Making Simkin


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Not sure this is the right place to put it, but here goes.

I am currently running an instance of Second Darkness for a home tabletop group. Rather than sticking to the AP 100%, my players know me for my reputation of adding in little bits and pieces of my own creation. This is an attempt to do more of that.

My current thought is this: My players are just about wrapping up Book 1: Shadow in the Sky, clearing through the water tunnels, just nearing the final fight. Inside these tunnels, I had left a dreamstone for them to discover, which has, in only half a session of play, made the PCs question their reality, and the players curse me in the worst sense. They have no choice but to try and either return this dreamstone to the Dimension of Dreams, or (little do they know they can), deactivate it and pray that it stays inactive for a long time.

Eventually the plan is this: They will be hunted by an Elder Mythos cult (whom they've already seen a very small glimpse of, but have no idea what they were actually fighting), for being in possession of this dreamstone. By way of a meeting with Cayden Caylean, they will realize the connection of this all these elements to the main storyline, and will have to go disrupt the cult's activities (in order to find the focus component to deactivate the stone).

After that is done, I plan for the stone to take on an intelligent persona... That of, wait for it... SIMKIN!

Those who have read Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Darksword Trilogy will know who I'm talking about. The rest who haven't... EGAD man, what a bunch of louts! (jokes)

So that leaves me a problem: I need to build Simkin as an NPC. And seeing how the Phantasia RPG system that was included in one of the splat books that the authors wrote after the trilogy didn't realistically give me much in the ways of statting out the guy (Seriously, he had height 61, movement 5, and the rest of his stats were all N/A), I have to rely on you all to lend me a helping hand.

So here goes:

Simkin is basically the embodiment of magic. He is absolutely nothing and everything. He is the fool who knows everyone and every trend, yet his combat capabilities are next to nil. He occasionally disappears just before bad things happen, or turns himself into a teapot. He's liable of everything from lying, getting his companions into trouble, betraying and switching loyalties, more lying, and leading his companions into a circle of mushrooms that is the portal to the faeries domain.

I'm imagining this guy to be some mix of illusionist sorcerer or bard with harrower (and perhaps veiled illusionist) PrC levels.

Weis and Hickman's "Darksword Adventures" describes Simkin as follows:

"Joram makes two observations about Simkin: first, that Simkin plays the game for the game's sake, and second, that he is magic personified.

Simkin is completely and totally amoral. He cares for nothing and no one. He will act for or against someone as it takes his fancy. He will tell the truth, on occasion, but it is often so jumbled up with blatant lies that it is impossible to believe a word he says.

Because he is amusing and (apparently) harmless, Simkin is much like the classic court Fool in that he is able to exhibit the follies of people to themselves. He pounces instantly on the weakness of any person present and will exploit that to the fullest. Amid the fawning and pretensions of the royal courts, this barbed truthfulness is oddly refreshing.

The one startling fact about Simkin that no one knows (or will find out in these first Darksword books) is that he is immortal. Simkin hints at this when he tells Prince Garald that he was present when the Prophecy was given following the Iron Wars. Of course no one believes him, but in this instance Simkin is stating fact. He was present. He was present when Merlyn and the magi left the Ancient World. Just how long Simkin has been around is open to conjecture, but he may have been giving Adam and Eve tips on how to dress. Since Simkin is magic, his power has no limits except those that he puts upon himself. The remarkable things we see him do are only a very minute part of the miracles he could perform if he wanted. He takes nothing seriously, however, and Players who attempt to get Simkin to help them by performing some tremendous feat of magic will only find themselves in worse trouble.

Human life means nothing to Simkin. After all, he's met millions of people. He is, in fact, fascinated by death, and thus most of his lugubrious stories deal with death in grotesque forms. His stories are rarely pointless, often having some relevance to the discussion at hand, be it only a play on words.

Since life is a game and the game is everything to Simkin, he enjoys placing humans in difficult and even dangerous situations to see how they react. He will do so in such a way that he always appears completely innocent.

Simkin is unpredictable, and thus can be a very dangerous companion. Yet, he can also be extremely valuable if he chooses. Simkin loves adventure and will gladly accompany any party of adventurers on any quest. He will tell them anything they want to hear in order to convince them to let him come with them. (He would, in fact, probably go with them whether invited or not! More than one adventurer has discovered a teapot in his knapsack!) There is a strong chance that Simkin has information or can help the party in attaining that goal. He will make things as lively and interesting for them as possible on the way, however Woe betide the group if Simkin gets bored!

Simkin has been to all the royal courts and will be welcome in any of them. He is on familiar terms with all people of influence. He will be able to take Players any place they want to go—from the home of the Faerie Queen to the marvelous Zoo in Zith-el, to the palace of the King of Sharakan, to Bishop Vanya's private chambers, to the subterranean meeting place of the Duuk-tsarith. Getting out again may be an entirely different matter, however!

Simkin remembers the ancient world very well, and he has no desire to cross the Border until he discovers the wonders of Technology that have been developed in his absence. After Joram's return, it occurs to Simkin that Thimhallan is extremely boring and he could find all sorts of new adventures in the "brave, new world". To cross over into the other world disguised as Joram will be a wonderful joke on everyone concerned.

Simkin's death at the end is all too real—Technology destroying Magic. If Joram does not free the magic, both Simkin and the magic remain dead. By freeing the magic, however, Joram brings Simkin back to life, and there is undoubtedly the possibility that Joram's son, who goes out to seek his fortune in the worlds Beyond, will find himself accompanied by a companion in pink silk trousers carrying an orange silk scarf!"

Someone that irritating sounds like they need to not have combat stats in order to avoid being killed. Also it sounds more like a permanent Project Image than anything else.

avr wrote:
Someone that irritating

Lmao. Yeah, he is both annoying and endearing at the same time, if you'll believe it. The only time I truly hated Simkin while reading the trilogy was when he betrayed Joram the very last time.

avr wrote:
Also it sounds more like a permanent Project Image than anything else.

Hmm! Didn't even know that spell existed. Interesting...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Best way to handle him, a Projected Image of a simulacra of Nethys, that gained his own identity over that of his creator.

Okay, so I understand that as GM I can use those mechanics to basically not have stats. But what if say I wanted an actual playable character in the general spirit of this description? What would that look like?

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

I don't think you can make it a playable character. The personality is so shaped by and a result of the infinite cosmic power that you can't separate them, and it is likely that anyone with that personality who didn't have infinite cosmic power would just end up being a corpse.

I'd also advise thinking carefully about including an NPC that you absolutely love. You are running a game to tell the PCs story, not your story or your NPCs story, and NPCs like this can really warp that and lead to a negative experience.

Dave Justus wrote:
it is likely that anyone with that personality who didn't have infinite cosmic power would just end up being a corpse.

That's okay. My guys have more than once debated amongst themselves whether they wanted to simply shank a guy or to capture them and hide them away in a cage in the sublevel octagon fighting arena in the Gold Goblin, that they've affectionately named (but never talked about) "Fight Club".

Dave Justus wrote:
I'd also advise thinking carefully about including an NPC that you absolutely love. You are running a game to tell the PCs story, not your story or your NPCs story, and NPCs like this can really warp that and lead to a negative experience.

I'm not worried in the least about that. I've actually already injected several of my favorite character creations and ex-PCs into their game. Being the Multiverse, I'm not emotionally attached to them at all.

For example, one of the Gold Goblin's game dealers is a Halfling that I originally statted as a 1st-level character as an example and PC tie-in for an earlier web-forum incarnation of Second Darkness. She is now married to one of the PC's (and mostly just does daily job stuff for the Gold Goblin).

Another was a short lived character I played for a Carrion Crown campaign, which I should've liked fleshed out more, but I stuck her into the role of an employee (security/bouncer this time) as well, and was primarily following the PCs around as a deus ex machina healer for a little bit while they were sorting their s%#@ out. Now at levels 3-4, as they're growing to become fully capable of holding their own (most times), Kiran is just a message girl and mobile exorcism ritual.

There's plans for me to fully stat out a ninja, who was mistakenly hired by the PCs as a cook in the Gold Goblin, not knowing that he would backstab them during the Raid. (they even went so far as naming the betrayer after me... lol) He'll come back and ambush them again, even though the players (and PCs) have fully discussed their plans on gruesomely murdering this poor sap.

I let the PCs shine at the end of the day.

So the plan with Simkin, really is just to provide a little bit of extra randomness to their adventures, a very palpable chaos that they can love and hate and be annoyed at but can't help but love. Perhaps an encounter with a certain faerie queen? Or perhaps a betrayal straight into the hands of one (or even multiple) bosses?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd be careful. I like Weis and Hickman, Dragonlance was my introduction to D&D, but they have a tendency to create annoying characters and then insist they are loveable, despite all evidence to the contrary. If they did Star Wars, they would be responsible for Jar-Jar.

So as things will have it, I'm actually going to have a chance to PLAY Simkin in another game, after his introduction to mine.

Thinking of going Human (probably Varisian?) Bard (Court Fool) 1, Oracle (Heavens, Consumed) 1, Sorcerer (Crossblooded Harrow, Psychic) 18

2nd level spells at character level 7 then, on a pure spellcaster? I'm sure that's thematic and all but this is an example of why multiclassing needs to be handled with care. It's too easy to lose focus.

A crossblooded (harrow, psychic) sorcerer is probably workable on its own but if you want that then I'd suggest no further multiclassing. The delay from crossblooded is annoying enough on its own.

A court fool bard gets enough magic on its own to be an illusionist, you don't necessarily need to go off into sorcerer or something. A magician bard gets a little more if you want to creep an inch further along the skills --- spells line.

Veiled illusionist wants to grow on a class with relatively few class features and as much casting as you can manage. Start with a heavens oracle or a non-crossblooded sorcerer for good results.

Having spoken with a friend, his suggestion was to strike crossblooded harrow/psychic for just a straight arcane sorcerer for those levels, while keeping the 1 lv dips for court fool and oracle. How would that compare to just straight court fool with a 1 lv oracle dip?

Oh yeah, forgot to mention... This is a Carrion Crown adventure that I'll be playing Simkin in btw. He's going to be a replacement for my other PC that was killed off near the end of book 1.

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