View Full Version : Heroic Heroes?

2007-10-07, 08:44 PM
It seems to me that in lots og D&D games that the focus drifts from being heroic adventurers to something else.

Now, I'm not talking about all the different kinds of campaigns. I realize that people play Horror games where everyone dies, evil campaigns where people burn villages down, hack/slash games where you just mow through monsters. I'm not dissing these games at all.

But it seems to me that the default mode of D&D is heroic fantasy. You're a decent person trying to make the world a better place. Most pre-made adventures also seem to follow this ideal.

Lots of games, though, seem to swerve away from the truly heroic and melt down into a race to see who will become the most poweful/optimized, or how to most effectively defeat whatever you're facing.

So, have you ever had a moment in your game when you (as either a player or a DM) felt as if you were truly heroic and not just a merc or collection of numbers? I've had a few:

During a game we played today, the party was trying to get past a blind cave-troll chained to a wall. They were only level 4 (cave troll is usually CR10, even blind and chained it was tough) and not nearly powerful enough to defeat it. So the half-elven fighter climbed a nearby turret and fired arrows at the troll to distract it while the other three members sneaked past. Once all of them were on the elevator that would lead them down, the fighter was shouting for them to go. They yelled that they wouldn't, and the troll turned on them. The fighter leapt off the turret and buried his greatsword in the troll's shoulder. A few grapple checks later, which were pretty intense as the troll flailed around the screaming fighter, and the fighter was thrown free, landing next to the elevator. The cleric hit the block holding the platoform up and all of them fell to the relative safety of the lower levels.

Another time I was a player playing a cowardly (think Rincewind) abjurer in a campaign. We were in a large city and the party had split up. Asher (the name of the abjurer) was walking through the city and was annoyed when a very large and garish parade blocked his path. As he stood hunching and hoping no one touched him, he saw that the parade had a caged chimera as part of its exhibition. The monster broke free and charged into the crowd, it was about to set upon some youngsters when Asher overcame his fear and hit it with an acid arrow; shouting for it to chase him. Of course, when it did, he regreted his act and was forced to run away screaming like a little girl until the rest of the part found him and they killed it. Still, it actually felt heroic to save those kids.

So what about you? Ever do something that made you deel genuinely brave or heroic in a campaign?

2007-10-07, 08:52 PM
I did, exactly once. And it was an Exalted campaign too. Imagine, for a moment, an army composed of a signifigant number of demons. As in, when you look at it, the first thought in your mind is, "Damn, they must have emptied six whole layers of the Abyss for this."

I spent ten combat rounds fighting this army off to cover the party's retreat. Ten whole rounds. I'm proud of it ^_^

2007-10-07, 08:54 PM
I did, exactly once. And it was an Exalted campaign too. Imagine, for a moment, an army composed of a signifigant number of demons. As in, when you look at it, the first thought in your mind is, "Damn, they must have emptied six whole layers of the Abyss for this."

I spent ten combat rounds fighting this army off to cover the party's retreat. Ten whole rounds. I'm proud of it ^_^

Did you survive?

2007-10-07, 08:55 PM
i'd have to say the most heroic thing i ever did in a campaign was when my fighter (who was in same init as a baddy) took the charge for our party cleric. he ruled my spring attack and his charge went off together so i ran in front of him, slashed him, be brought me into neg's and i fell into her. now some might say since we were fighting undead i was protecting our best weapon and healer, but i was just being heroic.

2007-10-07, 08:56 PM
Oh -hell- no. I knew I was gonna die from the moment I started that. But when I -did- die, I took out a lot of them with me (oh, Contingency, how I do love thee).

2007-10-07, 09:09 PM
Ah yes.
Long story short, reincarnated evoker (bugbear now, named Thallis) + pitfiend killing Thallis's cousin = martyr!

It was like suddenly Thallis had broken his CN alignment, felt a righteous fury deep w/in him, and as his friends ran from the way-too-powerful-for-us monster, Thallis contended with him long enough for the others to get away. Of course, the pitfiend bit a chunk out of Thallis's throat, and he was poisoned... Anywho, a rez later and now he's a CG bugbear evoker. Who'd a thunk it hunh?:smallamused:

2007-10-08, 01:22 PM
Our campaigns tend to have very largescale political overtones (e.g. wars, etc.). As such, it is easy to play someone heroic if you are invested in one side of the conflict or the other. My last character wound up fulfilling this role, even though he was a Rogue. He wound up going into Spymaster because he became dedicated to stopping the war against his homeland. There were a number of opprotunities where the rest of the party was equivocating about some ethical questions and he got to play the "Oh, hell no!" card, because he was very committed to a particular outcome. This included dimension dooring next to the BBEG who was trying to open a planar portal to escape and backstabbing him to disrupt the spell. This put him in the midst of the BBEG's henchmen, who promptly slew him, but it was worth it to give the other PCs as chance to take out the baddies.


2007-10-08, 01:53 PM
Probably my best heroic moment was when I was playing a pally in a party composed of (otherwise) neutral or evil people. Throughout the campaign the party had harrassed and even tried to kill him, but he perservered in his devotion (he had been ordered to work with them by his king and his church). Anyway, we were being pursued by an army of demons/drow who were steadily overtaking us. Stepping up, the pally proceeded to hold off the army for nine rounds before going down, which was really impressive because they were all equal or higher than his CR. The rest of the party was so impressed, every one had their alignment changed to good and tried to act heroically in his memory for the rest of the campaign.

Dairun Cates
2007-10-08, 03:20 PM
Well, I've mentioned this in passing a couple of times, but in our Slayers d20 game, I play somewhat of an anti-hero turned heroic hero. He was sarcastic, often surly about his life, pretended not to care, and fate tended to screw with him a lot. This guy was a twin to a girl with the beautiful feat and 14 charisma and managed an 8 charisma.

However, he also had a strong code to keep his promises and protect those that were close to him and to destroy anyone who might try to force him to violate that code. As such, he often got into the business of taking huge hits for the team. As sarcastic as he was, he was compelled to do it. There's a lot of stories about how he would use half his HP for buffing the party, use his body as a human shield, and then turn around and use the last of his HP to heal his teammates. He was that dedicated to it. Eventually, after a misunderstanding where he thought the person/unicorn maiden he had sworn to protect the most had sacrificed herself, he got really pissed and became a Shaman AND took the Code feat at the same time. This made his unnecessary code the source for his strongest power rather than his weakness after this.

For those of you that don't know. The Code feat is basically a strict line of moral choices you choose to make. You MUST follow the code as it is your general moral compass. It doesn't have to be a good code, but righteous people and warriors are generally the ones who take it. In exchange for severely limiting your capabilities to act in a manner that won't get you killed, you get a +1 to all attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws that are done in the pursuit of your code. If someone tries to make you violate your code (ie. through mind control) you gain a +4 to the saving throw instead. In this case, Reginald couldn't run away from battles while people he cared about still were in the fray and often had to dive headfirst into obvious traps, but his +1 was active for almost every major battle and he became almost impossible to mind control.

Well, all this adds up to him pulling off my biggest hero moment ever.

We've been chased by these three highly trained Mercenaries for a long time. One's a bounty hunter, one's a wizard, and one's a fighter. Our party has recently been separated from our party meat tank and fighter, Mr. Bear, and our Rogue is unconscious and out of commission. That leaves only the cleric/loremaster, our sorceress, a priestess npc, and our shaman (me) who is fatigued from constant nightmares. The people on the opposing team are around level 11-12.

Note: In Slayers, two high level fighters versus a team of magic casters is generally a BAD thing. The amount of magic to take them out often requires more HP than you have.

Well, we're traveling through the woods, and we stop to forage for food. As Kaito (our Loremaster) heads off, he's caught in a net and slowly electrocuted. He calls out for everyone. Regina (the sorceress) goes running. Reginald starts hobbling. As Regina leaves to go save Kaito, wolves appear around the cart. The priestess says she can handle this and protect Micheal (our Rogue), and Reginald goes hobbling one as fast as he can.

In the meantime, after the net, Regina gets shadow-snapped in a dark and shadowy area of the woods. Big shock. They used the cover of night to hide and waited for us to split up so they could pick us off one by one. The bounty hunter and wizard proceed to heavily beat her down. After closer inspection, the scenario turns out to be worse. Not only are we surrounded by the three mercenaries, but a HUGE pack of wolves as well. Not one to go down easily, Regina shoots two HUGE fire spells in opposite directions (Yay! forked spell). This takes out a good portion of the wolves and heavily injures the bounty hunter. However, this damn near knocks her unconscious. The bounty hunter finishes her off with a stab to the back.

So, with 2 people, we've successfully taken down a handful of wolves and half a bounty hunter, and the only combatant that can fight left is fatigued and can't run. The loremaster in the net takes a break from constantly healing himself to stay conscious and casts dash on my character as a last ditch effort. After this, it's all up to poor Reginald to save the day. Here's what transpired from there almost turn for turn.

Since their party is stretched out and generally slow, Reginald let's the fighter rush up to him while he's on the defense. The fighter hits for like 10 damage. Reginald, with double movement, takes his spear, stabs it into the fighter's shadow and casts a shadow snap on him. Now that he's pinned to that one spot, Reginald uses his dashed move action to walk 60 feet away and hide behind a tree. Since it's so dark, everyone on the opposing team loses him. The wizard casts a light spell on the warrior to free him from the shadow snap. This gives away his location, and Reginald spots the bounty hunter hiding about 100 feet away (good rolls).

Taking his chance, Reginald silently casts the Dug Haut spell and decides to take lethal damage to cover for the lack of verbal components in casting his most difficult spell. Spikes shoot out of the ground and hit the fighter. I roll high enough for massive damage and he manages to barely fail the fort save to stay conscious. After this, the wizard still manages to spot me. He flies over to me and fires a fireball at me, and I dodge on a nat 20 reflex save (the only roll I could've made to half the damage). With my magic barrier reducing the damage, and me taking half, I end up only taking 4 damage.

My character manages to notice that he's actually gaining help in levitating and casting by a pair of sentient shoulder pads and that they're probably the ones casting the levitate spell.

He takes this information as an advantage and casts Buday Wind without a sound component again to keep his hiding spot from the bounty hunter. He opts to once again take lethal damage. This causes a 90 mph wind cone to shoot out of his hand. It deals no damage inherently, but combined with the fact that the wizard was light and flying, he drops the shoulder pads and flies a good few hundred feet away. He loses the leviation spell with the pads. We assume the fall damage is enough to knock him out.

So, angry that I've mortally wounded her brothers, the bounty hunter takes out a sword and points it at my character's sister claiming she'll kill her if I don't surrender. My character sneaks over to the fighter's body and points a hand at him. He makes a bluff check and says that if she lays a hair on his sister's head, he'll finish off the unconscious and bleeding fighter and then come after her. The truth is that my character didn't want to harm an unconscious man, even an enemy, and he only had enough HP left for one, maybe two spells if he was lucky. My character was lucky enough in his assumption that the bounty hunter cared deeply for her siblings.

After a quick parley in the opening, the bounty hunter and Reginald agree to a duel. Reginald uses healing magic to stop the Fighter's bleeding, and the Bounty Hunter uses first aid on Regina. She also turns off the electrocution net under the promise that Kaito won't cast anymore spells. Reginald points out that her employer only wants him because of his connection with the unicorn her boss wants and that my character is good bait. The agreement is that should the bounty hunter win, Reginald will go without a fuss but none of his team will be harmed. If Reginald wins, he won't kill anyone and will heal the bounty hunter back. The bounty hunter, also turning out to be a person of honor agrees.

Worried that I'm going to have to fight in Melee with only 12 hp left, my character goes on the defensive. Oddly enough, the bounty hunter decides to hide in the trees instead. Turns out that Reginald's bluff worked and she believes he's still capable of fighting at full strength and she's not. Taking this opportunity, I come up with a final plan that has a good chance of killing my character. I spot the bounty hunter hiding in the trees, but avoid looking at her so she doesn't know I know where she is. I notice she's jumping from tree to tree and getting closer hoping for a surprise attack. Following the pattern, my character prepares an action on the next tree she's going to jump on.

He casts the weakest spell in the game that creates 70 gallons of water in a spurt and casts it on the tree branch. The bounty hunter fails her reflex save. While she's tumbling, Reginald puts his last 8 hp into casting one last Dug Haut with everything he has. The bounty hunter fails the save thanks to a huge minus from tripping off the tree. She's knocked BARELY into negatives (I believe it was -1). Reginald says, "huh" and falls unconscious at -2 HP. Kaito escapes the net and heals stabilizes both people.

After we wake up, the bounty hunter agree never to hunt us down again and gains a respect for my character.

We later did the math and found out that the encounter was a Cr 15 and the GM had overestimated our power. I took out a CR 15 almost single-handedly while fatigued with luck and pure courage. It was wicked awesome. I had an adrenaline rush for an hour after it.

Batman Wizards have NOTHING on Reginald Vandrel.

We did other fun courageous things, but that's the most impressive one. To this day, Reginald is still my favorite character I've ever played. So, yes people, playing straight heroes can be fun.