24 Jun 2016

Old Concept, New Game II - Jyslyn

Continuing from last week with Michaelus, I have another concept that took full advantage of the mechanics of 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  Unlike Michaelus, I never had a chance to play Jyslyn, though she finally did get some spotlight time during last year's NaNoWriMo.

Jyslyn came together after reading through the then-newly released Unearthed Arcana supplement for AD&D.  Drow became a playable race, despite being the evil followers of the Demon Queen of Spiders.  Everybody found a way to create a good drow, including RA Salvatore, who created Drizzt Do'Urdan.  Jyslyn predates Drizzt's first appearance.  She also takes advantage of the same multi-classing rules that Michaelus had.  Unlike the dwarven PI, who used multi-classing because dwarves couldn't be rangers, Jyslyn's usage became an integral part of her.

In Unearthed Arcana, the available classes and maximum levels for drow were split along gender lines.  Drow men were limited as clerics, could progress as far or possibly farther in level as magic-users and fighters as surface elves, and had no level limit as thieves.  Drow women were restricted as magic-users, could progress further than surface elves as clerics, and were unlimited as thieves.  Jyslyn's original concept was a drow woman who was more interested in magic than being a priestess and escaped her family by fleeing to the surface.  The excerpts from NaNo 2015 do show some of the ideas I had in mind.

Bringing Jyslyn to D&D's fifth edition has one integral problem to overcome - characters don't multi-class at the start.  It's an option as they gain levels, but Jyslyn can't start as a magic-user/thief.  Thief, though, was meant to give her access to the stealth skills she needed to get out of her home and on to the service.  There may be a background that would fit that could replace the need for the thief class.

This time around, I'll work in the order given in the Player's Handbook.  First up, the attributes.  I'll use the standard array - 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 - instead of rolling or using point buy.  Jyslyn's top attribute is Intelligence.  She's a wizard, thus she needs to be smart.  Her next highest attribute is Dexterity, to help her be stealthy.  The next two are Charisma and Constitution, more as default than anything else.  Her Wisdom is average; she's made some bad decisions in her past that involve her family.  Her Strength is her lowest; she's a wizard, focused on book learning over her physical body, though she became hardy just through her escape.
Strength 8
Dexterity 14
Constitution 12
Intelligence 15
Wisdom 10
Charisma 13
Next on the checklist is race.  Jyslyn is a drow elf, which is a core choice in D&D 5th.  As an elf, she gets a bonus to Dexterity.  She also gets Darkvision, allowing her to see in the dark, but in shades of grey, and proficiency in Perception.  Jyslyn is also unaffected by magical sleep and has advantage against being charmed.  As a drow, she gains a bonus to Charisma, improvement to her Darkvision, and knowledge of weapons preferred by her people.  She also is sensitive to sunlight.

This now brings Jyslyn to her choice in character class, which is, naturally enough, Wizard.  She gains the wizard weapons and chooses Arcana and Investigation as her skills.  For her gear, she takes a dagger, a component pouch, an explorer's pack, and a spellbook.  The biggest choice to make here is her spell list.  She gets three cantrips and six first level spells.  Given where she's from and that she fully expects that most of her early spell use would be against her own kind, most enchantment spells available to her aren't going to be useful.  In particular, /sleep/ won't help her at all.  Jyslyn is also limited to what is available from spying on other wizards, so she may have more necromancy spells than expected.  The selection below reflects a mix of protective and offensive spells with a drow flavour, which is mostly poison.

Looking ahead as a Wizard, Jyslyn will have to choose a school of magic.  The School of Enchantment is most likely out; her early education would have her distrust the effectiveness of the school's spells.  Jyslyn is also not likely to take the School of Necromancy; she's aware of the reuptation her people have and would like to avoid the angry mob with torches and pitchforks chasing her.  The School of Abjuration may fit her better, but it'd depend on what adventures she has before reaching second level.

Now comes the interesting part, chosing a background.  Normally, a Wizard would take the Sage background; it's a natural match and represents the time a mage spent learning to cast spells.  However, Jyslyn didn't learn the normal way.  Criminal, while it fit Michaelus, also doesn't work for Jyslyn.  She learned to be stealthy for knowledge, not money.  However, it does provide for the Stealth skill.  Hermit also doesn't fit; that represents someone who spent time alone and Jyslyn was a member of drow society until her escape.  Urchin, while not perfect, may best represent Jyslyn.  While she wasn't orphaned or poor, she did sneak around and did keep watch for others who discover her secret.  It's not a perfect fit, but it works, and backgrounds aren't meant to be strict.  Jyslyn gains Sleight of Hand and Stealth and knows how to use a disguise kit and thieves' tools.

The fifth edition version doesn't quite fit Jyslyn perfectly, but with the core book, close enough.  The character sheet for Jyslyn:
Level 1 Wizard, Chaotic Good
Race: Elf, drow

Strength 8/-1
Dexterity 16/+3
Constitution 12/+1
Intelligence 15/+2
Wisdom 10/+0
Charisma 14/+2

Hit Points: 7
AC: 13

  Armour: none
  Weapons: Rapiers, short swords, hand crossbows, daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
  Tools: Disguise kit, thieves' tools
  Saving Throws: Intelligence (+4), Wisdom (+2)
  Languages: Common, Elvish
  Skills: Arcana (+4), Investigation (+4), Perception (+2), Sleight of Hand (+5), Stealth (+5)

Background: Urchin (sort of)
  Feature: City Secrets

  Speed 30'
  Size Medium

Racial Traits
  Superior Darkvision 120'
  Keen Senses
  Fey Ancestry
  Sunlight Sensitivity
  Drow Magic - dancing lights cantrip
  Drow Weapon Training

Class Abilities:
  Spellcasting - Spell save DC12; spell attack bonus +4
  Arcane Recovery

  Gold Pieces:
  Component pouch
  Explorer's pack
  Small knife
  Map of city she grew up in
  Pet mouse
  Token to remember parents
  Set of common clothes
  Belt pouch

  Cantrips: dancing lights (from drow), chill touch, mage hand, poison spray
  1st Level: colour spray,.false life, feather fall, mage armour, ray of sickness, witch bolt

No comments:

Post a Comment