
Mana Burn was an easy one to discard. Tharion’s methods of demon hunting focus heavily around physical discipline and combat prowess. Most of his training evolves the student into a strong physical fighter, not a spell-slinger. That’s not to say that spell-slinging doesn’t have its place, but it just doesn’t fit with the “flavor” of Tharion’s methods.
Metamorphosis was a harder one to discard, because it really is the pinnacle of the demon hunter’s arsenal. However, the nature of metamorphosis—that you actually become a demon in full form—means that it can easily be frowned upon except for the most dire of cirumstances. Tharion has only taken his demonform a small handful of times, and never in a direct 1v1 RP scene. This is largely because there’s no easy way, as a hunter, to simulate the metamorphosis while keeping it reasonably believable. If you’re a warlock? Well … then I’m jealous.
But before I digress too far down the path of “what simulates what,” I wish to veer back around to the core concept. If you limit your demon hunter’s abilities to what you can achieve using natural in-game methods, then you’ve already got a solid filter built right in to your character. And from there it becomes much easier to limit your power and avoid any god-mode type situations.
The other plus side of sticking with in-game simulation? If someone ever calls you out to prove your abilities… you can! It becomes a non-issue to demonstrate your skills when it’s something you’ve become familiar with in PvE and PvP environments.
Granted, some of you may question why you should use distinctly PvE or PvE abilities as a limiter when the nature of freeform emoting allows for a greater possibility of actions. Well, that’s just it—it’s a limiter. The topic here is about limiting your character so as not to get too powerful and begin to encroach on those around you. Even if you are in a freeform emote scene, using game mechanics as a guide will still serve the same function as if you were out questing in-character.
The more willing you are to limit your character, the more good-will and trust you build as a roleplayer within your specific server community. And the irony can be found in a very simple fact: the more people enjoy roleplaying with you, the more freedom you have to express a character’s power. The less you take, the more people are willing to give. This is all part of the concept that I call “Earning Your RP,” which will probably come in a future Netherbane Way post.