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Organized Play Member. 108 posts (4,073 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 4 Organized Play characters. 31 aliases.


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I would like to withdraw my interest. I have been invited to join a different game and will not have time for this one.

Sorry to hear about your family troubles GM, I hope everything gets better soon.

If Shikki is selected and the party’s short on Diplomacy I can always move some skill points around to help.

Do you have any concerns about her background, build, etc.?

It felt weird to not put points in Diplomacy given how many skills Shikki has, but she would not make a good party face. It seemed better to focus on her strengths and leave the talking to other people.

Shikki the Sailor is a Ratfolk URogue (Vexing Dodger) with the Aqueous template. Her full build and backstory are in the profile but I'll give a brief-ish summary here.

Shikki shocked her family when she left their comfortable warren in Shadowshore to move into the Azure District and start sailing. Life was good until one of her crewmates betrayed her and sold her to some drow who wanted "rats" to experiment on. Shikki doesn't know whether it was Dagon answering her prayers or a result of the experiments, but either way she developed strange new abilities that helped her escape. (The Aqueous template.) On her way out she found another prisoner, Verik Vanderboren, and freed him too. He gratefully gave her some money and helped her find a new ship to work on (hopefully with fewer treacherous crewmates aboard).

Build-wise she's a fairly standard rogue looking for flanks and focusing on natural attacks. Later she'll start climbing all over enemies, using the Vexing Dodger archetype to debuff and stab them at the same time. Out of combat she's a professional sailor, good scout, and decent liar. (Although her Charisma is low so Bluff is the only face skill I plan to focus on.)

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I made any mistakes with the build.

DM Skull wrote:
The bard VMC would be fine, the Arcane Duelist trades out bardic knowledge.

Does this mean the basic premise has been approved and I may go ahead and roll for stats?

In the interest of not stepping on the existing bard's toes, I've realized I can get the flavor I'm looking for by vmc Sorcerer instead. (Fey bloodline, obviously.) Concept otherwise remains the same.

Basic premise: Gnome Oracle vmc Bard (Whimsy mystery, Haunted curse).

Lucky Bignoodle stumbled into the First World years ago and has been trying to get back ever since. Rumors say that barriers between worlds are particularly thin in the Stolen Lands. This expedition is the perfect opportunity for her to investigate and see for herself.

Good luck everyone! I don't envy the GM their decision.

I'm adding to the pile of submissions. (Sorry, still no Pathfinder's Exile.) Formated for Robert Henry's ease, I present:

Ever_Anon: Taila Fierarus Female Tiefling Oracle (Dual-Cursed), Diabolist Raised

Build: I took the Time mystery and the Covetous (advancing)/Legalistic (non-advancing) curses. The build plan is for her to be a controller/debuffer in combat, plus all the usual healing/condition removal you'd expect from a full divine caster. Out of combat she's got an okay number of skills but Diplomacy is her main shtick.

Brief Background: Taila was born into a minor noble family that's been in decline ever since the rise of the House of Thrune. Recently her uncle murdered her father, stole his estate, and kicked her out onto the street. She's rather annoyed about this. Her immediate goal is to find work so she doesn't starve. Longer-term she wants to make her uncle pay and take back what's rightfully hers.

Personality: Taila has a very dry, no-nonsense personality. She's pretty, knows it, and is not above using flirtation if it suits her purposes. She hates outright lying, (and mechanically I don't plan to ever put points in Bluff), but has a fiend's ability to twist words into half-truths when she needs to. Having been raised in wealth she's convinced she deserves the finer things in life. She's Lawful Neutral and mostly accepts society the way it is. However there's a lot of pent-up anger underneath the surface at how tieflings are treated, and she'll probably find other problems as she gets exposed to the world outside her manor.

Main Character Strengths: Loyal, Truthful, Reliable
Main Character Flaws: Vain, Greedy, Proud

The full character build and backstory can be found in the profile. Let me know if you have any questions!

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I'm interested. I started building a Shisk investigator for another recruitment and would love to play her in this adventure if you'd allow that Rare heritage.

As a lorekeeper-in-training Iksha is a performer as well as a scholar. She'd definitely take the Folklorist free archetype. While her own performances tend to be verbal she's fascinated by the outsider's tendency to put everything down onto paper, even their art.

More specific build details would depend on party composition. I've written up a brief background below.

The shisk rarely write down their secrets. Why would they? Books are material things that can be stolen, unlike knowledge living inside a person’s head. On the rare occasion a shisk actually writes something it’s almost always for trade and considered something of a shameful secret. (That doesn’t keep them from reading of course. Outsiders love writing down information and are often willing to trade it away for the most ridiculous of things, like the shiny stones frequently found in underground caverns.)

Iksha disagreed with this conventional wisdom. While the entire tribe works together to safeguard their knowledge, only the lorekeepers truly know everything. And while lorekeepers are the most protected members of the tribe, accidents do occasionally happen. Many a shisk community has been devastated by an unexpected loss. Why not learn from the outsiders, with their “libraries” and “bookstores”?

The elders clicked their tongues at this presumptive idea. Iksha’s mother was a lorekeeper, and her mother before her, so it had always been assumed that Iksha would follow in their footsteps. She certainly had the intelligence for it. But this strange preoccupation with writing down what she knew…it was unheard of. Dangerous. When she was caught trading for paper and ink, the circle came to a conclusion. She was exiled from the tribe until she either gave up on her foolish notions or returned with proof that the outsiders’ ways were better.

So Iksha traveled to Nantambu, home of the Magaambya, and tried to find her proof. What she found instead was that outsiders were insane. Anyone could walk into a bookstore and trade for any information they wanted, not with valuable information of their own but with mere gold! Sometimes the outsiders would collect information in one of their “libraries” and then abandon it! Worst of all, not everything written in books was even true!

Iksha nearly gave up and returned home, but a core of stubbornness kept her going. The first outsiders she visited might not have had all the answers, but still there had to be another way, a better way, to safeguard precious knowledge. She would continue traveling until she found it.

If this concept doesn't work for you, (either because of the heritage, because your party doesn't need an investigator, or because her connection to the art world is somewhat dubious), please let me know and I can think of something else.

The GM said it would be the same build rules that we had for CotCT. I would assume gunslingers are fine since "All classes from any Paizo publication will be allowed" but have no idea how prevalent they'll be.

Yelena here. I somehow missed that you'd created this thread already.

I'm reconsidering the storm druid. While I still want to play a caster-focused druid, with an arcanist and a zen archer I'm thinking an animal companion might be good to help out in melee. (Plus it would ease the pain of early levels as a full caster.)

GM, how do you feel about dinosaur animal companions, specifically the Spinosaurus? That feels cheesy to me but also really fricking cool.

My less-cheesy thought is a Boa Constrictor. (Who's a good little big danger noodle? You are!)

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Alright. I've got the rulebook and am working on a character. Before I create a profile let's see what mutation my Stalker has.

Mutation: 2d6 ⇒ (4, 5) = 9 45 = Sprinter, which is a useful mutation for a Stalker to have!

I'll try to finish getting a profile together in the next hour or so.

Bullets: 1d6 ⇒ 5
Rations: 1d6 ⇒ 6
Water: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 1) = 4

GM Wolf wrote:

Ever_Anon = Tatyana Weis, Female Human Inquisitor (Royal Accuser) 4 (ranged)

Dslak = Henric Torje, Male human fighter (crossbowman) 4
Zeta Gigamesh = Valiard Tessar, A roguish herbalist.
Edward Sobel = KIMBERLY SNOW Female human oracle (reincarnated oracle) 4
Daniel Stewart= Breynor, Unnamed Hero, Male agathion-blooded aasimar (idyllkin) paladin (oath against undeath) 4


Please post with your aliases in discussion and perhaps make some connections between the group.

To clarify, are you saying the five of us with completed characters should go ahead and post in discussion? Then if the other interested parties complete characters within the next week or so you might run a second table?

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Awesome! This looks like a really cool game.

I'm at work and won't have access to the rulebook until this evening so I can't start creating my character just yet. However since ElbowtotheFace has Enforcer as their top pick and Evindyll wants to play either Fixer or Boss, then I'll go ahead and commit to Stalker.

In Discord I was EverAnon#0642, but they recently changed it so I think now it's just everanon? Let me know if that doesn't work.

I might do some tweaking of equipment and the like, but Tatyana Weis is basically complete. I ended up going for archery so her primary combat role will be ranged damage, with her spells being mainly used for buffing. Outside of combat she's a decent face despite only having 12 Charisma, because the Heresy Inquisition lets her use Wisdom for Bluff/Intimidate and gives free rerolls on Bluff/Diplomacy checks. She also gets 10 skill ranks per level and has invested in a lot of different skills.

As discussed her special aura will be earth and her major flaw is severe claustrophobia.

Please let me know if you have any questions or notice any mistakes!

I'm still interested. If it matters for the selection process I'd prefer to play either a Chronicler or a Stalker.

I think I've got the barebones of the backstory down. (Still working on the build. I can't decide if I want to go melee or ranged.)

My inquisitor will have the Child of the Temple and Subject of Study traits. When she was young her family sent her to the Church of Pharasma to serve as an acolyte. Her skills caught the attention of Zetiah Mardhalas, the High Exorcist, who suggested she be trained as an inquisitor. At some point during that training a gravebound buried her alive. She was only able to free herself due to a (previously unknown) affinity for earth. This peaked Professor Lorrimor's interest and they began corresponding.

Three questions:

1. Would earth be an acceptable choice for the special aura you mentioned? I want to double-check since it's not on the list of suggestions.

2. Could severe claustrophobia count as her major flaw, or would you prefer something less socially acceptable?

3. Could I use the Royal Accuser Inquisitor archetype? I've never played this AP so I'm not sure if having her thematically tied to the prince of Ustalav would cause issues.

Extremely interested. Carrion Crown is an AP I’ve always wanted to try. Am I understanding correctly that we’d be starting at fourth level from the very beginning of the AP? Do we still begin with the normal starting gold for our class? How would that affect future leveling?

Going ahead and rolling for stats:

4d6 ⇒ (1, 1, 4, 1) = 7 6
4d6 ⇒ (4, 1, 5, 5) = 15 14
4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 2, 4) = 17 15
4d6 ⇒ (3, 1, 5, 6) = 15 14
4d6 ⇒ (5, 6, 6, 4) = 21 17
4d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 4, 2) = 16 14
4d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 4, 3) = 14 12

That’s ridiculously good. If you think it’s too good I don’t mind either rerolling or keeping the 6. (The character I’ve had in mind for this AP is a Pharasman inquisitor which, being MAD, would appreciate all those 14s. However dumping Charisma wouldn’t be an issue if you think keeping the 6 would be better for balance.)

I just took a look through the quickstart guide and I'm interested if you decide to run it. Sounds like a very cool setting.

Bronwyn is still around and waiting (mostly) patiently for the final verdict :)

Congratulations to the lucky 5! If you ever need a replacement Lucky will be around.

Nothing to apologize for; these things happen. I'm glad to hear that things are looking good!

I won’t have time to come up with a full character sheet today but here are the basic build ideas and background for my Shisk Investigator. If you have any questions please let me know.

About Me:
I was fairly active on this site a few years ago and played several 2E characters. Unfortunately I had some medical issues and had to drop all my games. I just rejoined a couple months ago and am currently in two games. I check the forums at least once a day.

My most advanced PBP 2E character was Mara Spintho, a PFS rogue who got up to sixth level. IRL I've played a swashbuckler through the first book of Fists of the Ruby Phoenix. I won't pretend I'm an expert with the system, but I am familiar with it and how it works in higher-level play.

I'm also familiar with Roll20 and already have an account. My IRL group uses it as does several of my PBP games.

Character Backstory:
The shisk rarely write down their secrets. Why would they? Books are material things that can be stolen, unlike knowledge living inside a person’s head. On the rare occasion a shisk actually writes something it’s almost always for trade and considered something of a shameful secret. (That doesn’t keep them from reading of course. Outsiders love writing down information and are often willing to trade it away for the most ridiculous of things, like the shiny stones frequently found in underground caverns.)

Iksha disagreed with this conventional wisdom. While the entire tribe works together to safeguard their knowledge, only the lorekeepers truly know everything. And while lorekeepers are the most protected members of the tribe, accidents do occasionally happen. Many a shisk community has been devastated by an unexpected loss. Why not learn from the outsiders, with their “libraries” and “bookstores”?

The elders clicked their tongues at this presumptive idea. Iksha’s mother was a lorekeeper, and her mother before her, so it had always been assumed that Iksha would follow in their footsteps. She certainly had the intelligence for it. But this strange preoccupation with writing down what she knew…it was unheard of. Dangerous. When she was caught trading for paper and ink, the circle came to a conclusion. She was exiled from the tribe until she either gave up on her foolish notions or returned with proof that the outsiders’ ways were better.

So Iksha traveled to Nantambu, home of the Magaambya, and tried to find her proof. What she found instead was that outsiders were insane. Anyone could walk into a bookstore and trade for any information they wanted, not with valuable information of their own but with mere gold! Sometimes the outsiders would collect information in one of their “libraries” and then abandon it! Worst of all, not everything written in books was even true!

Iksha nearly gave up and returned home, but a core of stubbornness kept her going. The first outsiders she visited might not have had all the answers, but still there had to be another way, a better way, to safeguard precious knowledge. She would continue traveling until she found it.

Character Build:
Iksha is a Shisk Investigator with the Empiricist Methodology and the Bookish Providence background. Her preferred starting Harrow Card would be The Empty Throne. With the Lorekeeper Heritage and the Loremaster archetype she will be the person who knows all the things. Unless there's a rogue in the group she'll take the Trap Finder feat so she can fill that role.

In combat she'll use a bow and try to stay out of melee whenever possible. I plan to also invest in Charisma so she can Demoralize/Bon Mot/Evangelize whenever "Devise a Stratagem" fails and/or she has nothing better to do with her third action. (Plus it’s a good idea in general for the person who knows a lot of languages to have decent Diplomacy.)

Other Notes:
I’ve deliberately left the part of Iksha’s backstory after she leaves her tribe open to make it easier to integrate with other players. She could (and would) join just about any non-evil group that does a lot of traveling. Her primary goal is to visit as many different cultures as possible and learn how they safeguard knowledge, (while gaining quite a bit of her own knowledge along the way).

Why would fate be interested in her? Well, for one thing she defied her destiny by leaving her tribe instead of becoming a lorekeeper like her mother. (I considered the Keys to Destiny background but Bookish Providence is overall a better fit.) She believes in agency, free will, and the ability to choose one’s own path in life. Hopefully that combined with the innate extraordinariness of being an 11th level character would be enough.

I'm interested in playing an Investigator with the Loremaster free archetype. Would you consider allowing Shisk Ancestry (Rare)? Their whole culture revolves around collecting and protecting knowledge, which I think would be a lot of fun to play with.

The talk about XP reminds me: will my character start with any additional XP and if so how much? I believe Min was given the choice of either an extra ability or two bonus dots, but that was a couple missions ago.

Hey there, I'm the potential new player WW mentioned. Like he said my initial thought was a Skovlan Leech with the Physicker ability; specifically a former army doctor. She's currently running a small clinic primarily aimed at helping Skovlander refugees who can’t afford anyone else. Easiest way to introduce her would be for Jonah to know her, (either from the war, the clinic, or both), and call her in to check on Finraeth's injury to make sure it's healing well.

The other idea I have kicking around is a Serverosi Cutter loosely based on Eliot Spencer from Leverage. "Not to be Trifled With" would obviously be the first special ability. I was thinking his vice could be Stupor (bare-knuckle boxing), which IIRC is something Finraeth also used to indulge in. Maybe Finraeth calls him in to help protect the crew while he lays low?

I'd be fine playing either of these characters. It all depends on which set of abilities the crew thinks would be the most useful.

I’ve been reading up on the system and am interested if you decide to run it.

Congratulations to those chosen! Hope you all have a great time.

That's understandable, real life takes precedence. I hope you have a good rest of the week!

Mendel Galla would like to submit his application for the expedition. He's a half-elf Occultist (Geomancer/Panoply Savant) with the Azlanti Scholar trait. His primary role will be a melee damage-dealer with some buffing/battlefield control capability. The full build is in the profile.

Regarding waterproofing: Mendel uses piercing weapons (primarily spears) and has the Water Child alternate racial trait. That gives him a bonus to Swim and the ability to always take 10 on Swim checks which helps counteract his ACP of -7. Meanwhile the Geomancer archetype trades one of his two initial implement schools for terrain-based abilities: what spells he knows depends on where he is. In water he'll know Air Bubble, in the forest he'll know Entangle, etc. I hope that all qualifies as "prepared just enough."

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Questions and Answers:
1. What is your character’s name?

Mendel Galla.

2. How old is your character?

Twenty-three years old.

3. What would somebody see at first glance (i.e. height, weight, skin color, eye color, hair color, physique, race, and visible equipment)?

Mendel has very pale skin with a bluish tint that contrasts sharply with his black hair and eyes. His long, pointed ears are an obvious legacy from his elven mother, while his short and stocky build are a gift from his human father. (He is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds.) His primary weapon is a trident which was given to him by his mother. He wears the best metal armor he can afford and carries a shield for extra protection.

4. What additional attributes would be noticed upon meeting the character (i.e. Speech, mannerisms)?

Mendel has a frustrating habit of talking at people rather than to them. He rarely looks people in the eyes and tends to fidget with random items during conversations. His accent places him as a native-born Andoran with a significant amount of education. Overall he gives off the impression of an intelligent, well-read individual who is probably not as smart as he thinks he is.

5. Where was your character born? Where were you raised? By who?

Mendel was born and raised in Almas. He lives with his father in the East Hill district, but his mother was also very involved throughout his childhood.

6. Who are your parents? Are they alive? What do they do for a living?

Mendel’s father is Pavlo Galla, professor of modern philosophy at Almas University. His mother’s name is Tamara and she works as a fisherwoman. The two never married or lived together, but have had an ‘understanding’ for almost thirty years.

7. Do you have any other family or friends?

Most of Mendel’s relatives on the paternal side died during the Red Revolution in Galt. His grandmother and a couple cousins survived, but they disapprove of Pavlo’s relationship with Tamara and rarely speak to his bastard son. The only member of his mother’s family that he’s ever met is his aunt Mariel. She wanders too much for them to form a close relationship, but they’ve gotten along well whenever she’s visited. Mendel has only one real friend: Lucia Volus, a fellow student at Almas University. Lucia focuses on philosophy while Mendel’s primary area is history, but they collaborate whenever their respective areas of study allow it.

8. What is your character’s marital status? Kids?

Mendel is far too busy making a name for himself in academia to have time for such things.

9. What is your character’s alignment?

Lawful Neutral.

10. What is your character’s moral code?

He’s a firm believer in law and order. What is best for the group is best for the individual, even if they can’t always see it. Only by working together as a society will humanity ever reach the heights of the Azlanti.

11. Does your character have goals?

He wants to write a book about Azlanti culture. He’s particularly interested in the creation of ioun stones, since he’s developing his own methods of infusing regular objects with magic.

12. Is your character religious?

No, he sees little reason to venerate one god over another.

13. What are your character’s personal beliefs?

Mendel cares more about knowledge than just about anything else. He’s the kind of person who would run into a burning library to save as many books as possible even if it meant dying in the process.

14. Does your character have any personality quirks (i.e. anti-social, arrogant, optimistic, paranoid)?

Mendel is definitely arrogant. He’s not anti-social by nature, but his sometimes-condescending attitude and tendency to ramble about things no one really cares about keeps him from making many friends.

15. Why does your character adventure? Why did your character accept the job?

He’s been dreaming of going to Azlant ever since learning about the Azlanti as a child at his father’s knee. He hopes to make some groundbreaking discoveries there that will launch his academic career.

16. How does your character view his/her role as an adventurer?

He was rejected from the initial expedition due to relying too heavily on his academic skills in the application. Sure, it’s good to have a scholar around, but not when they can’t take care of themselves in a potentially hostile environment. He’s spent the months since frantically training with both weapons and armor. Now he still views his role as primarily academic, but he also knows he can handle himself in a fight.

17. Does your character have any distinguishing marks (birth-marks, scars, deformities)?

He has a small amount of webbing between his fingers and toes, which he is rather self-conscious about.

18. How does your character get along with others?

Mostly he doesn’t. He works best with fellow academics who understand his ramblings, or with people good-natured enough to not take offense at his attitude. It’s not that he tries to annoy people; he simply doesn’t understand social cues enough to know when he’s being annoying.

19. Is there anything that your character hates?

People who destroy knowledge. He’s also against hiding it, but can reluctantly accept that some knowledge is too dangerous to be widely available.

20. Is there anything that your character fears?

Insanity. The idea of being turned on by your own mind, not being able to trust yourself, thinking you’re behaving rationally when you aren’t…it terrifies him more than anything else.

Notable NPC Interactions:

Alba Divenvaar: Although Mendel has no experience with alchemy he appreciates the craft. Her reasons for wanting to go to Arcadia are very similar to his own reasons for wanting to go to Azlant. I imagine they’d get along well as fellow scholars, and as a dwarf she’d probably be less likely to take offense at any social missteps.

Perrell Beys: A scholar and historian?! Mendel might be in love. He’d definitely want to pick her brain about her perspective on various aspects of Azlanti culture. They could either be the best of friends or he could annoy her into hating his guts. I think either way it would be interesting to roleplay.

General Background:
When Mendel Galla heard the Bountiful Venture Company was forming an expedition to Azlant, it was almost enough to make him believe Desna herself was smiling upon him. He submitted an application as soon as the Company started accepting them and floated through interview after interview. He never doubted the final outcome. He was young, true, but he was one of the most promising scholars of Azlanti lore at Almas University. When he received a rejection slip he at first thought it must be some mistake.

It wasn’t. The Bountiful Venture Company was looking to found a colony, not a university. Knowledge of Azlanti history would be useful, but they needed people who could take care of themselves in an unfamiliar land. Meanwhile the closest thing Mendel had to combat training was the spear-fishing his mother had taught him as a child. A sympathetic recruiter patted him on the back and told him to work on it. Maybe he could improve enough to be accepted later.

Mendel had never suffered a setback like this before. He spent several days wallowing in misery before his friend Lucia told him to get over himself. What kind of scholar was he if he gave up at the first hurdle? He swallowed his pride and admitted she was right, and so was the Bountiful Venture Company. He wasn’t yet ready for an expedition to Azlant. But with hard work he could change that. With even harder work he might improve in time for the second wave of colonists.

The next few months were the most difficult of Mendel’s life. The university allowed him to attend classes for free because of his father’s position, but if he wanted martial training he would have to pay for it himself. He dropped out of classes and started working with his mother as a fisherman. He wasn’t particularly good at it, but she paid him anyway. Both his parents wanted him to succeed after all, and he was trying. (Pavlo secretly paid half of Mendel’s wages as his contribution to the cause.)

With money in hand Mendel went hunting for any training grounds that would take him. The Mad Mongoose wasn’t his first choice, (or second, or third…), but it was cheap and the ex-adventurer running it didn’t immediately call him knife-ears. Soon he settled into a routine. He got up before dawn, joined his mother on the boat, fished until the sun was high, went to the Mad Mongoose, got beaten up for eight or so hours, returned to the fishing boat, fished until the stars were out, went home, and finally collapsed into bed.

At first he thought the exhaustion was causing him to hallucinate. As he switched back and forth between the ocean and the city the land itself would whisper to him. Sometimes his weapons would do the same. Sanctus Asellio always told him to listen to his gear, but he suspected this was a bit more literal than the grizzled human had meant to be. One day, hurting and frustrated after yet another failed bout, he decided to try really listening to what the whispers were telling him. To his shock he was able to move much faster than ever before while his spear did significantly more damage. It was his first victory.

Experimentation proved that the spells he was casting, (if they even were spells), were very different from any arcane tradition Mendel had ever heard of. The spells vanished from his mind the moment he could no longer hear the whispers. He could create a bubble of air around his head in his mother’s boat, but not in his father’s house. He could mend small objects, but only while holding a weapon. To some, these strange new powers might have been terrifying. For Mendel it was fascinating. He remembered the ioun stones created by the Azlanti and further refined by the Thassilonians. No scholar since had been able to replicate their work. Did it have something to do with the whispers? Had the ancients been able to hear them too?

This new area of study only further inflamed Mendel’s desire to see Azlant for himself. When the Bountiful Venture Company began recruiting for the second wave of colonists, he was able to submit a significantly more well-rounded application. He still knew a great deal about Azlanti lore, but now he was also an amateur spellcaster with training in nearly every martial weapon. The same recruiter from before gave him a broad smile as she handed him the letter of congratulations.

He was on his way to Azlant.

Dm Joseph Rauel wrote:

Ever_Anon How long was she in the First World? I only ask because maybe she doesn’t actually know it, but is working on learning First Speech? Maybe she has collected bits of information from investigating and is working from there?

Either way, I would say to just use a rank of Linguistics for it.

She was there for three days from the material world’s perspective, a couple years from her perspective, and about twenty years in actual lived time. (I like playing with how variable time can be in the First World.) Since she had a Sylvan background already I think she should be fairly fluent.

Profile updated with the Linguistics rank as one of her background skills. I took Elvish and Draconic as her two bonus languages for high INT. Thank you!

Seer of Shadows wrote:
Ever_Anon wrote:
Thank you. I've adjusted Bronwyn accordingly. Unless there's something I forgot about she should be completely finished.
I am curious: what choices did you make during the events of the games with this character?

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk any more about these decisions or why Bronwyn made them.

1st Game:

I'm running through the ending slides to remind myself of all the possible options so if these are in a weird order that's why.

Allied with Berath and sent the Hollowborn souls back to the Wheel. It was a close call between this and Hylea's option, but given how many Hollowborn were (understandably) killed in infancy Bronwyn worried returning the souls to their original bodies would cause more harm than good.

Erased Thaos' memories so he could be reborn without them. This was mentioned in her background, but for everything Thaos had done she didn't hate him. This felt like the kindest option.

Killed Raedric twice. Bronwyn didn't like Kolsc, but she liked Raedric less. The Hanging Tree in Gilded Vale left quite an impression on her.

Sided with the Crucible Knights in Defiance Bay, but urged them to stop the Forge Knights project and return to their roots. She also tried to talk them out of their anti-animancy stance. House Doemenel wasn't happening and she thought of the Dozens as petty thugs.

She destroyed the machine in Heritage Hill.

She convinced the duc to rule in favor of animancy. It's a tool as far as she's concerned and she didn't want the research to stop.

Wiped out the cult of Skaen in Dyrfood, freed Aelys from their control, then assassinated Lord Harond. Bronwyn's a kind person but she has hard limits and he crossed all of them.

Maxed out Caed Nua's stats. (Which made the second game hurt all the more.)

She killed Simoc after he demanded she help kill a baby. She did not take Vela with her.

She let the Eyeless return to Abydon but helped them compromise with Ondra and understand the nuances of the situation.

Stalwart accepted the Flames-That-Whisper clan as neighbors and eventually formed an alliance with them.

Completed all the companion quests with one exception. For details on how they all turned out...


Pallegina: Bronwyn told her to follow her heart and she ended up disobeying orders, getting banished, and joining the Kind Wayfarers. I was a bit peeved that the second game basically ignored that.

Hiravias: Ended up sticking with Wael. Bronwyn's not a huge fan of Galawain, (as you've probably guessed).

Edér: Became mayor of Dyrford.

Aloth: Worked on dismantling the Leaden Key.

Kana: Became an influential figure encouraging Rauatai to welcome foreign influence. His academic standing wasn't as high, but he seemed happy.

Grieving Mother: Bronwyn did not wipe her memory. Overall she believes more in facing your problems than hiding from them. (She only wiped Thaos' memories because letting him be reborn with memories intact could put future generations at risk.)

Durance: Told him the truth about Magran so he's off on another god-killing journey.

Sagani: She became a respected elder of her tribe.

Zahua: He created a new tribe, the Tacanaquin, and taught them everything he knew.

Devil of Caroc: Bronwyn refused to use her as a companion and did nothing with her.

Maneha: She did not drink from the pool. She returned to Rauatai and reconciled with her family.

2nd Game:

Convinced Eothas to inspire mortals. If he was going to destroy the machine that let kith reincarnate, he'd better well give them a leg up on fixing it.

Bronwyn did not side with any faction. She figured stopping Eothas was the priority and she'd sort out Deadfire politics later. That...didn't work out so well.

She helped Maia deliver her letters and was very, very upset when she learned what they were. Unfortunately she learned this too late to save anyone. Port Maje was basically destroyed as everyone blamed each other for Governor Clario and Storm Speaker Ikawha's deaths.

She talked Prince Aruihi into actually helping out the Roparu in the Gullet, so at least they ended up better off.

She freed Scyorielaphas but kept part of their essence bound so the watershapers could still function. (At that point of the game I was planning on siding with the Huana, which influenced the decision to not free Scyorielaphas entirely)

The Children of the Dawnstars kept their faith and continued doing good all across the Deadfire.

Nairi was the leader of Tikawara but was assassinated. The whole tribe scattered.

Crookspur was burned to the ground and the ashes salted. Bronwyn has Strong Opinions about slavery.

She closed the void at the Dead Floe and put Hafjórn in charge. The cult all returned home and left the Deadfire behind.

She refused to be Rymrgand's champion, fought him, and won. Maybe. It's hard to tell with him.

She repaired the adra connection at Kazuwari, thus allowing Galawain to continue harvesting souls there. (More importantly from her perspective, animancers can study the island to get ideas about how to rebuild the Wheel.)

She talked the Three Faces into staying and continuing to serve as Galawain's representatives.

She convinced Wael to kill his body and destroy the Black Isles. The Godseed was given to Llengrath. (Bronwyn likes Llengrath.)

Once again all companion quests were completed.


Edér: Together Bronwyn and Edér saved Bearn. After the game the pair worked together to help repair the Deadfire. (Unless I'm chosen for this game, in which case Edér takes an unfortunate trip back to Dyrford...)

Xoti: Let go of the souls Xoti. Do not keep reaping more Xoti. Put the Gaun-damned lantern down Xoti! Somehow Xoti survived and returned to the Dawnstars in a much healthier mental state.

Aloth: He continued working to dismantle the Leaden Key.

Serafen: Became a highly regarded anti-slavery pirate with his own ship, the Taste of Freedom.

Pallegina: Was forgiven for not convincing Bronwyn to support the VTC and remained employed. Giacolo was saved and the two remained close friends.

Maia Rua: Apparently took Bronwyn's words to heart and argued against Rauatai's insistence on assassination being the first, last, and only option. Supposedly the ranga nui listened.

Tekēhu: He tried to lead his people and inspire them to rely on each other rather than traditions.

Seer of Shadows wrote:
Ever_Anon wrote:
I could also look more into 3rd party races instead of trying to force a Halfling to fit. For example I just found the Blinklings from Dreamscarred which are a small furry race with Darkvision.
Blinklings are cleared for use if that is the route you wish to take.

Thank you. I've adjusted Bronwyn accordingly. Unless there's something I forgot about she should be completely finished.

I've created a profile for Lucky Bignoodle, gnome bard. Both the build and the background can be found there. She's completely finished except for one small thing I wanted to ask about.

Gnomes with high intelligence get to choose from a small list of additional languages. I want her to know First Speech, (the language spoken in the First World), which is not on that list. Can I take it as one of my extra languages anyway? If not, that's fine. I'll put a point into Linguistics instead of Knowledge (nobility) and get it that way.

Lucky's heirloom item is a Hurdy Gurdy made of dark wood with silver patterns across it. This was a gift given to her by a Queen of the Fey.

Her cohort is Dylan (Pickles) Medvyed. Like a few others have brought up I'd prefer to wait to stat him out until I have an idea of the full party. He'll be a melee frontliner type, but I'm not sure yet the exact class to build him towards.

Edited to add: Also if anyone wants to hear how awesome a hurdy-gurdy can sound I'd like to recommend this song.

So I've been mulling over ideas for this campaign and have one I'd like to run by you. I'm thinking a gnome bard with the First World Minstrel archetype. She stumbled into the First World years ago and has been trying to get back ever since. Her primary motivation for joining the expedition is the rumors that barriers between worlds are particularly thin in the Stolen Lands. The cohort would be her long-suffering brother who's just trying to keep her alive.

Minor Kingmaker Plot Question:
I've played the computer game so have some idea about the role of fey and the First World in the campaign. Would this sort of character work with what you're planning or would it be too on the nose?

Seer of Shadows wrote:

Ever_Anon wrote:
I did have one last question. Orlans are by nature nocturnal and would probably have darkvision, while halflings do not. Would you consider allowing me to swap Fearless (+2 to saving throws vs fear) + Weapon Familiarity for Darkvision? Or is there another swap you'd consider? I'd also be willing to spend a feat on it.
There is a Deep Halfling alternate racial trait somewhere out there that swaps something for Darkvision. Would you like me to search for the specifics?

If you could look for specifics that would be great. The only thing I'm finding are 3.5e Deep Halflings. They gain Darkvision, Stonecunning, and Greed in exchange for Sure-Footed and +2 Charisma. I could make that work but the Charisma loss would be painful.

I could also look more into 3rd party races instead of trying to force a Halfling to fit. For example I just found the Blinklings from Dreamscarred which are a small furry race with Darkvision.

My Watcher is finished. I've created a profile for her so you can see her build, description, and background. Bronwyn Draper.

I did have one last question. Orlans are by nature nocturnal and would probably have darkvision, while halflings do not. Would you consider allowing me to swap Fearless (+2 to saving throws vs fear) + Weapon Familiarity for Darkvision? Or is there another swap you'd consider? I'd also be willing to spend a feat on it.

So I'm torn between two similar ideas and can't pick one. Anyone familiar with Pillars of Eternity want to take a look and put in your two cents?

Minor Pillars of Eternity Spoilers:
My Watcher was a Orlan Cipher who fought from range and did more shooting than casting. I've decided the best way to represent this is a hairier-than-usual Halfling Slayer/Spiritualist, which brings ranged combat, 2/3 psychic casting and the general speaks-with-dead-people shtick.

What I can't decide is between regular Spiritualist (Wisdom based, has a specific person as their phantom) and Fractured Mind (Charisma based, their phantom is a part of their own souls).

Regular Spiritualist: The Watcher dies at the same time as Edér. She drags his soul to Kisarta with her but he can't fully reform and becomes a phantom with the Kindness emotional focus. Pros: I get to continue adventuring with my boy. Cons: He has to die for that to happen.

Fractured Mind: The Watcher dies alone. When she wakes in Kisarta she finds the negative emotions she's shoved down for years have taken on a life of their own. I'd pick the Despair emotional focus and have the phantom mostly look like Maerwald ("No sleep for the Watcher") but occasionally Iovara, Thaos, or anyone else that seems appropriate. Pros: Charisma is a much better fit for how I played my Watcher than Wisdom. Cons: The Fractured Mind archetype loses most of the Spiritualist's Watcher-like abilities, (aka detect undead, calm spirit, see invisibility, and call spirit).

They both seem like a lot of fun to roleplay around. Any thoughts?

Would it be okay to recreate a character from a CRPG? I would love to take my Watcher from Pillars of Eternity on new adventures.

Wishing everyone the best of luck, especially the GM, who has some difficult decisions to make. Lots of amazing applicants here.

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I'm a little hesitant about two tables. It's great in theory, but in practice I've seen far more games die due to GM burnout than to player attrition. Even if you can reuse a lot of the prep, an extra table is still a lot of work.

My advice would be to start with one table, then see how you feel in a month or two. If you end up thinking, 'Wow, this is going great, I'd love to run another table of this,' I suspect almost everyone who applied here would still be interested. You could open a second table then.

Same here. Particularly with vigilantes, I feel it's important to have a pre-existing connection to explain why the rest of the party knows both identities. (There's always the option of having them not know, but that gets awkward very quickly. 'Oh no, Bruce Wayne can't help us with this fight we just got into! If only Batman were here...')

Cecilia's backstory was deliberately left open in terms of how exactly she started working for Martella Lotheed, so there's potential hooks there.

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Okay, I think I'm finally done with Cecilia Volso, Half-Elf Vigilante. I'm using the Half-Elf Double Scion archetype, which means for all intents and purposes she's human in her social identity and an elf in her vigilante identity.

She's a generalist; she won't be quite as good in combat as a dedicated fighter, or quite as good at social situations as a bard, but she'll be able to hold her own in both areas.

Please let me know if anything looks off!

Cecilia Volso
Female Half-Elf Vigilante (Avenger, Half-Elf Double Scion) 1
CG Medium Humanoid
Init +3; Perception +6
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 (+3 dex)
HP 9 (1d8)
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +2
Speed 30ft
Melee: Elven Branched Spear + 3 (1d8 +2, 19-20/x2)
Other Statistics
Ability Scores:
Str 14, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14

Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 16

Combat Reflexes (Level 1): Make additional attacks of opportunity

Child of Oppara (Campaign): You gain a +1 trait bonus on Appraise and Knowledge (nobility) checks, and one of these skills is always a class skill for you. The Noble Scion feat (see the sidebar) does not have a Charisma prerequisite for you. In addition, you start play with a noble’s outfit, a signet ring, and a single additional nonmagical item worth no more than 200 gp.
Extremely Fasionable (Campaign): Whenever you are wearing clothing and/or jewelry worth at least 150 gp (and not otherwise covered in gore, sewage, or other things that mar your overall look), you gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks. One of these skills (your choice) is a class skill for you.

10 ranks total: 9 skill ranks per level (6 class, 2 background, 1 INT) + 1 FCB
Background skills in italics.

Bluff: +6 (+3 class skill, +2 CHA, 1 rank) (+1 if wearing expensive clothing/jewelry)
Diplomacy: +6 (+3 class skill, +2 CHA, 1 rank) (+1 if wearing expensive clothing/jewelry)
Disguise: +6 (+3 class skill, +2 CHA, 1 rank) (+20 to appear as current identity)
Knowledge (history): +4 (+1 INT, +2 racial, +1 rank)
Knowledge (local): +7 (+3 class skill, +1 INT, +2 racial, +1 rank)
Knowledge (nobility):+6 (+3 class skill, +1 INT, +1 trait, +1 rank)
Perception (regular): +6 (+3 class skill, + 0 WIS, +2 racial, 1 rank)
Sense Motive: +4 (+3 class skill, + 0 WIS, 1 rank) (+4 in social identity)
Sleight of Hand: +7 (+3 class skill, +3 DEX, 1 rank)
Stealth: +7 (+3 class skill, +3 DEX, 1 rank)

Favored Class - Vigilante:
Level 1: +1SP

Class and Racial Features: Vigilante

Standard Class Features: Dual Identity, Seamless Guise

Vigilante Specialization: Avenger

Chosen Social Talents:
Social Grace - Sense Motive (Level 1): Whenever the vigilante is in his social identity, he receives a +4 circumstance bonus on checks with the selected skill.

Archetype - Half-Elf Double Scion:

Dual Heritage: A half-elf double scion appears to be an elf in one identity and a human in the other identity. He takes no penalties to Disguise checks to appear as the race that matches his current identity. The selection of which race is the social identity and which is the vigilante identity is made at 1st level and cannot be changed. Additionally, when a half-elf double scion switches from one identity to another, he is representing different aspects of his heritage rather than personality. As a result, a half-elf double scion has the same alignment in both of his identities. (Social - Human, Vigilante - Elf)

Racial Traits - Half-Elf:

Standard Racial Traits: +2 to One Ability Score, Low-Light Vision, Elf Blood, Keen Senses

Alternate Racial Trait - Ancestral Arms: Half-elves with this racial trait receive Exotic Weapon Proficiency or Martial Weapon Proficiency with one weapon as a bonus feat at 1st level. This racial trait replaces the adaptability racial trait. (Chosen Weapon: Elven branch spear)

Alternate Racial Trait - Sophisticate: Half-elves who strive to embody the culture in which they live develop a keen instinct for the ebb and flow of fashions, fads, and political trends. They gain a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (local) checks and can use those skills untrained even for checks with a DC of 10 or more. This racial trait replaces elven immunities.

Alternate Racial Trait - Flexible Half-Breed: Once per day, half-elves with this trait can use alter self as a spell-like ability to appear as humans, drow, or elves. The half-elf can change the race of this form each time she uses this ability, but the specific form for each race is static. She gains a +10 bonus to Disguise checks to appear as a member of the chosen race. The caster level for this ability is equal to the character’s Hit Dice. This racial trait replaces multitalented.

General Background:
Cecilia Volso was the result of a short-lived dalliance between Hadariel, an elvish ambassador from Kyonin, and Drusilla Volso, a minor noble in Oppara. A fact which is much to the consternation of her husband, Marus Volso.

Such affairs are not uncommon in Taldor, and ordinarily the child would be sent away to be politely ignored by all. There were two problems with this solution as far as Marus was concerned. One, his pride would not allow it. The likelihood of people finding out about Drusilla’s infidelity was too high. Two, he knew his chances of siring his own heir were slim. They had been trying for years, and he had secretly been informed that he was likely infertile.

So he hit upon a brilliant solution. Keep the child, pretend she was his own, and hide any evidence that might prove otherwise.

Cecilia’s early life was a whirl of fashionable hats and hair carefully pinned in place to cover her ears. Her slightly-too-large pupils and lithe form were seens as signs of future beauty, not of elvish heritage. Such a simple disguise would surely fail under closer scrutiny, but that wouldn’t be a problem until she was betrothed. Marus just had to make sure the match was good enough to be worth the cost of a magical solution.

As Cecilia grew, she began to resent the weight of the secret she carried. She knew she was half-elven; how could she not? But she knew nothing more of her birth father or his people. Any hint of curiosity about elvish society, no matter how innocent, earned Marus’ anger. He wanted no such reminders of his wife’s infidelity.

So Cecilia began to research on her own. Quietly. Secretly. Until she learned of Anariel, an elvish woman who made it a point of pride to teach young half-elves of their heritage. Cecilia couldn’t go, of course. If Marus forbade her from so much as reading about elves, he would never allow her to learn under one. She could easily slip out unnoticed, (as neither parent cared to spend much time with her outside of public appearances), but what if someone else recognized her?.

The solution was simple. Cecilia had a great deal of practice in ensuring no one who saw her actually saw her. It took very little effort to reverse the process. Hair swept back to reveal her ears. Three dots carefully painted over each brow. Clothing that accentuated her long, thin limbs.

Cecilia the human walked into her room. Ethara the elf slipped out through the window.

Under Anariel’s tutelage Cecilia learned about elven culture. Their artistry. The musicality of their language. After one particularly narrow escape from a group of thugs who'd thought to rob her, Anariel began teaching her how to fight as well. All lessons that her father would have strictly forbidden...if he’d known.

Now 19, it is no secret to Cecilia that Marus has begun feeling out possible betrothals for her. The only reason for her existence, (in his mind), is so he can solidify an alliance with one of the other noble houses. He is eager to see the culmination of all those efforts.

Cecilia isn’t entirely sure what she wants, but she knows what she doesn’t want; she doesn’t want to live a life dictated by her father's whims. Why shouldn’t she be able to determine her own destiny?

Appearance and Personality:

Cecilia is the very picture of respectability. Her jewelry is tasteful rather than extravagant, her clothing always in fashion. She favors soft colors, particularly greens and blues. Her long, dark hair is carefully styled to frame her face. In public she’s cheerful, pleasant, and very good at leaving everyone with the impression they’ve just made a new best friend. In private she’s quieter, even shy at times. She’s deeply frustrated with the inequalities built into Taldan politics, but knows better than to say so out loud.

Meanwhile Ethara favors practical clothing in dark colors, particularly red, although said clothing is hard to see under her armor. A long elven branched spear is strapped to her back. She’s quick to act against what she perceives as injustice, sometimes to the point of being reckless. She rarely smiles and keeps herself aloof, although she's made a few friends among Anariel's other students.

Three Scenes:

First Scene:

Marus paced back and forth, back and forth. He had been assured that Drusilla was fine, that she was doing very well for a first-time mother. Nevertheless he couldn’t help but worry. They’d been trying for years to conceive an heir, and he wasn’t getting any younger. What if something went wrong?

No. No, it would be fine. She’d deliver a handsome young lad to take over their estate. Or perhaps a girl, beautiful and elegant, whose hand he could leverage into more influence with the other noble houses. Didn’t Celedo Morilla have a nephew about the right age? House Volso might not be the most prominent of houses, but a good match could change that.

Another scream from down the hall made him wince. Gods, no one had warned him that childbirth would be such a noisy affair. Tradition dictated that he not be in the room, (a small blessing), but the screams were audible throughout the house. Surely it couldn’t hurt badly enough to be worth such a racket! And honestly, what was taking so long? This had been going on for hours.

More pacing. Back and forth. Back and forth. Until one last scream from his wife was accompanied by the shrill cry of an infant. Finally! Marus waited impatiently for the midwife to emerge and bring him in so he could meet his firstborn son. Or daughter. At this point he didn’t care which. He just wanted it to be over.

Time passed, and still the midwife didn’t come. Had there been a problem after all? But no, he could still intermittently hear the infant shrieking. He (or she) must be healthy enough. Had something happened to Drusilla? Unfortunate if so, but at least she’d delivered his heir before passing.

Nearly an hour after the first infant wail, the midwife finally emerged. Her face was pale. ”My Lord, I…” She paused, clearly struggling for words.

”What is it!? Is it Drusilla? Did she perish?”

”No, but...” The midwife paused again, opening and closing her mouth several times. ”Just...the child might not quite be what you were expecting.”

What the hells did that mean?! ”Is it deformed?”

The midwife winced. ”Not...exactly. But…”

Impatient with her evasiveness, Marus roughly shoved past her and into the room. If she wouldn’t tell him what was wrong, he’d just have to see for himself. He barged in to see his wife holding an infant to her breast. As she should be. What had that midwife so concerned?

Drusilla nearly dropped the babe upon seeing him, and the blankets shifted to allow him to see the infant’s head. And the long, pointed ears attached to it.

Marus froze. He was human. Drusilla was human. But those ears were decidedly not.

”What is the meaning of this?”

Drusilla shrank back against the headboard. ”Marus...I...I don’t know what to say. There must have been some elvish ancestor-”

“Don’t LIE to me woman!” His shaking hand rose to point at the child, or more specifically their ears. ”What. Is. That?”

Drusilla’s face twisted in anguish. ”I...I didn’t…” She broke down into tears. Behind him, the midwife cautiously reentered the room.

”You didn’t what? Have an affair?” Sleep with another man? Do you expect me to believe that?!”

“My lord.” The midwife didn’t approach any closer, which was wise considering his current temper. ”Perhaps this discussion could wait-”

“No. No it most certainly can not.” Marus stomped forward until he was next to the bed, towering over his wife. ”Who was it? Whose child are you holding?!”

Drusilla opened her mouth, then closed it again. Shoulders slumped in despair, she looked down at the child in her arms and whispered, ”Hadariel.”

He knew Hadariel. An elven ambassador from Kyonin. He’d been proud to host the man, seeing it as an opportunity to do a favor for the Basri family and perhaps earn some favour in return.

”I...I didn’t think I could get pregnant. We’d tried for so long, and the clerics said…”

Of course the clerics had said. He’d bribed them handsomely to say their years of infertility was his wife’s fault. Not his, of course. It couldn’t possibly be his.

”And, and, he was kind, and he looked at me like I mattered-”

“Shut. Up.”

Drusilla did.

Marus’ mind was racing. His firstborn child, likely his only child if the clerics were to be believed, wasn’t his at all. He could put Drusilla away for this of course, but the whole reason he’d married her was due to her family’s influence. No doubt they would be displeased by the action, despite conclusive evidence of her infidelity.

Plus there would be the whispers. ’Marus the cuckold’ they’d say. He’d be the laughingstock of the court.

”Boy or girl?”

The midwife spoke up from behind him. ”A girl, my lord.”

That made things easier. ”Hats. Until her hair is long enough to cover those damnable ears.” He turned around so he could glare at the midwife. ”You will tell no one of what you saw this day. Understood?”

”Of course, my lord.”

He switched his glare back to his wife. “You’ve made a fool of me once. You will not do so again.”

Drusilla began weeping anew, whether from stress or gratitude that he wasn't sending the child away he couldn’t tell. Nor did he care to.

Without another word, he turned on his heel and began marching back to his study. He had a lot of research to do. Hats and hairstyles would only go so far; if he intended to marry the girl off he’d have to find a more permanent way to hide her heritage.

No one could ever know the truth.

Second Scene:


”You’re not trying hard enough. Again.”

Cecilia nearly sobbed in frustration. No matter how hard she tried the arcane arts still wouldn’t come to her. She’d been so happy when she’d managed to cast her first spell; wishing so hard to be fully human that for a single moment her wish came true. It was one of the only times she could remember her father looking at her with pride rather than derision.

Ever since he’d hired tutor after tutor, hoping to expand upon that first success. To make her change herself for more than just a minute. She never could.

A ruler rapped sharply against her knuckles, making her yelp. ”You lost focus. Again.”

Perhaps she really wasn’t trying hard enough. Maybe if she just tried a little bit harder…

Her eyes fixed on her latest tutor. The elderly man she was trying to make bigger. He’d explained the principles, taught her how it worked, done everything he could. It wasn’t his fault she kept failing.

”An aptitude for transmutation magic,” her first tutor had explained after being told what she’d done. (Well, not exactly what she’d done, but that she’d changed her appearance.) ”Or possibly illusion, but transmutation seems more likely. She could be a great sorcerer one day.”

Except years later, she could still only cast one spell. And that one only for a minute a day.

The sharp rap against her knuckles. ”Again.” Again, and again, and again, and again…

By the end of the day her knuckles were red, she had a blistering headache, and the tutor was frowning. She had failed once again.

Her father entered the room. That was rare, he never sought her out without reason. For a second Cecilia sat up straighter in her chair, but he didn't look at her. He was focused entirely on the tutor. ”Any progress?”

Her tutor’s frown deepened. ”None. I don’t believe she has any aptitude for the art.”

”But the spell-”

“Yes, ‘the’ spell. Singular. Which isn’t actually a spell at all, in my opinion. Some people can mimic the effect of a spell without actually casting one. Gnomes are particularly well-known for it.” The tutor shrugged. ”We can continue if you wish, but I don’t anticipate any progress. If she hasn’t learned by now, she’s not going to.”

Marus’ face darkened. First he had been interrupted, and now he was being told information he didn’t want to hear. Cecilia instinctively cowered lower in her chair.

”You say you can’t teach her. Then get out of my house.”

”My pay-”

“I. Said. OUT!”

The tutor left. (Drusilla would later ensure he got paid; she was used to covering for her husband’s impulsive decisions.)

Marus’ furious gaze turned to Cecilia. ”I tried, I really did, but-”

“Clearly not hard enough.” He stepped closer, towering over her. ”I feed you, I clothe you, I give you every opportunity and this is how you repay me?”

Cecilia’s gaze dropped to the floor, knowing there was only one thing Marus wanted to hear. ”I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“I’m sorry for being a failure.”

Marus kept glaring at her for a moment, then snorted in disgust and left. Cecilia waited until the footsteps had gone, then snuck her way through the halls until she reached her bedroom. Alone at last, she stared into the mirror and concentrated.

Her form blurred, then solidified into a shape she would never let her father see. Her already slender body made more so. Her pupils larger. Her ears even longer and more pointed.

An elf. No longer trapped between two worlds, but solidly entrenched in one. The person she might have been had her true father raised her, instead of abandoning her.

”One day,” she whispers, laying a hand that both is and is not hers against the glass. ”One day I’ll belong.”

Third Scene:


Cecilia’s heart pounded as she made her way through the crowded streets. For the first time in her life, her ears were uncovered in public. It felt...indecent.

But then that was the point. If she was going to do this, she couldn’t be Cecilia Volso. No, she was Ethara today. And Ethara had no reason to hide her heritage.

Another few streets and she had made her way to Grandbridge. Her heart beat faster. It seemed she could see elves everywhere, people who looked like her, talking and laughing and singing. Happy. Free.

(Was one of them her father? She’d been told he’d left Oppara after disgracing her mother. But it was Marus who had told her that, and she wasn’t entirely certain she believed him.)

She sidestepped a gossiping pair and moved on, hunting. Her target was the proprietor of a shop called Versatile Vials.

(It had taken her months of cautiously asking around to get that name. Months of subtle inquiries, overheard conversations, tidbits of idle gossip from a hundred different sources that she carefully gathered and pieced together into a coherent whole.)

There! Just at the end of the street. A neat-looking little shop. For a long moment Cecilia stood in the street, staring at it. Was she really going to do this? If Marus ever found out…

No. She couldn’t live her whole life being afraid. She’d worked too hard for this to turn back now.

She opened the door and walked in.

An elvish woman of indeterminate age was sitting behind the counter. ”Hello, welcome to Versatile Vials! I’m Anariel, is there anything in particular you’re looking for?”

Cecilia took a deep breath and curtsied. ”Hello, I’m Ethara. I heard...I heard that sometimes you taught classes. For half-breeds.” She wanted to say more, but the words stuck in her throat.

Anariel tilted her head, studying Cecilia closely. ”Your choice of words speaks volumes. No, I don’t teach ‘half-breeds.’ I teach half-elves.” She stood up and walked around the counter. ”Let me guess, elvish father you’ve never met and a human mother who refuses to talk about it?” Cecilia didn’t answer, but Anariel nodded as if she had. ”Not uncommon, in a city of this size. I’ve always thought it a shame that so many of our kind are left in the dark about their heritage.”

“Our kind?” Cecilia looked more closely at her. ”Are you a half-elf too?”

She laughed a little. ”No child, both my parents were elvish. But I have spent much time in human society, and feel a certain kinship for those caught between two worlds.” She moved back around the counter and pulled out a piece of paper. ”Here. My schedule. I teach classes nearly every evening on a variety of topics ranging from the elven language to traditional weaponry.”

Cecilia gingerly took the paper, mind racing. She’d have to memorize and get rid of it immediately, she couldn’t risk anyone finding it among her things. ”I...I don’t know how regularly I can attend.”

“I see. That, too, is not uncommon. Come whenever you wish. Or can.” For a long moment Anariel just...looked at her. Saw her.

No one ever saw her. Not really.

”Even if you only come once or twice, that is enough to learn the most valuable lesson I have to teach. That there are people in this city, many of them, who are just like you.”

People just like me.

I'm definitely interested, and would prefer to roll. Let's see what the dice have in store...

4d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 5, 6) = 21 -5 = 16
4d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 1, 5) = 13 -1 = 12
4d6 ⇒ (3, 4, 2, 4) = 13 -2 = 11
4d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 6, 1) = 15 -1 = 14
4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 5, 1) = 17 -1 = 16
4d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 3, 6) = 17 -3 = 14

Those are pretty good stats. Right now I'm thinking a middle-aged elf alchemist; someone who was perfectly happy tending a store until it was destroyed in a raid. Now she's out adventuring until things calm down and she can reopen.

Best idea: have a party entirely full of female characters so we can all say it at the same time!

BBEG: "The prophecies say no man can defeat me!"

Party: "You do realize none of us are men, don't you?"

BBEG: "...Sh!t."

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@GM: Oh I'm quite sure the thieves tools would be more useful, but I'm okay with that. Whether or not the party will be okay with it is something to be determined later :P

Regarding discovery: I do intend for that to happen at some point. Either her gender will come out due to an injury, (a la Mulan), or a situation will come up where she needs to tell them.

(If the opportunity to dramatically say "I am no man!" comes up I will take it.)

Presenting Brigg/Bergur for consideration.

Outline of Mechanics/character choices:
Culture: Barding
Class: Treasure Hunter (Agent Archetype)
Cultural Virtue: Woeful Foresight
Background: Doomed to Die
Distinctive Quality: Swift. Your foreboding of your fate has made you more alert. Even when danger sneaks up on you, it rarely finds you unprepared.
Specialty: Fire-making. The roads towards your fate can be long. You are adept at making fires and preparing camps.
Hope: Though it shall end with my death, I shall push forward because I am the only one who can.
Despair: I fear that I will die alone and unremembered.

Brigg doesn’t remember her parents. Her earliest memories are of wandering the streets of Lake-town, just another street urchin trying to survive. She primarily ‘earned’ her living by picking pockets and fleeing before she could be caught.

One day she was picking the pocket of an unassuming-looking innkeeper when suddenly he grabbed her wrist. That had happened before and Brigg wasn’t too worried. It wasn’t easy to hang onto a struggling, screaming child. If he did somehow manage to hang on, she could fix that by cutting him with the stolen dagger hidden in her clothes. She would make her escape long before he made it to a guard.

To her surprise, instead of dragging her off immediately, he looked in her in the eyes for a long moment and then let go of her wrist. ”I’ve got stew cooking, if you’re hungry.”

She blinked. That wasn’t how things were supposed to go.

”My name is Ragni. I run the inn over there.” He nodded in the direction of a modest-looking establishment. "Come by anytime and I’ll get you some food.”

Brigg was suspicious of course, but she was hungry, and the prospect of a free meal was too tempting to resist. She followed a few paces behind the man as he headed to the inn. He invited her inside, served her a bowl of stew, then sat down by the fire and started smoking.

Brigg ate quickly, her eyes never leaving the man by the fire. (Nor did one hand ever leave the hilt of her dagger.) If her wariness bothered him, he didn’t show it. He simply sat there, smoking his pipe and seemingly ignoring her. As soon as every drop of the stew had been eaten, Brigg scampered off into the night.

A few days later she met Ragni again, and he once more invited her in for a meal. She was slightly less wary this time, but only slightly. She quickly ate and then left without a word of thanks.

As time passed and Ragni continued to offer food while asking for nothing in exchange, Brigg slowly began to trust him. She stayed a little longer after each meal, enjoying the warmth of the fire. As winter fell, she began staying the night. Somewhere along the way Ragni’s inn became ‘home.’ And in the back of her mind, though she never used the word, Ragni himself became ‘father.’

(She asked him once why her, out of all the urchins in the street. He shrugged, and all he would say was ”Your eyes were different.”)

They had been living together for six years when the dragon attacked. Ragni and Brigg joined the countless people trying to douse the flames, but their efforts were in vain. What little of Lake-town didn’t burn was crushed underneath the weight of Smaug’s body when he fell. From the shore, Brigg could do nothing but stare at the charred remains of the only home she’d ever known.

Shortly after Smaug’s death, Bard called for all able-bodied men to unite and retrieve the unguarded treasure from the Lonely Mountain. Although not a warrior by any means, Ragni announced his decision to join the growing army. Brigg begged Ragni to reconsider. ”Something terrible is going to happen. There’s a shadow over you, I feel it.”

He crouched down slightly to look her in the eyes. ”I know you’re worried. But the dragon is dead. There’s nothing to fear.” He smiled at her. ”I’ll be back before you know it, with more than enough gold for us to rebuild the inn.”

Despite his reassurances, Brigg’s foreboding was too powerful for her to ignore. If she couldn’t convince Ragni not to go, then she would simply have to go with him. She cut her hair and presented herself to the army as Bergur, a young boy looking to serve as an aide. It was her hope that she would be able to protect Ragni from whatever catastrophe was coming.

She couldn’t.

The Battle of Five Armies, as it would come to be known, was utter chaos. Brigg desperately dashed through the battle, taking advantage of her small size and speed to avoid being cut down. She needed to find Ragni. Eventually she broke through a small cluster of soldiers and saw the innkeeper only a few yards away, being attacked by a goblin warrior. ”Father!”

Did her scream distract him at a critical moment? Did her presence cause the very disaster she had been trying to prevent? Brigg would never know.

She doesn’t remember the rest of the battle. She remembers seeing Ragni fall, a sword through his chest. She remembers being guided away by soldiers who had been looking for survivors among the dead. Everything between is lost, and perhaps that is a small mercy.

Brigg stayed with the army. Orphaned for a second time, she didn’t know what else to do. By day Bergur trained with the soldiers. By night Brigg obsessed over the Battle of Five Armies, reading every report or book she could get her hands on. (Lawfully or otherwise.) She sought to answer one simple question: How had things gone so wrong?

Information, she eventually concluded. More specifically, the lack of it. When the army left the remnants of Lake-town behind, they had been expecting to simply retrieve the treasure and return. They hadn’t known that the dwarves still lived, that they had requested aid from their kin, that the goblins and wargs and orcs were coming as well. The two armies hadn’t known that three others were on their way. They hadn’t been prepared. And people like her father had died for it.

She would make sure that never happened again.

Bergur was trained as a scout. Brigg honed other skills. She snuck into conferences she wasn’t supposed to attend, just to make sure she could. She practiced forging documents, tweaking her handwriting each time until it matched that of the person she was trying to copy. She created new identities for herself, experimenting with how far some dye and a few cosmetics could take her. A man who wouldn’t give Bergur a second glance would share all sorts of information with Selma. A woman who’d sniff dismissively at Selma would happily talk to Ruben. ‘Brigg’ was a name that had died along with Ragni.

She knows that the life of a spy will be a short one. That she will most likely die alone, cursed for her duplicity by the very people she hopes to save. She tells herself that doesn’t bother her. That if the information she discovers saves even one life, then it will all be worth it.

(She’s as good at lying to herself as she is to everyone else.)

Now 19, Bergur has officially finished his first term of service. He’s decent with a sword, and better with a bow. He knows how to find a good campsite, how to search for signs of the Enemy’s presence, how to march for hours without exhausting himself. When King Bard announces that he wants people to begin reclaiming the North, Bergur is among the first to volunteer.

Brigg’s training is over. It’s time for her to get to work.

Bergur is an androgynous-looking young man in his late teens. He’s rather short for a man of Dale, standing only 5’5”, but being small and swift just makes him a better scout. He keeps his light brown hair cut short. He favors dark greens and grays for his clothing, and is rarely seen without his leather armor.

He’ll joke and laugh with his fellow soldiers, but there’s always a hint of sadness in his eyes. It’s well-known that his father died during the Battle of Five Armies and that he had no other living family. Almost everyone lost someone that day, and so people understand why he’s reluctant to grow too close to anyone. Those who go drinking with him find that he almost never has more than one ale and never gets drunk. (Which has actually made him a popular drinking companion, as he can be counted upon to be sober enough to make sure everyone gets back safely at the end of the night.) He has many acquaintances but no real friends.

No one was surprised when he announced his intention to go North. With nothing really tying him to Dale, it only makes sense for him to seek out a home elsewhere.

Question: the Treasure Hunter gets proficiency with thieves tools at level 1, and the Agent archetype gets proficiency with a disguise kit at level 3. Would it be possible to switch those? I feel like the disguise kit makes more sense for her character early on.

Joining the chorus of interested voices. If you do decide to open recruitment it seems there will be lots of competition!

Checking in! I think I'll apply this scenario to my currently unplayed, (but registered), gnome bard.

PLAYER: Ever_Anon
CHARACTER: Niki Fizzlebang
PFS #: 2364939-2002

I'll take Ezren, if nobody minds. I'm curious how wizardry works in PF2.

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