My wife is a fan of small things. She likes miniature pigs, baby goats, those Pop Funko figures, and our tiny child. Things that are small and cute, she likes. It should have been no surprise to me, at all, that she would gravitate towards playing gnome characters in Dungeons & Dragons.
I want to talk about these characters. Because my wife is really funny.
The struggle of getting my wife to play D&D has mainly been an internal one, because I know her very well. I know her well enough to deduce how she would play the game. I was half-right. Her playstyle is a bit more…”irreverent” and silly than the typical semi-serious games I run. However, she does still take the game mostly seriously.
I felt like that kind of play would clash with the styles of my games.
I have now run a little over four sessions of D&D in which she has played. I am surprised and impressed at how good she is at playing the game. I say “surprised” because, for the longest time, she didn’t really have much interest in playing. And when I finally did get her to, she said that she wanted to play a mute, or someone whose mouth was sewn shut so she didn’t have to talk to other characters.
However, I finally talked her into it, and got her to play what ended up being a cameo in my first campaign. She played an elderly gnome wizard with a beard that went down to the ground, and who had dementia.
The highlight of the game was when her character accompanied the main party into a bandit camp, and then succeeded on an acrobatics check to climb up the body of the bandit leader and started choking her out with the gnome’s beard! Hilarious!
The second time I ran a game in which my wife was involved was using the Tales From the Yawning Portal book version of White Plume Mountain. I pre-generated character sheets for my three players to use – as this was just going to be a one-off event while my main campaign took a week off.
Because of these pre-gen sheets, my wife did not end up playing a gnome. However, she was a PRO at solving ALL of the riddles in the dungeon. She figured out the sphinx’s riddle, she figured out the timed riddle in the golem room, and she figured out the green slime under the water. When she solved the golem room riddle, she then went on to befriend the golem companion they earned – naming it Gulp, based on the noises it made instead of speaking.
However things started falling apart in the boiling mud room as characters kept falling and dying in the mud. She eventually got bored and wanted to fling her character into the boiling mud on purpose. I understand that, though. It was a really tough room.
All the while, I’ve been pitching her the idea of starting a new D&D campaign with her and a few of our close friends. She is very receptive to the idea, and starts to think up a character she would want to play.
She eventually comes to a gnome (of course) ranger that has a companion llama that she can ride as a mount. She names this character Paul Migranite Sarmessy.
She comes up with a big ol’ backstory not just for her character, but for her llama too. The llama is actually under a curse, and used to be a noble-born child that wasn’t very nice. So he was turned into a llama as a punishment, and is now permanently in that form.
But this campaign has been a while coming, and it’s almost ready…but not quite. So we haven’t started that.
However, it was time for my Titanswrath mega-event campaign, and I wanted my wife to play. She asked if she could play her Paul character, and I told her she could, but that if she wanted to play this character more…like on a continual basis, then this is not the time to do so.
The characters in the Titanswrath event will have lived hundreds of years before the main campaign’s present day, so they would all very likely be dead. Therefore, if she wanted to play Paul and his llama mount regularly, she wouldn’t be able to.
So it was time to think up a new character with her. Gnome, of course. And, because I thought it would be hilarious, I pitched her the idea of being a barbarian class – of being this tiny little creature full of uncontrollable rage that would just launch itself at the nearest target, swinging huge weapons.
She was on board.
So we came up with C. Deless Walter Malone, gnome barbarian, guild merchant. Walter once had a large family that he loved and cherished, as he ran his store. He was a jeweler, and craftsman. He did well for himself. However, that all changed when a pack of ravenous badgers attacked his homestead and killed his family.
Turns out these badgers were controlled by an evil druid, who possibly had anti-civilization plots. Walter took up arms and hunted down and killed many badgers in his search for revenge, and now wears a full-body cloak made from the pelts of the animals.
She was very inspired by this awesome piece of artwork by Salvinicus on DeviantArt. Seriously, go check out his profile, it’s great.
While playing in the Titanswrath event, my wife was a part of both days. The first day was more dungeon-crawly and puzzley stuff. Once again, she proved to be expert in the ways of getting past my riddles and traps.
She was not the rogue of the group, nor was she the most perceptive, however she took to the front of the marching order with her 10-foot pole and sniffed out a majority of the traps the group came across.
On day 2 of the event, her character got married using the ceremony spell to another gnome in the party, which was awesome. She then contributed to the fight as much as she could, but everything was so far away from her character, and there were so many people in the initiative, that she didn’t get to have many turns against the demi-deities.
After the party, a couple of friends hung out for a while, and they were expressing that they were kind of bummed that they didn’t get to do a whole lot or kill a lot of things during the campaign, and they wanted to see what all their high-level characters could do.
So I indulged them. I gave them a dragon to play with.
It was three characters, including my wife’s, Walter, against an adult green dragon. My wife spent a good amount of time trying to strategize a way to take this dragon down without going balls-to-the-wall at it. She wanted to figure out how to disable it and make it an easier target.
She climbed on it, and tried to tear its wings. She tried to chop through a limb. She wanted to tip the scales in their favor, not the dragon’s. I really admire her for that. This was only the fifth or so session I ran for her, and she’s readily thinking outside of the box, and wanting to make the game work for her, instead of strictly playing by the rules.
She’s clever. Like a gnome.
I want to finish this up by telling you the sad tale of Bewaffnen.
Way back, when I started running my very first ever campaign, there was a ship that served as a momentary lair for a villain off the coast of Port Llast in Faerûn. As I was filling the areas of the ship with stuff for the party to come across, I had the idea for a prisoner that was trapped, and could possibly offer the party information in exchange for whatever.
My wife helped me to fill this character out. She was an insane tiefling that was a part of an adventuring group that tried to take on the villain years ago, and failed. The remains of her compatriots are not just on the floor in the cell around her, but are a part of her as well.
See, Bewaffnen went so insane…that she removed the arms of her former party members, and attached them to her own body. She had eight arms. The party left Bewaffnen after they found her and went down into the hold of the ship, where the villain was waiting for them.
They had a few rounds of combat, before the villain revealed that this was all part of the plan, and then his spilled blood on the floor mixed with ancient symbols and summoned a devil that granted him power. The devil then climbed up through the rest of the ship, setting it ablaze, and killing Bewaffnen in the process. By the way, “Bewaffnen” literally means “to arm” in German.
My wife is still sad that Befwaffnen didn’t make it. And also sad that her friend Gulp died in boiling mud. And a bit sad about Walter’s dead family… but, I mean, she kinda did that one herself.
My wife, ladies and gentlemen.
I love you.
Until next time – Well Met!