A tan leather tote with two dice bags, a miniature vault, a pencil case, two notebooks, and three 5th Edition D&D books.
I find myself on the brink – a lot has changed since the last post on this blog, when I introduced a new character that I would play, on and off, until I could no longer find it in myself to play with that particular group. For a number of reasons, almost entirely (but not completely) unrelated to D&D, my husband and I have been divorced for a little over 18 months at this point, and the D&D group that I used to be part of went with him in the divorce.
Of course, there’s always been the online campaigns – Dar na Theria and the City of Fangs haven’t gone anywhere, and I still play D&D with them every weekend. But virtual D&D is never quite the same as sitting around a table, playing the game with actual dice, ideally becoming lifelong friends with the folks that you explore pretend worlds and slay imaginary dragons with.
For many reasons, it’s been hard to put myself out there, to try to find new friends to play this game I love with. But in the intervening time, I’ve discovered something new. Critical Role came into my life in January 2017, at the recommendation of a friend, and I was a devoted fan by the end of the first live episode I watched. With rapt attention, I watched through the end of Campaign 1, said my goodbyes to Vox Machina, purchased some fanart to decorate my new apartment with, and have avidly followed the adventure of the Mighty Nein so far as they adventure in Wildemount.
I am, in short, a critter – and a fairly devoted one at that.
And critters are pretty wonderful people. Through a group of them where I had the opportunity to make some new friends, I ran into J, who plays in a long-running campaign that meets about 30 minutes away from where I live. (That’s fairly close by Houston standards.) They’d reached level 20, defeated Orcus, and were taking a short break before starting over again at level 1, and they were looking for new players. J and I struck up a casual friendship on Facebook, and I’ve been invited to join the table for a trial run.
Being that it’s a level 1, 5E campaign, I’ve got two characters created, just in case the lethality of low-level D&D becomes a problem, but of course, I play clerics, so it’s slightly more likely that someone else will die. Still, I’m reusing bits and pieces of other Annas, and I’ll be introducing both characters over the next weeks as I perfect their stories. We’ll be playing in the Forgotten Realms, which is a new campaign setting for me (I’ve played almost exclusively in homebrew D&D), so that’s fun. How I can have played D&D this long and know so little about Faerun is pretty impressive.
And so I begin again.
Two level 1 characters. Scouring the internet for the perfect character portraits. Picking spells and setting up stats (point buy). It’s fun, and exciting, and nervous. If it doesn’t work out, I can always try again, but for now, I’m just going to try to ride the tide of anticipation.
We shall see how this goes.
So in yet another vision of insanity, I have agreed to play in a 4th D&D campaign. The 5E campaign ended badly at the hands of a large, pissed off dragon, and one of the regular Team Rowboat crew wants to try her hand at DMing again, so she’s going to be running a campaign on off-Sundays.
Yes, dear reader, this means that I will be playing D&D from 4-9:30ish (Team Rowboat, Antha Darkmore) on Saturday and 1:30-5:30 (Gods and Mortals, Ancelyn Blackstone) on Sunday one week, and then from 6-10 (City of Fangs, Anvari Zarthus) on Saturday and from 3 to 7 (Team Rowboat 2: Dragon Boogaloo, Caranna Tyndall) on Sunday the next week.
And that is just a LOT of D&D.
My newest character will be starting at level 12, because my previous character in this campaign met the love of her life and settled down, and I don’t want to break them up.
So everyone, meet Caranna Tyndall, half-elf cleric of Miruna the Comforting, the Goddess of Death.
Tamoko, by Artastrophe
Caranna is from the coastal city of Durcynnes, in the Southern City States, south of Surast and east of the Elven stronghold of Evenbright. Her father was an Elf of the Twilight, and a trader, and her mother a human from the city of Highgate. They met, later in both of their lives, in Durcynnes – a port city on the Crater Sea – and stayed there after their daughter was born.
Her mother died when Caranna was 12 of a wasting sickness, which Caranna also caught and died from. Her father, faced with the prospect of losing both his wife and his daughter within a week of one another, scraped together enough money to purchase a resurrection spell – but only one. He chose to revive his daughter, knowing that she – being of half-elven blood – would live to see him into his old age, where his wife would not, as she was approaching her silver years when she caught sick.
Caranna, however, was not the same child after her time in Miruna’s realm. Previously disinterested in her studies, she became more and more convinced that she was called to a life in the priesthood, having been given a second chance at life. Her father consented, considering her resurrection a favor done to him by Miruna, and Caranna entered the service of the Goddess of Death when she finished school at 16.
As a postulant at the temple, she learned to care for the dead, and as she grew in skill, learned to speak with the dead as well. Like all clerics of Miruna, she worked tirelessly with the poor, the disadvantaged, and the sick – shepherding them through the stages of their lives until they could rest peacefully in the folds of Miruna’s cloak after death.
Her primary goal is to create balance – balance between life and death, and balance between the living and the dead. She cares equally for both and is considered an expert at the rites to remember the various beloved ancestors in her family. She does not fear death, or the dead – knowing that once the dead know you’re afraid of them, they may try to take advantage of you.
She is calm and even tempered, conscientious and agreeable, and tends to ride the balance between tradition and improvisation, trusting to her skills and to her goddess when it comes to new and unexpected situations.
At 35 years old, she is now fully trained and no longer affiliated with the Temple in Durcynnes. From her father, she inherited a love of travel, and so has spent much of the last two years traveling the coast of the Crater Sea. She writes to her father often, and the two remain close. She also is very close to her deceased mother, who is peacefully resting in Miruna’s realm.