As the initial party failed due to a lack of diversity, the DM has to brings in more players. To back the three rookie players who have have no idea what to do, he brings in four veteran players to get the campaign going. Adding to the goofballs Merry and Pippin, part time PC Gandalf and the forlorn Frodo and DMPC Sam are the secretly malevolent Aragorn, power gamer Legolas, the ill fated good guy Boromir and our topic today, the old school gamer Gimli. But even a stock dwarven fighter bent on carving his initials on every bad guy he finds can't save the party.
Gimli is a pure fighter, not as creative as Gandalf's take, but more of the classic heavy armor heavy weapon fighter. He solves all his issues through violence, to say charisma is his dump stat is an understatement But Gimli knows how to play the game without having to game the system. He knows the system like the back of his hand, he's got every chart memorized, his rule book is so tabbed it looks like a peacok. Fortunately he keeps his knowledge internalized, and doesn't fall into the trap of being a rules lawyer.
Gimli reinforces every stereotype you can have about a dwarf, he's rude, violent and hates elves. The player tries to roleplay this, but it quickly becomes a self parody. His only answer to everything is apply more axe. Orc mob? Axe it. Giant death metal octopus? Axe it. Nigh indestructible plot device artifact of doom? Axe it. Eventually you can tell he finally gets tired of the campaign when he goes comedy relief for the last third.
After leaving Rivendell with a brand new axe, Gimli is looking for things to kill day one. He's genre savvy enough to know his best chances at massive amounts of axe to face is only going to happen underground. While Gandalf is trying to take the logical route despite the DM dumping blizzard after blizzard on him, and Boromir wants to the sensible route so they can have opportunities to restock and rest on occasion, Gimli is gunning for Moria. He claims its a great dwarf hold where they will have nothing but friends, but he knows it's going to be a dungeon. In every campaign he's played in since that first Gen Con at Gary's house you go underground, you get monsters. He feigns surprise finding all the dwarves dead and goblins everywhere, but he's smiling on the inside. It's axing time.
Gimli learns in Balin's tomb that the game has changed. When the big fight happens the goblins go for the lighter fighters, Aragorn, Boromir and Gandalf. Gimli in his full armor has a hard time catching the goblins, as they avoid his axe knowing he's a dedicated fighter with little chance to hurt him. Instead they swarm the disguised Gandalf, and are slaughtered when the 'wizard' reveals his 10 attacks a turn. Gimli will have to adjust his tactics. While that's anathema to many players, Gimli is wizened enough to know a change is needed.
Gimli's veteran gamer status is proven once again in Lothlorien. When the DM is handing out magical goodies to everybody but Boromir, he blanks on what to give Gimli. He's loaded down with master crafted weapons, his armor is high quality, and the concept of stealth is lost on him. So he asks Gimli what he wants. Gimli wisely asks for a single hair. The DM almost laughs at this seemingly foolish request and tells him "fine, you can have three." Gimli is just dumbstruck by the DM's generosity. He then sites chapter and verse of the going price for a single strand of hair of an ancient epic level elven queen sorceress. It's in the seven digits. And the DM just gave him triple what he asked for. The DM scrambles to find the book and quickly learns what Gimli has already memorized. Gimli is now wealthy beyond measure, and since it was in front of the party there are no take backs. The DM has to acquiesce, but vows to get even at being taken advantage of.
After Gandalf and Boromir perish in unfortunate 'encounters' it's clear Aragorn wants the party leadership, despite that job being explicitly for Frodo to assume. So Aragorn decides first they are going to get Merry and Pippin then catch back up with Frodo and DMPC Sam. Legolas just wants more fighting and the promise of dozens of Uruk Hai is much more tempting than forest fun time with Frodo, who by this time doesn't even want to play anymore. Gimli has two options, go with Aragorn or Frodo. Because he's a stock fighter, he has nothing in survival skills. He holds his nose and heads off with the team killer leading the way.
After futilely chasing the Uruk Hai the trio are unable to catch their prey. This despite the move penalty from the Uruk Hai's armor, Aragorn's ability to ignore rough terrain, and a lack of food aside from just bread. Aragorn constantly reminds Gimli its his fault because of him being a dwarf. Eventually Gimli starts getting snippy with the DM over Aragorns constant prodding. The DM responds by having Eomir threaten combat after Gimli extends a greeting to the Horse Lord. For the rest of the campaign everything goes south for Gimli. But to Gimli, a hostile DM is just another charm of the game. When the DM immobilizes Gimli with the implausible explanation that the warg he just one shot landed on top of him and weighed far more than the dwarf could lift, Gimli responds by showing of his expansive knowledge of grapple attacks and takes out the orc sent to coup de gras him with ease.
When the DM finally gets over his vindictiveness and stops throwing mounted encounters at the dwarf, Gimli sets in for a good old fashioned castle siege. While Legolas gets to show off all four of his prestige classes he's tapped into for a single ability, Gimli gets to show there is no school like old school. So while Aragorn is busy getting the hundreds of elves entrusted him slaughtered by charging a pike wall instead of closing the thirty yard break with Uruk Hai corpses with his expert archers and Legolas is auditioning for Disney on Ice, Gimli simply jumps into a crowd and starts hacking. His experience begins to show as he knows exactly the distance he can clear from his number crunching and where he needs to place himself to the get the most of his cleave feats. When all is said and done, Gimli's kill count is far higher than both Aragorn and Legolas, killing twenty on the wall and another twenty on the bridge and countless more in the breach, he graciously tells Legolas he merely beat him by one to keep the power gamer from flipping out over being beaten. Gimli may be an old veteran, but he doesn't lord it over the others.
The DM however didn't appreciate his grand battle being dominated by a player who knew all the cliches and stereotypes and knew how to exploit them. As punishment Gimli for the last third has very little to do, even in the great fight because of Aragorn's stalling he arrives late. Though Gimli does have a positive effect on Legolas, the elf stops looking for the best combinations and power moves and instead starts looking at tactics and how to predict encounters. But for Gimli aside from the mooks he's thrown as a gift, nothing in the last part is geared towards him. Even in the grand crowning scene Aragorn gets to be king, Legolas has his people show up and the Hobbits gets some love, Gimli gets nothing. Not that it bothers him, next week he's looking down the “player's wanted” board at his game store. There are more things that need an axe to their face.