How to Make an Entrance
Posted on February 16, 2018
The first time I participated in a D&D campaign was in a 5th edition homebrew. I'd been invited to join by the DM, who was a friend from work. Being new to D&D 5e, my friend had helped me decide upon Cleric, so I ended up making a Half-Elf, Life Domain Cleric of Selune named Alura. I found out after the fact that, prior to me bringing her in, the party hadn't really had much in the way of a healer beyond a Ranger who had a few uses of Cure Wounds.
While creating Alura I was also introduced to a house rule system our DM occasionally used called ‘destiny points.’ It was a system of inspiration-like points used to provide balance in games where the party was small, just in case the encounters he crafted ended up being too difficult. You gained one point each time you leveled up to a maximum of two unspent ones, and you could spend one per combat encounter on any check or attack roll for an instant natural 20.
I was joining a campaign that was already in progress, so Alura was brought in at 5th level—the same level the other characters were at—and given two of these ‘destiny points' off the bat. In essence the DM treated it like I'd gained them as she leveled, but had never spent any, and therefore I was maxed out.
And so Alura joined the party when they returned to town, having just completed a dungeon the previous session. Shortly thereafter we ended up on a ship engaged in battle with an enemy vessel that had gotten close enough for combatants to cross from one ship to the other. Our Monk attempted to get the jump on our opponents by climbing onto the rigging of our ship, then essentially tightrope-walking onto the rigging of the enemy ship. If I remember correctly, he succeeded in crossing, and dropped down on the enemy from above. But he was thoroughly outnumbered by enemy sailors on the other ship and was left prone with the boss about to go in for his coup de grâce.
I used one destiny point on a Guiding Bolt and aimed at the boss, dealing almost max damage those 8d6 could do and interrupting his coup de grâce. I then used my Channel Divinity: Preserve Life feature on my next turn, dividing the 25 points of healing between the downed Monk and our Ranger (who by that point in the battle was at half his hit points).
In two turns I'd effectively turned the tide of the battle. After that session ended the DM asked the other three players in the party how they felt about adding me as the newest member of the group, and they were all more than happy to have me aboard.
They didn't regret that decision, either. Turns out I'm pretty good at playing a Cleric, as that was only the first of many times Alura saved the groups' collective asses.