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Friday, June 20, 2014

Oracle of Nectars from #MtG as inspiration for #13thAge/#DnD character!

My Zendikar 13thAge / D&D conversion is revealing itself a titanic task, and although I deeply enjoy writing for it, sometimes I need a change of pace, and creating a character from a random (and awesome) illustration is exactly the change of pace I need!

We now know that codename D&D Next will simply be called D&D (as easily foreseen), and "5th edition" will be written on the back cover, because they can't lie of course. :)

I'm still under NDA from my Wizards Of The Coast internal playtesting group (have I ever mentioned that?), so I can't use any of the more up to date material. As such, in this indirect comparison between the two RPGs' character creation systems, 13thAge rolls with Advantage, to use a D&D game term... Or D&D with Disadvantage... Or both. You got my point.

So here is the guy I want to represent!

We are clearly seeing, apart from the exaggerated ears and the horns typical of some MtG planes, a light-armored if not unarmored elf, with some kind of spellcasting looking perhaps druidic, perhaps holy, perhaps elemental in nature, and a fine sword. Clearly a Dexterity-focused type, probably also Wisdom. Perfect as a Wood Elf!

Here I go with my D&D Next (last public playtest packet) version!


D&D Version

The warrior side:
Monk (Elemental Disciple), 4th level

To make the character truly fast and slippery. I choose Elemental Disciple (Water), just for flavor, because the bonus to physical Saves strikes me as a very nature-connected ability. The unarmed combat will be visually replaced with staff combat..!

The spellcaster side: Cleric (Light), 2nd level

The light domain will be taken in a more nature/fey-oriented fashion, like "luminous nectar of the holy flowers" or something like that. Note that it combines perfectly with Monk with the Flare feature making him even more difficult to hit. This gives a truly "fey-ish" flavor, and possibly even darkly so: I view this character as being an important protector of a dark fey court, using powers of light but in a dark way..!
Instead of Burning Hands, I'd give him a nature-oriented domain spell from Druid, namely Entangle.

The background: Spy

I'd play this "dark fey with light powers" in this way: he would pass as an unsettling, but good-aligned wood elf, even if he's actually an "unseelie fey", and he would report to the Unseelie Queen, a figure of great power and twisted morals.
The alignment of these kind of fey should be something in-between Chaotic Neutral and Neutral Evil. When Evil, they don't care about law/order for sure (not a fey thing), but they're not crazy maniac killers (because it's dangerous for themselves, and they kind of protect their otherwise immortal lives from danger). So they are egoistically Neutral Evil. When not Evil, they surely tend towards Chaos.
This character, himself, shifts between these two alignments easily, being actually Neutral Evil deep inside, but displaying a Chaotic Neutral behavior.

Feats: Tactical Warrior

To play on the "elven swordsmanship" aspect of the character, and to capitalize more on the high defenses, Tactical Warrior could be an interesting choice. It does add some risk, and it doesn't look fitting for such a character to be a defender, but I think it plays well with the story elements, since it adds an element of ambiguity, an alibi, making him appear as a champion of good even more, when he's actually pursuing his and his dark court's interests..!

And that's it! I think it's really an interesting guy, fun to play and with a lot of options, the way I like characters to be! What do you think? The system, although outdated, is still capable of producing good results, although I need as always to start at a considerably high level to have both an effective multiclassing AND a feat.


13th Age Version

The warrior side:
Ranger (to have an equivalent power level, I think 3rd level is enough!)

The class choice is actually connected to the fact that 13th Age doesn't (yet) have rules for multiclassing. So, if wanting to stick to the book, the only class good enough to mix some spellcasting with combat is Ranger.
The combat talent would be either Double Melee Attack or Lethal Hunter, more probably the latter, to express more his cruel side (thinking about using the Drow racial power instead of the Wood Elf one, but on Wood elf framework!). And the spellcasting talents would be...

The spellcaster side: Ranger Ex Cathedral (+ Feat) & Fey Queen's Enchantments (+ Feat)

With the latter being improved by a feat, so that it can use Wisdom instead of a lackluster Charisma. The spells of choice would be Breath Of The Green & Judgment, with the latter representing a bit the "Light domain" of the D&D version.
Two feats are already expended, but even the third feat could be used to augment the spelcasting side of this elf, mainly the Heal feat, which I guess would be eligible since Heal is available through the Ranger Ex Cathedral talent augmented by feat. The idea of healing from a distance fits the character perfectly.

The background: Dark agent of the Fey Queen (4), Oracle of Nectars (4)

With "Oracle of Nectars" (taken directly from the MtG card of the inspiring illustration), being the "light side" that is used to hide the dark one... But still fully fledged as such, with skills relevant to this kind of priest-ish figure.

Icon relationships: 2 Positive with Fey Queen, 1 Negative with The Three

The negative relationship with The Three could come from the character being one of the wardens of the imprisoned Green, which could also explain his preference for the Breath of The Green spell... Plus, being hated by ancient dragons is badass! And the Fey Queen is of course very fond of him, since he does the dirtiest jobs for her. So she tends to help him whenever she can.


Well that's all folks! I had fun, I think I had a cool idea for this guy, which I could realistically re-use as a game master, for some kind of campaign-central NPC.

Throw your comments without any mercy or shame! :)