Saturday, May 21st, 2011...9:03 pm

The Mind of Deke 1

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Note: I wrote this back on August 18, 2003 for my favorite Dungeons and Dragons character, Deke MacKlellan.  I played with my best friends back home for close to ten years before I got married.  He was my good character in what we called “The Good/Evil Campaign.”  I just stumbled upon it again and thought I would repost.

“Amateur,” thought Deke as he gazed in the dark at the corpses of the elite Tristadi bodyguards, and, more specifically, at the field plate armor it had taken himself and Zynthoid all of five seconds to breach. “Look at this! No range of motion, an (h)uge gap between the breastplate and the epaulettes. Any fighter worth his weight in mutton could exploit this. Shabby…”

“Speaking of shabby,” Deke remembered that he had two handprint-sized holes in the shoulders of his chain mail. His shoulders were still a little tender from his odd supernatural encounter. “I guess I’ll be doing some mending during my watch,” he muttered. Deke had saved the material he removed when he shortened the suit of mail and would use it to mend the small holes left by the handprints.

He had woken up a little early for his watch and decided to take a walk to wake himself up.

With little else to do, Deke had taken up his armorsmithing in earnest during the years he spent in Ravenloft. He had used his engineering knowledge to build his own forge and had masterfully crafted armor that turned his town’s militia from a ragtag band of broadsword fodder into a formidable defensive force. It was a lonely existence, and had caused Deke to become increasingly like his taciturn ancestors. He would spend days simply drawing up designs for the perfect suit of armor, the amount of crumbled paper in the corner amounting daily to a month’s wages for a member of the Leneasa town guard, where his adventuring career began. During this time he had finally begun to see the wisdom of the words his father, Ebanezar, spoke to him when he was but a wee lad.

“Deke, ye cannah survive in battle on offense alone. Ye can kill yer opponent with a wee pebble if ye place it right, but it dannah matter much if ye doonah live to see the next battle. Learn weapons ahnd yull burn brightly but not fer long; learn defense ahnd yull be tellin’ this to yer wee great-great-grandson.

He thought back to that day.

His father was caught by surprise by the raid of the drow, and didn’t have the opportunity to get back home for his shield and armor. He grabbed two bastard swords from fallen comrades and assailed Darksparkle. Though he did a great deal of damage to the evil invader, a cheap, poisoned dart got the best of him. He became sluggish; his attacks became fewer and further between until Darksparkle finally cleaved his head from his shoulders with his vorpel blade. Would that dart have hit him if he were properly armed? Doubtful… Would Darksparkle have gotten the best of him if he were wearing his armor and using his shield? Also doubtful.

But on that day, Deke was too shocked, too angry to think clearly. He grabbed the bastard swords from his father’s body and went out for looking for revenge. Perhaps he was also suicidal from all that happened to him. He knew his style of combat was foolhardy, he knew he would not live to see his children, much less his great-great- grandchildren, but he fought this way nonetheless, nearly dying several times without using his brain, needlessly rushing into battle hoping he could kill them before they killed him. Reckless… Foolhardy… Maybe Isharra was right. Deke was one-dimensional…

The time alone without adventuring gave Deke thousands of hours to reflect upon the past and to self-consciously form a combat philosophy. He had never been adequately armored. Even the magical field plate he wore before he came to Ravenloft restricted his range of motion more than he would have liked, as he would often curse under his breath when he took a hit he would have otherwise dodged. There had to be a way for Deke to protect himself. “That’s why Jonathan never got hurt,” he would think, “nobody could touch him.” Deke remembered back to his dream and to that polyhedral armor that nearly any direct blow would glint off of without harming the wearer. As Deke analyzed that armor, he realized that it was simply a fancy alteration on plate armor, and would still limit his range of motion. He thought of ways he could preserve the range of motion without leaving vulnerable soft spots in the armor, often frustrating himself with the apparent paradox. He had to craft armor that would perfectly suit his unique abilities and idiosyncrasies, for the perfect style of armor for Deke would be an annoying hindrance to Cain and fail to take into account the subtleties of mounted combat that would better suit Jonathan and Zynthoid. Armor had to be crafted to the individual user in order to be of optimal use. The armor Deke had worn was not crafted to suit him. A master armorer does not mass-produce generic armor to collect dust on shelves but crafts armor to suit specific, wealthy clients. Weight was not an issue, as Deke could don lead armor weighing 300 pounds, without even being affected by the weight, but he needed the range of motion to take advantage of his agility. Could he make something that protects better than full plate, but grants the mobility you would find with studded leather or chain? It seemed like a pie in the sky dream, but when you have a lot of time and enough motivation, the impossible becomes improbable, and the improbable becomes reality. The mithril Sash of the Martyr his father had given him provided a model for…

SASH OF THE MARTYR! The thought of his most prized possession jolted him back to reality. He had no idea where it was. He hadn’t had it the whole time in Ravenloft and had no idea where it could be now. He had kept hope, a fleeting wisp of hope, the whole time in Ravenloft that it would mysteriously reappear in his possession when he returned to Faerun. If he ever returned to Faerun… Now that he had returned, without the sash, the last vestige of hope fled from him. He wanted to cry but knew he could not. “Spare your tears, dwarf,” Cain would callously and coldly admonish him, the way he did when Deke pleaded for the opportunity to fight Darksparkle that first time. Deke could not cry; he refused to cry, but had to vent his emotion somehow.


Deke let out a primal yell that surprised even himself and kicked the lifeless body of the Tristadi bodyguard so hard it flew five feet into the air and landed with a muffled thud in the tall grass a full fifteen feet away. After a minute, Deke came to his senses, as his heart rate subsided and the adrenaline became diluted within his bloodstream. He looked at his hands and saw his own blood. In his rage he had rent his chain shirt with such force that it removed some of the skin from them. The shirt was now but a long flat sheet of mesh, lying on the ground next to him. He soberly picked up his chain shirt and returned to camp. It was now time for his watch, and he would now need to spend all of it mending his shirt, all the while reflecting on how this new power Rhal Afar had granted would affect him.


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