Our party is too big, asymmetrically levelled, and has an unbalanced mix of skills.  OK, so what else can we do that everyone says is crazy?  I know – let’s all split up and go in different directions! And why not go down into the dark cellar without a torch while we’re at it?

So – the adventure is ‘Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil’.  We have 12 player characters and 5 NPCs.  Levels range from 1st to 6th.  There’s one full-time cleric, one full-time mage, one full-time rogue.  The rest of us, apart from a couple of folks who can do a bit of part-time magic or trapfinding, are warrior types,  including several plate-armoured tanks (pass the can opener).  And yes, we did split the party.  And all the tanks went one way and the folks who think a g-string is too much armour went the other way.  Guess who ran into the ambush ;) ?

I for one am enjoying it immensely.  Maybe it’s because I’m playing for a change.  Last time I sat on the outside of the DM’s screen I ran a sneaky, backstabbing lothario sea-elf called Sunaeco.  For the first time in a few years, though, I’m giving my ‘tank’ character an airing – Reynald.

Reynald is the kind of guy who just assumes he is party leader (which can rub some people up the wrong way, of course!).  Disgustingly handsome and dashing, people tend to assume (incorrectly) that he’s a Paladin, and are surprised when he occasionally demonstrates that actually, though generally on the side of good, he’s no angel.  Think one part Kenneth Brannagh, one part (young) Oliver Reed, and one part Heath Ledger (as in ‘Knight’s Tale’ not ‘The Dark Knight’).  He is rarely seen without his cravat which hides some scarring around his neck, an acid burn sustained fighting a tentacled abomination beneath the lost city of the Hutakaans.

He’s not actually the heaviest hitter in the party, despite being the highest level character and an obvious warrior type, as his talents are diversified into leadership and support skills.  OK, if you’re one of these people obsessed by knowing people’s ‘builds’, he’s a 2/2/2 Knight/Ranger/Marshal.  His Ranger class is the non-spellcasting ‘Champion of the Wild’ variant from Complete Champion – I wanted to keep him earthy and gritty and non-magical.  One area he does excel is mounted combat, and he’s lethal with a lance.  Shame he seems to spend so much of his time grubbing around in holes in the ground, really…