My character Jorge Mordin died again, and I learned a lesson: When two people want to fight, don't get involved.
Last week we had 12 people show up to play D&D as part of the same group. It was insane, but we had to find a way to add six players to the party. Since we were far away from any town, the only way to do it was to have us stumble across each other.
Well, T always plays impulsive characters, and so has Q. (In fact, the two of them have been responsible for 100% of all PVP combat since I started playing in a group with them.) If he senses movement, he shoots an arrow at it without identifying it first. And he builds his characters such that he pretty much has to roll a natural 1 (5% chance of that, BTW) to miss. So T lets fly an arrow, and it hits a member of the other party (the guys who we're trying to merge with us.). The other party gears up to fight our party.
Jorge, not wanting conflict without reason, not liking the odds, and sick of T's and Q's characters' antics (both from an alignment and personal perspective.), cast Command on T's character, and forced him to fall prone for six seconds. Q's character sees this and takes advantage by attacking T's character. So Jorge casts Command on Q's character, forcing him to fall prone for six seconds. By this time, T's character gets up, and attacks Q's character.
Jorge has average intelligence, but even he realizes that both parties won't be stopped by Command. So he stops messing with them and works at diplomacy with the other party and his own party members to try to prevent the fight from spreading.
T and Q's characters mortally wound each other and knock each other out. My entire party, which consists of Jorge, a cleric of Moradin, Redgar, a cleric of Pelor, and a 6-INT orc barbarian, is willing to let them die. A member of the other party, a cleric of St. Cuthbert (patron deity of justice), walks over and stabilizes both with minor cure spells.
Then he makes his case that these two should be tried for acts of brigandry, and my party isn't going to fight it, but could we hold a tribunal here and be done with it now? The two are found guilty, and the cleric of St. Cuthbert executes them.
(This is why D&D isn't just for kids, folks...)
Anyway, T (the player) blames me (the player) for his character dying, and swears that he's going to get his revenge. Up until now, I hadn't gotten involved in the cycle of party fratricide that T and Q have continually induced (both have gone through at least three characters each since August.). While my character's motivations were legit, I (the player) knew that my character was going to get sucked into it.
So it was no surprise to me this week when T came in with a ranger whose favored enemy was dwarves (and, mind you, I'm the only dwarf in the party), and had developed a strong hatred for the dwarven race.
This week, we killed a large fire elemental. In game time, it took 36 seconds. However, it took almost two hours of play time to get through those six rounds with 9 players. Afterward, we were welcomed by a community of wood elves, fed, and given shelter for the night.
In the middle of the night, it was no surprise to me (the player) when T's character crept up on me and performed a coup de gras. (Specifically, he decapitated Jorge while the character was asleep.) Q, who was role playing his new--lawful and honorable knight--character amazingly well, hears a commotion, walks in, and sees T's character standing over my headless body with a bloody axe, puts two and two together, and attacks T.
My character being dead, I (the player) wandered elsewhere while the ensuing combat took place. Suffice it to say that most of the party was drawn into combat against T's character. When T's character died, it was immediately agreed by almost all of the characters that T's character's gold and equipment would be used to fund a full resurrection for Jorge. The remaining two character wanted T's loot for themselves, but were warned by Q's knight character that if they touched T's character's body, he would slay them. Well, they touched T's character's body, and the whole party was drawn into combat again. The two raiding PCs, and one of the elven hosts, was killed in the process. (Though the elven host was killed by one of the raiding PCs.)
Ultimately, the party had lost four characters to PVP combat. My level 7 cleric, a level 5 ranger, a level 5 fighter, and a level five something-or-other.
As a result, some of the loot from the other three dead characters was put towards getting Jorge "True Resurrection", which essentially means he's brought back to life without any non-monetary consequences. (I have to admit that I'm pleased that my character was popular enough that pretty much all of the characters were willing to get true resurrection for him. Although it's more than a little curious that the death of three party members paid for it, considering the party leadership is all good-aligned (or neutral leading towards good).)
But here's the catch...My character is a dwarf, worshiping a dwarven deity. He's one alignment-step away from his deity. He was killed in an elven forst (though not by elves), and has spent the entire campaign as best-buddies with a cleric of Pelor (played by that redgar fellow you might have seen reply) and his Pelor-worshiping orc friend (the 6-INT tank.). And he'd even given the church of Pelor a couple thousand gold (though he'd given his own church far more) for services rendered to the party. Not only that, but he'd met Pelor. (Though he hadn't intended or expected it.)
And he just got resurrected in a church of Pelor.
Well, it was enough of an issue that Pelor (most everyone else's deity) and Moradin (my character's deity) met and discussed the problem. Moradin rebuked my character, and Pelor gave my character the option of serving him. Which my character took.
So now my character's mental state is really screwed up.
First, he spent his entire life worshiping and serving the deity of his race, and was rebuked by that deity for charitable actions taken by my character that happened to benefit Pelor, and was resurrected in a temple of Pelor. And now he's obliged to worship Pelor, which, in D&D terms, is a different religion.
Second, he died again, under similar circumstance to the first two times* he died. The first two times, he was asleep when he was half-swallowed by a giant humanoid crab. Both times were very closely spaced, while he was stuck in the thing's mouth. The third time, he was murdered while he was asleep. He already had developed a phobia of aberrations**, and now he's scared to death(no pun intended) to go to sleep.
So now Jorge's going to be going through severe mental duress as he wrestles with a change in religion and the complications associated with becoming phobic of both aberrations and sleep. Terror of a certain class of monsters isn't debilitating, but not getting enough sleep would prevent him from having access to any memorized spells. (Though he could technically still use scrolls and wands. He might start carrying a lot of those...)
* Remember, my DM has a house rule where if someone casts a Cure spell on you the same round you hit "die" (hit -10 hit points), you didn't really die...But you probably did have a "near-death" spiritual experience.
** That large crab thing's creature type was aberration. Taking a phobia for aberrations turned out to be easier than role playing PTSD; There are already simple rules for phobias. PTSD is a complicated mental illness that I'd have a hard time role playing correctly.