Friday, August 8, 2014

RPGaDay #8: Favorite Character

I'm guessing that this one is asking about my favorite character to have created and played, rather than setting NPCs and background characters.

With all the time I've spent as a GM over the years, the number of characters I've played is rather small. The ones I've been able to play for any length of time is an even smaller list.

Let's start with Konrad. He was the first D&D character I played, back when Third Edition came out. He was a barbarian. The fact that he came out with the name "Konrad the Barbarian" was completely unintentional.

The DM let every character start with a minor magic item, randomly determined. Konrad got a +1 undead bane warhammer. I decided this was a family heirloom and his barbarian tribe was totally into smashing zombies and such.

Then the DM decided to run us through the classic module Ravenloft. One of the features of this module was a fortune telling scene in the beginning that had a number of effects on the events to come. One of these was predicting that one of the party members had the Sunsword needed to kill the powerful vampire lord at the heart of Castle Ravenloft. It turns out that this was Konrad. But since Konrad didn't have a sword, it turns out his warhammer was able to become the prophesied weapon. Just pull this flange and turn that knob and suddenly it's a blazing sword!

Konrad's response to this? "Stupid broken hammer! You made it not hammer anymore!"

And then there was Ted. A friend of mine wanted to try out this megadungeon that he had written, so we got a group together. After my first character in that campaign had died (whose story I will recount later this month), I made Ted, Avenger of Kord.

My initial threat was that my replacement character was going to be a paladin with the Vow of Poverty feat from the Book of Exalted Deeds. Some of the other players are more into optimizing than I am, so there was some discussion about how overpowered the feat was. It actually is pretty powerful, mostly because it requires you to give up on ever getting magic armor and weapons that are pretty much essential for survival at higher levels. But it was suggested that a paladin would be able to get away with it, because paladins, like most fighter classes, are more dependent upon weapons and armor than other classes. So that's when I made my decision.

Though when it finally happened and it was time to roll him up, the rest of the players were unsure if they wanted lawful goodness in the party. So I turned to my back issues of Dragon Magazine and found a variant paladin called an Avenger that was required to be chaotic good rather than lawful good.

I decided on the patron deity of Kord because my previous character, who was a cleric of another deity, had made fun of a small temple of Kord we had discovered in the dungeon. Kord was technically a god of strength and athleticism, but my previous character instead decided that Kord was the god of carnival games. And I chose the name Ted for the character because of the superhero Blue Beetle, who's real name was Ted Kord. I knew the DM was a comic book nerd, and figured I'd try to score some points while I was at it.

Since paladins need a lot of scores high (Strength for hitting, Wisdom for spell-casting, Charisma for healing and turning. Consitution for hit points), I actually had to make some tough calls. One of them was dump-statting Strength. Even though I just said it was pretty core, something had to give. And since the Vow of Poverty feat gave stat bumps among the many other abilities, I figured that would be a kind of cool "character arc." Watching the weakling turn buff as he progressed along the path of Kord.

The funny thing is, even with that terrible Strength score (I don't think he had gotten it above 10 by the time the campaign fell apart), he was an athletic powerhouse. Whenever I had to roll for him to do something physical, it nearly always succeeded.

At one point, we had encountered a spiked floor trap in the dungeon. If you stepped on the wrong tile, spikes would come out of the floor to impale you. But it turned out that the wrong tiles were pretty easy to avoid. So Ted decided that he was going to jump over the entire trapped section of floor in one go. He had no Jump skill, and a Strength penalty. With the distance that needed to be jumped and the distance of any possible running start, I needed to roll a 20 on the 20-sided die. Guess what I rolled?

Another time, Ted was called upon to compete in a triathlon in order to prove the power of his faith and his god. Again, no Strength and no skill, but the dice came to my aid and he won the entire triathlon, gaining a number of converts to his faith.

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