Friday, March 23, 2018

A Good Death

I play in a friend of a friend's online D&D campaign on Roll 20. I joined it fairly recently all things considered, and we've been going through the book campaign Tyranny of the Dragon Queen or whatever it is officially called. We normally meet on Sundays, but we're not meeting this weekend and as we were in the middle of a major boss fight we decided to have a "mid week session" to at least wrap the combat up before missing a normal game day.

In that fight my character died. Like died died. Like not coming back dead.

It's an interesting feeling. For a number of reasons I had problems getting into Rhogar - a Dragonborn Battlemaster Fighter. Part of it was I didn't know the group. Part of it was being online making it hard to feel really part of the group. Part of it was Rhogar was my first D&D character in forever. And part of it was how the game was going. The GM is a new GM, he's running a book adventure, and I missed the first few sessions. So I never really got to ease into Rhogar, and was kinda left floundering.

As time went on I got to know the people in the game better - I now play other games with most everyone in the game when we're not playing D&D - and most of those issues became resolved. I never really got to express Rhogar as an individual, but I got a good grip on him. I knew who he was and what he wanted.

And now he's dead.

He didn't have to be dead. Not permanently. I chose it. Why? Well, a number of reasons. The logical part of me says it's a good idea because a front line defensive fighter wasn't really what the group needed. They have lots of melee already. Lots of tank. It's "covered" so to say. But the real reason was the narrative.

Over the time I played the game Rhogar became friends with the group, but particularly with the group's bard - Bor. At a break in the book adventures, the group had a chance meeting with Frost Giants and were given a quest: go to Jotunheim (I think that is it) and recover the Ring of Winter. This was Bor's wildest dreams come true. He, a member of the frozen north, was going to step foot inthe fabled lost city of giants on a quest for a Frost Giant jarl. The opportunity of a lifetime.

So we headed out. We found Jotunheim (Vasselheim?). We explored it. We found numerous dead in the streets, and felt a lasting evil presence. Eventually we tried to leave, only to find the presence didn't want us to leave. Being the bold adventurers we are, we stepped into the trap happily and came face to face with the dungeon's big boss...a Storm Giant Death Knight. Well, that's not quite right. A Storm Giant Quintessant Death Knight. The fusion love child of a CR16 monster and a CR17 monster complete with legendary actions and lair actions...yeah, the GM meant business.

Over the course of the fight Rhogar tanked damage. Rhogar tanked a lot of damage. Being a Blue Dragonborn he was resistant to Lightning - the primary damage source from the boss. Rhogar has - had - 117 HP (level 10, yay) + 10 temporary hit points to start the fight. Between damage resistant, healing potions, second wind, and being healed by every source of healing the group hap - not to mention the overkill on the 6-7 times Rhogar went down towards the end of the fight - he must have soaked near 500 damage or more for the group.

And so yes, Rhogar stayed dead. He stayed dead because he died a hero's fight and I can think of no better ending for a character than died fighting a Storm Giant Quintessant Death Knight to help their friend complete the quest of his dreams in a bid to save the world from a greater threat to everyone.

It's a better end than I could have imagined for the character. And I'm glad I got to have it.

What's your story?

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