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.
Okay, so for the three of you who are actually curious as to why it took so long for me to put out another post, I was crippled with emotional turmoil from catching up on Game of Thrones. Hospitalization was not necessary but could have probably been advised. Watch with Caution!
That may have been a complete lie, but I bet it sounded completely plausible to some of you, feeling empathy and solidarity with my struggle to come to terms with the horrors and heartbreak put upon me. You big ol’ sap.
Now, let’s just straight to the biscuit!
Handsome, Gentle Ben
Two Articles ago, you may have noticed that I do not simple call this last player we are about to discuss by his given name; Ben. No no. He is Handsome Ben, as that is the name given to me when I was told there was another player hoping to join us. Naturally, when he appeared, I greeted him as such and quickly realized that he actually had no idea a sect of his friends and coworkers had been referring to him as Handsome Ben for quite some time now. Awkwardness was shared by many, but not by Handsome Ben and I, and I was too busy interrogating him on if his incredibly Superman-esque appearance was intentional or not. He responded with a sly grin and an odd kind of shrug that caused his shoulders to raise much farther than the gesture would dictate for another person, which was to reveal the big metal S acting as his belt buckle.
Now Handsome Ben is funny, a veteran roleplayer, and charmingly sweet. He apparently also met me through my sister’s Ex like seven years ago randomly, because I can’t go two weeks without discovering that some new person I met under random circumstances knows me from something somewhere . The world is funny that way. All things considered, I really barely know Handsome Ben but I’m a bit fan of how he plays and the very character inhabiting way he makes his decisions. His clear understanding of the distinction of player knowledge vs character knowledge is second nature, so I never have to wag the finger, and he prompts the other players to provide him with information they learn in the context of their role (asking the Bard if she has even heard songs of this place and such).
I hope he stops being busy so I can get him back to my table sooner than later.
Gawain has a very distinct voice.
Handsome Ben himself speaks at the very middle of the road octave range and has a lightness to it that is both pleasing and natural. With that in mind, you can hopefully understand that when he drops it down to a MUCH lower range, swallows a handful of gravel when we’re not looking, and speaks in a cold and righteous tone, we can’t help but get chills.
When the party first encountered him, they surrounded him while riding his horse down a path towards a Divine disturbance he had been following the sense of for some time, as a long-dormant and unmolested relic was being disturbed. Garrik Towerfall started interrogated him with a series of questions, and while we waited a response I watched Handsome Ben’s face transform as he leaned across the table towards Josh, looking him straight in the eye. He then said, “I get off my horse, and I tell him, ‘We are here for the same purpose, unless you mean me harm.'” To my delight, none of them seemed sure on how to respond to that, and he quickly took charge the situation and led them down deep into the ruins up ahead. The effortlessly intimidating nature of his very simple statement, and the promise of both cooperation and to defend himself, was enough to completely disorient the party long enough for them to become aware of the effect and burst into laughter and clapping.
Oh God, that poor bastard! Well strength of arms and a winning smile can get you pretty far.
Gawain is a Human Nature Paladin, having discovered a divine influence in his life and nobility in his heart after he was killed during battle and then resurrected by an unknown power. Now he searches for answers, and to live a life worthy of the second chance he was given. He will help any in need, and asks only for a single object to help him on his journey when payment is insisted upon for his aid. I plan to take some serious liberties with what the unfortunate souls he comes across consider to be “helpful”. As many members of his party aren’t exactly “Good People” I can see them cutting him out of the share of their profits by pawning baubles off on him, in mockery of his code of behavior.
Now he has not been present any of the times Garrik has communed openly with the Orb, or been compelled to action by its influence, but I look forward to watching them interact when Gawain informs the Warlock of the true nature of his abilities, and the entity slowly seeking to corrupt Garrik takes offense to his interference. Two characters with no formal introduction to their classes, or the beings that granted them their boons, on opposing sides of the alignment spectrum, butting heads based purely on these new and unknown instincts inflicted upon them.
Makes me swoon a bit.
You have now met the lovely human beings that gather around my table and the characters that live upon it, I can begin to touch on the kind of things they get up to. I’m not going to be simply chronicle their adventures, but I do want to share with you their choice exploits. So before I wrap this up, lets talk about Rynn.
Rynn is an accomplished warmage of some considerable renown in the city-state of Toth, particularly among the Guild of Gears. She was contracted to hire and lead a band of mercenaries to a small town. A third party reported that there were ruins to the Goddess Joyner in the hills of the town, and a Relic of her power was buried inside, which the Guild has long searched for in hopes of using it to power their woefully inefficient but mechanically brilliant machinery.
They gave her a boat, and bound her soul to the rune that acts as the key to the ships startling list of magic enhancements. Without it, and knowledge of the ritual of activate the rune, the Spring-Heeled Jack would only aimlessly float and decay. This was to discourage pirates from attempting to hijack their vessels, as it was a dingy and rotted boat without the rune, and provided incentive for the mercenaries under Rynn’s hire to stay loyal and keep her alive so they could return from their long voyage.
We’ll skip ahead a bit and say that, while their plan to distract the locals while they excavated the ruin and searched for the Relic was ingenious, a group of travelling Adventurers caught onto their bs. They were promptly defeated, the treasure and Relic reclaimed before they could get back to their boat, and a super awesome party was had with the very best Didgeridoo music money could buy.
Naturally, while they were celebrating someone else stole the Relic, the gold, and stole a ship right under the Heroes noses. The Vizier was missing, so suspect number one, but they had no idea who he was really or where he could have gone. The action they chose to pursue was to talk to the remaining Mercenaries they had captured alive and get taken back to Toth, where hopefully they might learn a thing or two from the Guild of Gears themselves. They struck a deal with Rynn and she ‘turned on’ the Spring-Heeled Jack and off they went.
Fast Forward to just moments after Berrik Towerfall botched a roll to bang his shield with his hammer to wake the whole crew (leading to a crewman named Ivan to be eated alive) as Oozes swarmed the deck of the ship in the night. While trying not to be surrounded, the party circled up and started doing battle, and Steve wasn’t here so, without Regrin, I bring Rynn to the deck to help them out. She is immediately swallowed up by messing up a super easy save, and starts to dissolve while suffocating.
The Party may or may not have taken a while to notice this was really going on, and even with trying frantically to free her for two rounds once they did, she died. It was such a random and unexpected turn of events that I felt I needed to roll with it, and then we collectively at the table realized the lasting consequences of her death. try as they might, they could not recreate the conditions to even get the slightest glimmer of magic out of rune or vessel. The ship wasn’t going anywhere, they had no guide for visiting Toth, or a liaison for the Guild of Gear.
So, they did what any responsible adventurers would do. They put Rynn’s teeth in a bag, and left a note.