Discovered a funny thing this weekend in my Denver game. Doing well in role playing takes practice! Viper was not ready for this adventure, made a lapse in judgement and everyone suffered as a result. But I know what I did wrong and will be ready next time around.
There they were, waltzing into the basement catacombs of a mansion deep in the Necropolis. Viper got them into this mess, he was the one who saw the girl run into the house, who told the party that there was an innocent who needed rescuing. And Viper started off well, picking off some Wights as they became visible. But then that big one came out of the shadows, and that was it, Viper ran like a headless chicken. And that was it for him the rest of the combat.
But it shouldn’t have gone down like that, Viper is an Undead hunter, he hates the Undead. And even if he panicked a little at first he should have gotten his courage back and returned to do his part. And now Viper is shamed before the party. And he knows that he will have to excel as they complete their missions in the Necropolis in order to redeem himself. But he knows that he can do that, just as soon as he gets his breath back.
I expect a certain level of competence from myself when I play in a game. Sure my character may not be as buffed out as some of the others that have been in the game longer. But some of what has happened so far is frustrating me. I know that I can do better.
But it wasn’t until yesterday that I was able to put my finger on the real issue: I am out of role playing shape. I haven’t been in a consistent game in several years, so long that I can barely remember what it was we were playing. And I was as surprised by my incompetence as if I had tried to run a 5K with no preparation. I was making simple errors. Computing my attack and damage bonuses wrong. Rolling the wrong dice for damage. Simple stuff that would have been automatic for me a few years ago.
Sure I am playing a mildly unfamiliar system in Pathfinder. But that doesn’t excuse some of my errors. What happened is purely a case of rust. When I was playing consistently doing the quick math for my attack and damage bonuses would have been automatic, I would never have rolled the wrong dice. And I would have brought up the Hated Enemy rule when attempting to Save from Fear, and at least might have gotten a chance to only miss a round or 2 then get back into the fight.
I went back and retyped my character again yesterday, in order to remind myself what I had, what I could do. Then I spent some time with the rule book, familiarizing myself with other rules and what my enemies could do, things I should know. And just like my running practice I will be able to get back into the swing of things the next time we play.
Viper knows the Undead. He hunts them, they don’t hunt him. He had gotten soft hanging out in the valley, living well, fighting Trolls. No more, he vowed, if his job is to escort the Paladin into her Temple and help her reconsecrate it, then that is what he will do. This town and it’s Undead denizens will feel Nature’s wrath, and remember the name of Viper, and his bite, this he vowed!