23 Sep 2014

Test Drive - D&D 5th Edition IV

Welcome back to the short series testing out the D&D 5th edition Player's Handbook.  If you've missed a part, the list is below.

Part I - Reverence, tiefling monk
Part II - Liga Dawnspringer, Kagonesti barbarian
Part III - Aelfward Shadowstar V, swashbuckler

In this series, I want to test some character ideas based on setting.  In Part I, the setting was assumed to be a homebrew where the GM would let anything go.  For the rest, I'll be using the Dragonlance, Greyhawk, and Forgotten Realms campaign worlds.  The PHB has some info on each of those worlds, enough for a start.  Today's world is once again Faerun, the setting for The Forgotten Realms.

Last week, I created Aelfward, swashbuckler extrordinaire, specifically for a Realms-based Adventurer's League series.  This time, I'm going to let the dice flow and mix up the steps a bit.  I've had a look through the spells and noticed vicious mockery.  The spell comes from the 4th edition Bard class and lets a character put to lie the adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."  I've put together characters on flimsier ideas, so let's run with it.  It's the Realms; it'll survive.

Step 2, choose class.  Vicious mockery is a Bard spell, which means the best class to go with is, well, Cleric.  Nah, it's Bard, making this Test Drive the first to try out a spellcaster.  Bards are magical jacks-of-all-trades, part wizard, part rogue, part warrior, all bard.  Bards begin proficient in light armour, a selection of weapons, and three musical instruments.  In this case, the instruments are the lute, the flute, and the dulcimer.  Bards also can choose any three skills to be proficient in; Performance is the obvious choice, as is Acrobatics for the flamboyant tumbling.  The third will be History; knowing what happened is as important as singing about it.  Even Gordon Lightfoot updated "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" as new information came out.

Bards, as mentioned, are spellcasters.  At first level, bards know two cantrips and four spells, with a maximum casting level of 1.  The cantrips selected are friends, to get past guards and the like quickly, and vicious mockery, for the sheer fun of hurting people with words.  The spells are charm person, for a longer lasting first impression, feather fall, to jump out of tall buildings without being hurt, identify, to determine what the magical doo-dad does, and Tasha's hideous laughter, to go with the idea that words are more powerful than swords.

Step 4, describe the character.  One background is obvious - Entertainer - though Charlatan could work just as well.  I'll go with Entertainer, though; the bard so far is more obvious in the all-round entertainer than a con artist.  Here is where I should have thought ahead more.  Entertainers get Acrobatics and Performance as skill proficiencies.  Backtracking, the Bard class instead provides Athletics and Insight, both also useful for a faceman style character.  Entertainers also pick up proficiency in a musical instrument; I'll add bagpipes.  Entertainers can choose up to three routines; I'll take singer, instrumentalist, and storyteller.  The background's feature, By Popular Demand, lets the entertainer find a place to perform that includes room and board.  Locals may even remember the performance and be friendly to the character.  For Personality, a hopeless romantic, searching for the "special someone".  The character's Ideal is Beauty, making the world better with every action.  For the Bond, being famous, which ties in nicely with the skills and spells taken.  The Flaw is is a sucker for a pretty face.  The Bard is coming together, but still needs a name...  The next step should help fix that.

Step 1, choose race.  Halfling.  I have in my head the image of a halfling standing in the middle of a battlefield, strumming a lute and hurling insults that kill attacking goblins.  Halflings get a boost to Dexterity, are size Small, move only 25' in a round, but are lucky, brave, and nimble.  There are also two types of halflings, stouts and lightfoots (no relation to Gordon).  Lightfoots get a Charisma boost, so why not?  In addition, lightfoots can hide behind taller people, perfect for when the friends spell ends.  Thus, Roscoe P. Tealeaf is ready!  Wait, not quite.

Step 3, ability scores.  Roscoe needs stats.  The following were rolled - 11, 10, 13, 16, 13, and 13.  Annoying but not below average.  The 16 is definitely going to Charisma, the 11 into Constitution, the 10 into Strength, leaving the 13s for Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom.  Roscoe is charismatic and nimble without sacrificing any mental abilities.

Step 5, equipment.  As a Bard, Roscoe has the following to choose from: a rapier, a longsword, or a simple weapon; a diplomat's pack or an entertainer's pack, a lute or any other musical instrument; leather armour; and a dagger.  Roscue takes the rapier, since it's light, the entertainer's pack, the lute, the leather armour, and the dagger.  From his background, Roscoe also gets a musical instrument, the favour of an admirer, a costume, and a belt pouch with 15 gold pieces in it.  Roscoe considers the bagpipes before realizing that anyone he travelled with would be likely to kill the instrument after mistaking it for a foul beast.  Instead, he takes a flute along with other items mentioned.

Step 6, connections, will have to wait for a game to form.  Some possibilities: In a tavern and overhears the party planning; hired by a fan to investigate wrong-doings; another PC is a fan.  In Roscoe's future, he'll have to choose a Bardic College.  While the College of Valour would let him be heroic and dashing on a battlefield, the College of Lore has the ability Cutting Words, which works with everything else Roscoe has taken.

Roscoe's character sheet:
Roscoe P. Tealeaf
Level 1 Bard, Neutral Good
Race: Halfling

Strength 10/+0
Dexterity 15/+2
Constitution 11/+0
Intelligence 13/+1
Wisdom 13/+1
Charisma 17/+3

Hit Points: 8
AC: 13

Armour: Light armour
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
Tools: Lute, flute, dulcimer, bagpipes, disguise kit
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Halfling
Skills: Acrobatics, Insight, History, Performance, Acrobatics

Background: Entertainer
  Feature: By Popular Demand

  Speed 25'
  Size Small
  Lucky - reroll 1s on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, taking the next roll results
  Brave - advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
  Halfling Nimbleness - Move through the space of any creature a size larger
  Naturally Stealthy - Can attempt to hide even when obscured only by a creature at least one size larger

Class Abilities:
    Cantrips: Friends, Vicious Mockery
    Spells: Charm Person, Feather Fall, Identify, Tasha's Hideous Laughter
    Spell Slots: 1st - 2
    Spell Save: 13
    Spell Attack: +5
    Spellcasting Focus: Musical Instruments
    Ritual Casting
  Bardic Inspiration (d6)

  Gold Pieces: 15
  Leather Armour
  Rapier (1d8 piercing, finesse)
  Dagger (1d4 piercing, finesse, light, thrown - range 20/60)
  Entertainer's pack
  Favour of an admirer
  Belt pouch
Please let me know how it goes if you play him.  Or say hi if you see him in play; that could be me.

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