(I hate to be one of those people who Tells Your About Their Character, but since people asked for the resolution…)
So when last we left our intrepid adventurers, Rooster the paladin was standing toe to toe with the avatar of Vecna, the rest of the party was scattered through a dungeon, and cultists infested with demon-tadpole babies were converging on us from all sides.
Chained to the wall, missing an eye, was Ancient Gil, the buddy we’d come to find.
Let us pause for a moment to discuss Ancient Gil, and a GM payoff for Kevin that was a lot of years coming.
Long, long ago, we were a newly minted party stumbling through a module that Did Not Work For Us. The only times we really had a blast, outside of combat, was when Kevin went wildly off script and started making things up…like the time the gnome met a certain elderly mariner in a bar…(“Dude! There’s a guy here telling the most fascinating story about albatross! I buy him another drink.”)…or Rooster used Diplomacy to get a door open…(“I know it’s hard to open up and be vulnerable, door! I’m here for you! Will you take that journey to openness with me, together?”)…or the Taco Vendor. (“Public bathroom? I have bucket. Very hygienic.”)
At one point in this, we finally staggered out of the wilderness into a town with a Temple of the Silver Weasel. Given that Rooster’s order is entirely made-up for this campaign, Kevin had to improv the whole thing, and it should be noted that he was watching a lot of Father Ted at the time. So we wander into the temple and encounter Gil, who was ancient, senile, and smelled strongly of the holy weasel musk.*
This was a throwaway character. This was Local Color–the guy who would corner you, tell you a two hour rambling story, shout “Power to the Weasel!” and then fall asleep. He called Rooster “Booster” and the joke was that you’d have to sneak past him to get into the temple to talk to the paladins in charge.
To give a highly abbreviated version of my Standard Paladin Rant, Lawful Good does not mean Lawful Asshole.
It’s easy to be good when they give you a big sword and point you at demons. Anybody can do that. Rooster, however, is Good. (The Lawful bit is up for grabs.) So everybody gets a chance to surrender and we talk to everybody and we convert enemies so often that our castle/tilapia farm is run by drow and kobolds and the wood-woad (and now his dryad girlfriend!)
And yes, occasionally we burn the town down and sow the ashes with salt, but we ride away from the charred remains content in the knowledge that we really truly tried our best. But that’s a last resort.
One of the things about being Good is that Rooster is, by god, going to be respectful of this poor senile priest. So as we’re about to ride out of town on yet another adventure, Rooster seeks out Ancient Gil and asks for his blessing, because he served the Weasel faithfully for a lot of years and that deserves respect and we are the good guys, damnit.
Well, again, throwaway character…but Kevin has a fine sense of the dramatic. And suddenly there was a great power in the room who could pronounce Rooster’s name just fine and was surrounded by silver light. And Rooster said “Huh. How ’bout that?”
And Kevin went and wrote up the stats for Gilgamesh the Ancient, Lich-Bane, level 30 Runepriest and current Avatar of the Silver Weasel.
And then he sat on these stats for about three years.
Now, there were hints along the way. We ran into Ancient Gil a few more times, and it turned out maybe the Order did know what was up–“Oh god, Gil showed up in town. Bad shit’s about to go down.” (Also, he gave Rooster a dispensation to keep a pet demon, since it’s Fizzgig.) But, y’know, nothing really concrete until Gil gets kidnapped by cultists of Vecna and we go off on a long and grueling quest to find him.
So there we are, in the dungeon.
ROOSTER: I am required by the tenets of my faith to give you the chance to surrender but I really hope you won’t because I want to kick your undead ass!
VECNA: I’ll drag your soul into the abyss!
ROOSTER: Better avatars than you have tried!
GIL: Quit messing about and untie me, boy!
ROOSTER: I’m a little busy, sir!
There is whomping and mashing and in fine heroic fashion, the ONE time that I manage to roll some really good crits, one after another. The rest of the party fends off the cultist hordes, and our druid…our poor, long-suffering druid…who really deserves to be in a better party than this one…enters the very small room containing one paladin, one tied-up runepriest, and the Avatar of Vecna.
DRUID: I start untying Gil.
GM: There’s barbed wire and shit in there. It’s gonna take awhile. You’re taking ongoing 10 necrotic damage from the avatar’s aura.
PALADIN: Don’t worry, Rush! (The druid’s name is Rush.) I’ll heal you.
DRUID: Actually, if I get bloodied,** I can–
GIL: Just use a knife, boy!
DRUID: I use a knife.
PALADIN: Do you need a holy symbol, sir?
GIL: I’m fine! Just let me get my feet loose…
AVATAR: *does a horrible thing, turns room horrible, horrible damage for everybody*
DRUID: Well, maybe now I can–
GIL: Don’t worry, boy! I’m on it!
DRUID: Let’s face it, I walked into a room with a paladin and a runepriest. I should have known.
PALADIN: Sorry. It’s against our religion to let people bleed out.
GIL: *is suddenly free, wearing silver armor, and covered in glowing tattoos*
GIL: The secret, boy, is that my whole body is a holy symbol.
GM: I have seriously been waiting for this for years.
AVATAR: Well, crap. *teleports*
GIL & PALADIN: Get back here!
PALADIN: Um. Rush?
PALADIN: You know all those times I complained about you and the friendly fire in the back?
(There was a long period where our druid kept picking area effect spells that hit everybody and throwing them at the enemy, which was usually clustered around Rooster. His thinking was that Rooster could totally take the damage and the enemies usually couldn’t. He had an extraordinary track record of critting Rooster and missing everybody else. Rooster has literally been complaining about this for YEARS now.)
PALADIN: *sigh* I owe you one, bro.
PALADIN: *sets off Fireburst Boots*
PALADIN: *teleports after the Avatar*
DRUID: *is trapped in blast zone and is now on fire*
GIL: Out of the way, boy!
GIL: *teleports, somewhat less destructively*
PALADIN: *charges through dungeon with pants smoldering*
Well, we chased the teleporting Avatar around for a bit, and then our ranger happened to be in the right place at the right time and put an arrow through its head.
GIL: Good job, boy. Thanks for the help. Gonna go fight a lich-god now–
PALADIN: Um. Do you need back-up, sir?
GIL: Nah, I’m gettin’ the band back together.
DRUID: Wait! Can you get us home, first?
GIL: Sure, let me just get this teleport–
PALADIN: And that cultist. We pulled a tadpole baby out of him. We’ll give him a job as a janitor or something.
GIL: …okay. And the cultist.
PALADIN: And the dryad. We’re setting her up with the wood-woad.
GIL: Is there anyone else you’re keeping?
DRUID: That’s everybody.
GM: There’s a loud poof and you all find yourself in front of your very own castle.
DROW-BOB; Ah. The masters are home. Very good.
PALADIN: …I think we ran out on our bar-tab.
*Holy oil, in the Silver Weasel, is a rather pungent affair.
**Many monsters and some characters have powers that trigger when they are bloodied, i.e. have lost half their hit points. Our druid’s a were-thingy and gets much bigger and more armored.