While the Lost Omens World Guide can help answer things like “Where are you from?” and “Where are you going?,” I think that the Lost Omens Character Guide tries to help answer an even more critical question: “Who are you?” The Character Guide offers great information on ethnicities for our core ancestries and even new ancestries to choose from! However, there’s more to your character than your ancestry. Almost as important as your ancestry is the people you know and with whom you associate. Are you a member of the local guard or thieves’ guild? Did you join up with your nation’s army? Are you part of a doomsday cult or a church of an obscure deity?
The organization or organizations you join can have just as an important role in your character’s life as their class or ancestry. Because of this, we wanted the Character Guide to also take a look at some of the notable organizations in the Inner Sea region. This includes obvious groups like the Pathfinder Society, but also organizations that have had less time in the spotlight over the years like the Magaambya Academy. For the Character Guide, we landed on five spots for major organizations which include the Hellknights (lawful), Knights of Lastwall (lawful good), Magaambya Academy (neutral good), and the Pathfinder Society (neutral). After we decided on these four, we realized that chaotic characters didn’t really have an obvious group to join. Some back and forth happened and eventually I pitched an idea for a brand new organization and thus, the Firebrands were born. (If you missed it, we even had a preview of their shenanigans with some fiction by Chris A. Jackson a few weeks back!)
Who are the Firebrands? Depends on who you ask! Some people say they are rebels and rabble rousers who travel the Inner Sea region to fight tyranny and help the oppressed. Others say that they are just grandstanders with a penchant for fashion and drawing attention to themselves. In a way, they’re both right. The Firebrands began life as rebels when the people of Vidrian reached out to the people of Ravounel in an act of solidarity shortly after the founding of both new nations. In the process, the Vidric rebels and the Silver Ravens met up and realized that they both still had that rebellious fire and wanted to join up and continue fighting oppression. Eventually word of these first Firebrands got out and, in an attempt to ask for their aid, some rebels in Galt publicly declared themselves as Firebrands. While not officially part of the original group, these Firebrands had that same fighting spirit and others believed them to be part of the organization, too.
This leads to more and more people declaring themselves Firebrands and things getting out of hand. Eventually, some Free Captains do it to stick it to the man, which in turn becomes a trend among others. This fad of “joining” the Firebrands escalates to a whole movement of people doing so for the thrill of going around and doing daredevil acts and having fun. These Firebrands in turn draw lots of attention away from the rebellious side of the group and then we have the Firebrands of today. If you’re playing a Firebrand, you might choose to go in on the fun and gaudy lifestyle, drawing throngs of people to hear about your latest exploit. In that case, you might end up taking the Entourage skill feat.
However, drawing and maintaining an entourage takes a lot of work. In fact, only the most well-known Firebrands have the popularity to draw large groups of people. If you’re not popular enough yet, maybe it’s time to go and delve another ancient ruin or wear some more eye-catching clothing! You can always head to the Vaunter’s Carnival—a yearly gathering of Firebrands full of boasting and friendly competition—in hopes of gaining enough of a reputation to build your own entourage.
Maybe you’re not the kind that likes attention. Maybe you prefer to help others and would prefer to use your popularity to inspire others to do good. The Firebrands are the perfect organization for that kind of character. Vigilantes and do-gooders of all types can use the Firebrands as a mask to go around and help those in need. Maybe putting on a persona is still too much. In that case, the Firebrands are also perfect at helping you remain anonymous, as anyone can join the group. In fact, the Firebrands make use of gear to keep their deeds hidden like the insistent door knocker, the unmemorable mantle, and one of my favorite first edition items, snapleaf!
Many of the options featured in the organizations section of the Character Guide are uncommon or rarer options. Some of these, like the snapleaf above, are widespread enough that you can acquire them even without a connection to the organization. For those that are less common, it’s generally a simple matter of joining up with the organization. Each section features details on how to join these groups, allowing GMs and players to work together to get characters membership as their respective stories allow. For the Firebrands, it’s actually a simple process: go somewhere that has a lot of people and publicly declare yourself a Firebrand. You did it! You’re a first mark Firebrand! Moving up in the ranks is a bit tougher than that, though. You have to gain a reputation and eventually have to have a recognized second mark Firebrand officially accept you as a Firebrand. Once this happens, you have become a second mark and gain access to most of the section’s rules options, including the new Firebrand braggart archetype!
This archetype is all about boasting and trying to do as many death-defying deeds as possible, placing your reputation on the line in the process. Firebrand braggarts can make big boasts about something they’re about to do, such as a Long Jump over a chasm, and if they succeed, gain a bonus to other Long Jump checks for a while as they ride high on their success. If they fail, however, they take a penalty to further checks for some time as their bruised ego recovers. Later feats allow braggarts to taunt their foes to trick them into letting their guard down, do fun stunts that let them dance around the battlefield, and even defy death by their sheer determination alone. The Firebrand braggart archetype is a double-length archetype taking up two pages and the Firebrand Braggart Dedication feat is available starting at 4th level.
That’s just a taste of what the Firebrands have to offer. If you’ve always wanted a group that encouraged adventuring for the sake of adventuring, fun, and prestige, then you should check out the Firebrands! If you think that too many tyrants are up to no good and the world needs more heroes, then you should check out the Firebrands! If you think these Firebrands are too much of a nuisance and should learn their place, then you should check out our preview of the Hellknights next week! Regardless, I think you should check out the Lost Omens Character Guide when it releases on October 16th. It’s going to be fun!
Where There's Smoke, There's Firebrands!
Tuesday, September 17, 2019