Character Portrait – Aeduin

If I’m remembering correctly, as the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons came to the public, our group was left with a dilemma. Like many, there were things about the 3/3.5e versions of D&D that we weren’t particularly happy with. Neither did we particularly like what we were seeing from 4e. It was too much like a card game or MMO and too little like D&D. While opinion varied a bit in our group, my view was that it wasn’t D&D at all. It was more like Magic: The D&D edition. Well, we eventually settled on a decision to move instead to Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG. Many referred to this rules set as D&D 3.75e. It cleaned up a lot of what was wrong with late 2e and 3/3.5e D&D. One of the first campaigns (might have actually been 1st) with the Pathfinder rules was the Shackled City Campaign Setting. For that campaign I played a bard/cleric name Aeduin Tharn.

“Now, wait,” I can hear you saying already. “Shackled City wasn’t Pathfinder rules! It was 3e/3.5e”. Yes, that’s true. And the fact that you know that off the top of your head means you really need to get out more. But that alone was a reason to pick Pathfinder over 4e. It also helps that anything written for 3/3.5e was extremely easy to convert to the Pathfinder rules and not easy to convert to 4e. That meant going in there was already a huge amount of material available. And most of us being fans of D&D from the very beginnings and 1st edition, we were among those that were not impressed with 4th edition. So on to Pathfinder we went.

The Problem with Aeduin

Shackled City was probably the first time we were planning on taking characters from 1st to 20th level. While we sometimes re-visited characters, none of them had yet to achieve the topmost levels of the game. For my part, I’d played pretty much every core character class in the game except barbarian and bard. For Aeduin, I chose bard. Mostly I made the choice because we already had a couple of tanks in the party and I was fine with either one.

As the campaign progressed Aeduin grew as a bard and I pushed him along. But I also grew more and more bored with playing the bard. There were a few reasons for this. First, I found myself with a “meh” attitude towards the skills and abilities that bards have in higher levels. It just seemed like more of the same and increasingly less useful to the party. Second, I wasn’t really happy with the interpersonal dynamics that my character had with the rest of the party.  And third, bards are supposed to be exuberant, outgoing characters, the voice of the party. That is 100% the opposite of me and I found it very difficult to draw a sufficient amount of that attitude out of myself as a gamer.

Sacrifice

Occipitus
Occipitus
Occipitus

There comes a moment in the campaign when the characters are on a plane of existence known as Occipitus. There they face several tests. The last test takes place around a pillar of flaming plasma. Kaurophon is attempting to gain control of Occipitus. Here, he must sacrifice a soul to the pillar to gain that control. During the battle, Kaurophon used his magic to lift up one of the party and begin shoving them towards the pillar. The party fought to prevent the sacrifice, but we were losing the battle. We had but a round or two remaining before our foe was victorious.

In a moment of decision, Aeduin determined to throw himself into the pillar and gain the control for the party. Despite the fact that I was unhappy with Aeduin, it was also not in my nature to just throw a character away. I just thought that here was an opportunity for him to make a difference, something that I didn’t feel he had done in quite a while. Mostly I was totally happy with Aeduin not coming back. I was already starting to plan a new character out in my head before the end of the session. But as we were packing up, our GM told me he had an idea.

Opportunity for Change

What I didn’t know at the time I made the sacrifice is that if a character sacrifices themselves instead of someone else, they are not killed. They instead gain the Sign of the Smoking Eye template and become the heir to the plane of Occipitus. Between my GM and myself, we came up with an additional change. Instead of just becoming the Smoke-Eye and heir to Occipitus, Aeduin would become a cleric of Occipitus. All of his existing levels of bard were replaced with an equal number of levels of cleric of Occipitus. Aeduin found new purpose and I found it enjoyable to play him once again.

We eventually finished the campaign and Aeduin reached level 20. Having completed his original purpose in finding his missing father and restoring their family’s trade empire, he left Cauldron behind to return to Occipitus to begin molding it to his designs. Among his changes are taking ownership of the World Serpent Inn and giving it a permanent home.

Character Portrait – Rem

image credit: Cthulhu, by dano-h on DeviantArt

One of my many clerics was Noremus Toffli. Rem was a human cleric of Pelor tasked with finding a cure for a mind plague afflicting the people of Stormport. Little did he know when he joined the heroes that his quest would take him far from home, to the very stars themselves. Rem’s story is tightly coupled with that of my paladin of Helm, Terun.

Terun and the heroes of Silverhall had traveled to the Moonsea city of Stormport. There, they found a people under the influence of a band of insidious mind flayers. Through much tribulation, and a couple of misunderstandings, the party freed the city. Unfortunately, it became clear that this group of heroes had some deeply rooted failings, in that they were unwilling to do whatever it took to uphold the glory of Helm and Terun parted ways with them to seek out worthier companions.

In stepped Rem. A cleric of the temple of Pelor in Stormport, he saw that many in the city were still afflicted by a mysterious brain disease that had come upon them during the  Illithids’ reign. While his brothers and sisters remained to treat the sick as best their abilities could, Rem traveled in pursuit of the band of heroes. Catching up with them, he joined with them as they eventually found their way aboard an Illithid sky ship.

The party traveled aboard the fell contraption to the mind flayers’ home world of Penumbra. There, the heroes faced off against many of the mind masters, their slave minions, and their elder brain master. Through great battles and at great cost, the heroes defeated the creatures. Carrying what remained of their wizard companion, the party were able to find their way back to Faerun.

Rem, having gained the cure for the brain disease, was last seen traveling east from Waterdeep towards home. Perhaps we have not seen the last of this young adventurer…

Character Portrait – Gogun

Gogun Elfcrusher, aka “The Gogun”, was my cleric of Silvanus. He was from our 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons era. He ventured north with a group of dwarves, led by King Tadom Trollslayer, seeking to return to their ancient home in the Vast. It was a nameless city north of Raven’s Bluff. I created him to join the campaign after my paladin of Helm, Terun, left over a religious disagreement with another paladin.

Gogun served the Trollslayer as a scout for his armies. The name Elfcrusher came from one of his scouting missions. They were exploring some caves and he came across a party of drow. The dark elves had apparently killed each other in some argument. He was examining the bodies when one of the other scouts came across his position. The story soon spread that Gogun had slain the drow by himself. Despite his attempts to refute the story, it stuck to him.

Gogun was reporting to the king and attempting to set the story straight when the party arrived in Yhaunn, where King Tadom was in exile. The party was on a mission from the Silver Queen to do a favor for King Tadom. This led the party to the nameless dwarven city in the Vast. After their return, Gogun remained with his people as the adventurers departed for Silverhall. Gogun again attempted to set the story straight with King Tadom, who had been making him into a hero in his absence. Feeling that this was a sign of ingratitude and an insult to him, the Trollslayer exiled Gogun from his presence. Seeing no other options, Gogun followed the adventurers to Silverhall.

Once at Silverhall, Gogun joined the party and followed them on their quests through Firestorm Peak and the Return to White Plume Mountain. It was in White Plume Mountain, ancient Greyhawk fortress of the mighty wizard Keraptis, that Gogun found his destiny. First, from an ancient scroll of magic he gained the power to cast Fireballs. Thrilled at his new found abilities, which should have been beyond a cleric’s reach, he pushed deeper into these arcane mysteries. Eventually, the party happened across a Deck of Many Things. Following an irresistible urge, Gogun drew several cards from the deck. He ended up a twisted, deformed mutation of his former self.

The Gogun

Here stood this 6 foot tall dwarven cleric, with incredible strength and extra eye on the back of his neck. Add upon that his newfound arcane abilities such as casting fireball spells. And with each passing hour, he fell more and more into the belief that HE was the only true Keraptis. Eventually he would succumb to the powers and influence of Keraptis, fleeing the party. At a crucial point, when lava was exploding into a room he threw himself into the ethereal plane.

There he stayed for a time, barely conscious. When the true Keraptis was reborn and all the pretenders should have died, he survived because he was still in the ethereal plane. Then, when Thomisan cast the limited wish spell, he was dragged back into the Forgotten Realms. In this act he lost the last few vestiges of his original personality and became once and for all Keraptis.

Even so, he knew that in Silverhall there remained a part of himself that he must free. So in the night, while the chaos of a battle raged through the halls of Silverhall, he came. Gogun strode through the chaos and stole away the child Keraptis and the hammer Whelm. He did not understand how, but he knew that the child was a part of him and he a part of it.

So now, in the darkness of night, around campfires, and anywhere else is told tales of fright and horror, is told the tale of the Gogun. Children run in panic or cower in their beds. The hearts of even the bravest of warriors are chilled at the tale. But those who knew him, who know the truth behind the stories and what really happened, also know this: When the time comes and the child Keraptis comes of age, they will once more come face to face with…. The Gogun!

Character Portrait – Nignus

Nignus was my dwarven cleric of Oghma. A traditional gold dwarf of Faerun from the Great Rift, he made his journey north where he joined the companions to explore the dark heart of Nightfang Spire. His goal was to seek tomes of wisdom and knowledge to add to the Temple of Oghma’s great library in the Rift.

Sadly, the journey of Nignus was a short one. Not long after he entered the domain of the vampire Gulthias, the fell to a monstrosity of magic, a construct made of flesh.

Character Portrait – Chojen

Alas, poor Chojen Morg. After Thelisn the bodak fell to the servants of Gulthias within the Heart of Nightfang Spire, I brought in Chojen. He was human, a former thief and rogue who had repented of his ways and taken up a life of service to the gods. Serving in a monastary near Daggerdale, the companions of Silverhall rescued Chojen when he and others had been taken by an evil cult.

To repay the debt, he offered his service to them. That service was sadly all to short. Soon after the companions re-entered Nightfang Spire, he fell victim to an undiscovered trap in the floor, sliding him down over a sharp blade and then flinging him out the side of the tower. Having no ranks in fly, he plummeted to his death at the base of the Spire.

I was sad to lose Chojen, especially so shortly after losing Thelisn (twice). The character concept of a thief-monk multi-class was one that really appealed to me. I’m bummed I never got a chance to really explore what he was capable of. At some  point I would like to run a new character that’s similar in concept. We’ll see.