Three Ways to Resolve Solo Stories in a Group Game

Introduction

This is an extended “behind the scenes”/DM Advice post. Recently in the MAGI campaign, three separate situations arose where characters were separated from the group as a cliff-hanger ending to a session. None of them were planned by the DM, they just happened organically. In order to minimize the impact on the next session, the DM resolved portions of their experiences with the players away from the table. Each situation and each player is different and so this post looks at how each one was handled with a little insight into the why of it. It also serves as a look at what might have been if the players had made different choices.  

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Vampire Build 2: Warlock

The Magical Vampire (Warlock, Pact of the Tome, Undying Patron) 

Resources for this build: 

Who is the Warlock Vampire – Mina Harker

As noted in my first vampire build post, I had a new player who wanted help building a vampire for their PC. The specific request was for a character that was beautiful, deadly, magical, could make people fall in love with them, was able to pick up anything and be good with it, move so fast they seem to teleport, etc. A lot of the positives without the emo baggage the World of Darkness dumps onto their vampires basically. 

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Divine Relationships Part 4: The Exalted

Deities, Followers, and Divine Casters

After one of my games a conversation came up about what is the relationship between a deity and a paladin vs a deity and a regular follower or an exalted being who has access to divine power. My answer to the player was unsatisfactory to us both so I thought I would explore it in more detail, especially as there are so many different ways that player characters can draw power from or have a relationship with their deity. This is part 4 of a 4-part series because I think about this sort of thing way too much.

  1. Introduction and Clerics
  2. Paladins
  3. Warlocks
  4. The Exalted

Final Comparison 

So how do these three things come together to define what makes the three classes similar and different? 

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Divine Relationships Part 3: Warlocks

Deities, Followers, and Divine Casters

After one of my games a conversation came up about what is the relationship between a deity and a paladin vs a deity and a regular follower or an exalted being who has access to divine power. My answer to the player was unsatisfactory to us both so I thought I would explore it in more detail, especially as there are so many different ways that player characters can draw power from or have a relationship with their deity. This is part 3 of a 4-part series because I think about this sort of thing way too much.

  1. Introduction and Clerics
  2. Paladins
  3. Warlocks
  4. The Exalted

Warlocks

With Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, WoTC introduced the celestial pact for warlocks. This is not the only reason I am including warlocks in the current series. Every form of warlock draws power from a source that is “greater than mere mortals” and every warlock has a relationship with that patron that is both similar to and unique from the way clerics and paladins relate to their gods.

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Divine Relationships Part 2: Paladins

Deities, Followers, and Divine Casters

After one of my games a conversation came up about what is the relationship between a deity and a paladin vs a deity and a regular follower or an exalted being who has access to divine power. My answer to the player was unsatisfactory to us both so I thought I would explore it in more detail, especially as there are so many different ways that player characters can draw power from or have a relationship with their deity. This is part 2 of a 4-part series because I think about this sort of thing way too much.

  1. Introduction and Clerics
  2. Paladins
  3. Warlocks
  4. The Exalted

Paladins

Paladins are very special and I run a lot of home rules for them as a result. First off, my paladins draw more for inspiration from Deed of Paksennarion, and from Tolkien’s elves than from Charlemagne. Also, players who want to be a paladin are usually not thinking about the mechanics (though with 5e it happens a bit more because smite is so damn powerful), they want to really be a holy champion. It means a lot to these players and their enthusiasm and goal often makes the experience at the table much more fun for everyone. Whether they are playing a Saint Righteous stick-up-the-arse overly lawful jerk, or a full of compassion wall of light to hold back the hordes of hell, players usually think a lot about what it means to be a paladin and as a GM I want to support this. This is going to color how I interpret the 5e RAW text, so let’s look at it first, then the RAW, and finally how that plays out.

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Divine Relationships Part 1: Clerics

Deities, Followers, and Divine Casters

After one of my games a conversation came up about what is the relationship between a deity and a paladin vs a deity and a regular follower or an exalted being who has access to divine power. My answer to the player was unsatisfactory to us both so I thought I would explore it in more detail, especially as there are so many different ways that player characters can draw power from or have a relationship with their deity. This is part 1 of a 4-part series because I think about this sort of thing way too much.

  1. Introduction and Clerics
  2. Paladins
  3. Warlocks
  4. The Exalted

Rambling Background on Deities and their Power

The first concept we need to cover is that there is a difference between the power that deities themselves wield, and the power that they grant to their mortal followers. A cleric who casts flamestrike is using divine power to cast the spell, but it is not the same thing as Ra or Apollo personally choosing to reduce an enemy to a pile of ashes. And no deity gives their priests the ability to create a whole universe with multiple stars and planets then populate them with living beings having souls, free will (or not) and etc. Can Ra make such a universe using his own power? Yes. Could Ra give that power to high priest Flarb? Yes. Is this what happens when high priest Flarb casts spells? No.

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Hunted! The Session Review

The one shot was a solid hit even if one player had a bad connection. We had three players which made some of the fights take longer than ideal, but overall the balance was fine and everyone enjoyed the module

For a party we had the dumb harpy, the insane knight, and the halfling Indiana Jones. Each one had a chance to shine during the adventure and with three players everyone got plenty of spotlight time. Indy solving the mystery (and getting a painting to add to the museum). the harpy got to burn all kinds of things and his player enjoyed the maneuverability and hard-hitting nature of being a flyer with a polearm. The knight was the first time that player ran a tank and it was impressively tanky, able to hold out against many enemies, including 5 dire wolves plus two orcs at one point. 

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