Friday, August 22, 2014

D&D Next characters: Captain Baelor Tamarand, Paladin 1

Okay, I made a Dragonborn.

I don't really like this race, I admit. I'm racist against Dragonborn. It just seems their coolness is dependent on the coolness of the dragons they're descended from. They don't have any independent coolness of their own. Only derivative coolness. And if they're descended from dragons...why exactly do they only live like 80 years? I dunno. I know they satisfy a desire for some players to play some kind of Trogdor-esque dragon man, and I can't blame them for that.

But Paladin, on the other hand, is a class that's very close to my heart. I knew I wanted to play it when I first read the description in the 3.5 handbook. And I played that Paladin all the way to epic level in a long campaign. I still use his name, Arturos Knightblade, as a screen name sometimes.

My most infamous NPC in any campaign that I've run was also a Paladin. Her name was Valkyrie, and she was a servant of the Goddess of Purity and Light. She was the leader of a special elite cavalry squad, the Thunder Hooves, that used the special Paladin mounts from 3.5. She was also every stereotype players associate with Paladins - uptight, vindictive, dogmatic. But also extremely memorable.

So, in creating this character, I combined a class I love with a player race I hate, and made something...pretty cool? I have to admit, in the process of making this character, I grew to like him. I wouldn't mind playing him in a campaign. And then I'd actually take an Oath of Vengeance for him, because that fits the concept really well.

This is definitely a stronger Paladin than 3.5's rather weak class. Lots of the class features have been changed around. You can choose to use your smite AFTER you determine that you hit - a big change, and an improvement in quality of life for Paladins everywhere. It's also not alignment-dependent - you can smite anyone! Most of the Paladin's abilities aren't, in fact. Detect Evil is intact in concept, but now it only detects what you could call "inherently evil" creatures - undead, devils and demons, areas enchanted with a desecrate spell.

They've also struck more of a balance between 3.5's "Paladins are always Lawful Good" approach, and 4th Edition's "Paladins can be any alignment" approach. In this, the code of conduct is not alignment based, but oath-based. You can be an evil Paladin who takes an oath more consistent with a good alignment. This lets you add more of a struggle to it, if you prefer. Unpublished as of yet are the rules for Paladins who break their oath. I won't know what happens to them until December, I guess.

Hope no one violates their oath in the meantime.

So, here's my first 5th edition Paladin, probably more like Valkyrie than Arturos.

Captain Baelor Tamarand
Dragonborn Paladin 1
Speed 30 ft.
HP 11
AC 18 (+6 Armor, +2 Shield)
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Longsword +5 melee 1d8+3
Javelin +5 ranged 1d6+3
Str 16, Dex 8, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 16
Class Features: Divine Sense (4 times), Lay on Hands (5 points)
Racial Features: Draconic Ancestry (Gold) - Breath weapon (15 ft. Cone of Fire, 2d6, DC 11 Dexterity), resistance to fire,
Skills: Religion, Intimidation, Athletics, Persuasion
Languages: Common, Draconic
Proficiency Bonus: +2
Armor: All Armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple and Martial
Tools: Vehicles (land), Chess Board
Longsword, Shield, Five Javelins, Priest's Pack, Chainmail, Holy Symbol of Bahamut, deck of cards, Medal of Valor, Belt Pouch, 10 GP
Background: Soldier
Role: Infantry
Can pull rank on soldiers of lower rank; can get aid from friendly military bases and outposts
Ideal: I will lay down my life to destroy evil in the world.
Bond: I won't rest until the forces of Tiamat are destroyed.
Flaw: Has a deep and blinding hatred for his enemies; no compassion, no mercy.

Captain Baelor Tamarand is a powerfully built Dragonborn dressed in heavy chainmail armor with a golden tabard emblazoned with the symbol of Bahamut. His Gold Dragon ancestry is very strongly expressed in his line. As a result, Baelor is covered in gleaming, golden scales and has short tentacle-like whiskers that give him the appearance of a beard. His face is framed by backward pointing horns. He also carries a number of prominent battle scars. In combat, he wields a gleaming longsword and a steel shield. He is 30 years old.

Captain Baelor has a brisk and direct manner, preferring to face problems head on. He is accustomed to command, and when he says jump, even people he has no authority over find themselves jumping. Many people find him a little severe and over-bearing. Nonetheless, his natural leadership qualities draw many allies. Baelor has a strong moral compass, and is not afraid to say so. However, when it comes to the followers of Tiamat, he has a moral blind spot - there are no lines he won't cross to cause them damage.

Baelor always felt in his soul he was destined to fight evil. When he came of age, he dedicated himself to the cause of Bahamut and decided to serve him by joining his clan's military. As a young idealistic Paladin, he was oriented towards defense. Simply being strong and disciplined, both on a personal and societal level, would deter the designs of evil. However, this changed when he and his military unit was captured by followers of Tiamat. He was tortured for days as he watched each of his men being sacrificed to their monstrous god.

He was finally rescued, and put every single last one of the cultists to death. His ideas of self-defense and deterrence were abandoned. He vowed instead to cleanse the world of this kind of evil at any cost.

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