Character Spotlight: Rex Regulus Rex, Kobold Barbarian

Today, I’m carrying forward the semi-regular column we’ll be posting here at 3-Sided Die called “Character Spotlight,” where we share role-playing characters we’ve created and enjoyed playing. The subject of this essay is Rex Regulus Rex, a kobold barbarian from the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

band of kobolds

Wait, what? A kobold barbarian? This is a typo, right?

For those of you unaware of how strange this is, here’s a quick primer: in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, kobolds are diminutive, spry, and generally wicked-natured reptilian humanoids who fill the “easy-to-kill” and “comic relief” categories of foes you and your party will face as they adventure. Barbarians, as a character class, are powerhouses of primal rage, fearsome in stature and fierce in their battle prowess. That last sentence is the exact opposite of your typical, run-of-the-mill kobold.

Rex, however, is not your typical, run-of-the-mill kobold.

My D&D troupe needed a break from a long campaign, so our game master had the idea of running what he called a “misfits” campaign: a one-shot adventure where we’d roll up the most oddball set of characters you could imagine. Since our main party was the usual mixture of humans, elves, and dwarves, we decided to pick (mainly) nonhuman races such as goblins, hobgoblins, and kobolds. The setting was the exact same world in which our main party lived, and some of us wrote short backstories where our “misfit” characters ran afoul of those characters. Rex was my choice. My co-author, Ness, rolled up a goblin cleric of the sun god, Pelor. We also had a dwarven archer (raised by elves, naturally), a goliath thief, and a hobgobin sorceror.

For Rex’s personality, I decided to give him the well-worn trope of the small-sized hero with the oversized sense of self and inflated confidence. He was tough-talking, brash, and didn’t give a whit about what he did or where he went. When you needed the party to be silent for stealth checks, Rex just sauntered on into the room and bellowed out challenges to everyone in sight. Traps ahead? Forget the details, LET’S SMASH SOME HEADS! Oh, and he spoke with a rough-and-tumble Brooklyn accent, for added, uh, flair. Ness’ goblin cleric became Rex’s “straight man” cohort, whom he called “Sunshine.”

Without further adieu, allow me to share the background I wrote for Rex. Imagine your best Brooklyn accent as you read this. The less intelligible, the better.

So, there I was, digging in the holes with the other kobolds, right? And I says, this ain’t for me. Nope, not for me. I was good at breaking rocks, but I liked breaking heads better. ‘Cept the others didn’t like that all that much. And I didn’t like my name, either. It was pretty awful. I mean, we kobolds ain’t no poets or nothin’. Somethin’ like “Barzall” or somethin’. I mean, who could like a name like that, am I right?

So’s I left. Right then. Went right out. Grabbed an axe or two or many, somethin’ to eat, knocked some heads, and went right out. You know, outside an’ all. I had to run a bit, but you know how it goes.

So I walk around, nowhere’s particular. And I see somethin’. And I smashed it. Then, I saw somethin’ else. So I smashed that, too. An’ you know what? Then I saw somethin’ even BETTER.

It was this little guy. One of them gnome thingies. Trapped in a hole or somethin’. Leg all crazy like my brother’s eyes. Man, he was crazy. My brother, not the gnome, right? Anyway, the gnome. Little guy, real small. And he was quiverin’, right? Scared outta his wits, I tell ya.
He says to me, “Woop-dee-ooo! Oh, Mr. Kobold, sir! Please o please don’t hurt lil’ me, will ya? Woop-dee-ooo!” Man, those gnome thingies, they make some strange noises, they do. So I’s thinkin’ a bit. And thinkin’. And I says, “Hey there, you. Tell me your name and maybe I’ll be all merciful-like and all. We got a deal?” And then he’s all, “Woop-dee-ooo!” Man these gnomes are so weird. He says, “Oh, Mr. Kobold, my name is Rex Regulus Rex. I have a family and a loving home and …” BASH. Smashed him. Right there. I gotta tell ya, heads are SO much more fun to smash than rocks. Am I right?

So’s I take this guy’s name. I like it. “Rex Regulus Rex.” Sounds all formal and all. REGAL even. I really like it. Forget the old name; it’s outta here like yesterday’s rat meat. Boom. Gone. From this day on, this kobold is one “Rex Regulus Rex.”

So then I walk on. You know, in the forest and all. Then, wouldn’t ya know, it starts raining and all. Man, I hate rain. So’s I find a, what’s it, shelter under the trees and all. And then, woo, man, this lightning starts all booming and crashing and what not. Big storm, I tell ya. BIG. So’s I’m sitting and wonderin’ what I can smash next. And this big bolt hits the dirt. Can’t see a thing for like, a while. And this BIG voice comes all talkin’ to me like, “BEHOLD” or something like that. Total big man, this guy. And he says to me, “REX, YOU REALLY SHOULDN’T JUST GO AROUND SMASHING EVERYTHING, YOU KNOW. THERE IS NO HONOR IN IT.” And I says, “Whaddya mean? I like smashing stuff.” And the guy, he’s like glowing and stuff. Big shield, all shiny and stuff. Tall. Kinda, well, really tall. And he says, “SMASHING WITH A PURPOSE IS BETTER, REX. YOU MUST SMITE YOUR ENEMIES, BUT DO SO WITH HONOR AND A PURPOSE, REX.” And I’m all like, “Who are you, anyway, tall guy? No one tells Rex who to smash.” And he’s all like, “I AM THE LORD OF THUNDER, KORD.” And I’m all like, “NO WAY, MAN! I think I’s heard of you and all. Them humans like you, am I right?” And he’s all like, “TOTALLY. BUT YOU MUST FIGHT WITH HONOR, REX. I WILL TEACH YOU, IF YOU ARE WILLING.” And I’m like, “Well, will I get like, you know, POWER and all that? ‘Cause that would be sweet.” And he’s all like, “SERVE ME, AND YOU WILL INDEED FIND WHAT YOU SEEK. I SEE MUCH POTENTIAL IN YOU.” Whatever “potential” means. So’s I’m like, “OK, Mr. Kord. I can do that.” And then he waves his hand and all this STUFF goes in my head, right? Like I KNEW stuff. Awesome stuff. Like how to smash things, but with STYLE, right? I was all staticky and tingly. And then, just like that, BOOM, he’s all gone and what not. Totally gone. It still rained, though. I guess that Kord guy was a big deal. I mean, he was shiny and all boomy and what not. I kinda like the guy.

OK, so then I’m walking around, right? And I see all this commotion. You know, lots of guys bustin’ each other up. Tall guys, like elves or something. Fancy boys. And they’re all beatin’ up on these goblins and stuff. So’s I go to help ‘em. Cause, you know, goblins ain’t all that bright, not like us kobolds, but they’re all right. Good for raids and all. So’s I’m helping the last guy not all smashed. He’s all like, “Oh, good sir! Pelor greet you! Please, I could use your help. My friends, they’ve been ambushed!” And I’m all like, “Wow, you got that right. Youse been totally messed up. I can help ya.” And I help the poor sap up, and I says, “What’s your name, buddy?” And he’s all like, “I am Throck Bonesmasher, devoted of Pelor! What is your name, friend?” Ooh! I’s been WAITIN’ for this moment for, like, EVER. And I says, “I’m Rex Regulus Rex, baby. I’m here to smash stuff. WITH HONOR,” I add, remembering Kord and all. And from then on, woo, it was like good times all around. Lots of good smashing with this Throck guy. But I like to call him “Sunshine” ‘cause he’s all into this Pelor guy. Some sun guy or something. Real nice guy or some such. Sunshine’s a little strange and formal and all, but I like him too, ‘cause he has all this honor stuff too, am I right? But he’s good.

And that’s my story so far, buddy.

What? Hey, what’s that? Ooh! Let’s smash it. BUT WITH HONOR.

Nice, huh?

OK, so a campaign full of misfits, full of race and class combinations that should have meant we’d be dead in, what, two, three rounds at most, right? Well, no. As you can see from his character sheet, Rex is actually pretty buff for a pint-sized ball of pent-up rage. Our game master was a bit too generous with the ability score pool, so our band of miscreants ended up kicking more scales and tails that they should have. That just enabled me to ramp Rex’s misguided arrogance and heedless bravado to higher heights.

Truth be told, I haven’t had this much sheer fun playing a campaign in ages. I’ve found you don’t have to play the serious paladin or noble elf all the time. Adding a bit of Terry Pratchett in your Lord of the Rings-style campaign can go the distance in making an adventure that is maddeningly fun. If you haven’t, give it try! But, in the words of Rex, do it WITH HONOR.

About brightmatrix

brightmatrix is a long-time casual gamer. His gaming journey has included Magic: the Gathering, the first, second, and fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons, and the first wave White Wolf games from the late 90s. If you are a denizen of the Twitterverse, you can read his posts on Magic, web development, puns, and other shenanigans at @brightmatrix.