Those who Guard Sacred Artefacts
Fantasy equal: Smaug
Looting, treasure and powerful artefacts form an integral part of many fantasy tales and especially fantasy-based games. The plot is just about always the recurring theme of the evil threatening the good. Heroes set out to rid their homelands of this malevolent force, but on the way adventure is to be had and treasure is to be found on what is called side quests (in the context of Role-Playing games).
These side-quests are obtained along your travels as you make progress on your main quest. They come from various sources, each with their own alignment (good, evil, neutral) and motives. Some are in search of assistance for a good cause, while others would ask you to perform a dark deed. It comes down to the alignment of your party, usually your team leader, of whether you accept to perform the quest or not. Your party members have their own reasons for joining an adventuring party on a quest which would most likely lead to imminent death. My party of six usually consists of the following characters;
Rangers always are of a good alignment. They would do whatever in their power to eradicate evil for the good of mankind. Unlike Paladins and Monks (who refuse rewards of any kind), Rangers may accept gifts to aid them in the Wilderness.
Fighters can be of any alignment and their intentions vary. In many cases they simply seek the thrill of adventuring and wish to challenge others in mortal combat.
A Cleric may also be of any alignment. They dedicate their lives to their deities, so their cause is that of the greater entity they worship.
Druids are neutral. They strive to maintain balance in all things. Was evil to disturb that balance, they will do all in their power to restore that balance.
A mage may also be of any alignment and like the fighter he wishes test himself in battle, but by means of wit and magic instead of brute force. They are usually power hungry and want nothing more than to have their names written down in history as great mages of their times
The one thing the rogue is interested most of all is loot. He will loan his lock picking, scouting and trap disabling skills as long as he gets a cut of the loot.
In the world of fantasy, most of the very few adventuring Half-lings (Hobbits) are considered to be rogues. Their greatest skill is stealth, even though their massive, hairy feet would suggest they would tread hard and noisily, it is quite the opposite. Their small stature also aids them in moving unseen.
From the book, The Hobbit, the character Bilbo Baggins may be considered a rogue. With his stealth skills, he was able to steal the One Ring from the mutilated creature called Gollum. Gollum was not the only creature he snuck up on in the caverns of the Misty Mountains. He stumbled into the lair of Smaug, the last remaining dragon in Middle-earth. The slumbering Smaug kept (mostly beneath his belly) any rogue’s dream; a giant pile of treasure.
Bilbo played it safe and took a single item; a golden cup, which he stole thanks to the One Ring and its power to render its wearer invisible.
Smaug is the fantasy connection for this collection. Like the great dragon, we too are keepers of what we consider treasure. Here follow a series of keepers whom I believe keep very remarkable artefacts indeed.
"Then, one day in the October of III 2941, one hundred and seventy-one years after his arrival in Erebor, Smaug awoke to find his treasure disturbed. Of all that mountain of wealth, he noticed with rage that a single two-handled cup had been taken. He could not have imagined that the loss of that cup signalled his own imminent downfall; Thorin, the heir of the King under the Mountain that Smaug had driven from his halls those many years before, had returned to reclaim his kingdom. With him came Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit with a magical Ring with which he had invisibly removed that single cup from Smaug's treasure.
In his anger, the dragon flew from his halls, scorching and breaking the mountainside. Thorin, Bilbo and their companions were sealed in a hidden tunnel, and at last the frustrated Smaug gave up his attack on the mountain. Realizing that they must have had help from Lake-town to the south, he set out to punish the Men of the Lake instead.
That was to be Smaug's last flight. Bilbo had managed to discover an open patch in the dragon's armour, and word of this had been carried to Lake-town. In particular, it reached the heir of another of Smaug's victims, Bard, the descendant of Girion of Dale. Bard shot Smaug with an arrow, and though Lake-town was devastated in his attack and fall, the dragon was defeated. In years to come, beneath the waters of the lake his mighty bones could be seen, and the jewels that had lined his hide: the last remains of the greatest dragon of his age."