There are some things that, regardless of system or genre, are abilities which should always grease the wheels of campaign success. Of course, some campaigns will lack diversity and might be locked in very static play styles, but even in some of the most locked scenarios these key abilities will find a place, unless your Gamemaster has no imagination at all. While there are countless ways to roleplay, I suggest these four special abilities should be available in some way in the party, so much so that I think they are the starting points for creating the characters in the party.
I really wasn’t sure I’d bother writing this article, because it’s going to be a little self indulgent. However, after finishing the Great D&D module play through, the more I thought about it the more I thought that sharing this might help others.
I want to talk about each of the characters developed over time. I cannot go into the full history and background as deeply as I would like because each character would be a novel on it’s own. I just want to summarise how the characters grew in their journey as swiftly as I’m able to. Why? Many reasons, one of which is to pay homage to my awesome players that helped create the heavily appended story you are about to read. More than that though, I want to show how a simple and open rule system like Classic D&D can allow a character to grow, change and become a part of a living world.
Thanks to the boost from Sabre River we can continue into the Master level modules. Basic tends to be about doing dungeons, expert takes players into wilderness exploration, while Companion mostly surrounds player kingdoms. Master goes beyond all of that and starts getting serious about going to other planes of existence.
Fantasy tales are filled with stalwart animal friends that are a vital extension of the hero themselves. Such paragons of virtue as Argos and Odysseus, Naga and Korra, and even Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. These obviously exceptional animals have that extra something regular examples of their breed and experience lack.
In the rigours of Classic D&D adventures our animal friends do not fair well, being used for little more than luggage carriers, mounts for fast travel, or in bleak times, as emergency rations. It’s time for that to change. As the AD&D system stretched into the 3.x to 5th editions some benefits were bestowed on animal companions, granting them supernatural powers, but do you have to be a druid or a ranger to have a really cool dog? How come a sylvan scout cannot have a bear for a loyal friend?
I’m not fond of GMing for an all evil party, and the reason stems from the fact that I find very few people actually know how to play an evil character. They play them as mentally deranged, and with a pathological need to harm those around them, especially the other player characters. I cannot blame them for the misunderstanding though, because we tend to think we have few reference points for what makes an evil person. Fact is, we have so many reference points that we have come to think evil acts are actually normal, so the only way to represent evil is to go to extremes.