It’s strange how many of these stories I’ve collected over the years. And more amazingly is how out of order they come back to me. No sooner had I finished writing about Friar Morgan and his ultimate end, than I remember one of his most trying moments.
Friar Morgan was a life domain cleric of Bahamut. He was lawful good so naturally, he was a good guy. He treated people fairly and all that. But he also had a drinking problem. And I’m sure as more of the good friar’s exploits come back to me, there will be stories about his acts of debauchery. But for this one, it’s the time his devotion to Bahamut nearly got him and the entire party killed.
This is from the module Hoard of the Dragon Queen and there are some spoilers in this story. Be warned about this. Seriously. If you plan on playing this module, there’s information in here you shouldn’t know.
At the beginning of the module, we are given certain character traits that help the characters integrate into the story. One of the other players took the trait that gave her a best friend who disappeared one day. This friend’s name was Talis. Talis was a quiet child and her disappearance led her player’s character to try to find out what happened to her. Well, we learned what happened to her.
Talis was a gifted fighter and as we learned, she joined the cult of Tiamat. We thought maybe she was kidnapped and brainwashed by the dragon cult, but turns out that she joined of her own free will. Yep. She’s evil. And on top of that, she’s a high-ranking member of this cult of Tiamat and doesn’t take too kindly to us mucking around in the cult’s affairs.
The one thing working in our favor is that there’s a lot of politicking going on in this cult. Talis wants to move up in the world and is willing to help out the party if it means she can work it to her advantage. So the party doesn’t necessarily have to fight her. If you know any of my stories, you already know where this is going.
Let’s back up a bit and set the scene. Our party is in a kind of hunting lodge. We are exploring this place and getting ourselves in all kinds of weird situations. And here is where we violate the number one rule in D&D. NEVER. SPLIT. THE. PARTY. Some of us moved on to explore a different part of the second floor. The others went to the other side of the second floor. As soon as Friar Morgan and Talis’s childhood friend enter the room, our friends are on the other side of the building. The DM was kind enough to say they saw us from across the lodge get escorted in the room so they were on the way.
Talis sits us down and starts in on our negotiation. She isn’t killing us outright. She wants us to kill her superior so she can move up in rank. And she’s willing to help us out as long as that happens. But there’s a catch. She is still a dragon cultist after all. And she doesn’t want us getting in the way of the cult’s ultimate plan. She just wants her superior killed. So all we need to do is lie and say we won’t get in the way of the cult. Did I mention Friar Morgan is a devout cleric of Bahamut? Because he’s a devout cleric of Bahamut. And he is being asked point-blank to denounce his God.
Recalling this story, it’s kinda like that scene in Django Unchained with Dr. Shultz and Calvin Candie. Candie is fully aware of the deception and plans to humiliate Dr. Shultz as much as possible. It’s not just to gloat. That’s part of it. But it’s about flexing his authority over the situation. Candie is in total control and he wants everyone in the room to know it. Especially Django and Shultz. This scene is very similar. Talis is in total control. We are sitting around this table. Talis is at her desk dictating exactly how this situation is going. Talis holds all the cards. Talis has guards flanking us. If we don’t play ball exactly how she wants, we are just dead.
And then the question came out. Imagine Friar Morgan choking on all his righteous fury. He isn’t saying a word. He doesn’t dare because he knows he can’t hold back if he does. And then Talis asks the one question Friar Morgan can’t lie about. “Are you willing to serve Tiamat?” And just like in Django Unchained when Dr. Shultz pulls out his gun and shoots Calvin Candie right in the head before Dr. Shultz and Django can get away, Friar Morgan jumps up from the table, slams his hands on the table and announces as loudly as he can, “If it takes my last breath, that cursed Dragon will stay in hell!” This isn’t exactly what Friar Morgan said. I have to edit it for language. Feel free to insert your own expletive-laden dialogue here. Needless to say, negotiations are over.
This is a tense fight. I have to be the tank. The other comrade in the room is a ranger and there’s no way. Luckily I pissed off everyone in the room and they are focused on me. I got very lucky with a hold person spell on Talis so her goombas are trying to separate my head from my shoulders. My armor class is really high. But it’s only a matter of time before numbers just overwhelm me. I go down but not before the other members of the party finally enter the room and we fight them off. They all die. Including Talis.
Fallout was to be expected. I nearly got everyone killed because of my devotion to Bahamut. My friend and fellow adventurer had to come to terms with the fact her friend was now dead. As fate would have it, she landed the killing blow on Talis.
Devotion to one’s God is a tricky thing. As a player, I knew Friar Morgan was a member of Bahamut’s court. But Friar Morgan didn’t. It’s part of his character arc that no matter what, he had this nagging need to prove himself worthy to Bahamut. That he could atone for his pride. Was it pride that endangered everyone? Hard to say. It’s one of those deep philosophical questions we all struggle with. When does personal pride end and loyalty to a higher calling begin? Was it pride that wouldn’t allow him to lie about his faith? Was it pride that kept him focused? Was it pride that made him so devout? Feel free to answer those questions for yourself.
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