Delving Phandelver Sessions #7 – 8: No Longer Delving Phandelver. Also: Paladin Criminals!

Things have been in flux around here, so I haven’t been posting regularly, and I haven’t put up any session notes for awhile. We actually played a couple of weeks ago though, and are suppose to play again today. However, today we will be starting a completely new game with new characters.

R.I.P. Phandelver: August 2014 – March 2015

Wow. That looks like a long time to have been playing a module and not even finish it. But we only get to play for around four hours a session (five hours tops), and although we try to meet every other weekend our actual average is probably closer to about one game every three weeks. And for most of that time we were running two games, playing each one on alternating weekends.

Such is the life of a married, transplanted gamer in his thirties.

Anyway, we’ve lost one of our regular players during that time and picked up another one, and we were all playing the pre-generated characters straight out of the starter box besides. And for our other game, everyone was playing characters that had been converted from game system to game system, and finally to 5th edition. What I’m getting at here is that everyone has been itching to make up their own, brand new, 5th edition character. Especially our new player, who was playing a second-hand, pre-generated character.

So in the time since our last session, we’ve decided to start “Hoard of the Dragon Queen,” with everyone making up their very own characters. Besides, we probably should have all been killed by that green dragon in our last session anyway – We “ran him off,” even though if he had stayed he would have in all likelihood pulverized us. Plus there was some confusion about breath weapon range, so we probably should have all been dead regardless.

And so we leave our pre-generated characters standing their in a crumbling tower in the ruins of Thundertree, assuming that they went on to lead long, happy, successful lives. In fact, we are setting our current adventure about thirty years or so after the events depicted in “The Lost Mine of Phandelver.” I was even going to play the half-elven offspring of Dirk, the folk hero fighter that I ended up playing during most of our games,  and Annastriana, the elven wizard that was the only character I had originally intended to play for the adventure. Sort of a tongue in cheek melding of the two characters I had been playing into one new character. And yes, of course he was going to be a bard. In a similar vein, the player who played the halfling thief in our Phandelver sessions has decided to play that character’s cousin, who was a small halfling child from a small farm in Phandelver. We’re short on players, so instead of playing a straight thief this time, he plans on trying out some multi-classing and playing a halfling fighter/thief.

I talk about my character concept in the past tense, though, because in the end I just wasn’t feeling this gimmicky character concept, and I’m not sure how excited I would have been to keep this shtick going after the first session or two. Instead, I’ve decided to play an oath of vengeance paladin of Ilmater, which may be as far from that half-elven bard as I can get!

The concept for my paladin stemmed from a desire to make a character with a seemingly incongruous background and class combination. So with that in mind I decided to make a paladin with the criminal background, which I thought was about as incongruous as I could get. I havent worked out all the details, but essentially my character was some sort of customs official or city watchmen on the payroll of a thieve’s guild or smuggling ring or what-have-you. Somehow, him turning a blind eye led to the death of people he cared about, including his parents and a younger sibling. He either signed off on a shipping manifesto that he shouldn’t have or allowed some people to go free that he should have detained or something similar. The point is he could have stopped the tragedy but didn’t, failing to realize the consequences of his actions. Sort of a Spider-Man/Uncle Ben scenario.

Wracked with the grief of what he had allowed to happen, Alaren left Neverwinter and headed into the mountains, with no clear idea of where he was going or what he was doing. As he climbed higher and the weather worsened, he decided that he would just walk until he succumbed to the elements, even though freezing to death was probably too good for him. He was trudging through a blizzard when the blessed numbness of hypothermia began to wash over him. Before collapsing, he saw a golden light, and what looked to be two men in cassocks? He didn’t realize it, but in the snow-blind he had practically walked to the front door of a monastery dedicated to Ilmater. Alaren was convinced that this was not happenstance, and the monks agreed. Over the course of the next several months, he learned to cope with and channel his grief and his rage. He began to have visions. Ilmater had a purpose for him. He would dedicate the rest of his life to helping alleviate the suffering of others – a penance for his sins. He also swore an oath of vengeance against those who had murdered his loved ones – The Cult of the Dragon.

So yeah, that’s my character concept. You can see I’m excited about it. And if Alaren Neverwinter charges straight into the maul of a dragon and gets ground up into tiny paladin pieces, I still have that bard I rolled up, too.

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