Off-brand NPC concept: The Wind-Wife


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So this is inspired by a blog post Arnold wrote over at Goblin Punch a couple of years back. Arnold's stuff is awesome and everyone should go read Goblin Punch, it's great.

Seed: the PCs meet an NPC who has the formal title of "Wind-Wife". This NPC is married to the North Wind. I imagine the NPC as female, but season to taste; the North Wind doesn't really see gender (though it is sexual; see below). Let's call them Kim. I see Kim as a ranger or fighter who is around the PCs' level. S/he is, ohhh, a guide across a wilderness area and starts as friendly if not allied. The PCs should be told that Kim is a "Wind-Wife"; beyond that, you can provide as much or as little information as you deem appropriate.

The North Wind is sentient and practices serial monogamy, taking Wives for anything from a few months to a few years. There's a courtship. Its tastes vary over time. In the last few decades, all the Wives have been either melee fighter types, or lawyers. There may or may not be a religious aspect to this -- flavor to taste. Anyway, being a Wind-Wife brings Kim a number of benefits.

Companion Wind. Kim has a companion wind that hangs around. It's basically an animal companion type thing, except it's a wind. In a pinch it can fight like an air elemental, but that's not its main purpose. It reconnoiter; can carry messages any distance (and it's darn fast, and tireless); and gives Kim the ability to cast Alter Winds, Whispering Wind, Entropic Shield (winds provide 20% miss chance against missiles) or Gust of Wind, all at will. It's smarter than an air elemental but it does wander off sometimes. It hates enclosed spaces (buildings, caves) and simply won't enter them. It's good for minor, Prestidigitation-type stuff like fanning fires or drying clothes. If killed in combat, it reforms in d6+1 minutes.

Wind Power. If you don't have detailed weather patterns worked out, just roll a d4 three times / day, at morning, noon and sunset. On a 1, the wind is from the north, and will be until the next die roll. When a north wind is blowing, Kim can call on their spouse for help. This isn't exactly the full North Wind, mind. It's more like asking for help from your spouse's little finger or something. Still, that's pretty powerful right there. Kim can ask d3 favors /day from the North Wind, which include Control Winds, River of Wind, Sirocco, and Control Weather. Kim can also ask the wind for a Wind Walk once/day -- basically being blown along by the wind. The PCs can be carried along too, but it's a rough ride if you're not used to it; Reflex saves or be sickened.

Wind Wife. Whenever the wind is from the north, roll a d20. On a 20, the North Wind shows up in person. (If you do the math, the North Wind visits about once a month or so.) Kim can also call on the North Wind. This has a 50% chance of success when the wind is from the north, otherwise 10%. (The North Wind is not particularly protective of its spouse, and Kim is pretty independent, so they won't attempt to call on it except in a dire emergency.) The arrival of the North Wind is extremely dramatic; gale force winds, a sudden drop in temperature, and a roaring loud enough to make normal speech impossible. Whether the North Wind takes a physical form, and what that might look like, is up to you. Meanwhile, roll a d6:

1: Venting. The North Wind is angry or upset about something and has sought out Kim to complain and look for comfort. Kim needs to go off and calm their spouse. This will take d20 x 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the side-effects of the North Wind's unhappiness will make normal activity quite difficult. The North Wind will ignore the PCs unless they force themselves on its attention (probably not a good idea).

2-3: Just stopping by. The North Wind just wants to visit with its spouse for a bit. It is in a fine mood and will adopt whatever attitude Kim has towards the PCs. So, if the PCs have made Kim Friendly or Helpful, the North Wind will feel the same way towards its spouse's new friends.

4-6: Conjugal visit. Kim is literally whisked away. They return d6 hours later, yawning, stretching, and with extremely wild hair. Any reasonable request made to the North Wind through Kim is 80% likely to be granted, but not until after Kim has returned. These visits are always followed by d3 days of unusually calm, mild weather.

Should Kim be killed somehow, flip a coin: 50% chance the North Wind simply mourns (awful weather for d6 days, but otherwise no effect), 50% chance it rages and seeks revenge. In the latter case, the PCs better be able to show they weren't responsible, and point to whoever was.

If Kim becomes a recurring NPC, then at some point the North Wind will move on. If the relationship ended well, Kim will have some permanent token of the North Wind's affection -- a magic item, a wind-related SLA, what have you. In theory a PC could become a Wind-Wife; the minimum requirements are a positive Cha modifier, a positive Con modifier, and either at least three levels in a melee class or at least 3 ranks in Profession [lawyer]. Details beyond that, including courtship and wedding ceremonies, would be up to the DM.


Doug M.

My only thoughts on it other than really liking the concept is the class choices.

Which isn't to say I hate the choices it more has to do with the question "does the North wind have a type"?

In other words is it always a fighter or ranger... could it be a commoner... or magus?

Cavall wrote:

My only thoughts on it other than really liking the concept is the class choices.

Which isn't to say I hate the choices it more has to do with the question "does the North wind have a type"?

It has a type right now, yes. Its tastes change over time. Fifty years ago it preferred perfumed elegance. Lately it has preferred melee types and/or lawyers. (Nobody knows why a force of nature is going through a lawyer period, but there it is.) A potential Wind Wife should be reasonably attractive (positive Cha modifier) and reasonably healthy (positive Con modifier). It doesn't like being called on repeatedly, or taken for granted, so personality types who can take care of themselves are preferred.

It's possible that a Wind Wife must be a member of some particular religion, cult, or tribe. Alternately, maybe the North Wind just starts checking out random individuals who fit the profile. (It does get around a lot.) IMC I would say there's some sort of courtship, which may or may not work out. The North Wind isn't remotely human, but it has clear preferences. It is capable of love, and also of anger, amusement, and grief.

I see "Kim" as pretty content with the arrangement and matter of fact about it. Season to taste.

Doug M.

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