Sargeant Riggis Murtaugh or HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE LAWFUL GOOD

I f#$%ing hate playing lawful good characters.

Let’s get that right out of the way. I hit the dance floor when the tune is chaotic and I get down with evil. You are not reading the blog of someone who frequently plays as a paladin.

My long-term group was starting up a new campaign and these people have a terrible and frequent penchant for killing my (never lawful good) characters–big surprise, I’m sure. I won’t lie sometimes it’s warranted, but it’s been a constant and most of the time not 100% awesome on all counts (most notably when they killed my tiefling bard on my first game with them, a PC made specifically with the GM try to get the narrative back on track). Anyway we’re gearing up for this guards game where we’re the local low-ranking authority in a medieval city, or at least part of the settlement.

Me: “Look, guys, let’s try this: instead of killing my character at some opportune moment in the future, why don’t you tell me what you want me to play and I’ll build that?”
Asshole #1: “Play a paladin. A lawful good human paladin.”
Asshole #2: “Yes I agree with asshole #1.”
Asshole #3: “Absolutely I agree with these assholes 100%.”

I started dreading it. This character wouldn’t be the first lawful good character I’ve played, nor the first lawful good human paladin, but those weren’t very enjoyable experiences for me. How was I going to change the script here? Was it even possible for me to enjoy play a character like that?

So I thought about it really hard and decided that there had to be some character somewhere that I liked that would make sense to be a lawful good holy cop. I could just play that character and make them my own, right?

Enter Sargeant Riggis Murtaugh.

As part of the deal I negotiated Murtaugh to be the de-facto boss of their guard house–just about to retire, of course–and the dynamic worked out great. The rest of the party went about their business while Murtaugh hollered at them, nearly having a stroke most of the time and complaining that he just had to make it to retirement, yelling at Officer Gizmo to stop giving explosive toys to his kids, etc. etc. etc. It was both hilarious and gratifying because like I mention above, I really like this character and so playing him was a joy.

That’s how I learned to love lawful good so if you also have a hangup you can’t get over when trying to play a character outside of your comfort zone, I suggest looking to other media for someone you like and just playing them.

And for those wondering: yes he did eventually retire, get his boat, and now spends his days fishing off of Eastport.

DESIGN NOTES: My compulsion for evil and chaos found itself take hold with the design decisions for Murtaugh here. In my defense he STARTED as a paladin and the rest just..kinda…happened? I will say that I was pretty happy with his effectiveness compared to the single-class adventurers in the party–normally multiclassing dilutes a character’s potential but I guess if you stretch things far enough it can hold water.

murtaugh.JPG

 

Sargeant Riggis Murtaugh

Medium human, lawful good fighter (eldritch knight) 5/paladin 2/sorcerer (shadow) 2/warlock (great old one) 1= (multiclass caster level 6)
Armor Class 20 (plate mail, shield)
Hit Points 79 (7d10+1d8+2d6+20)
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16 (+3) 8 (-1) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 13 (+1)

Saving Throws Str +6, Con +5
Skills Insight, Investigation, Perception, Stealth, Survival
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19, passive Investigation 19
Languages Common, Orcish, Southlander

Action Surge (1/short rest). On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action.

Awakened Mind. Murtaugh can communicate telepathically with any creature he can see within 30 feet. He doesn’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand his telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language. Additionally, the creature does not gain the ability to telepathically reply, despite Murtaugh being able to speak to it.

Divine Sense (2/long rest). As an action, Murtaugh can open his awareness to detect evil forces. Until the end of his next turn, he knows the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of him that is not behind total cover. He knows the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence he senses, but not its identity. Within the same radius, he also detects the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the hallow spell.

Divine Smite. When Murtaugh hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 5d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is an undead or a fiend.

Feats. Lucky (GM bonus feat), Observant (variant human feat), War Caster (4th level feat). Optional Background – City Watch (Tradition).

Fighting Style (Dueling). When Murtaugh is wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, he gains a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Fighting Style (Protection). When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

Gnarlroot’s Gift – Lighted (1/long rest). Use a bonus action to glow bright light in 30-foot radius for 1 minute, creatures without blindsight that end turn within 5 feet are blinded (no save). 0/10 rounds

Lay on Hands (10 points/long rest, 1 spent). As an action, he can touch a creature and draw power from the pool to restore a number of hit points to that creature, up to the maximum amount remaining in his pool. Alternatively, Murtaugh can expend 5 hit points from his pool of healing to cure the target of one disease or neutralize one poison affecting it. He can cure multiple diseases and neutralize multiple poisons with a single use of Lay on Hands, expending hit points separately for each one. This feature has no effect on undead and constructs.

Pact Magic (Recharge on short rest). Murtaugh is a 1st-level warlock (5th level spellcaster) that uses Charisma as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 12; spell attack +4). He can cast the following spells from the warlock’s spell list:

Second Wind (1/short rest). On his turn, Murtaugh can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+5 hit points.

Sorcery Points (2/long rest). Murtaugh can use sorcery points to gain additional spell slots, or sacrifice spell slots to gain additional sorcery points.

Creating Spell Slots & Sorcery Points. As a bonus action on his turn, Murtaugh can expend one spell slot and either gain a number of sorcery points equal to the slot’s level or create a spell slot by expending sorcery points (1st-level—2 points).

Spellcasting. Murtaugh is a 6th level spellcaster that uses Charisma as his spellcasting attribute (spell save DC 12, spell attack +4). He knows the following spells:

Strength of the Grave (1/long rest). When damage reduces you to 0 hit points, you can make a Charisma saving throw (DC 5 + damage taken). On a success you instead drop to 1 hit point. You can’t use this feature if you are reduced to 0 Hit Points by radiant damage or by a critical hit.

Weapon Bond (longsword, handaxe). Over the course of 1 hour short rest, you can bond a weapon to you. Once bonded, you cannot be disarmed unless you are incapacitated and if the weapon is on the same plane of existence, you can summon it to your hand as a bonus action. You can bond up to two weapons at once.

ACTIONS

Extra Attack. Murtaugh attacks twice.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) slashing damage or if wielded in two hands, 8 (1d10+3) slashing damage.

Handaxes (2; Brunda and Tilda). Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 2 (1d6+3) slashing damage.

ATTACK ROUTINE (action surge to repeat) bonus action divine favor + movement + action green-flame blade and smite (2nd-level spell slot) → 1d8+5 slashing + 2d8+1 fire + 1d4 radiant + 3d8 smite plus ancillary 1 fire to creature adjacent to target

EQUIPMENT GOLD 122

  • chain mail, a longsword and a shield, two handaxes, a dungeoneer’s pack (50 ft. hemp rope, a backpack, a crowbar, a hammer, 10 pitons, a tinderbox, 10 days of rations), hooded lantern
  • Rallaine’s stuff
  • Waterskin
  • Illegal herbs found in the wizard Kaius Grimaldi’s house, jailed Lewkyo the servant
  • Commendations stars to award to subordinates

 

 

 

CITY OF EASTPORT (game info)

  • G-watch was recently wiped out (Sargeant Murtaugh was healing from a bad head wound)
  • Assigned to Guildsman District which includes the Warrens – riddled with thieves and beggars and Southlander immigrants (japanese) and Uster vagabonds (including many Uster Teflings).

 

Character Information

  • Worships Oban
  • Lives in the nicest area of the Warrens in a home with his wife and five kids (all of which he finds annoying but loves dearly)
  • Has an Uster gypsy ex-flame, Nessva, that sometimes gives him tips on potential orc threats (though Murtaugh’s wife Cassia hates her so he’s reticent to see her)
  • Murtaugh once received honors from Lord Marcus Vermidor after leading a brilliant counterattack against invading orc raiders (tipped off by Nessva) but that was more than a decade ago
  • Murtaugh is only a few months from retirement and has never valued his life more, though his sense of duty still puts him into danger despite his days of glory being behind him
  • As a native to Eastport and long-time member of the guard he is liked by those who know him — most of the time as long as an infringement does not hurt anyone directly Murtaugh avoids the harshest sentences, letting people off with warnings (confiscating contraband if that’s involved) rather than tossing them in jail
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