It’s mildly unusual – but over the years quite a few players have designed characters who define their roles in the party purely in relationship to another character. Sometimes they’re companions or familiars gained through appropriate abilities – but sometimes they’re full-scale characters. A few of the player characters have included…
- “Fred” was a nigh-immortal little dragon-creature who served as a familiar for one mage after another down the centuries, accumulating magical lore and power from each master in turn until most of his erstwhile “masters” were quite unsure as to just who was the “familiar”.
- Artermi, a werewolf-warrior, acted as a pet-bodyguard for his master and his master’s children during his masters attempt to found a dynasty and bring order out of the chaos of the Cataclysm.
- Risanth was an up-and-coming greater demon player character, who split his time between trying to advance his position in the Tuat and being summoned by Harold – the party demonologist – to help the rest of the party deal with their enemies.
- Hamdir was a formidable young werewolf who felt that it made life a LOT simpler to belong to Aldhere – a minor spellcaster and magical healer in a world where any kind of spellcasting or healing was very very rare – so as to have someone to explain him, pay the bills, and patch him up after fights.
- Locadel the Indestructible was a nigh-invulnerable turtle with vast healing powers who bestowed a large portion of that invulnerability and healing on whoever he choose to accompany – and communicated through interpretive dance (at which he was sufficiently skilled to engage in philosophical debate).
- Ralf, a Psychic Canine granted human intelligence through a magical accident.
- Vena, the Archangel-Ferret, was a shapeshifting starship – most notable for launching barrages of planetkiller missiles into the Abyss.
- Amilko Moonshadow, the Herald of Chaos and (eventually) an Epic Level Squirrel, started off by appointing himself as a familiar to the party mage, and accompanied the group thereafter.
There have been dragon-steeds, sapient horses, and more of course; those are just a few of the more recent or memorable ones.
The thing to remember about all of these is that the powers of a full-scale player character or follower tend to make for a pretty impressive sidekick. Thus, along those lines, here’s a (blatantly exploited) follower – Edelbert, a Level Zero Slave-Steed Follower from Atheria
Edelbert’s family was on the losing side of a feud while he was quite young – and so he was forfeited to the Sternwater family, slavebonded, his shapeshifting locked down to only two forms (horse and mouse), gelded, and given to Yolande – who was also fairly young at the time – as a pet and riding animal. At this point he doesn’t really remember a lot about being human and is quite used to being Yolande’s horse. After all… Yolande was the one who fed him when he was a toddler/colt (if she hadn’t… he’d have been left to starve and die; that too would have been a lesson for her), petted him when he was frightened, healed him when he was hurt, and taught him to be useful to her.
On her side, for good or ill… Yolande rarely thinks of Edelbert as anything but her horse – and Edelbert agrees.
Atherian Lunar Birthright Human (+0 ECL):
- Basic Witchcraft I (6 CP).
- Fast Learner, Specialized in Witchcraft for +2 CP/Level from Level -2 (6 CP). (Currently +6 CP).
- Bonus Feat: Growth and Shrinking for Shapeshifting (6 CP).
- +3d6 (17!) Power (as Mana) with Unskilled Magic (Psychic) Effects (6 CP)
- Shapeshift (6 CP).
The points from Fast Learner have been spent on Witchcraft II. This provides 15 Power (32 total) and access to The Hand of Shadows, Healing, and Hyloka – making him able to care for himself and a much better horse in general.
Mental Attributes: Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 12 (16)
As a Light Warhorse: Large, Str 16, Dex 13, Con 17, Speed 60′, Low-Light Vision, Scent, +4 Natural Armor, Natural Weapons (d4 hooves, d3 bite).
Available Character Points: 24 (L0 Base) + 10 (Accursed / limited to horse and mouse forms, Compulsive / slave-bindings, and Stigmata / gelded, -1 Morale Penalty on Saves) + 0 (Duties to Mistress) +0 (No Bonus Feats yet) = 34
Basic Abilities (13 CP):
- Hit Dice: 7 (L0 3 HP Base +4 CP) +12 (Magic) +9 (Con Mod x 3) = 28 HP.
- Skill Points: 3 (Purchased, 3 CP) + 3 (Int Mod x 3) + 4 (from “Unique Training” in being a horse, free) = 10
- BAB: +1, Specialized in Natural Weapons (3 CP).
- Fortitude: +1 (3 CP) +3 (Con) +1 (Res) = +5
- Reflex: +0 (0 CP) +2 (Dex) +1 (Res) = +3
- Will: +0 (0 CP) +2 (Wis) +1 (Res) = +3
- Proficiencies: None.
- Initiative: +1 (Dex)
- Move: 60′
- Armor Class: 10 +1 (Dex) +4 (Ar) +4 (Sh) +4 (Nat) = 23.
- Hoof: +7 (+1 BAB +3 Str +2 MA +1 Mor), 1d8+4, Crit 20/x2, Combat Reflexes, 10′ Reach. Full Att: x2, Bite +2 for 1d6+3.
Wealth Level: Supported at Common (0 CP). As a pet, he gets decent care, enough food, a +4 bonus to Martial Art/Steed, and three Charms; equivalents of a Merchants Saddle (he’s a very easy ride, +3 to any required rolls – for a +10 total with his speciality and martial art), Mandarin’s Pin (he’s always clean, well-groomed, and looking good), and a Ditty Bag (usually used to produce nice, cheap, oats).
Other Abilities (21 CP):
- Mystic Link with Yolande with the Communications and Identity Modifiers, Corrupted/the link is under Yolande’s control; after all, he belongs to HER – not the other way around. Moreover, he can only communicate things appropriate to a horse – and then only if she wants to know. After all, the link is to make him a good steed, not to distract Yolande from her concerns just because he’s got a sword in his gut or something (6 CP).
- Opportunist/Edelbret may take a free “aid another” action each round as long as he’s working with a rider, Specialized/only with Yolande (3 CP).
- More Witchcraft: Bones of Iron and Leaping Fire (12 CP).
- The Mystic Link with Yolande grants Edelbret the benefits of her relevant Innate Enchantments – Immortal vigor I, Resist Elements, Sustenance, Void Sheathe (a place to store his saddle), Resistance, and Inspiring Word. Since she is now using Imperial Charms and Talismans, those with spell effects are relayed as well – her Charisma-Booster, Mage Armor, and Shield.
- Tier One:
- M. Art/Warsteed +11 (3 SP +3 Str +1 Mor +4 Wealth).
- Spot +8 (2 SP+2 Wis +3 Com +1 Mor).
- Tumble (Specialized in Evasion for Double Effect) +3 (+6) (1 SP +1 Dex +1 Mor).
- Tier Two:
- Balance +4 (2 (1) SP +1 Dex +1 Mor).
- Perform (Tricks) +6 (2 (1) SP +3 Cha +1 Mor).
- Ride/Speciality in aiding his rider (additional +6 for rider, 1 SP).
- Tier Three:
- Jump +19 (3 (1) SP +3 Str +12 Speed +1 Mor).
Martial Art/Warsteed (Str)
- Requires: Being sapient and having hooves and four legs. The form works with the user’s hooves and teeth.
- Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Defenses 3, Strike, Power 2, Synergy/+3 (4) to Riders Ride Checks, and Synergy/Tumble.
- Advanced and Master Techniques: Breaking, Reach, Combat Reflexes, and Mighty Blow.
- Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Light Foot and Resist Pain.
- Known Techniques (6): Attack 2, Power 2, Synergy/Riders Ride Checks, and Light Foot.
Edelbret is a remarkable steed – and will be more remarkable as Yolande takes Leadership and grants him a level or two. Even as-is he’s capable of far outperforming any real horse, of a certain amount of self-healing, of boosting his and Yolande’s speed in battle, and of various other useful feats. Of course, he’s also a prime example of just how much the various Birthrights distort the cultures of Atheria. Where but in the Isles of the Moon would this sort of relationship be considered absolutely normal?
- Eclipse d20 – Yolande of the Sternwaters from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Gravewright Eyes-Of-The-Dead, Level Six Lesser Lich (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- “Ghost” of the Chosen Ones at Eclipse Level Four (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Eclipse d20 – Faelan, Mathghamhain, and Caiside. (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] Lucas Arwin, the Master of the World (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Doctor (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Verdigrised Forge, Ironclad Pragmatic Engineer and Honorable Defender from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Skills of the Eclipse III – Faith, Gathering, and Accounting (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] Eclipse — Crafting the Essentials (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Blandly Neutral: The Berzerker (ruscumag.wordpress.com)