Character Portrait – Aeduin

Cauldron

If I’m remembering correctly, as the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons came to the public, our group was left with a dilemma. Like many, there were things about the 3/3.5e versions of D&D that we weren’t particularly happy with. Neither did we particularly like what we were seeing from 4e. It was too much like a card game or MMO and too little like D&D. While opinion varied a bit in our group, my view was that it wasn’t D&D at all. It was more like Magic: The D&D edition. Well, we eventually settled on a decision to move instead to Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG. Many referred to this rules set as D&D 3.75e. It cleaned up a lot of what was wrong with late 2e and 3/3.5e D&D. One of the first campaigns (might have actually been 1st) with the Pathfinder rules was the Shackled City Campaign Setting. For that campaign I played a bard/cleric name Aeduin Tharn.

“Now, wait,” I can hear you saying already. “Shackled City wasn’t Pathfinder rules! It was 3e/3.5e”. Yes, that’s true. And the fact that you know that off the top of your head means you really need to get out more. But that alone was a reason to pick Pathfinder over 4e. It also helps that anything written for 3/3.5e was extremely easy to convert to the Pathfinder rules and not easy to convert to 4e. That meant going in there was already a huge amount of material available. And most of us being fans of D&D from the very beginnings and 1st edition, we were among those that were not impressed with 4th edition. So on to Pathfinder we went.

The Problem with Aeduin

Shackled City was probably the first time we were planning on taking characters from 1st to 20th level. While we sometimes re-visited characters, none of them had yet to achieve the topmost levels of the game. For my part, I’d played pretty much every core character class in the game except barbarian and bard. For Aeduin, I chose bard. Mostly I made the choice because we already had a couple of tanks in the party and I was fine with either one. 

As the campaign progressed Aeduin grew as a bard and I pushed him along. But I also grew more and more bored with playing the bard. There were a few reasons for this. First, I found myself with a “meh” attitude towards the skills and abilities that bards have in higher levels. It just seemed like more of the same and increasingly less useful to the party. Second, I wasn’t really happy with the interpersonal dynamics that my character had with the rest of the party.  And third, bards are supposed to be exuberant, outgoing characters, the voice of the party. That is 100% the opposite of me and I found it very difficult to draw a sufficient amount of that attitude out of myself as a gamer.

Sacrifice
Occipitus
Occipitus

There comes a moment in the campaign when the characters are on a plane of existence known as Occipitus. There they face several tests. The last test takes place around a pillar of flaming plasma. Kaurophon is attempting to gain control of Occipitus. Here, he must sacrifice a soul to the pillar to gain that control. During the battle, Kaurophon used his magic to lift up one of the party and begin shoving them towards the pillar. The party fought to prevent the sacrifice, but we were losing the battle. We had but a round or two remaining before our foe was victorious.

In a moment of decision, Aeduin determined to throw himself into the pillar and gain the control for the party. Despite the fact that I was unhappy with Aeduin, it was also not in my nature to just throw a character away. I just thought that here was an opportunity for him to make a difference, something that I didn’t feel he had done in quite a while. Mostly I was totally happy with Aeduin not coming back. I was already starting to plan a new character out in my head before the end of the session. But as we were packing up, our GM told me he had an idea.

Opportunity for Change

What I didn’t know at the time I made the sacrifice is that if a character sacrifices themselves instead of someone else, they are not killed. They instead gain the Sign of the Smoking Eye template and become the heir to the plane of Occipitus. Between my GM and myself, we came up with an additional change. Instead of just becoming the Smoke-Eye and heir to Occipitus, Aeduin would become a cleric of Occipitus. All of his existing levels of cleric were replaced with an equal number of levels of cleric of Occipitus. Aeduin found new purpose and I found it enjoyable to play him once again.

We eventually finished the campaign and Aeduin reached level 20. Having completed his original purpose in finding his missing father and restoring their family’s trade empire, he left Cauldron behind to return to Occipitus to begin molding it to his designs. Among his changes are taking ownership of the World Serpent Inn and giving it a permanent home.

Character Portrait – Rem

Cthulhu by dano_h

image credit: Cthulhu, by dano-h on DeviantArt

One of my many clerics was Noremus Toffli. Rem was a human cleric of Pelor tasked with finding a cure for a mind plague afflicting the people of Stormport. Little did he know when he joined the heroes that his quest would take him far from home, to the very stars themselves. Rem’s story is tightly coupled with that of my paladin of Helm, Terun.

Terun and the heroes of Silverhall had traveled to the Moonsea city of Stormport. There, they found a people under the influence of a band of insidious mind flayers. Through much tribulation, and a couple of misunderstandings, the party freed the city. Unfortunately, it became clear that this group of heroes had some deeply rooted failings, in that they were unwilling to do whatever it took to uphold the glory of Helm and Terun parted ways with them to seek out worthier companions.

In stepped Rem. A cleric of the temple of Pelor in Stormport, he saw that many in the city were still afflicted by a mysterious brain disease that had come upon them during the  Illithids’ reign. While his brothers and sisters remained to treat the sick as best their abilities could, Rem traveled in pursuit of the band of heroes. Catching up with them, he joined with them as they eventually found their way aboard an Illithid sky ship. 

The party traveled aboard the fell contraption to the mind flayers’ home world of Penumbra. There, the heroes faced off against many of the mind masters, their slave minions, and their elder brain master. Through great battles and at great cost, the heroes defeated the creatures. Carrying what remained of their wizard companion, the party were able to find their way back to Faerun.

Rem, having gained the cure for the brain disease, was last seen traveling east from Waterdeep towards home. Perhaps we have not seen the last of this young adventurer…

 

Character Portrait – Chojen

Warrior Monk

Alas, poor Chojen Morg. After Thelisn the bodak fell to the servants of Gulthias within the Heart of Nightfang Spire, I brought in Chojen. He was human, a former thief and rogue who had repented of his ways and taken up a life of service to the gods. Serving in a monastary near Daggerdale, the companions of Silverhall rescued Chojen when he and others had been taken by an evil cult.

To repay the debt, he offered his service to them. That service was sadly all to short. Soon after the companions re-entered Nightfang Spire, he fell victim to an undiscovered trap in the floor, sliding him down over a sharp blade and then flinging him out the side of the tower. Having no ranks in fly, he plummeted to his death at the base of the Spire. 

I was sad to lose Chojen, especially so shortly after losing Thelisn (twice). The character concept of a thief-monk multi-class was one that really appealed to me. I’m bummed I never got a chance to really explore what he was capable of. At some  point I would like to run a new character that’s similar in concept. We’ll see.

Character Portrait – Venjor, Cleric of Pelor

Venjor

Venjor Carix was a cleric of Pelor. I brought him in for a module that Andy ran a few years back. This was a bit after I had run the Speaker in Dreams module, set in the town of Brindinford. In the Wyrmfang Chronicles, I placed Brindinford in the region west of Cormyr, just the other side of the Stormhorns.

Venjor was a background NPC during the Speaker in Dreams (Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Module). He was a minor cleric in the temple of Pelor. At that time in the Wyrmfang Chronicles campaign world, the Black Talons had supplanted the Purple Dragons as the soldier force of Cormyr. The surviving Purple Dragons who would not covert and hadn’t already been imprisoned fled the land. Some fled east to Silverhall. Others fled west to Brindinford. 

Those who fled to Brindinford learned the Black Talons were mounting another force to come west. The goal was to take their city and recapture the escaped Dragons. Seeking help, emissaries were sent to neighboring lands to seek aid in defending against. Venjor travelled south to the city of Westmarch, where Andy’s module was based, hoping to find aid. Instead he found that Westmarch was facing troubles of it’s own. 

My memory is a bit hazy on Venjor’s fate. It was about 15 years ago now, but I believe he did survive to return to Brindinford, though I cannot say if he succeeded in bringing any aid with him. And we have not revisited that part of the world since. Perhaps someday we might return. But who can say?

Side note: Venjor was often mistyped as Vejnor. Also, the pronounciation is ‘Vey-nor’, not ‘Ven-ger’. 

D&December 2017 – W1D7 – Your Player Character?? Nope, Fave RPG PC Games

DnDecember2017

My current character is named Qen. Since I wrote about him recently, I’ll just refer you to that page. What I’ll write today instead of that summary is this. My favorite RPG PC games.

Why computer? Am I including console games? Nope. And I’ll tell you why. Because you can’t play a good RPG, a REAL RPG, using a D-pad. I’ve said it. I won’t take it back. And if you wanna argue with me, don’t bother. You are wrong, and clearly wrong, yet no amount of proof will ever be acceptable to you. And don’t even get me started on the Mac. 🙂 

Nor will I include MMORPGs. I’ve played most of the popular ones. They can be mildly enjoyable as action games, but not one of them has ever measured up as an RPG with their endless, repetitive fetch this quests and raids. At least not yet.

Neverwinter Nights 2

This is the game that got it all right. Everything. Well, eventually anyway. When it launched it was a mess. It was full of bugs, crashed frequently, and didn’t even come close to the promised features list that had originally been promoted. They got most of it right by the end. The story-line, the characters, the voice acting, the game-play. It was all amazing. And when the Mask of the Betrayer was added, it reached new heights of insane goodness. Even today it is a fantastically enjoyable game that holds up against ANY modern RPG game.

Fallout & Fallout 2

While the sequels have mostly all been great action games, nothing compares to the RPG chops of the original and it’s successor. I remember many fond hours customizing every aspect of my character, then starting again just to try something different. These were perhaps the first games where I really felt like my decisions, both in character creation and in gameplay, actually had an effect on the world around me. 

Baldur’s Gate 2

While not quite as good as Neverwinter Nights 2, BG2 and it’s expansions had fantastic story-lines and great game-play. I have played and replayed this game so many times I’ve lost count. This is the game where I first got to know Minsc. And it has forever stuck with me. “Now Minsc leads! Swords for everyone!”

Knights of the Old Republic 2

The only Star Wars RPG that’s worth playing. Unlike the cookie-cutter crap that Disney puts out today, it has an actual story and actions actually have an effect on the game. Especially when you add the Sith Lords Restored mod, this game is endlessly fun and re-playable.

The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind & Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

These are the two shining stars of the Elder Scrolls series. Skyrim is fun to play, don’t get me wrong, but I think it lost a lot of the flavor and feel of III and IV. I think Oblivion is the first game I came across where I just got on my horse and just rode and rode. The graphics were amazing for their time and the stories for both III and IV felt compelling and constantly drove me onward. That was lost with Skyrim.

Pool of Radiance

There were two games that kept my interest in D&D alive during the late 80’s & early 90’s. The first is this game. I played this game so much I wore out the floppy disk and had to buy the game again. This was the game made me learn how to use DOS extenders, memory managers and boot discs for our 286 PC, later 386 PCs. 

Death Knights of Krynn

This was the second game that kept my D&D love alive. I had been a fan of the Krynn setting since reading the first Dragonlance novel. Being able to play in that world on my PC as a Solamnic Knight or a mage of the white or red robes was just amazing. While I also loved this games’ predecessor, Champions of Krynn, this one always seemed more fun to me.

DragonAge: Origins & DragonAge: Inquisition

Pretty much every DragonAge game is well done. Great, compelling stories. Fantastic combat. The feeling that what you do matters, especially in your character interactions with your companions. I wish, however, they were more open world. All too often they have a very railroad feel to them.

 

There you have it. My favorite REAL RPG games of all time. Yeah, a lot of games have RPG aspects to them, but just because your game has different scores for strength and dexterity and you can customize their clothes or armor, doesn’t make that game and RPG. 

Character Portrait – Storinthalasin

Not Actual Storin

Note: Not the actual Storin mini. I don’t have any surviving images of Storin, so I’m substituting this random generic elf adventurer mini

When I first joined the Wyrmfang Chronicles, my character was Storinthalasin. Storin was a Silvanesti elven fighter/magic user from the world of Krynn. He was assisting his master with a magical experiment and it went horribly awry. He ended up in the misty realms of Ravenloft. There he wandered for several years before coming across the party of adventurers. Not having found his way back to his own world of Krynn, he threw in his lot with this band of heroes.

He didn’t have a particularly long life. The party came afoul of dark magics that separated their spirits from their physical forms. When he found his physical form, it had been possessed by one of the Forsaken named Gohrn, who was using it to rule over a band of orcs (I believe. It’s been a lot of years since these events), keeping his physical form hidden from these elf haters. 

While he fought valiantly to try and regain his form, it was a battle he eventually lost. He did, however, have the satisfaction of denying his body to the Forsaken, as his form was revealed during the battle and the orcs ripped it apart. His soul was last seen entering a new domain of Ravenloft being formed about the priestess Selena.

Character “Portraits”

Qen

Over the years of playing in the Wyrmfang Chronicles, I’ve been through a LOT of characters. We’ve been playing nearly once a week for more than 20 years. Most of them have ended up dead, or worse….

So about once a week starting this Thursday, I’ll post a little blurb about each of the characters, their experiences, background and current status