Pleading with 5th is an opinion piece about my personal experiences with the Dungeons and Dragons: 5th Edition Roleplaying System and the events of my gaming group that I explore it with. The articles are not intended to describe actual events or people, or to suggest any sponsorship or association with any person or entity. No animals were harmed in the experience or writing of these articles, only feelings. Viewer discretion is advised.
So let’s talk about some players.
I don’t know your players, or you as a player, so instead I’ll discuss mine and hopefully that’ll be informative enough for the both of us. We’ll briefly go over the person, any roleplaying gimmicks they’ve picked up or little instances that helped shape them, and anything worth note on their character sheets themselves rather than an analysis of their build (as I find that the least interesting).
This will actually be my first time really looking over their character sheets, so I’m hoping to find a few flourishes that will give you an idea about the kind of person they are and the kind of character they’re wishing to bring to the table. I’m sure someone drew a dick somewhere too, which I will probably blur out.
I also have no idea why they are all keeping track of their kills…
Okay! Time to meet the players who have (probably) graciously allowed for me to use their real first names in these articles.
- Regrin Hannity (of the Aramoor Hannity’s *pinky raised*) as played by Steve. Posh Half Elf Sorcerer.
- Berrik Towerfall as played by Cole. Stoic Dwarf Warrior.
- Garrick Towerfall as played by Josh. Haunted Dwarf Warlock.
- Gawain as played by Handsome Ben. Swell Human Paladin.
- Didgeri-Daina as played by Nicole. Adorable Halfling Bard.
Now, I could write pages and pages about each one of these fantastic people, as any loving GM should be able to, but I’ll try to be semi-succinct about it while still doing them justice. This post would easily be over 8000 words if I did at off them in one go, so instead I’ll pace myself and do them at a bit at a time because I apparently have a lot to say about my beloved players.
We’ll start with Steve
Now Steve plays women pretty frequently from what I’ve been told but he not weird about it so no judgement there. No overt over-sexualization or anything, the character just happens to be female in his head when he envisions them. He’s my guy who knows all the rules and can help guide those new to any aspect of the system through the steps to find the answers to their more academic questions. I don’t (and probably never will) give this man enough credit for how well he takes my constant playful chiding. He’s been rolling pretty terribly the last few weeks, and I will never pass up an opportunity to poke fun at him for it. He takes it with a grin, occasionally giving me some back, which is nice because he could physically obliterate me if he wasn’t so sweet a guy.
Anywho, he’s playing a dude right now and has finally wholeheartedly accepted the role of posh aristocrat that we attributed to his privileged character background and his last name, which I found it irresistible to say without oozing pretension. In out first session out of the starter module with their own characters, I suggested he offer to reimburse the leader of a passenger caravan as he was worried about losing his job. They wanted it to stop so they could go on ahead to check out the town after seeing people fleeing down the road, warning of danger. He had already forgotten that his family owned the damn caravan company, and asked me why he should have to be the one to pay the guy, which prompted me to yell “Cause deez purses never empty yo!” in as good a Gangsta Ian McKellen impression as I could perform and then pantomime throwing coins everywhere.
The other players now say it on his behalf at least a dozen times a session and I reward them with bonus experience when they properly pick up on a roleplaying prompt to reply with it.
There is also a running joke involving his character that goes something like this:
The party walks into the offices of the Harbour Master and try to book passage across the sea. The Harbour Master explains to them very politely that there are no ships to accomplish that by any means.
Mr. Hanitty decides he’s picking up what she’s laying down and moves up to her, placing a large bag of gold on the desk with a smug grin.
The woman looks at it, shakes her head, and again calmly explains there are no ships.
“Oh, I completely understand,” he says with a wink, producing another bag of gold and putting it next to the first.
She facepalms and, with a hint of frustration, again tells him that this is not an issue of money, there is literally no vessel to carry them anywhere in the city.
Now he holds his hands up in surrender. “Alright, alright, I completely understand. My mistake. We’re on the same page.”
There is a brief pause… and then Steve pantomimes putting another bag of gold on the desk.
The Party carried his unconscious body out of the office while those who had gotten control of their laughter apologized to the frazzled port official who was reorganizing the desk she just vaulted over to bludgeon their Sorcerer with a paperweight with a beautifully timed critical hit.
As you can imagine, this has sparked a habit of constantly trying to buy their way out of situations where money is useless, which has made quite a few NPCs rich, helped the party accomplish their goals very little, and always led to hilarity one way or the other.
As far as his character sheet itself is concerned, I can’t help but think he means, “without the coddling of my family” where his ideals are. I also don’t think he has actually taken a serious shot at flattering a single person yet. Always imagined his last named was spelled ‘Hannity’ too and I see his intelligence is 10, which is awful for a the kind of silver spoon this guy was born with and the assumed education that would go along with it, but explains a few decisions he’s made.
I recall telling him a while ago that if he wanted me to pronounce his name Reg-Grin then he needed an extra ‘g’ in there or he’s Re-Grin for life, but has apparently not changed it to appease his wrathful and fickle GM. I’m just going to write ‘balls’ somewhere in very minuscule writing on like this third sheet and then, near the end of a session, make the party perform a random check and tell them that they have -2 for it if they have that written anywhere on their sheets. He’ll have no idea where I did it, and be amazed that I waited that long to spring it on him. Delayed satisfaction, people. Let it mature before you pick the fruit, even if the seeds are super juvenile.
You may also note that he shoehorned “female” into the description of his primary character flaw after I initially noticed it was not specific and constantly either tempted him with the finest of supple man-meat or implied to the rest of the party, in an entirely respectful manner of course, that he was a veteran plunderer of all the worlds warm crevices.
I pick on him just a wee bit.
But that’s only because he sucks.
Skip way down to Nicole
This is actually Nicole’s first time seriously playing any tabletop RPG ever, so when I asked her what she was initially thinking of for her character and she replied with, “Well… a halfling bard who plays a Didgeridoo named Didgeri-Daina?” I knew she was going to be a most welcome addition to the group. The immediate image in my head was just so hilarious that I knew this was a player I could enable to cause the kind of shenanigans that makes me love being a GM. Her sense of humour is right on point with the rest of us, she’s bubbly and sweet, and as cute as a button as you’d imagine someone who would name their character such a thing would be. These things will serve to totally disarm you when you come up against how sharp she is and how resolutely she’ll stand her ground when push comes to shove. The whole package just adds an extra layer of fun to the fun-cake.
So first off, I want to talk about the random table of trinkets in the Players Handbook. I love this thing, and giving each player a randomly assigned item for me to make use of in the plot has been a lot of fun. Garrick Towerfall (Josh) was given a small figure of a smug Halfling, so when we had to introduce Nicole’s character into the party I saw the immediate opportunity as Josh had forgotten he even had the thing. They went into this ruined temple to the Goddess, Joyner (Which I made up and may elaborate on later), and through some sweet special effects and a haphazard prayer, the crudely carved figure became Didgeri-Daina in the flesh. When they surrounded her, weapons drawn, and inquired who she was and what she was doing there. She replied with “I bring the Party!” and started playing didgeridoo music through an app on her phone.
It is also worth mentioning that after this event I had her roll for her own trinket as well, which ended up being the exact same figurine. As their de facto Master of Fate, this was spooky but got my GM wheels turning hard.
Anyway, I chose to do Steve and Nicole’s character, rather than the obvious choice of the Towerfall brothers (who apparently messed up being consistent in how they spelled their names), because of what is very obviously a duck in the image featured way above. Allow me to explain:
While Didgeri-Daina and Garrick spent time in a towns library researching a few things that would prove useful for their current objective, Regrin and Berrik strolled around town, literally yelling their virtues as doers of good through cupped hands in search of someone to bequeath aid upon. I saw this as a great opportunity for a few of their adversaries to lure the two into a trap posing as simple farmers who had some kind of pest infestation in their field. Long story short, they set up a blind in the middle of the field, were subsequently surrounded by Ghouls, and in the aftermath of the fight a lot of things were on fire and there was the corpse of a wizard, still aflame, laying next to a pile of more dead Ghouls.
By this time the rest of the party had shown up and proceeded in stomping the corpse fire out so they could search the Wizard for some clues, as this was the third time they had admittedly killed someone they probably should have at least pretended to try to take alive. After the useful things were found, I decided entirely spur of the moment to have a small baby chick pop out of one of the pockets of his charred robe. Regrin picked it up, and Daina exclaimed, “Oh! I want him!”
Nicole got a very serious look on her face.
Now, some people have told me that I am directly responsible for what happened next, as I may have written a note that read, “Smash his balls with the Didgeridoo” and passed it across the table to Nicole. These people should be reminded that I did not force anyone to do anything, I was simply doing my duty in making sure the new player knew all of the options available to her. Totally innocent right here.
So, after a brief pause where she gripped her D20 hard and glared at Steve semi-seriously, she calmly declared she was taking a running swing with her Didgeridoo (which we chose to treat as a club) aimed at Regrin Hanitty’s testicles. The table erupted in laughter, with the exception of Steve, who turned to look at me in disbelief. He apparently took my casual, everyday smirk, for something more sinister. Either way, I declared she would have disadvantage trying to hit a specific area of his body, but advantage for her height-to-target ratio so it was a wash. After a brief discussion, which was completely deaf to Steve’s incredulousosness, we agreed that if she dealt more than 4 damage he would drop the chick and she could safely catch it.
Didgeri-Daina struck home for exactly enough to prevent him from using Shield to protect his future heirs, and did max damage, dropping him prone to the ground. The fluffy baby chick was safely in her possession and she could not have been happier about it, quickly scribbling what totally isn’t a duck onto her character portrait.
Cheering was had by all, there was a round of applause, some bowing, and then Regrin recovered from his wound and cast the Hold Person spell he probably should have used on the Wizard who they had extinguished in such an undignified manner. Daina failed her save, and Nicole properly actually froze in mid celebration, and Steve pantomimed plucking the little critter out of her palm and jovially sauntered away.
After I was done marvelling at how such a small random impulse had turned out this way, I awarded them both 200 EXP, and penalized Steve 10 EXP for not having a painful wince or limp when acting out his victory strut.
First off, holy $%#& did she roll well. Didgeri-Daina is a beast!
Secondly, aside from teaching me how to spell Didgeridoo, another thing I learned from looking at the character sheet of Didgeri-Daina was that she is, in fact, more good than everyone else. She is so good, in fact, that her alignment is Good-Good. She has no room in her life for the distractions or distinctions of being Lawful or Chaotic, oh no. She is pure, unadulterated Goodness.
This definitely explains why she assaulted another member of her party in his genitals in order to claim slave-like ownership of a small domestic fowl as a living trophy. It also sheds light on why, during her first combat ever, she asked me if she could play a note so intensely that it would blow one of her enemies up.