As the heroes were feasted and celebrated throughout the County of Claremont Viper was a little torn. Yes, all the party had done their parts in the quest that Thorvald was being so widely acclaimed for. Even the saga that Thorvald recounted in the hall acknowledged all of their deeds. Including giving credit to Viper for his archery and even Fang for his ferocity. But something felt strange to him still.
So into the night he went, to meditate on this and seek inspiration from La Culebra, the Great Serpent. He sought another vision, to help him accept what he had done. After accepting a portion of Fang’s venom he fell into a deep meditative state.
In it he came face to face with the Serpent itself. When he spoke he used a language that he somehow knew and yet did not recognize.
‘O Great Serpent, why is my soul so troubled? Why does this celebration feel hollow?’
‘You are troubled because a part of you still feels the need to act as heroes of legend and story do. You feel the need to be the one who delivers the final blow, to rise bloody and victorious from combat, clutching a weapon which you used to strike your enemies down.’
‘But is that not my role? To strike down those who destroy nature and defile the land?’
‘Yes, you need to rid the land of those foul beings who destroy the land. But you must do as a snake. A snake does not seek out bloody combat and glory. A snake strikes from the shadows, luring its’ enemies to their death at the end of its’ fangs. A snake does not seek the attention of its enemies, preferring to be unseen.’
‘Then did I do all of that well, was I a worthy servant?’
‘Yes, I watched as you fought, striking those who came near, and striking others from afar. You found a place of safety and fought from there, daring your enemies to come to you. And you were rewarded as your enemies ignored you to strike at others, leaving their backs open to your blows. You proved the worth of the snake to your allies while preserving your own hide.’
With that the vision dissipated and Viper came back to the land of mortals. He was pleased, he had done all that he should have done. He protected his allies and himself, and still bit hard at his enemies, showing them his fangs. And is seeing the Great Serpent in his vision had given him his own vision for his make over as he became a worthy servant and spread the word of the Serpent.
Jimmy and I had our Denver game this week. We had our final battle of this particular story line. We both did our part, as the party fought our typical tough final battle. Our DM does such a great job with these fights. We always enter somewhat wounded and worn down. And as usual after the first couple of rounds things looked grim indeed.
Jimmy’s character was down, the big boss was wailing away, and our priests were all in danger. But we gradually turned the tide, Thorvald and Elly fought their usual tough fight, taking down enemy after enemy. And then when the healing of the party brought him back Jimmy was able to step in and finally vanquish the big boss.
As you can see from my little narrative my character was not exactly ‘heroic‘. Finding a safe corner, and peppering the bad guys with arrows, and generally avoiding combat. And he did so successfully, never even taking a single blow, until the last battle of the mop up. I was a little conflicted, high fiving Jimmy for his final blow. While it felt like I had not contributed much. And yet if I go back and review I did plenty, it just was unnoticed.
And that is really want I want this character to do. To be the hidden strike, to lie unseen and the deliver a deadly strike. It really is what I have built this character to be. So I really have nothing to be upset about. And I will continue to be that character, hiding in the bushes, and then striking when least expected.
Because that is what is so fun about role playing for me. To deliver a great concept, and then hold to it.