Fall of 2001 brought with it the release of the latest supplement for Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition: Oriental Adventures. My gaming group at the time had wandered through a few different RPGs but had been carefully watching the publication of the new 3rd edition materials from Wizards of the Coast. In this group, being a half-orc barbarian or an elf wizard was never the norm; the Dungeon Master was heavy on backstory and unique characteristics and encouraged all the players to be the same. Fan creations at the time were often not particularly well balanced, so using the latest supplements became the way to create something out there and fun.
After some consideration, I chose a river spirit folk as a race, and wu-jen as a class. My carefully constructed backstory is too long for the confines of this article, but the TL;DR version was that I really, really liked fish. Like, a lot. They were basically my family. I adored one in particular over all the others. I spoke with him every day. I swam with him. I loved him like a brother. I believed in protecting all fish and fish-like creatures in my river, especially my brother fish.
Naturally, I was completely alone in the world besides these fish. I puttered around, doing my thing, working my magic carefully and only when necessary. Pretty peaceful existence for an adventurer with exceedingly low trauma after a chaotic early childhood.
Until the day of the avalanche.
The rest of the party had already gathered somewhere up my mountainside. As a player, I’m sitting at the table, eating some chips and flipping through a book (we didn’t have phones back in those days to keep us distracted while our character learned nothing about what they couldn’t see or hear). My character fails to hear that they are having dinner, talking about their latest and greatest fishing haul, which was substantial. They’d caught a particularly large fish who seemed to have lived in these waters for a very long time.
I did hear the avalanche that rushed their group right into my camp.
And I definitely wanted to be accommodating of these newcomers who had suddenly been thrust upon me.
And I definitely didn’t want to have to shoot one of these lost adventurers right in the head with a magic missile.
But he definitely shouldn’t have shown up at my camp with a mouthful of my favourite fish and best friend.
It took many, many sessions and an evil necromancer to get us all to reconcile our atrocious first meeting. My character never forgave him, not really.