I’m saying this for the last time: HIS. NAME. IS. AEOFEL!

I've been pointing out new episodes of the D&D/Penny Arcade/PvP/Me podcast on Twitter, but since the third series draws to a close today, I thought I'd catch up, and then share some thoughts on the final episode.

My last post took us up to episode three, so…

Episode Four:

In this episode, the battle continues in full against Thazin Stormbellow, guardian of the Ambershard mausoleum. That sleeping boar? No longer sleeping…

Episode Five:

In this episode, the members of Acquisitions Incorporated learn about the death and dying rules… but does it concern them, the boar, or the dwarf? They also learn that intimidating a bloodied enemy may force that enemy to surrender… may. And finally, they learn the might of a solo monster—essentially, four monsters wrapped in one.

Episode Six:

Acquisitions Incorporated prepares for their ultimate fight against Leer of the Ambershard Dwarves. As they approach the upper chambers, will they simply bust in and take the guards out? Or quietly bar the other doors, and take a sneakier approach?

Episode Seven:

What's left, but for Aeofel to throw his dagger at the fleeing Leer… and he's thankful he did, despite missing. For the dagger hangs in midair, as if suspended in something… unseen.

Episode Eight:

"At least you're not in the acid pit…."

All caught up? If you're ready, follow me past the jump, where it's SPOILER-TASTIC!

Well, then. A picture being worth a thousand words:

Podcast_papvp3_8

So. Um. That didn't work out very well for Aeofel, did it? I can already hear the cries from other members of the gaming tribe: "Never split the party you dumbass!"

Normally, I'd agree completely, but here is where actual roleplaying sort of lead to . . . unforseen consequences. Allow me to explain: Aeofel is an Isolating Avenger. He is, in normal language, a zealot. Where a Paladin brings comfort to the afflicted, the Avenger brings great vengeance and furious anger to those who caused the affliction.

So, if I'd been metagaming, if I'd mixed player knowledge with character knowledge, Aeofel never would have chased after Leer. If I'd adhered to the second rule of RPGs (the first being, "never pick up a duck in a dungeon") I wouldn't have split the party. But Aeofel had sworn an Oath of Enmity on Leer. He had Leer on the run. Leer was bloodied and had offended Melora. That alone was enough to get Aeofel to go after him, but if there was any doubt, Aeofel had been implored by Binwin to "get him." Binwin was the only Dwarf in the 'verse who Aeofel actually liked, the only Dwarf in the 'verse who could actually be a friend to Aeofel, and Aeofel was intensely loyal to those who were close to him. Aeofel knew that Leer was part of a clan who made Binwin's father stop drinking! So when you add all that up, Aeofel had no choice but to chase Leer down, and end up in that acid pit. (And, to be honest, there were two damn awesome bits in there, before tragedy struck: the way Aeofel found the gelatinous cube and the way Leer activated the traps was really cool.)

I haven't had a character die in . . . I'm not exactly sure how long. Not since I was a teenager, and even then, characters weren't dead dead, because we all kept locks of our hair in special jars marked "In case of death, break glass and resurrect, y'all." But Aeofel is really, truly, I'm-totally-serious-about-this dead. He may find a way to come back as a revenant, but if he does, he will be changed by the experience. If it's at all possible, Aeofel will be even more serious and overly-dramatic.

Regrets? Well, obviously. My fuckin' character is dead, but he died doing what he loved, and while it would have been nice to make some kind of heroic sacrifice, I'm happy that I stayed true to Aeofel's beliefs and played him the way I wrote him.

When we finished the session, Chris Perkins drove me back to my hotel Aeofel's blood dripping from his evil hands, where I met up with Anne, who got to spend the next two hours listening to me explain, in excruciating detail, how Aeofel died and exactly what character death means to a gamer geek like me. To her credit, she didn't mock me, but since she is a normal person, she wasn't able to totally grok why I was so upset.

So I grabbed my Blackberry, and I texted the following to Scott:

His…name…was…Aeo…fel.

A few minutes later, he replied:

We will not rest until we retrieve your soul.

"What are you doing?" Anne asked me.

"I'm sharing nerd-grief with Scott," I said. "It'll just be a minute."

For the next fifteen minutes or so, this is the conversation we had (transcribed by Scott, because his Jesusphone kept the messages that my Blackberry deleted – thank you, Scott!)

Wil: Anne says I should have a candlelight vigil. I can't believe he's gone. Do you think Aeofel went to live on a farm where he can play with them goddamn rabbits? Tell me about the rabbits, George.

Scott: He's with the Raven Queen now.

W: [Wipes a single, solitary tear.] He's in a buh-buh-better place.

S: His torpedo coffin soft landed on the genesis planet. We're gonna totally search for Spock him.

W: He has been, and always shall be…your friend.

S: You dwarven bastard, you…KILLED….my SON.

W: Of all the Eladrin souls I've encountered in my travels….his was the most….Huh-HUMAN!

S: *Scotty playing bagpipes*

W: This is the best nerd catharsis ever. You are a true friend, Scott.

S: The doors slide open with a swish. Uhura lets out a gasp. Binwin holds Aeofel's corpse.

S: "He stayed at his post…when the trainee's ran."

W: The way to grieve a loss of a D&D character seems to be by quoting wrath of Khan.

S: Indeed, captain.

W: We are SO going to get all KHAAAAAN on that dwarf's ass.

S: He vexxes us. He vexxes us and we will have him.

W: Aeofel comes back as a Revenant, unites with Binwin and spends the rest of his life hunting and killing every last Ambershard dwarf for great justice.

S: Ha! I thought you were going to say he tries to KILL Binwin.

W: …..

W: Oh, they probably have some stuff to work out first…

S: Gulp!

I'm sure it seems silly, probably because it is, but I really did feel a sense of loss when Chris said that Aeofel wasn't coming back (and death by acid pit is super duper extra permanent in D&D, guys) and I really did need to talk about it with someone who could understand why. I'm grateful that Scott was there, and as I told him this morning, I withdraw my oath of enmity and instead swear an oath of eternal friendship. Because while it's a lot of fun to blame him for killing Aeofel, we all know that it wasn't actually his fault. Also, Scott is one of the few people in the world I can quote Trek with, and it isn't weird.

In fact, Scott told me this morning,

Reading this chat log again, I leave you with this….the one WOK thing we didn't touch on.

Omin Dran enters the lobby and sees the pit of acid. He gaps and runs towards it. Jim and Binwin grab him, holding him back.

Binwin: Omin, NO!

Omin: He'll die!

Scotty: He's DEAD already.

Giggle. WIN.

I hope we'll be doing another series of podcasts soon, not only because they're incredibly fun for me to listen to (it's so weird to have it on my iPod, hear Scott say something funny, and then laugh at it along with myself exactly the same way I did four months ago) but because it's so incredibly fun for me to play with all of them. Even though Chris killed Aeofel, he's a great DM who did some of the best NPC roleplaying ever. As evidence, I present: "Jim Winks." "How are your death scenes?" and "…who are you?" And all the fun we're obviously having on the podcasts? Well, we're not making that up; if I could play with these guys every week, I would do it in a heartbeat.

So if there's another series of podcasts, and if I'm invited back, I'll certainly play, either as zombie Aeofel, or as a new character . . . maybe a Barbarian who tears off the heads of anyone who calls him "Al."

Namárië, Aeofel. Ná Melora veria le, ná elenath dín síla erin rád o chuil lín.

172 thoughts on “I’m saying this for the last time: HIS. NAME. IS. AEOFEL!”

  1. Whoop, forgot to send this back on the 16th.
    I too feel your pain Wil, after my very first 4e character (Human Swordmage, created for a trial game at a local game convention. Even so, I had a good two pages of background jot notes in case he survived) almost died a horrible death in a pit, but is now branded as a coward.
    But it wasn’t a pit of acid, no. It was a pit that contained within a Swarm of Feyborn Ants. That not only got a free swing at you if you were in their Aura of Terror, they could CONTROL YOUR MIND to attack your friends. I was the only PC with a burst attack (Which was the only thing that did real damage), and I did OK at first, but eventually I was out of surges, so I hightailed it out of there.
    Screw you, Lost Temple of the Fey Gods. Screw you for robbing me of my honour.
    (On the plus side, more backstory!)
    At least a pic of me was taken with a “How we Roll” shirt on!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gamesummit/3870606138/sizes/l/

  2. “Wil, there is no way your Bloodied value was 13 HP. This might be just my denial over his death, but you should have had one more turn. I think you confused Bloodied with Healing Surge value.
    Love the podcast and can’t wait for the next one. I want you to play a spell caster and really outshine Jim.”

    I guess bolding is all I can do. But seriously, your surge value is 13, your bloodied is 26. So the round of acid damage only took you to negative 19. Your dude shouldn’t have died yet.

  3. Wil: Love the podcasts and NEVER give up playing.
    Any chance of getting one of those Aeofel memorial ribbons or a copy of his character sheet? A game based on 2nd edition (Hackmaster), has a day set aside each year to “honor” those who have passed on while trying to save the world. Maybe a day of mourning for Aeofel?
    larry

  4. I have been meaning to write since Ep 1.1 to say that, for those of us who are not in a location or situation that allows us play some good ole D&D although WE WOULD DESPERATELY LIKE TO, these podcasts have been a real boon. I have awaited each serialization like my grandfather did The Shadow. I know that you are all busy and live in different places, but wish these surrogates came faster and furiouser. Thanks again, and well done in committing to the role-playing enough to, in the words of Flannery O’Connor, “kill your darlings.”
    Rest in piec… erm, particles, Aeofel.

  5. I’ve never done ye olde proper D&D, but these podcasts sure have made me want to.
    Really hated to see Aeofel go, but damn there wasn’t anything you could have done.
    Chris is one hell of a DM tho. Would love to play an encounter with him running it.

  6. I think what happened was I took acid damage at the beginning of my turn so since I *started* the turn at -13, the acid damage dropped me to my negative bloodied value.
    The whole thing is, as I’m sure you can imagine, a blur to me, though.
    I’ll ask the DM about the carbonite, but I’m pretty sure our dear Eladrin is dead as dead can be. I mean, he’s Tasha dead, not Spock dead.

  7. So that picture is awesome (geeks at the game shoppe FTW!), and that monster is just frakking WRONG.
    Sorry for your loss, man.

  8. Binwin: “Aeofel! Aeofel!”
    Aeofel: “. . . the party. . . out of danger?”
    Binwin: “Yes! Yes, we. . . we got out. . .”
    Aeofel: “Don’t grieve, dwarf. It is log. . . logical. . . the needs of the party outweigh the needs. . .”
    Binwin: “. . . of the few. . .”
    Aeofel: “Or the one. . . I go to meet Melora now. What do you think she’ll think of me.”
    Binwin: “. . .”
    Aeofel: “For a dwarf, I guess you’re not quite that bad after all. Melora’s light shine upon you.”
    Binwin: “Leer! You don’t have me! You’re gonna have to come back here, Leer, you’re gonna have to COME BACK HERE!”
    Leer: “I’ve done worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me. . . alone. . . hunted. . . my friend dead, left alone for all eternity. . . buried alive!
    Binwin: “LEER! LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!”
    Jim: “. . . but we’re not buried, and he’s not alone. . .”
    Omin: “It’s. . . it’s a dwarf thing.”

  9. RIP Aeofel.
    I can’t imagine how I’d feel if my character died. Dru (a Teifling Bard) was very nearly done in by a zombie dog bite in the last session, but luckily, she was stabilized with only 4 hp left. She managed to kill a few zombies by playing peek-a-boo through a doorway and viciously mocking them, so she got her revenge.
    Do you know when the dice are being auctioned off? I don’t doubt that they’ll bring in a lot of money for Child’s Play!

  10. Wil, finally got around to listening to some of the pod casts. Just started “season” 2, so have just been introduced to Aoefel. It seems I’m on limited time to learn of his adventuring skills.
    Thanks to you and the others for putting it out there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve snorted the beverage I was drinking at the time through my nose. Usually at the swearing, but sometimes at the “WHAT!!!??”‘s
    Just amazing to hear another group playing the game I’ve been playing for 20 years, and realising, you know despite you being guys, and despite you not being aussie…it’s all pretty much the same ;-)
    Especially, well, the swearing. Thanks again.

  11. Chris Perkins recently elluded to the possible “seat-swap” with you for the next podcast, putting you behind the DM screen. Please tell me this is going to happen!!! Aeofel’s ghost would make an EXCELLENT NPC to taunt Binwin!

  12. Wil, is there any chance you could post photos of what the table looks like when the next series of podcasts start? I ask because as you know from having listened to the first series, being able to see the action changes a lot, and I think we’d all love you even more for it. I would love to see how much Chris puts into his visuals, because as you said, those who listen don’t get a full picture. I still would love to see pics of it all if you are behind the screen next time too.

  13. Additionally, while the players here are right, you wouldn’t have actually been dead that moment, having less than 1 HP, you would not have been able to take any actions. Meaning, unless Omin could have gotten a heal into Aeofel before you had another turn, you’d have been dead, officially, and furthermore, even if he had, you rolled a 19 to try to get out of the pit. So, still, Omin would have had to drag your unconscious body out of the pit. Though it is of great regret that Aeofel died, you did an amazing job playing him in the way of the Avenger he was. Excellent job. Maybe Chris will reward your great role play with a resurrection from Melora herself.

  14. You know, I intended to bring my camera to this session, and I just forgot it at the hotel. I took some snaps with my Blackberry, but they look like snaps that I took with my Blackberry.
    Assuming that there is a next time, I’ll do everything I can to get some good pictures taken. Maybe I can convince Kiko to shoot some stuff while we play.

  15. Sorry to see another eladrin fall by the wayside, but look on the bright side a pit of acid is better than a pit of undead baby zombies, my eladrin rogue was eaten by baby zombies, the lil basterds even ate my hair and teeth!!! I didn’t split the party, but the party all fled in terror level 1 noobs!!! and i was dead and consumed two mere rounds later. As for star wars characters i played two bounty hunters! they both died in successive weeks, the first emulating bob fett when he fell into the the sarlacc pitt and his sidekick lounging in his ship when a charming assassin droid strolled on board with a box of thermal detonators, i bet the onlookers went “ooo pretty!” when my ship blew!
    Random thought: do you think if the podcast was made into a short film we could get Binwin to be played by Verne Troyer that would be hilarious!!

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