I’m a pain in the ass role player in the sense that I try to do something unusual, even if it’s to the detriment of the group. Some of the people I’ve enjoyed playing with most did the same thing, like Jarod’s bird character who could only speak in three words, and was never able to communicate effectively, especially when it was vital to the party’s survival.
After a long run of playing around with less dedicated systems, our group finally graduated to a long-term Pathfinder campaign. The setting was a nation that had no standing army: to alleviate this, they opened an adventurer’s academy to create a nation full of licensed adventurers who could be mustered as an army in emergencies (and could also take care of those obnoxious kobolds that keep popping up to cause trouble). Our party was formed on Finals Week by the dean: like the other parties, we would be assigned a simple quest, have our performance evaluated, and receive our grade and hopefully our diplomas.
In other words, our party was a college group project.
The campaign began in the classroom, with our party already formed. Ours was the last party to be given their assignment by a reluctant dean. My character was not present.
The dean said to the group, “Listen, I’m afraid there are some complications with your quest. First, there is one more member of your group — a “Bonny Braids” Wulfgard. She’s down at the city jail for partaking in a drunken brawl at the Shady Lady with sixty other patrons, wherein a Magic Monkey spell was cast at some point, and two dozen magic monkeys wrecked the entire block. She and the other sixty people involved are being held for questioning, but her father is on the city guard, so she can get out on bail to complete her final.
“Second, you’ll have to pass a preliminary exam by getting rid of the magic monkeys, which have been corralled into a barn up the road from the Shady Lady.”
Grumbling, the group goes down to the city jail to meet the token slacker of the group project. It turns out Bonny is a seventeen-year-old girl, a drunken carouser, a born sorority chick, and a six-foot-two viking bitch.
She is also, as it turns out, the party healer. Cue universal groan from the party as she stumbles out of her cell with a, “Sup, bitches. Let’s do this.”
On top of everything else, Bonny turns out to be the one who cast the Magic Monkey spell, and getting out of jail was her opportunity to dispose of the wand that cast it. I don’t know how long those other sixty guys were interrogated before they finally gave up.
The character began as a fun twist on the noble healer character. After only two sessions, however, I began to realize that I was more invested in Bonny Braids than I had ever been in an RPG character, and it’s a shame the campaign was cut short due to group drama before I could see it through to the end.
Bonny’s character in summary: abandoned by her mother, and raised by her father, who was now boss of the city guard. Realizing his daughter was a notorious hellraiser who could drink with the best of them, and hopeless to change her ways, he enrolled her at the temple of Cayden Cailean, the Drunken Hero, since the ways of his clerics fit her lifestyle to a tee. He’d hoped that this would serve to introduce some kind of order, discipline, and morality into the girl’s otherwise lackadaisical nature and help her finally grow into a responsible adult.
As a player, my goal was to start her from the bottom as a troublemaker and scoundrel, and as she leveled up and went on adventures in the real world, she would mature into a righteous hero, maybe even ascend to godhood or something. In the first chapter of our campaign, she found herself in the middle of a coup staged by the king, a mere figurehead in the beginning. Bonny was the only party member who wasn’t okay with the plan, since it meant chaos in the city and the deaths of innocent people, possibly including her father – the first real stakes she had ever had to face.
But Bonny would always be a hellraiser throughout the campaign, and her misadventures never let up. She was a constant source of extra trouble for the party, mainly because I was chatting with the DM in private, coming up with new ways her personal life could contribute to the overall story. I had assumed the other players — experienced RP’ers by this point — were doing the same, since they each had their chances to shine every session, and each were more invested in this game than any of the others. Turned out I was the only one who was this invested, and they were a little annoyed by it. Live and learn, I guess.
Everyone got in on the dragon prank though. One member of the party was Aros, the dragonborn warlock. He dreamed of a day when he could bring back the dragon riders of his ancestry, and when one of our quest items turned out to be a dragon egg, he was ecstatic. That egg never left his side, and he was constantly petting it and talking to it, hoping it would eventually hatch and bond with him.
Fast forward several weeks. The party is rewarded for their bravery at the end of the latest sub-quest with three weeks of jousting tournaments. The night before the party left for home, Bonny stole the dragon egg from Aros’s backpack, slipping it into hers, and replacing it with the smashed fragments of an ostrich egg.
Neither Aros, nor the guy playing him, knew what had happened. Bonny eventually told the rest of the party when they were back home and Aros was away (and his player in the bathroom upstairs). Immediately the shape-shifting druid Fara wanted in on the gag. Sure enough, Aros came bursting out of his room later that day, his face excited and alarmed.
“Guys, the dragon hatched.”
Everyone starts acting panicked. “Oh god, don’t tell me there’s a giant lizard running around, breathing fire in our house. We already had to kill the hydra in the basement!”
While we pretend to search for the baby dragon, Fara morphs into just that, and starts tearing up the house, hissing at and running away from Aros, who is desperately trying to befriend it. Fara Dragon then cuddles up to the thief, the one person Aros hates in the world more than anyone. Meanwhile the heroes (and the players) are struggling to keep from laughing their asses off. Eventually the prank turns deadly when Aros tries to hit the thief with lightning just as Bonny tries to get between them, and is nearly killed in one shot (in an ironic twist of karma).
Once she recovers, she offers him the egg and says, “Maybe you’ll have better luck with the next one.”
Everyone ROARS with laughter, in-game and out. Aros is so angry he spends the next several weeks walking a half mile ahead of the party when they travel between quests.