Campaign: Unnamed Monster Campaign
We started the month with a character who started off looking one-note but became awesome accidentally through play. Let’s bookend it by talking about a character who started off one-note and intentionally stayed exactly that boring.
Zee was a cleric from the Plane of Law. Readers well-versed in D&D cosmology may have read that and said “oh, you mean Mechanus.” No, I mean a plane named “Plane of Law”, created solely for this character. This was the home of the zenythri, who lived in their capital of Zenythriopolis. It was here that Zee, a zenythri, joined the Church of the Lawful Pantheon and dedicated herself to law, religion, and good, in that order.
To this day I don’t know how much of the above paragraph is a exact and valid example of zenythri culture, how much is a joke at my expense, and how much is it is just incredibly lazy character design. See, zenythri only exist in
The Book of Bad Ideas the D&D 3.0E Monster Manual II, where the full description of their race, philosophy, history, culture, and racial powers fits on half a page. This gave us a lot of freedom to design them, and Zee’s player decided they were direct in naming and pretty much everything else (almost—I think she decided her racial language was Bureaucracy, which is the least direct thing possible but did come up during play several times).
Her key personality trait was that she had purple skin. If you do not consider this a personality trait, you’re right. Zee had little to no character, again intentionally. She took a heavily bureaucratic race, applied a low Charisma modifier to it, and played it to the hilt. She didn’t try to understand the other members of the party because she knew they were wrong, and she only stuck with them because they were her best way to find the demon lord she’d been sent to kill. To that end she treated them as minions, mostly snarking at them whenever they erred and reprimanding them for not following the byzantine tenets of law only she knew by heart (take a drink).
The player, however, did not, and that’s the point. She was an irritating, stoic curmudgeon, but her player applied it in a way that was fun for everybody at the table. Zee didn’t refuse to participate in plots that didn’t further her personal objectives, she didn’t force other characters to pledge their allegiance to her, and most of her ire was reserved for the campaign’s half-dragon orc barbarian because that’s what was funniest. She was the blue oni to his red oni, and their sniping always had a comedic edge to it. Still, she went along with whatever harebrained schemes the party had, and if you’ve listed to the podcasts I linked during Thrae and Valitude you’ve heard most of them. She was the most likable unlikeable character I could ask for.
She did manage to kill the demon lord she was after, then got killed by that demon lord’s father, then killed him back. A few sessions after that the campaign ended, with Zee successful but still not entirely clear how to get home to a plane nobody else had ever heard of.