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Washed up actor, recruited to live out his character...how would you build it?


Advice

Grand Lodge

I was looking for something to watch on Netflix yesterday and ran across a new Netflix made movie called 'Mindhorn'. The premise of it is an over the hill actor who had a short lived hit show back in the 70s/80s but threw his career away through a lifetime of bad choices, gets called in to help the police through an obsessed fan who thinks his character was real. Shenanigans ensue.

This inspired me to try to build something similar in PF. I am picturing an aging (overweight, balding, etc), former actor, who has fallen into obscurity, but still fancies himself as the sexy playboy celebrity he was in his heyday. Imagine Jason Nesmith/Peter Quincy Taggert from Galaxy Quest meets Ron Burgundy. Arrogant, overconfident, horribly sexist, not very bright (or skilled), living decades in the past both in mentality and fashion sense.

His stage persona would be a dramatic hero type from a bygone age...I am a bit stuck on an exact heroic style, I am kind of thinking something pulp hero-ish...but it will depend on class makeup I suppose.

My first thought goes to the Vigilante class...the dual identity mechanic seems like a good fit for the duality of the actor/character. It isn't a requirement though. If anyone has any better ideas, I am open to just about anything.

Lastly, this would be for PFS play, so 20pt buy, level 11 cap, and only PFS legal choices. I am open to multi-classing options, dips, or even just single classing all the way through.


Vigilante could work... my first thought was a bard of some sort with lots of bluff...

Honestly, I'm not sure how I would make a character that is supposed to be convincing at a role, but not actually be ABLE to do that role?? It's a tough mechanical hurdle.

Probably some kind of high charisma thing, and then build the warrior/hero as normal and just roleplay him as overweight and balding... Especially for PFS I'd be hesitant to bring in someone intentionally mechanically inferior... I hear those players get testy about things like that.

I'd say the best way to play him, is that he'd been faking this hero stuff for so long that he actually does have some of the skills that he'd been pretending all along. Galaxy Quest was really the first thing I thought from the title. Tim Allen wasn't in the best of shape, but he was still running and fighting pig monsters and muddling though a whole lot better than I would have because he was so... 'in character'.

Grand Lodge

I definitely picture him as having once been in peek condition, and very much a method actor (did all his own stunts, etc.)

He is starting at level 1 however, so nowhere near the skill level he was portraying on stage.

I thought about bard as well, since the character is an actor...but the mechanics don't seem right. Bardic Performance and spell casting just don't really seem right for this guy.

Looking over the vigilante class a little more in depth, the Teisatsu archetype Stalker vigilante is kind of catching my attention. His hero character could be supposedly trained in the ancient arts from Tien-Xia ...only have the details wrong, since his writers really didn't know much about Tien culture.


I kinda feel like a swashbuckler could work.


What about a bard who multiclasses into a swashbuckler as he starts to transform into the character he only pretended to be before?

Sure, maybe it isn't super-optimal, but it could still be fun. His inspire courage ability could be oratory-based, as he calls out some of his character's famous lines as he attacks!

Maybe consider Arcane Duelist archetype to better fit the mold, or maybe Daredevil? Celebrity fits, of course, but is a horrible archetype from a 'power' perspective.


Paladin is another amusing concept for this. The code is rife for amusing misinterpretations and playing an effectively int 7 paladin as a well meaning and utterly bombastic moron was a riot for me anyway.

Plus its a nice juxtoposition between the person and character, from a basic jerk/schlub in reality as opposed to a literal ultimate knight in shining armor.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The Dandy Ranger sounds like it could be a good fit. It involves having regal/celebrity contacts (maybe old acting buddies who are still in the game?), and schmoozing through social situations, but still having the combat prowess of a Ranger.


Plain old bard would work just fine.

Love the dandy ranger idea.


There's also a book about a Buffy-type actor who finds herself having to be the character she played:

http://www.baen.com/the-warslayer.html

Free to download book.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Medium would be an amusing way to do this. Channel the spirit of your character, possibly from different plays/episodes. It's Cha based so you have room for Perform and face skills.

Silver Crusade

The Steel Refrain wrote:

What about a bard who multiclasses into a swashbuckler as he starts to transform into the character he only pretended to be before?

Sure, maybe it isn't super-optimal, but it could still be fun. His inspire courage ability could be oratory-based, as he calls out some of his character's famous lines as he attacks!

I was thinking something similar, but since he's more supposed to be his own combatant, not inspiring others, go for a "selfish" bard archetype, like Dervish Dancer (not to be confused with the similar Dawnflower Dervish) or something like that. It seems like the type of fighting style that would be flashy enough for an actor, and the Inspire Courage only works on yourself (but at double bonus, IIRC). Stick to the flashiest spellcasting you can get, like Silent Image, to suit his former acting career. Then multiclass into swashbuckler as he really becomes good with a sword. Or some other martial class (fighter, unchained rogue, monk), if you want a different fighting style, but swashbuckler seems most appropriate for a stage combatant.

Or just go straight swashbuckler. I don't know that much about the class, so I don't know how badly a single level dip will slow down its progression. But I think the one level of a selfish bard archetype that can buff yourself in combat and give you a couple of spells could complement it well. Plus, taking a round to buff yourself while saying "Wait, wait, I wasn't ready! Give me a moment to get into character!" just seems appropriate to the concept.

Silver Crusade

Markov Spiked Chain wrote:
Medium would be an amusing way to do this. Channel the spirit of your character, possibly from different plays/episodes. It's Cha based so you have room for Perform and face skills.

I really like that idea. I'm a huge fan of the fluff for the Medium class. I just wish it was better mechanically. But if you stick to the Champion spirit, it's a pretty good martial class.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This 3rd party product has a Medium archetype that might be exactly what you are looking for.

Silver Crusade

David knott 242 wrote:

This 3rd party product has a Medium archetype that might be exactly what you are looking for.

The original post said this is for Pathfinder Society, so no third party sources are allowed.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In that case, you might prefer any legal Medium archetype that is not tied to location (such as the two in the Haunted Hero's Handbook). Without the location ties, the spirit legends can become roles from your character's past as an actor.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay this idea is a bit loopy but what if you have a spiritualist with the fractured mind archetype.

He is literally haunted by a past role and is gaining the power he once acted having.


Just play a Core Rogue with Perform (Act); the washed up character builds itself!


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Hubaris wrote:
Just play a Core Rogue with Perform (Act); the washed up character builds itself!

Why not Unchained Rogue? It's not like the Unchained Rogue gives up anything for its added benefits.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would go with a bard and focus on being a support and some minor control via the dazzling display feat.

Dazzling display is perfect for looks good with a sword but can't actually use one well, and the penalties are worth the action being spent. Your persona is a great swordsman or swashbucker, but you don't actually have the stats or feats to back that up.

Bardic performance (acting, comedy or oratory) would be a great fit for an actor.

I can certainly see how spells don't totally fit the concept, although in Golarion a large number of performers (i.e. all of them with that bard class) have magic abilities. Basically in that world, being good at entertaining gives you magic.

I would consider the diva archetype, it fits thematically and you don't give up anything too great.

Grand Lodge

Definitely going to have to read up on a few of these suggestions, like the fractured mind spiritualist and the medium. (Conveniently, I already own a copy of Occult Adventures). Interesting ideas, not really what I had in mind...but if I do some reading about them, it might inspire me :)

The Paladin is an interesting idea, but really doesn't fit the self centered, egotistic, etc. personality I had envisioned for this guy.

I'll have to do some more reading on a few of the bard archetypes, and a bunch of reading up on the swashbuckler. I wasn't really picturing this guy as a caster, more of a mundane type...most likely some sort of martial/melee build.

Really, I guess just about any class could work for this concept, as it is mostly a roleplay based concept. Just put a couple skill points into Perform: Acting to cover the backstory, then build from there based on the stage persona.

I keep picturing some 1970s era action star, with a feathered mullet and a bad mustache, striking a karate pose with an awkward looking and not very limber kick about waist high...then fast forward him 30 years to when he has classic male pattern baldness (which he covers with a painfully obvious wig, styled like his old hairstyle), a bit of a gut, and still wearing clothes that were the height of fashion back when he had a career.

As for his heroic on-stage persona, it is a bit more open...I keep flashing through old pulp heroes (The Shadow, The Phantom, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, etc.) or even some more modern takes on the pulp hero (Indiana Jones, Sky Captain, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Have you considered the Masked Performer? Actor Bard with a built in dual identity.

Grand Lodge

The Masked Performer is interesting, kind of makes it into a quasi-vigilante. Still wanting something more mundane and less magic oriented though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

Charlatan Rogue might be worth a look... He definitely strikes me as a 'backstabber' type, less due to evilness and more due to being essentially craven/opportunistic, particularly when he's in over his head.

I also thought this would be an interesting option for a halfling - I keep picturing Warwick Davis in Life's Too Short - and it opens up some really fun theatrical options like the prestige class Halfling Opportunist.

You could even give him Leadership for a skilled and devoted side-kick/groupie... I'm thinking of the character that Wash played in Transformers: Dark of the Moon for inspiration. Let HIM be the actual Bard, and it gives the primary character someone he just couldn't allow himself to let down.

EDIT: If you really like the paladin, the Cavalier solves all your hang-ups with it, but still leaves him with precious few skills.


I'd build this with the Order of the Basilisk Cavalier, which gets a radial (so, including the camera) Intimidate via Dazzling Display. Or maybe our hero only _played_ Don Basilisk, in Enter the Basilisk, The Wyrm... Returns, and Gaze of Evil. (We don't talk about the third Basilisk film)

Mechanically, I might balance any level of 'real' fighting classes with equal levels of lesser-BAB classes for skill points. He needs a lot of skill, and he's not really all that smart.

I also like Ranger if I could spread the Favored Enemy peanut butter around, and make it crunchy. He's no great combattant, but if you're both using rapiers, and you try using Benetti's Defense against him...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
Thornborn wrote:

I'd build this with the Order of the Basilisk Cavalier, which gets a radial (so, including the camera) Intimidate via Dazzling Display. Or maybe our hero only _played_ Don Basilisk, in Enter the Basilisk, The Wyrm... Returns, and Gaze of Evil. (We don't talk about the third Basilisk film)

Mechanically, I might balance any level of 'real' fighting classes with equal levels of lesser-BAB classes for skill points. He needs a lot of skill, and he's not really all that smart.

I also like Ranger if I could spread the Favored Enemy peanut butter around, and make it crunchy. He's no great combattant, but if you're both using rapiers, and you try using Benetti's Defense against him...

You're my kind of people, Thornborn - though I think you mean Order of the Cockatrice..?

Grand Lodge

Which book is Order of the Basilisk from? I cannot find anything on it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
Slyme wrote:
Which book is Order of the Basilisk from? I cannot find anything on it.

Order of the Cockatrice... and if you go that route, consider the Daring Champion archetype.

Grand Lodge

Order of the Cockatrice certainly fits the characters personality, and I like that Daring Champion gives up the mount (which in PFS play seems to not get much use, mostly indoor adcentures)

I'll add that to the list of builds to research :)


Magical Child Vigilante, transforming into their younger/fictional self. (: A former/waning celebrity seems like a good match for the Social side of the Vigilante as well.


I know you mentioned that you weren't initially thinking of a caster, but what about the counterfeit mage archetype? They aren't actually casters, they just pretend to be.

Grand Lodge

Backlash3906 wrote:
Magical Child Vigilante, transforming into their younger/fictional self. (: A former/waning celebrity seems like a good match for the Social side of the Vigilante as well.

For the vigilante, I had been considering the taisetsu archetype...until I learned it was not PFS legal. Now I am kind of favoring just the basic stalker vigilante. The magical child doesn't really fit my concept, too magic focused.

Sah wrote:
I know you mentioned that you weren't initially thinking of a caster, but what about the counterfeit mage archetype? They aren't actually casters, they just pretend to be.

I could see a character being made with the same backstory and using this archetype, it just isn't what I am looking for in this particular character.

Right now the top contenders are Stalker Vigilante, Order of the Cockatrice/Daring Champion Cavalier, Swashbuckler, and Unchained Rogue. Possibly some multi-class conglomeration of more than one of the above.


Wiggz wrote:
You're my kind of people, Thornborn - though I think you mean Order of the Cockatrice..?

Yes, my bad. I was trying to type all that while the back of my mind was naming the character in a fit of outbursts, one of them "Basilisk Bonewrath!", and when I turned back from shushing him, the damage was done.

One other thing Order of the Cockatrice has going for it is the Order's restriction that the Actor, I mean, the Cavalier, must get top billing, I mean, best share. Set you up to bargain, "Very well, equal shares after expenses, but any documentary rights or noble patents derived from the proposed actions..."

:)

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