D&D – Moradin (Dwarves), Erathis (Others)
Pathfinder – Cayden Cailean
13th Age Icons
To be fair I don’t really have a favorite deity though I do have tendencies. Moradin and Erathis provide easy ways to get into adventuring situations. The same is true for Cayden Cailean, the bonus for the latter being you don’t have to be in any way formal or refined to be a paragon of faith.
I find the idea of 13th Age’s Icons a much better idea for general RPG gameplay than what god a PC worships. They are actual people you can meet without divine intervention (though plenty of footwork). They have agendas and a tangible affect on the game world without that feeling of the gods looking down on you from Mount Olympus because they’re bored.
Fourth Edition, up to the release of Divine Power. Originally 4e played quickly, was fun and easy to run. It accomplished all the things it wanted to be, as in not Edition 3.75 and handily slimming down the rules to get new people into the hobby. Other than significant design problems with the Paladin class I recall most things functioning well. The Divine Power book began the slippery slope of ignoring core design of 4e, primarily Surge based healing.
Fourth Edition for all the flak it catches helped to bring an entirely new audience of gamers to the table. People who avoided things like 3.x because of the convoluted rules and heavy crunch mechanics. It was a different system and appealed to an audience whose primary gaming background is video games. It brought a lot of new blood to the hobby and it’s a blast to play. I consider it one, if not THE one, best ways to get new people into table top RPGs and definitely as an introduction to d20 systems.
Though despite my healthy skepticism D&D Next is looking to be a really fun system.
Favorite Character You’ve Played
I have a number of memorable characters though my favorite is probably Bithinor, Dwarf Cleric of Moradin. A hill dwarf bedridden through a significant part of his developmental age due to serious illness. He is short and weak, but spent a lot of time in bed reading and finding religion. Eventually he overcame the disease and took the cloth.
Bithinor became a powerful spellcaster and became a demon hunter to rid his native Impiltur (Faerun) of the demonic presence of its lands. He was a fun PC with a pretty concise motivation.
Favorite Character You Haven’t Played
None? I try not to make a habit of rolling up PCs I’ll never play. I tend to have a very intertwined character creation process where I come up with the fluff bits naturally as I sort through the mechanical crunch of building the PC.
Craziest thing that’s happened that you saw (to party/character/your players etc)
Really any time an unexpected Natural 20 happens, amounting to a humorous situation of luck; plate armor paladin stealth, psion making an MLB hook slide through enemies and cutting the moorings of a rope ladder laden with baddies, fail a Diplomacy check and having an orc chieftain surprise round crit you in the face with an axe leaving you a mangled mess on the ground. I’ve also had a giant zombie fail an Intelligence check and swan dive off a cliff face to crush the PCs at the bottom.
But the oddest series of events belongs to a game I was running in my homebrew setting of King’s X. As I’ve noted prior on the blog I like to start play in a new campaign by running a re-skinned published adventure. Mainly it gives me a few more weeks to develop the next adventure while letting me get a feel for the PCs and not having to worry about the current adventure. Well I began the campaign by running Goodman Games ‘Sellswords of Punjar’, an adventure from their Dungeon Crawl Classics line. It’s a 4e, urban adventure where the adventurers attempt to deal with the Beggar King, leader of the city’s indigent and destitute. For ‘reasons’ (read: horrific player fails) they end up going through the dungeon backwards. So they enter a secret cove and find a cage held aloft by a chain and pulley system and above it a trapdoor.
The elf ranger decides to shimmy up the chain and check out the trapdoor. No biggy, the rest are snooping around the smuggler cave/cove. He opens the trapdoor and peeks in to find a table with a figure draped in a heavy cloak seated in a chair facing the other way. It seems like it’s the BBEG’s office. Ranger sneaks up into the room and approaches the figure from behind and decides to take his surprise round and slam the BBEG’s head against the table.
…Most people assume I made this part up but it is black-and-white printed into the adventure…
“You hear a sickening crunch and blood dapples the table. The cloak falls back to reveal the face of a very unconscious, bound young girl with a broken nose.” I a face palm moment the ranger without a hint of humor states he wants to tie her up. All right fine, the unconscious child does not resist you binding her MORE.
After that things go downhill quickly. The rest of the party has stirred up a combat between bouts of the laughter at the ranger’s ordeal. A drow assassin attacks the ranger in the office. The assassin was supposed to die about 3 fights back but always escaped and had been harrying and harassing the party since. The ranger has sworn an oath to kill him. They fight, the ranger decides he needs to regroup with the rest of the party and tosses the bound, unconscious girl through the trapdoor down into deep water of the hidden cove… where she will drown. He follows quickly and becomes a pincushion for the assassin as he drags the unconscious girl to shore.
The party survived by the skin of their teeth (as was the usual case). Later they were killed in a fight with bats, a witch, and her eunuchs in one of the compound’s inner courtyards. Two PCs (of seven I think) escaped and decided it was not worth going back and it was time to skip town before they were murdered as well.