Features > Tell Me About Your Character > Theodore Dudek

Your name: Theodore Dudek

Location: Southern California


Sex: Male

Pets: I own two rare pets – a green iguana and a red-tailed boa. ^_^ I am a big fan of reptiles, although it is difficult to keep them.

Education: I am the Valedictorian of my high school class. I am starting college in San Diego this Fall.

How many languages do you speak? I speak Polish, English and Russian (raised bilingual). I will be studying Hebrew and Arabic in college.

What is your most prized physical possession? A 20-sided die necklace.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  I would actually like to become a professional RPG gamemaster or designer. I don't know if it is possible to make a living as a professional DM, so I think it might be more realistic to get a job in the industry writing modules, writing sourcebooks, maybe designing MMORPGs or computer RPGs, and generally promoting gaming.

What is your favorite mode of transportation?  I prefer to travel on foot, because you get a better idea of the landscape. Alternately, by plane, because you can really *see* the whole landscape ^_^

 Hobbies/Activities: I like spelunking, climbing (jungle gyms, trees, cliffs, etc.), studying plants and animals, reading, writing, and blogging/following blogger culture and app
culture. Also non-sports games like tag and hide-and-seek.

What was your favorite toy as a child?  I had an excellent sandbox at my
first house. It isn't exactly a toy, but I spent tons and tons of time there when I was little.

If you could have one superpower, which power would you pick? I would
have the language power of Cypher from the New Mutants. Or, I would have the
power to create things, like in the Daniel X series.

If you could pick any other time period to live in - including the future - which would it be, and why? I would like to live in the Napoleonic era in Europe. Alternately, in Han China or in the time of the Persian Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt after that. I'd also like to see what the world is like in 100 years. Really, I'd like to exist in all eras ^^

Community service: I have worked at an animal shelter where I specialized in taking care of abandoned reptile and amphibian pets (these are rarer than you think). The biggest thing we ever got was a baby crocodile, but I wasn't allowed to keep it.

Just to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently living, in your parents' basement?  No. -_-

What is your favorite time of year, and why?  Autumn. I don't know why, I just like it.

Did you have any embarrassing nicknames as a kid?  I didn't really have nicknames, but people would make jokes about Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Which of your accomplishments are you the most happy with?  My most proud accomplishment is probably the Kult game I ran with some friends in high school & junior high. It was a campaign called "The City and the Pit" and it was just a really intense game. I wish all games went that well.

What is the one thing you want to do before you die?  I would like to visit every country on Earth.

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played.  I DM more than I play, but my favorite character was probably Sikubwe Cyang, a N'anga (a class from Green Ronin's African Adventures). It was in a 3e African Adventures game. He was a (at the end of the game) level 13 plant n'anga who had druid-like powers and had all the immunities of a plant, making him EXTREMELY tough, even though he couldn't wear armor. He had incredible buffing & healing powers and could wield a mean thorn-covered staff.

Sikubwe Cyang was born in the great trading city of N'gratriya in N'ker, the civilized
region to the south of the Makharan Jungle (locally called the Ngalgu Jungle). His father
and mother owned a fabric store and were weavers. Their family name, Cyang, was
a N'keri modification of an old Serishan name, showing that he was distantly
descended from a Serishan trader, possibly a fabric-merchant, a purchaser of finely
wrought N'keri furniture, or a jeweller who bought the carbuncles which grow on sea-
slugs in the nearby gulf. The N'keri belief in a single creator deity is believed to be
based on a particular deity of a foreign pantheon, brought to N'ker two thousand years
ago, which swelled in importance past its fellows. Other cults and religions in N'ker
and the neighbouring region include the Yungdrung temple (a recent development),
the sky-god Clal, the mother goddess Makhara, and the Eritrat, a very ancient pantheon of animal-headed gods.

When Sikubwe was an infant his parents' business failed and, rather than become indentured servants to their debtors, they swore a vow to abandon their right to own property and become exiles. They travelled (together with Sikubwe's grandparents and extended family) for a long distance, doing odd jobs. When Sikubwe was 7 years old, his family, an entourage of almost 15 people, was attacked in the Ngalgu Jungle by a group of tasloi led by a monstrous figure that appeared to have scythes or swords for arms. Sikubwe and his mother managed to escape by leaping a ravine into a fast-moving river and clinging to rocks, concealed by the ravine's edge, until morning.

After emerging in the daylight to bury what scraps and mementos remained (the attackers had taken the bodies), Sikubwe and his mother decided not to go to their original destination -- a route which took them deeper through the jungle -- but trekked for a month, their oxen and wagon having been lost, towards the nearest village. En route Sikubwe hunted, found edible plants, and learned much about the wilderness. At last they arrived in a small community in the land called the Undersky, just to the south of the Makharan desert. The Undersky is so called because the ground is flat, covered only with dry brush and squat stubby trees, and there is little shade or water or geographic features. It is inhabited by the sheep-raising Ontokeliteli people, who build great forts and cities of brambles magically treated to resist fire. (The people of N'ker consider the Ontokeliteli slightly uncivilized.) An Ontokeliteli village, Ungum, welcomed the mother and child and the outcasts were given a permanent home. Sikubwe's mother remarried an Ontokeliteli priest (n'anga), Othiamba, a half-elf. 

Othiamba became a second father to the young Sikubwe, and as he had no children of his own, he raised him as a n'anga. Sikubwe was physically weak, but a fast learner and very attentive, and he accompanied his stepfather on short journeys to consult priestly works painted on ancient rocks buried underground. They were sometimes attacked on the way by wild animals (who the n'anga chastised and sent away), hostile desert men, or cannibal demi-humanoids such as the bird-headed Herrabs who live in burrows.

It was expected that Sikubwe, like his stepfather, would become a n'anga channeling the spirit of the ancestor Kaikara, a great psion. (The inhabitants of the Undersky, like those of the Steppes of Makhara, were more partial to psions than wizards, as a great wave of refugees had emigrated from Auralia to Makhara after the destruction of their country.) But the fierce spirit of Kaikara did not channel easily into Sikubwe. Brooding over this, the teenage Sikubwe would often go out and sit in the branches of the dead baobab, one of the few large trees which grew in a gully a mile from Ungum. It was there that, after a great while, he realized that he could hear the spirits of plants and trees better than those of animals or men. Listening to the spirits which still inhabited the dead baobab, he heard something he had never expected to hear -- that the tree knew of Sikubwe's dead father and brothers. The tree could not recall whether it had met them in the land of the dead or heard of them from another n'anga, nor could it recall whether it had known them in past or future, for plants have an unusual sense of time. So Sikubwe said thanks and farewell to his stepfather and went south to the jungle, in search of the other plant n'anga whom the tree had met years ago. As a parting gift, his stepfather gave him a magic periapt which had been blessed by several generations of n'anga.

Sikubwe spent a year going throughout the world, including parts of Cyrm and Auralia. He found that he enjoyed travelling, although when possible he accompanied groups instead of going alone, for he was never a good fighter, and he enjoyed the companionship. He met plant and animal n'anga, shared drinks of water brought up from ritual wells, and collected a bag of the seeds of Adrimola, which sprout instantly into enormously tall trees. Eventually, in the Makharan Jungle, he met a 150-year-old n'anga who had spent years meditating in the form of a small bush. The n'anga, who called herself the Voice of the Leaves, told him that she had known the dead baobab tree when it was alive, and that it was she who had told the tree about his family. The n'anga, who lived in the jungle, had come across the skeletons of Sikubwe's family shortly after they died, spoken to their bones, and reincarnated them in the form of gazelles. Sikubwe found the gazelles who had been his father and brothers, and talked to them, awakening their lingering memories of their previous life. Having gotten the blessing of his original family, he returned to Ungum and, with the baobab's permission, carved a mask from its branches. The mask contained the spirits of the tree itself as well as the n'anga, who had allowed herself to die shortly after the meeting.

For a while, Sikubwe returned to Ungum and lived there as a shaman with his mother and stepfather, turning the parched grasslands green. During that time, he met Son Hideyoshi, and became an ally of the adventuring party. They traveled to Pandemonium to rescue one of Hideyoshi's allies, and fought demons and explored a deadly iron fortress. Later, they returned to earth where they had to deal with an invasion of dragons from an evil empire ruled by wizards.

(Then the DM had to leave town and the campaign ended, but it was FUN...!) -_-

What are your favorite RPGs? My favorite games are Dungeons & Dragons (all editions), Exalted, Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu, Kult, GURPS (science fiction), The Dying Earth, Deadlands, Over the Edge, Godlike, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and the World of Darkness games.

What was your first RPG session like? My first RPG session was run by my babysitter when I was six years old. It was a D&D 2e game, although I didn't realize it at the time. We played it at my parents' house.

What was your WORST RPG session like? My worst RPG session was one where my players looked at my adventure notes when I was out of the room. They were uninterested and disruptive before then but after that, there was really just no point in continuing.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? My babysitter was really good. -_- Seriously, probably a tie between my friends Vartan and Hawwa. Vartan is a great tactician and always plays a good fight, and Hawwa is more of the thoughtful type. (Hi guys if you read this -_- )

Do you have anything gaming-related to plug? I would like to ask everyone to check out my blog, ultimatedm.com  I'm trying to write about all sorts of features of gaming culture, as well as reviews of old and new gaming supplements, and hopefully some new material from my Neo-Pegana Bronze Age Mystical campaign setting for D&D4e! Please come by!


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