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Friday, March 21, 2014

Solanyt, the #Simic and #Dimir winged elf assassin, from #DnDNext to #13thAge



I had already written before of how I consider 13th Age the perfect system to play in Ravnica, but I had questioned the feasibility of it in representing my Solanyt character.

The expansion book 13 True Ways will bring multiclassing, thus making it really easy to build the Solanyt I want, but even before laying my sticky fingers (or sticky cursor) over the new product, Wade Rockett provided me with very useful suggestions to build the character using the core system, just tooling around a bit!

So let's go through character creation, following the book step by step.


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RACE

Not many surprises here: the racial power and modifiers of the Wood Elf match my concept perfectly, so Slanyt is still a Wood Elf even in 13th Age.

CLASS

A very difficult choice between Rogue and Ranger. Talents-wise, Solanyt would lean more towards Ranger, because Tracker is absolutely a must for him, and the ability to have a spell is also necessary, because that spell can also be Flight. But as a base class, I prefer the Rogue a lot more, with the Momentum thing, the Sneak Attack, and the different attack powers. So Rogue it is, although it could end up with more Ranger talents than Rogue talents...

ABILITY SCORES

Definitely going for point-buy, the choice is quite easy. Considering the +2 boosts will go to Wis and Dex, I'll go with:

DEX 16 - WIS 14 - STR 14 - CON 12 - INT 10 - CHA 8

Ending up into:

DEX 18 - WIS 16 - STR 14 - CON 12 - INT 10 - CHA 8

(Do you also tend to state the scores from higher to lowest? It's much more natural when generating them)

So a few surprises here: I still want Solanyt to be a bit stronger than the average Rogue (he has some kind of a cult for his body, we might say he's a fantasy gym-freak), and even if it would be tempting to give at least a 12 to Intelligence, I think of his 10 in Intelligence as a result of lack of training, more than being born average. That is, his recent work has been more physical than anything, and his personality, as already stated in the long post about him, is a bit obsessive and with tendency to being mono-thematic and overly-focused on things. As such, he is basically neglecting the use of his Intelligence, which kind of went down to 10 from a  supposedly higher starting score. (Any reference to my recent personal life is purely accidental....)

(Skipping AC, HPs, PD, MD, and so on)

ONE UNIQUE THING

Incredibly, I found an example in the book that is exactly him. "I am the only elf who can fly". Under "Deliberately pushing it". The suggested solution is just to modify the Racial power so that instead of extra actions, it grants flight. It's also very appropriate for it to key to the Escalation Die (a 13th Age mechanic that makes combat faster and riskier with the passing of rounds), since it can represent the need of Solanyt to have high adrenaline bursts to use his wings. So translating the unique thing to Ravnican terms:

"I am a Simic-born elf that has been grafted wings to be an especially mobile agent of the Crypsis clade of the guild."

ICONS RELATIONSHIPS

This is the coolest part: Ravnican guilds can pretty much substitute icons! So considering that he is secretly (and not even that secretly do to his low Charisma score) betraying his guild to work for another, and that he's a loner at heart, I would go for a three-way-split relationship, with just 1 Conflicted Relationship point with Simic, 1 Positive Relationship point with Dimir (after all, being in another guild he's a prized agent), and 1 more point dedicated to another guild... Which one??



In my previous post I named Azorius or Boros as possible Negative Relationships, but as the book suggests, it's kind of redundant to have Negative Relationships with icons that are sworn enemies of  icons you have Positive Relationship with: the relationship between those icons (guilds) will already work out that way, so Solanyt is already in trouble with Azorius and Boros just because of his Positive Relationship with the Dimir.
Instead, it's more interesting to find a completely independent third player.
Again thanks to my extended first-person POV delve into Solaynt's life, I think the answer is Golgari. After all, Solanyt is an expert of the Undercity, and he is into Golgari art and culture. That would tempt me to give even a Positive Relationship point, but it would require me to actually set some story links. Instead, I will stick to Conflicted Relationship, in that he likes the Golgari, some of them might like him back, but most of the time it's all about trespassing into their territory, so trouble may also arise. After all, the guild's fungal and insectoid creatures might not care much if Solanyt appreciates Golgari literature...
So:

Conflicted Relationships:
Positive Relationship:
I'd like to point out that being Simic the actual guild of Solanyt, and Golgari a guild that knows nothing of him, they are two rather different types of "conflicted" relationships, with the Simic one being more the one a family might have with a problematic son, and the Golgari one something like the one you would have with a foreign country you visit and appreciate often, but for which you may be an outlaw easily due to the activities you conduct in it.

BACKGROUND POINTS

Very simple:

Simic Crypsis aerial agent (Undercity): +4


Dimir covert guild infiltrator: +4

*Tracker: +5

*Bonus from Ranger talent.

TALENTS

As already implied, the most important one story-wise would be Tracker.
From the Rogue side, Shadow Walk is the most fitting, although I would definitely tweak it to make it use Wisdom instead of Charisma. To be fair, this would require that the other talent be a modified Cunning, replacing all Charisma abilities with Wisdom (instead of Intelligence). This can be done if we leave the flight into the Racial Power mechanic changed by the One Unique Thing.
It would leave two extra Background points, which I would spend to represent the personal attraction towards the Golgari, making a background like:

Golgari Undercity and culture connoisseur : +2




Alternatively, if modifying Shadow Walk directly instead of via a modified Cunning (since we still have to modify), I would surely take Ranger Ex Cathedral for access to a damage-boosting Cleric spell like Hammer of Faith, representing a bit of a substitute for D&D Next's Hunter's Mark (which the current version of Solanyt doesn't have, but that's going to change eventually...)

FEATS

Since I would make Solanyt a level 4 character, 4 Adventurer feats are due.
These are quite easy.

Reach Tricks (because we still picture Solanyt's spear combat as taking advantage of reach)
Tracker (using Terrain Stunts in urban environments is a MUST in Ravnica!)
Sneak Attack (Sneak Attack tied to initiative is the bread and butter of assassins)
Shadow Walk (not penalizing speed when the hiding doesn't work is also paramount for Solanyt)

Alternatively, I would replace the feat invested in Shadow Walk with one in Cunning improving Solanyt's quite low Mental Defense by 1. Even better, we might say that being a Tracker of Ravnica, it would be impossible to distinguish Natural environments from urban environments, and I would leave out the Tracker feat to take both Shadow Walk and Cunning.

And again alternatively, if stating that Shadow Walk can be made to work with Wisdom even without taking Cunning, opening thus the slot for Ranger Ex Cathedral talent, the feat choice would go for Deflection, making the power useful also against ranged attacks, a bit like a Monk's Deflect Arrows (and that's the second non-Rogue class I mention for Solanyt... Hmm...)

POWERS

Tumbling Strike, Deadly Thrust, Evasive Strike, Roll With It, Bleeding Strike, Deflection

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And that's it! Another great representation of my pet-character! :)



P.S.: BONUS! If Solanyt was a true 13th Age character

The Icon relationships would be 1 Positive with the Prince of Shadows, 1 Conflicted with the Elf Queen (who would have gifted the wings!), and 1 Conflicted with the Lich King... :)