I was going to use this post to start talking about medieval and renaissance weapons and armour. However, the events of last night's Pathfinder game ("Dawn of the Temple of Elemental Evil") must take precedence. For during a tumultuous battle in the Inn of the Welcome Wench, Einar the Bloody-Handed, hero of Hommlet, met his end. He died the way he lived: angry and in a tavern.
Of course, Einar isn't the first PC I've lost, but he is the first I've lost in many years. I think I have to go all the way back to high school to find the last D&D(ish) PC of mine that died in the line of duty. Of course, there was a significant period of time between last night and high school when I didn't play any sort of D&D, so my data is hardly pristine.
Anyway, it was a bit of a shocker at the time, but nothing I didn't expect in the long run. Playing a barbarian is always a dance on the knife's edge; once your rage lapses, you're going to pay a huge HP tax, and Einar went from 14 HP to -29 in a single blow (all in all, I took something like 124 points of damage in about five rounds of combat). On the plus side, he did manage to crit one of the baddies a few rounds earlier, doling out 82 points of damage in one hit.
All the same, I had to reassure the DM that I was perfectly fine with him dying. Personally, I feel like the possibility of character death is necessary to give a fantasy game an edge, something I'll probably discuss more in one of my weapons/realism posts. That the bar-none toughest member of the party died had a definite effect on the morale not only of the characters but the other players. And to me, that's awesome. It's a reminder that in Greyhawk, no matter how tough you are, there's something worse just over the next hill.
So here's to Einar: may he drink deep and long in the Hallowed Halls of Hanseath, god of brewers and berserkers.
Next week, I think a Furyondyan knight will be joining the party. They just met up with a military excursion from Verbobonc, so it'll be easy to work him into the group.