Tuesday, September 10, 2013

1 Character, 13 Systems - Part 1: The Character

    The game 13th Age recently came out, and my best friends turned me on to it.  It is interesting, a mash-up of all the D&D versions with a few other more modern conventions thrown in for spice.  I liked it overall, based on a read-through only (not in a position to game with my friends right now).  I decided to make a character for it (and being me made a wizard) because making a character tells you a lot about a system.
    Then, being me, I had a crazy idea: why not make the same character for several different systems?
    I have a rather large library of games, why not make one character and see how it twists and turns between different incarnations.  Why?  Because it's there :)  Okay, because I'm  a crazy guy who likes making characters and tinkering with games.  Plus I've got enough time on my hands to do it.
    So, here is part one of a rather long series.  In honor of 13th Age sparking this crazy idea I am going to make one character in 13 different RPG systems.  To begin with, I'm going to write out the somewhat detailed history and abilities of this character I have envisioned.  This is our baseline.  I do not want him to be incredibly powerful nor a useless wimp.  I want to stay as close to this story and description of abilities as I can.  So without further ado...

    Born to the Wood Elves of the Great Northern Forest, Korsanian Vambrae came from a long line of sorcerers and wizards.  Yet while magic ran in his blood, he did not choose to follow in his father's footsteps and become a wizard.  As a devout believer in Lallamadan-Hartoo, the dualistic male/female elven deity of nature, Korsanian decided to become a Forest Ranger and protect the land from the vile demons that spewed out of the darkness of the Northern Wastes.  Being strong and quick of body and mind, he soon finished his training and began his first patrol circuit.
    Being only a junior Ranger, his first patrol was of the Southern edges of the Great Forest, an area not under constant attack like the North.  Korsanian did not mind this, realizing one had to walk before running.  He, as customary for a Ranger, befriended a faelynx whom he named Sovan.  Together the pair watched the border with the Humans and other races, mostly observing the few trade caravans and travelers.
    After a short handful of years Korsanian's fairly peaceful apprenticeship came to a painful end.  At first he thought it was a blight, one of those rare but not unheard-of times when sickness would spread through the trees.  Quickly he realized it was something more sinister.  Sending Sovan to get help, he decided to investigate the strange illness that was spreading unnaturally fast through the forest's edge.  While not apprenticed as a Wizard, he nonetheless knew enough of magic to realize some dark curse was spreading through the land and killing the forest.  His investigation revealed that it was not just killing, it was poisoning everything it touched.  Even if the curse was dispelled the damage would remain to the plants, animals that ate them, and the earth and water.  Desperate, faced with something beyond his meager abilities, Korsanian prayed for help.  Lallamadan-Hartoo heard and answered Korsanian's prayers.  He could sacrifice himself, and from the purity of his sacrifice the land would be cleansed and he would be forever remembered as a hero - or, he could take the curse upon himself, becoming crippled and twisted, to seek out the source of the curse, and stopping it's originator from doing any more harm.  It was an easy choice.  Whatever had attacked the forest once could do so again.  Even if it meant being damaged, and having to leave his home, Korsanian could not rest so long as he knew such a terrible menace existed to the land and people he loved.  He agreed to take the curse upon himself.
    His father and a pack of Rangers found him a short time later.  They did not recognize him at first.  His body had shrunken and twisted, he no longer even looked like an elf.  His natural strength and dexterity and hardiness from living the Ranger's demanding lifestyle was gone.  Now he was frail and slow and sickly.  But as is common with the Gods, what was a curse on one hand turned out to be a blessing on another.  The curse had changed Korsanian's natural gift of magic.  It heightened his perceptions, he could now feel the flows of magic with just a thought.  And, while he could no longer cast spells, he discovered that he could devour them.  Instead of making magic, he now fed on it.  This feeding did not make him stronger or better, his body would always be stunted, but it allowed him a rare gift.  Eager to go out into the world and seek the source of his troubles, his father reigned in the headstrong young man.  Several years were spent preparing, with Korsanian learning all the elves knew of the outside world, and all he could of magic and alchemy.  Sovan, ever the loyal faelynx, never left his side, and Korsanian trained his ally to be his protector: and now mount since his body had shrunk so much.
    Finally prepared, the duo headed out of the forest and to the South.  Korsanian could absorb any hostile magic, and he carried some alchemical tricks to defend himself with in an emergency.  Sovan was his legs, and would stay close to protect him as a last resort.  Soon they would meet with other adventurers and begin to learn the secrets of the curse and its origin.

    So, there is my character idea.  To overview, here's a list of the main things I want him to be/do:

⦁    Physically Weak but Mentally Strong - it's the wizard cliche, I know, but he's a big brain in a small body.  He was smart as a ranger, and his innate magic sense helps him notice and figure things out now that's he been forced into becoming a bookworm.
⦁    A Magic-user who Doesn't Cast Spells - this is the opposite of the cliche, while he has magic he doesn't actively use it.  His main job in the party is to negate enemy spellcasters and magical threats.  If he could temporarily suppress magic items too that would be cool.  The low-levels of magic he constantly absorbs from the environment means he can detect anything magic, which I could see extending to living things and possibly non-living as well.  Perception and Protection, those are the strengths he brings to the group.
⦁    Needs Something to do in Combat - I'd like him to still be useful in combat even against non-magical foes.  Something like a few alchemical bombs, or even just being able to be a distraction.  He can't draw too much ire since he's weak, but he still needs something to do.
⦁    Has an Animal Companion/Familiar - the faelynx Sovan is his friend, mount and protector.  Now, Sovan is special, so he won't be going toe to toe with any monsters, the faelynx just stays close to Korsanian to protect him.

    Now, let's see what different games can make of him.  To begin with, we'll go to the game that inspired him, 13th Age...

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