Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In Which The Warlock Posits a Deathmatch...

Friends and neighbors, I have another weird confession to make. 

I love watching Deadliest Warrior.  Not familiar?  It's a show that's been on SpikeTV to cater to everyone's geekiest impulses.  Ever wonder what would happen if an Apache warrior fought a Roman gladiator?  Or if a black-powder era pirate fought a plate-clad medieval knight?  Deadliest Warrior attempts to answer those, in an hour long demo filled with splattered ballistics-gel torsos and pig carcasses.

Which?  Is?  Deadliest?!
In amongst the gore-coated carnage, the hosts make judgements about the various techniques, technologies and strategies, then run a series of computer simulations to determine a winner.  Really, the pseudo-science that Deadliest Warrior is just that--so much fakery.  And, for most of the battles, success generally comes down to which warrior has access to the most modern weaponry.  However, there's something intensely satisfying to watch a burly stuntman or ex-Marine bludgeon the ever-loving hell out of a pig carcass with an entrenching tool, a medieval flail, or a Zande throwing iron

The aftermath of a
Deadlist Warrior episode...
In its third full season, Deadlist Warrior has somewhat run out of archetypes to play with, so their focus has switched to actual historical figures.  Sun Tzu fighting Vlad Tepes, Joan of Arc against William the Conquerer, and tonight's mind-blowingly awesome episode:  Teddy Roosevelt against Lawrence of Arabia!

However, it brought up an interesting question in my mind:  what if gaming had a Deadliest Warrior-style competition?  Not for the actual gamers, mind you, but rather for the classic NPCs of gaming!

I know this has been done, once upon a time, in the waning days of Dragon magazine.  Fantasy heavyweights Margaret Weis and Ed Greenwood faced off with their immortal mages, Raistlin and Elminster.  But why stop there?

What would happen if the quintessential barbarian, Conan, faced off against Kratos, the psychopathic anti-hero from the God of War series?  Or, better, if Deadlands' Dr. Darius Hellstrome pitted his infernal devices against the steampunk science of Space 1889's Cronus on the war-torn fields of British Mars?  Oooh, or better:  the immortal gunslinger Stone against the eternal champion, Elric of Melnibone?  Or even a war of the monsters:  the sleeping god Cthulhu against Demogorgon, the two-headed Prince of Demons! 

The Eternal Champion vs. the Undead Gunslinger!
Stormbringer vs. the Guns of the South!
Who is deadliest?!

While, the likelihood of ever seeing these on a fair battlefield is nigh impossible--man, what system would we even use for this?--it's just a touch of wish-fulfillment to see the biggest heavies of gaming face off against one another.  If only, fellow gamers...if only...


  1. I always thought that a version of Deadliest Warrior dedicated to superheroes would be terrific. Figure out once and for all whether or not Wolverine would beat the Hulk or if Superman could take down Green Lantern. Of course the licensing fees would be atrocious.

    I love the RPG icon deathmatch idea though. Wouldn't be that hard to do actually. Just work out a single, generic system to serve as the "battleground" and then stat up the opposing fictional characters.

  2. I know there have been a few superheroes mash-ups in comics past. Mainly JLA vs Avengers and the like, as part of the mid-90s Amalgam comics label. They make for an interesting read...

    Though, for RPGs, the question is what system to use! I couldn't imagine statting up Stone in Vampire: the Masquerade or seeing Elminster in GURPS! It'd have to be entirely subjective...but that's the fun of it all!

    Oh, and by the way...the last episode for this season of Deadliest Warrior? Vampire vs. Zombie. No joke!

    Thanks for the comment, brother!