Elemental Appearance – Should it depend on the environment?
While driving around during a recent snowstorm (not much snow, but lots of wind), I…
Though I’m not really a fan of April Fool’s Day, I like to think I appreciate the fools that exist in our stories. Clowns and jesters all have a place. But where is it? And how can we use those characters?
Fools have a part to play in all great historical endeavors. Some have had power. Others have wished it. And the wisest have left it to others. But where do they appear in your games?
In history and fiction, fools are often portrayed as simple or stupid, but just as often they are the real power in a particular royal court. Just look at some of the classic quotes I found in a quick search:
“The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever than the men who laugh at them.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”
― Bruce Lee
“He who hesitates is a damned fool.”
― Mae West
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
― William Shakespeare
“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”
I often play the fool as a PC, enjoying the freedom it affords me. A simple die roll can make a decision I was unwilling or unable to make myself as a player, which often pushes the story forward in new and unique ways.
It’s tougher to play the fool as a NPC I think, as they become some of the wisest characters in many ways. Fools are invisible though often in plain sight. And they are sometimes thought senseless, though they often see, hear, and feel more clearly than anyone around them.
So how do we work these strangely dark, comic, tragic, or insightful characters into our stories organically?
Here are seven possibilities for fools in your game:
Your PCs can easily find these characters by reputation in town. Some may use their notoriety as a boon, negotiating for their services. Others may simply stumble into scene after scene making their presence known to any new faces.
As GM, it’s your job to use these characters as tools in whatever Machiavellian plots you may have concocted. As a PC, if you so choose, it’s your job to play one of these characters to the hilt.
And remember that a bit of randomness can introduce a unique twist with a simple die roll. Use your dice like a collection of Magic Eight Balls, asking a question and rolling to get a result. On an even number, go for it! On an odd number, perhaps using discretion *is* the better part of valor.
But never overlook the power of the fool. Who knows what they know and are capable of!
Looking for other NPCs and description suggestions? Check out any of the available Moebius Adventures products at RPGNow, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, or d20pfsrd!