Campaign: Wrath of the Cosmic Accountant
Danny is a great example of the hazards of picking last. He was the fifth character in the campaign, and by the time we got around to him in session zero we already had a cleric wielding a bow, a rogue wielding a sap (back when that build was broken), a paladin wielding a ladder, and a wizard wielding a decade of experience in construction and remodeling. We already had the big four role archetypes, and everybody had a wacky weapon. That left only poor Danny, who got to be a whip-wielding bard.
Imagine a typical bard, add a whip, take out anything overtly flamboyant, and you pretty much have Danny. He wanted to help people, but not too much. He wanted money, but not as much as fame. He participated in combat, but in quiet ways that didn’t destroy monsters so much as irritate them. He sang, he spoke eloquently and not belligerently, he had the occasional unexpected trick up his sleeve for when things got dire, and every so often he found an opportunity to use his bardic abilities to devastating effect against enemies and allies alike.
He didn’t even have a last name. This is how typical a D&D character he was.
As a bard, I like bards, so I liked giving Danny ways to show off. I soon learned he didn’t need help outside of combat; I don’t remember if I planted the seeds or if he managed all on his own to get himself on the program to perform at the crime lord’s birthday party. He was also fantastic at incapacitating and frustrating minions, what with his expertise in ranged tripping and disarming. But surprisingly, he really only shone in two battles. In one he managed to shatter an enemy only kept alive by alchemy, nearly saving his allies while also blowing them up when he caught a table full of dangerous reagents in his blast. In the other he basically did nothing except sing something that became one of our favorite gaming songs. I think it went something like this:
“Everyone we like except for Crunk get better!
Attack the assassin we outnumber five to one,
And is slowed and prone and you guys don’t need me
So I guess I’ll go to a restaurant.
Tell me when it’s done.”
As mechanics went, the whole point of Wrath of the Cosmic Accountant was that there are enemies too scary to fight head-on and the players needed to think their way around them. Of course, this meant the players did a startling amount of fighting enemies head-on, especially enemies with a CR five higher than the party level. Surprisingly none of the PCs died. It meant Danny lived until the campaign suffered the ignominious fate of being cancelled when I moved a thousand miles away, just as he was starting to get in the good graces of a lich mob enforcer (take a drink).