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Thread: Player Background, Includes 4th edition teasers

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    Player Background, Includes 4th edition teasers

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    So my buddy offered to DM for a few games while I get back on track with DMing and building my campaign setting. (I am a terrible DM) So, he wants me to make a character, and I have a few ideas. If you have subcribed to the D&D Insider, you probably know about revenants. I think I want to do a revenant-dragonborn monk. Its not quite an optimal build, I know, but I have a cool backstory built for the character. Additionally, I have a half-orc ranger-archer build that has a cool backstory also. I'll get to posting the backstories in a second, but as a DM, do you like the revenant? Why or why not? And do you as a DM prefer players to have an optimal build, or a very intricate backstory? And, have you had a single player's backstory be engaging enough for you to want to build a campaign that was meant primarily for a single character? I ask because while I am favoring the revenant monk, if the campaign isn't rather tailored to THAT character, it'll be not as fun to play for me.

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    I think the revenant is an interesting idea, but it really needs to be built into the plot for the adventure. I don't think it should be treated like any other race. Its purpose for being brought back definitely needs to be attached to some quest the party will be undertaking.

    Its definitely something I'd require approval for before permitting a player to be one. I'd also ask for the player to provide details on who was brought back to life, and a few hints on why the Raven Queen would have done it. In other words I'd make the player do a lot of the creative work for it.



    As far as builds go, I prefer a character with a solid backstory. That doesn't mean a full novel on their history, just enough that their personality and motivations are clear. I tend to keep the games balanced between RP and combat, when the player has done a bit of story work they don't struggle as much with the RP side of it.

    If they have a good backstory, I wouldn't argue with an efficient combat build. I'd only question them on it if there was some obvious and blatant min/maxing going on. Even then I'd probably allow it, but I'd make a point to put that character into situations where they would have difficulties, and drop in extra skill challenges.

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    If the revenant is anything like what I encountered in 2nd Ed (the last time I've seen one used in any form), it would be something that only fit in a campaign that really focused on the story and character to give it some conclusion. It's too specific and would create a focus on getting their purpose completed, not helping random towns.

    If it's not, ignore everything I just typed.
    --
    Grimwell

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    I'll post both backstories once I am back, but both have deep backstories. The revenant has far-reaching motivations too, but they might be missed greatly in a vanilla campaign.

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    I personaly like the Renevant and can see many ways I might build it into my game as GM, but I tend to run games that start out on the small local level and build as the characters are drawn into the machinations of evil beings, would be world conqurers, and destroyers of reality where my ultimate end game would fit as a reason for a God to have someone brought back.

    A lot of GMs I have played under though would be iffy on letting someone play one though because they don't have major world saving plots in the works for when your characters reach the higher levels.

    As for back story vs optamized I always preffer a character that is interesting to one that is boring and can kick the backside of everyone he meets. I would not want a novel, but like getting basic backstories from my players, things with small details, bits of personality, NPCs I might want to use, and an explination of why they took up training in what ever class they are. Of course if you can combine an interesting backstory with a well built character that is always good too. Its one thing to make a Kobold Rogue because the bonuses against traps and racial power to shift as a minor action work well as a rogue, but even better when you have a story about how he was saved by a kindly Cleric of Bahamut as a hatchling and raised by a group of adventurers...especially when he is given the chance to school a Dragonborn player on the nature of Honor while the Dragon born is acting like a Hypocrate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grimwell View Post
    If the revenant is anything like what I encountered in 2nd Ed (the last time I've seen one used in any form), it would be something that only fit in a campaign that really focused on the story and character to give it some conclusion. It's too specific and would create a focus on getting their purpose completed, not helping random towns.

    If it's not, ignore everything I just typed.
    The short version of the 4E revenant is that for some reason known only to the gods the Raven Queen returned this person to life. They are basically undead, however they don't look and act like normal undead though. They can take on the appearance of any race, thought there are a few features that would made them stand out. They aren't extremely blatant, so its unlikely a revenant would cause a panic in the average town.

    The big catch is the purpose that they are brought back for. Since the gods alone chose to create the revenant there has to be some specific purpose behind their doing so.

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    My revenant's backstory is over a page long, so we'll see if I can actually post it as such, but the half-orc's backstory is as follows.

    I have come to hate the One-Eyed Bastard Gruumsh and his sons for their rampant and blatant inability to find the value in working hard to build something yourselves. My father raped my elven mother and left her to die with the rest of my village. He and his small band of mind-rotted apes didn't even take the steps to be sure that my elven kin were slain. As it were, they simply burned some clay-built homes and felled some trees after their initial assault. My village rebuilt that which was destroyed and taught me well the ways of my fey side, and lent me a fine tutor in the practice of Archery. With the strength my father gave me, I mastered the greatbow, a feat none of my village could do. By the age of 16, I was leading the hunts my village had, and by 23, I had slain my good-for-nothing father much like my deity, Corellon had wounded his mortal enemy. My crowning achievement was to hit my smallest target to date; my father's right eye and puncture it. I then took delight in ripping the arrow and his eye from the socket after shoving him to his feet. I then knocked my greatbow with two arrows and surpassed even myself by hitting him in the other eye and in the heart, killing him swiftly, even if not most efficiently. I keep the three arrows as trophies of my deed, and as a reminder never to loose my sense of self again. My vengeance has been exacted, and I meddle not in the affairs of those who are live by a balance. I have become the elder sister to a girl like myself that I found on my search to slay my father. I am pained that I slew her father when I killed my own, but she has now found her rightful place with her mother and her elven kin, rather than as a sexual slave to my father's men. She writes me, and I try to be there for her, but my time is split between my duties as a sister and as the slayer of men like my father. I am disgusted to find that there are elven men that have become the same trash my father was, and have made it my sworn duty to fell them, and the orcs that would do that which sired me.

    As a woman of elven and orc lineage, I am an outcast in my village, and among orcs. My orcblood is savage and thirsts to let blood, be it beast or other. I diet on mostly meats, but I do understand and value a well-prepared foraging of vegtables and berries. I have gotten myself ill more than once by eating berries that are not edible though, as I was not the best student of nature, at least when it came to survival skills. Like I said before, I am an excellent markswoman and I can hold my own with a shortsword as well. My mother has bid me well in my self-appointed duty out of love, but I know that that is not quite the truth. She is pained when I return home, but I know that she would be saddened greatly were I to meet my demise too soon. As a woman of elven lineage, I am tall and proud, lithe and gorgeous from a bit of a distance. Up closer, most men notice my snout-like nose and my excessive fangs, and my complexion is noticably darker than my kin. My sage green hair is kept long and braided when I can afford the pleasntry to braid it. My eyes, I have been told, are a mix of chestnut and emerald. When I grow tired of my duty, I wish to find a husband that does not feel ill at my appearance and that holds strong morals. My husband must be able to keep himself in balance at all times.

    I am mostly a lone wolf, as it has been hard for me to trust others. I have had few true friends, but I have met a few souls that are honorable enough folk that have helped me in my quest, and I have offered my services to a wealthy Doppleganger that had his parents slain as a child, tracking the killer and granting the young man his peace. I hear that he has a friend that is known as a philanderer and a thief, on top of being a Doppleganger that takes advantage of his ability for ill-intent. I'm sorry; I forgot to mention that I think lowly of the beings that can shapeshift and do not take a form on. The few that use the ability for good have my respect, but most are less than swine that use it to better themselves only. In my travels, I have met a shadar-kai that has lost everything but his sense of pride and his greatsword, a dragonborn that swears by the Platinum Dragon, and a somewhat kindred spirit in a female half-orc that was adopted by humans. She is a bit younger than I am, and I have watched over her in secret because though I know my mother loves me to an extent, all races are rather distrustful of the others, and not without good reason. However, while she became a pit-fighter that leaned to the orc in her, I became a ranger that leans toward the elf in me. She and I, I hope, shall become good friends, although I suspect that her life will be brief without the balance my elven heritage gives me.
    The revenant's backstory is as follows.

    As a mortal, I was an exarch to the god Chronepsis and a monk. My god brainwashed me into thinking that undead are evil, and that they seek to avoid the balance. Even my god feared me. He saved me more than once from a permanent rest, and I have never forgiven him. My age was well past that of my people the dragonborn, and I lived and buried many wives and children, never once asking my god for them to be granted another life. As a man of many generations, I spread the faith and following of my god to thousands of people of all races and faiths. As my god demanded of me, I sought the families of those that had lost a loved one, especially those whose loved one became undead. Banishing undeath and comforting the living was my job for six thousand four hundred and twelve years.

    Ironically, as I aged mentally, I wondered why Chronepsis brought me back from the edge of death as I tried to fell that Dracolich in my first life. I was a child that had lost my parents to an undead that feasted on their life essence and I would avenge them. But even a sixteen year old dragonborn, I would never be able to do so. It was become of he who returned me from my death in the stomach that gave me the strength to climb back up through the beastís belly and back to his jaws. It was surprised, and scared when I pried open its maw and jumped back out. The radiance Chronepsis shrouded me in was temporary, but it lasted long enough for the beast to know who I served and that his punishment would be swiftly coming. With the strength my savior provided me for this fight, I shattered the beastís lower jaw with a flurry of punches and I took a jagged piece of his bone from his jaw and swung it at the creatureís chest, exploding its heart and found its Phylactery hidden in its skull. The astral diamond it stored its soul in was one of the most valuable artifacts I had ever seen, but my god demanded that I throw the thing into a raging fire into the heart of a volcano, and then to return to my home and bury the corpses of my parents. I was a fool to follow his instructions, but I did and he let me be for some years while I practiced the arts of unarmed and unarmored combat out of respect for the situation against the lich and had established a family of my own.

    My last death was my own doing when Chronepsis would not release me from my long servitude and grant me an eternal peace. My 6,412 years in his service would surpass the length of service any exarch had ever served without being elevated to godhood or dying a lasting death. And Faluzure was furious with me , enough to want to claim me for his own purposes. So they occupied Chronepsis with a great battle and sent back to me my first wife from the land of the dead and had her kill me. When I saw her, I knew her, and I welcomed her. Though she had been dead most of my existence, she still loved me. She knew the pain of loss I bore and she wept as she stabbed the poisoned dagger through my heart, killing me instantly. She mourned me and buried me so Faluzure couldnít take me, and she was returned to the land of the dead, her corpse just as it was the day I buried her.

    And though she did everything to free me from life for eternity, my soul could not rest; not yet. I had a job to do. Four days after my burial, I rose from my dirt prison and embraced the corpse of my wife and reburied her. This time, I would be sure she would be forever dead. And to do that, I will become the god of death. Chronepsis, and Faluzure would have to die at my hands. The dead would be judged not on an arbitrary basis. The desire to live forever would not be viewed a crime of the soul; the desecration of other dead would be. Necromancy would be the crime; not simply being the living dead. I would grant the families of the dead that lived good lives a respite from their loss and return them to lie should the dead want it. I will not return to life those that were evil, nor those that seek an eternal rest. I will be the punisher of those that are resurrected against the deadís will. As a dead man, my view on life has changed. There is no evil in wanting to live forever. There is evil in many methods to live forever, but not the desire. Some people should live forever, such as the man that seeks to unravel all the mysteries of magic. I realize that I will never have the eternal rest I had hoped for only a few months ago, but now I shall serve a greater cause. I shall serve humanity, and not a arbitrary god. I will have no exarches; my will is so great that I shall do this myself. Should anyone assist me, I seek no worship. Know my demands.

    1. Necromancy is the greatest evil. Practice of this black art will suffer the greatest of all my punishments. Stamp out necromancy wherever you find it, and bury the corpses of any animated dead you find.
    2. Destroy any animated dead you find. Animated skeletons and corpses are to be buried and for doing so, your eternal afterlife will be rewarded. Should you find a corpse that is not buried, take the time to bury it. You never know whether your death will leave you in a similar state.
    3. Do not kill vampires and revenants just for what they are. They were once alive like yourselves.
    4. Respect the dead. That means bury a man as wishes, as long as you can reasonably afford the expense.
    5. Grave robbing will be an offense I will punish you for at your judgment. Think twice before you defile a grave.
    6. Comfort the grieving.
    7. Honor your deceased kin. If you can, visit the grave, or seek the assistance of a spirit-caller. Do not forget the ones you loved. If you have no means to honor them, seek me, and I will let you speak to your lost kin.
    8. Finally, enjoy life. It may not be your last, but experience all that you would because you might only get one.

    I will be the only one to be able to free you from a life as a revenant should you come back against your will. Do not expect me to always be at your beck and call; I have had thousands of lifetimes and hundreds of families of my own to mourn.
    Last edited by emblasochist; 07-02-2009 at 01:13 PM.

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    So that's both character's backstories. As a DM, which would you let me run? Personally, I would like to play the Monk because it is my favorite class, but then again, I would be rather upset if the campaign didn't turn out as a dragon-themed campaign. The half-orc half-elf would be a generally fun one to play, even though I like ranger a bit less than monk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Q-man View Post
    The short version of the 4E revenant is that for some reason known only to the gods the Raven Queen returned this person to life. They are basically undead, however they don't look and act like normal undead though. They can take on the appearance of any race, thought there are a few features that would made them stand out. They aren't extremely blatant, so its unlikely a revenant would cause a panic in the average town.

    The big catch is the purpose that they are brought back for. Since the gods alone chose to create the revenant there has to be some specific purpose behind their doing so.

    I don't remember where I read it, but the playtest document says that some revenants have come to be simply because the soul of the dead has such a strong will to live that it doesn't leave the mortal coil, and that is what I am basing this character upon. If my DM doesn't like it, I can easily enough say that I was brought back by Chronepsis as a revenant after I was slain during the fight between him, Tiamat and Faluzure, thinking that I was still his devout follower. (For those that don't know, Chronepsis is the draconic version of the Raven Queen and Faluzure is the draconic version of Vecna, the god of undeath)
    Last edited by emblasochist; 07-01-2009 at 08:42 AM.

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    It could be you're right, the soul itself could manage to come back as a revenant. I didn't read through their full write up thoroughly, just the basics on it. I don't remember there being any methods other than a god's request in the bit that I did read over.

    I suppose I should make the time to read over it carefully. I was just leaving it until I came up with a campaign story that could make use of it.

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    You are not incorrect, Q. I just read the whole thing and preferred the small "Revenants in your game" under the subheading "Patron", it says that

    It could be, however, that no power but the PCís will returns the character from death. Minions of the Raven Queen might hunt this fugitive from the laws of life and death.
    and I have a penchant to bend the rules if I can. But if my DM doesn't like it, I can go with the vanilla rules that Chronepsis, or the Raven Queen herself if my DM doesn't like the Draconic pantheon, returned my character to life.
    Last edited by emblasochist; 07-01-2009 at 10:41 AM.

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    That is a nice twist on it. Would make for an interesting campaign if the DM started having you chased around by the Raven Queen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Q-man View Post
    That is a nice twist on it. Would make for an interesting campaign if the DM started having you chased around by the Raven Queen.
    The thing would be that he would have to try and come up with a monster for the Raven Queen because my character would SO have to kill her.

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    I prefer a player with a good backstory to one that's awesome at combat but with nothing to tie him to the world. Giving me a backstory gives me options for hooks. I haven't seen the revenant yet, but as a general rule (ie give me a good backstory as to why i should allow it), I'd disallow revenants at first level. If you tell me you want to become one eventually, I'll work it in, though it may take a while.

    Based on what I've read on your revenant-dragonborn monk, it sounds like you're going for the demi-god epic destiny (not sure about paragon path).

    I'm not sure where you plan to take your half-orc, but I like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarQuing View Post
    I prefer a player with a good backstory to one that's awesome at combat but with nothing to tie him to the world. Giving me a backstory gives me options for hooks. I haven't seen the revenant yet, but as a general rule (ie give me a good backstory as to why i should allow it), I'd disallow revenants at first level. If you tell me you want to become one eventually, I'll work it in, though it may take a while.

    Based on what I've read on your revenant-dragonborn monk, it sounds like you're going for the demi-god epic destiny (not sure about paragon path).

    I'm not sure where you plan to take your half-orc, but I like it.
    The paragon path for my revenant is going to be a Scion of Arkhosia, because revenants have to pick a past life, meaning a race their character was prior to death, and as such, they are ALLOWED to take the racial feats and powers the level one character of that race and can take the paragon paths and epic destinies of that race.

    The half-orc probably will go for the the sharpshooter paragon path and the Prison of Winds Epic Destiny.

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