Interesting. Our robo-buddy seems susceptible to the subtle magic permeating the airspace in Aqua Vitae. Who knows what racial memories are being unlocked in their core processor? It’s almost as if they have been to Aqua Vitae before. But no, that makes zero sense. I mean, why would a civilization of technologically advanced bloodsuckers who sustain themselves via live prey even need to build a race of pacifistic servants who can operate in daylight?

But who cares about the ongoing plot? What I really want to talk about is this “prestige into tomb guardian” business. It may be an offhand comment in today’s comic, but it’s one of my favorite ways to progress a PC.

As a gamer who cut her teeth on 3.X, I’m used to picking my feats, selecting my spells, and planning my level dips before the campaign’s first d20 is rolled. In a world of prerequisites and feat trees, it pays to know where you big payoffs are coming. But if you do go in for this pre-planned biz, I think it’s important to hold on loosely.

It’s all well and good to plan for X levels of Hospitaler Paladin and Y levels of Life Oracle before prestiging into Holy Vindicator at Zth. But suppose the story doesn’t hit those beats when you need it to? You’ve just arrived at 6th level, but after all those sessions adventuring in Dinosaur Jungle Setting you really want to go Beast Rider Cavalier for the stegosaurus mount. Is this as effective as your original build plan? Probably not. But it does reflect the changes your character has experienced. And to me, watching a PC grow in unexpected ways is more interesting than getting to do the thing you’d planned since before Session Zero.

That’s why I’m excited for this particular storyline. The mind-whammied automaton in today’s comic is set to join the regular cast by the end of this arc. There are still two days left as of 6/5/2023 for our Patrons to vote on their name/class. If that’s the unexpected character growth, I don’t know what is. And I certainly can’t wait to see which way public opinion falls.

As for the rest of you guys, why don’t we swap stories of our own story-driven leveling decisions? When has your character gone off-script and multiclassed into something weird? Or conversely, have you ever felt yourself annoyed that your planned build didn’t feel right given the direction of the campaign? Tell us your tales of weird and unexpected build choices down in the comments!


GET YOUR SCHWAG ON! Want a piece of Handbook-World to hang on you wall? Then you’ll want to check out the “Hero” reward tier on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Each monthly treasure haul will bring you prints, decals, buttons, bookmarks and more! There’s even talk of a few Handbook-themed mini-dungeons on the horizon. So hit the link, open up that treasure chest, and see what loot awaits!