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Character Types: Strong Vs. Fast

Apr 05, 14 Character Types: Strong Vs. Fast

When it comes to martial characters – read: characters who fight – there are often two distinct types. You have your strong, tough characters that hit like a charging bull and shrug off enemy blows as they wade through their foes. Then you have fast characters that land blow after blow after blow before their enemy ever gets a single shot off, evading every attack levied against them. When I was growing up, strong characters were often favored. Characters like Conan, Hercules, and Sir Lancelot but as time went on, I noticed change. Fast characters became more popular and over time, you stopped seeing a lot of strong characters in games. Characters based more on the ideal of the agile martial artist, the swift ninja, or characters strait out of the Matrix and Japanese Anime were the commonplace. Lately, I have seen that player preference being to shift once again, creating more of a balance between the fast and the strong, and in light of that I figured it was time to talk about what advantages each character type has over the other and what makes them both incredibly fun.

First off, lets look at strong characters. Strong characters do one thing and one thing really well, damage. Strong characters often wield large weapons that are capable to dealing massive amounts of damage. This tends to give strong characters a distinct advantage early on in game play, and that advantage is never really diminished by a whole lot as enemies get stronger and stronger. Strong characters also tend to wear heavier armor, which depending on the system you are playing in will either make them harder to hit at all or allow them to resist a fair amount of damage from each blow they take, both which improve their survivability. Strong characters tend to have a hearty amount of health/hit points, which allows them to stay in the fight longer before needing to rely on healing items or another character to assist them. Unfortunately, strong characters tend to be slow. Heavier armor tends to weigh them down, as can large weapons in some games, so rarely do strong warriors act first in initiative. There is also a stereotype of the “big, dumb brute,” but I have never seen this as any sort of requirement and players are always free to design their strong warriors as smart and cunning as they please, within the scope the rules of the game.

Then you have fast characters. These characters tend to do less damage to strong characters, but they do the damage more often. This can be either due to being more accurate overall or having the option to land multiple attacks at a time. Damage output between the two types varies strongly from game to game, so it is hard to say which one is better. Fast characters tend to evade attacks outright rather than shrug off blows, which translates to no loss of health/life points and no need of healing, which is certainly an advantage over strong warriors, however when they do take a hit it tends to pose a more serious problem as they tend to be less hearty overall. Fast characters also have the advantage of being, well, fast. This means they are better able to maneuver around the battlefield and will more often go earlier in the initiative, if not first, every single time. Fast characters also tend to be more diverse overall than strong characters, usually being able to perform some secondary role such as sneaking or scouting. While they lack the “big, dumb brute” stereotype, fast characters lean more towards a “dark, brooding” archetype overall, but again this is not any sort of in-game requirement. It’s just a trend that I have become aware of.

So which is better? Honestly, that is entirely up to the player in question. Both have very strong advantages over the other and any adventuring party out there would benefit from having one of these two warrior types, if not both, counted among them.

So which type to you prefer?

As always, thanks for reading and I wish you all good gaming.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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About 

Joshua is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist, and avid table-top gamer who has been in love with the hobby ever since it was first introduced to him by a friend in 1996. Currently he acts as the Gamemaster in three separate games and is also a player in a fourth. When he is not busy rolling dice to save the world or destroying the hopes and dreams of his players, he is usually found either with his nose in a book or working on his own. He has degrees in English, Creative Writing, and Economics.