Sunday we met over at my friend Brian's house, who is now the only player left in my World of Samoth game who was at the very first session back in May 2001. He's playing the same character he played all the way back then, too, which is kind of cool. Before you start thinking that I'm one of those softie DMs who doesn't like to kill his player's characters... well, I guess that is kind of true. But, we've definitely had character deaths in the game, and I've also had players who got tired of their characters and retired them and started new ones. But Brian's character, the infamous Jeremi Udall, has been with us since the beginning.
At one point I had as many as eight players in this game, but it's dwindled down to three, including my friends Cal and Nick (and of course Brian). My wife used to play, but ever since our daughter was born, that's no longer been an option. A couple of other players moved away, and quite a few quit just due to the time constraints of having kids that needed shuffling around to different activities on the weekends. At this point, I'm pretty sure that these three players will be involved into the campaign wraps up, which I think could be a soon as within a a year, depending on how often we're able to play between now and then. We're supposed to play every other week, but the schedule ends up being about once a month if we're lucky.
We started playing with D&D 3.0 rules back in May of 2001, as I mentioned, then shifted to 3.5. Ever since Pathfinder came out, we've been slowly migrating to that ruleset, and also grabbing things here and there from Trailblazer. But, honestly, the changes are so minor and the players some lax about the rules that we haven't really bothered to fix a lot of things since we're in mid-campaign.
The characters currently consist of:
- Jeremi Udall, a priest of Æton and member of the sinister Illumination. The interesting thing about Jeremi is that he is a multi-classed sorcerer cleric, but he belongs to a religion that condemns the practice of arcane magic as being evil and demonic. Somehow his superiors in the church have not found out, and even promoted him into an inquisition-like organization that hunts down and kills arcane magic-users and other non-believers. An interesting campaign arc occurred several years ago when Jeremi lost the power to cast his cleric spells for quite a few sessions because he had lost his faith - he couldn't reconcile how his deity allowed him to cast both divine and arcane magic.
- Sameer, a warrior of the desert, played by Cal. Sameer is an interesting combination of warrior and sorcerer, and is one of the only males in his tribe ever born with the ability of sorcery. He's an absolute beast in combat, partly because his player, Cal, loves to figure out how everything in the game works together (feats, spells, magic-items, etc.) to create interesting and powerful combat combinations.
- Sombra, aka Nicodemus, played by Nick. Sombra is a relatively new addition to the group, having only played with us for maybe two years or so. He is basically on the run for having killed his superior in the knightly order to which he belongs. Although Sombra's actions would seem to be justified (his superior was about to slaughter a bunch of innocents), the situation has not been presented that way, so Sombra had to flee and is constantly being pursued by bounty hunters... and worse.
Recently, as a matter of fact, I had an evil dragon all statted up and ready to engage them in combat. He was very clearly evil - there was no doubt about that. However, when the players encountered him, they instead opted to engage him in conversation. They figured out (correctly) that the dragon wasn't evil by choice - he had been corrupted by virtue of serving as a prison guardian of absolutely evil creatures for thousands of years. There was no redeeming him at this point, but the players took the opportunity to talk to him and learn some history of things that happened when he was alive. I made some dice rolls and... success! He spoke with them and we had about a two-hour long in-game conversation about the history of the world (from the dragon's perspective). It was stuff I had thought about a lot before but never thought would ever make its way into the campaign.
This was all accompanied by some tasty beer, and even more tasty leftover chocolate birthday cake that Cal's wife had made the day before and which Cal brought over to Brian's. And of course I got to spend a great portion of the day, and of the entire weekend, with my best friends.
If only I could be so lucky every weekend.