F is for Felicia Elkin, Paladin Rarity

Name: Felicia Elkin
Campaign: The Eight Arms and the Empire of Sin

It’s hard to join a campaign already in progress. There’s a whole bunch of backstory, team mechanics, inside jokes, and tradition a new player doesn’t know, and they run the risk of feeling like an outsider at the table and in the story. I’ve had plenty of characters join in the middle of a campaign; many worked, some didn’t. But so far I’ve only had one situation where character joined a party between campaigns, and that worked much better.

Felicia joined the Eight Arms Ostensible Crafting Team for their second campaign, several months after the first campaign had finished. She joined with another character who is not on this month’s list. Both characters shored up roles the party lacked. The other character fulfilled their need for a tracker and wilderness expert. Felicia fulfilled their need for a beauty-obsessed front-line tank with heavily reskinned weapons and an unerring moral compass as it related to matters of fashion and decorating.

I realize this is a very specific need.

Felicia played more than a little like Rarity from My Little Pony: obsessed with looking good and making other things look good, against grime on principle and nature by association, but willing and able to focus and fight when things get hairy. She had a large array of abilities her player kept forgetting about (lay on hands, spells, auras, whatever she traded smite evil for), which made her really interesting and capable in a pinch. The only enemies that really gave her pause were, naturally, campaign bosses and, ironically, a crystal dragon powered by condensed pride.

I did talk about this blog post with Felicia’s player, and the conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m going to talk about Felicia.
Player: Is she the best character you’ve ever run whose name begins with F?
Me: She’s the only one whose name begins with F. So I have to think of what I learned from running her in a campaign.
Player: You could say you learned you could make an acceptable piece of portrait art with Photoshop.
Me: I’m not saying that.

The most interesting long-term thing I learned from Felicia was how well a paladin can work when her player isn’t a jerk. Paladins have a reputation as unlikeable because unlikeable people play them, acting as a high-and-mighty “my character wouldn’t abide this sort of levity” yoke. But Felicia functioned in a party that leaned very chaotic and a little evil because she didn’t refuse to allow other characters to play and because the other players didn’t refuse to allow her to be herself. It was Law 0 and Law 4 at their finest, and she’s a good example of somebody who can have an opinion without being militant about it.

Also, I learned it’s really easy to assign the seven deadly sins to a party when one of the characters has a peacock motif.

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