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.
Alright ladies and gentlemen, today we are getting close and personal with the Dwarven Brothers Berrik and Garrick Towerfall. The Towerfall brothers, who are a pair of Dwarves as you may have guessed, are played by my roommates, Cole and Josh. They actually reversed class roles from our initial bout of 5th Edition, and it seems to be working well so far. Cole is complete crap at remembering what his spells or abilities do or what kind of bonuses he gets, so he kinda maybe slowed us down as a Wizard… a lot. Fantastic roleplayer though, when he remembers things that could prompt him, as he’ll do a voice for anything. Holy crap, maybe he just has an awful memory in general and we just haven’t clued in yet.
The Cole Train Cometh
Cole is the least Dwarfy (Dwarvy?) person I know. As a rather Elven looking chap, he is naturally relatively hairless, lithe, easy on the eyes, and has a fair complexion. When discussing the possibility of dressed up at the Fellowship for Halloween or a party or something, he had it in his head that would be something other than an Elf, and was promptly and justly laughed at. That being said, his bedroom is like a $20,000 shrine to everything he loves from Teagan and Sara (Which he made a very convincing member of during a particularly cross-dressy Halloween), to the works of Nintendo, to Akira. He is an avid collector, lover of music, and possesses the talent I covet most: the ability to give physical form to thoughts. Or drawing as you cretins probably still refer to it. How and what he creates have given me more insight into his character than a year of observation and discussion.
The walls of our home are adorned with the painted likenesses of Doc Chicken from the Eric Andre show, Rudy from The Mighty Boosh, James Baxter from Adventure Time, and even Colonel Chestbridge from Danger 5. These rather random assortments of characters from television would be his Avengers in a perfect world. Between himself and Josh, there is an entire photo album of sketches both bizarre and beautiful at a local diner where we try to have breakfast every Friday. They draw while we eat, and leave them as gifts, and now even they have added their work to the decorations running along the walls there.
I write offensive limericks.
We all have our talents.
Cole is a critical part of anything funny that happens at the table, but his character is not… with this sole exception
As much as I always give Steve crap for his now distant history of rolling poorly, no one has rolled more 1’s in a session than Cole. Last time we gamed, he botched three attacks in a row on separate turns and is collected enough a person to not flip the table over, thereby crushing the small girl shrieking mercilessly in laughter at him. There is no botch table anymore, it is a Cole table. When you massively screw up, you roll on the Cole table. It is his. Reserved 24 hours a day. He sits at it. He has his meals upon it. You know that old movie trope of a man chasing after his hat, only to accidentally kick it farther away everything he reaches for it? That is what Berrik Towerfall, General of Whereevertheyrefrom, does with his Hammer. He just cannot keep a grip on the goddamn thing.
I may just invent something called a Butter Pixie that will start harassing him with annoyance varying on how many 1’s he rolled during a previous encounter.
Or I will actually coat his dice in butter.
One of these two things is going to happen.
Hopefully I have given you enough of a physical description of Cole for you to realize how hilarious it is to read the things in the top right of his character sheet. He has, true to form, shown a penchant for breaking things and being strong. Door are not opened politely, there is no knocking in the campaign so far. Hinges and locks are the enemies. Just typically behavior for anyone whose strength is a part of their “personality”.
On the second sheet, you’ll see a little thing called Bloodline Attuned. This was a special little buff I gave the brothers in order to help them think more about ways to play their character roles. Garrick is haunted and looking for answers, and Berrik is trying to keep the only member of his family safe. So when a combatant missed an attack on Garrick, Berrik gains +2 to hit that enemy. When Berrik hits an enemy, Garrick gains +2 AC against that enemy as they both fight specifically to support the other. I thought about making them have to be adjacent, but so far they are always next to each other anyway so it hasn’t been an issue.
I also like that his little thing for marking where he keeps track of kills is one of the most detailed things on there, and the only bit on any sheet with colour. Lets you know where his priorities are.
Things to not go Josh’s way. This is such a routine part of his everyday life that we commemorate each incident by saying “Hashtag Josh Life” in an attempt to diffuse the sad fact with humour, if only to keep him sane. As a player in an RPG though, things have seemed to work out very smoothly so far. Everything is much more in his control and I am very reluctant to ever tread towards wrenching it from him. He has suffered enough.
Josh is also, in counter opposition to Cole, the most Dwarvish person I know. His laugh is jolly, he loves beer, and has a stout hearty frame. He also draws, like Cole, but his creations are of monsters and oozing masses. Horror and Surrealism forge the unnatural beauty that he manifests on paper, and you can’t help but feel the texture or the taste of everything upon it. The only thing grander than the attention he pays to making things creepy, is his sweet beard and the nobility by which he wears it.
This is unfortunately not funny, I’m afraid, but I love the flavour and how it works in with the background he gave me when creating Garrick Towerfall. He is a Warlock who is unsure of the nature of his powers, only that they developed after finding an Orb (his spell focus) while charting a tunnel system. He’s technically a cartographer by trade, and found that a preternatural knowledge of rituals and arcane practice began to sink into his very being, much to his Brothers growing unease. When the whispers started, it drove the younger Towerfall to implore his brother to give him the means to go searching for their origin, and follow the impulses that are not his own. He needed answers, and Berrik only allowed it on the condition that he let him join him and not stray from his side. So far he has only learned that the being he has forged a connection with is referred to as “That Which Lurks”.
To facilitate these mysterious and arcane communications, I occasionally text Josh things only Garrick can hear. Small cryptic messages or feelings that can give him an unnatural sense of things. We haven’t had a lot of chances to do this, as he is complete crap at keeping his phone charged, but soon he will learn what will happen if the Orb gives him a command, and just how rapidly his reservations will dwindle. It’ll be up to his brother to make sure he actually keeps an eye on him, or be just another witness to his descent into madness.
Eventually I hope that when that X-Files themed notification noise goes off, the table will just go dead silent for a moment. That kind of atmosphere is the stuff of GM dreams, and I decided that the Orb lets out an audible pulse that Garrick himself mimics without being conscious of it (Harry from 3rd Rock from the Sun style). This’ll just lets their characters share in their actual reactions to the sound, to roleplay whether they want to or not. Force your players to inhabit their characters whenever you can, even if you have to resort to trickery.
Well he put his bonuses in the big space and his actual attribute score in the little one, that’s new. I also don’t get why the two of them weren’t consistent with their spelling. It should either be Berrik and Garrik, or Berrick and Garrick, not Berrik and Garrick! BOOO!!!
His writing also appears as scraggly and downtrodden as the character itself, so that’s some god damn commitment right there. Thank god I don’t have to show you guys my own handwriting, because even if I did you would not be able to identify it as such in any recognizable way. This is a little hard to read though… but I see that there is a great opportunity to draw him into a conflict with the party’s other spellcaster by encouraging the group to commend Regrin whenever he outperforms Garrick in the arcane department. Gotta love those increasingly unstable wizard types!
You can see here the Towerfall Family Crest, and maybe read the words, “All is not lost ’til the last tower falls” which is their motto. It also applies to MOBAs, but neither Josh nor Cole play those so they didn’t get my joke… Of everyone in the room at the time, I think Steve was the only person who got it, and I refuse to reward him as it is just funnier when I don’t. Also, I see the super creepy looking familiar thing Josh realized he was supposed to have this whole time or something. YIG(?) hasn’t technically made an appearance in the campaign yet, as we left off when he was starting the ritual, but I look forward to the group trying to convince people that he isn’t corrupted and super evil with that thing gentling stroking his hair with his gross lobster hands.
P.S. Apparently Josh is changing his name to Garrik because the GM is always right.
P.P.S. You suck, Steve.