13 Oct 2012

Encounters Characters

As can be guessed, I play RPGs. Wednesdays, Wizards of the Coast has an event known as D&D Encounters. The goal is to let new players try the game starting from first level without having to find a group or a game convention. Naturally, WotC also uses the event to market the latest books. I've been playing locally using a variety of characters. It's a chance for me to experiment and try races and classes I don't normally touch.

Two seasons ago*, I decided to get back in touch with my inner swashbuckler. Back when Living City was a thing for AD&D 2nd Edition, I played a swashbuckler half-elf thief called Aelfward Shadowstar. During play, he got gender-changed and gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. Yes, in the same adventure. He never got swapped back, and ultimately was eaten by a brown dragon. However, Aelfward Junior existed. So, when Living City went to third edition, Aelfward did, too, this time as a swashbuckling bard. Unfortunately, work ate into free time (scheduling problems; avoid working in call centres if you want to see people who don't work in one), and the character languished. When I found better employment, I got back into regular gaming. Along comes D&D 4th Edition. In an early game set in the Forgotten Realms, I created Aelfward III, a swordmage who swashbuckles. Again, just for the fun of it. And that brings us to Aelfward IV, elemental warlock and arcane swashbuckler who was a lot of fun to play. Playing a swashbuckler, I look for chandeliers to swing from, damsels to de-distress, and jokes to quip. The class was an afterthought.

Last season, because there was a dearth of leader types (classes that heal others), I went for a Warpriest from D&D Essentials, using the Sun Domain. Varrs Shadowstar (a distant relative and a full elf) handed out healing and temporary hit points like candy on Hallowe'en. "Oh, is that a minor scratch? Here, have some temporary hit points to make you feel better." Healing others didn't take away from fighting the monsters. Usually, if anyone went down, it was Varrs because he gave healing away to the rest of the party. At the same time, Varrs was on a mission, a roaring rampage of vengeance and light against the drow. With drow in the party. "You can't trust drow. They're a race of murdering liars. No offense."

This current season, which is about to draw to a close Wednesday, takes a look at the other side of the fight, Team Evil. The players are drow or their minions/slaves, working to bring the Demonweave under the control of Lloth. Naturally, being the more unsavory types, not a good-aligned PC around. I went for evil, aiming towards the old Lawful Evil alignment, where one worked in the bounds of rules and regs to move towards the top of the food chain. Thus, Xaelynna, drow enchantrix (drow elf, Essentials wizard, school of enchantment). Her goal, to become the power behind the throne, pulling strings, manipulating, all through the use of her spells and her charisma. Think Tolkien's Wormtongue, but female and sexier. And she managed to get a major goal during play. Publically, she's now an apprentice to a more powerful wizard in her House. And, to appease the misadrist priestesses on the Council, she's volunteered to be the act as her mentor's voice as the wizards advise the priestesses on the use of the Demonweave. Xaelynna is exactly where she wants to be. If this was a long campaign, she'd be working at worming herself into Council, manipulating her mentor, using gossip and lies to deal with enemies, and just being a nasty little vixen. Xaelynna deals in favours, and will remember who owes her.

And that brings me to next season of Encounters, the last one in its current form according to WotC. As long as it relates to Essentials (ie, not from the older Player's Handbooks 1, 2, and 3), it's allowed. So, that rules out the wild mage sorcerer idea; the class is in PHB2. But, looking through what I have that is allowed, well, a Pixie Skald (bard variant found in Heroes of the Feywild) and a Tiefling Druid of the Wastes (Warden Druid variant found in Heroes of the Elemental Chaois) are both legal and intriguing. As a bonus, both are leaders, thus helping ease the pain of hit point loss on others. I have about two weeks to decide. Mind, the pixie feat Streak of Light might be the deciding factor.

Encounters player? Let me know what sort of PC you're playing currently and what you're thinking of playing for the next season!

* Each series of adventures is called a season. The adventures are linked in an overall story.

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