Context: me, a wildmagic sorcerer/chronomancer (among other things) is considerably older than he appears. The bard knows this, but insists on calling me a small child, even though I appear to be in my mid 20s. The Bard: “Hush now small child–” me: “Son of a bitch, I am over two thousand years old, if you call me a small child again I will impale you with this Dragonlance"
I just imagine how Jon and Thayet’s intelligence briefings must have gone during the Immortals series.
“The girl you met last week just called a Kraken up from the depths to attack enemy ships. Oh, and she has a dragon now.”
“So the wildmage and Salmalin went to visit a local noble, and they think some wolves have uncovered a plot to usurp the throne. And, uh, I’m not sure how to say this, sire, but she can apparently turn into animals???”
“You know how much you hate Stormwings? And Emperor Ozorne? Well, funny thing about that, Your Majesties….”
So my first D&D game is coming to a close, and quite a bit sooner than I expected. I really liked my little weird wildmage/chronomancer/cleric (even though I think the other players didn't like him very much) and I'm really sad to have to say goodbye to him. Although there's a new game starting up with the same group (but with a new DM) I'm having trouble getting excited about making a new character and starting over. Any suggestions?
Hey, sorry to hear that anon. I hate saying goodbye to characters too, but building characters is one of my favorite things to do! I get excited for new characters by:
Looking at art, search a race or class option in Tumblr or on DeviantArt or flip through the rulebooks.
Trying to make a fantasy version of favorite or interesting characters from other media. Do you have any old video game characters you would like to try? What would Mordin Solus from the Mass Effect series be in D&D? Would you make Sten from Dragon Age as a Tiefling or maybe a Dragonborn? How would Sherlock Holmes behave in a world where magic was real? Try a Dwarven Tempest Cleric as Thor or Storm Sorcerer as the X-Man Storm?
Do you have a favorite character from an RPG podcast/broadcast? Who would your worlds version of Critical Role’s Percy DeRolo, Keyleth or Grog be? What would your take on The Adventure Zone’s Taako look like?
Talk to the other players, linking backstories with each other in fun ways can help you get a grasp on your character and may predispose some of your adventuring party towards liking them. Siblings, in-laws, former enemies, rivals, partners in crime, being a couple or sharing a faith can all add weight and depth or drama to a relationship between PCs
Re-read class, race and background options while thinking about how you could weave them together in an interesting way. How would people treat a Tiefling or Half Orc that had an indisputable claim to nobility? How much could a Rogue get away with if they were obviously an Aasimar? How would a cute as hell Gnome Barbarian go about intimidating people? What would a city’s reaction be to a masked folk hero that has been recently been revealed in typically dramatic fashion as a Dark Elf or Hobgoblin with an unusual alignment?
Look at the monsters you know about, think about how an encounter with one in their past could change your character and how that experience manifests in play. Could they once have been charmed by a Fey creature and had a glorious time that they only half remember and have sought to recapture ever since? Were they enslaved by an Illithid only to be rescued by adventurers who inspired them to take up an adventuring life in return? Are they seeking a cure for a friend or family member who has become undead or a lycanthrope? Perhaps they saw a Celestial and were inspired to fight for good? Or Maybe some psionic creature forced them to face some dark truth about their past that they had been in denial about and they can’t let it go.
One thing that helps me say goodbye to a character, though I usually reserve it for one who has died, is to repaint their miniature or a duplicate like a statue and keep it in an old Chessex dice box, kept in place with a little glue, it’s like a mini memorial.
Thanks for the ask, sorry for the long reply. Good luck and please let me know how it goes!
What if Kel was executed for treason in Lady Knight? What if it caused a rebellion? Because you can't tell me that what the world will hear in canon isn't that Wyldon ordered her to follow the refugees. Anything else would create resentment. For all Wyldon's pretty talk, surely he noticed that. And if they tried to hush it up? I don't see Raoul and Alanna letting that happen. And if you knew your king executed nobles for rescuing commoners from a fate worse than death, wouldn't you rebel?
No, no, no, no I can’t do it. Kel is my lady, my light, my love–and I can’t imagine a world where the people on that war front would ever have allowed her death. So let’s tell this story–she was found guilty of treason. She was sentenced to death, kneeling on that Tortallan river mud, enemy territory a stone’s throw behind her, hundreds of abandoned souls saved by her stubborn hands.
Dutiful misery was stark in the grip Wyldon used to pull her to her feet and tie her hands behind her. (He would not leave that job to a lesser man.) Rage poured off Raoul, simmering, trapped. The King’s Own protested–when they shut themselves up it was not at their commander’s order but at Kel’s quelling shake of her head.
Wyldon could protect Owen, who was his squire and his responsibility. The King’s Own had technically, roughly, been following orders. The rescued civilians were ushered toward safety with faintly awed hands. Kel, Merric, and Neal were ushered forward, too, by awed hands, but it was with their own hands bound behind them and it was not toward safety.
But the awe was there– these knights had done the impossible. They had gone into enemy territory, after monsters made of death and metal, and saved their people. They had done the impossible– they had put protecting homeless peasants above obeying their lord. Wyldon tied each of their hands behind their backs and they did not apologize. Neal raised his chin like he was challenging Wyldon to demand it of him.
But the Giantkiller fortress was flooded with children and civilians who had been written off as collateral damage. After days of hard travel, the children were no longer unnaturally clean and coiffed; they would always be scared. They would always be brave. They would not allow Kel to be the price paid for their lives.
A pretty young woman who had once stabbed a Scanran slaver to death found out where they were keeping Kel and her knights. Children threw tantrums to distract while the ex-convicts picked the locks on their doors. Tobe got the horses and kept them quiet. When they got to the main gates again, Neal ready to put them all to sleep, the guards turned around the same way they had days before and let them through.
Up in the commander’s quarters, Wyldon slept restlessly. He had told Keladry of Mindelan once that he believed the best thing that could be said of his tenure as training master was that she had been in his care. He still believed that to be true, but he had his orders. When they woke him, he would be stranded somewhere between rage and relief.
Only a handful of Haven civilians came out into the woods with Kel that night. Neal tsked about Giantkiller’s healers and worked on them all while Merric went though their stolen saddlepacks and took inventory. Fanche pulled bread, cheese, and knives out of her bulging skirts and passed them around.
Kel sat, staring at the space they would have put a fire if they had thought it was safe to light one. Neal bullied some bread into her and Merric asked, “What do we do now, Kel?”
She considered saying, “Why are you asking me?” but Kel had always been very bad at lying to herself. She looked up at the trees. Fir. Spruce. “There’s a war on,” Kel said. “No matter what they say back there, we still have a sworn duty. Or at least I do.” Her school friends were looking up at her like she held their allegiances in her callused palm. The Haven people were careful shadows, tired, certain. Tobe looked at her like he was never letting her out of his sight again. “I’m going to keep fighting.”
They took down their first Scanran raiding party the next day, finding them almost on accident. The first Haven dogs and cats skipped and sauntered into their makeshift camp the next night, curling up by the fire and dropping rabbits for the humans to clean for them.
Haven civilians and convicts began wandering in, grinning tightly, bringing stories of Giantkiller all up in arms. After the first week, once she’d figured out they might be there for good, Kel had started looking for clerks.
When Dom and most of his squad of the King’s Own walked into their camp without a single piece of official Crown livery on, Kel seized Dom by one rough, plain sleeve and dragged him to the side.
“You can’t be here,” she hissed. “Neal and Merric are as damned as I am. The refugees have nowhere safer to go, and I’m not going to keep them from a fight if they want it. But you– Raoul needs you, Dom.”
“Raoul needs us to win this war,” said Dom. “And neither of us could think of any better hands for my squad to be in than yours. If we’re going to win this, we can’t keep our best commanders in the dark.” He grinned. “Even if they’re grumpy giantesses of fugitives.”
These are the dice of my friend’s wild magic teifling sorceress. Our party was in an enclosed room fighting a few goblins. She fired off a spell and rolled for the wild magic. The below is what happened next.
“I just cast fireball on myself and the whole party at level one thanks to wild magic. There were no survivors.”
To make this better, the spell that this went off on would be the killing blow to the last enemy in the dungeon.