N is for Nicodemus Kriedy, a Gentleman and a Mauler

Name: Nicodemus Kriedy
Campaign: The Eight Arms and the Shadow Invasion

I spoke with several of my players as I wrote the articles for this month, mostly to warn them about which days they should skip if they didn’t want to see themselves get buried (the glee with which several of them anticipated their assumed roasting fills me with confusion and dread). When I brought up this character, his player recommended I describe him as “the best person that his particular life experiences could have produced”. Which, actually, is a pretty apt description of the Eight Arms setting.

Kriedy was a former soldier and thief with the soul of an egalitarian and the demeanor of a men’s right activist. He gave his allies and enemies exactly as much respect and deference as they deserved, no more, and he did what was right as long as he considered himself the best person to do it. He served as a middle ground between the wackier members of the party and the level-headed ones, maintaining a professional demeanor while doing unprofessional things for professional reasons. He even had his full plate glamered to look like a suit.

Most importantly, he was the head of the adventuring guild around which the campaign setting is based. One of the early bits of advice new DMs get is “don’t give members of the party power over other members of the party. If one PC can boss around other PCs, it will devolve into bickering and the campaign will fail.” Perhaps that’s good advice with certain kinds of players, the sorts who look for reasons to oppress each other. But having a PC be another PC’s boss isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. Nicodemus is the first in a series of characters in our campaigns who show that, with a mature table, it’s a character relationship like any other. He didn’t lord his power over the of the party, and in return the party deferred to him whenever it was time to make a decision. Everybody had a reason to stick together, there was no NPC pushing the party around, and we got exchanges like this:

Kriedy: Did your summoned zombie just kill one of the hostages we were supposed to save?
Necromancer: Yeah.
Kriedy: …
Necromancer: His Int score is a horizontal line! He doesn’t know better!
Kriedy: I’m docking you.

After Kriedy I’m not so gun-shy about letting one PC be the boss, manager, or patron of the rest of the party. He showed that, as with splitting the party, it’s not a matter of the action itself as how you handle it.

The Eight Arms succeeded in their first adventure, though Kriedy did die once along the way. He also played the damsel in distress for The Eight Arms and the Unforgiving Blade. After a second brush with the campaign setting’s hard limit on resurrection I think he’s wielding a chaingun in my next campaign, because that’s apparently the best way to use all those two-weapon fighting feats.

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