Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You Are Not A Player Character

On day 14 (two weeks into my challenge, yay!), I am supposed to share my favorite NPC.  There have been many NPCs that helped define games I have been in.  They've served as enemies, friends, allies, and lovers.  One NPC, however, has served as a consummate ally and asset throughout several campaigns, and his name brings hope to my playgroup whenever it is intoned.  His name is Paul, and he is the biggest badass known to man.

He was born with this man's balls and a full beard.

Paul started off as the put upon rector of a small church in a one shot game where we were all playing hobos surviving the ruler purging the homeless from the city.  We sought shelter in Paul's rectory, and quickly terrorized him into a quivering, crying blob of a man sobbing in his attic after summoning the guards while the obese half elf PC crawled up to a ladder towards him and then smothered him whispering a sing song "Paul, Paul, the time for words is over, Paul."  It was a creeptastic moment.  That is where Paul's name came from.  We'd had a few weeks of one shots while friends visited for the summer, and my Pathfinder group kicked off a big co-DMed campaign in our group created world.

About 6 sessions into the game, we'd reached a town that we'd rescued from a bandit lord's regime.  We'd restored the old mayorship, and were heading off on another quest, and it was my turn to DM a session or two.  I decided to shake things up, introduce a new major NPC, and run a crazy encounter.  I was also bringing in a new PC as our friend Jeremy was joining the game.  His character, I said, had been staying the night at a farmhouse in the barn, and woke up to find everyone gone and tracks leading to town.  As nightfall fell, a farming family stumbled zombie like into town, and a mist rolled up.  A stately figure appeared on the edge of town with several Akatas, and dispassionately told his hounds to "feed."  

This is an Akata.

The players rallied the town guards as the Akatas and resulting Void Zombies started mauling the townsfolk and characters alike, and as three half dragon Akatas started swooping overhead (the NPC's special pets), they mounted a counterassault with the guards.  Most of the Akatas and Void Zombies were killed, along with all but one of the guards, leaving the main issue the three half dragon Akatas which were proving problematic, because they were flying.  Now, the surviving guard had, over the course of the battle, despite only having a shortsword and an attack bonus of +3, rolled three crits and another three hits, and, despite only having an armor class of 14, had not been hit once, despite 10+ attacks against him.  During the combat, one of the characters asked him his name, putting me on the spot.  I had him respond that his name was Paul, which was immediately met with a chorus of, "the time for words is over!"

He was also the only person who heard the party Rogue/Sorcerer scream as her rooftop hiding spot was discovered by one of the Half Dragons.  I had him rush to help her, and, on his way out, had him take an attack of opportunity on one of the passing Half Dragon Akatas.  He killed it (mind you, I had players rolling for guards under their command, so this wasn't just me killing my own stuff).  Then, over the next couple turns, he ran off to the upper story of the house where the Rogue/Sorcerer was trying to avoid the Half Dragon Akata that was chasing her around.  Once he got up there, mostly because of the damage from the Magic Missiles from the Rogue/Sorcerer, he killed it in one hit.  

Yup had a badass on our hands.

One of the players ended up taking Paul on as his cohort and leveling him up in Fighter, and Paul continued to just flat out be a badass and take things out even though he was half the party's level.  Ever since then, every time we find a young man of fighting age in a town that shows even a spark of potential, we name him Paul, and after he is christened, he starts winning quite handily.  Paul is now our byword for an NPC that kicks ass.  He's appeared in several games since then. Every time he shows up, the time for words is over, and the time for kicking ass has begun.

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