There is nothing permanent except change.

–Heraclitus

The Evolution of a Character

The other day I was browsing through some of my older RPG files, with character sheets dating back to the mid ’80s, and I found an old friend.  Tibis Alhet, created 12th of October 1986.

Those who know me well, at least in MMO terms, will recognise the name Tibis—it is the name of my universal rogue, and my how he has changed in 24 years.

The original Tibis was an AD&D High-Elf Fighter / Magic-User / Thief.  I don’t remember too many details of his personality, although he must have had a habit of sticking his hands in harm’s way, as there’s a note in the spell book supplement that his right hand had “wonky fingers”.

The next time the name appeared in my consciousness was in 1999, when I was staring at the character creation screen for EverQuest, with a new Barbarian rogue, and it came to me as a character  name I’d used before with roguish connections.  It was here that the first inkling of my modern take on Tibis started to take form, as I put him down as being a follower of Bristlebane, the god of rogues, and a trickster figure.  Over the following five years in-game and in short stories, he moved between a boisterous professional, to a figure tormented by dark visions, to being a cynical opportunist, and finally as a retired semi-hermit continuously bothered by local thieves with something to prove.

About this time I was hoping to take him back to the tabletop, as I had bought quite heavily into Swords and Sorcery’s OGL EverQuest line.  Alas, though, none of my gaming circle was keen on the idea of playing a tabletop game based on a MMO, so this incarnation never got past the writing up of a converted character sheet for him.

In 2004 I moved from EverQuest to the sequel, EverQuest II.  Of course, I had to have a Barbarian rogue called Tibis.  Here I gave him some backstory that he believed that he was related to the original EverQuest Tibis, but he couldn’t be sure of the exact connection as he suffered from considerable amnesia, with a subtext that he was the original, flung through time and reduced in power and stature.  Given his adventures in the Plane of Time, I felt that this was reasonably plausible.

His character in EverQuest II was greatly influenced by the name of the rogue class that was open to him—Swashbuckler.  He returned to the boisterous, cheerful and slightly overbearing archetype that the class name implies and stayed quite firmly there, being reinforced substantially when Bristlebane was reintroduced to Norrath.

Since then, I’ve had a Tibis in both World of Warcraft and D&D Online, but neither game has the kind of background hooks that gave me the ideas for additional personality development that I had in other MMOs.  Warcraft almost had it with the Ravenholdt location and quest lines, but they were never expanded and since rendered strictly optional.

Finally, after Players Handbook 2 was released, I’ve found a new interest in bringing him back to the tabletop with the release of the Goliath race.  They share traits of being large, boisterous, strong and athletic with the Barbarians of EverQuest, and their take on life being a competition would be an interesting extension of Tibis’ trickster tendencies.  Alas, the most suitable deity—Olidammara—had been written out of fourth edition, but Avandra makes a decent substitute.  The only thing I’m hoping for is that Goliaths get an Essentials-style option for an attribute bonus.  Goliath fluff strongly indicates that dexterity would be in keeping for a secondary option, and regardless of whether strength or constitution becomes the fixed bonus I’d be happy.

It’s been a long journey for Tibis, from the tabletop to the MMO and (almost) back to the tabletop again, but he’s evolved considerably over the years and I fully expect him to continue to change as I bring him to other games.

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