Inspired by the quiz running around, I wandered over to RPG.net to get my D&D geeking on. And was promptly reminded of why I avoid any threads about 4th Edition, because they drive me insaaaaaane. Much like the alignment wars of old, the 'boardgamy'-ness of D&D 4e seems to be the new oh-how-I-hate-it's-rollplaying-not-roleplaying aggravation.

However! I have channeled my wrath away from People Being Wrong On the Internet, and to creativity. For the record, I think 4e is awesome. It's fun, it's flavorful, it makes great characters. So, I'm making a pregenerated party, based on a very simple premise and idea (because I don't want it to be too much of a pain for me). I'm even using the Standard Array method for characters, instead of the rolling that I love, just so that the characters are very standard. World is original, because all my worlds are, but I've tried to keep the races in line with the standard archetypes.

Premise is: The kingdom of Eisengen is at war against an incursion from the Faewild which has turned their western border into someplace /terribly/ unfriendly to the mixed human and dragonborn majority. Most of the forces of the nation have shifted to that fight, leaving the other borders unguarded. To counter this lack, the Dragon King has put Army officers in charge of mercenary squads as troubleshooters and border scouts. This is one such troop.

Party is:

Lieutenant Agranar Torinn, Dragonborn Warlord
Derrick Starshadow, Human Warlock
Alita di Trellin, Human Fighter
Kess Suntouched, Dwarven Cleric
Duke (Dusenache), Tiefling Rogue

Abbreviated Sheets follow:



Name: Agranar Torinn
Station: Lieutenant in the Eisengeni Royal Army
Age: 15
Scales: Dark Gold
Eyes: Copper Red
Strength: 18, Dex: 10, Con: 11, Int: 12, Wis: 14, Chr: 15
Abilities: Dragonborn Fury, Draconic Heritage, Dragon Breath (Lightning).
Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail, light shield, simple melee, military melee, simple ranged.
Defensive Bonuses: +1 Fortitude, +1 Will
HP: 23, Healing Surges: 7

Trained Skills: Diplomacy (Charisma), History (Int), Intimidate (Charisma), Endurance (Con), Insight (Wis, gained by Feat)

Powers:
Combat Leader: Self and Allies within 10 squares/steps gain +2 to initiative.
Inspiring Presence: An ally in sight range of the character gains 2 HP back whenever they use an action point to take an extra action.
Inspiring Word (Usable twice an encounter): An allied target within five squares/steps spends a Healing Surge, regaining an additional 1d6 HP from the character's encouragement.
Furious Smash (At-Will): A shield-bash that does 4 damage, but allows an ally to gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage on their next attack against your target.
Wolf Pack Tactics (At-Will): A harrying attack that does your weapon + 4 damage, and allows you to shift an ally or the target one square/step.
Leaf on the Wind (Encounter): A battering attack that does your twice your weapon's damage + 4 damage, and allows you or an ally to swap positions with your target.
White Raven Onslaught (Daily): A squad tactic that starts off by doing three times your weapon's damage +4 damage, plus allows you to shift an adjacent ally by one step/square. Every other ally who attacks your target may /also/ shift an adjacent ally one step/square.

Feat: Skill Training - Insight

Background:

Agranar Torinn is not the officer one might expect to be leading a scruffy band of irregulars out on the edge of the country that's NOT under attack. He's passionate, brave, enthusiastic, articulate, and competent: the sort of officer that one (despite his youth) might expect to be fast-tracked to a more prestigious command. In fact, until very recently, he WAS in the middle of the fighting, serving as a junior aide-de-camp to Captain Krelden at the Del's Crag battlecamp. As an aide, Agranar was in a position to observe the army's tacticians and learn from them, as well as impressing various officers with his fighter's nature. The camp fared well in several minor skirmishes against the Fae invaders, giving the Captain and his men a little experience and a lot of confidence.

Unfortunately, it would not prepare them for what happened next. The Fae attacked by night, and by unexpected means; opening a gate to the Faewild in the supply section of camp, and sending their 'hounds' against the support personnel before sending the main attack into the camp itself. Captain Krelden was also young, inexperienced, and not made of as stern of stuff as one might expect. He choked, babbling nonsense commands, and almost dooming the camp to annihilation. It was Agranar who stepped up, seizing the flag and leaping into battle. His sheer enthusiasm inspired others, who followed him. He was able to recall enough tactics to organize a fighting retreat, saving the Captain and the valuable information the camp held. When they reached the nearest reinforcements, Agranar was a hero.

Sadly, he was a very inconvenient hero: Captain Krelden was the favored son of GENERAL Krelden, commander of the front, and the General was not happy to see his son upstaged by an aide with no prestigious name, and no prestigious patron. The circumstances were such that the General could not afford to punish Agranar for being a good officer, so instead he promoted him to Lieutenant, and gave him his own 'command'...far away from the action and any chance to snatch more glory for himself.

Agranar's not an idiot: he knows what's happened. However, he's a naturally optimistic sort of person, and when friends have tried to console him, he points out that he did get a promotion out of the deal, and this assignment gives him the chance to get the kinks out of his command style far away from the watchful eyes of the chain of command. His plan is to pay his dues by being an excellent squad leader, and trust the system to reward his efforts. As such, he's determined to make a good impression on both his 'men', and on the locals of the border, and tends to volunteer his squad for all manner of unusual missions. He tends to be sincere, enthusiastic, and honest, although his fury in battle is unrestrained, preferring to get in close to bash and kill rather than command from afar. He's a bit lacking in the sense of humor department, over analyzing simple jokes, or pointing out the flaw in a shaggy dog story out of an apparently sincere desire to get things right.





Derrick Starshadow
Position: Mercenary Warlock, Hand of the Queen of Silver Flame
Age: 21, Skin: Pale, shiny, Hair: Platinum Blond, Eyes: Silver
Strength: 11, Dex: 14, Con: 10, Int: 13, Wis: 12, Charisma: 18

Gains a bonus At-Will Power, Feat, and Skill.
Defensive Bonuses: +1 Fort, +2 Will, +2 Reflex
Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Simple Melee, Simple Ranged
HP: 22, Healing Surges: 6

Trained Skills: Arcana, Thievery, History, Bluff
Pact: Fey

Powers:
Shadow Walk: If the character moves three or more steps/squares in a turn, he gains concealment.
Prime Shot: If the character is the closest party member to a target, he gains a +1 bonus to ranged attacks.
Warlock's Curse: Choose a target, do 1d6 extra damage against that target on successful attacks. (PACT) In addition, if the target falls to 0 HP, the character may turn to a silver mist, and teleport up to 3 squares away.
Eyebite (At-Will): Ranged attack does 1d6+4 damage, plus renders the target unable to see the character until the character's next turn.
Eldrich Blast (At-Will): Simple ranged attack that does 1d10+4 damage.
Dire Radiance (At-Will): Radiant ranged attack that does 1d6 damage. If the target comes closer to the character on its next turn, the radiance does another 1d6 damage.
Witchfire (Encounter): Ranged fire attack that does 2d6 +4 damage, plus penalizes the target's attack rolls by -2 until the next turn.
Armor of Agythas (Daily): Character gains +12 HP until the end of the encounter. Additionally, adjacent enemies take 1d6 damage at the start of the turn.

Feats:
Astral Fire: Fire and Radiant type spells do +1 damage.
Quick Draw: Can draw and use a weapon or similar item in the same action, and gains a +2 to initiative.

Background:

Derrick 'Starshadow' was born Derrick di Trellin, the last name given to all of the citizens of the small, northern village of Trellin, except those of noble lineage, which Derrick most certainly was not. His father and mother were simple farmers, who tithed to all the right temples, paid their tax levies, and largely tried to avoid being noticed by anyone or anything out of the ordinary. Except for one bright, midsummer night when Derrick's mother met a strange and beautiful nobleman during the village festivities. Midsummer was the one night when indiscretion was not only overlooked, but encouraged, and no one cared that the middle-aged woman did not return to the village until mid-morning, although the silver necklace around her neck did cause some stir...mostly envy. Even when Derrick came along nine months later, he was unremarkable in the crop of other Midsummer babies.

At least until the age of 10, when a strange male figure began appearing in the child's dreams, claiming to be his father. Bewildered and trapped by a strange longing, the child confided his dreams to his closest relative, his older sister. The girl remembered the necklace and that Midsummer festival, and told Derrick about them. Derrick persuaded his sibling to help him get a look at the necklace, long hidden away, and upon touching the silver metal, Derrick heard the voice in his waking thoughts for the first time, urging him to go into the forest. He obeyed, his sister following worriedly behind him, and at a nearly destroyed ruin, met the Knight of Dreams, servant of a powerful fae spirit, and Derrick's natural father. Entranced, the child swore his allegiance to his father's kith, despite his sister's objections. The sealing of the pact knocked both children out, and when they came to, there was no evidence that it wasn't a dream...but for the tattoos on Derrick's collarbone, in the shape of his mother's necklace.

The two children attempted to hide what they had done, but over the next two years, Derrick received many dreaming visits from the Knight, and learned things he had no way of knowing. Worse yet, his very body began to be warped by the energies channeled into his sleeping form, bleaching his hair, eyes and skin towards silver. Old resentments and fears among the villagers began to flare, and they whispered that the boy was possessed, or worse, had willingly signed a pact with darkness. His sister joined the village militia, but her ability to succeed was hampered by her need to defend and protect her little brother. As even their parents began to acknowledge that something was Off about their youngest child, the two siblings drew closer together, forming a pact of their own against the world.

Matters drew to a head when the 13 year old Derrick unleashed his first magic against a village bully, nearly killing the young man with blasts of strange, silver power that certainly came from no respectable wizard's handbook...not that the child could read, anyway. He was captured, then freed by his sister, who took him away with her. Since then, the two have been roving mercenaries, afraid to stay in one place, lest superstition catch up to them again...particularly now that the Fae have made an all out assault on the country.

Derrick's personality is increasingly disconnected from the real world. He seems to drift through the days in a haze of visions and daydreams. The only things that never fail to bring him into focus with the rest of the world are battles, and his sister's voice or touch. One she's got him back with the rest of the material realm, he can be an excellent source of arcane information, and even charming. Rarely is he friendly or considerate, however; he doesn't seem to see people as /people/ as much as they are pieces on some giant game board. Again, the exception is his sister; she seems to be his only remaining tie to the world, and he will fiercely defend her.

The changes in his form are ongoing, and they are a constant source of pain for him, as even his skeletal structure seems to be shifting. For the discomfort, he chews narcotic leaves...which might also contribute to the near-constant haze he wanders in.





Alita di Trellin
Position: Mercenary Fighter
Age: 27, Skin: Darkly tanned Hair: Black, Eyes: Brown
Strength: 16, Dex: 16, Con: 12, Int: 10, Wis: 13, Charisma: 11

Gains a bonus At-Will Power, Feat, and Skill.
Defensive Bonuses: +3 Fort, +1 Will, +1 Reflex
Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail, scale, light shield, heavy shield, simple melee, military melee, simple ranged, military ranged
HP: 27, Healing Surges: 10

Trained Skills: Heal, Athletics, Endurance, Thievery

Powers:

Combat Challenge: Mark a target to penalize any attack roll that target makes that doesn't include you as a target by -2. Also gives additional attacks when a marked enemy adjacent to you shifts or attacks someone else.
Combat Superiority: +1 bonus to opportunity attacks, and opportunity attacks stop an enemy from moving.
Reaping Strike (At Will): A flurry of attacks that does weapon + 3 damage if it hits, and 1 damage even if it misses.
Cleave (At Will): A wide attack that damages two enemies. First one takes weapon + 3 damage, second one takes 3 damage.
Sure Strike (At Will): +2 bonus to attack, but only does the weapon's base damage.
Covering Attack (Encounter): A distracting attack does 2xWeapon + 3 damage, and allows an ally to move 2 squares.
Comeback Strike (Daily): A powerful strike that rallies you in battle: do 2xWeapon + 3 damage, and spend a healing surge.

Feats:
Two-Weapon Fighting
Jack of All Trades

Background

Alita tends towards the stern, serious, and ruthlessly protective. Since an early age in their small village, she was placed in charge of her precocious, strange younger brother, and encouraged to take her responsibility quite seriously. She believes now that she was far more indulgent than she should have been, and wonders, on some level, if his otherworldly heritage was employed to influence her on his behalf. And then, in the next instant, she sees what's left of the child she practically raised, and feels guilty for even thinking about it.

She became a fighter in order to protect her village, and left her village to protect Derrick. Although some might resent this, Alita has actually found that she enjoys the mercenary's life: as a village farmwife, she never would have been allowed to see such places as she has seen, nor meet the people she has met. Unlike nearly everyone in her village, both she and her brother can now read, and during the good times, more money has passed through their hands in a month than their entire village is likely to see all year. She secretly dreams of returning to Trellin as a knight of the realm, or perhaps even a landed noble, with her brother at her side as a hero or great sage, to prove to the villagers and her family that they were wrong to cast them out, but on her more realistic days, she knows that they would be as terrified of a noble Alita as they were of a fae Derrick.

Nonetheless, that is one of the reasons she took this current mission. She hopes to be able to distinguish herself and Derrick in the eyes of the local military...namely, the Dragonborn Lieutenant, although his eager courage is pretty much contrary to everything she's learned about being a mercenary. Still, the pay is good, and the risk is low...which is a good thing, because she fears that her brother is slipping further and further away, and may soon not be able to focus long enough to fight.





Kess Suntouched
Position: Summer-sworn Cleric of Pelor
Age: 50 Skin: Stone grey Hair: Dark Auburn, Eyes: Pale Blue
Strength: 14, Dex: 10, Con: 14, Int: 11, Wis: 18, Charisma: 13

Skill Bonuses: +2 Dungoneering, +2 Endurance
Cast Iron Stomach
Dwarven Resilience
Dwarven Weapon Proficiency
Encumbered Speed
Stand Your Ground
Defensive Bonuses: +2 Will
Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chainmail, Simple Melee, Simple Ranged, Warhammer, Throwing Hammer
HP: 26, Healing Surges: 9

Trained Skills: Religion, Heal, Arcana, History, Endurance

Powers:
Healer's Lore: Add +4 to HP gained through use of healing prayers.
Bonus Feat: Ritual Caster (Gentle Repose and
Channel Divinity - Divine Fortune (Encounter): +1 to next attack roll or saving throw. Lasts one turn.
Channel Divinity - Turn Undead (Encounter): 1d10 + 4 radiant damage, and push the target 4 squares back. Can only be used against undead.
Healing Word (Encounter): Target can spend a healing surge and gain an additional 1d6 (+4) HP.
Priest's Shield (At Will): Weapon +2 damage, and character and one adjacent ally gain +1 to AC until end of turn.
Sacred Flame (At Will): 1d6+4 Radiant damage, and one ally either gains a saving throw or gains 1 temporary HP.
Healing Strike (Encounter): Weaponx2 +2 radiant damage, and the target is marked until end of turn. Character or an ally can spend a healing surge.
Guardian of Faith (Encounter): Summon a radiant guardian until end of encounter.

Feat: Student of the Sword (one-handed melee, gain training in Endurance)

Background:

Kess was born to a proud warrior line of the Copperhands Clan of dwarves, a small enclave that resides along the western borders of the country. She is the middle child of five, a prodigious number among the dwarven families. The Copperhands have always made their way in the world, and trained their young, by hiring out as mercenaries while they are young and foolish. It is believed that spending your youth in the world is the only way to make a proper, responsible dwarven adult. So, once she reached maturity and passed her rite of passage, Kess set out with her other year mates as a unified company, selling their hammers and skills to various lordlings and merchants. The Copperhands have a reputation for reliability and honesty, so their trade was welcome all over the country.

Only about five years after they set out, the group was between missions, and looking for a place to sleep. They found an abandoned temple, marked with the radiant mark of Pelor, Sungod. Although not one of their deities, the reputation of Pelor was good, so they dropped a few coins on the ancient altar, and went to sleep. Little did they realize that the place had been infested by dark powers, their servants desecrating the temple with the blood of travelers who trusted in the protection of the god. The company of dwarves was nearly slaughtered in the night, the fighting vicious and without hope...until a ringing blow drove Kess back into the statue of Pelor's arms, and she heard a voice ringing in her head. It pleaded for her help, but made it clear that if she took up the mantle offered, she could never go home again, and the lives of her brethren were forfeit. A vision of the havoc the dark servants would wreak, unopposed, filled her mind, and even as she sorrowed, she chose to embrace the foreign god, to wipe out the enemy.

The tide of the battle changed, and when the fighting was finished, she and three of her fellows stood victorious. However, her fellow dwarves had not failed to notice the power she wielded, and when she told them of the voice, the four sat down and talked through the rest of the night about what must be done. It was agreed that her brethren would be 'forfeit' as the god desired; she was now dead to her clan, but honorably so. Together, they buried their fellows in the morning light, and erected a gravestone for her, as well. When Kess parted ways with her brethren, she took on the new name, Suntouched, to complete her transformation to a servant of Pelor.

Since then, she has traveled through most of the country, giving aid to humans and demihumans alike. Although many of her fellow clerics have urged her to settle down and found a temple, Kess is still enamored of her mercenary roots, and prefers the rambling life. She signs up with mercenary squads on occasion, providing healing and a strong arm in exchange for companionship. Her personality is stolid and practical: one could even say 'down-to-earth' without offending her, since she also has a healthy sense of humor. Her 'bedside manner' is not the best in the world; as a member of a famously healthy race, she tends to view anything short of outright mutilation to be a minor issue that can be walked off. If someone insists on being treated for 'minor' issues, she will, but usually with several pointed remarks on the individual's bravery and maturity...or lack thereof.

She prefers not to cause fights, and against anything but undead or demonic spirits, will suggest reason first. But when the knives come out...well, that's what the hammer engraved with the sunburst is for, and she's no shirk at wielding it, either. She retains training from her time as a warrior, and has been known to perhaps enjoy the fight a little more than is good for a cleric of a largely peaceful deity...




Name: Dusenache "Duke"
Race: Tiefling
Class: Rogue
Level: 1
Concept: Conscript…er, volunteer.

Str: 13 Dex: 16 Con: 12 Int: 16 Wis: 10 Chr: 13

Powers:
Skill Bonuses: +2 Bluff, +2 Stealth
Bloodhunt
Fire Resist
Infernal Wrath
Defense Bonuses: +2 Reflex

Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, dagger, hand crossbow, shuriken, sling, short sword
HP: 24 Healing Surges: 7
Trained Skills: Stealth, Thievery, Acrobatics, Bluff, Perception, Streetwise

First Strike: On the first turn of the first round of any encounter, character gains combat advantage over any enemy who has not yet acted.
Rogue Tactics (Artful Dodger): +1 AC against Opportunity Attacks
Rogue Weapon Tactics: Shuriken go up one /die type/, +1 to attack rolls using daggers.
Sneak Attack: +2d6 on any attack where the rogue has combat advantage (once per round).
Sly Flourish (At-will): A distracting attack that does damage equal to the weapon + 4.
Riposte Strike (At-will): A cunning attack that does damage equal to the weapon + 3 damage, and allows the rogue to automatically counter attack if their enemy attacks them next turn.
King's Castle (Encounter): An underhanded attack that does 2 times the weapon's damage plus three, AND allows the rogue to switch places with an adjacent ally.
Blinding Barrage (Daily): A ranged blast attack that unleashes a barrage of crossbow bolts for 2 times the weapon's damage +3 against each target in range, and blinds them for a turn.

Feat: Skill Focus (Bluff)

In a tongue more ancient than the one the Dragon Kings brought to Eisengen, the word 'Dusenache' means 'loved by all'. This is the kind of irony in naming that the gods smile upon…which is why Dusenache now only answers to Duke. He was born of the tainted lines of the Black Priesthood, those who ruled the country before being conquered by the Dragon Kings. For their numerous crimes, of which mingling their blood with the hungry, malevolent fiends of the lower worlds was only the least appalling, the Priesthood itself was slaughtered down to the last acolyte. However, their victims, their wives, and their children were spared by the mercy of the Dragon, and so the line itself lives on.

It's not very well /liked/, however, not least of which because of people like Duke's parents. Part of a cult dedicated to keep the Priesthood lines pure, and eventually overthrow the Dragon Kings and resurrect their glorious past, Duke's parents were discovered and imprisoned, along with their young son, when the lad was only three.

Duke grew up in the prisons, among the justly and unjustly condemned alike. It's given him a quick hand, a lying tongue, and a disdain for the entire concept of 'justice'. He's got no interest in following in his parents' footsteps, but he's hardly enchanted with the local authorities, either. At the age of 13 he was released from the prisons with a loaf of bread, the clothes on his back, and a certificate that says that the prison-mark on his left hand was not his fault. Not that anyone was interested in reading the certificate. He drifted from street gang to street gang in the capital city, finding himself ill-suited for the loose, violent associations of the streets, but even worse off when he tried to interact with 'respectable' people. It's possible that he would have fallen into despair, or been taken for use by the serious criminals, except that he ran into fifteen year old Aliss.

Unusually for dragonborn, Aliss was a street rat, and proud of it. She ran in no gang, but managed to stay on most of their good sides thanks to her smooth tongue and quick thinking. In Duke, she saw a protégée and a friend. Within a few weeks, the two were nearly inseparable, and most of what Duke knows about the con and the way of the light-fingers, he learned from her. However, when the Faewild invasion began, the armies needed troops, and the abundant population of the poor city dwellers made excellent conscript stock, to certain thinking. Aliss was conscripted, and Duke barely escaped.

He spent the next several weeks hiding, but each place was swept clean by Kingsmen looking for more warm bodies for the war. Conscription, he knew, was a no-win game: if the King took you, he kept you for fifteen years, at the lowest pay possible, unless you distinguished yourself in battle. Duke was hoping to never actually see a battle, so that was out. And if you defected from the King's Army, a beheading was the /best/ you could hope for. Things were getting desperate, until he heard a dwarven priest chatting with a merchant in the market about needing a guard. Priests could not be conscripted, nor could their servants. In a flash, Duke came up with The Grand Plan. He'd sign on with the priest to get out of the city, and then disappear in the next decent sized town they came to. The first part of the plan worked perfectly: Kess Suntouched took one look at the scrawny, ill-nourished young man and immediately offered him the job.

The second part…well. Somehow, he can't seem to get around to it. He likes the dwarven woman; she reminds him of Aliss in a way, but older and less prone to whacking him on the head. Kess has started teaching him chess, and people look at a priest's guard a lot differently than they did at a street rat of tainted blood. Even when he found out that she was hooking up with the Army, he didn't run. After all, he figures, it's on the end of the country AWAY from the crazy elves. What's the worst that could happen?

In personality, Duke comes off as careless and a bit insensitive, but very bright for all of that. He's not great at people, except when he's lying: few people can turn a story as quickly or convincingly as Duke, and he lies a lot, even when he doesn't have to. Still, he's rarely malicious, and towards those he actually likes, he displays an over-eager puppy sort of anxiousness to please that often has people wanting to either pat him on the head or slap him silly. He's far more likely to try and talk down a conflict than jump into a fight, but once he has to pull his knife, he fights dirty.



There. That's five decent, effective characters with personalities that are not just allowed by the mechanics, but /facilitated/ by them. Moreover, each of them is competent not only in battle, but their skills allow them to contribute meaningfully in non-combat situations as well.

From: [identity profile] usekh.livejournal.com


4e also plays really really smoothly too once you get used to it. I love it. I will admit is perhaps doesn't have as much "rules support" for RPing, but really..who needs that?

From: [identity profile] aerlorn.livejournal.com


Mmmmmm. Are Pee. I miss that. Sadly my Monday night game has been disbanded so I am without my D&D fix. Although technically it was Pathfinder.

From: [identity profile] pyrephox.livejournal.com


I miss it, too. It makes me think bad thoughts about running something, but the problem is that I don't want to run, I want to /play/. So I dive into something all enthusiastic, but it doesn't last because I really want to grab a character and go.

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