Playing a Barbarian D&D 5E

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I finally broke out of my favorite characters and created a barbarian. I usually tend towards the support characters because the role playing aspect of the game is my favorite and I don’t actually care much for how much damage my character can do or treasure items he finds. I love when my bard “Justin Timberlake” woos a hostile cult member into leaving her fanatical faith to travel and adventure with me though. Or playing a cleric and ever greeting characters in game by asking them if they’ve “heard the good news.” These things bring me great joy. So a barbarian is not in my wheel house, but I found a way.

I need to own my character and the quirky nature he has in order to get fully immersed into the game. So I made a barbarian named “Leny” who loves animals, wants to “live off the fat of the land” and calls everyone “George.” It has been an absolute blast. As you may have guessed if you ever had to read “Of Mice and Men,” Leny is not bright but is exceptionally strong and has a bit of an anger management problem when provoked or scared. He also is pretty good at smashing bad guys, but that’s not why I love him.

I love playing Leny because he is so much fun! He literally spends time trying to pet any animal he comes across. This has worked out very well so far. Upon meeting a super hostile Tressym, he rolled a critical on his animal handling and the pet has not left his side since. Leny managed to teach it a couple of commands and the flying cat lead us to an exceptionally dangerous beast in our last session. Very helpful. And when a hostile group landed near us on giant vultures, Leny again rolled a critical for animal handling and pet the carrion eaters baffling the would be adversaries and eventually they left without conflict.

For any who don’t care about how many pets their character can gather let me explain why else he is amazing. When raging the barbarian only suffers half damage on physical attacks. This is extremely worthwhile because the barbarian tends to get hit. I took the path of the “Totem Warrior” and decided that a bear is Leny’s spirit animal so now he takes half damage for any attack that isn’t psychic. This literally saved Leny’s bacon multiple times. Nearly every encounter in fact and as a result he has an every growing necklace of beast incisors.

Overall a solid class to play and it has been refreshing to be able to dive into the middle of the action while also enjoying the fun role playing aspect.

Cheers, may all your rolls be criticals.Tressym.jpg

Adventures of Goblin Bros: The adventure begins

We woke in cages. Filthy cages. I didn’t mind. Naked were we as well. I didn’t mind that either. There were others. I little dragon like creature. Kobald I think. A fairy. Looked tasty. A gnome too and of course my bro, Nyx. Captured were we. I couldn’t remember how. My head hurt but I kept quiet. Waited.

Then the dragon dogs came. Kobalds. Barking and shouting. They were angry with us. Didn’t know why. One of the other prisoners attacked. I waited. Bro picked his lock with a bone. When enemies looked busy I summoned my spirit ally. Giant bear spirit. He began munching on the dragon dogs. Battle broke out. Wasn’t too hard. Prisoners all fought against guards. My spirit ally fought. All dragon dogs died. Bro let me out of cage. I collected ears of enemies.
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We decided to try to find way out. I follow. Bro and I went along. Didn’t care about the others. Just wanted to live. Cave was strange. Winded and twisted. New rooms and new enemies. We killed them all. No problem for me and bro. My bear munched. He stabbed and vanished and stabbed again. Lethal. I collected some good ears for a necklace.

We found some bottles. Didn’t know what they were. We got bored while others planned and rested. Threw one at bro, Nyx. It burst all over him with weird liquid. He acted funny. Started trying to hug everyone. Chased them round and round. I laughed so hard I farted. Stinky goblin chasing other prisoners. Hilarious. If I had more bottles I would have thrown them too.

We found room with lots of boxes. Traps too. I noticed them though. Zyx is very good at seeing. I can even see things that aren’t visible. Things eyes can’t see. Futures, fortunes and fates. Others didn’t see them though. They tripped some. Oh well. Zyx didn’t care about them. Only bro. Nyx.

One room had lots of baddies. We fought them. Bear held some off. Very tough. Prisoners were not doing well. Had to heal them I did. I healed the dragon dog prisoner. He ran back in and got killed again. Stupid. I let him die. Too stupid to heal more he was. Probably a spy anyways. Oh well. Nyx my bro lived. Zyx lived too. Good enough.

Game Notes: Deadly Drow

With Ferdinand the Bull fallen in battle and the rest of the party badly wounded, the group of heroes retreated to a remote location, attempted to cover their tracks and fortify a position and rest. The dwarven thief Guter went on a recovery mission to reclaim Ferdinand’s body if possible. He silently crept along with night vision goggles and located their favorite Minotaur. His body was located among a mess of slain drow all stripped of equipment and weapons. Guter pulled him from the mess, tied a rope around the Bull’s horns and then proceeded to drag the fallen friend back to the safe location. It’s not entirely clear why Guter didn’t simply carry their friend but the powers that be (me) chose not to add damage to Ferdinand’s already lifeless body or argue about taking corners while dragging something from a rope.

With Ferdinand back the party hunkered down to rest. They forgot about the vengeful Earth Elemental that has recently been name Rock Hudson for his earth connection and flair for dramatic appearances. Rock once more assailed the party and before they fought him off, Rock killed the half-elf witch. No worries though as the party managed to rest up and Priest Thoradin resurrected Ferdinand. Somehow Moradin blessed the bull in spite of his pagan belief and the really poor rendering of Moradin’s holy symbol on Ferdinand’s horn. With the party alive though weakened they decided to press on.

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Striking resemblance

The group chose to assault the drow head on. They approached with some caution, examined the area for suspicious things and found some traps. The first was found by stepping direction on it and the others through more intelligent means. The Half-Elf guide was quite sure that it was an ambush but kept that suspicion to her self. Ferdinand was upset when he noticed that the guide was no where to be found when the battle began but nothing came of that either.

The party encountered some drow in the cave previously inhabited by trolls but inexplicable the drow did not follow the party to the area in which they hoped to fight. So the party elected to wait and see what happened. At this point the witch was entirely convinced that they were in an ambush but yet again kept the information to herself. Indeed a significant number of drow arrived at the party’s rear closing them off in a narrow hallway. Some initial attacks weakened the drow but they inflicted plenty of damage to the party as well.

The situation is dire.

Game notes: Friendly Fire and Ambush

The party was feeling good about life after defeating the stirges. In the mess of past victims they managed to pull out a nice looking suit of armor which was determined by the priest to be especially holy in spite of the fact that there were no religious marks present. They then had a discussion with their half elf witch guide (using the term loosely) about damaging the party while attacking enemies. There was some murmur about the witch’s loyalty. The witch with confidence exclaimed that it would not happen again and the subject was dropped.

Moving on the heroes brushed by some simple cave ogres though Ferdinand the Bull did attempted to gain passage in a more diplomatic manner. Unfortunately instead of asking if they may have permission to pass he asked if they had permission to have their way with their mothers. The ogres did not respond well and the brief battle that followed allowed them to die defending their mothers’ honor, if an ogre has any.

Moving right along to where they are not sure, they scouted ahead and readily agreed to explore the area which had the most noise and most danger. Some cave trolls inhabited the section of cave and the heroes set about ending their miserable existence. While doing so however some Drow ambushed the party and complicated matters. Fighting a two front war has never been easy and the party was pressed to endure the assault. Sneaky drow continued to pester the party while they dispatched the trolls.

In the end the drow were held and the trolls downed. There was a tense moment during the battle when the witch cast a spell that injured a troll with an acid arrow. Unfortunately that spell happened to splash acid on the Priest of Moradin and he did not appreciate it much having received more than minor injuries from the attack.

The party retreated into the troll cave deciding that it was a safe place to rest. There was some disappointment that the drow did not simply follow them into the ambush which was set for them and a little name calling. Alas the drow did not follow and the party was left to rest with as much peace as one can have knowing that drow are watching you.

Successful day of adventuring. Enemies bested, treasure found, and just a little friendly fire.

Fall of Gloryfate

Generations ago a clan of dwarves stood out among the other clans and shone brighter than any other. Gloryfate Clan was chief in the old world and was renown throughout the land. Master craftsmen of both weapons and jewelry, trade caravans traveled far to gain access to the Gloryfate riches. Days were good and the halls of Gloryfate glimmered in the mountain depths. All good things come to an end however.

Goblin hoards crawled from cracks in the stone and clawed at the luxury of the clan with lust. As a sand storm they assaulted the hall and wrecked havoc where ever their filthy feet carried them.

Gloryfate would not be undone by some dirty goblins however and their stout warriors fought back with strength and fury, pushing back the unholy creatures. When it appeared that the vermin would be exterminated the giants arrived. 

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Huge creatures cold and angry plunged into the battle and left a path of death and destruction in their wake. Their hatred of the dwarves was unmatched by anything the dwarves had seen before and in spite of their bravery, fear crept in among their ranks. The giants could end Gloryfate, 

A weapon was commissioned. CLan King Oloben Gloryfate ordered his best smiths to forge a weapon for their king to weild and break the strength of the giants. Furiously the smiths worked without rest until, at last, they completed their task.They presented to their king a battle hammer unmatched in the world. They called it Gloryfate Giantbane. 

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As Oloben Gloryfate lifted the weapon for the first time his hands were filled with courage that rushed like lifeblood throughout his body. His eyes blazed with vengeance and his clan rallied behind their king as they thrust in to the giants as a dagger into flesh. 

Giantbane crushed the beasts under its massive strength; breaking bones and caving skulls. Its song was the howls of giants under its weight and the song was sung loud. The notes echoed in the stone halls of Gloryfate clan. 

Giants could not resit Oloben’s vengeance and fell at his feet; bashed and crushed by his hammer fueled by his anger. But one still stood. 

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A fabled foe stood tall against the king. He was Zanros Titan fist, Death Dealer; an ancient giant who led the war against the dwarves. He craved blood and death and hated dwarves beyond all other creatures for their constant tunneling and mining. Olobin found him surrounded by dwarf bodies, blood dripping from his lips. The two kings rushed each other and collided like mountains crashing together.

Their battle raged on, rumbling ever deeper into the earth. The mountains shook as they smashed and hit and kicked and pummeled each other. Dwarves and giants alike watched the champions dual to the death, pausing for a moment their savage conflict to witness a struggle more epic than any in multiple lifetimes. 

The battle was an earthquake, felt throughout the relm. Oloben swung his warhammer smashing the giant and Zanros countered, spitting hateful spells and swinging a wicked flail, each crushing against cave walls, shattering stone and bone alike. The struggle threatened to split the earth in their fury and rage. At last they drew close to death, their bodies and will wavered. 

With a final mighty blow, Oloben Giant Slayer, Champion of Prohpecy, Dwarf Avenger, crushed Zanros’ chest toppling the mighty foe. The wicked creature did not die quietly however and whispered one final, hateful curse that gripped the dwarf king’s heart and turned it black as if a dark cloud covered the sun and cast a long shadow over once beautiful land. The dwarf king collapsed. 

Dwarves ran to their king and giants rushed to theirs. No longer fighting, each breed tended to their champion. The giants carried their fallen king back to the depths from which they crept, and dwarves gathered their king to carry him to his throne room. The warhammer, Gloryfate Giantbane, had cracked and broken into two halves with the shaft separated from each. 

The dwarves laid Olobin down with the shaft of his hammer in his cold hands. The darkness gripped him and squeezed the life from his body. Mourning began and priests rushed to try to lift the curse from him. They prayed desperately that Moradin spare their king. To no avail. 

Within days the curse stole his life away. The moment the king exhaled for the last time a furious earthquake shook the mountain. Zanros had cursed not only they king, but the entire clan. Rock collapsed from the ceiling and walls crumbled and caved. The quake seemed endless as dirt and dust filled the air choking those were not crushed by the rubble. Darkness fell in Gloryfate Hall. 

When the rumbling was through and tourches were lit, Gloryfate clan was destroyed. Like the hammer, the hall had cracked in two. Rubble and rock separated the halves of the great clan. Weeks of digging could not reunify the clan. Families were lost or split up. Entire sections of the hall were gone. The king and his throne room were buried along with the shaft of Gloryfate Giantbane. The two halves of the hammer were also separated. One on each side of the hall. 

In time the dwarves found their way out of the mountain though they were now divided. Gloyfate was no more. Eventually two new clans rose from the ruin of the one from the refugees that survived the tremendous battle. They were Battlefate and Gloryborn. Each thrived on opposite sides of the insurmountable range. Each believed they had kin on the opposing side. Neither knew for certain. Glory and Fate remained separate. 

Bards

My absolute favorite class to play in a non computer version of DnD is the bard. It has the most character by nature. I have more fun playing a bard than any other character. Typically I enjoy the role playing aspect of…well…role playing, so the bard is perfect. Bards have high charisma which is useful for plenty of mostly useless tasks like lying or negotiating, yet I never get enough. If the DM does not supply me with ample opportunity to use my skills I usually invent one like trying to woo a drow mage during combat and declaring to her my true love and undying devotion up to the point when the party kills her. Love is fleeting.

In forth edition there are some more useful things that bards can do but remain the “jack of all trades” they were designed to be. Personally I enjoy the lying, cheating, and negotiating the bard is capable of. I regularly enjoy telling the party to engage in something everyone knows isn’t a good idea and then when they disagree rolling a “diplomacy” check. It usually sounds something like this:

Me: “Hey everyone, let’s go ask the leader of the evil guild if he knows anything about the noble’s daughter disappearing”

Party member: “That’s dumb. If it was him why would he tell us?”

Me (roll diplomacy 1d20+17) 17+17=34

party member: (rolls insight 1d20+5) 15+5=20

Party member: “You’re right, good idea”

I love it. Way more fun than asking the super nice priest about it.

I also enjoy making my characters after an actual musician. The most recent was Rick James. The DM suggested that I make it a bit more “DnD” and spell it “Rhyk Jaimes” or something but that never really took hold. Instead I ran around saying “Rick James Bitch!,” and singing “Superfreak” whenever the party needed and inspirational song. It was great. I loved every minute.

I also really enjoyed the optional “at will power” available to bards, “vicious mockery.” I decided that my character would say a “your momma” joke every time he used the attack. It was a lot of fun to tell an ogre “Your momma so fat that even Dora couldn’t explore her.” It turns out that many creatures one might encounter in DnD are sensitive about their mommas. It was a blast. I love bards so much that I have to be discouraged from playing one every time. Apparently too much of a good thing is bad. That or everyone was tired of the momma jokes. Oh well, guess I’ll have to play a boring ole elf wizard. No fun at all.

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More wandering and Stirges

The heroes counted their loot and blessings after defeating a dragon. Moradin protects as always and the group felt secure in their continued success after defeating such a powerful foe. Guter the rouge dwarfs with hideous features scouted ahead with his new night vision goggles and located a zombie nearby. Surprisingly strategic the group decided to let the rouge “pull” the foe to them rather than meeting it in it’s own surroundings. The zombie didn’t at first take the hint but after finding a friend, the pair of undead traced after our hero to certain doom.

Satisfied the group moved on. Guter once again scouted and heard some flapping of wings down one corridor. The party of course ignored the fact that there was no strategic need to clear the area and engaged whatever dangers lurked within. They once more set up a decent line and waited for the enemies to reach them. It was surprising considering the party normally rushes forward with no regard for strategy or safety. Still…the flapping stirges they encountered were a little of a handful. They weren’t that tough individually but there were a few of them and they complicated things. It got further complicated when the witch guide cast a spell that caused damage to her allies and led to the Minotaur monk punching her as he danced around thumping foes. Still, the heroes could not be stopped by some measly flapping wasps. They downed them all and then slumped against the walls to rest a minute before the adventure continues. Next week.

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Downing a Dragon

The party continued through a labyrinth of cave, dark and dismal. Their half breed elf guide continued to be mostly mute and oddly distracted as the heroes meandered about the tunnels looking for a way out or for a fight. Preferably the latter. The previous tussle with a duergar mage and his earth elementals left the party in need of some rest so they naturally explored new areas and promptly discovered a pair of cave ogres. The ogres proved shockingly easy to defeat and left the group wondering whether they were enemies or not. No biggie, they swung first after all…at least…the group thinks they did so no worries. Who likes ogres anyways? Oh wait…Shrek. Well…they weren’t Shrek.

With the semi friendly orges a distant memory the party moved on. They came into a large room full of treasure. Naturally they suspected a dragon. No one knew why…they just knew. They were right of course. So in Guter sneaked to investigate. Unfortunately the dragon was better at noticing Guter than Guter was of noticing the dragon. He insisted he couldn’t be surprised but couldn’t reverse the damage already inflicted upon him before he began his protest. The party rushed in of course and attacked with no thought as to whether it was a good idea. The dragon came on strong to begin but then slowed in his wrath as his five little dragons distracted him from the task at hand. It devolved to the point where the dragon even forgot his own capabilities. The baby dragons ultimately went to bed and papa dragon rallied a bit. It was too late to turn the tide of battle however and in the end the dragon fell.

Joyfully the party celebrated by pocketing gems, filling pockets with gold and barbecuing dragon; as one does. It was a glorious feast and the party adorned themselves with dragon parts: head, scales, claws, and other appendages. You know..because it shows they’re tough. All in all it was a productive evening and the party can now boast a baby dragon and papa dragon in their ever growing list of beasts downed.
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Spider Webs

Icky sticky spider webs
Sticking to your feet over your heads
There more than strings they’re beds
For creatures that make mortals dread
Step inside steps heavy as lead
But don’t stay too long or you’ll be dead

For in the dark eyes are watching
They feel you breath feel you walking
Sounds travels up their webs from your talking
And lets them know their dinner is approaching
They wait for you to get close before hopping
And their bite sends poison coursing.

But you are brave and strong and stout
You’ve no reason to fear no reason to doubt
No need to worry about any foes about
None of you would dare whine or pout
So keep walking into darkness and dread
Step into the icky sticky spider web

Into the dark you must go

The water rushes deeper into the mountain with a roar that makes it difficult to think let alone hear. Through the mountain, Arsenal commanded, to reunite with lost kin. Kin that no one is sure still exist and have not heard from in generations. What fools errand has he sent you on? Into the dark you must go. You survived orcs only to find a young dragon guarding the river. And a witch. Was she in league with the beast? She didn’t warn you after all, but she is your only hope for not getting lost in the deep dark of the mountain. With tons of rock separating you from the sky it is a comfortable place for a dwarf except that you do not know what beasts lurk beyond. The river will take you, the witch suggested, but take you where? Into the dark the water plunges. Into the dark you must go.

The caves welcome you like the jaws of a wolf welcome fresh meat into the creature’s belly. Instincts warn you that there is nothing friendly beyond. You hear and see nothing except the rush of the river and the darkness which covers the evils that hide among the shadows. Into the dark you must go. How far will the river take you? How deep does it plunge? What is waiting at the end? You cannot know. The witch mutters that she too doesn’t know. Do you trust her? Into the dark you must go.

Your armor and weapons are damp and dripping, the air is heavy. It is likely to be heavier below and it may indeed choke you yet into the dark you must go. You know from legends and stories that digging too deep into the earth only reveals unpleasant foes and sometimes savage beasts but you cannot waver. The piece of hammer you carry to your kin must reach the other side. The hope of Konigsberg and indeed the entire Battlefate clan rests with you. Fail and they will be doomed. Succeed in finding your kin and the tide may yet be turned. Into the dark you must go. May Moradin bless you and keep you. Into the dark you must go.