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You are here: Home --> DragonBlog --> More Than Just the Stats (Part 5)

More Than Just the Stats (Part 5)

Hey there, Innmates! I heard ya missed me!

Well, don’t you worry your precious little heads… Ol’ Uncle Run-with-Scissors is back with another installment of “More Than Just the Stats.”


If you’re just joining us:


Secondly – We’re glad you’re here…

And finally – you might want to have a look at the previous installments of this series before you go any further… I mean, hopefully this entry is good enough to ‘stand on its’ own’ but it’d make a loooot more sense overall if you read from the beginning.

For those of you who have been following along to this point and are anxious for me to quit chatting up the newcomers and get on with the darn post already, Eol!!! Here ya go:

In this installment, we’re looking at the 4th level of our build process for a 7th level assassin and, level by level, fleshing out our character’s backstory by way of figuring out how, why, and on what we’re spending those ‘level up’ points and perks. As I mentioned, we’ve envisioned our final character to be a Mith’ganni assassin of seventh level, right? And, as we all know, you can’t just start out at level 1 with assassin as your class, can you? Nope; assassin is a “prestige class” with certain pre-requisites that must be met before you take your first level of the class… Sooooo… you’ve got to start your character out in one of the other classes and, little by little, level by level, work your stats and your backstory so that your character gets what he/she needs and, with a little thought and luck as you go, that backstory fills up with all kinds of flavor and fluff and you get the depth of character that makes really RPing that character so much damn fun!

 So… Nyx… if we want to make an assassin out of him, we need what?

  • 8 ranks in the Hide skill (We’ve got 6 ranks, so far, having bought 4 of them at level 1, and, then, boosted them +1 on each successive level thereafter… not bad.)
  • 8 ranks in the Move Silently skill (Same as Hide… we’ve got 6 ranks as of level 3. Definitely creeping up on ticking both of these pre-reqs off our list.)
  • 4 ranks in the Disguise skill (Well… we haven’t even touched this one yet, have we? Nope, and that’s because Disguise isn’t a class skill for Rangers and, as such, we didn’t feel that spending two points for a single rank was a very efficient use of the limited skill points we get at level up time. Don’t worry, though, we’re gonna get our chance to be all incognito very soon, we’re gonna spend just a single point per rank when we do, and our character’s backstory is going to make it all feasible! WooooHoooo!!!)
  • Must be of Evil alignment (Done as of level 3! Sure it would have been easy enough to just scrawl down your ‘LE’, ‘NE’, or ‘CE’ at the beginning of character creation, and we could have done just that buuuuut, since our characters are seldom ‘born evil’ and we’re looking for some ‘historical detail and flavor’ to put into our character’s, we’ve been crafting our backstory with an alignment shift in mind and, as of our last entry, we’re there!)

Okay, great! We’ve just about got Nyx where he needs to be as far as taking that first assassin level, don’t we? We just need to grab two more ranks a piece in Hide and Move Silently and four ranks in our as yet untouched Disguise skill (without having to pay the 2:1 price for it as a cross-class skill). So, how are we going to do that, you ask? Well, let’s see what Nyx has been up to and find out, shall we?

 When we last left him, we know that Nyx had killed his clan’s shaman and his friends/kinsmen, Talo and Calyn, leaving him as, quite possibly, the sole surviving Mith’ganni of the Jolbane clan. We also know that setting off in search of the slavers that raided his clan’s camp and took his beloved Lyssa, (along with the ‘intervention’ of the ancient death god, Prien) is what put our boy on the path of ruthless retribution that he is now on. By the time we get to our fourth level Nyx has put the plains of Shanurdir behind him – (being a kinslayer has most certainly lost him any chance of being taken in by another Mith’ganni clan or even so much as getting aid from them… besides, he’s still hell bent of finding those slavers) – and has found his way into the northern parts of a human-ruled nation called Garangrad. As he moves farther and farther away from the steppes he draws nearer and nearer to human civilization and, with the transition from bucolic Shanurdir to the urban environs of human settlements (or villages, or towns, or cities), comes the need for our Nyx to adapt and adjust if he’s going to go on his (not so) merry way, meeting out vengeance on the round-eared scum that destroyed his life, right?


So, what does that entail, you ask?

Well, let’s see…   Given that humans, in general, aren’t too awful tolerant of elves (or any other races for that matter) it’s not going to be as easy for Nyx to slip into and/or out of one of their towns without drawing some negative attention is it? So, he’s going to have likely put forth some effort, at one point or another, into figuring out how to disguise himself (just on the off chance that stealth and sneakiness alone won’t do the trick, you know). Also, since his ‘main quest’ at this point in time (as far as he sees it, anyway) is to find those particular slavers that ‘obliterated his clan’ (and more importantly took his Lyssa from him), he’s had to learn how to get information about “who/what/when/where” from sources beyond what his senses and tracking skills might be able to provide… Following someone through a city isn’t exactly like tracking them through the wilderness, after all, is it? And, while I didn’t go as far as detailing every single encounter that he might have had at this point in his timeline, I did determine that Nyx most likely got himself into some pretty close scrapes (if he wasn’t captured outright) when he first started his forays into the alien environs of the humans and had to come up with new and different ways of getting himself out of these situations… It’s not like you can just jump on a horse and outride your problems as easily as you could on the plains, now, is it?

With all of the above taken into consideration (and with our goal of reaching the Assassin class by 7th level) I figured that it made sense for Nyx to switch classes from Ranger to Rogue, here. He’s more and more out of the rural hinterlands of his home and into urbanized Imperial locales that dot the landscape like scabs and, as such, his ranger skills would have eventually started taking a back-seat to those new and developing skills our Mith’ganni will need to keep pushing onwards, right? He’s probably having to steal or even buy food and supplies more often, now, too (not a lot of hunting and foraging to be had… at least not as much as he’d grown accustomed to in the first part of his life). Aaaaaand, while he’d absolutely love to be able to stride into town and hack every single human to ribbons, it’s just not feasible in more than one respect… it’s one elf against the world, after all, and he doesn’t have anywhere near the man-power to tackle the entirety of the Empire… He needs to be sneaky and selective (even though, at times, he’s not… especially when his anger gets the better of him) so Rogue makes a better fit that Fighter might, doesn’t it? Plus, the rogue class gives us the opportunity to get some of those skill boosts we want for a ‘reasonable price.’

And, therefore, Innmates, based on everything we’ve considered, here, already, when Nyx hits the appropriate amount of experience to do the level-up routine for level four it’s going to look something like this:

  • Class switches from Ranger to Rogue (Nyx is now CL 4: Ranger 3/Rogue 1)
  • Thanks to the class switch, it seems we get a minor boost in the skill points we have to spend, too. We’ve got 10, this time, as opposed to the 8 we’ve seen in our last two levels of Ranger… sweet! So, how are we going to spend them (and why are we going to spend them that way)?
    • +1 to both Hide and Move Silently (again, these skills are used more and more frequently in the life Nyx has wrought and, as such, just have to be increased… besides, this bump gives us a total of 7 purchased ranks in each of the skills and we only need to get them to 8 before our ‘assassin pre-reqs’ are met).
    • +1 to the Escape Artist and Sleight of Hand skills, as well (these will both likely come in handy in our future as an assassin, won’t they? And, they can be ‘justified’ here by looking at Nyx’s ‘close calls’ and his ‘need to survive in a less rural environment’… (i.e. his slipped ropes he’s been tied up with and pickpocketed/shoplifted/whatever.)
    • +2 goes to Disguise (move silently and hide don’t always work so well when you’re an elf trying to go unnoticed in a town full of humans in broad daylight… plus we need a total of 4 ranks to hit our assassin pre-req, so, lots of encounters where the opportunity for Nyx to disguise himself are assumed to have been presented, thus giving our Mith’ganni plenty of practice and, as a result, good ‘justification’ for throwing two points at it all at once.)
    • Similarly, I decided to throw +2 each at Gather Information and Intimidate for much the same reason… Nyx has been searching for these slavers (and what might remain of his clan) for a decent spell, now, and, as a result, acquired an affinity for both of these things… Intimidation being one of his favored methods for gathering information as it turns out. ;)
  • And, hey! Since we’ve hit level four, guess what? We get a point to throw at one of our primary stats!!! Woooohooo! But what are we going to do with it?... Strength, perhaps? I mean, it wouldn’t hurt Nyx to be a little stronger, would it? Probably not, but, really, I doubt that he’s done a whole lot towards actually increasing his physical strength…. Dexterity? Nah! Dude’s already sitting on a crazy high 19 and he’s only level 4! A 20 in Dex would be awesome but, really, it’s kind of unneccesary… Intelligence and Wisdom would be good choices, I guess (he’s learned a bit more about the world, I’d imagine (wisdom), and has probably picked up some new bits of knowledge (intelligence), to boot), buuuuut, NAH!... I think that, all things considered, we’d be better off throwing our stat point at Constitution. Nyx has been through quite a lot, you know, and has had to tend to himself probably more than he ever has before so, with that in mind, it’s not too far of a stretch to imagine that his constitution has increased (besides, when we get to that assassin part of things, a higher CON score can be downright useful where handling poisons and such comes into play, huh?)… So Constitution from 14 to 15, it is!

 There we go, ladies and germs! Our boy has just hit level 4 and, in the course of those few short boosts to our stats, we’ve gotten a good chunk of the prerequisites for the Assassin class out of the way and, best of all, made each and every one of our stat and skill increases make sense where the character’s backstory is concerned (not to mention having crafted that backstory into something with lots of depth and flavor that will, no doubt, be useful for both yourself and your GM later on).

We’re getting closer and closer to that level 7 assassin we conceptualized at the beginning of all this, aren’t we? Unfortunately, we’re not going to get all the way there this time around… we’ve got a few more levels to go and some more backstory consideration to tackle where that’s concerned and, if I don’t stop this entry, here, you’ll be reading FOREVER!!! Don’t want you to strain those lovely little peepers that have been so kind as to grace this humble blog, now do I? No… I’d like you to go and rest them for a little while… then come back when the next installment is up and we’ll see what Nyx gets into between levels four and five!

posted by Eol Fefalas on 7/14/2020 at 12:29:53 AM Digg Technorati Blinklist Furlreddit


Long ago I pictured a wondrous future in which this Blog Series capped off with a third installment to finish things off...
It's like birthday keeps happening once or twice a week :D

posted by Sibelius Eos Owm on 12/12/2013 at 03:38:35 PM

LOL @ Sibby... You know, long ago, when I first started writing this series, I thought that three or four installments would do it, too... Then, as I was writing, I realized exactly how much history I'd packed into Nyx and this whole thing just got enormous! Happy Birthday!

posted by Eol Fefalas on 12/13/2013 at 07:41:32 AM

I was introduced to tabletop and heavily instructed in character construction by a die-hard roll player. Until I got to this site a few years ago, I thought thats all there really was to the game, as much as I'd hoped for more when reading the phb, dmg, and a long assortment of supplementary books on my own (3.5 for the curious).

With that said, I can't tell you how much this little series has helped my thinking towards the character creation. "Munchkining" my characters has been stale for awhile, but I had no idea how to go about doing it differently until now.

So thank you for saving me from the idea that a character sheet and a paragraph made for a deep character.

posted by Chessicfayth on 1/21/2014 at 02:32:17 AM

Oh my...

So much Baelenoa here :D

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