About Niculaie Pavlencas
AC 20, touch 13, flat-footed 18 (+6 armor, +1 deflection, +2 Dex, +1 natural)
hp 57 (9d8+9)
Fort +5, Ref +12, Will +10; +4 vs. fear, energy drain, death effects, and necromantic effects, +2 vs. disease and mind-affecting effects
Defensive Abilities negative energy affinity; Resist haunted eyes, undead resistance
Weaknesses light sensitivity
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger +7/+2 (1d4+1/19-20) or
. . mwk scythe +8/+3 (2d4+1/×4) or
. . silver light mace +7/+2 (1d6+1)
Ranged +2 darkwood composite shortbow +10/+5 (1d6+3/×3)
Special Attacks bardic performance 24 rounds/day (move action; countersong, dirge of doom, distraction, fascinate [DC 20], inspire competence +3, inspire courage +2, suggestion [DC 20]), the blood is the life
Bard (Dirge Bard) Spells Known (CL 9th; concentration +15)
. . 3rd (3/day)—arcane concordance[APG], major image (DC 19), purging finale[APG] (DC 19)
. . 2nd (6/day)—cat's grace, drain construct (DC 18), gallant inspiration[APG] (DC 18), ghostbane dirge[APG] (DC 18), oneiric horror[OA] (DC 18)
. . 1st (6/day)—grease, heightened awareness[ACG], inflict light wounds (DC 17), moment of greatness[UC], saving finale[APG] (DC 17), vanish[APG] (DC 17)
. . 0 (at will)—detect magic, ghost sound (DC 16), know direction, open/close (DC 16), read magic, sift[APG]
Investigator (Gravedigger) Extracts Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +3)
. . 1st—comprehend languages, shield
Str 12, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 22
Base Atk +6; CMB +7; CMD 20
Feats Eldritch Heritage[UM], Exotic Heritage (Knowledge [religion])[UW], Lingering Performance[APG], Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Traits chance savior, magical knack
Skills Acrobatics +8, Appraise +6, Bluff +13, Climb +5, Craft (alchemy) +6, Diplomacy +13, Disable Device +6, Disguise +13, Escape Artist +7, Heal +6, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (arcana) +17, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +14, Knowledge (engineering) +10, Knowledge (geography) +10, Knowledge (history) +13, Knowledge (local) +11, Knowledge (nature) +13, Knowledge (nobility) +10, Knowledge (planes) +10, Knowledge (religion) +16 (+20 to identify undead creatures and their abilities), Linguistics +7, Perception +6, Perform (dance) +14, Perform (keyboard instruments) +18, Perform (percussion instruments) +13, Perform (sing) +20, Perform (string instruments) +16, Perform (wind instruments) +15, Profession (gravedigger) +4, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +6, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +6, Use Magic Device +14
Languages Common, Dwarven, Shoanti, Skald, Varisian
SQ bardic knowledge +4, fangs[ARG], grave magic, haunting refrain, inspiration (2/day), relic focus, resist level drain, secrets of the grave, vampiric empathy[ARG]
Combat Gear cold iron arrows (32), cold iron arrows (10), cold iron arrows (5), lesser silent metamagic rod, potion of inflict light wounds, potion of lesser restoration, potion of levitate, scroll of eagle's splendor, scroll of share language (x2), scroll of songbird (x2), silver blunt arrows[APG] (35), silver blunt arrows[APG] (10), silver blunt arrows[APG] (5), wand of inflict light wounds (44/50 charges), alchemist's fire (4), antiplague[APG] (2), antitoxin (2), healer's kit, oil (4), smelling salts[APG], weapon blanch (adamantine)[APG]; Other Gear +2 mithral chain shirt, +2 darkwood composite shortbow (+1 Str), dagger, mwk scythe, silver light mace, amulet of natural armor +1, belt of mighty constitution +2, circlet of persuasion, cloak of resistance +2, handy haversack, headband of alluring charisma +2, ring of protection +1, bedroll, belt pouch, bullseye lantern, candle (2), chalk (10), crowbar, fishhook (2), flint and steel, formula book, ink, inkpen, journal[UE], masterwork accordion, masterwork flute, masterwork lyre, mug/tankard, occultist's implement[OA], sewing needle, shovel, signal whistle, spell component pouch, string or twine[APG], sunrod, thieves' tools, thread (50 ft.), tindertwig (10), torch, trail rations (7), waterskin, whetstone, light horse, bit and bridle, feed (per day), pack saddle, 96 gp, 7 cp
Bardic Knowledge +4 (Ex) Add +4 to all knowledge skill checks.
Bardic Performance (move action, 24 rounds/day) Your performances can create magical effects.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white only).
Fangs You can bite a helpless (automatic) or grappled (with a CMB check) foe for 1d3 dam.
Grave Magic (Sp) Sacrifice unused extract slots to cast certain spells.
Haunted Eyes (Ex) +4 to saves vs. fear, energy drain, death and necromancy effects.
Haunting Refrain -2 (Su) Demoralize with perform, foes take penalty on save vs. fear effects.
Inspiration (+1d6, 2/day) (Ex) Use 1 point, +1d6 to trained skill or ability check. Use 2 points, to add to attack or save.
Light Sensitivity (Ex) Dazzled as long as remain in bright light.
Lingering Performance Bardic Performances last 2 rds after you stop concentrating.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in dim light, distinguishing color and detail.
Mind Fear (DC 12) (Su) Target creature is frightened 1d4 rnds. if it has your HD or less, shaken if more (Will neg).
Negative Energy Affinity (Ex) You are alive, but react to positive/negative energy as though you were undead.
Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Precise Shot You don't get -4 to hit when shooting or throwing into melee.
Relic Focus (1/day) (Su) Spend inspiration for nec. resonant power 1/day, or grave words any number of times.
Resist Level Drain (Ex) Negative levels don't impose penalties or become permanent, but still kill if exceed HD.
Sanguine Some undead are susceptible to your mind-affecting spells. Corporeal undead that were once humanoids are treated as humanoids for the purposes of determining which spells affect them.
Secrets of the Grave (+4) (Ex) Undead lose imm to mind affecting, bonus to Knowledge (religion) vs. undead.
The Blood Is the Life (9/day) At 1st level, you can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead. As a standard action, you can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as you, and must h
Undead Resistance +2 bonus to saves vs. disease and mind affecting effects.
Vampiric Empathy Speak with bats, rats, and wolves and +2 Diplomacy dealing with them.
Common BBCode rolls:
NB: The closing bracket is left off of the end of each expression.
[dice=Dagger]1d20 +7; 1d4+1[/dice
Background and Dark Secret:
Dark Secret: As much as he loathes undead — his vampiric heritage most of all — Niculaie has a secret taste for the blood of the recently deceased (Eldritch Heritage, Sanguine bloodline).
Background:Niculaie is a dhampir — the spawn of a vampire father and human mother. Niculaie’s father disappeared before his birth, abandoning Niculaie’s mother, her pregnancy nearly at full term, at a crossroads near her family’s estate. She died shortly after giving birth to Niculaie.
Niculaie was raised on the Pavlencas family estate by his mother’s brother, his Uncle Tomaz, and by his half-sister Valerica, who is eight years his senior. Valerica’s father died when he was thrown from his horse, less than a year before Niculaie was born. The family has always suspected that Niculaie’s father contrived to spook the horse to leave Niculaie and Valerica’s mother with less protection.
With the guidance of Uncle Tomaz and Valerica, Niculaie grew to be a gentle man, more interested in his studies and his music than in the training for battle that Pavlencas youth traditionally received. The estate’s servants respected the family too much to discuss the youth’s heritage outside of the manor house, and Tomaz exerted enough authority in the nearby farm village to put a stop to any rumors about the strange lad who was rarely seen outside the house, and then only when wrapped in robes and scarves from head to foot.
The family continued on this way for many years. As Valerica grew up, she began to take over more of the duties of managing the estate from their aging uncle, while Niculaie remained in the dhampir’s prolonged adolescence. As insular as the family secret caused them to be, they were, in the main, quietly happy.
One night, however, when Tomaz and Valerica were away from the estate for a few days arranging the purchase of new livestock for the estate’s own small farming operation, there was an accident near the crossroads where Niculaie’s mother had been found. Niculaie and some of the servants heard the commotion and rushed to the scene, and found a horse cart smashed at the bottom of a gulley. The driver was unconscious and not likely to survive and one horse was dead, while a second horse was injured beyond any hope of recovery, whinnying pitifully.
The servants made a makeshift stretcher from pieces of the broken cart and carried the unconscious man back to the house to do what they could for him. Alone, Niculaie drew his sword and ended the poor horse’s torment by cutting its throat. As the animal’s blood flowed over his arm and hand, the dhampir experienced a hunger more powerful than anything he had ever felt. Before he could think better of it, he raised his hand to his mouth and tasted blood for the first time in his life (but not the last).
It was in that position, licking the animal’s blood from his hand, face covered in red, the full moon shining on his thin form accenting his pale skin and silver hair, when another rider approached the crossroads. Seeing Niculaie, the rider shrieked and spurred his horse, galloping into the village crying “Vampyr! Vampyr!” at the top of his lungs.
Niculaie realized that if he stayed, Tomaz and Valerica would be blamed for harboring a monster in their home. Fearing for the safety of his family, and deeply ashamed for giving in to what he sees as a weakness inherited from his father, Niculaie ran back to the house, hurriedly changed his clothes and washed the blood from his face. Packing a small bag, he left his uncle and sister a note, swore the servants to secrecy, and set out on foot through the woods to make his escape.
Eventually, he made his way to a small village in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. There, his willingness to work for low wages and long hours without complaint through the cold, dark winter on the worst of the reconstruction projects was more important to potential employers than his heritage or where he had come from, and by the time anyone might have thought to ask, he had been there long enough that nobody cared enough to bother.
With the dirge bard archetype, Niculaie’s mind-affecting spells affect undead as though they were living creatures. Although not optimized for combat, his levels in investigator (gravedigger) give Niculaie a handful of abilities that add flavor and make him more effective against undead opponents, including Studied Strike vs. undead as though two levels higher.
Niculaie invests his skill points broadly, with particular attention to knowledge skills that the current party may lack, with the added benefit of unlimited use of inspiration on knowledge, linguistics, and spellcraft checks. Given the common prejudice against dhampirs, he is not focused on serving as the party face, but has enough skill in diplomacy and bluff to be useful and can invest more in those skills over time. His primary roles will be knowledge skills, spellcasting (focusing on illusions and enchantments, as his mind-affecting spells will work against undead), buffing/support, and he can assist in combat with his bow, scythe, and shovel.
Note:Niculaie will never use either of the necromantic Relic Focus powers available to him from the gravedigger investigator archetype because they are both minor versions of animate dead (he probably doesn’t even realize he could use one of them). If it wouldn’t offend the other PCs and would benefit the party, he would consider using the ability to cast grave words.
Niculaie's letter to his half-sister on his departure for Ravengro (backstory):
My Dearest Valerica,
I was delighted to receive your latest letter. News from home always seems to shrink the distance between us, and I was most relieved to read that you are nearly recovered from your injuries. You really must be more careful, dear sister - I have the greatest respect for your skill with a blade, but you know better than to wander near the edge of the woods on the night of a full moon. If not for your own sake, then please be cautious for the people of the estate; since our uncle's death, you are the lady of the manor and they need your protection. If the worst should happen to you, our cousin Arkandru would inherit, and you know my opinion of him.
I am well, and remain reasonably comfortable here in the frozen north. It has taken several years, but the villagers have come to tolerate my presence, even if they do not yet accept me as one of their own. It has been quite some time since I have been refused service at the tavern or by any of the local craftsmen. Although there are certain roughneck half-orcs I have learned to avoid after they have had more than three or four pints of ale, I believe they make me their target due to my mannerisms and what they may sense of the aristocratic upbringing you and I share, rather than because of my paternal heritage. That is itself a sort of victory; a pathetic victory, but a victory nonetheless.
I can picture your skeptical smile even after so long apart. “Your small victories are well and good,” I imagine you saying, “but from whence comes the coin necessary for the purchase of necessities from these local craftsmen, or for the occasional evening of levity at the village’s sole watering hole?”
Fear not, sweet sister! This is neither a plea for financial assistance nor for your pity, but rather a bit of boasting.
This past summer, when there was little work to be found save on the fishing boats - and I have neither the strength nor the skill to serve with these northern hunters of the sea - the village’s Pharasman priest took pity on me and offered me a position digging graves and watching over the cemetery at night. He is a hard man, as are many of his faith where my kind are concerned, but perhaps he was curious. Whatever his reasons, I accepted gratefully.
I suppose he kept watch over me as I worked, to make certain I was as harmless as I seemed. One early morning before dawn, he surprised me with an invitation to share his breakfast. While we ate a simple meal, the priest asked me about my music! He had heard me singing to myself as I worked each night - he said he had not known that those of us born with the taint of unlife could express ourselves through artistry in a way that the truly living might appreciate.
Then, my dear sister, he invited me to sing that very night at the interment of a poor man with few friends and no family, who had been killed in a shipboard accident. Of course, I accepted - I have had so few opportunities to perform in public that I jumped at the chance to sing for an audience, even at an occasion as somber as a funeral.
Of course, I hoped that my brief performance would provide some comfort to the friends of the decedent, and with that in mind I prepared Stonefoot's Requiem. You will remember, I am certain the dwarven composer's lament for those of his people who perished defending the great sky citadels from the orc hordes. Old Stonefoot wrote it to be performed by a single vocalist accompanied by pipe and drum, but it is easily arranged to be performed by a singer alone.
There were no more than a dozen mourners standing around the open grave that evening. Clouds thick with pent up rain blocked the night sky from view, so that the only light came from the flickering flame of a single, magical torch held aloft by the priest's young acolyte. The priest stood at the head of the open pit, leading the dead man's friends in their somber, joyless prayers, while I waited at the foot opposite him, my stomach tied in knots with stage fright. I could not even remember the last time I had performed for an audience, even if it were just you and Uncle and some of the household staff. However, when the priest finished his prayer and looked up from his book to me, I mastered my anxiety and began with nary a tremble.
Six minutes, seventeen seconds. That is the length of the second movement of Stonefoot's Requiem, which I had decided would be most appropriate for the funeral. I performed it in the original Dwarven -- few, if any, of the mourners would understand the words, but the lyrics were not the point. It is the emotion infused into the haunting melody by the composer, and by the performer, that moves the listener, and my audience was indeed moved. As the last lingering note faded across the graveyard, I saw tears on the faces of the dead man's friends -- no surprise at a burial -- and that of the young acolyte. But when I looked to the priest for some affirmation that my performance had been satisfactory, to my astonishment I saw a single tear tracing its path down his own cheek, toughened by faith and raw experience. Before I could register anything more, the clouds burst as though the heavens themselves had started weeping, and all devolved to chaos as we rushed to complete the burial while the thunder boomed and lightning struck trees that were too close for anyone's comfort.
The storm raged throughout the night and all the next day, so it was not until the following night that I was once again summoned to the Pharasman temple. I assumed that I was needed to dig more graves, but to my surprise the acolyte ushered me into the priest's small library, where I found him waiting for me among the stacks of neatly organized books and scrolls with a small pouch of silver coins.
"These," he said, "are for you. Collected by the mourners who were so moved by your funeral song the other night, at their own initiative. I have added a contribution from the church as well." He gave me a tight smile. "Niculaie, I suspect that I will be asked again if you will sing my parishoners’ loved ones to their rest. Is that something that would interest you?"
Of course, I replied in the affirmative. Since then, I have performed at six more burials and memorial services. The families and friends of the departed have all been very appreciative, and while it has yet to make any obvious difference in the way I am treated in the village, the funds I have been given -- ranging from a few coppers from the poorest of families to (once) a fistful of gold crowns from the family of the region’s most notorious miser -- have been more than enough to keep food on my table and for materials to repair the leaking roof over my head. Perhaps the most nourishing result, though, has been my growing friendship with the Pharasman priest, who has learned to look past my pallor and unnaturally long canine teeth (yes, I know it is childish of me to hew to Uncle's rule about the "f" word even now, but old habits are the hardest to break). I still dig graves as needed, but we have spent many a long night playing chess and debating the relative importance to a civilized society of the worship of the Lady of Graves as opposed to my own patron, the Eternal Rose. He has also allowed me free use of his library -- modest compared to the library at home, of course, but more than adequate considering the locale. It is perhaps a bit focused on a single subject, but as that subject is one that is of particular interest to me anyway, that is not as limiting as it might sound. We have even fought side-by-side, during an unpleasant incident involving an outbreak of ghoul fever last winter. For the first time in nearly a decade of my self-imposed exile, dear sister, I no longer feel completely alone.
This brings me to the kind offer you made in your letter, which I must, with the greatest regret, decline.
Your suggestion that I might return home for good would have brought me to tears, were my barren eyes capable of producing them. But the folk of our county have a long memory, and a mere decade is not nearly long enough for them to forget what they believe they saw on the night I departed. I am sure they love you as they did Uncle, if not more, but that love will not keep the mob from storming the manor with pitchforks and torches if word gets around that the family monster has returned.
My delay in responding to your correspondence is due to hesitation over whether to accept your offer to visit me here or elsewhere instead. Just a few days after I received your letter, as I was composing my initial response, I received a letter notifying me that Professor Petros Lorrimor has gone to his judgment and requesting I attend the reading of his will in Ravengro.
You may remember my tale of the traveler I met on a forest road in the first year of my exile — he was beset by bandits, and may well have lost his life as well as his purse had I not frightened them off by singing a haunting melody and giving them the briefest glimpse of my unusual dentition as I approached. When the bandits took to their heels, this traveler eagerly professed his gratitude for my intervention (as well as a discomfiting interest in my ancestry) and gave me his name. It was, as you may have guessed, the same Professor Lorrimor.
This unexpected missive — from Professor Lorrimor’s daughter, apparently — was long delayed; the winter that has just ended was a hard one, and the ice in our harbor so thick as to render it impassible until this month. I have already missed the funeral and the reading of the professor’s will, but after long consideration and consultation with my friend the priest, I shall be on board the next departing ship to accept passengers and within a few weeks will present myself to Professor Lorrimor’s daughter in Ravengro to learn the reason for this mysterious invitation. Once I have completed that mission and have made arrangements for lodging in Ravengro or elsewhere, I will send word to you, dear Valerica, and we may decide the place and time for our reunion.
Until then, again, I beg you to take more care of yourself. I never knew our mother, of course, and I will not speak of my father. You and Uncle have been my only true family, and with his passing, you are all I have left, and I flatter myself that you may feel the same for me. You must not be so eager to follow him too quickly!
The next time I write, I shall once again be within the borders of our homeland; the thought fills me with dread and eager anticipation in equal measure. Until then, I remain, as always,
Your loving brother,