I’m back to DMing after about a five month hiatus (I did run a one shot over the summer) while some other players in our game ran things for a little bit. Honestly, I’ve been itching to get at it though and we started up a new game this week and I’ve decided to keep a campaign journal for the first time.
I think that a little background on our gaming group is necessary to set things up. We’ve been playing together for about three years and currently there are six players and myself. The majority of them had no roleplaying experience prior to our gaming (I’ve played for about 20 years). I had a great gaming group a couple of years back but it fell apart when half of the group moved away, so I decided that the best thing to do would be to take the people that I was normally hanging out with and turn them into gamers. The results? It has worked out great and I’m pretty sure that Tuesday night is a weekly highlight for most of us. I also really dig that the majority of the group are people who would have never ever imagined themselves playing D&D. I’ve run three long campaigns with these players; we always start at 1st level and wind up somewhere around 10th. Somewhere around 30-35 adventures in a campaign. We’ve had a ton of good times.
This time around we decided to start with a little more power so the characters are all at 9th level. We are also not a group that heavily optimizes, but I’ve encouraged them to use prestige classes and make characters that can really do some damage. I’ve also helped them put together characters that work well. They were each given 28,000 gp to purchase magic items and watching them go through the DMG and buy stuff was a lot of fun. They were like adventurers in a magic shop.
Going into character creation I told them that they were an established adventuring group, there would be no meet up in the first quest. As 9th level they also had a fair amount of power so I wanted to hear what they had done. Did they have enemies? Friends? What kind of quests have they been on? What were their great victories? Losses? I thought that this would be good for everyone involved. It would help me design hooks and plots that would appeal to them and they would benefit from having a shared history from the get go. So who are these intrepid adventurers? Let’s take a look.
Romulus Blitzbane is a half orc neutral evil Rogue 5/Fighter 2/Nightsong Enforcer 2. He specializes in two weapon fighting and sneak attacking. He fancies himself a master of breaking and entering and will do just about anything for money. He spent his gold on a pair of+2 weapons (longsword and handaxe) and some gloves of Dex and has gone the two weapon fighting route with his feats (including two weapon defense). With his sneak attack and two weapon his damage can pile up in a hurry, though his lowish hitpoints should encourage him to stay out of longer fights.
Mgabwe King is some sort of bizarre scythe wielding voodoo witch doctor. In game terms he is a Ranger 4/Necromancer 2/Abjurant Champion 3. This player has the most experience and he built Solomon to be pretty bad ass. I believe he plans in reveling in death, not just causing it (which he should do plenty of) but sort of making a ceremony of the whole thing. He has no qualms about doing dirty work, to the extent that I don’t think he can ever get clean. As a human with Favored Enemy (Human) I suspect some of his anger comes from self loathing.
At a young age the half elf Lela Bonnaire ran away from her gypsy home with a much older elf and learned the mysterious ways of enchantment magic and esoteric lore. She can fight a little too. For those keeping track this makes her a Fighter 2/Bard 7. Her perform skill is whistle! Focusing on social skills and enchantments I assume that she will be the face of the party. In combat she will be buffing her allies and firing her bow. Her main magic items are a Cloak of Charisma +4 and a circlet of persuasion. Cure light wounds is one of her first level spells, making her the only healer in the party.
As a former member of an elven military unit Alandia Leafwhisper learned what she doesn’t like. Mainly order and rules. The chaotic neutral Ranger 6/Scout 3 will serve as the primary guide and survivalist for the party, for as long as she sticks around. A true free spirit she seems to have little loyalty or use for the conventions of society. (This player plans on not being around for much of the campaign, so she designed a character that can easily come and go, for which I am thankful) She has a longbow of shock to deal some damage and a wide assortment of skills, including stealth and thievery.
Definitely the oddest character in the group, Glee Drango takes just about every stereotype of a gnome and turns it on it’s head. A trained killer this Rogue 2/Ranger 2/Fighter 2/Ghost Faced Killer 3 plans on dealing lethal damage quickly and often. He has a twisted sense of humor and, not surprisingly, gets on quite well with Romulus. The two of them have been paired up since before the party got together. Glee spent just about all of his gold on a single magic item, a ring of blinking. The ring, which causes him to blink in and out of the ethereal and material planes, has also had the effect of making him sort of crazy since he stole it from a sorceror some years ago. It also allows him to use sneak attack and sudden strike on just about all of his attacks. Low hit points and bad armor make him also rely on the ring for protection.
Playing the role of the ambitious, forward thinker is Henri DeGaule (human Sorceror 9). He has a pretty general list of useful spells; from direct damage to party buffs and essentials like dispel magic. He is the only full caster in the party which makes him very valuable, and also vulnerable. This player is also the most inexperienced, having only played in the aforementioned one shot and one other short campaign over the summer. With his high charisma I suspect that he will serve as a secondary face for the group, also aided by a circlet of persuasion. I also find it funny that there are two characters in the party with French sounding names that have circlets of persuasion. They were also created independently of one another, which is sort of strange.
So far it seems like this party is going to be petty, ambitious, cruel, and thoroughly evil. I am so into it. Fortunately I cut my teeth as a DM on just that type of group so I should be okay with it. I also really like that for the most part they made their characters together and there is definitely a group cohesion to them. They all have some degree of stealth, every character but the sorceror has Improved Initiative, and they all seem to be of dubious morals. I think that they will all be interested in the same type of adventures. The bard, in particular, has expressed interest in having a chance to be a double agent and get mixed up in all sorts of intrigue and scandal. I plan on doing my best to accommodate. Combat wise they should also be a lot of fun. They pack quite a punch, especially with the ability to get the drop on opponents, but they have very little staying power due to generally poor AC across the board and not too many hit points. I see battles ending quickly or going very poorly for the PCs.
Truthfully, it is a wonderful group of players and we have a blast each week. I’m really looking forward to getting started.