10 Feb 2013

Introducing Rufus

Back a bit, I gushed over D&D Next's ability to allow swashbucklers right out of the box.  I even figured out three different ways to create a swashbuckler.  With the new season of D&D Encounters, I decided to put one into action.

Meet Rufus.  Rufus takes the cleric build I mentioned in the previous entry.  Jester background, cleric of a trickster god, with a switch up on the specialty to add a bit more healing oomph.  But the mechanics are just one part of any player character, a minor part at that.  This is where Rufus goes beyond the race-class combo.  You see, Rufus is loosely based on his namesake in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Some of the idea comes from being a jester.  A benefit of the background is to land performing jobs at taverns and inns in return for room and meal.  "Performing" covers a wide area, from song and dance to instrumentals to comedy.  Stand-up comedy.  Got me to thinking.  What would be the best prank to pull on an audience in a tavern that doesn't involve spiking the ale?  What if a cleric could give a sermon and not have anyone realize it yet still spread the message of his deity until the reveal at the end?

Rufus owes a lot to George Carlin, not only for the name, but for the approach to sermonizing.  Carlin knew the best way to get people thinking is to get them laughing.  That's the approach my Rufus is taking.  His message, representing his deity's, is "Be excellent to each other."  A simple, yet powerful message, meant to crossover societal levels.  To introduce it to the masses as a stand-up routine?  Best prank ever.

The world this season of Encounters is in isn't as fleshed out as Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms.  The gods are so-far unnamed, with a lawful/chaos dichotomy going.  Trickster gods tend to slide to the chaotic side of the chart.  The town guard trends towards lawful.  There will be a bit of conflict there, though Rufus is set to talk himself out of trouble if needed.  However, as part of an adventuring party, his role will be to tend to the wounded.  He just happens to be able to tend to the morale of the party, too.

So, I am looking forward to seeing how Rufus as a PC does when he encounters the plot.  D&D Encounters tended to focus on combat encounters, but that was a product of D&D 4th Edition[link].  D&D Next feels more organic, less designed for set pieces.  This season of Encounters was designed for both versions (locally, there'll be at least one table of each version).

I'll end this by letting Rufus get the last words.  "Three things to remember.  First, tip your waitress.  Really, they work hard getting you ale.  Second, be excellent to each other.  And, third, party on, dudes!"

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