About Karthan Zhosk
"Seek not control, nor multiply laws,
Appearance: Karthan Zhosk is a tall half-orc with all of his hair shaved from his head, aside from a goatee, his eyebrows, and a long queue. His eyes have large pupils and irises, and nearly no whites. His skin is a deep shade of green-gold, almost like scorched brass, and he moves with lissome grace and solid power. Just standing near him projects a sense of palpable heat radiating from his skin. He is dressed in loose fitting trousers of deep maroon, a bloused shirt of crimson silk with large, capacious sleeves, and a vest of cloth-of-gold. He never seems to wear heavier or lighter clothing, as if mere trivialities of climate cannot dampen his inner fire.
When dressed for adventuring, he bears a heavy crossbow with an elaborate cocking winch, a quiver of 30 bolts, a bandolier of wands, and a few vials of potions carried on his belt.
Personality: There is but one word springs to mind: confidence. Even that word is but a pale, weak reflection of the reality. To be confronted with Karthan Zhosk is merely to have your illusions of adequacy bruised.
In his interactions with lesser men (the majority of the world), Karthan bears them no malice, any more than an elephant bears malice to mice. To those he likes, which is nearly everyone, until they prove themselves unworthy of the distinction, he is loyal, steadfast, and profoundly friendly.
Jhermaug Zhosk - Father. Full blood Orc ranger, working for the city as a scout and messenger.
Van-Haera - Mother. Brass dragon who works in the Stormfare library, directing magical research and providing city defenses when called upon. May well be in the line of succession for leadership of the city in a few centuries.
Alt Race Features: Bestial (+2 Perception) (Replaces Orc Ferocity)
Traits: Highlander (Stealth is Class Skill, +1 to Stealth, +2 in rocky terrain), Gifted Adept (fireball) (+1 caster level on fireball spell)
Feats: Deepsight (Darkvision 120'); Elemental Spell [fire]; Spell Focus [evocation]; Improved Initiative (Bloodline), Expanded Arcana
(50 ranks, total)
Acrobatics: +4 (4 for DEX)
Init: +8, AC 17/21/25, HP 46
Fort: +5, Ref: +7, Will: +8
Permanent Magical Equipment:
Standard Magic Items:
Custom Magic Items
Glove of Gravity Bow: This glove allows the user to cast Gravity Bow on themselves with a command word 3x/day. Its effects last for 2 minutes per use. (1st level spell, 2nd level caster, Command Word Activated, 2nd level caster. 1*2*1800*0.6 = 2,160 GP). It belonged to the raider Amun-Thul, a ranger-wizard who took Craft Wondrous Item.
Quiver of Mending (810 GP), taken from the raider Amun-Thul, this quiver can store up to 60 large crossbow bolts, 80 normal arrows, or 15 javelins. It keeps them dry and secure from falling out. If the broken pieces of an arrow, javelin or bolt are put into it, it will cast mending on the parts as per the 0 level cantrip. It cannot restore the acid charge on the acid bolts, and will not restore the properties of any magical ammunition put in it...but it sure does make it easier to use crossbows without running out of ammunition.
Costing: 0 level cantrip as an item, -10% because of specificity.
Amulet of Ventriloquism (1,800 GP), made custom after seeing an adventuring companion use the spell to distract sentries. Command gesture (touching the amulet) to activate rather than a command word. When activated, it allows the use of the ventriloquism spell for 1 minute at a time, to a range of 40'
Vest of Comfort and Style, (3,500 GP). This item grants the full effect of the endure elements spell to wearer (both hot and cold), and allows the wearer to use disguise self at will; disguise self is enhanced that the illusion of clothing are appropriately tactile as well as visual, including changing footprints for changing boots with it.
Costing: It has two first level spells, one costs 1,000 GP as a constant item, the other costs 1,800 GP; the smaller cost is multiplied by 1.5 to combine them; the enhanced disguise self is an additional +200 GP.
Karthan was given this as payment for escorting a caravan transporting magical goods; it was originally enchanted as the ultimate fashion accessory. Sadly, the wizard who made it overestimated the potential market for it among the nobility, and the handful that were made are floating around as adventuring gear. (in the 'fine ballroom dancing' social set, illusionary clothes are considered gauche in the extreme).
Karthan routinely uses this item to conceal his other magic items; the Circlet of Charisma is usually changed to look like a metal ring his queue is braided through, the appearance of the ring of protection is dulled compared to the other rings on his fingers, and the vest and amulet are usually hidden under illusionary clothes.
26,070 in 'permanent' items.
Expendable Magical Equipment:
Wand of Cure Light Wounds (partial, 13 charges) (195 GP). Taken as a treasure share. Requires DC 20 UMD check to use.
5,135 in expendables.
Masterwork Heavy Crossbow, Large, Darkwood (300+100+160=560 GP), 8 lbs.
(All ammunition is size "Large", which doubles its base cost before other multipliers and additions.)
10 standard tipped crossbow bolts (10 GP) (used for hunting game)
(1,033 in Ammo; all base costs for the ammo are doubled.) 12 lbs of ammo.
Riding Horse, Light, called "Crispy" (75 GP)
4 PP sewn into his breechclout. Emergency getaway money.
(240 GP in 'walking around' money)
105 GP in 'unspecified trade goods' - silver arm bands, silk scarves, packages of spices, bottles of perfume, bottles of hard liquor. Most items have retail values between 3 GP and 10 GP in this mix; treat them as 'cash' with a special effect.
1) When Karthan goes scouting, he will usually use message to stay in touch with others. He has been known to use Prestidigitation and Mage Hand creatively to conceal tracks. The Vest of Comfort and Style is also handy in this regard.
2) When Karthan needs to cast a spell while being stealthy, he activates the Ventriloquism amulet (hence the gesture to activate) and sets his voice to some place far away from the action, and if possible, 90 degrees away from where the intended targets are looking. Ghost Sound is also sometimes cast (after Ventriloquism) as way to give sentries a reason to go somewhere else.
3) Karthan routinely casts Mage Armor, Prestidigitation and Unseen Servant before going any place dangerous. This will also be extended to allies and party members who can benefit.
If it is a situation that cannot be solved through application of rapid oxidation and subsequent enlightenment, Karthan will activate the Glove of Gravity Bow, hand the crossbow to the Unseen Servant to load, and while it's being loaded, use a wand to cast True Strike on himself. On round 3, he's firing 3d8+1d6 acid damage at +26 to hit. If there's sufficient time, he will also be casting Flaming Arrows on the ammo.
In an ideal situation, Karthan uses the wand of Darkness on himself for the 20% concealment bonus, casts Shield, and then does this.
If it looks like it's necessary, he'll use the wand of Bull's Strength on himself to increase his odds of hitting and doing significant damage with his claws, but that's the 'last option of desperation'.
Spellcasting in Combat:
Fireball is the traditional first strike. This is a standard action for Karthan, so he can move 30' and still cast. Range is 720'. Rod of Widen Spell makes this very potent!
Flaming Acid Arrow is useful for dealing with creatures with Evasion (2d4+6 damage/round for 3 rounds, no saving throw). The damage can be specified as half-and-half between Acid and Fire; if it's done as "half-and-half", the damage drops by 1 point (losing the Draconic bloodline bonus). It does require a Ranged Touch attack (errata on the core rulebook). Because it's metamagic, the spell is a full round cast, limiting him to a 5' step while casting. Note the difference between a full round cast and a 1 round casting time - the latter goes off on the NEXT round, the former goes off on the round the spell was cast. Range is 720'
Haste and Fly have obvious utility.
Acid Arrow is useful for things with fire resistance. It does require a Ranged Touch attack (errata on the core rulebook). Range is 720'
Flaming Magic Missile is effectively a no saving throw fire damage spell. It is still blocked by Shield as normal Magic Missile is, and each missile is affected by fire resistance individually. Because it's metamagic, the spell is a full round cast, limiting him to a 5' step while casting. Note the difference between a full round cast and a 1 round casting time - the latter goes off on the NEXT round, the former goes off on the round the spell was cast. Range is 180 feet. It is his default 2nd level "Let's see what this thing is hurt by" spell.
Detect Thoughts is used for interrogating people, in conjunction with Intimidation and Bluff.
Glitterdust is an area effect control spell, meant to handle things where costing opponents actions is more important than doing damage to them.
Web is used for making barriers and entrapping enemies. Think of it as a way to make a firebreak or prevent him from getting overrun.
Rope Trick provides a secure place to camp, and to give us some chance of keeping scrying off of Cassandra.
Resist Energy is a general purpose party buff, and he tries to preserve his 2nd level spells to cast it.
Burning Hands is his bread and butter close in spell; casting Resist Energy on people standing near him keeps the Burning Hands spell from frying them.
Magic Missile is his "single target" spell, and is useful for things with energy resistance or that are incorporeal.
Mage Armor and Shield have no clever uses. The Lesser Rod of Extend Spell turns Mage Armor into a 16-hour long spell.
Unseen Servant is the most amazing utility spell in the game - see above about how useful it is with a Heavy Crossbow. (The Unseen Servant reloads the crossbow while I burn another charge of True Strike, and it doesn't provoke AoAs.) Plus, it lasts an hour per level, like Mage Armor.
Grease is a generalized "slow the enemy down" spell; note that Prone opponents have significant penalties.
Message is a walkie-talkie spell. It lasts 10 minutes/level per casting, has a range of 160 feet, and lets him and 6 other people have a whispered conversation.
Resistance is a useful self-buff. It will be replaced when he gets a Cloak of Resistance +2. :)
Acid Orb is a "never runs out, last ditch" damage spell. Range is 40 feet. Also useful for destroying documents.
Prestidigitation is used for cleaning clothes, spicing foods, knocking things over, marking objects temporarily, etc. Useful tricks include: Obscuring chalk marks on walls (or making temporary ones), temporarily 'spilling ink' on pages (lasts for an hour), lifting potion vials and other small objects within 10 feet.
Ghost Sound is used to provide distractions while being stealthy. See the uses of the Ventriloquism amulet for how this gets used. Range is 40 feet.
Detect Magic is an informational spell, and Karthan will 'take 20' with his Spellcraft skill to use it as an Identify spell.
Mage Hand is just generally useful. It also serves as a 'poor man's Detect Magic', since it won't let the user pick up magical objects. Range is 40'
Who was Amun-Thul?:
Amun-Thul was the leader of a band of raiders, and was a 1st level Wizard, 6th level Ranger, with the Craft Wondrous Items feat. Her preferred tactic was to have a henchman cast Enlarge Person upon her while she cast Gravity Bow from the glove, and then she'd fight with the Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery feats, shooting twice per round with effectively a siege weapon. Karthan defeated her through use of Flaming Magic Missiles and Acid Arrows, thrown from within a Darkness spell centered on him (after doing every AC buff he could get...). In the end, that AC plus 50% concealment kept him alive.
Nobody in the adventuring party wanted the crossbow, the archer in the group couldn't use the glove of Gravity Bow, and the quiver of Mending was thrown in as a package deal.
Since then, he's grown fond of getting specialty ammunition for it, particularly bodkin points and acid-filled bolts. He hit upon the idea of using wands of True Strike and Unseen Servant to go with it on his own; he's still not as effective as Amun-Thul was with the weapon just due to lower rates of fire.