World of Ruin SotDL characters

Hey all–particularly players in my Shadow of the Demon Lord-powered World of Ruin games at GenCon this year!

I’m posting the premade characters for your perusal. It’s first come, first served at my tables, so if you see one here you really want to play, make sure you let me know as soon as you can.

These characters exist over a 15-20ish year span, so they each have two versions: a 0th level version for ESCAPE FROM LUETHER (set during the fall of Luether in 961 SA) and a 3rd level version for BLOOD TIES (set sometime after the fall of the Winter King in 976 SA). The backgrounds of the 3rd level characters have been updated to match the canonical outcome of the first session (assuming the character survives. I would say “likely outcome,” but the likely outcome is character death. 🙂

You’ll notice none of the characters have a gender attached to them. This is because I like my games to be approachable for everyone, and this is an aspect of character creation I will happily leave up to the players.

(Note that the character sheets are subject to update and change.)

Amara the Ice Viper, a courtesan from Tar Vangr and eventual slayer in the Circle of Tears

Amara Ice Viper L0

Amara Ice Viper L3

Ithicus the Imbuer, an apprentice artificer who perfects their talents over the years

Ithicus the Imbuer L0

Ithicus the Imbuer L3

Nameless Summer, a Ruinscarred child growing up on the mean streets of Luether

Nameless Summer L0

Nameless Summer L3

Nassae the Warding Angel, a Tar Vangruyr soldier and hunter

Nassae Warding Angel L0

Nassae Warding Angel L3

Nori Nine Fingers, a world traveler and scholar of ancient religious lore

Nori Nine Fingers L0

Nori Nine Fingers L3

Vandranil the Venerable, an elderly godly Luetharr possessed by living magic

Vandranil the Venerable L0

Vandranil the Venerable L3

Splintering Bone Spur, a barbaric Child of Ruin turned gladiator

Splintering Bone Spur L0

Splintering Bone Spur L3

Aesir the Changeling, a shapeshifter warped by the magics of Ruin, destined to become a High Druid

Aesir the Changeling L0

Aesir the Changeling L3

 

Nazis are the Bad Guys

So, it’s 2017, and by my count, you’d have to have ignored a LOT of movies, comics, books, and culture to identify with white supremacists/nationalists, the KKK, or nazis in this day and age. (Or maybe rooted for the villains? I dunno.)

(Really, fake geek boys?)

See the classic That Mitchell and Webb routine

Here’s an expansive but by no means exhaustive list of the media that show Nazis and their ilk as bad guys.

Indiana Jones (Nazis)

It’s the American way, really.

Star Wars (Empire = Space Nazis)

“Psst, FU123–are we the baddies?”

Harry Potter (Death Eaters = Magic Nazis)

The metaphor is fairly thick here, guys.

Marvel Comics (Hydra = Comics Nazis)

Even the Joker gets it, Nick Spencer–what’s your excuse?

Wolfenstein (Digital Nazis)

Umm… is that ROBO-HITLER? It… it is.

Inglourious Basterds (Nazis)

Dude, alt-right–it’s your hero, Tyler Durden.

Blues Brothers (Illinois Nazis)

They’re on a mission from GOD.

Call of Duty (Regular Nazis & Zombie Nazis)

I’m gonna take a wild guess that you’re not playing a SS officer in this game.

Bionic Commando (Nazis)

The original was probably better, honestly, but still.

Bloodrayne (Bloodsack Nazis)

You’re a hot redhead vampire who kills Nazis. I mean, c’mon.

Sniper Elite 4 (and the previous Sniper Elite games) (Nazis)

Hitler is even a target sometimes.

Far Cry 5 (White Nationalists)

In case it’s at all unclear–white nationalists are the bad guys.

2018 Midterm Elections (Steve Bannon and a bunch of White Nationalists in the GOP)

Give Bannon a sad. Vote vs. GOP.

What are some of YOUR favorite Nazi/White Supremacist/Nationalist crushing narratives?

Share early, share often!

Further Reading:

The Alt-Right has a problem with Nazis as video game baddies I WONDER WHY THAT IS

THE LIST GOES ON: The AV Club’s List of Games about Nazis as Baddies

 

 

Characters with Class: Paladins

King Arthur. Aragorn the Ranger. Joan of Arc. The Twelve Peers of Charlemagne. These are paladins—knights sworn to uphold a particular cause, holy warriors devoted to a deity or virtue, and the shiniest of shiny knights.

In D&D and other fantasy RPGs, paladins tend to be a hybrid warrior/priest class. Big swords, thick armor, loud boasts about good and justice. All that sort of thing.

Look at that posture. Clearly a paladin.

ABILITIES

Throughout the editions of D&D, paladins have been defined by:

1) Their divine abilities, which are similar but not quite the same as those of clerics. They tend to have a much more specific, restricted spell list. Paladins tend to be more specialized as healers (lay on hands, cure disease, etc). Sometimes they’ve been able to turn undead, sometimes not. 5e has made an effort to create paladins of distinct types, which has been largely effective (see archetypes, below).

2) Their fighting ability, which is higher than that of a cleric but not as high as that of a pure fighter. In 2e, paladins had full attack progression (better than clerics) but couldn’t specialize in weapons (as fighters could). Paladins are typically considered front-line fighters and off-role support, as their magical abilities aren’t quite up to being a dedicated support caster, let alone a designated controller.

3) Their smite ability, which has taken on various forms throughout the editions. In early editions, it was a limited # of times per day to gain a bonus to attack an “evil” creature. 3e broke it into more specific smites (smiting evil, smiting chaos, etc), and then 4e turned the smites into various encounter/daily abilities that could be used on any target (going along with the graying out of the alignment system). 5e has paladins sacrifice spell slots to cause additional damage on a smiting attack (any target), and paladins can also cast specific smite spells for specific effects.

4) A strict code of conduct…

So Lawful Good I ride a UNICORN, n00bs! (art by sandara.deviantart.com)

TO GOOD LAWFULLY OR NOT TO LAWFULLY GOOD

In the earliest editions of the game, paladins had to follow a very specific, very restrictive code of conduct and alignment. They had to be lawful good. They had to vow to support charity and smite evil and defend the weak and helpless and, well, be lawful good. And depending on how draconian your DM felt like being at the time, if you stopped being lawful good for as little as ONE SECOND–if you took one wrong step or did one wrong thing–then BAM, all those fancy paladin powers were out the window. You might be able to atone with a quest (story hook, anyone?) or you might just be a mediocre fighter for the rest of your gaming life. (Sucks about all those missing feats, brah.)

And as long as people have played with Truth, Justice, and the Faerunian Way sorts of Paladins, gamers have loved the concept of the EVIL paladin. The anti-paladin. The blackguard. The chaos paladin. The dark paladin. The death knight.

Some of them used to be paladins, and lore abounds with this “fall from grace” sort of story: paladins who made a mistake that cost them their powers, and they became twisted champions of evil. Lord Soth from Ravenloft, Scyllua Darkhope from the Forgotten Realms, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader from Star Wars. (Um, spoiler alert.)

Some, however, were always evil—were anointed by a dark god or swore their service to a foul depravity, rather than a virtue. And so was born the concept of the blackguard. The blackguard was a prestige class in 3e, which was mechanically similar to a paladin but evil—all their powers reveled in darkness, rather than good. 4e removed the alignment restrictions altogether, so you could play a paladin of any alignment—a holy warrior sworn to any cause—and produced the blackguard base class. 5e also has no alignment restrictions.

Lord Soth, for when Lawful Good just isn’t LAWFUL enough…

ARCHETYPES

At first, when D&D was young, the “knight in shining armor” sort of paladin was your only option. You had high strength, decent wisdom, and a punishingly high charisma requirement (2e required you to have a charisma of 17 to play a paladin). And then your character was basically a shining example to the world. Many people played paladins like self-righteous jerks who eventually crossed the rest of the party ,but a paladin doesn’t have to be that, even while being lawful good (see my post about Lawful alignments for more on this subject).

3e broadened the paladin’s horizons with an official blackguard prestige class, which is mechanically linked with paladins (basically, they have almost identical abilities, but themed for causing harm and evil, rather than healing wounds and good, down to a Smite Good ability). The rogue/paladin Shadowbane Inquisitor (ahem, gee, wonder if *that* was a coincidence) prestige class from Complete Adventurer also showed us that paladins could be something other than straight up fighters, while the Grey Guard from Complete Scoundrel gave gamers an avenue to bend the inflexible moral requirements of being a paladin in pursuit of a greater good.

I feel like he’s trying to tell us something here…

4e allowed paladins of any alignment, allowing holy warriors of various causes, and also produced the Avenger base class, which is similar to a paladin in many ways (more like a rogue/paladin). 4e produced the Blackguard base class, which is kinda like a paladin, but different—more of a striker than a defender, an avenger rather than a protector.

5e has really delved into what a paladin could be other than the knight in shining armor and the dark champion of villainy. You can certainly play the classic, protector, valorous paladin, or you can play the paladin whose powers come from the land and who has sworn oaths to protect the ways of the ancients, or you can play a gritty, obsessed with vengeance upon their enemies sort of paladin. The archetype system in 5e is really a powerful tool for both mechanical and roleplaying opportunities.

The Paladin: calm, serene, noble–can kick your ass twelve ways to Sunday.

Facets of Alignment: Lawful

Caveat: This is a topic that has been, is being, and will be argued for time immemorial. So YMMV, of course.

I think of “Lawful” as a pattern of behavior that is organized and relies upon rules and systems to make things work. Discipline and “the rules” are how lawful people live their lives. Lawful people tend to be methodical, rigorous in sticking to a routine, and follow a very specific pattern of how they do what they do. Sometimes this makes them predictable, though sometimes they are very adept at outside-the-box thinking that can surprise opponents. While that may seem like a fundamentally chaotic thing, it only appears that way to an outside observer: a Lawful Neutral bounty hunter’s MO, for instance, might always include finding new and innovative ways to surprise a mark.

I’m going to give examples from comics, video games, and my own books to exemplify these alignments–note that these aren’t necessarily perfect examples, as many of these characters have had countless iterations and visualizations and you can argue lots of exceptions. A lot of these characters (particularly the LN ones) have good or evil tendencies, and that’s fine. In the case of Geralt, for instance, choices you make while playing the games he’s in can push him in a good or evil direction–he isn’t strictly neutral. These characters are sentient creatures who aren’t uniform in their behavior. Alignment isn’t a straight-jacket–it’s a general tool for describing behavior and outlook.

Lawful Good

A Lawful Good person believes in law and order being tools for the benefit of all, and will follow the laws of the land so long as the higher ideal of justice is served. A Lawful Good person has a strong sense of compassion and prioritizes helping those in need, even if it’s dangerous to do so. They are often extremely driven people, unable to tolerate injustice or stand by and do nothing.

Lawful Good types will be extremely uncomfortable with the very concept of bending the rules, much less breaking them, even if it’s for the greater good, in a way that a Neutral Good person would not mind as much, while a Chaotic Good person would advocate for breaking oppressive rules as the best course.

Superman, Defender of Truth, Justice, and the American Way

Examples: Superman is Lawful Good. Obi-Wan Kenobi is Lawful Good. Daredevil is Lawful Good. Triss Merrigold is Lawful Good. Kalen “Shadowbane” Dren is Lawful Good.

Lawful Neutral

A Lawful Neutral person believes in law and order for their own sake, basically “those are the rules and we should obey them because they’re the rules.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that a LN person always obeys the laws of the land they’re in, particularly as a traveler, but they always have a set of strictures or a code that they follow to the letter, and generally they default to a basic respect for the laws of the land, as in “those are the rules that others follow, and they follow them for a reason.” They are often thought of as mercenary or “just following orders” types.

There is a hierarchy of rules: a Lawful Neutral person will only violate an existing law if it comes in conflict with a more important law, and then usually with great discomfort. They may or may not put on the appearance of being good and are sometimes described as being amoral or unfeeling (which is sometimes accurate).

A True Neutral person doesn’t cleave to the law in this way, while a Chaotic Neutral person may have similar priorities to a Lawful Neutral person (getting paid to do a job, for instance) but goes about it totally differently, ignoring or violating rules and expectations as a matter of course.

Geralt of Rivia, Witcher

Examples: The Punisher is Lawful Neutral. Mace Windu is Lawful Neutral. Dexter Morgan is Lawful Neutral. Gerald of Rivia is Lawful Neutral. Levia Shadewalker (Shadowbane 3) is Lawful Neutral.

Lawful Evil

A Lawful Evil person believes in law and order as a means for securing their own power and dominance. The rules are important, primarily because they can be exploited to disadvantage others. A Lawful Evil traveler pays only lip service to the laws of the land that conflict with their own personal code and set of strictures, and will ignore those laws they consider to be weaker than their own or worthless. A Lawful Evil person seeks power through organization and alliance, relying upon others to provide them the support they need to achieve their goals, which involve crushing their rivals.

Neutral Evil people may take advantage of laws but don’t feel much compunction about violating them or working outside them at the drop of a hat, while Chaotic Evil people usually revel in defying laws and rules and will gleefully shirk them whenever possible.

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith

Examples: Lex Luthor is Lawful Evil. Two-Face is Lawful Evil. Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter Talia are Lawful Evil. The Red Skull is Lawful Evil. Doctor Doom is Lawful Evil. Darth Vader is Lawful Evil. Vengeance (from Shadowbane 3) is Lawful Evil.

5e: Barbarian Ookie Mode

When I was a wee lad playing D&D with my middle and high school friends, we had a term for a thing the dual-wielding fighter/mage would do. We called it “ookie mode,” where he put a huge string of buffs on himself and then just buzzsawed his way through the enemies with his two magic longswords.

We were young. Powergaming was a thing.

Cut to today, several editions later.

A guy on the 5e D&D page has apparently posted a couple times about his character (let’s call him Ookie, for reasons that will become obvious), a mid-level barbarian 5 (berserker)/fighter 5 (champion) who regularly gets 6 attacks a round.
 

I assume Ookie looks a little like this.


This he does, apparently, through getting the extra attack ability twice plus action surge plus frenzy plus haste (from a ring of spell storing).
 
Some clarifications:
 
* Extra attack (barbarian 5 PHB49 or fighter 5) means that he will attack twice whenever he takes the Attack action.
 
* Rage (barbarian 1 PHB 48): You go into a rage as a bonus action, and during a rage, you gain numerous benefits, including extra damage, advantage on strength checks and saves, and damage resistances. Rages last 1 minute at most and you can’t cast or concentrate on spells during a rage. A 5th level barbarian can rage 3 times a day, needing an extended rest to replenish his rage. A rage ends voluntarily (as a bonus action) or if you end your round without having 1) attacked a hostile target or 2) taken damage since your previous turn.
 
* Frenzy (berserker 3 PHB49) means that Ookie can make a single weapon attack as a bonus action once on each of his turns (not the Attack action, mind you). Note that a creature can only take one bonus action per turn. Important note: if you frenzy as part of your rage, you gain a level of exhaustion after coming out of the rage.
 
* Action surge (fighter 2) allows Ookie to take an additional action on his turn (it is not an action itself to activate it). He can only use Action Surge once between short or long rests.
 
* Haste (PHB 250) gives Ookie dexterity, speed, and AC benefits and allows him to take an additional action on his turn that must be a weapon attack or a dash, hide, etc. It will require an action to activate this effect, but after that it lasts for up to 1 minute. And let’s not forget that the spell requires concentration to keep going. That’s important. (And another example of how the concentration rules muck up buff spells.) Also of critical import is what happens when haste ends: a wave of lethargy hits you and you can neither act nor move for a round.

* Ring of Spell-storing (DMG) stores a spell in it, which you can activate just as though you had cast the spell yourself.
 
So here’s how this would go down, as I see it.
 
Round 1 (Fight!): Ookie uses a standard action to cast haste on himself from the ring, then uses a bonus action to go into a rage/frenzy. If he has a friendly wizard to cast haste on him, then he has a standard action he can use to charge into combat or attack (twice, thanks to extra attack). Number of attacks this round: 0-2 (if there’s a friendly wizard)

Round 2 (Fight!): Ookie is now hasted and raging. He takes the Attack Action, which allows him to attack 2 times (1 standard attack, 1 extra attack). He also gets a bonus action to attack from Frenzy and a free attack from haste. He then uses Action Surge, giving him an additional action, which he uses to attack 2 times (1 standard, 1 extra). At the end of the round, he cannot concentrate to maintain the Haste effect, because 1) barbarians can’t concentrate on spells while raging, and even if they could, 2) odds are he’s taken some hits, which require concentration checks. Thus, the Hast effect ends, and a wave of lethargy sweeps over him.. Rage has lasted 1 round, will last nine more. Number of attacks this round: 6. (FTW!)
(You may have spotted a problem with how I describe haste working. More on that in a bit. Just roll with it for now.)
Round 3 (Haste ended last turn): Ookie cannot move or take actions this round. Since he can’t attack any hostile targets this round, that means his rage will end unless he takes damage (from an enemy or an ally, doesn’t matter–he just needs to take the damage). Number of attacks this round: 0 (wah-wah). Assuming it’s still going, rage will last 8 more rounds.
Round 4: If the rage ended last turn, Ookie gains a level of exhaustion but can still fight. He can take a standard attack action, attacking twice this round. If he was lucky enough to take damage and the rage is still going, Ookie can still make an attack as a bonus action. Number of attacks this round: 2-3.
The battle continues like this until round 11, at which point the rage ends if it’s still going, Ookie gains a level of exhaustion. He could in theory rage again

Cut back to round 3:

Assuming Ookie set this up so that he didn’t have to concentrate on the haste (he has a wizard friend or the DM is ignoring the concentration rules), that means the haste didn’t end in round 2 and knock him out of commission in round 3. Thus:
Round 3 (Haste hasn’t ended): Ookie is still hasted. Ookie takes the attack action to attack twice (Extra attack), and uses his bonus action to make a weapon attack (Frenzy). Rage has lasted 2 rounds, will last 8 more. Number of attacks this round: 4.
Rounds 4-11 are the same, number of attacks 3-4, depending on whether haste goes.
Round 12: Haste ends at the end of round 11, knocking Ookie out of commission in round 12. He also gains a level of exhaustion when his frenzy ends. On subsequent rounds, he can make the standard 2 attacks, or he can throw himself back into a frenzy to get 3. Maybe he even has another haste effect to pop. He cannot, however, use another action surge until he completes at least a short rest.

Or Ookie could be a woman. Who knows, really?


* Note that a lot of this relies on an extremely generous interpretation of the concentration mechanic. RAW, concentration spells end the instant you stop concentrating on them, which means that haste would have ended not on the second round, but as soon as Ookie started raging in round 1, meaning that he’d be out of commission in round 2.
I’m a just my own house rule that concentration spells finish out a round from when you break concentration. I was being very generous.
If your DM interprets concentration strictly, there is no reason for a barbarian to cast haste on himself and then rage, because that instantly dispels the haste and knocks him senseless for a round.
It’s got to be from a third party caster.

So what’s the conclusion?
 
Yes, in theory, *at best* Ookie could go nova and get 6 attacks in one round, and 4 in the other rounds within his one minute rage. He wouldn’t even have to be level 10 to do it–just barbarian 5 (berserker) / fighter 2. That’s right. A 7th level character could attack six times in a round! Assuming he has a spell caster of comparable level backing him up–a spell caster willing to concentrate on maintaining Haste.
 
However, and this is important: he would only get six attacks in a round ONCE per rage (the round he uses action surge), and he could only rage 3 times per day at his level. He only gets action surge back when he takes a short rest (about an hour long rest), so he can’t do it twice in quick succession.

Not to mention that after he rages three times in a row and thus gains 3 levels of exhaustion, he will have disadvantage on all ability checks (level 1 exhaustion), his speed halved (level 2), and disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws (level 3).

In addition, every time is Wizard friend slaps that haste on him, the consequence of that spell is that it paralyzes him when it wears off (no move or action for 1 round), potentially leaving him very vulnerable. If he cast it on himself, it’s almost certain to end at a perilous moment, and having a friendly caster place it on him is a dicey proposition.

So Ookie Mode *is* possible, but it’s costly and difficult to set up.
And honestly, don’t bother with the haste. Odds are you’ll get in the same number of attacks *or more* if you just frenzy.
Not hasting:
Round 1: 2 attacks (rage kicks in for next round)
Round 2: 5 attacks (with action surge)
Round 3: 3 attacks (no paralysis)
Round 4: 3 attacks, etc.
Total: 13 attacks in 4 rounds
With haste that only lasts 1 round:
Round 1: 0 attacks (rage and haste kick in next round)
Round 2: 6 attacks (with action surge)
Round 3: 0 attacks (paralysis) and rage has a good chance of ending
Round 4: 2-3 attacks + exhaustion (if rage ended)
Total: 8-9 attacks in 4 rounds
With haste someone else casts on you (and they maintain it for the full duration):
Round 1: 2 attacks (rage and haste kick in next round)
Round 2: 6 attacks (with action surge)
Round 3: 4 attacks
Round 4: 4 attacks
Total: 16 attacks in 4 rounds