Just like know stage show goes on without actors (unless you’re stuck in a liberal arts delusion), no Dungeon Master is happy unless he has rats to run through his mazes – TPKs don’t create themselves you know. You’ve gotten to know me, a bit, so now it’s time for you to meet my players and the avatars they control.
Not to narrow down a perception of my friend, Tony is the party’s min/maxer. Doesn’t that feel dirty to say? Min/maxer. I try to think of it as a term of endearment. There’s something invigorating about jumping into combat, dealing ungodly amounts of damage, and making the fellow players scramble through their character sheets trying to find something hidden away that can outshine the proverbial damage sun. Tony is also the “can I…” player, which again, don’t hold that against him. Good DMs feed off of these characters like a WoW player guzzles down Mountain Dew, you just have to learn to balance the sugary sweet goodness with something a bit more grounded, for the DM’s sake as well as the party.
Tony plays Varis, the Woodelf Monk, who was abandoned as a baby and literally raised by wolves for nearly two decades (he thinks, wolves can’t count) until being adopted into the monastery of Daruu’um. He lived there for 75 years, learning from the members his martial arts and the languages of the civilized world, until they advised him to seek out the world of Altara and find his place in it. When coming to the Southern Realm city of Faro he met up with an unsavory rogue named Seamus who may, or may not, used Varis as a muscle. During the War for the Sea of Altara, Seamus disappeared, and Varis wandered along the coast of the sea until coming to Neverwinter. There he met Gundred, and the party.
Some players just come here to play, and play hard. He’s our party’s quiet member, the rogue hiding just out of sight in an arcane mist, readying an arrow that will devastate any and all plans I had of flanking the party; but when he does speak, it’s usually enough to have me holding my sides and wiping tears from my eyes. Quiet players are an anchor that ties the group together. When the party is squabbling over which lever to pull (because i made them extremely anxious thanks to four or five rooms comprised entirely of traps) he pulls the damn thing and shrugs when nothing bad happens. While the party is running check after check on a corner of the room where a secret door might be hidden, he notices the hook horror lurking above. He just DOES.
Darin plays Dexter, the party’s rogue gnome, who, as mentioned above, lurks in the shadows and strikes when he KNOWS the time is right. Little is know about his character, other than he is a trickster with an air of con-artist attached to his aura.
Bruce is a good guy, good natured, soft hearted, quicker with a smile than a scoul (almost the exact oppisite of me), and it shines through in his gaming style. Even when playing a rogue in our last campaign, Bruce knew what was wrong and what was right, and would choose the latter. Without the annoyance of “You can’t *blank* because the gods said so” spouting forth from the mouth of the holier than thou clerics or paladins, Bruce is the party’s moral compass. He is also the party’s bargainer: even when he’s playing the fighter he might ask WHY do you want me to hit thing with axe, instead of just blindly hit-thing-with-ax and collect the loot, which challenges me as a DM to find ways for the NPCs to strike up bargains that can not only benefit both sides, but also create lasting ties valuable allies in the campaign world.
Bruce plays Taros, the party’s dwarven fighter. He, and his family, were once brewers that lived in a small town outside the Northern Realm Kingdom of Melecor. One day, after returning home from making a delivery of ale to the town, Taros found that his village had been ransacked by goblins and bugbears and his family home set ablaze. The only thing he has left of his family is the charred remains of his family’s recipe book, one which his father’s grandfather had begun nearly two thousand years ago. Taros tried to make ends meet in Melecor as a small time brewer, but after the Northern Realms loss against the Island Kingdoms of Pel for the Sea of Altara, Melecor started declining. Looking for greener pastures, he moved south along the Sword Coast until he came to Neverwinter. There he met Gundred Rockseeker, and joined up with him.
Get into character, any way possible, and stay there, the type a player that good DMs love playing paladins and clerics (much to the chagrin of the other players). He has a double sided luck, rolling either failures or crits, but very rarely anything in between; making each roll of the dice a literal game changer that accentuates the highs and lows of a gaming session. Like the rest of the party, he’s new to DnD5e, but he’s also been out of the table top gaming loop for a while; which helps the rest of the team get a chance to dig through the rules now and again.
Marty players Jhoneh Tiller, a human paladin with a drinking problem. A young hero from Onaway, a small farmer community on the eastern plains of the Northern Realm, who humbly worked the land with his family. During the War of the Sea, when the Crimson Guards were pulled from their post at Bal Varo to aid the Northern Realm, warlords and tryrants from Bal Varo swept across the eastern plains. Jhohen lead a militia to defend his home and won, being the first of many small towns to stand against the tyranny of Bal Varo without support from the Northern Realm. When the warring had ended he found his town was nearly destroyed, so he sought after the churches for aid. The only church to aid him was the Holy Syncretism, but there was a cost. With his home town rebuilt, Jhonen joined the religion as a paladin, acting as their blade of justice to bring down Five Red Mages had escaped their punishment by fleeing out into the Wild Frontier.
Soon I’ll have a section in the Wild Frontier menu titled Heroes where you can check out a full back ground of the characters, interesting little notes of things that happened, and get a peak at their character sheets. Check back next time, where I’ll run down my party’s first steps through the Lost Mine of Phandelver! Until then, Let’s Kick this Pig!