Vicarious Roguism

With all the temptation to join in the current MMORPG’s and my recent acquisition of Dragon Age: Origins, I’ve been pondering much about something I always find myself doing. For so many years now, I’ve loaded up that stereotypical fantasy game with its promises of epic diversions and crafted an identity from the depths of my imagination confined by pixels and stats. I’ve named the blank sheet of a character some elegant, yet completely impractical name, defined my identity through them with the idealistic traits I find myself drawn to artistically (long hair, fair eyes, athletic build).

When it came down to what job this fantasy personality might be, I’ve almost always settled on the class Rogue (or various incarnations, including but not limited to: Thief, Gambler, Assassin, and Corsair). Sure, I’ve played other classes just to see what they’re like, but this is the one that always felt closest to home.

Why is that? Do I secretly want to sneak into places I’m not allowed to be in? Do I suppress the urge to steal purses when citizens walk by? Better yet, do I somehow want to be an outlaw? Do those of you who play Warriors or Paladins find that this reflects your own personality as far as being honest and straightforward? Mage-players, do you find that this reflects something about your proclivity for intellectual thought and logic? Stereotypically speaking, of course.

While I don’t profess to be an outlaw, I’ve always been intrigued by forbidden places. There’s a house on 18th street in Midtown Atlanta that’s been abandoned for a few years and I can’t resist the urge to peek inside when the door is open. It was once a bonsai studio and I can make out the tall studio windows, broken glass, and husks of hanging plants still inside. I’ve never gone in, however, and I’m ceaselessly intrigued whenever I walk by it.

If anything, it’s the Rogue’s tendency for moral adaptability that encourages me to enjoy them most. I’ve never been one to settle for a black and white view of the world. There’s always a different slant to any debate, a possibility to see between the lines. This also links to my love of characters, particularly villains, who can gain our sympathy because they have strangely logical and sympathetic reasons for doing what they’re doing. By going Rogue, I like the ability to keep people guessing and to play the Trickster. Tack on a healthy dose of cleverness and you have traits I admire and would go so far as to say reflect my own personality (if you subtract two parts air-headedness and one part inability to be stealthy).

Funnily enough, I more often than not play the gentleman thief in most RPG games. What this says about me, I don’t quite know. The fact that I also play Elves/half-Elves almost exclusively is an entirely different debate altogether (elegant, aloof, nature-loving, snobbish? Hmmm…future blog topic, methinks).

Maybe it’s no surprise my favorite superhero is Batman, the most Roguish of superheroes and the definitive figure for that shadowy part of ourselves that does what it takes, even if it takes breaking the rules, to bring justice to the world.

But I’ve gone from D&D to Batman all in one post so I think I’ll end this for now.

What class do you play? What do you think this says about you? What fascinates you about any particular fantasy role? I’m dying to know!

Image from Thief 3: Deadly Shadows


  1. Hayley E. Lavik says:

    Well, I’ve mulled my vicarious roguism to you before here, but every time I explore another rogue class, it reasserts itself, it’s the going places I can’t normally go. It’s giving in to that urge to go wander around in the middle of the night, except my normal self rather lacks the knives, agility, and parkour to avoid getting mugged or something. It’s sneaking around in buildings after hours, walking unseen backstage, lurking in the rafters, all that awesome stuff. I haven’t yet sat and picked at what that means about myself (I’d like to believe it’s something other than an antisocial streak) but when I do, it may call for a reply blog post. Rogues make it by the traits I have/admire (won’t make any claims on how cunning or tricksy I am), so it’s a more enjoyable form of video game/roleplay escapism and easier identification for me. Somehow though, ninjas don’t evoke quite the same appeal for me… perhaps it’s the lack of potential charisma and mouth.

    Though unrelated, I gotta say I never thought of warriors as honest and straightforward. Paladins, absolutely, but unless a warrior class had a specific soldier-style origin, they always strike me as more ambiguous, potentially more mercenary. After all, what’s a D&D group but a bunch of people trying to make a living off doing random quests. Someone’s gotta hold the money (and our paladin got decapitated too early in the game to warrant that responsibility).

    As for others that fascinate me…I really enjoy finding a good novel that explores ‘classes’ not usually found in video or tabletop games. Some things just don’t work well in a combat oriented setting, like spies and courtesans (Kushiel much?), troubadors, and the like. All vaguely roguish, of course. Sure, there are some D&D prestige classes for these sort of things, but a lot of them rely on much more rp-heavy games, which often don’t fly.

    And now I think I’ve exposed enough nerdism for one night.

  2. Angela Sasser says:

    Ah yes I enjoy walking (and driving) around at night too. No traffic, no people (for the most part), and the stars (if you’re out in a dark enough area to see them). I particularly enjoy walks at sunset, but before this turns into a Rogue’s classified add for a partner, I will continue with my reply XD

    I’d like to think I’m tricksy and clever too and that’s what I like about Rogues, but even if I’m not like that in real life (my clever comebacks come more often 20 mins later), I’d like to be, and I think that’s another thing I like about playing them. I can pretend I’m cleverer than everyone else in the party. I agree about the ninja as well. Whereas I do enjoy a good ninja stealth game or movie and find them fascinating on one level, I don’t necessarily bond with them as much as the mouthy in your face pirates and rogues. Ninja are too damned quiet and impersonal. I like to let an enemy know it was me who just punked them:D

    And yeah warriors I’ve played with have always been the more honest type, but they definitely have more potential to go merc than paladins since paladins are bound by religion. I guess I think of them as honest and straightforward because my first memories of the traditional D&D inspired warriors come from the fact Warriors were always the main characters in things like Record of Lodoss War and any other D&D inspired stories and video games. They’re always the class of choice for heroes and are almost always honest and straightforward, even if the players I’ve known tend towards the merc variety. Warrior equals hero to me and if they’re not honest, they’re generally pretty straightforward about their intentions.

    Funny you should mention spies, troubadours, and entertainers. I’ve been convinced into trying out Bard as a class and I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy it. I like the role of subtlety and focus on roleplay rather than action, or at least I’m not quite sure how I can really be in the front lines of any D&D session with a Bard. We’ll see once I ever get a chance to join the group my friends are running:) I’m excited to get back into it.

    And now I think that is enough nerdism from me as well XD Hurray for nerding together!

  3. Ethelie says:

    my choices are always 1: Elf 2: Rogue/Assassin/Thief 😀 (if available). Thats why I like Assassins Creed so much: it’s got all I want from a game – the ability to climb everything and killing people.
    I dont know what it says about me, but I’ve always like playing the rude and vicious character. I guess to live out that ruthless part in me that glipses forth from time to time but is supressed by society’s lack of interesting careers.

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