Underdark Without Darkvision #4

Out of the Abyss #4Spoiler Warning! Underdark Without Darkvision is a based on my experiences on playing Out of the Abyss campaign and will include a host of spoilers. Thread carefully!

Thanks WotC for ruining my perfect blogging title. After the third session I reached the 3rd level. I was going to choose hunter for my ranger as an Archtype but Mikko brought to my attention that Wizards had published an Unearthed Arcana that included a new Archtype for rangers – Deep Stalker.

In essence this means that I got darkvision and the whole concept of my character was about to change. I even joked about not choosing this path but while thinking about my character it seemed like to natural way to go.

Additional backgrounds are a new thing for D&D (at least from my very narrow point of view). They are random descriptions for your character that give you a simple guideline for how to play you character in addition of his fighting abilities.

As said you might have noticed I’m not that big on the whole mechanical aspect of D&D but these things interest me. They include personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. To me they are the most important aspect of my character for they challenge me in playing my character in a certain role rather than just a collection of numbers.

My ranger, Tamron “Weasel” Krylls, has randomly determined ideals: 

“Change: Life is like seasons, in constant change, and we must change with it.”

From the start I knew I wanted my Tamron to be a monster hunter (I’m quite fond of that genre), and to be on the search for his missing brother. I imagined his inability to see in the Underdark to be his most defining trait – hence the name of this account of my adventures.

IMG_3164Tamron had been searching for a way to adapt into the darkness and now he was presented such an opportunity. I still really wanted him to be a hunter but I after three sessions I could say I understood my character more. I knew I would regret of not choosing this new path. So I as a player embraced the change my character already knew was coming his way.

Once we started the actual fourth session our DM (being his keen self and knowing how to address his players) took time to built this “change” with me. A few simple sentences here and there made it clear that Tamron was now at home in Underdark. Getting out was something his conscious mind is still working on (at the same time as trying to find his brother). But underneath he now enjoys the lack of distinction between the night and the day. He now knows that the drow NPC they are travelling with has nothing to teach him but also knows better than to show this to the said drow.

This reminds me highly of a few character’s form Jeff Long‘s The Descent which I mentioned last time. Which naturally really enhances my liking of this campaign.

The actual amount of time this whole transformation took was relatively small. It did not take (at least the way I saw it) screen time away from another characters/players. It was just something I enjoyed thinking and sneaking into my gaming. What actually did take more time was the flaw of my character:

“I am too enarmored of ale, wine, and other intoxicants.”

During the first session it was Tamron need for a drink that caused the sudden brawl that escalated into us fleeing from the drow. I had had time to think of his drinking habits during the last sessions. And since we had not looted any alcohol I knew how I wanted to bring this flaw into the game.

With Charisma 7 Tamron is a mean, mean drunk. The kind of you might encounter on the grill after whole night of drinking (at least in Finland anyway). Just looking for problems.

During the session we encountered a group of fish people that (not that surprisingly) decided to attack us. After maiming them in two rounds (thanks to our dwarf priest’s magic) one of them fled only to be stricken down by celestial bolt of lightning. A new group of kuo-toa approached us, these ones willing to negotiate.

Sami portraying the might kua-toan priest.

Sami portraying the might kua-toan priest.

It turned out that their leader was willing to enlist us to kill his daughter for worshipping a new god. Evil stuff. I wasn’t that keen on going with them and him saying that they could sneak us into the village “as prisoners” was not something I was willing to trust. Mikko’s half-orc barbarian wasn’t going to be chained again either. But then it hit me – Tamron really needed a drink.

With a quick bargain an alliance was struck. We would enter the village as the fish people’s prisoners and help the high priest in his struggle against his daughter. And Tamron was getting something to drink.

So they took us to their shantytown and we witnessed their not-so-enjoyable customs of vomiting for their goddess. Our naturally inquisitive deep gnome wizard (played by Mika) even asked how the kuo-toa actually reproduced. And Sami was naturally willing to tell it to us. In vivid details.

In the village our group was taken into a shack and left there almost unguarded and even with our weapons. And Tamron got his first bottle of alcohol in the game. And of course he got really, REALLY drunk.

It could have gone any way. I was planning on confronting the dwarves in our group since dwarves and elves are my favoured enemies (for stealing my brother, naturally). But we found a shackled duergar in the same hut. Tamron picked a fight with him as much as he could until he was forcefully removed from the situation by fellow party members. It almost costed as the possible contact with the “best weapons seller in the whole Underdark” but it just was something I needed to do.

After that I had to leave early and did not get to witness the insane spectacle that followed (though Sami was kind enough to tell me about it beforehand while I was leaving). It seems that next time we will be quite broken (at least mentally) and it will be quite interesting to see where the whole campaign goes.

All-in-all I have been enjoying the additional backgrounds. I have no idea what backgrounds the other characters have (apart from Mikko’s barbarian outlander) and I think this is quite good. Since I do not know what their backgrounds are I’m not concerned about them playing them or not. I can just enjoy the Underdark Without Anything to Drink.

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