Sunday, November 4, 2012

Uwain the Betrayed - Introduction and Goals

So I'm gearing up to re-join Citizen Ben's monthly 4E D&D campaign after taking a short sanity regaining break.  Previously I had been playing Isidore (Sid) Philokales, a crazy Ardent (psychic healer for those not fluent in the more obscure 4E classes) who was devoted to the worship of a stellar entity that he believed would come and cleanse the world in a burning apocalypse.  For various reasons, mostly because he was insane and none of the rest of the party shared his apocalyptic goals, it became clear to me that it was time to turn Sid over to Ben to use an NPC.  After some thought, I decided that I wanted to play a character who could become the moral center of the game (some discussion of the game and its lack of a moral center can be found in my The Face vs The Captain vs Individual Impulsiveness - Party Leaders in RPGs post) and Uwain, a Paladin of the Raven Queen, a former Cindersoul Genasi raised as a Revenant, was born...

Standing a little under the average height of a human, Uwain appears fairly normal from a distance.  His skin looks a little ashen, his frame thin, his hair faded from dark black to dull gray with age and dark circles of exhaustion stand out under his eyes. Up close Uwain’s appearance is far more striking--his short gray hair actually glows a dull red where each follicle meets his scalp and occasionally an end breaks off and drifts into the air like ash from a dying fire. His skin is the pallid gray of long burnt out ashes, but beneath it his muscles are taut and the blood in his veins glows a faint cinder red. His mouth is hard and his lips are thin, rarely smiling, his cheeks tight and his jaw set with determination. Where from a distance his eyes appeared ringed dark with exhaustion, up close they are as black as rich charcoal, with fierce red embers and tiny black pupils smoldering in their depths. With his Cindersoul heritage compounded by the Raven Queen’s repeated resurrections of him as a Revenant, standing close to him can be unsettling, especially in combat, where the skin around his wounds flakes off like burnt bark, peeling back and flaking before the wind catches it and the ash drifts off, the flesh underneath burning brightly for a moment before it too becomes ashen gray. His eyes burn through you when he turns his gaze on you, instilling in you a feeling of both a great heat and great coldness have settling upon you. His armor jangles softly as he walks, each dull steel scale engraved with an eye so cunningly that they seem to follow you as you move. Over his armor he wears a cloak of raven’s feathers, giving no doubts as to the deity he serves, and a strangle, grizzly amulet, obviously gristle and bone and long dead flesh, but not decaying, a trophy created of the mindflayer foes he and his comrades slew long ago as the Seven Who Stood their Ground. With him always, as well, is Munnin, his falchion, forged of black steel and unreflective in any light until bathed in his enemies blood, when the red droplets upon it seem to shine like liquid rubies, the guards and pommel of the blade each being a raven’s claw holding a snowy white sphere of marble. When he is still, it seems as though Uwain may never move, as though he could be a statue or a frozen corpse, but when he is moving, when he is battling, he is fluid, moving as easily between foes as rising smoke drifting up between tree.
I've thought a lot about some of the things I want to accomplish with my new PC:

  • To have a PC with an unshakable moral core who could serve as the captain of the party.
  • To play a 'serious' character.  My previous two PCs in Ben's games have been the jubilantly spastic halfling Kam Clovertail and the aforementioned insane Sid.  Both were played a little bit wacky and tongue in cheek, and while both could be serious, neither was a Serious character.
  • To make use of the Personality traits presented in the 4E Player's Handbook.  I am positive that this page and a half section of the Character Creation chapter of the PHB is routinely skipped, but it's a pretty decent tool for deciding/defining a character's personality.  Instead of just being a list of personality traits to choose willy-nilly from, it's instead presented as decision points, with a question like "How optimistic are you?" and then a list of traits that would answer that, like "Enthuiastic, Grim, Self-assured" etc. Going through these helped me come up with a good list of traits to use to portray Uwain, the personality questions from the PHB are presented after [in brackets]:
    • He's reserved. [How do others perceive you in social interactions?]
    • He's grim (a deadly betrayal by the thing you dedicated your life's service too, a dozen deaths and rebirths and hundreds of years will do that to you). [How optimistic are you?]
    • He's commanding (he was a military leader before his death) [How assertive are you at a decision point?]
    • He's honest . [How conscientious are you about following rules?]
    • He's stern, in the same way that he's grim and commanding, death, fate and the centuries have worn away any softness that his personality once held. [How empathetic are you?]
    • He's fierce, he believes deeply in what he's fighting for, which makes him fierce. [How courageous are you in dire straits?]
    • He's vengeful, this is one of his weaknesses, that he might take the opportunity for vengeance at inopportune times.  [How do you feel when faced by setbacks?]
    • He's unshakable, Uwain has centuries of suffering behind him, not much will shake his convictions or threaten to cause him to lose focus. [How are your nerves?]
  • To play a religious character where the depth of the religion extends beyond writing down a "chosen deity" on the character sheet.  Too often in fantasy RPGs the extent of a character's, even a "religious" character's, like a cleric or paladin, religious portrayal is nothing more than a domain spell list, a vague theme or the name of a god to call upon.  As a paladin and priest of the Raven Queen, a death goddess, I plan to have Uwain follow a Paladin's code and to seriously undertake various religious activities.
    • Here is my rough draft of the Paladin's code I picture Uwain following:
      • Uphold your own oaths and punish those who break their oaths.
      • Be honest and reward honesty.  Uwain would recognize the need sometimes for falsehood and deception, but tries to avoid it when he can and would not respect someone who relied entirely upon falsehood and deception.
      • Serve the Raven Queen by opposing Orcus and undead who don't serve the Raven Queen.
      • Work with other's to achieve your goals (this is a hold over from his first life where he was turned from being a servant of Imix, one of the Elemental Princes of Evil over to worshiping Erathis, and probably also from being alone for so long and knowing that alone he cannot destroy his enemies.)
      • Show respect to those who are true to their convictions, despise those who have no convictions or bend and break their convictions in the wind. (This is something I'm going to roleplay the hell out of.  Uwain is going to encourage the other PCs to find their convictions and principles and he'll look down on any of them who are unable to hold fast to a set of convictions or principles.)
      • Bring down the proud who try to cast off the chains of fate. As the instrument of the Raven Queen, you must punish hubris where you find it.  (this is boilerplate Raven Queen worshiper, but it fits.)
    • In addition to the Paladin's code, Uwain is going to scrupulously perform various religious ceremonies.
      • Making offerings to the Raven Queen at shrines, temples, graveyards, etc.
      • Saving up copper coins so that he can give viaticum or Charon's Obol to all those who die in battle with him, whether friend or foe.
      • Perform auguries to determine if the course already decided upon meets with the approval of the Raven Queen when there is time for a proper augury.
      • Sanctify graveyards/burials to the Raven Queen.
      • Proselytize and sermonize... Uwain will not pass up opportunities to try to sway his party over to the reverence of the Raven Queen. 
I'll be debuting Uwain at Saturday's D&D game, so expect a play report of how his introduction to the group goes.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who LOVES to play Paladins, I am excited to see how your interactions go within the group. With all the morally 'flexible' characters it will make for an interesting session!


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