Hello everyone, for this week’s geek post I decided to go back to something I’ve enjoyed doing in the past: making original RPG characters.
Here’s one character concept I wanted to play as in the past but my DM at the time didn’t approve, so I shelved the idea… until I started working on the King’s River MtG. Last week, while I was looking through my fantasy art folder for new card inspiration, this old idea came charging back at me, whispering in a voice as cold as the grave he rose from.
“I will not be denied”.
This sentence is more felt than heard.
Here’s the custom card in question. If anyone could let me know who is the artist, that’d be greaaaat. All I can find is a pin from Pinterest, and Google reverse search yields no results.
I’ve always had a thing for MtG skeletons. I love this god-damn card so much.
The Blankard: “Hey, a white-mana skeleton!”
Inspiration: The original idea I had behind this guy was that he’d be a medieval version of Marvel’s The Punisher.
Backstory: His whole family was murdered
by Italian mobsters by the evil local lord and his enforcers while he was forced to watch. Franz was then also killed but came back from his eternal sleep to avenge his family. Sort of like how ghosts apparently get trapped between this world and the next until they resolve whatever business they must.
Now, if he’s a skeleton then he could have been dead for quite some time. My first research on the topic taught me that it could take from 8 to 12 years if he was buried 6 feet in soil but wasn’t in a coffin. If he had been left to the elements and say, insects had a corpse buffet, apparently mere days would do the trick. So that makes more sense; maybe the killers botched the body disposal.
What happened to raise him back to life? A passing necromancer? A previous pact with a witch? A stored spell of Spare the Dying, gone wrong? Pure will? I like that last one the most.
He’d also need a lot of disguise skills, and to constantly be in full armor to avoid being detected.
Let’s take a look at the character sheet that I put together on the great website Giffyglyph’s Monster Maker. If you’re a player, that sheet might be the only thing you need. I strongly encourage you to build your own backstory to have a better feel of your character. You should figure out:
- The lord’s name and his connection to the knight,
- Why was the knight and his whole family murdered, and
- How did he come back to life.
I included more details on the character and my decisions below the sheet.
The basics: I built a basic 4th level Human Fighter over at aideddorg, then looked up skeletons at D&D wiki and mixed the two together. His dex and mental stats took a hit due to being in a suit of armor that weighs more than himself (he’s literally just bones) and that his thirst for vengeance blinds him to the rest of the world that is already done mourning him.
How to RP him: Think Frank Castle. Quiet, methodic, not too bright but doing his best to achieve his mission no matter what the cost, and of course, unrelenting. Try to have fun speaking in a raspy voice, using straight-to-the-point short sentences, and make fun of people with dark humor à la The Hound.
Combat might be a bit boring if you picture a simple automaton that constantly walks towards his enemy and hack at it until it’s more dead than himself. One way to make it more interesting would be to describe him ignoring any and all obstacles in his path. Here’s a quick example of what that could sound like:
DM: “The half-orc that threw a handaxe at your bard is now standing 20 feet away, behind a table and a few bar stools”
You: “Franz walks methodically in a straight line. The strolls of his steps kick the stools out of his way and he slashes at the table with his greatsword”.
DM: “Okay make your roll”
You: *Rolls* “I rolled a 12”
DM: “Your greatsword hits the table full-force. It’s an inanimate object so I’ll let you deal max damage to it. The table splits in half… actually it looks more like an explosion of splinters and timber. The half-orc is re-considering his life choices.
Stats details: I chose to give him some vulnerabilities, resistances, and immunities reminiscing of any good-old skeleton monster.
- Vulnerabilities: Bludgeoning because bones, radiant because undead, and psychic because he’s a tormented and guilt-ridden, damned soul.
- Resistances: Piercing because of the meme below, and necrotic to balance the vulnerability to radiant.
- Immunities: He’s immune to poison simply because that’s what the other skeleton knight stats said and it makes sense. He’s immune to being fatigued because he’s so gosh-darn relentless.
See? Piercing doesn’t make sense against skeletons.
Traits: they are lifted directly from a 4th level Fighter, nothing too original here, except that I made up Seeking Vengeance.
Actions: Again, pretty basic Fighter stuff, but I went and checked out Marvel’s Ghost Rider stats from the old-school and awesome Marvel RPG, and adapted his Penance Stare to the D&D universe. It hasn’t been tested and probably needs balancing.
This post is getting long already so I’ll stop here. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, advice, or spotted any discrepancies please post urrthing in the comments, I’m always happy to read them!