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D&D nerdity ahead

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If you have no interest in hearing about other people’s D&D games, you might want to bail now. Otherwise, settle in. This might get long but I’ll try to be brief.

Got together with some old college buddies recently and played some Dungeons and Dragons. Yeah, I’m a tabletop role-playing gamer. Have been for more than 40 years.

In this campaign I’m running two characters – a halfling Bard and a half-orc Paladin. Since this is 5th edition you have to pick a path for your classes. For my Bard (Tooley) I took the College of Lore. My paladin (Gulag) took an Oath of Vengeance.

Early in the campaign we ran across a pirate named Christobel. He pretty much tried killing us right from the start. In particular he tried killing Gulag, which did not sit well with him, but Gulag kept getting back up each time he got struck down. He swore an oath against Christobel and has been trying to catch up with the pirate to fight him in one-on-one combat, with the intent of slaying him.

Tooley and Gulag have been loyal compatriots in this game. Tooley appreciates having a large, violent swordslinger to handle the fighting and Gulag appreciates having a bard that can handle healing and telling inspiring stories during battle.

This brings us to today’s session. The party was split, with Gulag and several other party members being on a boat, sailing toward the island we want to use as our base of operations. Tooley was in the other party, also making their way to said island but overland. (Rule number 1 in D&D – never split the party!)

Christobel teleported onto the prow of our ship, and wanted to parley with Gulag, who granted it. Christobel wanted to know why Gulag was after him with such vengeance. Gulag recounted the time the pirate tried to kill us right off the bat when we first met him, and that he’s a pirate stealing from merchants and others who ply the seas. Christobel offered him 5,000 gold pieces to drop the vendetta. Gulag refused. One of the other characters (also a Bard) suggested we settle things peaceably, and Christobel offer a public apology. Gulag would be fine with that, and have CHristobel give up piracy. (An apology won’t stop Christobel from going on and committing more heinous acts.) Christobel countered with Gulag giving up being a paladin. Gulag was tempted but rejected that too. Christobel said he’d give Gulag 24 hours to think it over.

After much consideration and discussion with the rest of the party on the boat, Gulag made the decision that they’d put in at the next port town they came to, he’d get off, and go off on his own to kill Christobel.

The other half of the party teleported back to the ship just before the pirate showed up again, who requested parley, which was again granted. Gulag informed him that he was going to continue his quest for vengeance. Christobel upped the offer to 10,000 gold pieces. Again it was rejected. Gulag said that this whole affair was between the two of them and no one else needed to be involved. Christobel said that if they met, anyone with Gulag was ‘fair game.’ Gulag said that was understood, but the reverse was also true – anyone with Christobel was also ‘fair game’ should the two meet.

Christobel said he understood but was sad that they couldn’t reach an understanding. He said he had a gift for Gulag, who responded he didn’t want any gifts Christobel had. The pirate threw a ball at Gulag, who drew his sword and sliced it in half mid-air. The ball exploded into a fireball, scorching several party members and blowing Gulag overboard. Christobel immediately disappeared again.

Gulag was retrieved from the sea. He then presented his decision to go after Christobel alone to the rest of the party. Everyone else was pretty much in favor of letting him go. (Paladins don’t tend to be real popular with their fellow party members.) The only holdout was Tooley. We were at the end of the time we could continue to play so the DM gave me until next session to figure it out.

Tooley’s reasoning is that she doesn’t think Gulag should have to go it alone, and would like him to stay. Also, he could certainly use her as backup as they have done throughout the campaign. It would also make an epic tale she could tell as a Bard. She also thinks Gulag is headed toward certain death and you can’t tell stories if you’re dead.

Gulag’s argument is that this is his quest alone, and she should stay with the rest of the party and live a good life. He wouldn’t fault her if she stayed.

There’s also the metagame aspect – if both of my characters go then I no longer have a character to play. I could roll up a new character, but they don’t have the chemistry of campaigning with the rest of the party. We could run into Tooley’s ‘twin sister’ (i.e. an exact copy of my current character) but that still feels wrong.

I’m leaning heavily toward Tooley staying with the rest of the party, and feeling appropriately guilty about it. What say you? Leave a comment.

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