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Creators Pet / Tabletop Games

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  • In Bleak World the Princess class is an obvious favorite of the creator, to the point they seem to show up in every single backstory of every other class. While fans views on the Princesses are mixed, it is clear that the author has nothing but love for his girls and presents them in a way that simply screams Incorruptible Pure Pureness. Issue has also been taken with whether or not magical princesses belong in a Horror/Action RPG.
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  • In a Meta example, the Buck Rogers content that TSR in the late 1980s was this; because her family owned the license to the character, CEO Lorraine Williams pushed the company to focus on Rogers to the detriment of everything else, which resulted in fan-favorites like Spelljammer getting screwed as well as costing the company a huge amount of money due to forcing them to buy the Buck Rogers game rights at an inflated price in a clear conflict of interest.
  • In Cartoon Action Hour, a game meant to mimic the feel of an 80's Saturday morning cartoon, there's an optional set of rules where characters can earn "cool" points and trade them in toward perks that happen as a result of things on the production side of the show. One such thing is a writer taking this kind of interest in the player's character, although the actual bonus it confers is minor.
  • The Classic Deadlands supplement Black Circle introduced "a major new force in the Weird West: the Cackler". Not only was he a creator's pet, but all that was ever revealed about him was that he was supposedly the most evil Big Bad ever to walk the world. Heck, the authors even told you not to use him in the game because they had huge plans for him. Actual quote: "What you should not do is bring the Cackler into your game yet. He’s coming, and you’ll know it when he does. We’re not ready to say exactly when, but his presence will change the Weird West forever."
    • For what it's worth, Pinnacle has since done a complete 180 on this, saying that it's highly unlikely that The Cackler will ever turn up again in a Deadlands rulebook. Shane Lacy Hensley has said that perhaps he'll tell the Cackler's story in some other media (probably because the story wouldn't have much to do with a posse), but it's clear that they won't bring him up in a future supplement.
    • To a lesser extent, the Four Servitors were Creator's pets as well, given how much was written about them and how far the authors went to make sure they were overly powerful and unkillable. Heck, a few scenarios involved the heroes unwittingly making those characters even more powerful (sometimes without them even knowing it)! By the time that Deadlands Reloaded came around, the authors generally relegated them to the background and commissioned a comic series where each of their backstories (which again, had little to do with a posse) could be properly explored.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition's Complete Book of Elves. This book caused some fan backlash over the text praising elves extensively, giving them superior knowledge of pretty much everything, moral sanction for everything (even for the arguably fascist grey elves, who kept slaves of other "lesser" elven races who were always inexplicably happy in slavery), the text outright insulting other races, and ignoring elven hypocrisy - this last one most evident in the sea elves, who went on great hunts that could depopulate a region of sharks but were given a pass on disrupting the ecosystem pretty much Because They Were Elves, so it was okay. Somehow. For some reason. Even the author eventually apologized for the Blade Dancer, a fighter/mage kit that gave lots of mechanical bonuses, with drawbacks that amounted to "things a Player Character was going to do anyway" (such as a tendency to being a badass loner who has spent years of Training from Hell before the campaign began, a tendency to rush off into an adventure if it seems that another elf is threatened, and focusing their skill in a single type of weapon), with apparent permission to derail the story by getting to determine for themselves whether a situation was even covered by their code of conduct.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition and 3.5 (essentially, 3rd Edition Revised) had Spellcasters, an outgrowth of the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards aspect that had been part of the game since earlier editions. One of the core rules' main designers was not subtle in his love for wizards, and hearsay claims he thought fighters needed to be nerfed (despite being one of the least optimal classes to take). More generally, spellcasting in 3.x is a versatile pool of abilities for almost any niche, and new spells in every book expanded caster options faster than anyone else. Wizards, clerics, and druids especially benefited - wizards just had to find or research a spell and spend a pittance to add it to their spellbooks, while clerics and druids automatically have access to all spells on their classes' spell lists. In the latter case this lead to the infamous "CoDzilla" (Cleric or Druid + Godzilla) whose abilities and versatile spell selection made them very easy to twink out - though wizards still tended to get more spells written for them in absolute terms. These classes had spells that let them be more stealthy that your rogue note , better at combat than the fighternote , and have easy access to wand and scrolls to get spells that they wouldn't normally get. Said designer also hated the sorcerer class (despite its extreme mechanical similarity to the wizard) and openly sabotaged it in every way he could.
    • Just for comparison, the Tier List for the game has six classes at the top: the wizard, the cleric, the druid, the archivist (who is basically just a cleric with a wizard's way of selecting spells), the artificer (whose main trick is abusing magic items to basically use spells), and the Spell to Power erudite (which can learn spells and Psychic Powers). Of the six, five of them are casters, and the sixth is functionally a caster anyway. The next-highest level is mainly comprised of the sorcerer and the favored soul, who are horribly gimped in comparison to their counterparts (the wizard and cleric, respectively) but still considered far more powerful than other classes. Even the adept, an NPC class, is placed in the middle-tier. Meanwhile, the bottom two tiers contain, out of sixteen classes (including the oh-so-overpowered fighter), one casting-focused class - and it's the healer!
  • The Dungeons & Dragons setting of Dragonlance has the Kender, the setting's Hobbits, whom both novels and sourcebooks hold up as the purest and most innocent of all races, waxing rhapsodic about how cute and adorable they are despite being — or even because of being! — impatient thrill-seekers whose limited sense of fear and insatiable curiosity made them both prone to charging recklessly into danger and compulsive kleptomaniacs. Other official statements include talking about how people who don't like kender don't understand them at best, are pure evil at worst, and are absolute jerkasses in the medium, how "a crying kender is one of the saddest things in the world", and how Krynn would lose something irreplaceable and priceless if kender vanished. Most of the fandom, especially the greater D&D fandom, absolutely despises them. Complaints range from their lore making them a race of Purity Sues and/or just being nonsensical (for example: why are people treated as being bad for disliking the presence of compulsive thieves?), to getting annoyed at the kender status as hypocrites (they get absolutely furious when people call them thievesnote , but obsessively pick pockets and locks in search of fun new things to look at), and the fact that, at the actual tabletop, a race whose fluff calls for them to be played as a combination of Chaotic Stupid and "that jerkass rogue who's always swiping the party's stuff" in order to be played accurately inevitably turns out to be disruptive and frustrating.
  • Pathfinder: The Aasimar race are often accused of being this; it was bad enough in D&D, what with them having a lot of Common Mary Sue Traits inherently built into them, but Pathfinder gave them a massive stat buff that included numerous benefits with few real drawbacks. Ironically, this is only from a crunch and design standpoint; in terms of fluff, Aasimar are somewhat infamous for constantly getting shafted in favor of their fellow Half-Human Hybrids, the Tieflings.
  • Exalted. In a game whose premise is "Godlike almost perfect demigods tragically cursed to bring about their own downfall," the Infernals stand out as being the writer's darlings. Given the nature of the charms, the amount of printed material given to them and their prevalence in the Meta Plot compared to the Abyssals, Fairfolk, which are the other two playable "antagonist", which had both been around since first edition.
  • Elminster from Forgotten Realms. For the crowd that is not into roleplaying: Think about what would happen if Gandalf was the main character of Lord of the Rings and the story consisted of him beating up anything that is a bother and boning the goddess of magic whose boobs are totally big and rad to the max.
    • Part of the problem is that Mystra in turn comes across as very much Ed Greenwood's pet goddess, so much more powerful than any of the other gods (the introduction to Shadows of Doom comes right out and says so) that she basically has to deposit parts of her own godly power in her mortal Chosen. Like Elminster becomes at the end of The Making of a Mage. So Elminster's problem is, in part, that while all the other famous Forgotten Realms characters may be people your player characters can look up to, try to emulate, and maybe one day catch up with... unless you can somehow talk your Dungeon Master into allowing your character to enjoy a similarly "friendly" relationship with Mystra, El is always going to be Better Than You because the Realms' own canon Says So. (And during fourth edition, that option didn't even really exist anymore because, well, Mystra died. Thankfully, this has been undone, along with almost all of the disastrous changes to the setting in 4E.)
  • A long-standing complaint of Legend of the Five Rings fans, though the Creator's Pet in question changes depending on the creator. Notable pets included:
    • Toturi. His faction got the story prize for the first arc despite another faction winning the tournament.
    • The Crane Clan, who got to avoid The Corruption running rampant during the second arc, to the point that a Bloodspeaker from a Crane family was printed as unaligned when every other faction got one.
    • The Phoenix Clan, who after becoming thoroughly corrupted and nearly destroyed, were given such a massive power boost that they completely dominated the tournament circuit for over a year. A number of powerhouse cards even received additional effects just before going to printing. The fact that the lead developer at the time was a longtime Phoenix fan had nothing to do with this, of course.
    • Akodo Kaneka. Dear Fortunes, Akodo Kaneka.
    • Daigotsu's killed two emperors, effortlessly showed up The Dreaded Iuchiban, blackmailed and betrayed the Empress, and then rewrote the cosmology of the entire setting to his liking. Twice. To the Spider Clan, he's a hero. To everyone else, he's a tiresome character that just won't go away.
    • One of the main line writers during the first edition of the RPG was open about his infatuation with the Scorpion Clan's Dragon Lady Bayushi Kachiko. Cue the Scorpion Clan getting talked up as way more clever, better informed, and smarter than anyone else in Rokugan during that time. The Metaplot overall was less kind to the Scorpions when in other writers' hands, given the Foregone Conclusion of the first edition being set before the first story arc of the card game, but Bayushi Kachiko would remain important and influential for a long time.
    • The RPG brought us the Kolat, a Captain Ersatz of the Illuminati who were a Greater-Scope Villain to the players, quietly working to undermine the entire empire. So far, so good — it's a great way to bring a party together across clan lines. When they became big players in the card game, however, they became a Generic Doomsday Villain with no coherent goal or method, and which the players were implicitly beyond the players' ability to oppose, since it was rare to have story tournaments involving them more than once every five years or so. Even then, it was rare for these setbacks to stick — the Unicorn, previously riddled with Kolat agents, won a tournament to purge the Kolat from their ranks... a victory which the story team said caused sweeping changes, but which never had a single line of story or flavor text acknowledging the Unicorn's vengeance on their most hated foes.
  • In the Living Death campaign the character of Jason Lindaman was supposed to be a super-intelligent, Crazy-Prepared investigator who was taken out by the enemy before the PCs arrived. Because the PCs' only real interaction with him was after something heinous that took all four to six of them to handle had physically or emotionally crippled him, many players considered him a joke and/or incompetent to the point that they wished for his death.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, there is a bet every new set: "Which new strategy will be so imbalanced that players will complain about how unfair it is and blame Mark Rosewater?" In the case of infect, Rosewater took blame because he loved poison counters so much.
    • A single character who demonstrates shades of this is Jace Beleren. In each story expansion, he's given more weight and his importance is emphasised. He's gone from being just one of the several new planeswalkers in the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block to being so important as to being the primary focus of the Shadows Over Innistrad block, despite the fact that pretty much all he did was steal Tamiyo's notesnote  (another planeswalker who was introduced in the original Innistrad block) and steal the spotlight.
      • Many fans feel Blue in general sometimes gets preferential treatment from the game designers; when Snapcaster Mage was printed, he was all the daily articles would talk about for several days in a row, and later articles would regularly bring up how great he was. Later, Snapcaster Mage's impact on the game was so profound that every expansion since has required several graveyard-hosers to counteract his power while he remains a creature that is seen in every format of play. Also, the card's ability was originally printed on a Red card, Recoup, gaining some resentment from Red fans. It bears noting, too, that for whatever reason most of Magic's villain characters over the years have been Blue (Laquatus from the Odyssey block, Ixidor from the Onslaught block, Memnarch from the Mirrodin block, Mochi from the Kamigawa block, etc).
      • While there was little question before, since the Hour of Devastation set Nicol Bolas is unarguably this. He's an odd duck in that, unlike Jace, he's not technically a modern-day character (he was originally one of the five Elder Dragons from Legends, but like his fellow Elders was completely devoid of personality or story relevance) but was reinvented as one to provide the Magic universe with a new Big Bad after they killed off Yawgmoth. Since that time Bolas has been on a trip, from defeating classic evil planeswalker Leshrac to effortlessly one-upping his would-be The Starscream Tezzeret. But what made Bolas finally fall squarely into this was Devastation, where not only was a plane ruled by him shown as being so perfect even the heroes had to acknowledge it (although their admiration turns to horror and disgust the more they learn and he later destrys it for fun) but in the climax, he easily defeated all five members of the Gatewatch ((including Mark Rosewater's Creator's Pet Jace detailed above). The resulting Curbstomp Battle was seen mostly from his perspective and played almost entirely for laughs. It's as if the only solution the Magic creative team could come up with for the constant accusations of the Gatewatch team being this was to make them suffer humiliating defeat at the hands (claws?) of an even more egregious example.
  • The Old World of Darkness setting had Samuel Haight. The writers just kept giving him more and more rule-breaking, crossover powersnote  and kept instructing GMs to ensure he lives for another adventure before they finally clued into the massive Hatedom he had accumulated and killed him off brutally. (Then, in the afterlife, he was turned into a (still sentient) ashtray.)
    • Some oWoD writers had a bad habit of doing this with any named NPC. Writer Dean Shomshak elaborates:
      That's the other thing: WW hires people who want to tell stories. But, the only characters they have to tell stories about are the NPCs. So, they tell stories about the NPCs.
      Gods, I wanted to smack some of my fellow writers upside the head on some Vampire projects when they burbled on about the cool things they'd have Hardestadt do, or whoever. What were the *PCs* supposed to do?
      • This quote kind of sums up why this trope happens in tabletop RPGs in a nutshell — it's easy at times for writers of "official" game fiction to forget that even the most interesting NPCs they're writing about are technically only the supporting cast meant to help player characters said writers will never even hear about shine.
    • Both old and new World of Darkness can get into rather crippling "arms races" between creators and their pets. Every line has them, and the line developers will often slip into treating entire character types as their pets.
  • Can happen (on a smaller scale) in Tabletop RPGs in general if the Game Master grows too fond of some of his or her own self-created NPCs. This is one of the primary reasons why the GMPC concept enjoys a mixed reputation at best among many groups.
  • Wargaming: 'Pet Armies' are a ongoing debate. In any period there are armies that people argue are over-powerful in many sets of rules;
    • In Ancients - Imperial Romans
    • Medieval games - 100 Years War English
    • The Character Tiers of Renaissance games seem to be as follows: English Civil War armies > Other European armies > Everyone else.
    • Napoleonics - the French or the British.
    • WW2. The Germans. One oft-repeated joke in many clubs is about a player who fields more Tigers than Hitler managed.
    • The American Civil War - that is a whole can of worms, because players sometimes take the politics into the game.
    • US armies in US rule sets.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy the Blackorc Warboss Grimgor Ironhide is hated by a large part of the fandom for replacing a black orc considered to be better thought through; the writers likes him enough to let him defeat Archaon, another badass character, and thus save the world by being badass.
  • Warhammer: The End Times feels at times like it was written by a Skaven fanboy. They destroy the Lizardmen, the Dwarfs, Bretonnia, Tilea, Estalia and Nuln all on their own, and also blow up Morslieb and Nagash's Black Pyramid, and they also outright escape the End of the World everyone else was experiencing by sinking their lands into the Warp, not to mention their God usurped Slaanesh; this effectively makes them the only mortal faction that really won the End Times. This goes in defiance of all their established military power. Inverted with Teclis, who the writers apparently so disliked that between undoing multiple past attempts to save the world and leaving a Doomsday Device practically sitting out in the open for the bad guys, he probably did more to bring about the end of the world than Archaon did.
  • From Warhammer 40,000:
    • 40ks oldest Creators' Pets have always been the Space Marines themselves. As Warhammer 40,000's mascot characters, the Space Marines get the most exposure and the most updates, while Codex Creep ensures that they remain a potent force on the tabletop. In the setting's narrative, Space Marines are so awesome that they've been awarded the "moral victory" even when they failed a campaign's objectivesnote . Roughly half of 40k's armies are some variant of guys in Power Armor, and Space Marine merchandise sells more than all the other factions combined.
      • The Ultramarines are the Space Marines to the Space Marines, which reached its nadir during the 5th edition. Thanks to letting an enormous Ultramarines fanboy do the writingnote , the Ultramarines completely dominated. The Ultramarines were constantly harped upon as being the best of the best, with very little of other Chapters being mentioned; when they were, it was for them to constantly praise the Ultrmarines and how much they wanted to be like them (thereby ignoring all of their own history and beliefs) or otherwise will be inevitably shafted into obscurity for their "deviance". Mercifully, this was minimised in subsequent codices.
    • The excessive focus on the Imperium is notable for actually undermining part of the game's point. 40K is supposed to have no good guys, and all of its factions would be the villains in almost any other sci-fi setting...but, because we constantly see the Imperial point of view on everything, they end up seeming more sympathetic than they otherwise might.
    • The Necrons have proven problematic for some fans. When the army got its proper launch during 3rd Edition, with a codex positing that the Necrons' undying C'tan masters were essentially the prime source of all evil in the universe, secretly worshiped by a pivotal faction of the Imperium, and responsible for the rise of Chaos, many fans complained that these Terminator knock-offs had usurped Chaos as the setting's Big Bad. The 5th Edition codex has attempted to rectify this by drastically reducing the C'tan's presence in the background, specifically with a retcon describing how they were betrayed and imprisoned by the Necrons. The book also assures readers that many Necron Lords have gone insane over the eons and enjoy delusions of godhood, and points out that what little the Imperium knows about the Necrons are mostly half-truths, lies, or flat-out wrong. Naturally, some fans are now complaining about the changes.
    • The 5th Edition Grey Knights codex - which was incidentally written by the same author as the aforementioned Ultramarine-obsessed codex - introduced Lord Kaldor Draigo, who managed to one-up the Ultramarines through the sheer, over-the-top Sueishness of his accomplishments, which includes but it not limited to: surviving an endless walk through Hell, banishing a Daemon Prince in his first combat action, defeating a Daemon Primarch and vandalizing its still-beating heart, killing a Bloodthirster all but bare-handedly before stealing its unholy axe and reforging it into a sword with the power of his mind, and rampaging through the Chaos Gods' private demesnes without consequence. As nicely as possible, most of these feats are impossible for any Grey Knight to pull off. The 7th Edition Codex was forced to cut all this down a bit (quite a bit). Not that the Knights themselves were spotless: one weapon essentially made the Tau unable to deal damage, the Dreadknight is an impractically stupid-looking vehicle (it's a giant robotic baby carrier, for crying out loud), and fluff-wise, they now cheerfully use daemonic weapons (one of the key reasons that no Grey Knight has ever fallen to Chaos is because they stay well away from the "fight fire with fire" route some Inquisitors take and inevitably fall)... and of course, the most reviled incident where the Knights were fighting a nanomachine swarm, then noticed the Sisters of Battle's faith made them immune to it. So they murdered the Sisters to cover their armor in the blood of the innocent as an efficient protection, instead of leaving pious Imperial warriors alive. If you're thinking that sounds like something Chaos would do... you're entirely right.
      • One common joke for the Kaldor situation is "because GW wouldn't let Ward bring back Guillimannote ". In a curious inversion, the latest edition brings back Guilliman from stasis... and the fanbase actually seems to be taking it as a positive development, since Guilliman is not happy with what's been going on in his absence.
    • This accusation is sometimes leveled at Eldar as well; Eldar are purportedly a glass cannon faction with a healthy dose of Fragile Speedster. In practice, they tend to play more like Lightning Bruisers, with powerful special rules that make their supposedly fragile units very durable, and really brutal firepower. In fact, the only stretch in the game's history where Eldar weren't god-tier or close to it was throughout 5th edition, when their codex was out of date.
    • This accusation was eventually leveled at the Crimson Slaughter warband of Chaos Space Marines. Originally having no lore beyond a name and colour scheme, they suddenly became one of the two factions in the 6th edition starter set, and then received a dedicated Codex supplement before eight of the nine Traitor Legions, those ones that are instrumental to the setting's history. As of late 7th and 8th edition, they're now used as the example colour scheme for most Chaos Space Marine plastic kits.
    • In the first year of 8th edition, the focus has been almost entirely on Roboute Guilliman and his army of Primaris Marines (essentially like Space Marines, but more so) fighting Chaos. Thanks to the time skip this involved, every alien faction apparently sat on their hands doing nothing of importance for centuries. This is most obvious in terms of models; Crafworld Eldar, Tyranids, and Necrons did receive new rules and lore updates, but no new kits. The Primaris also tend to get sidebars talking about them in every available book: for example, Dark Eldar players got to read a sidebar about how the Primaris Marines were the new hotness in Commorragh's arenas and somewhat interesting to the local Mad Doctor faction, the Haemonculus Covens, while Chaos Marines got an entry on how much Fabius Bile wanted to get some to mess with... essentially rubbing the new models into the faces of fans who are likely not Space Marine players.
    • Black Library, GW's novel publishing house, have exactly the same issue with Imperial focus that GW proper does. Let's put it this way. By late April 2018, the Featured bar on the "New Titles" section of BL's website has eleven 40K works in it (twelve entries, but one appears twice because there's a special edition). Eight of those eleven novels - Gaunt's Ghosts: The Lost, Carcharodons: Outer Dark, Legacy of Dorn, Imperator: Wrath of the Omnissiah, Flayed, Dante, Mercy and Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris - are Imperial-focused. As a percentage, this is actually down from Black Library circa 2006-2007, which would at times release four 40K books in a given month, all of them would have Imperial main characters, and three of those would be Space Marines.
  • Champions brings us Doctor Destroyer, an Expy of Doctor Doom. His sourcebook has over a dozen pages describing a variety of his armors, but his personality is a paper-thin series of cliches. Unfortunate, since he's the Big Bad of the setting.
    • Dark Champions brings us his "good" equivalent, a supposedly street-level vigilante named the Harbinger of Justice, who's even more powerful than Destroyer.


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