CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Character Exploration 39 - Azok Lanalan

Coldborn skinwalkers, humans with werebear ancestry somewhere along the line that allows them minor forms of shapechanging. Our randomly rolled character, however, is not like your typical werebear-kin in that he isn’t particularly strong or hardy. The blood in his veins may not give him the vast strength of his ancestors but it has made him gruff or possibly overly hairy. He is from a family that were once slaves but are now free and working the land. The background possibilities are endless but in the end I decided to go with ranger as his class.

Because I chose ranger I also rolled on the ranger random chart and got the following:

Ranger Training: [Survivalist] You were orphaned at a young age and left to fend for yourself in the wilds, or simply lived a life at the edge of society that required a constant scrabble for basic existence. You probably have animals or magical beasts (the edible ones) as your dominant favored enemy, and are adept at lying in wait and springing into action. You gain access to the Hunter's Knack combat trait.

I usually don’t talk a lot about the stats in these character backgrounds but this particular character is built around the idea that he will take certain feats and certain class archetypes. First I’m going to tell the tale before I lay out some of the stuff I’ve chosen. So stay tuned after the character background for some build advice for this character.

Azok Lanalan

Life in Cheliax as a slave meant that your family were also slaves. Azok’s mother and father had been taken separately by slavers on the inner sea and sold into bondage in Cheliax. Amidst all the terrors of slavery they fell in love, although they could not marry in the eyes of Cheliaxian law. They did bear children and Azok was the fifth of their brood.

Azok’s parents longed for freedom, not just for themselves but for their children. It was this hope for their children’s future that entwined them with the paladins of the Westcrown rebellion and the Andoran Eagle Knights. In the dead of night when Azok was nine the family fled with the aid of the rebels. They ended up in Westcrown to lay low for a while.

The plan was always to relocate, but the family lived in a safe house for a few months for their own safety. During this time Azok became friendly with a young man with cloudy white eyes. The man was a seer and he liked the boy, often playing games and telling stories to keep him occupied and soothe his fears. When the family left he took the boy to the side and told him that they were very much the same, that one day he too would have to give up his eyes, but in doing so he would protect his family.

The trips from Westcrown across the border into Andoran was perilous. Sailing was too dangerous with the Cheliaxian fleet always on the lookout for contraband and escaped slaves. The Eagle Knights took the family over land. The trek led up the coast, into the Whisper Wood, and eventually through a pass in the Aspodell Mountains ending up in Andoran.

This was a trek the knights made many times, but this time tragedy fell in the Whisper Wood. Two bears larger than Azok had ever seen or heard ofeven in booksattacked the party. A half dozen knights went down but the family and the rest made their escape, except for Azok. In the confusion the boy ran. He ran so far and so fast that when he stopped he realized he was alone.

For the first few days Azok tried to stay put. He assumed that the knights would eventually find him if he stayed where he was. After the fourth day he went searching for them. Without any clue of what to do, not knowing the direction in which his family went, and not wanting to go back to a life of slavery, the nearing-ten-year-old began to learn to live in the forest. For some reason this came as second nature to the boy.

Although Azok learned quickly by watching the animals of the forest which berries and plants were good to eat, he eventually needed to find more filling food sources. Hunting became necessary after the first few weeks and it was a skill Azok took to naturally. His first kill was a small deer which was drinking from the creek all the animals came to. It was almost too easy to pierce its neck with the crude spear he carved from a branch.

Azok spent three and a half years living off the land; hunting, surviving, and avoiding patrols from the Hellknights searching escaped slaves. When he was fourteen he ran across another troop of Eagle Knights leading slaves through the woods. Two of them were in the troupe that led him and his family those many years ago. With joyful hearts they led the boy to his kin.

When Azok finally reached the homestead of his family, they had taken up a farm outside the city of Oregent near the Arthenfell Forest. His mother embraced him with a hug as it had been four long years since the last time they saw each other. She also introduced him to his new little brother. He wasn’t alone anymore and he was happy, although his time in the forest had changed him.

When he made trips to Oregent with his father he always felt like an outsider. The other teens called him “the wild boy”. All he wanted was to be accepted, but his time alone had left him without an understanding of the social cues others did. Still, through his young adult years he had quite a few relationships. His constant desire for approval, however, made him come off as needy which ended most of these dalliances. There was one that made a particular impression on his heart; the one that got away. At the end of the relationship he stole an expensive locket from her, a family heirloom, so as to always have her near.

Although the farmlands of Andoran were mostly safe, the nearby woods were not. When his younger brother lost his way in the woods Azok went in to find him without hesitation. His brother had stumbled into the path of one of the woods denizens, a large wolf. The boy came upon his cornered brother and stepped in to defend him. The battle was fierce and the wolf managed to knock him flat making him lose his knife. For the first time since the Whisper Wood he thought he might die and that’s when the change happened.

Azok’s body grew heavier and thicker, sprouting dense wiry hair as his nose elongated into more of a snout  and from his fingers extended razor sharp claws. The tide turned and the changed boy managed to kill the wolf, but in the process his face was clawed badly. He lost the use of both of his eyes and his face was covered in scars left behind by the creature’s sharp claws. His brother, however, was saved and that is all that mattered. Thinking back, he realized the prophecy of the white-eyed man in Westcrown had come true.

Unsure of himself and his life, Azok took to spending more time in the woods; mastering his ability to shift his form. He learned to focus on his animal nature, mostly the blood that ran through his veins which brought forth a bear’s endurance. He found that he could, with force of will, muster other abilities. He also learned to fight blindly, both with and without his enhanced senses.

All the physical training in the world was not enough to soothe the pain in Azok’s soul. Most considered him a freak. He felt sorry for himself because of his eyes, and due to his time alone in the woods, his survivalist nature made him feel separate and alone. In his search for inner peace to quell his anger and pain, he found Vildeis, the Cardinal Martyr. As he had lost his eyes so she had given them up willingly that she wouldn’t have to look upon evil. With this guidance Azok left home once more, this time to emulate his patron and fight evil in the world. He pledged to give his all so that others do not have to, even if that eventually means his death.

Rules Stuff

First off, he’s going to take three archetypes for ranger. Shapeshifter, which gives up favored terrain, camouflage and Master Hunter for the ability to add animalistic traits and eventually shapeshift fully into an animal form. Wild Hunter gives up favored enemy, woodland stride, and swift tracker to use the Hunter’s animal focus ability and share it with either your animal companion or one ally. And lastly, skirmisher, just cause I hate spellcasting and he has a low Wis anyway.

All of these changes allow for a character that is very much in tune with his shapeshifting nature. I thought it all went very well with the character background and is a way to intertwine mechanics with story. Some people don’t like over use of archetypes. I think it’s great, when it makes sense.

Feats are another thing that are important to a build. There is a new line of style feats called Blinded blade style and, of course, the blind-fighting line of feats to counteract his actual blindness. The high Dex low Str means I chose weapon finesse as the first feat because it can apply to natural weapons. He has to take the natural weapon combat style feats, so improved natural attack and eldritch claws are on the list as well. Lastly, at fourth level he’ll take his bonus ability in Con making it 13 which qualifies him for the extra feature feat so his natural shape-changing ability gets more powerful and stays within the theme of the character

So that’s the character I made, but what did you do? What is your story for these stats? How did he come to follow Vildeis? Where and why were his family slaves? Tell me in the comments.

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