Character Seeds

This page is for jotting notes about possibly-interesting character ideas. These ideas may be just half-formed ramblings, but they may provide a good seed for someone to build a good, deep character later on.

The Necromancer and the Paladin

Everyone who has played D&D for a while has probably thought, "Hey, why do all necromancers have to be so damn evil?" Everyone who has had that thought has also probably thought about playing a good necromancer. This is just an extension of that thought.

Imagine a party containing both a good necromancer and a paladin. How would the good necromancer treat his undead creations? Should you come up with some house-rule spells modifying the generic necromancy spells to better reflect his attitudes toward the dead? How would the paladin react to and treat the good necromancer?

Fast forward some years and levels, and imagine the paladin has died. Imagine he remains behind as a good version of something like a Death Knight. Why would he come back? Some unfinished mission that was so powerful he felt he must come back no matter the cost? Perhaps the cliche of romantic love, possibly love of the good necromancer? Note that I used the male pronoun for both characters out of simplicity; the good necromancer could be either male or female, as could the paladin.

Ninja in a Western Campaign

Working non-western character archetypes in a traditional D&D campaign can be challenging, especially if you don't have a land or culture prepared where those archetypes can develop. For the monk archetype, the replacement class, the Acrobat, proposed in the Legend & Lairs book, Cityworks, can be substituted quite well. How about the ninja? Their style, weaponry, and techniques also don't easily mesh with the typical D&D campaign. How about making ninja a class developed by the drow?

Drow live their whole lives in shadow (by necessity). They're well accustomed to treachery. They're naturally graceful. They routinely use poison. The weapons they use are usually light, small, and fast. If, like me, you use the graceful, curved scimitar variant wielded by Liv Tyler in the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring as the style for elven blades, you can easily modify it to become something closer to (or exactly like) a katana, a ninjato, or other Japanese-style blades. For other weaponry, well, the drow certainly have the opportunity to create plenty of devious, unusual weapons in the Underdark.

If you need to have other races learn the arts of the ninja, just have one or more drow ninja teach their arts to members of other races at some point in the past. (Lots of interesting places to go, storywise, with that option). Or perhaps elves, humans, or other races, having seen these techniques used against them, develop similar arts. Or those other races may have used Scrying magic to learn the secrets of the drow ninja (though this should be QUITE an accomplishment).

Using replacement classes can work very well too. The Acrobat class from Cityworks can be as good a replacement for the Ninja as it is for the Monk. The Beguiler class from The Players Handbook II also suggests that they could function and form societies much like the ninja. I use this variant myself. In my world, groups of Beguilers, some independent, some working for specific groups, some good, some bad… use their vast store of illusion and enchantment spells and their many varied skills much as the ninja does. They work as spies and thieves (and sometimes assassins). Instead of the typical black pajamas, the beguilers wear regular clothing and armor with a (usually) black cloak whose hood is enchanted to keep their faces sheathed in magical shadow. Other class choices that can be tweaked to work very much like the ninja are the Rogue and the Assassin prestige class.

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