Here is what we hope to be the first in a series of articles by new “Guest Lecturer” Caleb, also known as @TheCalebG on twitter. On of the main goals Evan and I had for this website was to get more people to play this game we love so much. You do that by making the game as inclusive as possible. Here, in this first article Caleb is going to introduce you to one of his favorite PC’s he’s had the pleasure to play re-revisit. We hope you enjoy and will leave some comments. If you would be interested in submitting some content on our site please use our submission form to send me your thoughts.
Michael – AKA Mumbles
“I have kept every character sheet from every DnD character I’ve ever rolled up. I’m not sure if this is a common practice, or just a crazy thing I do. On one hand, it’s a great resource for future PCs (and NPCs, when I am GMing). Notes from my experimenting with spells, feats, and skills are always useful to fall back on. I can’t even count how many times I’ve looked up a specific feat or spell usage in my notes rather than paging through a few books to try and remember where I found it originally. And I frequently scribble notes on house rules on my character sheets, so that’s always necessary to refer back to. But old character sheets are more than just a database of rules. Each of my PCs has his own unique personality and experiences. Sure, I’ve made a few different versions of the same character, but for the most part, each PC I have rolled up is living is own life in the vast world of DnD. Being able to go back and visit with each of these unique characters is a great way to remember old adventures and relive many a happy gaming memory.
I was going through my PCs recently, and I took the time to reacquaint myself with my very first 3.5 character, who just so happens to be my absolute favorite DnD PC I’ve ever played.
His name is Conor. He’s a half elf, Neutral Good cleric of Pelor. Although, to be honest, I played him as far more Lawful than was good for his hit points. He ended up battling on the front line more frequently than the fighters and barbarians in our party for no other reason than to protect the innocent. Conor embodies every classic element of a cleric of the sun god. He is covered head to toe in armor emblazoned with heavenly imagery. His spell list is stocked with healing and buff spells, with the odd Spiritual Weapon and Searing Light thrown in just to dish out a little extra damage. His holy symbol is built into his mace and he wields both with a fierce intensity.
I played Conor in a campaign where all of the PCs had been kidnapped by someone trying to open a portal to a prison that was specially built to contain an incredibly powerful demon. One of us was the “White Acolyte” and only that person could use the key to open the portal. So we were racing against the bad guys to not only find the key, but figure out which of us had been chosen by destiny. (By the way, spoiler, it wasn’t me. I was pretty bummed.)
I kept Conor as a pure cleric through all of his levels. He had some great magic items, but I never multi-classed or went into a prestige class. He really only did three things: cast healing spells, soaked up damage on the front line, and bashed things with his mace. He was simple and focused, and I think that’s why he is still my favorite character. I didn’t have to pay attention to lots of little rules for different special features and abilities, so I could really dedicate myself to the role playing aspect of DnD.
In the very first gaming session with Conor, we faced a hoard of skeletons on the beach. We smashed through them and then rushed to protect the villagers that had been attacked. Unfortunately, there were casualties. In an example of role playing that I am still proud of, Conor took the time to bury and pray over the bodies of the villagers that had died. At the time, I was a fairly new player. I made the choice to take those actions because it was something I felt the character would do based on his devotion to his god. That simple action brought Conor to life for me, and heavily shaped how he developed as he gained levels. Conor had no motivation other than doing what was good in every possible situation. He acted selflessly to protect and support his allies, and put himself in harm’s way to stand up for innocents.
Of course, this mindset got him into trouble quite often. The most spectacular example of this took place when our party was resting in a town several levels into the game. In a bit of a plot twist, the main bad guy (who was about twice our current level) showed up and started whipping the townsfolk into a frenzy of hatred against us. One of our party members addressed the crowd and attempted to sway them back to our side, but didn’t do so well. Then, in what I can only describe as shocking stupidity, Conor got himself righteously angry and attacked the bad guy in front of the crowd. I’m sure you’re saying, “wait a minute, you knew that you were up against the main bad guy who you logically knew was a higher level than you…so why did you attack?” The simple answer is that I was playing my character how he would’ve reacted. Previously to this event, Conor had gone out of his way to assist townsfolk with various tasks and had made friends among them. When he saw these people turn against him due to the manipulation of a villain, he got angry. The best part about role playing is living in another person’s life and doing things as they would. I knew better than to attack the bad guy, but Conor had invested his resources and emotions into the town and wouldn’t stand to see such manipulation. And his reward for his actions? In a turn of events that surprised even the GM, the bad guy killed Conor in one attack.
Don’t worry, he was later resurrected. But he was in jail, alone, with none of his gear. That led to a really fun session where I had to escape and meet up with the rest of the party using only my skills and some quick-thinking. The GM actually had me in a separate room from the rest of the party, and I wasn’t allowed back to the gaming table until Conor had found his way back to the party.
While not stupid, Conor did have a lust for battle. I kept a kill chart on his character sheet, and believe it or not, as I read over those notes I remember almost every battle we fought in that campaign. The encounter I remember best was one where we were tracking down a vampire sorcerer. We spent a few hours, which in game translated a few days, preparing for the fight. We researched the vampire’s lair, readied countermeasures to his protective spells, and obtained special gear for the approaching fight. His coffin was in the basement of an abandoned monastery. We ended getting surprised by some of his minions and we had to split the party. The melee fighters and spell slingers held the ground floor while the monk, the rogue, and I descended to the basement. We managed to avoid most of the traps, but the vampire was waiting for us and was prepared for deadly combat. We had poured every buff possible into the monk, and he managed to pin the vampire. Then, with a roll that still makes me giddy as I think about it to this day, I dusted the vampire with a single turn attempt. It was glorious.
Over the years, I’ve re-tooled Conor a few times. Mostly, I did this for high level one-shot dungeons…something we whipped up just for a good fun evening of hack and slash thrills. I’ve made Conor a monk, I’ve raised him to sainthood, and I’ve given him dragon ancestors. But at the core, he’s always been that same original character who was devoted to simply doing right and protecting the innocent, no matter the cost. Conor was a blast to play, not because of his class or his abilities, but because of who he was as a character. In the big picture, I always like making new PCs and experimenting with different classes. When I get to play a character instead of being a GM, I usually try to roll up a class I’ve never used before just to keep the game fresh and make sure I don’t fall into a rut. But if I had the chance to get into a long-running campaign that started at first level and could roll up any character I wanted, I would absolutely step back into Conor’s boots. He’s an old friend who deserves to be brought out of retirement. Playing Conor taught me the foundation of DnD rules and formed the core of my understanding of role playing. He is always going to be my favorite PC.”
Conor sounds like a character as a DM or a Player I could build a great story behind.
Thanks again to Caleb for sharing, I for one would like to hear more details about some of his adventures.
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