About the Author
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy X
Batman:Arkham City
Borderlands Series
Weekly Column
Champions Online
World of Warcraft
DM of the Rings
Good Robot
Project Frontier

Uncle Rutskarn Says: It’s Time to Get Hyped for Aunty Paladin

By Rutskarn
on Monday Dec 9, 2013
Filed under:
Tabletop Games


Aunty’s Back With a Vengeance

Hey everyone, it’s Rutskarn, and I think we can agree I don’t spend nearly enough time sleep-deprived and humiliated in front of an international audience. This is a problem some of my cooler friends share, and the reason we’ve decided to hold the third annual Aunty Paladin RPG and Kid-Helping Extravaganza–the best reason to use the internet since Ebay ran out of Ernest Borgnine memorabilia. The stream launches at 8:00 AM PST, December 16th, and will be going until…well, that’s up to you.

There’ll be another post later on talking about some of the games we’ll play, but there are some orders of business to take care of right now. First I’ll explain what Aunty Paladin is, just in case this is your first rodeo. If you were around the past two years, you can skip that part. Secondly, I’ll announce the contest that all of you should be entering into right now. Thirdly, I’ll give everyone a chance to jointly and democratically screw me over in the manner of your choosing. Finally, I’ll tell you how to make me love you with undying, tender, optionally-platonic passion. And on that sobering note, let’s begin.

What is Aunty Paladin? Can I Eat It?

Aunty Paladin is a group of awesome* tabletop gamers who dedicate a week of their lives to bringing constant entertainment to your computer screens and cash money to sick children. Starting Monday morning, we will be playing one tabletop game after the other, nonstop, on-camera, with an eye towards creativity and crowd-pleasing. We play whenever we’re awake, sleep as little as possible, and eat whatever our support crew manages to cook up with the contents of an undergraduate kitchen. As for you guys, you keep us playing as long as possible by donating money to sick kids. As a rule, the games get more exotic the longer we play, and by the time we reach Friday morning we’re dipping into the most perilous reaches of homebrew, indie design, and whatever horrifying bullshit Nick finds in his forums. We also have a few surprises planned for if we make it all the way to the ultimate goal of Midnight Saturday…but we’ll save those for during the week.

If you’re a fan of tabletop games, you owe it to yourself to check out the stream. If you’ve never played or seen tabletop games in action, you really owe it to yourself to check out the stream. We make this look easy because it is, and we make it look fun because it really is.

*Give or take a few Rutskarns.

What Was That About a Contest?

Harboring the extremely specific fantasy of designing an adventure for me to GM on camera? Then today could be your lucky day!

All you need to do is dream up a brief pitch for a roleplaying adventure*, write it up in three hundred words or fewer, and send it over to auntypaladin@gmail.com. If we like yours better than the others, I’ll run it live on camera at a time where you can tune in! The only hard rule is that you shouldn’t specify a rules system for us to use, because while we have hard copies of nearly everything, we reserve the right to pick the one that’s the gentlest pain in the ass.

*You can honestly win this one even if you’ve never run or played a tabletop game before. Just come up with the pitch for a nice, dramatic short story involving a small group of main characters and it’ll probably be perfectly serviceable.

You Said There Would Be Screwings Over. Don’t Toy With My Heart, Rutskarn.

I’ll make this quick: you know Tomb of Horrors? Dungeon full of nasty traps and unwinnable fights? The most infamous adventures in tabletop history? You may recall that I ran it last year. You may recall that startlingly, a few characters survived. That they “won” the module.

Well, there are no clean getaways, and this year another GM is running that dastardly follow-up adventure Return to the Tomb of Horrors. The survivors of the original party will be coming back…and I’ll be joining them. That’s right: this year I’m on the other side of the genderswap gas and poisonous buzzsaws.

I’ve been toying with a few character concepts, but I worry that if I’m the one who picks one, I’ll accidentally choose the most dignified and effective option. That’s why I’ve decided to pass the choice off to you guys.

Choose one of the characters below, then post your selection in the comments. Whichever gets the most votes will be the character I play during the daily “Return to the Tomb of Horrors” feature of the marathon.

A.) Kadzbar the Neurotic Dwarf

(The administrator of the infamous “Mud Hole” colony, Kadzbar has been responsible for plenty of horrors and exactly one tomb. Something about living in an underground fortress of his own survey and design has made him an expert at spotting murderous deathtraps.)

B.) James “Jingling Jim” Sonderby

(Inarguably a halfling and technically a thief, James is the prophet of a very specific and personal religion. He believes that he is the chosen messiah of a nebulously defined deity, that he possesses something called “The Third Eye,” and that he is unkillable. This mission will be the ideal venue for empirically evaluating all three claims.)

C.) Vadzlo the Specialist

(Vadzlo has made a long career out of not dying in dungeons. He obeys a few simple ground rules:never swing a weapon at something that’s busy killing someone else, either keep the party behind you or far as possible in front of you…and if you haven’t worked with a group before, try not to learn their names. Metanote: I’ve played him before as a vaguely Eastern European version of Vinny the Demoman from Atlantis: The Lost Empire.)

D.) Cahmel

(Cahmel’s brand of adventuring takes getting used to, employing a tactical blend of cowardice, superstition, exhibitionism, and outside-the-box thinking. His personal philosophy is, “Anything that can be won fairly isn’t worth having.”)

Okay, Might As Well Get That Last One Over With

I can’t say how grateful I am when people spread the word about Aunty Paladin. Our rules dictate that we need donations to keep playing, but that’s not what really motivates us. It’s the knowledge gamers from all around the world are watching us, sharing the jubilation of each good roll and the agony of each character death, helping with the formation of each cockamamie heist and the execution of every inadvisable battle plan. So there’s one thing you can do that would make us all eternally grateful, and that’s let people know about this. If you’ve got a gaming group, if you’re part of a gaming forum, if you’ve got an amenable FLGS–spread the word to them. We all appreciate it, and it’s ultimately the kids that benefit.

And of course, we want you to watch it. And heckle us via the chat. And throw bad suggestions at us during critical moments. And run extemporaneous games in the chatbox (this has happened more than once). And draw disturbing fanart of one-off characters. And write even more disturbing shipping fanfic about the cast members (this has also happened more than once).

Questions? Votes? Let’s hear ’em.

Comments (94)

  1. Thearpox says:

    Kadzbar may get my pick if he gets to a proper last name, and if the “Mud Hole” colony is confirmed to be a dwarf fortress fortress.

    As it stands, can we hear a bit more about Cahmel? We don’t even know his race and class.

    Also, it is possible to have a game set in Unrest universe? I would actually be pretty excited for it. (Preferably, without losing the footage. Ahem, a la last year’s Paranoia…)

  2. False Prophet says:

    I am already missing dulcet tones of Rutskarn Metro 2033 commentary. A vote for Vadzlo it is!

  3. Bryan says:


    (I would vote for Kadzbar, but that’s just one letter off from my real last name — yes, I know, I’m just as surprised as you are… uh, unless Hobospy is actually stalking me… crap! — and so it hits a *bit* close to home. :-P)

    And, yeah, the one thing I don’t look forward to this year is running into the Livestream 100-video-per-channel limit again and destroying all the video that did manage to get saved from last year… :-(

  4. Jonathan says:

    I vote for B. He sounds like fun.

  5. Chris says:

    Dwarf and more Dwarf and what is better than Dwarf, a neurotic Dwarf

  6. Thk13421 says:

    I’m voting for Kadzbar. Any dwarf who’s survived a round of DF will probably gently saunter through the Tomb of Horrors like it was a sunny field of daisies.

  7. BlackFox says:



  8. Khazidhea says:

    I’m going to throw my vote in for Jingling Jim.

    Mostly off topic*, but has anyone roleplayed as a character disguised and pretending to be another class (eg no one at the table except you and the DM actually know you’re not actually that class)? In my case I’m thinking of a Dread Necromancer with maxed disguise skill masquerading as an unassuming Druid, with a Quasit familiar permanently transformed into wolf form when other players are watching. His actions internally are consistent with the character and his goals etc, but would play in a way seeking to confuse all the other players.

    *Never played D&D or its like before, but for some reason a few months back I decided to get really into creating a character, even though I likely won’t have the opportunity to play it. I ended up with the Dread Necromancer from Heroes of Horror, and due to my misrembering the name at first, that’s what I thought Tomb of Horror was.

    • ChoppazAndDakka says:

      That actually sounds really fun. I have fairly limited Pathfinder experience, so the closest I’ve seen was our Priest pretending to be human when he was actually an Aasimar. I caught on when I noticed he had low light vision like the rest of us did, and when an enemy Aasimar knew who he was. He played it well and never told us. Another party member was secretly a Kitsune, but eventually came out about it when she needed to change her disguise. Myself, in my current game I play a very antisocial and slightly paranoid Tengu Rogue(Chaotic Neutral with 8 Charisma is not a friend maker), and I don’t tell me other party members how many weapons I carry. I openly carry a bastard sword, short sword, club, and 6 daggers, but what they DON’T see are 4 hidden daggers I carry. One in each boot, and one up each sleeve in spring loaded sheathes. I also have some small bags of caltrops and a bag of powdered glass. I figure it suits my character to not tell them all this stuff he’s carrying just in case it comes to blows since he does not like these people and is only working with them professionally. I figure on a personal level it means I can do some awesome stuff later and surprise everyone.

      • epopisces says:

        My favorite character in this vein was my sentuent squirrel druid (last of his race) with a gnome ‘animal companion’. Everyone but the DM naturally assumed it was the other way around until the gnome died in a pit trap, and the squirrel stuck around :)

    • anaphysik says:

      My brother played a Binder (3.5ed goetic magic class) who was nonetheless a part of a druidic order (they had some interesting metaphysical ideas, to say the least). Not exactly /disguising/ per se, but it did help reinforce ‘mechanical class =/= in-world designation,’ which is a maxim I hold to (I was GMing).

      In a more ‘disguise-y’ way: another time when I was playing, one of the other players was using the Frank/K tomes’ homebrew Spirit Shaman class, the abilities of which he never talked about openly. Honestly, that ‘it’s my secret stuff and I’m not sharing’ shit annoyed the hell out of me. Folks that I’ve seen do that latter kind of stuff (or allow it) just seem to have a diminished ability to distinguish between in-character and out-of-character, IMO :/. At the *very* least, you gotta be able to talk openly outside of/after games.

    • anaphysik says:

      “but for some reason a few months back I decided to get really into creating a character”

      Man, I get that problem ALL THE TIME. Don’t worry, you’re vaguely normal ;)

      (I’ve got a manila folder full of unused characters from a variety of tabletops which I’ve never actually played, plus more in files strewn about my computron, plus more in the ol’ noggin.)

      • Wait, there are people who don’t have huge notepad files full of character ideas, and who don’t make a character as soon as they read a new rulebook (even if there’s no chance they’ll be playing it any time soon). But creating characters is half the fun of tabletop!

        Also half a vote for Cahmet and half for dwarf fortress awesomeness

    • Hitchmeister says:

      I have a friend who once played a con-man thief pretending to be a cleric. Early on in his adventures he acquired an amulet that let him turn undead and a jar of healing ointment that let him quite effectively simulate lay on hands. Drove the actual cleric in the party crazy. He was sure the thief was not an actual cleric, but the thief kept “out-clericing” him.

  9. David F says:

    I vote for James “Jingling Jim” Sonderby. An “unkillable” character should be very amusing, if somewhat short-lived, in the tomb of horrors.

  10. ChoppazAndDakka says:

    I quite like the sound of this. I’ll try and give it a watch, and a donation if I can (depends on my paychecks as I got a new TV and am totally broke at the moment). I love tabletop RPGs and look forward to the shenanigans. I’ll make sure to plug this at the next session of my new Pathfinder group.

  11. Mumbles says:

    Join me. The chat troll for Aunty Paladin since 1876. On a magical adventure of trying to make Buts loose his already weak hold on his marbles.

  12. Galenloke says:

    hmmm gonna vote for Cahmel here. Though Kadzbar is certainly my #2.

  13. TheHokeyPokey says:

    I vote for whichever one is a bard.

  14. Corpital says:

    First and foremost: Thanks for switching to Twitch.

    It is hard to choose between Kadzbar and Cahmel, but I’ll vote for Cahmel.
    After all, he’s sane, pragmatic, attractive and became the new god of madness. Perfect choice.

  15. WarMachineDD7 says:

    I vote for Josh, I mean, Cahmel.

  16. Phantos says:

    Is there any way to support this without also supporting Child’s Play?

    Or rather, without supporting something joined at the hip to Penny Arcade?

    • Mumbles says:

      I don’t like Penny Arcade as much as the next guy, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t support Child’s Play. Sick kids who are stuck in hospitals all day surrounded by scary machines and other sick people deserve a little escapism through gaming. Penny Arcade does not pocket most of the proceeds made by charity fundraisers and the amount of happiness they bring sick kids is insurmountable. You should support Child’s Play even if Mike Krahulik walked right up to you and told you to go eat a bowl of dicks.

      • krellen says:

        PA may have started Child’s Play, but they no longer run Child’s Play, and it is only nominally connected to PA any more.

      • Phantos says:

        It’s morality insurance. It’s their way of justifying being bad people. “I don’t have to maintain basic humanity. I’m vaguely, loosely associated with something that helps kids… You don’t hate kids, do you?

        Because then THE TERRORISTS WIN

        After finding out about the Salvation Army’s shenanigans, I’m decidedly more paranoid about what charities I support. Much easier to just buy stuff to donate and then personally drop it off at a hospital or shelter. Cut out the self-back-patting middleman altogether.

  17. Gnashmer says:

    It’s gotta be the dwarf every time. Must confess I’m strongly tempted to gather large amounts of friends and booze and watch this like a movie…

  18. Harry says:

    Rock the Kadzbar.

  19. Hydralysk says:

    I’m going to put my vote in for Vadzlo, I’ve always loved characters who are massive cowards.

  20. Bodyless says:

    My Vote:
    A.) Kadzbar Urist MacButtskarn the Neurotic Dwarf

  21. Jeff says:

    Wait wait wait wait. Wait.

    …so can I eat it?

  22. Desgardes says:

    Definitely Vadzlo the Specialist.

  23. swenson says:

    Throwing in another vote for Kadzbar. Not only do I fully expect Dwarf Fortress-esque shenanigans from him, but neuroses are always fun.

  24. John Young says:

    A.) Kadzbar the Neurotic Dwarf

  25. ForgetfulEncinda says:

    I am voting for Kadzbar. Perhaps the question of why a Dwarvian Fortress needs a wood burner for will finally be answered.

  26. Slii Arhem says:

    I vote for Kadzbar, though it seems like a foregone conclusion that he’ll be picked anyway! Now to think up a suitably epic, and by that I mean hilariously embarrassing (hilarassing?) adventure hook to email to you folks.

  27. qwksndmonster says:

    I’ll throw in a vote for James Sonderby. Because apparently I have a fantasy that includes Rustkarn dying very quickly.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>