A Yarn from the Endless Escalier [Campaign Discussion]

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Githyankee
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A Yarn from the Endless Escalier [Campaign Discussion]

This will be a Planescape game (natch), using Pathfinder rules.
I am still debating the plot, and would like input on it from prospective players (since I don't want to come up with something on my own that would alienate people).

I'm more interested in seeing everyone come up with a character they'd want to play, and then create a story that could involve them.

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The Tone/Style of this Game
I'd like for this game to focus on the sense of wonder and infinity found on the planes, as well as the importance of own's philosophy and view of the meaning of the multiverse.
As such it will emphasize more on exploration, environment, intrigue, and character than combat, and I would like to keep the rules fairly casual and not get too pedantic about them (and streamline the dice rolling as much as possible, so it doesn't bog things down).

Again, I don't want to dictate too much and am open to suggestions, I'm really more concerned with being able to explore the setting's themes than getting too hopped up on mechanics.

Regarding the Lore
I want to keep close enough to the themes of the setting, but also want to allow individual interpretation. I myself will probably take a lot of liberties, mostly to make things a bit more convenient and open-ended.

However, to provide some ground framework for everybody's reference, here's what I'm going for:

* The Great Wheel exists, but it's not the be-all and end-all of the cosmos. There are other planes / clusters of planes out there.

* This won't be in continuity with the storyline of the as-written setting. In general, it will appear closer to pre-Faction War 2e setting. However, the power of the factions in Sigil will be a bit downplayed, the 'kriegstanz' isn't so serious business, nor is there an edict from the Lady limiting them to fifteen.

* The philosophies of the factions transcend the organizations themselves. For a metaphor, the faction is like the Catholic church, the philosophy is like Christianity overall. So you can believe in the philosophy of the Harmonium and have your own interpretation on the harmony and conformity it espouses, without being beholden to the organization. So go for an interesting philosophy, don't feel it has to come with the baggage of a group.

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Character Creation
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/
Anything from here should be fine, unless it's something really out there.
Also, anything from the 3e planescape files from here are as well.
I'm fairly permissive, so you can also ask for things from other sources (whether Pathfinder specific, or other d20 that just needs some reworking).

Let's go with Level 5, 10,500 gold for items, max hp per die, 25 point buy for ability scores (But 1-for-1, NOT the listed chart scaling).
Two traits, no flaws.

Fairly tough and experienced adventures, but not still on the lower scale of things.

In regards to other things, alignment, faction, etc.
Your character can be anything, but they shouldn't be so extremist in their views and allegiances that they can't put a group of friends/comrades first.
So they can be evil, but not a treacherous, baby-eating prick.
They can be lawful, but not completely inflexible.
They can be a Paladin in the Harmonium, but still chill about stuff.
No loners, traitors, or whatever that will destroy an adventuring group.

Dice Rolls
TBD, open to suggestions on how to handle these.

Feel free to ask for questions and clarifications.

Jem
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Yay, actual character

Yay, actual character creation!

As regards PCs: I've had a psion in the back of my mind for a long time, never had an opportunity to dust him off. How does that strike you? A shaper would have some very direct ideas on how belief shapes the universe! Probably a human, though how would you cost other races? If I understand correctly, PF gives a chart that converts race points to LA equivalents? Sorry, I don't have the base PF manual. If you're not eager to delve through the psionics rules I've heard good things about the magus.

Pre-Faction War is good. I don't have a strong preference on factions.

1-for-1 means: stats start from 8, and we have 25 points to add to those, and, say, a stat of 18 costs 10? Do I have that right?

A note to fellow players -- GM says he's okay with evil PCs, but... um... I know I don't particularly wish to play an evil character and I'd rather the player group be heroic. If possible, I'd really appreciate it if we're all non-evil.

Plot comments: how widely known is it in Sigil that the Great Wheel isn't the entire cosmos? Do planewalkers visit other skerries regularly? (Skerry = GURPS term for a clustered sheaf of dimensions.) Or is this mostly a fairly well-kept secret? That would be cool.

I really enjoy a game that tours fantastic locales, so your description of the focus on wonder and infinity sounds awesome. I like my games cheerful and achievable, rather than grim. Grim exists! I totally get that it's a rough Multiverse, and if we're visiting unusual locations some of them will be unusual and interesting because something horrible happened or is happening there. Unrelenting grimdark will probably see me bow out.

I like interacting with NPCs, puzzles, and events much more than most combats, which are okay as seasoning but I don't really dig them as the main portion of the adventure. Here are some examples: So far my favorite Planescape arc ever was almost an epilogue, where our party took the settlement full of slaves we'd just freed and spent several weeks by email working out how to build a functioning city from them. When we got to higher levels, my character's personal project in that game was running a multiplanar abolition movement-slash underground railroad. History is good! I had a character once who had a fanboy interest in the Wind Dukes and the Rod of Seven Parts, even though it never made an appearance in the actual game. I often give my characters family ties and societal roles and consider them an important part of my personality -- no "orphan loner without a home" -- and I would be thrilled if they become involved in the plot.

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Basically, I don't like the

I love psionics, personally.

Basically, I don't like the idea that "evil" = babyeating vile darkness.
So just because someone is evil aligned, doesn't mean they are necessary a 'bad' person, or that they are completely incapable of caring about anything other than themselves. It also has as much to do with whether or not they believe they are good/evil/etc.
Other people might call that "neutral with dark tendencies", but I like giving the concept of alignment a bit more meaning than that. Helps hammer home the idea that a person is trustworthy/untrustworthy just because they ping as something on a detect alignment spell.

Quote:
Plot comments: how widely known is it in Sigil that the Great Wheel isn't the entire cosmos? Do planewalkers visit other skerries regularly? (Skerry = GURPS term for a clustered sheaf of dimensions.) Or is this mostly a fairly well-kept secret? That would be cool.

Anybody that cares enough to think about it knows. Most common people wouldn't think about it. Kind of like... I imagine most people don't know how the primes are set up in crystal spheres and such, but that's not really a "secret". And everybody knows the multiverse is infinite, so they wouldn't disbelieve someone saying they were from a plane they didn't know about.

This is mostly coming from me liking to play evil-ish characters and I get bugged when it's assumed I'm going to be sacrificing orphans to Vecna because of it.

Sigil is located in the center of the outlands as usual, and connects to the Great Wheel and the standard Inner Planes (and a few choice prime worlds) more often than anything else.
This is kind of a conceit to allow other settings to be connected to Planescape without being dominated by its cosmology (i.e. Eberron is out there and maintains its own cosmology), there are Primes that have their own afterlife/alignment/elemental planes, and it lets some planes stand on their own rather than say, just being demiplanes in the ethereal.

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Jem wrote:As regards PCs: I

Jem wrote:
As regards PCs: I've had a psion in the back of my mind for a long time, never had an opportunity to dust him off. How does that strike you? A shaper would have some very direct ideas on how belief shapes the universe!

I don't know anything about psionics from other editions of the game, but PF has its own set here, if you're interested in a few additional options.

Quote:
how would you cost other races? If I understand correctly, PF gives a chart that converts race points to LA equivalents?

I don't really get the race point system either.
Alternately, the Bestiary says that you can basically treat a monster's CR as a level adjustment. In most cases, you would use the listed CR +1 as the creature's ECL (+1 because the scale starts at 1/2; a first level character [common race] is CR 1/2, aforementioned character at second level is CR 1, etc.). The only exception I've noted yet is if the creature has class levels, in which case all you would need to do is subtract those levels to find the base CR of the creature.

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Pre-Faction War is good. I don't have a strong preference on factions.

Same. The factions have yet to appeal to me enough to create a factioneer character, but the setting seemed more interesting when they were still in Sigil.

Githyankee wrote:
Basically, I don't like the idea that "evil" = babyeating vile darkness.
So just because someone is evil aligned, doesn't mean they are necessary a 'bad' person, or that they are completely incapable of caring about anything other than themselves. It also has as much to do with whether or not they believe they are good/evil/etc.
Other people might call that "neutral with dark tendencies", but I like giving the concept of alignment a bit more meaning than that. Helps hammer home the idea that a person is trustworthy/untrustworthy just because they ping as something on a detect alignment spell.

This is mostly coming from me liking to play evil-ish characters and I get bugged when it's assumed I'm going to be sacrificing orphans to Vecna because of it.


Yes! Thank you. I don't understand how so many people immediately jump to the extreme when envisioning evil. People don't do the same for good, everyone knows there are varying degrees and differing kinds of it; the same holds true for its opposition. The world's not all black-and-white, it's in shades of grey.

I like playing evil characters too. It's so much fun! Comes more naturally to me than having to worry about holding a character to abstract moral issues that they really have no business caring anything for. I've never done the "evil for evil's sake" or "disgustingly vile for no reason" sort of evil though.

Jem wrote:
A note to fellow players -- GM says he's okay with evil PCs, but... um... I know I don't particularly wish to play an evil character and I'd rather the player group be heroic. If possible, I'd really appreciate it if we're all non-evil.

No promises, but I'll keep your request in mind while brainstorming concepts.

Jem wrote:
how widely known is it in Sigil that the Great Wheel isn't the entire cosmos?

Aren't the Inner Planes, demiplanes, and the Prime all separate from the Great Wheel?

Githyankee wrote:
Anybody that cares enough to think about it knows. Most common people wouldn't think about it. Kind of like... I imagine most people don't know how the primes are set up in crystal spheres and such, but that's not really a "secret". And everybody knows the multiverse is infinite, so they wouldn't disbelieve someone saying they were from a plane they didn't know about.

Personally, I would assume characters hearing about a plane they weren't familiar with would probably just (incorrectly) assume it to be some demiplane.
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Great, shaper it is! I had

Great, shaper it is! I had him written for regular 3.5e, so I'll work him up according to the PF rules.

Quote:
This is kind of a conceit to allow other settings to be connected to Planescape without being dominated by its cosmology (i.e. Eberron is out there and maintains its own cosmology), there are Primes that have their own afterlife/alignment/elemental planes, and it lets some planes stand on their own rather than say, just being demiplanes in the ethereal.

That makes sense. So the Great Wheel is just one set of afterlives that are shared by a lot of pantheons and prime material worlds. There's a larger overarching multiverse that contains worlds with various associated dimensions. I'm cool with that. From the title of the campaign I suppose the Infinite Staircase is one route among the various cosmologies.

Quote:
Aren't the Inner Planes, demiplanes, and the Prime all separate from the Great Wheel?

Fair enough. I was just using that term for "The standard Planescape cosmology."

With regard to "evil" characters, it sounds like you're not terribly concerned with the standard definitions of good and evil anyway. The main concern I have is that I want to be able to rely on my teammates to be pulling for a common goal. There should be zero chance that anyone gets stabbed in the back by a buddy, I should be able to trust allies to spot me back for healing items if I use one for them in a fight, et cetera.

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Go ahead and use the

Go ahead and use the Dreamscarred Press psionics. HEre

Quote:
. There should be zero chance that anyone gets stabbed in the back by a buddy

Yeah, none of this. That's why I said any alignment/class/faction concerns shouldn't be so extreme that you all couldn't be friends. Nothing that will cause tension out of character.

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Same. The factions have yet to appeal to me enough to create a factioneer character

You will need a personal philosophy, though. You don't have to use any of the standard factions/sects, but you should have one.
Part of my note on the factions not being synonymous with their philosophies was to allow people to share the beliefs without feeling they have to take orders from the faction.

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I don't really get the race point system either.

I don't need the game to be super-balanced. So as long as you're not trying to play something like a demon or other powerful monster, we shouldn't need to worry about level adjustments. If anyone is a weaker race, like a plain human, I'll let them pick up a couple extras to balance things out.

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Jem wrote:Fair enough. I was

Jem wrote:
Fair enough. I was just using that term for "The standard Planescape cosmology."

I see. For a little bit there, I thought I may have been mistaken in relating the term solely to the Outer Planes...

Quote:
The main concern I have is that I want to be able to rely on my teammates to be pulling for a common goal. There should be zero chance that anyone gets stabbed in the back by a buddy, I should be able to trust allies to spot me back for healing items if I use one for them in a fight, et cetera.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see alignment as the key factor in these situations. Evil characters can be just as likely to share a common goal with a good aligned character, though their motivations and methods are sure to differ.
It seems to me you're more concerned about people playing jerk characters. One doesn't have to be evil to be a jerk, each alignment has their share of them. I've seen good-aligned characters steal from the party (expensive gear too!), and lawful neutrals try to turn PCs against others, or outright antagonize other party members over petty reasons. It's quite unpleasant (although, occasionally the thefts and minor pranks could be entertaining).

Githyankee wrote:
Quote:
There should be zero chance that anyone gets stabbed in the back by a buddy
Yeah, none of this. That's why I said any alignment/class/faction concerns shouldn't be so extreme that you all couldn't be friends. Nothing that will cause tension out of character.

To be honest, I've experienced more of this behavior in games with a nonevil party (see above). That said, I agree. Dealing with divisive and backstabbing characters is exhausting, it detracts from everybody's fun, and I've found it's a quick way to lead the game to a premature demise.

Although, it is just a game. I assume we're all mature roleplayers here, capable of differentiating a character from their player. There should be no reason for any unfriendliness between characters to carry over into real life.

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You will need a personal philosophy, though. You don't have to use any of the standard factions/sects, but you should have one.

Oh yeah, I understand that. I usually like to flesh that out for my characters anyway, so you would've had it even if you hadn't asked.

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Part of my note on the factions not being synonymous with their philosophies was to allow people to share the beliefs without feeling they have to take orders from the faction.

That's how I would've done it anyway, unless I think joining the organization would appeal to the character. I have another PS character whose personal beliefs borrow from several of the major factions, though she's unaffiliated with any.

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I don't need the game to be super-balanced. So as long as you're not trying to play something like a demon or other powerful monster, we shouldn't need to worry about level adjustments. If anyone is a weaker race, like a plain human, I'll let them pick up a couple extras to balance things out.

So... would a +2 or +3 level adjustment be low enough to consider negligible?

Quote:
1-for-1 means: stats start from 8, and we have 25 points to add to those, and, say, a stat of 18 costs 10? Do I have that right?

Unless I missed something, I don't think this was answered.
.
.
Also, Sarah would like to know if her werewolf barbarian concept met your approval?
I'm still tossing around ideas for my own character.
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Yeah, +2 or 3. I'd rather

Yeah, +2 or 3. I'd rather give the weaker race characters some extras than worry about holding the others back.

You start at 10. Meaning you can squeeze another two points out for starting at 8 in a stat.

Character concept is approved, yeah. Caution about this being on the lighter end of combat, in terms of playing martial oriented characters, but otherwise, yeah, it's all good.

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Sarah here-

Sarah here-
Thanks. I think she'll be okay, she's into exploring and not just fighting. Wis and Int are her dump stats but they're still 14/13. So, if you're allowing up to a +2 or +3 level adjustment would I stat her out to barbarian level 5 or keep her at level 4 and she'll be lvl 5 with the adjustment?

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Yeah. Barbarians at least get

Yeah. Barbarians at least get some wilderness stuff.

Anyway... level 5 barbarian. Also depends how you want to handle the werewolf angle, the 3.5 way or the Pathfinder way.

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Okay, had what I think is a

Okay, had what I think is a cool idea. The Psion mechanics are going to be pretty straightforward, just a matter of picking powers there and submitting the numbers for a checkover. I'm going to go with a human, so I thought I would drop here a proposal for his not-a-level-adjustment bennie. It's mostly soft flavor but it could potentially be useful, so as a GM you could fine-tune it to whatever you think is balanced against whatever racial bonuses the other players pick up. Also, not intended to be a bonus or malus, I thought it might be cool if he was from one of those other cosmologies. However, that's not as crucial to the concept; he could equally well be from a Prime Material. Both of these hopefully provide the GM with a wide array of useful NPCs and plot hooks. So, for your approval, here's my thoughts!

Two-sentence summary: Kovit is from one of those other cosmologies. He is a royal attached to a substantial empire's embassy in Sigil, which gives him some useful social and financial advantages.

LONG VERSION

Kovit is from one of those other cosmologies! His home multiverse is similar to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_cosmology : the Prime Material worlds possess a physical connection to Mount Sumeru, which has simultaneous existences connecting them to heavens above and hells below, inhabited by a variety of devas, purified spirits, demons, and damned souls, as well as the elemental foundations of the universe. Theologically, he just figures Sumeru around here manifests in various worlds as different mountains, such as the Spire, Mount Olympus, Mount Othrys, and so forth. He appreciates that the locals have different names for things, however.

His home empire is similar to feudal-era Thailand and follows (as he does) religions similar to Buddhism and Taoism. (People tend to mix them rather freely; he does too.) The Sutras of the Tathagata don't have so much emphasis on the world being full of suffering -- it has good and bad in it, but everything is, at the root, a passing thought, an experience of the atman, the ground state of being. The Book of Changes is holds that Wu Wei, the One, is a harmony that can be reached through following the Way, or Dao.

Interestingly, they aren't big on divine casters: clerics, druids, and paladins are few and far between. Holy men back home tend to develop psychic and oracular powers. They have monks, sure, and people who tend shrines, but not people who pray to gods, take orders from them, and expect to be able to cast cure spells on a moment's notice. Supernatural healing is usually the job of either alchemists or egoists, and the egoists, who heal by accepting others' wounds and healing themselves, are always deeply appreciated for their willingness to sacrifice for others.

(Kovit's still not quite sure what a god is supposed to be if it's not a deva. Some of them seem to be highly enlightened mortals, but others seem more like big elementals to him.)

He recognizes the ideas of his world's religions in the Sign of One (reality is a function of perception), the Believers of the Source (the cycle of rebirth), and the Transcendent Order (seekers of the Tao), and even the Doomguard (component things are impermanent). Nominally, he decided to go with the Transcendent Order, since harmony of mind, body and spirit is a good goal for a psion. He views their philosophy more through the lens of his religion than vice versa, however. He occasionally teaches yoga classes in the Great Gymnasium.

Additional benefits:

Since Kovit's a human, to give him a boost against characters with level adjustments I have a proposal: let him be a noble, and make it more than just background color.

Kovit is the first son of the second wife of the ruler of quite a substantial empire, Ratcha Anachak Khon (Khon for short), spanning most of a continent and a large archipelago on his prime world. That means he's not likely to succeed but it's not impossible, and he is expected to pursue governmental duties. Khon is well-connected to the planes for a Prime, with old, well-established teleport circles that can take travelers to Mount Sumeru, where there is a network of gates that link various material worlds. Those that travel farther afield on Sumeru reach a portal that leaps the cosmos to Sigil, where his nation has established a trading post and diplomatic embassy.

There is a respectable flow of goods and travelers through the Sigil portal, with the tariffs being reasonable. Kovit is assigned there to see to the trading post's well-being and improvement, and to deal with diplomatic problems within the purview of his authority at the embassy. As a representative of a royal family, he is in demand in Sigil's social circles and having the ear of a sovereign with a sovereign's wealth, he has rubbed elbows with Sigil's financial movers and shakers, too.

This gives Kovit a few useful perks:

* Reputation and social entree: "Kovit, Prince of Khon" can get access to influential people in Sigil and be heard out.

* Credit: When you have an established base of operations with money attached, Sigil's merchants are often willing to cut you some slack on running a tab. They're also more likely to be willing to consider a rental of nonconsumable expensive magic items they wouldn't dare loan out to a scruffy adventuring party.

* Equipment: Kovit has the use of a number of pieces of equipment that really belong to his country: a well-appointed apartment in the Lady's Ward, several household servants and guards (low-level fighters and monks), et cetera. When in Sigil (or back home) his basic living expenses are covered. He cannot, of course, get rid of any of this to free up funds, or anything similar, and when he is adventuring, he is on his own. If he goes somewhere on business is it probably in a palanquin; if he's adventuring, he's on foot. His personal equipment is listed on his sheet.

It also comes with duties, of course:

* Kovit is expected to see to any problems that arise with the embassy's business, both commercial and governmental.

* Whenever possible, he is to improve the post's profitability, advertising its wares and staying up to date on useful arbitrage opportunities. (Most of the commodities that sell well from his world are exotic biologicals: spices, fruits, leathers, furs, silks, and living creatures. High-value exports are usually powerful psychic and alchemical items. Divine enchantments, especially those efficacious against ghosts and demons, are of great interest back home. Darkwood doesn't grow back home, and his family tries to keep a very profitable monopoly on its trade through the post. He is to keep an eye out for other such goods and services.)

* Should orders come down from his father, they are always Kovit's number one priority.

* Kovit is permitted to adventure to gain renown on his own, but must maintain the honor of the family, and cannot completely abandon his position, checking in when possible.

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I prefer to separate

I prefer to separate roleplaying concepts from the character sheet... all that backstory is fine, since the story might take you away from your repuation, your equipment might get lost, etc... don't like using it as a balance point.

Especially since everybody should have some contacts and resources to dig into.

Really, what I had in mind (if he's human or similar) was taking a few extra of the alternate racial traits listed for the race.

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Here's a draft of Kovit

Here's a draft of Kovit:

http://bit.ly/28VMt5R It's just a text doc on Google Drive. Viewing should be on for anyone with the link.

Since you're leery about using the social and wealth perks as balance (I dunno, I think they're pretty useful if they translate into better equipment and plot opportunities, but hey, you're the GM), I haven't added any additional benefits above a human 5th level psion yet. We can talk about what to add later once other people have picked their races and you have an idea about how much would be good.

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Githyankee wrote:Anyway...

Githyankee wrote:
Anyway... level 5 barbarian. Also depends how you want to handle the werewolf angle, the 3.5 way or the Pathfinder way.

She used the Pathfinder version.

As for my character, what would you say to a fey'ri (Races of Faerun, p.118 [do you have access to that book?]) white necromancer?

Jem: If you really want to work Kovit's background into his stat block, you could use the Noble Scion PrC at later levels.

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Heh. The "Prestigious

Heh. The "Prestigious Influence" feature there basically gives stats to what I was aiming for regarding goods and services.

I don't have that setting book, but a fey'ri white necromancer sounds like a pip. I wrote up a positive-energy prestige class for necromancers a long time ago, and I dare say someone with divided heritage like that could have interesting conversations with a royal about the value of bloodlines. Would you be interested in having our characters know each other for one reason or another? I always like having backstory with other characters, instead of just "we met in a tavern / by being shot at / by all getting trapped in a magical blowup / getting recruited by a mysterious old man."

(Not that all those aren't perfectly good starts to a campaign! Just that "We've known each other for years" seems like a better reason to have two PCs be in the same vicinity at game start.)

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Fey'ri's good to go.

Fey'ri's good to go.

You could always go with the idea that you did all meet at the inn, and you're all regulars there.

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I guess that depends on

I guess that depends on whether Kovit frequents the sort of tavern at which one might find a fey'ri white necromancer and/or a barbarian werewolf. He would certainly have been intrigued by the white necromancer's studies academically (perhaps after meeting casually in an academic or theological setting, or the Great Gymnasium), and might have suggested that he/she could make a name for themselves back on his homeworld: they don't have a lot of divine healing and so a new method of arcane healing would be welcomed. Getting your name on a school would be a nice feather in a wizard's cap. Even if it didn't interest the fey'ri immediately, Kovit might be making efforts to keep in touch to persuade them in the future.

Not as sure about the werewolf barbarian. If they're the fey'ri's friend, though, that makes the connection easy. They could have other common interests, too. They could also have adventured together for a few levels -- a backstory I like a lot, although it just pushes back the question of how the young prince, the double-turnabout caster and the savage dame all got together in the first place.

(By the way, Githyankee, is three characters good or would you like more? I know a person or two from an IRC channel who might be interested in attempting a PbP, maybe maybe not. By the way, did Kovit's draft look accurate? I had to make some assumptions with the build.)

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Githyankee wrote:Fey'ri's

Githyankee wrote:
Fey'ri's good to go.

Okay. I'll get started on a writeup for her soon. Here's the shortened version for now though:
Coryptess is a young magess of the now defunct noble elven house Arcananea, on the little-known Prime world of her birth. From a very young age, necromancy has captivated her, and she is confident that there could be no better places to study that Art than the wider Planes; between the Positive and Negative Energy planes, with the afterlife of nearly all known religions located in the Outer Planes, as well as the powers of death and the undead. However, her primary goal is in locating and mounting the rescue of a friend of hers, a Baatorian half-fiend named Daemon, who very suddenly vanished from her world.
She is still quite new to the Planes, having only recently made the journey from the Prime. I figure whatever burg we start the game in, she came across the name in old tomes, and either thought it a good starting point, or thought she might find some relevant information here (whether a clue into her friend's whereabouts, or info on the fiends he was working with, etc.).

Quote:
You could always go with the idea that you did all meet at the inn, and you're all regulars there.

That is always a possibility.

Jem wrote:
Would you be interested in having our characters know each other for one reason or another? I always like having backstory with other characters, instead of just "we met in a tavern / by being shot at / by all getting trapped in a magical blowup / getting recruited by a mysterious old man."

I could go either way with this. Personally, I prefer having characters meet in-game, because that gives me a better guideline for how familiar they are with one another, what they know about each other, and lets the relationship build from the beginning. That said, I'm not opposed to having already met. Coryptess is supposed to be fresh from the Prime still though, so unless Kovit would have been to her particular world, it would still be a rather new relationship.

Quote:
I guess that depends on whether Kovit frequents the sort of tavern at which one might find a fey'ri white necromancer and/or a barbarian werewolf.

Sarah's already gone to bed, so I can't speak for Úlfheildr (the werewolf). But Coryptess could be encountered in just about any tavern, once she remembers to take a break from her studies to eat. As long as it isn't too run-down or she doesn't feel too out of place, she would usually just go wherever is closest to her previous location. :P

Quote:
He would certainly have been intrigued by the white necromancer's studies academically (perhaps after meeting casually in an academic or theological setting, or the Great Gymnasium), and might have suggested that he/she could make a name for themselves back on his homeworld: they don't have a lot of divine healing and so a new method of arcane healing would be welcomed. Getting your name on a school would be a nice feather in a wizard's cap. Even if it didn't interest the fey'ri immediately, Kovit might be making efforts to keep in touch to persuade them in the future.

That could make for some interesting interactions. She might think he was making a pass at her, trying to take her home to meet the family, heh heh. ;P

Quote:
the double-turnabout caster

Eh?

Quote:
(By the way, Githyankee, is three characters good or would you like more? I know a person or two from an IRC channel who might be interested in attempting a PbP, maybe maybe not. By the way, did Kovit's draft look accurate? I had to make some assumptions with the build.)

The more the merrier, I say.
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"Double-turnabout" was my

"Double-turnabout" was my perhaps opaque way of describing the interesting collection of contradictions she embodies, between her bloodline (fey + tanar'ri) and her studies (life and death).

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Ah, I see. I thought that was

Ah, I see. I thought that was how her class choice factored into that, but I wasn't entirely sure about race.
Fey'ri aren't actually fey. They're a kind of tiefling, specifically bred from elves on the mortal side of the family tree. I've only ever seen tanar'ri given as the other component in their bloodline, but I wouldn't think it a hard and fast rule, unless the GM says otherwise.
I don't have any particular fiendish ancestor in mind for her, and she herself doesn't know what it is. So Githyankee, if you have any interest in making a plot point there, it's open to you. Coryptess does have wings, horns, and a tail though, so I should think her fiendish ancestor would as well.

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Gone for the weekend. Will be

Gone for the weekend. Will be back to this on Sunday.

And I'll consider it. I do like character hooks like that.

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Poke? It's Wednesday...

Poke? It's Wednesday...

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Sorry for the delay.

Sorry for the delay.
Was everybody... mostly finished with character ideas?
If so I think we can start this soon.
Once we figure out how we're starting.

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Úlfheildr Kolfinnadotter stat block

Úlfheildr Kolfinnadotter- Human Form (CR +1)
CN Medium humanoid (augmented humanoid, human, shapechanger)
Female Natural Werewolf Human Barbarian level 5
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Age: 17
Homeland: Ulvheim, Gates of the Moon (Ysgard/Ysgard)
Totem/Patron: Wolf

Init: +3 (+3 Dex)
Senses: low-light vision, scent, trap sense +1; Perception +10
Languages: Planar Trade, Bariaur, Wolf empathy (wolf form)
AC: 19, touch 14, flat-footed 19 (+3 Dex, +5 armor, +1 dodge, +0 xx,) -2/raging, +1 dodge vs. traps, improved uncanny dodge (can’t be flanked)
HP: 70 (5 HD, d12) rage: 75;
Saves:
- Fort +6 (base +4, Con +2, +1/raging)
- Ref +4 (base +1, Dex +3) (+1 vs. traps)
- Will +3 (base +1, Wis +2, +2/raging)
Speed: 40 ft./ 8 sq.
30 ft./ 6 sq. (in armor)
+5 ft while raging (all forms)
Melee:
- Mwk Greatsword +8 rage +10 (2d6+4 rage +7) / 19-20 x2)
o 2-handed, S, 350gp, 8 lbs.
- Mwk Shortsword +8 rage +10 (1d6+3 rage +5) / 19-20 x2)
o Light, P, 310gp, 2 lbs.
- +1 Returning Throwing Axe +8 rage +10 (1d6+3 rage +5) / x2), range 10 ft.
o Light, S, 4,308gp, 2 lb.
- 2 Claws +10 (1d6+5 / x2) (while raging)
o Natural, S.
Base Attack Bonus: +5
CMB: +8 (5 BAB, 3 Str) rage: 10
CMD: +20 (10 + 4 BAB, 3 Str, 3 Dex) rage: 22
Space / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Attack Options: Rage (useable: 4+Con+2/lvl after 1st, +9/day=23), Curse of Lycanthropy, Rage Powers (Claws, +5ft speed, Heal 1d8+Con as SA 1/day), Combat Expertise (trade -2atk for +2AC) --(rage times/day modified by feat & trait)
Special Actions: Improved Uncanny Dodge
Abilities:
Str 16 (+3) - rage: 20 (+5)
Dex 16 (+3) -
Con 15 (+2) - rage: 19 (+4)
Int 13 (+1) -
Wis 14 (+2) - (+2 racial bonus)
Cha 14 (+2) - (-2 racial penalty, +2 racial bonus)
- Ability Point Increase / Level: 4(Dex),
Special Qualities: Change Shape (human, hybrid, wolf; polymorph-move action)
Lycanthropic Empathy (wolves & dire wolves)
Feats: Combat Expertise (trade -2 atk & Combat Maneuvers for +2 dodge AC),
Extra Rage (+6 rnd/day), Dodge
Bonus Feats: Extra Rage Power
Skills:
o Skill Points per Level: (4 + Int +1) = 6/lv
o Current total skill points: 30
- Acrobatics - - - +8 (3-Dex, 2-rank, -2-armor check)
- Climb - - - +8@ (3/5-Str, 2-rank, -2-armor check)
- Craft (Sewing) - - - +5 (1-Int, 1-rank)#
- Diplomacy - - - +0 (2-Cha, 0-rank)# (+4 racial to alter attitude of dire/wolf-any)
- Handle Animal - - - +6 (2-Cha, 1-rank)#
- Intimidate - - - +7 (2-Cha, 2-rank)
- Knowledge (nature) - - +8 (1-Int, 4-rank)#
- Knowledge (planes) - - +3 (1-Int, 2-rank)#
- Perception - - - +10 (2-Wis, 5-rank)
- Sense Motive - - - +4 (2-Wis, 2-rank)
- Stealth - - - - +7 (3-Dex, 4-rank)#
- Survival - - - - +10@ (2-Wis, 5-rank) (+4 racial when scent tracking-hybrid/wolf)
o * Double armor check penalty
o @ Rage boost
o # Not useable while raging

Carrying Capacity: While raging:
- light load: 0-76 lbs. 0-133 lbs.
- medium load: 77-153 lbs. 134-266 lbs.
- heavy load: 154-230 lbs. 267-400 lbs.
- lift over head: 230 lbs. 400 lbs.
- lift off ground: 460 lbs. 800 lbs.
- push or drag: 1,150 lbs. 2,000 lbs.

Úlfheildr Kolfinnadotter- Hybrid & Wolf Forms (CR +1)

Spoiler: Highlight to view

AC: 23, touch 14, flat-footed 23 (+3 Dex, +4 natural armor, +5 armor, +1 dodge) -2/raging, +1 dodge vs. traps, improved uncanny dodge (can’t be flanked)
HP: 75 (5 HD, d12) rage: 80; DR: 10/silver
Saves:
- Fort +7 (base +4, Con +3, +1/raging)
- Ref +4 (base +1, Dex +3) (+1 vs. traps)
- Will +3 (base +1, Wis +2, +2/raging)
Speed: 40 ft./ 8 sq.
30 ft./ 6 sq. (in armor)
+5 ft while raging
Melee:
- Mwk Greatsword +9 rage +11 (2d6+6 rage +9 / 19-20 x2)
o 2-handed, S, 350gp, 8 lbs.
- Mwk Shortsword +9 rage +11 (1d6+4 rage +6 / 19-20 x2)
o Light, P, 310gp, 2 lbs.
- +1 Returning Throwing Axe +9 rage +11 (1d6+ +4 rage +6 / x2), range 10 ft.
o Light, S, 4308gp, 2 lb.
- Bite +9 rage +11 (1d6+4 rage +6+trip+curse of lycanthropy / x2)
o Natural, P.
- 2 Claws +11 (1d6+6) / x2) (while raging)
o Natural, S.

Base Attack Bonus: +5
CMB: +9 (5 BAB, 4 Str) rage: 11
CMD: +22 (10 + 5 BAB, 4 Str, 3 Dex) rage: 24
Space / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.

Abilities:
Str 18 (+4) - (+2 racial bonus) rage: 22 (+6)
Dex 16 (+3) -
Con 17 (+3) - (+2 racial bonus) rage con: 21 (+5)
Int 13 (+1) -
Wis 14 (+2) - (+2 racial bonus)
Cha 14 (+2) - (-2 racial penalty, +2 racial bonus)
- Ability Point Increase / Level: 4(Dex),
Skills:
- Acrobatics - - - +8 (3-Dex, 2-rank, -2-armor check)
- Climb - - - +9@ (4/6-Str, 2-rank, -2-armor check)
- Craft (sewing) - - - +5 (1-Int, 1-rank)#
- Handle Animal - - - +6 (2-Cha, 1-rank)#
- Intimidate - - - +7 (2-Cha, 2-rank)
- Knowledge (nature) - - +8 (1-Int, 4-rank)#
- Knowledge (planes) - - +3 (1-Int, 2-rank)#
- Perception - - - +10 (2-Wis, 5-rank)
- Sense Motive - - - +4 (2-Wis, 2-rank)
- Stealth - - - - +7 (3-Dex, 4-rank)#
- Survival - - - - +10 (2-Wis, 5-rank) (+4 racial when scent tracking-hybrid/wolf)
o * Double armor check penalty
o @ Rage boost
o # Not useable while raging

Carrying Capacity: while raging:
- light load: 0-100 lbs. 0-173 lbs.
- medium load: 101-200 lbs. 174-346 lbs.
- heavy load: 201-300 lbs. 347-520 lbs.
- lift over head: 300 lbs. 520 lbs.
- lift off ground: 600 lbs. 1,040 lbs.
- push or drag: 1,500 lbs. 2,600 lbs.

Trait:
- Berserker of the Society (Barbarian, Society): Your time spent as a society member has taught you new truths about the origins of the your rage ability.
o Effect: You may use your rage ability for 3 additional rounds per day.

Possessions:
- Weapons: Greatsword, Shortsword, Throwing Axe, Dagger.
- Armor: +1 Hide Armor (1,165gp / 25 lbs.)
- Clothing:
o Outfit, Explorer's (starting outfit / 8 lbs.)
o Sleeves of Many Garments (200gp / 1 lb.)
- Usually carried in her pack, Úlfheildr slips these on when she feels it would be beneficial to be seen wearing clothing that is clean and fits properly.
- Jewelry:
o Necklace: Simple leather cord with carved wooden howling wolf (1 gp / --)
- Tattoo:
o Blue Claw marks on left side of face (5cp / --)
- Handy Haversack (2,000gp / 5 lbs.)
o Kit, Pathfinder’s (10gp / 22 lbs.)
o Bedroll (-- / 5 lbs.)
o Clay Mug, pint (-- / 1 lbs.)
o Dagger 1d4+3, 19-20/x2, 10ft. P/S (-- / 1 lbs.)
o Trail Rations (5sp (included w kit) / 1 lb.) x7
o Signal Whistle (--/ --)
o String 50ft (-- / 1/2 lb.)
o Waterskin (-- / 4 lbs.)
o Whetstone (-- / 1 lb.)
o Iron Pot (8sp / 4lbs.)
o Shovel, folding (10gp / 12lbs.)
o Hammer (5sp / 2lbs.)
o Soap 50 uses (1cp / 1/2lb.)
o Rope 50ft (10gp / 5lbs.)
o Twine, leather cord 50ft (1cp / 1/2 lb.)
o Sack, empty (1sp/ 1/2lb.)
o Torch (1cp / 1lb.) x5
o Potion, cure lt. wounds (50gp / --) x2
- Belt pouch (PF kit / 0.5 lbs.)
o Flint & Steel (PF kit / --)
o Sewing Needle (PF kit / --)
o Thread 50ft. (PF kit / --)
o Fishhooks x2 (PF kit / --)
- Money: 2,034 gp, 4 sp, 8 cp
- (Total Weight Carried: 51.5 lbs.)

Karsus
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I am nowhere near finishing

I am nowhere near finishing my character's writeup. I'm nearing completion with a stat block (just have to pick out feats and equipment), but haven't even touched the fluff yet (description, backstory, philosophy, etc.). So I need some more time, unless you're not so adamant about having it all done before we start. In which case, I can try to keep up while finishing my writeup; I have most of the fluff already worked out, it's just a matter of putting it to words, really.

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I posted a draft of my

I posted a draft of my character last week.

http://bit.ly/28VMt5R

I never heard back from you on whether it was good. So far he is a human Psion 5 with no additional benefits unless you wanted to formalize the social and wealth stuff; if not, I'm open to suggestions for what you think would be appropriate. I can ditch the idea of him being royalty completely if it helps you find a starting hook, although that and the embassy was meant to hand you any plot tools you wanted.

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Úlfheildr here-

Úlfheildr here-
I still can't make my own login but, I've changed Ulfheildr a bit to reflect the setting a bit more.
Here's a link to the google doc containing her entire (human form) character sheet, character background, etc.
It's pretty long but you should be able to skim over most of it. I altered her skills to reflect the job idea I had for her in Sigil, adjusted her feats, and added a couple of carried items, and updated her bio with a section on her beliefs and some other information related to where she comes from.

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Mm, I'll okay your ideas Jem.

Mm, I'll okay your ideas Jem.
Shouldn't be a problem.

Anyway, no rush, for those of you that need to finish up.

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Almost done...!

Hey guys. Sorry this is taking me so long. I know it isn't much of an excuse, but I've been dealing with a lot of stress from work lately, and it's really been getting to me over the past few weeks. I've recently made some changes there though, so (hopefully) it shouldn't present any more problems, or get in the way of the game.
That said, I'm almost ready to submit my character. It's turned out to be longer than I'd originally anticipated, and looks even longer on the site because of the narrow window for text. So, sorry in advance for the length. But I've only got a little more to fill in, so it should be posted by this time tomorrow, hopefully at the latest.
Thanks for your patience, everybody.

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Coryptess Arcananea, white necromancer

Coryarip "Coryptess" Arcananea

(Pr / ♀ fey'ri / white necromancer 5 / CG)

Description:

Spoiler: Highlight to view
Coryptess appears to be a beautiful young elven girl. Emphasis on 'appears' because she habitually uses her alter self ability to mask the features that mark her fiendish descent. She is quite young for an adventuring elf, being hardly over two decades in age. Far from adulthood by elven reckoning, yet physically mature; she appears similar in age to a human of 18 or 19 years.
She is quite petite, with the small frame and soft musculature one might expect of a studious bookworm, complete with a very fair, almost cream-colored complexion. In stark contrast with her skin tone, she has a thick mane of black hair which, upon catching the right light, may appear to have a faint purplish sheen. Her hair has soft waves, curls at the ends, and hangs halfway down her shoulder blades. She has a slender, somewhat angular face, with high cheekbones and full lips. Easily her most striking feature, her large eyes bear violet irises, flecked with golden speckles in a pattern uncannily similar to a five-pointed star. Her upper back is marred by a large scar, all that remains of an acid burn that nearly claimed her life.
As for her fiendish traits... A large pair of leathery black wings, capable of flight, sprout from her back. Her canines and those teeth surrounding them are slightly sharper than is usual, though not elongated in the least. A set of black, buttressed horns grows above her ears, and curve forward. A very slender tail extends four feet from her backside; while quite dexterous, it is not prehensile and cannot be used to manipulate objects well. And finally, her darkvision has given her cat-like pupils, which contract to a slit in brighter light.
She usually dresses in a white robe, slit on the sides from the hips down, and leather breeches. A leather cincher corset enwraps her waist, fitted to accentuate her physique, but not laced tight enough to limit mobility or breath. Her lower legs are clad in a pair of tall leather boots. On her hips sit a pair of belts, one holding the scabbard of an exquisitely crafted elven rapier, with additional sheathes to carry her silvered dagger and a sharply pointed wooden stake; with the other bearing special pockets for carrying potions. She wears a number of pouches, either hanging from one belt or another, or from leather straps drawn around her thighs; one for safely carrying scrolls, and a pair of others shaped like tiny coffins. Around her waist sits a fine silver chain, upon which is hung a fist-sized amethyst that softly glows and swirls with foggy images of arcane runes. A pair of tooled leather bracers are strapped around her forearms, one of which is adorned with a hazy green crystal that very faintly hisses when exposed to the open air. Over it all, she wears a light gray cloak, frequently with its hood pulled up over her head, but far enough back not to obscure her face. All leather worn is dark in color, if not black.
A choker necklace enwraps her neck, crafted of long ivory beads held together on strong spidersilk strands, with a miniature skeleton hanging by the wrists making up the focal point in front, its legs jointed to dangle freely over her collarbones. In addition, she's tied a small, enchanted metal plaque to the back of her necklace.
She carries a bag of holding, wrapped in a waterproof bag, strapped to her shoulders like a backpack, her shortbow and quiver of arrows beside it. A simple satchel of sackcloth is slung over her shoulder, bringing its contents --two books, kept within easy reach-- to rest against a hip. She carries a wooden staff, wrapped in strips of leather but otherwise rather plain, in hand or slung over her back, whichever proves most convenient at any given time.
Outside of special circumstances, Coryptess is constantly veiled beneath her alter self spell-like ability. Her main purpose for this is to banish her fiendish traits, as she has faced harsh discrimination due to her lineage, and she isn't yet accustomed to the diversity and tolerance of Sigil and the planes beyond the Material. Additionally, she uses the ability to occasionally modify her clothing, and to hide her acid burns, which she finds rather gruesome. She is also not above using it to accentuate her features, in the hopes of gaining an advantage in social situations. These modifications to her appearance (excepting only the fiendish characteristics and burn scar) are always temporary, and when the conditions of the change are past, she presently reverts to her usual guise: the gray elf girl she would have been, if not for her extraplanar ancestor.
She is 5'4" in height and weighs 91 pounds, though she is somewhat heavier in her natural form (with the added weight of her wings and tail). She carries herself with the proud, rigid posture common among nobility.

Personality:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Coryptess generally rather friendly and outgoing. Having an upbringing among nobility, she is very courteous and well-spoken, sometimes displaying the pride associated with such a lifestyle (but more often jokingly exaggerating the quality), though the past few years have humbled her quite a bit. She is polite to all those she meets, unless given a reason not to be. Once she decides she likes a person, her behavior quickly becomes less formal and more playful, and she has a tendency to good-naturedly tease and occasionally play minor pranks on her new friend. She is very open-minded, in general accepting of any and all ideas and beliefs one might hold, so long as it isn't ignorant, or doesn't step on the toes of another. She cares a good deal about the feelings of her friends, and their opinion of her, and will often go out of her way to positively affect them.
Beneath her amiable façade, she is wracked with grief. At her young age, her entire world was shattered upon House Arcananea's exposure, when her suddenly, drastically changed, and (with two exceptions) her entire family was slain. The feeling was only compounded following the loss of her brother, especially since she hasn't the faintest idea how to go about finding out what became of him after their separation; and the abrupt disappearance of the only friend she made on the Material Plane which, until she met her familiar, left her alone in the world. When left to her own devices, she becomes withdrawn and rather morose. But, not wanting others to pity her, or drag their spirits down, she tries to hide the gloomy inner workings of her mind as best she can. The tragedies that have befallen her have left her with a deep-seated fear of abandonment, and a nagging dread that soon enough she'll find herself alone again. Because of this, and her recurrent despondency when isolated, she does not often like to be left to herself. It is also one of the driving forces of her desire to please those close to her, thinking that if they find her companionship enjoyable, they'll wish to keep her around.
Curiosity is perhaps her defining characteristic. Most anything new or unfamiliar to her is of great interest to her, and she is not shy about questioning or poking at it, whatever it may be. This enthusiasm stems mostly from her insatiable thirst for knowledge, but in recent years, also serves to distract her from her inner melancholy. She has a strong will, and is very focused; when concentrating on a single subject, she is able to block out any and all distractions quite easily, a trait she often demonstrates when reading or studying, though she makes an effort not to shut out her companions in such a way when they're nearby. She is an avid reader and, being largely self-taught in her magical tradition, loves books and takes almost any chance she can to read something new, especially if it deals with arcane magic -- necromancy or its benign counterpart in particular. She loves exploring new places, feeling that there are just some things one cannot learn by sitting in a library and poring over tomes, delightful as it may be; finding it especially satisfying if said travel brings her upon new books to read.
In combat, she likes to be very aware of her surroundings, preferring to keep a safe distance between herself and her foes, granting her the room she needs to cast her spells, and enough peace of mind to access the situation and plot out strategies to turn the conflict to her party's favor. When pressed into melee, she brandish either her rapier or quarterstaff to keep enemies at bay, and cautiously defend herself until she can find an opening to put some distance between herself and her attacker.
She is well-educated and highly intelligent, though the vast majority of her knowledge comes from reading rather than applicable life experience. She has the utmost respect for knowledge and magic, but the only things she values more are friends and family. At this time her goals, in descending order of urgency, are as follows: locating Daemon and rescuing him from the clutches of Hell (if indeed her assumptions about his disappearance are correct); finding out what happened to Korlaf since her parting from him, and a reunion if he still lives; expanding her knowledge of necromancy and arcane magic in general; and exploring new places and learning everything she can.

Beliefs / Philosophy:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

To Coryptess, magic is life. She has always been surrounded by it, from the illusions and transmutations used to cloak her appearance, to the wards that defended her family home, spells cast by herself or the plethora of arcanists that made up House Arcananea, and the inherent abilities she was born with. It has been a constant facet of her entire life, and she cannot imagine any sort of existence without it. To her, magic is the highest calling, the greatest force in the cosmos. It is capable of creation and destruction, granting life or dealing death, of rewriting reality itself. She feels that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished with magic. Arcane magic in particular holds her highest esteem, being a reflection of the caster's knowledge and will, independent of outside forces. With her discovery of white necromancy and its purview of healing magic --previously the domain of divine magic-- her reverence for the arcane has only grown.
Religion has never played a prominent role in her life, nor has any deity she's ever heard of particularly called to her. To her understanding of such things, most divinities take one of three basic stances: that the undead and their creators are abominations deserving of only destruction, that they are either tools or chosen beings meant to consume the lands of the living, or entirely uncaring about the living or the dead so long as the dead remain within the Power's domain. Thus, she isn't really enamored with any of them, and doesn't have a divine patron of her own. Though, she isn't above calling on them in times of need.
Coryptess was once told that the life of an elf is best served if separated into multiple, shorter parts. It didn't make much sense to her at the time, but following her departure from Matasoga's mercenary band she came to understand. Time changes things. And with the centuries-long lifespan of an elf, things can change very quickly, to the point that one's lifestyle no longer remotely resembles what it once was, and then it may change again, and again. Almost invariably, it will. One has to accept that things won't always be as they are, or were. She's already lived a couple of discrete lives in the short time since her birth; the first with her family, which ended with her loss of Korlaf; and the second, her time adventuring with Daemon and the mercenaries. Each one was a short segment in a long lifetime to follow, each merely a single link in a chain. The course of one's existence is cyclical in nature, with one segment, one significant period, ending as the next begins. She feels that the transition from life to death is no different; the cycle of life ends, and gives way to the next. Even undeath, she feels, is just another link in the chain. It is not an aberration, simply another new beginning. She views undeath as a second chance at one's existence. It is a chance for redemption for those who were denied it in life, an extension of one's time in the world of the living for those whose lives were cut too short, a chance for those who didn't make enough of their lives to amend that.
She puts no stock in the common notion that all undead are little more than ravening monsters and unholy blasphemies. She feels this view of them stems from the most prevalent circumstances of their animation: strong negative emotions binding their spirits to the physical plane, for those that arise spontaneously; or creation and subsequent enslavement by malign spellcasters, wherein their minds (for those that have them) are filled with their contemptuous masters' profane will, polluted by their creators' dark mind. Surely, they can be adversely affected by the divine power channeled by clerics, but so too can fiends, elementals, and even celestials. In this argument, it is the relationship between undeath and the deity in question, and the conflict of life-giving positive energy versus the negative energy that sustains the undead, not a question of good against evil. She maintains that undead creatures are in fact not inherently evil. A fact demonstrated in those she reanimates, as undead created with white necromancy are not evil in nature.
Taking this a step further, she doesn't believe in the notion of inherent evil. Or inherent good either, really. She feels alignment is a reflection of one's upbringing and the events that have shaped one's life. She is mistakenly under the impression that belief in inherent evil --especially that of a fiendish nature-- is what brought about her family's destruction; that her neighbors believed her family corrupt villains merely because of her extraplanar ancestor, yet she knows that they were not. Fiend-spawn that she is, she is not evil, and neither are her undead. So there must be hope for all who are thought of in such a way. Granted, she has little to no experience yet with true fiends, or the Lower Planes. And she does acknowledge the existence of evil. But she refuses to believe that it can be the base nature of any creature.
Since meeting her new friends in Sigil, she has given quite a bit of thought to the message of their factions. Though they seem rather conflicting, she sees some sense in both. A life not experienced seems a life wasted, and with her lifespan, there is no good excuse not to go out and see and do all that she can. Especially when there is so much to learn, so many secrets to uncover, so much beauty to behold. Yet the Dustmen's philosophy strikes a chord within her as well. But she feels their understanding of the multiverse around them may be a bit lacking. In their belief that the reality we know is merely the remnant of a prior existence and that something else comes after, Coryptess sees cycles continuing. The reality that once was, is merely another link. The current multiverse, yet another. And True Death? Perhaps the final segment. Her curiosity is piqued, but she's in no hurry to reach it. But she feels that the favored method of the Dusties in achieving True Death, that of deliberately quelling in their minds their passions, their emotions, their cares, isn't the efficient way to go about it. An idea came to her as she overheard a conversation between two factioneers. Said of the corpses they were transporting: "Do they look fulfilled? Do they look like they've reached peace? No? That's because they haven't. That's because deep down, they know there was more they had to do." It struck her then that perhaps the direct path to the Dustmen's hereafter lay in fulfilling one's desires, rather than quelling them. Would not a person rest easier with the knowledge that they have done what they wished, rather than lament on their deathbed all that was left undone? Does it not then stand to reason that the more efficient means of purging those emotions that bar the way to True Death is to humor them? To let them take us where they will, and then pass away; rather than trying to hold it under the surface? For in trying to stifle it, are you not merely holding it within yourself?

Background:

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Coryptess hails from House Arcananea, an ancient noble family of the elven nation of Alune, on the Material Plane. Aside from those who have married into the family, the entire house was made up of fey'ri, for millennia utilizing potent magics to disguise themselves as ordinary elvenkind.
During a long-ago conflict analogous to Faerún's Crown Wars, the sterile matriarch of House Arcananea, seduced by promises of power and magic capable of granting her a blood heir, threw in with the would-be revolutionaries who were later cast out of elven society and transformed into those now known as drow. Those of Arcananea maintained a low profile throughout the conflict, and while they had mingled their bloodline with that of some unknown fiend --as had most of the nobility of the losing side-- their subtle contributions were not detected, and so they managed to avoid the curse and exile of the drow. In the ages since, they maintained their place in society, concealing themselves and for the most part avoiding drawing overmuch attention to themselves. Although, over the centuries they have continued to deal with the drow, consort with fiends, and generally take part in all manner of forbidden practices, all in secret of course. So careful were they, that even within their own house only a select few were made aware of such proceedings.

From a very young age, Coryptess displayed a natural aptitude in the arcane arts, making use of her dimension door before she truly understood the inborn ability; using it to appear to pass through solid barriers when running about her home or escaping the discipline of servants or family following acts of mischief. On occasion she would sneak into the private suites of various family members, or the House's arcane laboratories, and make off with whatever spellbooks or magic scrolls the arcanists were not careful about keeping out of reach. She would then set about reading whatever material she could decipher, and soon after would astound anybody willing to give a moment of their time by proving that she understood the arcane formulae held within by casting various cantrips. She would later be punished for pilfering potentially dangerous tomes, but it never prevented her from taking it upon herself to delve into magical studies before her tutors deemed her 'old enough' to pursue it.
Eventually, such an invasion of relatives' workshops brought her upon the laboratory of Talantar, the House's ancient patriarch, whereupon she witnessed the necromancer putting several animated skeletons to work. He spotted her and, surprised to find a mixture of fright and curiosity --rather than pure terror-- in the child's expression, beckoned her to approach him. When she obeyed, he sat her upon a table and made the skeletons dance to allay her fear. He succeeded, finding Coryptess quite delighted with the show he put on for her. He spoke to her, assessing the mental capacity of the young girl who'd slipped past his wards and locked doors into his private sanctum. Impressed with her relative brilliance, he invited her to return to his study whenever she wished, to learn from him and watch the skeletons dance again. An offer she frequently took him up on.
On subsequent visits, he indulged her interest in magical creatures and monsters, and began to show her a multitude of creatures. He began with a number of fey and elemental creatures that elves often associate with, moving on to will-o-wisps, his homunculus familiar, and even incorporeal undead. Of all the beasts he showed her, she regarded the phantom with the most wonder. As she grew, their visits became increasingly frequent, and he took it upon himself to help her begin uncovering the latent power in her blood, and how to conceal her fiendish traits on her own. He introduced her to more and more creatures, and still she seemed more fascinated by the undead than all else, leading him to believe she had a future in necromancy, much like himself.
He chose next to begin showing her the fleshy, corporeal undead, finding that it was too early for such things when his young pupil ran screaming from his laboratory at the sight of the decomposing monstrosity. Thereafter, Coryptess was forbidden from invading her ancestor's privacy and troubling him, and a watchful eye was kept on her, to prevent her from sneaking off to her ancestor's blasphemous lessons. Since she could no longer come to him, Talantar crafted a skeleton marionette from ashen wood for her, so that even if she couldn't come to see the real thing, she could still see the dance.
Her formal tutoring in the arcane art began when her parents deemed her ready, though she was still younger than tradition suggested. Over the course of her education, she was passed between several talented mages of the House, to broaden her studies, but Talantar seized the bulk of her tutelage himself. For the most part, he humored the wishes of Coryptess's parents and avoided teaching her the dark arts. But still, he frequently slipped the odd tidbit about the undead and death magic into his lessons behind their backs.
In addition, she never outgrew her childhood habit of "borrowing" old tomes filled with arcane or esoteric lore. During her tutelage under Talantar, she made frequent raids of his personal library, taking only one book at a time and returning them before their absence was noticed. During one such incursion, she happened upon something exemplary; an ancient libram wrapped in stitched and blackened hide, its pages cut from a similar material, though an aged yellow in color, and its text written in the Abyssal tongue with a red-brown ink that resembled nothing so much as blood. The mere sight of this tome filled her with both dread and wonder. She didn't know what it was, but she just knew it would be filled with forbidden knowledge. She couldn't help but to peruse it immediately. Its pages were filled with vile spells and rites to depraved entities, extensive lore on other planes --particularly the Negative and fiendish ones-- and their inhabitants, and all manner of undead creatures. Her mind felt slow and muddied as she read, and her head ached the longer she stared at the text. She began to bleed, first from the nose, then from her eyes, and mouth, and ears, but she couldn't will herself to stop. She continued to read until her vision faded away and she blacked out. When she came to, she found Talantar standing over her with a very sour expression on his face. He gave her a healing potion and ensured that she was alright, then took the book and hid it away, and heavily disciplined her over the course of several weeks for her misstep, though he never stopped their lessons.
Outside of her arcane predilection, she had a relatively normal childhood. Talantar, her parents, and her caretakers used powerful but discreet illusory and transmutational spells daily to mask her wings and other non-elven features until she discovered her own natural ability to cloak her form, though she never understood why it was necessary to do so. When she came of age, she was loosed upon the community --though kept under close observation by members of her House-- to make whatever connections she would and learn all that she could from others.
At the age of twenty-one, while visiting the home of a friend, Coryptess was shown the family's heirloom; a powerful, sentient, magical weapon that had been crafted long ago for the purpose of slaying creatures from the lower planes. The artifact flared to life in the girl's presence, and her fiendish heritage was discovered. She was seized, and the heads of the household convened the city's ruling council, taking her to be questioned. When she proved unable to answer any of the questions put before her, she was released to her home. The council set to examine the matter and reconvene at a later date, whereupon the head of House Arcananea was called to stand before them and answer for their defilement. Arcananea's patron came at the appointed time and attempted to diffuse the situation, though his attempts came to nothing following reports provided by the myriad divinations cast since Coryptess's nature was exposed, revealing the part the House had played preceding the exile of the drow, and the recent transgressions of its leaders. Seeing no better response before him, the patron of Arcananea and his retinue wielded destructive magics against the council in a bid to destroy them before word got out, but they were themselves slain in the assault.
Unaware of exactly how events unfolded at the tribunal, House Arcananea declared war, counter to Talantar's advice. Their compound soon came under siege. The wizards and warlocks of the House were able to hold the opposing forces at bay for a time, but with the few warriors produced by the prevalence of arcanists, every member slain was a severe detriment to the defense. Magical travel from the fiend-spawned House was blocked, but so too was the House warded against its attackers. But too soon, the magical reservoirs of the wizards depleted, and as arrows took the warlocks, the Alunin soldiers advanced upon the keep. The entire conflict lasted only a couple of days.
When their defeat became apparent, Talantar was able to pierce their attackers' ward against magical travel. He summoned Coryptess to his side and enacted his most powerful transportational spell to open a gate to facilitate the escape of his cherished descendant. He presented the task of gathering allies and returning to bring aid to those she would leave behind, but she knew it was nothing more than a ploy to get her to safety; she would never be able to bring in outside forces in time to save anybody. But she finally, reluctantly, agreed at an offer of being appointed a guardian to see her through her "mission" -- knowing it was the only thing she could do to save anybody. She chose her elder brother, Korlaf, a ranger whose life had thus far been spared from the battles outside only by a grievous injury taken early on in the conflict.
Talantar's spell deposited the siblings deep in an unknown wilderness. They wandered for weeks on end, at Korlaf's direction keeping to themselves and avoiding any communities they happened upon, since they didn't know how close they were to their homeland, how far word of their family's damnation might have spread, or if anybody was looking for them.
Eventually, their wandering brought them upon an ancient, crumbling remnant of a tower, long ago abandoned to the forest. They took shelter there for the night, exploring the interior before taking their rest. They found much of the internal structure ruined; floors rotted, many ceilings buckled in, columns only barely standing anymore... But it did have one redeeming factor: the highest level had once been a grand library, and still held several shelves of books. Most of these were worm-eaten or destroyed by the weather, and many others so aged they crumbled to dust when touched. But some were still able to be read, and included among these was a spellbook. Coryptess pleaded with Korlaf to allow them to stay long enough to discern if there were any more tomes of value. He was loath to agree, having found signs of orcish presence in the area, but ultimately relented.
However, it wasn't long before Korlaf's fears were realized.
On the third night of searching the dilapidated library, Coryptess had uncovered a few spellbooks, and was examining the contents of her latest discovery when Korlaf barged into the room, warning her of a raiding party close to the tower. He hurriedly began snuffing the candles she'd set about the chamber, hoping to put out the light before being detected. Before he'd finished, however, the two fey'ri heard the unmistakable sound of heavy bodies crashing through their makeshift door on the first level, immediately followed by iron-shot boots stomping around and harsh voices below. The siblings silently observed from the top floor as the orcs tore apart the lower levels searching for the invaders in their territory. As they began to ascend the final flight of stairs, Korlaf began throwing whatever large objects he could into their path, attempting to collapse the staircase and halt the advance of the bestial humanoids. His attempt only succeeded in slowing the orcs. Too soon, he and Coryptess were forced to retreat back into the library, raining arrows and magic at their attackers. But they kept coming. Orc berserkers plowed through their attacks and separated the two. Before more than a handful of orcs had fallen, Korlaf was forced to trade his bow for sword, and Coryptess's destructive spells were depleted. Her threat diminished, one of the assailants threw her into a bookcase, which promptly collapsed, burying her beneath it and a mound of ruined tomes. Amid the confusion of the skirmish, one of her remaining reading candles was knocked over, and the library set aflame.
She thought they were going to die. The last thing she could see through the haze of smoke and tears, before her vision faded to black, were orcs --she couldn't tell how many-- rushing past her and pressing in on her brother, cornering him against a wall, out of her field of view.
She recalled hearing a loud crash, feeling the floor give way beneath the weight of the orcs and biting flames and scorched bookcases, followed by the pain of being caught between the next floor below and the all the rubble that had enveloped her finding her once again. After that, she was only dimly aware of continuing to fall, and then when all was finally still, the feeling of a cool, smooth surface beneath her.
When she awoke, she found herself lying atop a large, moss-covered boulder carved with runes, inexplicably in a very different place. After spending some time studying the stone and the runes etched into it, she determined that it must have been a portal that connected to a point within that old tower. But try as she might, she couldn't figure out how to activate it. A brief examination of her surroundings informed her that she didn't know her current location. And with no knowledge of her previous location, she had no way of returning to the site. There was no way to determine the fate of her brother... Her only solace was that she didn't find herself woefully unequipped to wander lost in the trackless wilds for who-knows-how-long; her pack had made the journey through the gate with her, as had one of the spellbooks she'd discovered.
Though badly weathered and fragile with age, she discerned that this folio was a compendium on the subject of "white necromancy", a branch of arcane magic that dealt with the forces of life, death, and undeath. It immediately caught her interest, given her fascination with necromancy, and the limited control of positive energy commanded by most arcane traditions. Unfortunately, the book was almost entirely written in code. But over the course of her subsequent adventures, she steadily began to decode it, page by page, allowing the knowledge she gleaned from it to supersede her wizardly training.
She ambled through the wilderness for days, utterly lost, before coming across a small human village. The inhabitants were unwelcoming of strangers, especially those of different race, though by virtue of her allure and personal charm, she was able to barter some of her belongings to resupply and procure directions to the next town before being kicked out. She moved on, reaching the next town after a few more days' travel. Shortly upon her arrival, she encountered an infernal half-fiend in the market, bullying the merchants for better prices. The hell-spawn introduced himself as Daemon. He quickly became charmed by her, and she latched onto him. They resolved to travel together, though to what end, Coryptess didn't know.
During a walk around the edge of the town on their second day together, the pair encountered a disheveled human who immediately began raving about "Bogtown!" He said little else to clarify his wishes, other than that they should follow him there. When Coryptess became frustrated by the lack of information he was willing to give, the man slung her over his shoulder and attempted to carry her off, until Daemon slew him. Their curiosity piqued, they began searching local maps for this Bogtown and, finding nothing, resolved to search whatever wetlands were close by to get to the bottom of the matter.
They made preparations to leave, and traveled to the next city in line with their expedition. There, they were intercepted in the town square by a small band of mercenaries, led by a blue half-dragon who called himself Matasoga. During this impromptu meeting, the draconic scion informed the fiendish pair that his mercenary band had just come from Bogtown, where they had been coerced into acting as the agents of its rulers: Vuthartak and Pankaja, a drug-addicted black dragon and the rakshasa that manipulated it, respectively. These two had seemingly taken great offense at the slaying of one of their servants --the man who had attempted to abduct Coryptess-- and ordered the mercenaries to track down her and Daemon, and kill them. Matasoga claimed he had no intention of following this direction, and offered to band together, in the hope of more easily defying the powerful monsters whose attention they had all caught. Before any agreement could be made, one of the dragon's minions, a half-dragon-manticore, appeared and spewed acid at Coryptess, Daemon, and Matasoga. Daemon was able to dodge out of the blast, but the other two fell, gravely injured.
Coryptess awoke several days later in an infirmary, to find Daemon sitting beside her. He informed her of his and the mercenaries' battle in the streets against the beast, who was finally driven off by the arrival of the town guard. He had spoken at length with the half-dragon, and believed joining forces with the mercenaries to be their best course of action, at least for the time being. So they accompanied the group to their base of operations, where all discovered that much of their funding had been cut while their leader was away, and that only a small handful of soldiers remained. There, they determined their best option to be in taking work that would allow them to gather what wealth they could and hone their respective skills, so to enable them to stand against the dragon and rakshasa and their minions before these enemies could overcome them.
While in this city, Daemon received a visit from his handler, an arrogant falxugon called Jebel, while exploring with Coryptess. She did her best to hide behind her friend, hoping the devil would speak more openly with her presence diminished. Daemon reported the progress of his soul-harvesting mission, and learned that his superior had been branded a traitor and destroyed, replaced by a Pit Fiend called Ilile, who apparently suspected Daemon of having a part to play in his former master's treason.
When the fiend left them and the pair rejoined the mercenaries again, their first job was selected. They were to pander to the half-dragon's hatred of vampires, investigating rumors of such a creature terrorizing his hometown. The group made the journey there, and split up; Matasoga and his goblin-blooded cohort visiting their old haunts and making inquiries of the village's authorities, Daemon going about his soul collection, and Coryptess covering for him. Though the group's healer was manipulated into turning against the mercenaries and leaving them, the half-dragon was able to confirm the presence of a vampire, and pick up on a lead in their hunt. At the same time, Jebel reappeared before Daemon with a summons from their new master, recalling him to Baator. He was able to contact Coryptess via a message spell, briefly explaining that he was called away and said farewell, before plane shifting away. In a panic, she speedily packed her things and scoured the streets for him, asking anybody she came across if they had seen him. She spent most of the day searching for him, finally exhausting her options and collapsing against a tree at the edge of town --which just so happened to be the exact spot from which he had left the plane-- dismayed that her only friend had so suddenly left her. While sulking there, she caught a faint whiff of sulfur, a scent that had accompanied the devil when he appeared in the previous town, which led her to assume the fiend to be behind Daemon's disappearance.
So distraught was Coryptess by Daemon's departure, that she nearly missed meeting the remaining mercenaries for a nighttime pursuit of the vampire menace. Matasoga led the group to the village's cemetery, where they were ambushed by the vampire and a handful of bewitched town guards. The ensuing battle was a disaster for Coryptess's group. Their half-dragon leader engaged the vampire in single combat while the rest of the party fended off the charmed guardsmen. While Coryptess made significant strides in turning the battle in her group's favor, Matasoga quickly fell before his foe, and one by one, the rest of the mercenaries were defeated, the last warrior on her feet slain, until only Coryptess and the vampire remained. Her ideas and valuable spells exhausted in removing the guards from the fray, she was helpless before the undead monstrosity before her. She conceived of a plan to save at least a couple members of the party, but before she was able to begin, the monster was destroyed by the timely arrival of the half-dragon's (human) grandmother, a long-retired cleric and slayer of the undead.
After recovering from the fiasco in the cemetery, the group discussed their next move. The mercenaries decided to sell their services to a neighboring nation at war, despite now numbering only four -- Coryptess included. They would hear nothing of her protests against joining the war effort, and dismissed out of hand her counter proposal that they locate and rescue Daemon; Matasoga, having frequently butted heads with the half-fiend in their time together, held nothing but scorn for that one, and only tolerated him to keep Coryptess around; and the remaining two appeared to have no care for him. So Coryptess cut her ties with the remnant of the group, and ventured out on her own.
She made her way to a large city that she felt would suit her needs. Along the way, she took a shortcut off-road that looked as though it would shave several days off of her journey, but got herself briefly lost. While wandering beneath the forest in search of the road, she came across a small, wounded raven. The poor bird displayed clear signs of struggle against some other creature, with a broken leg bearing a missing toe, deep scratches in his beak, and clumps of feathers torn out -- especially near the injured leg and its neighboring wing. Despite the animal's protests, she picked him up, enduring a multitude of pecks and bites and buffeting wing strokes as she recalled what lessons she could of her brother's about setting a bone, and created a makeshift splint, before using her magic to heal the raven. She kept him wrapped up in her cloak overnight, cooing and talking to him throughout, and ensuring that he was fed and well-rested, before setting him free the following morning. He retained a limp, and flew awkwardly away, as her spell wasn't able to regenerate the missing feathers. In spite of his initial aversion to her, Coryptess noted the raven following her as she made her way through the woods. His cawing, always coming in a pattern she quickly came to recognize, alerted her to the passing of another draconic manticore in time to evade it, and eventually led her safely back to the road. Every night as she camped, she looked for the raven, at first finding him at the very edge of her firelight, and each subsequent night drawing steadily closer to her, especially as she tossed him scraps of food. She took to calling him Sul'firean, and by time she reached the city, he began to perch on her shoulder, the two having become fast friends. Ever since, he rarely ventures far from her.
She remained there, on and off, for a couple of years. She took mundane work to cover room and board during periods of study, variably finding work as a scribe, attending mages' shops and libraries, and earning coin from spellcasting --especially with her ability to heal, without coming under obligation of the disparate clerics-- occasionally even sinking to fortune-telling to get by when nothing else presented itself. She paid close attention to rumors and adventurers' job boards, and delved into the lore of the region, focusing on portals to other planes. She periodically even lent her services to adventuring parties headed to places of note to her or, when she had the gold to spare, sometimes hired a group of bodyguards to protect her on such forays of her own. It took some time, but she finally stumbled upon word of a portal said to connect to a place called Sigil, which she recognized from studying Talantar's tomes. From what she recalled of it, the planar metropolis sounded like a perfect springboard from which she might uncover greater arcane might and more knowledge on the Hells and its inhabitants than she might ever find in the mortal realm. She tracked down the bearer of the information she sought after and got the location, though shedding light on the portals' key was outside of her price range. However, she did have funds enough to procure a spell scroll that would allow her to glean information directly from the portal, and put together an expedition to take her to it.
Finding that the portal resided in the bowels of a perilous dungeon beneath a mountain range many leagues away, her party had many close calls before finally reaching it, only to find it closed to them. However, she was able to discover the key, as well as get a glimpse of what awaited on the other side. She was fairly intimidated by the prevalence of the city's bladed architecture, as well as the number of fiends and other strange creatures openly walking about the streets; but so too was she held in awe at the same sights, and her curiosity would not allow uncertainty to get the better of her. Besides, she also saw normal-looking people calmly walking around, so how bad could it be?
She returned to the last city she'd encountered, and spent the next several months scraping more money together, acquiring from the market what components she could, and seeding more expeditions to procure the rest. Eventually she collected all she required, and hired another group to return her to the portal. Knowing exactly what to expect this time, the journey was much less harrowing. She took her leave of her hired companions, opened the portal and passed out of the Material Plane.
She emerged to find herself in the midst of a city larger than she had ever imagined possible. She wandered the streets for a time in awe, merely taking in the sights. Before long she was hailed by a tout, a gray-skinned tiefling woman with a barbed tail, a handful of years older than herself, who introduced herself as Staza. There was a bit of a language gap, as Coryptess didn't yet speak planar trade, but they were able to communicate in Abyssal. After walking and talking with Coryptess for a few blocks, assuring the prime caster that the tiefling knew her way around, Coryptess hired the tout's services. She was informed that she was in a district known as the "Clerk's Ward", and spent the remainder of the evening taking a guided tour around the Ward, shown places to find work and information of relevance to her, and some of the tiefer's favorite places to eat and stay for the night.
Since her arrival, whenever Coryptess has time to spare outside of work and her research, and a little extra coin to spend, she likes to spend it with Staza. She has come to think of the tout as a friend, and hopes the tiefling regards her similarly, though she realizes a large part of Staza's willingness to spend time with her is likely simply business. But they've spent several days in one another's company, familiarizing Coryptess with the city, its people, and the common language of the planes.
During one such outing, the two women came across a couple of Dustmen gathering corpses onto a cart in the Lower Ward. Intrigued --having never witnessed such a thing, coming from a community where death is not a part of day-to-day life-- she questioned her companion about them, receiving a rather disdainful explanation of the faction from the Sensate tout. She found herself unable to remove the image of those Dustmen from her mind, curious about their associations with death and the undead, and what they did with the bodies they collected, as her guide didn't offer the sort of in-depth detail that would have sated Coryptess's interest. After a couple of days obsessing on the matter, she made a trip to the Mortuary and asked to speak with one of their members about their philosophy. She was taken within, to one of the factotums, a wizened human mage named Draymun. She sat and spoke with him at length, finding a sort of accord in his message, though she didn't hang off of every word he uttered. Rather, their conversation served as a philosophical springboard to develop ideas of her own. The man chuckled at her conclusions, open-minded and old enough not to get riled up about her unorthodox take on the faction's belief. Instead, he found her point of view refreshing, and welcomed her to come visit and speak with him often, an offer she gladly accepted, calling on him in whatever spare time found her too tired to continue her exploration with Staza -- or whenever unable to locate the tout. Lately, she has taken to occasionally helping out at the Mortuary; and in doing so, learning more about the undead and of burial practices of countless cultures previously unknown to her, even meeting a few intelligent undead (much to her delight). At Draymun's encouragement, she has begun to trade bits of her unique necromantic lore with other factioneers, in exchange for similar contributions from them.

Allies / Contacts:

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  • Sul'firean: Sometimes simply called "Firean", this is Coryptess's raven companion. They met when she found him wounded in the woods and healed him, despite his struggles. Thereafter, he began to help her find her way, and warned her of danger in repayment. Ultimately, he chose to accompany her on her travels. A strong bond formed between the two, such that Coryptess performed a ritual to further connect them mystically, making Sul'firean her familiar. He later came to physically embody her connection to the Positive Energy Plane, becoming a living vessel of light and positive energy. This transformation turned his feathers white. When he walks, he does so with a limp. He bears deep scratches in his beak, and is missing a toe on his right foot.
  • Korlaf: Coryptess's elder brother. He was a ranger who patrolled and protected the woodland realm in which both were raised. A bit of a peculiarity within their family, he had no talent for arcane magic, instead bearing a love for wild places that eclipsed of the rest of their household. When House Arcananea was exposed, he was dealt a grave injury by his then-fiancée --who felt betrayed both by the sins of his family and by his dishonesty with her-- which kept him out of the ensuing conflict. Following their escape from the destruction that met the rest of their family, the siblings were separated during an attack by an orcish warband. Coryptess lost sight of him amid fire and orcs when the floor buckled, and she was suddenly transported away. She still doesn't know what became of him, but finding him again is one of her goals.
  • Daemon Silvermere: A half-fiend (born of erinyes and elf) wizard with an interest in blood magic, Daemon was the first person Coryptess met following the loss of her entire family. They quickly grew very close during the short time they spent together, and for a time her only friend. A servant of Mephistopheles, he clued her in on his secret mission of harvesting souls for Baator. He mysteriously disappeared in the middle of a dangerous mission with only a brief farewell to her, despite previously stating his intent to remain at her side. She (accurately) suspects he was unexpectedly dragged back to hell, most likely by some scheme of his pompous handler, the falxugon Jebel. She doesn't truly know what's become of Daemon, but she means to find him, and save him if need be, even if from the clutches of Baator. She only hopes that she won't have taken too long.
  • Talantar: An arcanist and warlock of great power, Talantar Arcananea was once the patriarch of the noble house. Over the course of his study of necromancy and fiendish lore, he uncovered unnatural means of extending his already long lifespan and vitality to a length unheard of even by elvenkind. Soon after beginning to arouse suspicion of foul practices, he began to feign his descent to venerability, and stepped back from the House's leadership, at least publicly. Afterward, he ceased making appearing in public at all, leaving all but a select few to think he'd finally expired. In secret, he ruled the House from behind the scenes for millennia, now leaving the day-to-day responsibilities to proxies of his choosing. He began grooming Coryptess for this purpose soon after her initial invasion of his workspace, seeing great potential in her; both as a capable intermediary to rule over the house, and in her magical talent and capacity to aid him in his great endeavors. During his family's final battle, he was able to pierce the ward enacted by the kingdom's High Mages to block extradimensional travel, to allow Coryptess and Korlaf to escape. Unbeknownst to them, he is the only other member of the Arcananea line yet living. Unable to be destroyed at the end of the battle against the House, the High Mages instead bound him away, in a magically-created space far underground. There he waits, with little more to do than plot a means of freedom and vengeance.
  • Staza: A tiefling woman in her late twenties, with mottled gray skin, long pointed ears, and a barbed tail. She is a member of the Society of Sensation and works as a tout, usually to be found hanging around the Clerk's Ward. She offered her services to Coryptess on the clueless's first day in the Cage, and the two hit it off rather quickly. She enjoys showing the apparent elf around the city, and especially appreciates the jink she's awarded for her time, though it wouldn't be strictly necessary where her new friend is concerned.
  • Draymun: An elderly human necromancer with the Dustmen, bearing a long white beard and clouding eyes. He believes he may be closing in on True Death, but is in no great hurry to meet it, preferring to spend what time is left to him helping others along the way. He spread the word of the faction to Coryptess when she came to the Mortuary, and has indulged her in many long conversations since. At his encouragement, she has shared some of her knowledge from her peculiar necromantic tradition with some of the other Dustmen, and vice versa.

Enemies:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Coryptess does not actively oppose or seek to combat those she views as enemies. Rather, she strives to keep a healthy distance from them, at least for the time being.
  • Vuthartak and Pankaja: A black dragon and rakshasa, respectively, of whose slaving operation Coryptess and Daemon ran afoul.
  • Jebel: Originally an amnizu who had somehow developed a rivalry with the half-fiend Daemon. He was foolish enough to bet his most recent promotion on Daemon failing in his last mission before being allowed off-plane to harvest souls, and lost, forcing a reversion to the form of a falxugon. Since enduring this humiliation, which he blamed on the half-breed, he has done little beyond plot against his rival. Jebel enacted a plot that framed Daemon's master, the pit fiend Quagrem, as a traitor, whereupon the greater fiend was executed, and Daemon implicated in "his master's" schemes. Jebel was able to wheedle his way into the position of overseeing Daemon's progress on the Material Plane, until such a time as the half-fiend was recalled to Baator. This is the one enemy Coryptess does not actively avoid.
  • Redtusk orcs: The orc tribe that attacked and separated Coryptess and her brother. Hated with a vengeance.
  • Alunin elves: While not strictly enemies, she maintains a severe distrust of the elves of this nation in general, and hatred of the bulk of their nobility, due to their unfounded (from her perspective) destruction of her family and way of life. Owing to them, she is mistrustful of most of elvenkind, regardless of origin.

Stat Block:

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CG Medium outsider (elf, native); CR 8
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision (x2); Perception +5
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (10 +3 Dex, +2 armor)
hp 35 (5d6+5)
Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +6 (+2 racial / enchantment spells and effects)
Immune magic sleep spells and effects; Resist fire 10
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., fly 40 ft. (poor)
Melee
Quarterstaff +2 (1d6/x2); -4/-8 if used as double-weapon
Masterwork Rapier +3 (1d6/18-20 x2)
Dagger, alchemical silver +2 (1d4-1/19-20 x2); thrown range 10-ft.
Wooden Stake +2 (1d4/x2); thrown range 10-ft.
Ranged
Shortbow +5 (1d6/x3), range 60-ft.; 20 arrows
Ranged Touch +5
Special Attacks elven magic, turn undead (Cha+1/day, DC [10+1/2 lv+Cha])
Spell-like Abilities (CL 5th)
At will -- alter self
3/day -- clairaudience/clairvoyance (600 ft. range), detect thoughts (DC 16), dimension door
Spells Known:
0 -- bleed, detect magic, disrupt undead, ray of frost, read magic, stabilize
1st -- cure light wounds, deathwatch, inflict light wounds, unseen servant
2nd -- bone swarm, lesser animate dead
(LV: 0-6, 1st-4, 2nd-2)
Spells per day: 2nd-8, 1st-10, 0-∞
STATISTICS
Str 10 (+0) Dex 16 (+3) Con 12 (+1) Int 18 (+4) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 18 (+4)
(4th level ability increase: Con)
Base Atk+2; CMB +2, CMD 15
Feats eschew materials (bonus), magic in the blood, obtain familiar, turn undead (bonus), wedded to the light
Skills (6 points per level; 30 total)
Acrobatics +3 (Dex +3, 0 ranks, [armor check] )

Appraise +7 (Int +4, 0 ranks, +3 familiar )
Bluff +8 (Cha +4, 2 ranks, +2 racial )
Climb +0 (Str +0, 0 ranks, [armor check] )

Craft (Woodcarving) +5 (Int +4, 1 rank )
Diplomacy +8 (Cha +4, 4 ranks )
Escape Artist +3 (Dex +3, 0 ranks, [armor check] )

Fly +4 (Dex +4, 2 ranks, -4 poor maneuverability)
Heal +4 (Wis +2, 0 ranks, bonus equal to half WN level [+2])
Knowledge (Arcana) +11 (Int +4, 4 ranks )
Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +5 (Int +4, 1 rank )
Knowledge (Nature) +5 (Int +4, 1 rank )
Knowledge (Nobility) +5 (Int +4, 1 rank )
Knowledge (Planes) -- (untrained, roll Religion instead [trait])

Knowledge (Religion) +10* (Int +4, 3 ranks )
Linguistics +10** (Int +4, 3 ranks )
Perception +5 (Wis +2, 1 rank, 2+ racial )

Sense Motive +7 (Wis +2, 2 ranks )
Spellcraft +9^ (Int +4, 2 ranks, see below )
Stealth +5 (Dex +3, 0 ranks, +2 racial )
Survival +3 (Wis +2, 1 rank )
Swim +0 (Str +0, 0 ranks, [armor check] )

Use Magic Device +9 (Cha +4, 2 ranks )
* Knowledge (religion) [+Wis to checks pertaining to subjects involving death, burial practices, undead, or the afterlife]
**Linguistics [+1 trait bonus to decipher unfamiliar languages]
^ Spellcraft [+2 racial bonus to identify properties of magical items]
^ Spellcraft [+1 trait bonus to decipher writing on a scroll]
Cross-class skills denoted in gray
Racial Skill Modifiers +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Perception, and Stealth checks.
Languages Abyssal, aklo, celestial, common (prime), draconic, elven, infernal, necril, orc, planar trade.
Special Qualities elven blood, life bond (up to 5, 90 ft. range), rebuke death (1d4+2, Cha+3/day), white necromancy.
Traits forbidden knowledge, self-taught scholar
Carrying Capacity light 0-33, medium 34-66, heavy 67-100; lift over head 100, lift off ground 200, push or drag 500
Combat Gear quarterstaff, masterwork rapier, alchemical silvered dagger, shortbow, 20 arrows, wooden stake; bracers of armor +2, clasp of acid protection (least); momento magica (1st-level), greater talisman of beneficial winds; 2 holy water, 3 weapon blanch (silver), scroll of endure elements, scroll of hide from undead, scroll of mage armor.
Other Gear
  • Type I bag of holding, wrapped in waterproof bag (bedroll, bottle of fine wine, 6 candles, candlestick, chalkboard, chronicler's kit, everlasting rations, feather from Daemon's wing, firelight phantom ink (1 ounce), flint and steel, grooming kit, rope [50-ft., silk], 2 sacks, scrivener's kit, sewing needle, 50-ft. ball of string, small tent, traveler's anytool, waterskin, weatherworn tome on white necromancy, wooden skeleton marionette)
  • Belt pouch (avian beast whistle, 4 sticks of chalk, ioun torch, 5 tindertwigs)
  • Book satchel (personal journal of arcane formulae, traveler's dictionary of planar common)
  • Other gear on person (bone necklace worth 10gp, potion belt, scroll organizer, spell component pouch)
  • Money: 31 gp, 1 sp, 8 cp
Weight Carried 28 1/2 lbs.; Total Gear Weight 94 1/2 lbs.

Racial Traits:

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence. Fey'ri are quick and smart, but their inbreeding makes them weak.
  • Elven Blood: For all special abilities and effects, Coryptess is considered an elf. For example, she can use or create elven weapons and magic items with racially specific elven powers as if she was an elf.
  • Elven Magic: +2 racial bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance; +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft skill checks made to identify the properties of magic items.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Coryptess is proficient with longbows (including composite longbows), longswords, rapiers, and shortbows (including composite shortbows), and treats any weapon with the word "elven" in its name as a martial weapon.
.
Class Features:
  • Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: simple weapons; no armor or shields.
  • Cantrips, eschew materials, lore of life and death, rebuke death, power over undead, white necromancy, life bond. See the White Necromancer for more information.

Familiar:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Sul'firean
male raven familiar (valet archetype) 5
N Tiny magical beast
Init +2; Senses low-light vision; Perception +8
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 15 (10 + 2 Dex, +3 Natural, +2 Size)
hp 17 (5d8-1)
Fort +1, Ref +4 (imp. evasion), Will +2
OFFENSE
Speed 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (average)
Melee Bite +6 (1d3-4)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks deliver touch spells, positive energy surge 1/day, share spells, teammate
Spell-like Abilities (CL 5th)
At will -- light
1/hour -- prestigitation
STATISTICS
Str 2 (-4) Dex 15 (+2) Con 8 (-1) Int 8 (-2) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 7 (-2)
Base Atk +2; CMB +2, CMD 8
Feats alertness, cooperative crafting (bonus), skill focus (perception)
Skills bluff +0, craft (woodcarving) -1, diplomacy +2, fly* +6, knowledge (arcana) +2, knowledge (dungeoneering) -1, knowledge (nature) -1, knowledge (nobility) -1, knowledge (religion) +1, linguistics +1, perception +8, sense motive +6, spellcraft +0, survival +3, use magic device +0.
* Skills using own ranks
Cross-class skills denoted in gray
Class Skills Acrobatics, Climb, Craft, Fly, Perception, Perform, Profession, Stealth, Swim.
Language Planar trade
Special Qualities able assistant, deliver touch spells (valet modified), empathetic link, improved evasion, prestigitation, share spells, speak with master, teammate, wedded to the light. [X] [X]
Wedded to the Light
Light: At 1st level, Coryptess can, at will, order her familiar to glow as a free action producing light equal to a torch.
Positive Energy Surge: Once per day, Coryptess can touch her familiar to channel a surge of positive energy that heals him for 1d6 points of damage + 1 per class level. This requires move action.
Restrictions: Whenever Coryptess casts a spell with the darkness, death, or evil descriptor, she loses access to all benefits of this feat for the next 24 hours.
Additional abilities are gained at levels 9, 13, and 17.
Karsus
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Yankee? Are you still around?

Yankee? Are you still around?