So with IWD:EE on the way, there is no way I'm not going to be doing a play-through (or five) of it. So, the question is... Who with?! Fortunately, I've already made two parties that could be used for a role-played play-through. So the question is... Which one?! (For the most part, these character's are set in stone, although minor changes to the characters are possible, depending on what I think when I view them later.)
Party 1: The Standard Adventurers.
This group is made up of a very traditional IWD party, made without many differences from some party's made for the vanilla game. Obviously my paladin's a little different, but for the most party this is pretty standard. This play-through would be written in a journal/narration style, from the point of view of the party's bard. Details are not always necessary, and I wouldn't be quoting most conversations, although some important conversations would be done that way. The party is made up of...
Oak Goldbrand: (Undead Hunter)
A paladin of Lathander and de facto leader of our party. He is aged 53, and has been out of combat service for some time. He took control of the party when we met in Easthaven, though no one minded, as he quickly proved himself to be quite intelligent and wise, merely through normal conversation. (And in fact I must admit that I brought his leadership to the table as an option. He tried to turn me down modestly, but the rest of the group agreed that he should lead.) A member of the Order of the Aster, the militaristic organization of paladins and fighters that serve Lathander, he says he was a relatively average paladin in his youth, but showed more intellectual prowess than physical. (I must note that though we have been together but a short time thus far, he has proven himself quite fit and skilled for his age, and I suspect his “average physical prowess” is not much more than modesty.) Due to this, he retired from active duty at the young age of 32. He began working for the Order as a strategist and “temple guardian” at the temple of Lathander in Waterdeep, (the base of operations for the Order) but apparently they saw fit to bring him out of retirement to send him north, for a purpose he has not yet felt the need to share. (I must say, it seems a rather cruel thing to do to a man who’s served them for so long, but he doesn’t seem to mind.) He is a quiet man and speaks in a deep slow voice, every word full of thought and meaning. He also seems to be somewhat less morally definite than most paladins I’ve encountered. He has not made mention as to why this could be, but he must have some sort of past that has shown him that good cannot always be obtained through justice and lawfulness. The one thing that is guaranteed to arouse him, however, is undead. He says that while he does not blame the dead themselves, he lost his sister as a child to a necromancer’s horde, and therefore has more trouble staying his hand against the dead than most. (I feel that with his wisdom and general restraint, he would be able to keep his cool if the situation required it.) He says he is trained with the sword and shield, although he has been known to wield both the longbow and the flail on occasion, and is somewhat skilled in their use.
Nesjin Ilvidis: (Cleric/Illusionist)
One of my two long-time travel companions, Nesjin has been a joy to travel with for all three of the years we have spent adventuring together, though our journeys have been relatively mild. A gnome Glitterbright and talented illusionist, he is most recognizable by his large gold belt, a standard accoutrement of the Glitterbrights. He is a jovial fellow, fully embodying Glittergold’s sense of trickery and jest, and through his clever wordplay, he has more than once saved my skin, along with that of Durnan Fellaxe. (Who I will get to in a moment) He is proficient with both the mace and sling (As I have borne witness to more than once.) but he is certainly no master. Most naturally find him rather a strain on the patience and quite unlikable, but to a man of the arts like myself, I find him a brilliant comedian and true wit, amidst a dry and barren land of those truly lacking in personality. He is a truly good person as well, being far more kind and helpful to those in need than most I have met on my journeys. I feel that he is the true definition of a priest, for he works for those in trouble and provides solace and help whenever it is desired. In fact, it is this exact helpfulness that caused our trio to make it’s way to Easthaven. A fellow Glitterbright contacted Nesjin and told him of strange occurrences in the north that had threatened the lives of those living there. Nesjin immediately requested we take a look. I had no issue with traveling across a new stretch of land, and Durnan was eager to visit the mountains, as he has always been.
Durnan Fellaxe: (Fighter/Thief)
At first glance, one might assume that my second long-time traveling companion is an average dwarf adventurer. Axe, good quality light armor for easy travel care and use, and a good thick beard. But underneath that thick dwarf’s skull, one finds the mind of a madman. Relatively speaking, at least. In all normal facets of life, Durnan is your average dwarven warrior. But he’s actually a terrible kleptomaniac, with a specific desire for gold. Between Nesjin and myself, we’ve managed to keep him out of trouble for the most part, but leave him alone in a dragon’s hoard, and you’ll come back to find it empty, with a very suspicious looking dwarf standing alone, his pants having quadrupled in size. Durnan is also a bit of a compulsive liar, though mostly this is done to cover his kleptomaniacal tracks. If you asked the aforementioned dwarf with the giant legs why his pants have suddenly swelled, he would likely spontaneously come up with a tale about how he got hungry and ate all his rations, before mentioning that when he eats quickly it just all goes to his thighs. Suffice it to say that Durnan’s a rather unique dwarf in some aspects. His absolute worst habit, however, is to sneak off from the party to check in every nook and cranny for any trinkets or gold to snatch. Best that you find him quickly, (As Nesjin and I soon learned) for the dwarf can get into a surprisingly great deal of trouble. I hope he shall not be as troublesome on this endeavor, though I feel no certainty.
Tersus Viblehein: (Half-Elf Fighter/Druid)
The "better half" of the married couple that our trio met in Easthaven, this rather odd woman is a druid of Mielikki, though far more aggressive than most I have come across. Her skill with the scimitar is undeniable, however, and while her religion is at times concerning, she has proven her worth. Her husband and she apparently live near Easthaven, and when they felt the shifting of the weather, they felt they must investigate. It has been rather odd traveling with a married couple, especially one so odd as this. They say they've been married for many years, but they act as though they are newly-weds. To be quite frank, it is rather disturbing, and I can tell my other companions agree. Oak in particular seems terribly embarrassed whenever the couple begins being romantic.
O’isfiten Viblehein: (Half-Elf Ranger/Cleric)
Tersus' husband, O'isfiten, is a stern and serious man, but whenever his wife comes around he becomes disturbingly childish, like a youth in love. I cannot be certain, but I wonder if there is some sort of enchantment going on. Regardless, the two seem happy. A cleric of Mielikki as well as a ranger, O'isfiten is a master hunter, and fights more ferociously than any I've ever seen, save for a few beasts. He is the only one in our party who wields two weapons at once, and I must say, his mace and flail swinging around is a sight to behold, albeit a great threat to any in their path.
D’rithir Hendlespine: (Half-elf Bard)
And of course I cannot forget myself, though I am not the star of this story. I am no great warrior, (though I can fight with longsword and longbow when necessary) but what I lack in physical prowess, I make up for in versatility and knowledge. I come from Baldur's Gate, where I grew up in a relatively normal family. I was tutored by an excellent sage in the city, and as I showed great intellectual prowess, I was given a valuable tome and told to travel to Candlekeep, where I could spend several years learning without exhausting all it's resources. While at the keep for ten whole years, I learned many things, but eventually I decided that I was ready to move on. Why spend my life in a library when I could learn much of the same while traveling the world? But my ten years at the Keep were not wasted. I spent them learning a great deal, all the while working on my true talents as well. I am a true bard, a true patron of the arts, capable of everything from writing, to playing instruments and singing, to even acting! With my skills honed and my brain bursting, I left the Keep and have traveled ever since. Three years ago I met Nesjin while helping a small town with goblin raids, and after settling the matter, we joined forces. Another year later, the two of us encountered a dwarf being chased through the streets by an angry man, crying out about being robbed. Nesjin vouched for the dwarf, and with that we had gained a (at times quite troublesome) companion by the name of Durnan. Many adventures later, and now we stand in Easthaven, and only time will tell what out journeys hold in store...
So that's the first party. The competition is...
Party 2: The Tribe Members
This group is part of a tribe of barbarians and "wild men", who live in the forests. These six are all relatively young individuals chosen to take part in a mission to discover the strange weather phenomenons, and are sent to join in Hrothgar's expedition. This party fits with the IWD theme, but may not be the easiest party to play, due to lacking a lot of magic. (though they have both druidic magic and arcane magic available) The party is made up of...
Tribe Role: Warrior
Bio: The youngest member of the party, Fulthrag is a stripling, barely past his 14th year of life. However, this is the year that a warrior of the tribe is sent out to face a trial to gain his manhood. At first his trial was to be something quite different, but Fulthrag begged the chieftain and head hunter to allow him to accompany the group on their journey.
Tribe Role: Warrior
Bio: Fulthrag’s older sister, she became a man of the village at the age of 17. Now, you may be asking. “Wait, SHE became a MAN of the village?” Yes. While rare, this tribe allows women to undertake the trial of manhood and become warriors in the village. Vimnar has never accepted anyone who thought she should become a hunter, or a healer, or any other nonsense. She was stronger than the men of the village, and no males argued. She was nearly a head taller than most, her shoulders were broader, and her body was, quite simply, terrifying. Despite all this, she’s been married for a year to the ranger of the group, Urk’Knull, a man nearly as large as her and well respected. The two of them are thought to be the most powerful young “men” of the village, and everyone expects them to become excellent leaders of the village one day.
Tribe Role: Hunter/Gatherer
Urk’Knull is a strange man. He was said to be the greatest warrior among those taking the trial of manhood when he was 15, yet after completing it he chose to become one of the hunters. While respected for the necessary skill they bring to the tribe, the most respected members of the tribe are the warriors. Even Urk’Knull’s wife, Vimnar, does not fully understand why he chose this path. But one thing is for certain. He is deadly, regardless of weapon.
Tribe Role: Entertainer/Ceremonialist
Dogur is a quiet and thoughtful man, and although he is of a lower “caste” among the tribe, due to being a musician, he is considered to be one of the most intelligent men in the village. He is also incredibly charismatic, able to convince a warrior to hire him for more than standard, or to get a festival going at top speed. Some say that he could become the chief’s personal advisor one day (a title given to one member of the village, regardless of rank, unlike the head hunter and chieftain) but Dogur shrugs such statements off, saying that if he is chosen for such a thing, he will be greatly honored, but if not he will still be content. The current advisor (an aged member of the tribe with seer-like future sight) has found that Dogur has natural magical talent, although magical resources are so rare in the tribe that Dogur has not yet learned this himself.
Catraius: Druid (Party Leader)
Tribe Role: Healer/Wise Man (apprentice)
The leader of this group, and the apprentice to the village’s medicine man, Catraius is a skilled negotiator, wise and charismatic leader, and excellent successor to his master. (Although it will likely be many years before he takes the role of medicine man) Of all the villagers, Catraius is the second most accustomed to normal society’s ways, and he and the head hunter (the most accustomed) often discuss the goings on of the outside world, although Catraius has rarely visited himself.
Tribe Role: Spy/Assassin
Xolk is a mystery to most of the town. Born with a gift for disappearing into the shadows, he was considered an outcast, until the chieftain adopted him as his own son. (Much to the pleasure of Xolk’s original parents, who were compensated greatly.) Xolk appreciates the gesture, and cares for his foster father, but is not sure he wants the role he has been given. While the chieftain did not accept Xolk purely for his own reasons, the fact that such a gift could be turned to profit for the chief was certainly a deciding factor. He was trained by the hunters in many things, but his training was not quite that of the hunters. He learned to fight with swords, create and locate traps, pick pockets, and any other skill that could be used to benefit his nefarious deeds. He has often been away from the village, and most do not know that he has returned, or that he has even been and gone. He has killed other chieftains, stolen valuable items that crippled powerful tribes, and done many things for the “betterment of the tribe.” When the group learned that he would be accompanying them, they were unsure of their feelings. While some of them accepted Xolk immediately (Catraius and Dogur), others avoided him (Urk’Knull and Vimnar), and some outright insulted him.(Fulthrag) Xolk doesn’t care though, as this is just part of the life he has been forced to lead, due to his unnatural abilities.
So let me know which one you think is better! As soon as I get my grubby lil' paws on IWD:EE, I'm gonna start playing with some group, so make sure it's a group you like!