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Rialacha Teach Mhorgunna

It's Good To Be The King!

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Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"
Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part 2

How do you feel about players who's character's background is the noble? It can be fun. Are the characters role played as entitled fools who must come to term with the reality of having to exist among the common people. It can be a great hook to center the character on. And I usually don't have a problem with this. I mean ... old school ... that was part of the game. A fighter reached a certain level and established a keep. But I was playing with Jim.

Jim is a serious player with a keen mind and great understanding of the rules. His usual choice of character is a Barbarian. After that I have only seen him play a Paladin. They are chargers, heading in and leaving what is left in the wake for the Gods to separate. 7 months ago I was glad for Jim to join the other two players. Before that, poor Kevin had to play multiple characters. Kevin brought in a Fighter. His Father, Will played a Cleric. With Jim's Barbarian, the party lacked a magic user. I knew Jim could play his character in his sleep, so I asked for a favor to play a Warlock, (which I felt was a good entry level experience as a spell caster.) It took a bit of convincing ... but at last he agreed. I was happy. Jim was expanding his boundaries and we had a magic user.

Then Jim came to me with his character ...

... all 30 pages of background.

He explained to me that the Countess was royalty who had been ousted from the throne of a minor house in MoonShae. I sighed and suggested that he make the origins in a closer kingdom ... perhaps Cormyr. No go. Jim was set on being from Moonshae and regaining his throne. I explained that this was not the area we were working out of. He held strong saying that he had pages of work invested. I pointed out that he was not giving me any wiggle room for the two of us to tell a story together. It was a joint point of frustration, but at long last he let me unwind his story for a zero session. He walked away with a bit more understanding and a growing attachment to his character. However after we took the Transender Manor, Jim said to me, with a sigh, "I guess she will never regain her kingdom."

This made me think. I looked at the background on the Tresanders and wondered what if the Countess was related to the this local family? This has led to Jim being happy and feeling that he is getting what he wanted. But you know what they say about getting what you want ...

The first thing I did was make her go to Neverwinter and the temple of Oghma to prove the legitimacy of her claims. It cost 1000 gps and 3 weeks of her time. She found out she needed the sword Talon that was recovered in the aforementioned adventure. The problem was this belonged to Kevin's fighter. This cost two magic weapons in trade. I threw the Countess into the social/political enviroment. There was Lady Winterhall that moved this part along in some very satisfied role playing. She got caught up in the mechanics of Neverwinter wanting to expand it's borders, an arranged marriage and joined a secret society known as the Woman's Circle. I bled Jim dry moneywise, rebuilding both the manor and the city. Suddenly he was responsible for almost EVERYTHING.

But Jim was up to the challenge, reveling in making plans and deals. Everything was going well. All the players were looking forward to settling down in Phandelver. A fest hall, an academic academy and hospital were all in the plans. They were breezing through Wave Echo Cave. They thought at was a done deal. But then I started doing a little thinking.

And that's the last thing a player wants the DM to do. That can really be dangerous. We had been talking about doing Princes of the Apocalypse, even buying the campaign. I had talked about setting it 2 years later in game play. But as I prepared the last dungeon for LMoP, I thought ... "Wow! This would be the perfect point to start the Out of the Abyss campaign. Also ... why was the Spider a male drow. Shouldn't it be a female? So I put an upper level added some extra drow into the mix. The Drow hand crossbow turned the tide. TPK ... well almost.

They were ready to roll new characters. Instead they became prisoners of the Drow. Gone long enough for the Doppelganger from LMoP to take the Countess's throne and husband. At this point, they are in the midst of escaping Velkynvelve. Jim got so made her refered to me as the monster. Maybe I am. But if I am ... my players had best fear me. I can't be killed. I'm not stated.

Just to be sure ... I checked the Monster Manual.

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  1. dulux-oz's Avatar
    Nice entry - brought back a few memories of "helping" out my own players.

    The two greatest curses of all time:

    1) May you live in interesting times.

    2) Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.

    And a corollary to the above:

    a) Be wary of the GM, for they are quick to give you what you want, in very interesting ways.

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