Twilight Isles – Peregrine, Level One Veltine Companion

   Here we have another very highly-specialized character – in this case, a Veltine wolf-creature who’s currently serving as a guard dog. He’d make a really lousy and boring player-character given that he’s pretty much a total monomaniac (“I jump on things and bite them”), but he’s an excellent guard-companion – and that’s what taking Leadership is all about.

   “Peregrine” is a young Veltine who had the misfortune – whether due to simple chance or due to some curse – to be born in wolf-form. To be doubly unfortunate, he wound up in the hands of a speciality slaver as an infant and was further cursed with all the usual slave-curses – penalties for acting against orders or attempting to escape, pain if disobedient, inability to develop externally-directed magic, and a dozen others. Even very young Veltine are dangerous – but it’s worth the investment; an adolescent or adult who’s been raised and handled properly makes a superb – and very valuable – “pet” and bodyguard. Having to raise them for ten or fifteen years cuts down on the profit margin, but it’s still pretty good if you can handle them.

   “Peregrine” was well-trained, and an exceptionally fine specimen of a late adolescent wolf-form Veltine, when Rudra turned up.

   Rudra – a young Thunder Dwarf – was more than a bit nervous about being assigned to deal with the treacherous Shadow Elves fresh out of the academy. She’d gone ashore to try to get the feel of the place – and see what the Shadow Elves were like in their own country firsthand – at the first island they’d stopped at within the borders of Ishorin.

   When she ran across the place selling guardbeasts, she gave in to the impulse to have a look – and the canines were pretty impressive. They had to weigh better than three hundred pounds and were capable of biting through an iron bar – but were docile and well-trained as well. They wouldn’t be up to dealing with a really powerful attacker of course, but one would certainly be useful.

   She bought one of the best young dogs. It was bloody expensive – and wanting a breeder (these things might be well worth introducing back home) made it even more expensive* – but she had the money and managed to persuade the proprietor that she’d be going a long ways away anyway, and thus wouldn’t be going into competition with them.

   *It was even more expensive than she knew at the time; she didn’t yet know the exchange rates and differences in relative pricing between Ra’vatan (the Thunder Dwarf lands) and Ishorin.

   She named her new pet “Peregrine” since he really didn’t have a suitable name, took him back to the ship and got him settled in, and finished up gathering impressions of Ishorin before they left for their next port.

   They were many days out to sea before she fully realized that her new pet was far, far, more intelligent than any normal dog and understood some pretty complex orders.

   A little work with S’stam and some research at the next port revealed that her “pet” wasn’t a dog. It wasn’t even a magically modified or crossbred dog. It – well, he – was a fully sapient Veltine slave (now that was going to be embarrassing). Her research also revealed something she’d never known; that Veltine shapeshifting required training, rather than being an entirely inherent talent. All the youngster needed was the proper training and he’d be able to take a roughly humanoid form with hands and the ability to speak – and no one had even tried to give it to him. He’d been taken away from his parents, penned, and trained as a pet instead. That was SO wrong.

   How did you train shapeshifting? It had to be an inherent magic of some sort, but it obviously wasn’t elemental… She had S’stam give it a try – but, while Peregrine was (rather depressingly) attentive, docile, and eager to learn whatever his mistress wanted, that simply resulted in him learning to channel a bit of ambient magic into himself, a bit like the Shadow Elves did. Perhaps he’d need to be decursed first? He certainly wasn’t in any shape to be freed at the moment, although his performance during the zombie attack had actually been frightening – especially coming from an adolescent with no weapons or armor. The Veltine might be a bigger threat than she’d given them credit for.

   Still, forcing him to live his life as a dog was just unfair. She’d work on setting him free.

   At the moment, Peregrine is fairly animalistic; after all, that’s all he’s ever known. He listens and obeys (in several languages), but he’s not inclined to think ahead. That’s his owners business. At the moment, all is well. He’s getting plenty of good food, he’s not being hurt, his mistress isn’t under any immediate attack, he has a comfy bed, and he’s being taught more useful things. All is well.

   Veltine Racial Modifier Summary (+1 ECL Race) (The full writeup is available over HERE):

  • -2 Cha, +2 Wis.
  • Normally in a “Hybrid” Humanoid-Dire Wolf form, in which they can speak clearly. Str +6, Dex +6, Con +4, Low-Light Vision, Scent, +20 Ground Movement, +3 natural armor, 1d8 natural weapons, +4 bonus when tracking by scent, monstrous appearance.
  • Must occasionally make will checks to avoid giving in to wolfish instincts.
  • +5d4 Hit Dice
  • Add Str Mod to Con Mod for HP for all hit dice up to level three.
  • May use Charms and Talismans according to their Wealth level.
  • May use a maximum total of 4 CP worth of Relics.
  • Add Str Mod to Dex-Based Skills while in Hybrid and Dire Wolf forms
  • Add Dex Mod to Str-Based Skills while in Hybrid and Dire Wolf forms.
  • Cannot use heavy armor.
  • May heal 2d8+10 hit points (5 + Level/3) times daily as the player wishes, although this will not work against damage caused by tissue-destroying effects, such as fire, acid, or amputation.
  • May spend one Mana to turn their natural weapons into magic weapons for up to an hour.
  • May spend one Mana to gain +4 Str, +4 Con, +2 Will, and -2 AC for (3 + Con Mod) rounds up to (1 + Level/3) times per day.
  • Immune, or at least resistant, to natural weather conditions while in furred forms.
  • +4 racial bonus to Survival (4 CP).
  • Formlocked. Must learn to actually shapeshift if they wish to do so.
  • Poor. Their effective wealth level is reduced by one.
  • Inept/-2 penalty on Charisma-linked skills.
  • Can only tolerate (Con) “points” worth of regular magic items, with the point values of items set by the game master (as a rule, low-level single-charge items are little trouble, spell storing items are only moderately troublesome, and permanently-active personal enhancement items are very troublesome). Annoyingly enough, this limit also affects temporary external spells – although their short-term nature means that the limit is increased by the user’s (Con Mod).

   Peregrine:

  • Disadvantages: Accursed (assorted slave-curses – pain if disobeying owner, penalties on rolls if trying to escape or run away, etc, etc), Stuck in Wolf-Form rather than the useful Hybrid form (can’t speak most languages, can’t use tools, can’t start with weapon or armor proficiencies, etc), Uncivilized and Illiterate (+12 CP. Note that Illiterate is not subject to the usual maximum).
  • Peregrine could take “Duties: Obey Master” or some such – but that’s more of a habit than anything he would get points for.
  • Total available character points: 24 (Level Zero Base) + 12 (Disadvantages) = 36

   Basic Attributes: Strength 15 (21) (22 magic)/+6, Dexterity 17 (23) (24 magic)/+7, Constitution 15 (19) (20 magic)/+5, Wisdom 16/+3, Intelligence 14/+2, and Charisma 12/+1. Rolled*: 17, 14, 14, 15, 15, 14

   *Hm. I was rolling NPC’s using 4d6K3 – allowing the PC’s to average slightly better – but the dice really liked this kid. Evidently Rudra had a very good eye for picking out her new “dog”.

   Base Power 6, Generic Spell Levels: 6, Base Mana 6. These are determined by his base dire wolf form.

   Basic Purchases (24 CP):

  • Proficient with Natural Weapons only (0 CP).
  • +7 Skill Points (7 CP).
    • Total Skill Points: 6 (CP) +6 (3 x Int Mod) = 13
  • +1 on Fortitude Saves (3 CP).
    • Total Saves: Reflex +7 (+6 Dex +1 Morale), Fortitude +6 (+4 Con +1 Purchased +1 Morale), Will +4 (+3 Wis +1 Morale).
  • Hit Dice: 3 HP + Con Mod (Youth Base, 0 CP) +1d4 Bonus HD (8 CP).
    • Total Hit Points 3+4 (Level one hit dice) +20 (5d4 Racial hit dice) + 35 (7x Con Mod) + 42 (7x Str Mod due to Augmented Bonus)= 104 HP (132 when Berserk, only 90 without magic).
  • Initial BAB +1, Specialized for Double Effect/Natural Weapons Only (6 CP).

   Special Abilities (12 CP Net 18 CP before wealth level penalty):

  • Wealth Level: Initially Destitute (-6 CP). With the Veltine Wealth penalty that takes him down to “slave”. Luckily for him, he’s currently being supported at “Affluent” by his wealthy owner. Permanent +2 Wealth Bonus to Bluff, Hide, Search, and Sense Motive.
  • Improved Initiative +4, Corrupted/only while unarmored or lightly armored and unencumbered (4 CP).
  • Lunge. Increases his effective reach to 10′, Specialized/only while unarmored or lightly armored and unencumbered and only with natural weapons (3 CP).
  • Reflex Training/Combat Reflexes variant, Specialized/only while unarmored or lightly armored and unencumbered and only with natural weapons (3 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (5000 GP effective value, 6 CP): All effects caster level one, unlimited-use use-activated, personal-only (x.7 where applicable): 3x L0 enhancement spells: +1 Str, Dex, and Con (2100 GP), +3 Competence Bonus to Dexterity-Based Skills (1400 GP), and Inspiring Word (1400 GP, +1 morale bonus to saves, attacks, checks, and damage). Of course, this also occupies 3.5 points of his magical tolerance – but it’s not like he’s using much of anything else.
    • Unfortunately, Peregrine is currently incapable of learning externally-directed magic without the use of some sort of focus thanks to the slave-curses. If and when he gets those lifted, things like Mage-Armor, Shield, and – especially – Unseen Servant will be in order.
  • Action Hero/Crafting, Specialized/only to pay the XP cost of acquiring Innate Enchantments, Corrupted/requires training, cannot be used to simply pick up new abilities on the fly (2 CP).

Skill

Total

Basis

Balance

+18

1 SP +7 Dex +6 Str +3 Comp +1 Morale

Bluff

-2

0 SP +1 Cha +2 Wealth -5 Untrained

Hide

+20

1 SP +7 Dex +6 Str +3 Comp +1 Morale +2 Wealth

Intimidate

+1

1 SP +1 Cha +1 Morale -2 Inept

Jump

+18

1 SP +6 Str +7 Dex +3 Comp +1 Morale

Listen

+5

1 SP +3 Wis +1 Morale

Martial Art/Sagcire

+18

1 SP +7 Dex +6 Str +3 Comp +1 Morale

Move Silently

+18

1 SP +7 Dex +6 Str +3 Comp +1 Morale

Search

+6

1 SP +2 Int +1 Morale +2 Wealth

Sense Motive

+6

1 SP +3 Wis +1 Morale +2 Wealth

Spot

+5

1 SP +3 Wis +1 Morale

Survival

+9*

1 SP +3 Wis +1 Morale +4 Racial

Swim

+18

1 SP +6 Str +7 Dex +3 Comp +1 Morale

Tumble

+18

1 SP +7 Dex +6 Str +3 Comp +1 Morale

* +4 bonus when tracking by scent

   Martial Art – Sagcire (Dex)

   Sagcire is combat training focusing on one basic technique – lunge and bite, whether to crush, rip, or throw is immaterial. All that matters is getting the user’s jaws around a chunk of flesh and bearing down. A well-trained – or naturally talented – practitioner is easily recognizable by his or her pattern of darting in and out, snapping, twisting, and falling back, rather than locking on and ripping.

  • Requires: Natural Bite attack of 1d6 or more, Move 40+.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Power 3, Strike
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Battlecry (Primal Growl), Breaking, Mind Like Moon, and Reach.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Resist Pain, and Light Foot.
  • Techniques Known (9): Power 2, Attack 1, Battlecry, Breaking, Reach, Inner Strength, Light Foot.

   Combat Information:

  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +5 (Natural) +7 (Dex) +1 (spiked leather fighting collar) = 23
  • Initiative: +11 (+7 Dex +4 Improved Initiative)
  • Move: 50′
  • Bite: +10 (+2 BAB +6 Str +1 Morale, +1 Martial Art), 1d12+10 (1d8 raised to 1d12 by Martial Arts, +1.5xStr Mod [+9], +1 Morale), Crit 20/x2, 15′ Reach, 8 Attacks of Opportunity. Additional +2 to hit and +3 damage while Berserk.
  • Breaking Check: +24.

   Since Peregrine is currently being supported as if he was Affluent (at least for a pet), he’s entitled to use five Charms and two Talismans. Most of them have to be strapped on of course, but that really isn’t much of a difficulty.

   Charms:

  • Runesign: His collar has a set of ownership “tags” that no one can misread or easily miss.
  • Stunstone: Keeps off fleas and other annoying insects.
  • Foulflesh Amulet: Makes creatures reluctant to bite him.
  • Travelers Bedroll: A very comfortable sleeping mat.
  • Perpetual Chew Toy: A variant on the Luncheon Pot.

   Talismans:

  • Stone of Sustenance: Allows him to put off eating, drinking, or resting until weeks later.
  • Ironflesh Amulet: Provides +2 natural armor.

   Next level up – or when Rudra picks up some leadership enhancements – he’ll probably want to add a martial art or two (perhaps something focused on defense and something focused on Inner Strength and Occult Techniques), to boost his bite a bit more, to boost his movement and saves, to (hopefully) get rid of his form-related disadvantages (even if he’s always likely to prefer wolf-form to a humanoid form he’s never had a chance to get used to), to learn to resist having his personal enhancements (however minor) countered or dispelled, and to add something to grant him some externally-directed abilities if he can get the curse removed.

   Perhaps something like:

  • Enthusiast, Specialized/only for Innate Enchantments, Corrupted/requires special foci to channel his power into particular spells (3 CP to provide 3 floating CP worth of Innate Enchantments).

   He probably won’t have the points for all that, but some of it may seem less desirable by the time that it actually becomes a possibility.

   Peregrine is – like most Veltine – absurdly dangerous. If you’re moving in to attack his mistress, you’ll commonly provoke two Attacks of Opportunity from him since he threatens every space within fifteen feet. He’s incredibly strong, it takes an enormous amount of damage to bring him down, and he moves fast.

   That, of course, is what you get with a high-powered race designed entirely for melee coupled with a character build focused entirely on it. After all, he quite literally does absolutely nothing else. He hasn’t even got any ranged attacks or very good saves, which leaves him wide open to controlling spells (Rudra may want to do something about that) or ranged strategies.

Advertisements

One Response

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: