On Monday, 10/7/2019, at around 10:30pm, our D&D group concluded the first full campaign that I was able to participate in since the start of 5e, and maybe longer. Along with the end of the campaign also came the end of the story, though not the life, of Clovis the Invincible, Gnome Monk Assassin! Bear with me, then, as I reflect on the last two years of gameplay!
Clovis, The Invincible
First, the character of Clovis grew and evolved over the course of the adventure. There weren’t particularly too many times to be an assassin of the god Zehir, who I had pledged my loyalty to, but there were plenty of times where I could play up the assassin aspect of my class by smiting down the leader or spellcaster of the opposing sider. This became his calling card, his assassination techcnique. He would, with the benefit of his strong initiative, High AC, improved speed and ability to easily dash, weave into combat and stun an important figure using his stunning fist in order to either kill them himself, something that wasn’t all to likely, or allow his supreme damage-dealing allied to finish off, a much more possible prospect.
This style of play really felt like an assassin, like someone who was used to eliminating an enemy, and then getting out of the way and striking again. It was exceptionally useful when I gained the ability to teleport between shadows, an exceedingly useful ability if I do say so myself.
We played up his desire to see the divine and read omens throughout the campaign, and many of them were spot on, which gave an ominous feeling to some of the events. It also proved that anything can mean anything, given the right circumstances.
Lastly, something I’d not expected at the start of the adventure, he picked up many trophies along the way from defeated foes. Among the objects he has on his person: a displacer beast hide jerkin and leggings, black warg cloak/bedroll, blackscale lizardfolk scale bracers, intellect devourer claw choker, leather pouch adorned with sea troll tusks and teeth, and a dagger of venom constructed with a green dragon tooth blade and a dark treant heartwood hilt joined by the distilled essence of babau. It was really cool to have a character who remembers his adventures in such a way, and it helped me to remember them in a similar fashion.
Clovis is now 12th level, and it feels like a good place to leave him. After this, he’ll just gain supplemental abilities, and though he’s not the most powerful he can be, I did leave him off in a place I feel is iconic for him. he’s an effective shadowy, snake god sanctioned assassin with many kills under his belt and an absolutely unmatched competency in stealth.
The Erstwhile Companions
Over the course of the adventure, there were few casualties. Both of the dead belonged to one player, unfortunately, but the cast of characters that he accompanied was varied and glorious.
Garret, the halfling wild mage who learned how to speak to the lords of ungoverned space and breached reality with his powerful magic. He carried around an enormous backpack of holding that contained, hilariously to the rest of the party and players, the fictional and fictionally dead proprietor of one of the first inns we stayed, Rand, who we would constantly reference.
Tag, the human swashbucker battlemaster and womanizer who was constantly trying to get ahead in life in a big way but also was terrible with money, spending money on good food, good drink, and good company. He complained the majority of our long, distant treks into the wilderness about how we weren’t in the comforts of the city, and once we were in the city, that the comforts weren’t good enough.
Ironmaw, the Half-orc former gladiator warlock and brute who believed all of his magical power was granted through his maul, a magical being who simply added him through life. He and Tiny Fists (as he affectionately called Clovis) would compete for monster kills and fought each other for the amusement of the crowd. He never really understood omens, either, asking each morning if the omens, a decidedly neutral phenomenon, were good or bad.
Kahotep, the dwarven urban druid rogue who introduced himself as a raven for weeks, only revealing his dwarven form under duress when his bird form was electrified. His favored form, that of a huge constrictor snake, was one that both dominated the battlefield and endeared himself to Clovis, a devotee of Zehir. While he was not around for long, Clovis always felt that the giant snake was a promising omen.
Mamadun, the human divine theurge of the grave, who through his strange, hermetic way of life, dealing with much of the group’s hard times and difficulties in his own, often scaring, ways. He could turn into a Tree-like entity and terrified both the group and their enemies. He was invaluable, however, for providing esoteric information and timely healing when needed.
This group performed the final portion of the campaign, investigating the drow invasion and trying desperately to convince anyone that they would talk to that the threat was real, while also not being sure that the threat was real themselves.
A String of Related Events
From the very first goblin cave, they were hired to exterminate, through the ogre camp and the hobgoblin territory they had to cross, all indicators pointed to a massive drow conspiracy. We were not quite sure what the conspiracy was, but we knew that it was broader than any known movement prior. We were worried that there would be a surprise attack somewhere of great importance that would destabilize the region and the people in it, in preparation for some more sinister plot.
This turned out to be, mostly, true, as the drow assaulted the Prince’s birthday party and took most of the revelers unawares. However, not everything ended poorly, as we were able, through the assistance of dragon aspects, pseudo deities, and a folding exploration boat, able to counterattack and destroy the drow prior to their plans coming completely to fruition.
Changing the world
While that seems like a small summary of what happened, there were other activities that happened along the way that changed the world. While we were on our expedition through the woods on a geas for some hags, we encountered the first Dragonborn on the world, released from a chronomatic spell where they had been trapped (to the best of our knowledge) for thousands of years. They were slowly introduced to each of the areas we spent time in afterward and went from an impossible encounter to an understood rarity, which was extremely cool to see progress.
While it is the opposite, there are similarities with the Tieflings of the world, the Children of the Sun, a race of beings that were mythical and legendary even from the very start of the campaign, something that had long left the world. In order, however, to defeat the drow we made an agreement with an extraordinary being from beyond time to unleash the Children of the sun once again. While we weren’t forced to suffer the consequences of that decision, we were introduced to the Children of the Sun at the very last moment of the adventure, surprising all of us with the new race being introduced to the world.
An Adventure Enjoyed
The end of the campaign with Clovis is bittersweet. I’d had this concept of a character since the middle of 3.5, and it’s been a glorious time realizing him and putting the character to paper. Seeing him, very possibly, be played for the last time wasn’t completely fun. Besides that, and some small rough patches here and there that you expect with every campaign and every group, the adventure was absolutely a blast. 2 years is a long, long time to play a character.
I’m looking forward to the next one, where I’ll be taking my Dragonborn Javileneer and putting him on the table. I’ve changed his name (its now Djoser to match the setting) it is almost exactly the build I have here for him.