We continue our tour of the splintered minds that make up our Campaign Pitch of Cosmic Horror goodness with a most interesting build. Plasmoids, as a rule, are a strange build. Being a new race offered in the 5E Spelljammer sourcebooks, it’s not gotten a lot of traction and is near impossible to find pic bases for your character. Short of getting a commission done or doing it yourself, you’re out of luck.
But, I find Plasmoids to be the most intriguing of the lot. AND they make great rogues! They squeeze through tight openings, can create multiple appendages and can fit into a smallish box. So, SURPRISE MFer! It’s assassin time!
But they also tend to appeal to those prone to joke characters. Enter my jokester grandson. When it was announced he was playing a Plasmoid, I was NOT surprised and expected a lot of dick jokes. What I didn’t expect was a well thought out character reference that is perfect for that player that’s still getting their head around DND and, especially, a new class. He choose to be our rogue and only was he an assassin, he was a MASTER ASSASSIN.
Now, I hear you saying ‘hold up now, tell me you didn’t start this newbie at a high level’. No, our DM started us at 3rd level so we could have our subclasses started. SO, how is he a ‘master assassin’? It’s simple. We’re playing a Call of Cthulhu like D&D game, so he simply has forgotten who and what he is and has to start all over again!
Everyone around him expects the expert killer, but what they get is an absolute noob who is confused as hell. Not only has he forgotten the skills that put him on top of the ‘kill for hire’ list, but he’s forgotten EVERYTHING! His friends, his business associates and even his wife! So he is truly playing the new guy but without a back story. It was brilliant! This works well for young players who make mistakes and are just learning their way around a class, subclass or even D&D on the whole. Their mistakes and newbie foopahs just become a part of the game and are explained by their character!
Now, this opens up a whole world of drama. The underworld kingpins of Bral just expect him to take the job and make the hit like an expert. Some of the conversations were simply painful. The funny part is that ‘Squibs‘ ,as we called him since even HE didn’t know his name, isn’t stressed at all about it. He plays it off like it’s everybody else’s issue! So funny. Basically, he plays the strait man to everyone’s confusion.
Like I said, the story is Cosmic Horror, so there’s some terribly messed up things going on in the background of this story, so Squibs is a much needed bit of levity. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last for him.
His wife who he just found out about is missing. And that sending stone he’s been using to talk to people he doesn’t know or understand becomes pleas of help from his wife on another world where the end is apparently coming at the hands of our big bad, THE RUINER (which I will go into more detail soon). It takes him a while to piece it all together, of course. But, once it all falls into place for him, all the horror becomes very real and not too funny at all.
MAGICAL MCGUFFIN: SENDING STONE HOTLINE TO THE APOCALYPSE
This is what drives the story off world and puts a bit of urgency into the campaign. The whole game seems like there’s a clock ticking and we’re at Defcon 1/one minute to midnight. Squibs, who we find is named Nylin, came to realize in a roleplay session with his dad, the DM, that the messages he was receiving from his wife were arriving backwards in time: from the apocalyptic end to a more calm beginning for her.
Once he realized this, he made an awesome persuasion check and talked her into not doing what she did to let THE RUINER loose upon that world, thus rewriting time.
YES, rewriting time! It is one of the more ambitious things Steps, our DM, has included. DMs, it’s dangerous and not to be allowed willey nilley. BUT, in this story, it became a powerful story device.
SO, we came back next session to a new character who treated us like we were longtime friends and adventure companions (played of course by my grandson and another challenge for him. So Proud!). This lends into the whole cosmic horror. Reshaped memories of some while the others cope is on brand. We’ve moved pass the whole ‘everything you do is suspect’ thing and decided to trust him…but not completely. (This really irritates, Hemmorah, his character and it’s fun to watch)
My grandson had to make this change in character because, since his wife never went to ground zero for the apocalypse, he never lost his memory and is once again a master assassin! We did talk him and his wife into accompanying Hamal’s creator while he completed part one of the new mission (caging the Lovecraftian beasts of the multiverse) while we worked on part two. More later.
It’s a simple concept to work with new players, maybe lay off the Lovecraftian themes for the younger audience, of course. But it is a concept that work in any RPG situation!
Have you done anything like this in YOUR game? We’d love to hear from you. I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, “We do not brew in a vacuum!” We look forward to your comments below or on our social media!