Recycling The Trash Ninja
A question came up, regarding FuBar’s uniquely-specific definition of what it means to perfect his art, and how it’ll work out in play. At this point, I don’t feel at liberty to discuss the specifics of FuBar’s beliefs and attitudes. The character himself probably couldn’t describe it; he’ll know it when he sees it. So, I’m going to leave the details for future character development. Or whatever passes for character development, down in the dungeon.
That said, I think I can give a more detailed outline of what’s going on.
In the past, I’ve seen a few characters who have effectively had some kind of long-term obsession that amounted to “become the best” or “become a master”. More often than not, the main way that obsession manifests is through picking fights with anybody who looks like they might be a challenge.
Oh, sure, they’ll put points towards improving their kung fu, but then, who doesn’t? And, oh, yeah, they’ll chase rumors of advanced techniques, they’ll harass every elderly person with long eyebrows that they meet in hopes of training, they’ll chase down dragons so they can immerse their fists in the poor critters’ blood and make their fists Like Unto A Thing Of Iron… but, again, who doesn’t? All player characters are obsessed with garnering personal power. Some want the Holy Avenger sword, tailored in their preferred size. Others gather spell-books and power items. Skill-mongers are gonna monger that skill.
So, in the end, a lot of these characters end up trying to measure themselves against others, because if you’re a master, you can take on anybody, right? If your skills are perfect, none can stand before you. Like the man said, “If do right, no can defense.”
In FuBar’s case, though, it’s more than just a question of who he can out-fight. It’s all about his position in life.
Analogy time: Imagine some bright-eyed young kid, freshly fallen from the back of the turnip truck, with a scholarship to go to law school. She’s the first one of her family to see the big city, much less pursue higher education. She says to herself, “I am going to dedicate myself to my dream. Someday, I will be on the Supreme Court.”
And so that’s her definition of how to “win” at law. Of course, when she gets there, after years of school, and joining a firm, and working her way up through the ranks, and so forth — a whole campaign’s worth of adventures, if you’re into running that kind of campaign — it’s still not the end. She’s got to deal with her success. So, she trades out her “perfect her lawyer skills” Obsession for new disadvantages, appropriate to her new position. Maybe it’ll be a new “dedicated to justice” obsession, or a rival justice, or Odious Personal Habit: “Always reminds people how she worked her way up from nothing to the top”.
So, there’s a place in life, that if you showed it to young FuBar today, he would call it paradise. It would be everything he could dream of having. It’s… not really all that impressive, compared to the usual delvers’ dreams of riches. It’s a little more complicated than “three hot meals and a blanket all to myself without too many fleas”, but only a little. He’ll have to spend a big chunk of points and do some work, but if he lives, he’ll get there.
When he does, he’s won the race. It’s just that by the time he’s there, he’ll be running a new and longer race. So, when he gets there, we’ll trade out the old “perfect my art” disadvantage for the equivalent value in disadvantages that fit his new, improved circumstances.