Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pourin' A Forty For Da Shorty

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.


  1. Given that all D&D parties tend to get their start in a tavern, meeting The End in one is just beautiful, beautiful symmetry.

    To Einar!

  2. But was it a better or worse tavern than the one in which they started?

    I can relate, a bit, to the reassuring the DM that it was ok to kill your character. I playe din a PF campaign last summer. I had a barabarian who was also the annoying instigator. The other characters kept trying to ditch him to no avail. Well in one fight I was getting very low on HP and when the rage faded would go negative. My character never mentioned it, he was busy killing stuff. so the DM mentioned it to the group. And boom. The game came to a halt while the rest of the players tried to figure out a sequence of actions that would get healing to my character. Apparently, characters aren't supposed to die. News to me.

  3. @GSV: Oddly enough, it was the same tavern we'd started out in. The group actually met on the road to Hommlet and the Inn of the Welcome Wench was pretty much our first stop.

    Einar had an earlier brush with the precipitous HP drop when he charged an ogre a few levels back. To here him tell it, he rushed in, everything went red, and when he woke up, the ogre was dead. In fact, the Ogre knocked him into negativeland with a single shot, and the party had to jump through all sorts of hoops to keep him alive.

    Obviously, I'm not against characters dying, but I admit I'd prefer they die for a purpose. In this case, we'd just come off of a fairly triumphant run of events, having driven off virtually all of the Temple of Elemental Evil's forces in Hommlet, only to come back and find the town now occupied by a new (and undefined) threat that we knew was coming. We were cocky and went after New Threat's daytime leadership (we suspect their leader is a vampire or something). What looked like a couple of fighters, a bard and a rogue turned out to be a Jackalwere, a Lamia, an Infernal(!) Dire(!!) Wereboard, and three(!!!) werewolves. That we won without losing more than one PC in a 6th-7th level party speaks highly of our quality, but Einar paid the price for our hubris.

  4. "Einar the Bloody-Handed, hero of Hommlet, died the way he lived: angry and in a tavern." is the finest epitaph a D&D character can hope for. Good work, man!

    When the dice are breaking our way, you and I, the team's two DPMs, could dish out truly horrid damage. And I had about a third of Einar's HP; I got very lucky, because if even one of those guys had a chance to concentrate on me, I was toast.