Vlad Taltos


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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I'm re-reading Steven Brust's excellent Vlad Taltos series and I got to wondering how hard it would be to build him in PF2E. He's a crime lord, a witch (which may or may not be the same thing as being a witch in PF2), an expert swordsman (rapier), carries a number of concealed weapons, including daggers and shuriken, knows a little bit about sorcery. He claims to hate Dragearans (the dominant species or sub-species in his world -- he's human) but he has many Dragearan friends. He has some small skill in thievery, though he doesn't consider himself a thief. Oh, he's an accomplished assassin who made his first kill at 17. He can't teleport (that's a sorcery thing) but he knows a lot of people (Dragearans) who can. I'm thinking Rogue for starters, Mastermind (he's a planner) or Ruffian maybe. What do y'all think?


If he's got magic and weapon combos going on why not make him a Laughing Shadow magus?


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It's been a bit since I read those, but rogue with witch archetype is definitely a better fit for that character. This isn't some 50/50 magus deal.

I think that actually any racket other than ruffian could be a good fit. I might lean more toward thief or scoundrel than mastermind, because while mastermind's narrative theme fits, the mechanics of the others do feel like a good fit for the character as well, though there's definitely some investment in Society.

The ridiculously high level allies and the artifact he definitely ended up walking around with aren't really build components, as much.

Ritualist, if you could fit it in, could actually fit, given the sort of witchcraft he does.


I'd say Eldritch Trickster, honestly. I mean, it fits. Witch works well as the thing to archetype into. He even has a familiar and (if I'm remembering the stories correctly) a patron that his magic is tied into.

That said, Eldritch Trickster isn't great, as rackets go. Possibly the remastered version will be better?


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A few observations:

1) Vlad Taltos was based on an old 1st Ed AD&D character from a hombrew campaign (Dragaerans = elves, Easterners = humans, Serioli = dwarves): a human assassin (subclass of thief in 1st Ed AD&D). Using the PF2 rogue as the base class is the obvious choice; based on the story background in the novels (muscle/enforcer/assassin), the ruffian racket is probably closest.

2) Sorcery, as described in the novels, can probably be modeled with the multiclass Psychic Dedication and archetype feats.

3) Witchcraft, as described in the novels, is closest to PF2 rituals. Gaining a familiar is described as a ritual, but can probably be better modeled in PF2 with the Familiar Master archetype.

4) Vlad's fencing skill might be modeled in PF2 with the Duelist archetype.

5) Because of the multiple archetypes probably required, the free archetype variant is likely the easiest way to model the setting.


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HammerJack wrote:

It's been a bit since I read those, but rogue with witch archetype is definitely a better fit for that character. This isn't some 50/50 magus deal.

I think that actually any racket other than ruffian could be a good fit. I might lean more toward thief or scoundrel than mastermind, because while mastermind's narrative theme fits, the mechanics of the others do feel like a good fit for the character as well, though there's definitely some investment in Society.

The ridiculously high level allies and the artifact he definitely ended up walking around with aren't really build components, as much.

Ritualist, if you could fit it in, could actually fit, given the sort of witchcraft he does.

Yeah, Ritualist did occur to me.

By "artifact" you mean Spellbreaker? Or is there something I've forgotten and haven't run across yet in the re-read? No, don't tell me. :-)

SanityFaerie wrote:

I'd say Eldritch Trickster, honestly. I mean, it fits. Witch works well as the thing to archetype into. He even has a familiar and (if I'm remembering the stories correctly) a patron that his magic is tied into.

That said, Eldritch Trickster isn't great, as rackets go. Possibly the remastered version will be better?

Eldritch Trickster? I thought about it, but I dunno. As you say it's not great. We'll see. Hell, maybe I'll come up with two or three alternatives, post 'em here, and see what people think.


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You'll know the object I mean when you get to it.


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First shot, 1st level only so no archetypes yet.

Vlad Taltos
Human rogue 1 (Advanced Player's Guide)
N, Medium, Human, Humanoid
Heritage versatile heritage
Background criminal
Perception +5
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin, Orcish
Skills Acrobatics +6, Arcana +6, Athletics +4, Crafting +6, Deception +3, Diplomacy +3, Intimidation +3, Medicine +3, Nature +3, Occultism +6, Religion +3, Society +6, Stealth +6, Thievery +6, Underworld Lore +6
Str 12 (+1), Dex 16 (+3), Con 14 (+2), Int 16 (+3), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 10 (+0)
Items leather armor, dagger, rapier, backpack, bedroll, chalk (10), climbing kit, flint and steel, rations (1 week) (2), rope (foot) (50), soap, torch (5), waterskin, purse (8 gp, 8 sp)
--------------------
AC 17; Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5
HP 18
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Speed 25 feet
Melee [1] dagger +6 (versatile S, thrown 10 ft., agile, finesse), Damage 1d4+1 P
Melee [1] rapier +6 (disarm, deadly d8, finesse), Damage 1d6+1 P
Ranged [1] dagger +6 (versatile S, thrown 10 ft., agile, finesse), Damage 1d4+1 P
Surprise Attack You spring into combat faster than foes can react. On the first round of combat, if you roll Deception or Stealth for initiative, creatures that haven’t acted are flat-footed to you.
Ancestry Feats Natural Ambition
Class Feats Nimble Dodge, Tumble Behind[APG]
Skill Feats Cat Fall, Experienced Smuggler, Intimidating Glare
Other Abilities mastermind, rogue's racket, sneak attack
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Has a mustache, mostly because Dragearans can't grow facial hair.

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By the way, given he's accomplished at so many things he's probably at least tenth level.


Ed Reppert wrote:
I'm re-reading Steven Brust's excellent Vlad Taltos series and I got to wondering how hard it would be to build him in PF2E.

Just a sideways thought. PF1/PF2 isn't really ideal for the mechanics or the tone of the Dragaeran novels. I absolutely don't mean to take away from the strengths of these game systems but...

I'd suggest looking into Blades in the Dark as a system for this. There's an actual conversion/addition that adapts it to exactly this... which I have run successfully for a bunch of people who've read the books.


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Hm. I have Blades in the Dark around here somewhere. I'll see if I can find it.

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