May The Force Be With Garou

   Thanks to some questions from one of our local players, here’s an old character from the World of Darkness – Simon Thorn, a Garou who thinks he’s a Jedi Knight. Oddly enough, it doesn’t take much tinkering to build such characters.

   Why dig this up now? Well, the inquiry was about building a “Highlander”-style Immortal using the second-edition World of Darkness rules (instead of the general world-of-darkness point-buy rules) – and the same general build will work just fine (the necessary modifications are listed after the basic “Jedi” statistics in this post). All you really have to do is change how the character describes his abilities and their sources.

   Besides, Simon was kind of entertaining to bring in: all the moody purists tended to get really upset with his determined cheeriness and firm belief that everyone else was deluded. Of course, since it worked for him just fine, who could really prove him wrong?

   Martin had always been a bit eccentric. When “Star Wars” came out it swiftly became the focus of his life. He took it as the expression of mystic truth, and spent the ensuing decades as a hermit in the rocky mountains, seeking to attune himself to “The Force”.

   In a way, it worked. Such a fanatic regime was just as good a way of tapping into the powers of hedge magic as any other.

   Now aging – if “Strong With The Force” – Martin used his power to explore the wonders of nature and seek out possible students. It was a simple matter to attune his mind to the minds of the creatures around him and share their consciousness for a time.

   One mind responded. Very young, and confused by his thoughts – but so strongly attuned to the pulse of life around it and with such potential. Filled with energies it had taken him long years to learn to tap.

   He maintained the link, and set out to find the child. He couldn’t risk allowing such potential to fall to the dark side without a struggle.

   In a wolf’s den human thoughts crowded into the mind of a two-month-old garou pup, triggering a change which would not normally have taken place for years.

   When Martin arrived, he found a small, confused, and apparently amnesiac or lost toddler stumbling around in the woods. He took the child home and adopted him.

   Years passed. The child learned.

   Martin Thorn’s telepathic abilities have imprinted a good deal of his skills on his adopted son. On the other hand, he’s a human. Simon believes that he too is a human, and a Jedi, and interprets the world entirely from that exotic prospective. He tries to adhere to the “Jedi Code”, interprets his rage as the “pull of the dark side” (something to be carefully managed and controlled), and knows nothing about the garou, their tribes, totems or spirit allies. He has interpreted his few encounters with spirits – and the starting gifts they taught him – as being with deceased Jedi, and takes it as his duty to spread the ways of the Jedi. Any new experiences are quite likely to be filtered through this odd prospective.

   Naturally enough, Simon is built as a perfectly normal Garou.

   The “Exceptional Human Package” is actually fairly simple: for the most part all you’re doing is changing how the character talks and taking a careful selection of Merits and Flaws, at a net cost of three freebie points.

  • Flaw: Banned Transformation: Cannot normally shift out of human form and will revert to it if rendered unconscious in another form (-7). In fact, many characters using this template will not even be aware that they have another form.
  • Merit: Silver Tolerance: Takes only normal damage from silver, carrying silver causes no gnosis loss (7)
  • Merit: Raised by a Numina Master: A character with this merit may purchase one or two of their “masters” numina paths as if they were backgrounds during character creation, and power it or them with Gnosis or Willpower – but is also firmly committed to said “masters” belief system, is loyal to the “masters” causes, and accepts whatever obligations those beliefs lay on him. (3).

Ergo: Simon Thorn, Lupus Garou / Exceptional Human Jedi Padawan

  • Lupus: Gnosis 5. Initial Gift: Heightened Senses
  • Auspice: Theurge. Initial Rage 2. Initial Gift: Spirit Speech
  • Tribe: Stargazer. Initial Willpower 5 (10 after Freebies). Initial Gift: Balance

Attributes:

  • Physical Attributes (+7): Strength 2, Stamina 3, Dexterity 5
  • Mental Attributes (+5): Perception 4, Intelligence 2, Wits 2.
  • Social Attributes (+3): Charisma 3, Manipulation 1, Appearance 2

Skills:

  • Talents (13): Alertness 3, Athletics 3, Brawl 1, Dodge 3, Empathy 3
  • Skills (9): Melee 3, Stealth 3, Survival 3.
  • Knowledges (5): Investigation 1, Occult 3, Rituals 1

Backgrounds: (5)

  • True Faith/The Force Rank II (2)
  • Hedge Magic/The Force Rank V (5)
  • Rites (2): The Rite of Talisman Dedication and Build Lightsaber (a limited variant on “Create Fetish”).
  • Fetish (1): Lightsaber. This fetish creates a “sword” on demand. Fancy tricks, and increasing the damage it does, is a job for hedge magic or more powerful fetishes. This may be a bit better than a standard sword – or be improvable – since he does know the ritual to create it himself but has spent a point on it anyway.
  • Totem (2). if Simon is too bizarre to contribute to a pack totem, he should simply be contacted by the spirit of his deceased master – as a personal totem built according to the usual rules).

Freebie Points (15):

  • +5 Willpower (5)
  • +6 Backgrounds (6).
  • +3 Merit (as noted above, 3)

   Hedge Magic/The Force can be used for the usual movie stunts (mostly short-range telekinesis and telepathy), to regain Gnosis through meditation, to enhance his lightsaber and combat skills, to tap into his inner strengths (taking the modifiers for another form without actually changing form), and to keep people from dying. Of course, other uses can be found in dozens of sources. Simon, of course, credits his exceptional healing ability and other talents entirely to the Force.

  Time to face down some Black Spiral Sith.

.

   Now, if we wanted to build that Highlander-Style Immortal – well, all we’d actually have to do is change a few backgrounds and gifts around. Like it or not, outside of their healing abilities and enough money to not have to worry about jobs, few of the Immortals seemed to be especially wise, exceptionally skilled, or even have much of anything in the way of special powers – so it should be easy enough to represent them as a starting character.

  • Drop the Faith in favor of something acquired over the years – such as +2 Resources.
  • Reduce the Hedge Magic Path to 3. Call it “Quickening Powers” – allowing the user to sense other immortals and “holy ground”, to hide blades that cannot possibly fit in the chosen hiding place, to enhance those blades (so they never break and incidentally throw off sparks when hit), to accelerate their personal healing rate, and to pull other tricks from the show. I haven’t seen all the episodes, so don’t ask me what all they do. Outside of healing it didn’t seem very impressive in World of Darkness terms though.
  • Buy a Contact/Mentor or something with those two leftover points.
  • Trade out the “Lightsaber” Fetish for a Klaive, and style it as your personal weapon. Claim that it’s empowered by your “Quickening”, not by a spirit. Whether the game master agrees or not, will anyone really be able to tell the difference?
  • Change one Ritual to a “Rite of Armor Dedication” that makes a set of armor into part of your skin (and ignore it from then on: you’re just tougher than a normal person because you’re an immortal) and trade out the other for a level of Past Life – thus you can announce that you’re having a “flashback” that will give you a bonus on what you’re doing now.
  • Trade out the Totem for a couple more levels of Past Life. Have regular flashbacks.
  • Trade out the three beginning gifts for an “environmental survival” gift (that will let you breathe underwater and so on), a toughness gift that reduces the actual damage you take while still letting it appear as bloody and messy as ever, and a gift that lets you “Claim the Quickening” – building up your Gnosis score by killing other immortals. You may not have to though; I’d consider an inability to build it up any other way than through “daiblorie” to be an equable exchange, and the game master may allow that. In that case, just keep a gift that gives you some interesting talent or knack to set you apart from all those other immortals.
  • Not aging is sort of irrelevant. How many campaigns go on that long?

   There: you’re an Immortal. Be sure to remember to call Gnosis “Quickening”, refer to Talents rather than to Gifts, and otherwise change your discriptions around to fit.

   OK, you can still be killed by things that aren’t technically “decapitation”, but blowing your body into tiny bits would presumably be equivalent anyway – and you can now take damage that would blow any normal human into said tiny bits and recover from it with great speed.

   While both of those builds are pretty eccentric, there really isn’t anything overly wrong with them. They are starting off with rather high hedge magic abilities, but they’re definitely paying for it in other ways – and they certainly aren’t the usual disruptive-combat-monsters or otherwise rules-exploitive troublemakers. They may create some very strange roleplaying situations, and their odd beliefs, perspectives, and friends may drag the group into some very weird adventures – but there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, from the game masters point of view, it’s probably an advantage.

   Remember. Style and labels are often far more important than mechanics. If a game has a reasonably flexible basic system, you can use it for almost anything.

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