Character Building

His name was Weaver and he claimed that he was merely a travelling herbalist.

However, certain members of the party had seen him perform minor acts of magic and his pet crow appeared to be somewhat more intelligent than normal, so they believed him to be a mage…

Other members of the party had witnessed him slipping through the shadows, to suddenly materialise behind a sentry, and, after a brief struggle, leave the guard dead on the ground, eyes glassy and green foam dripping from the corner of their mouth. These party members assumed he was some kind of assassin…

Whatever the party believed, as Weaver would either launch into an elaborate tale that was clearly made up on the spot or merely smile, they learnt that if they came across an intricate, elaborate puzzle or trap, Weaver was the best person to deal with it.

Weaver was actually a 2E Bard, who’d taken the Riddlemaster kit and spent 2 additional slots on the Herbalism Non-Weapon Proficiency to allow him to brew some low-level poisons (with the agreement of the DM). He never used his bardic inspiration, because he was a bit of a self-serving, mercenary git. However, he was great fun to play and, unlike some of the party, when facing a rampaging red dragon, did not stand in the open on a stone bridge… so was able to tell the tale afterwards.

I recently came across his character sheet when having a sort out and thought it might be a fun exercise to see if I could recreate him using the Romance of the Perilous Land rules, as it does share some similarities with AD&D. However, as the RoPL Bard class features are all about performance and provide buffs for allies, debuffs for foes and minor healing (for some reason), the Bard class is not the best choice for recreating this character under this ruleset.

But if you select the Thief class, this gives you access to the full set of Thief class features (Sneak Attack at 1st lvl, Trapfinder at 3rd, Critical Stike at 5th, Disguise at 7th and Deadly Strike at 9th), a choice of Acrobatics, Bluff, Perception, Stealth and Thievery (choose 3 of 5), light and medium ranged and melee weapons and light and medium armour. Plus you automatically get a dagger, leather armour and set of lockpicks.

Now, if you combine this with the Assassin background from the Heroes of Avalon supplement (available for a very reasonable $2.00 here) you get Nature and Stealth skills as bonuses and get access to 5 talents that are only available to Assassins, including Poison Crafter, which allows you to “spend 10 minutes creating one poison with a single use” (there is a list of 5 poisons with specific effects within the supplement). However, if you take Magic Initiate at 1st level, rather than an assassin talent, this allows your character to “cast spells up to level 1,” which gives you the minor spellcasting ability that you would associate with the 2E bard.

So, we now have a 1st level Thief, with the Assassin background, who can cast 0 and 1st level spells, and when he hits 2nd level, will be able to craft his own poisons. This is basically what the concept of Weaver was when I tried to shoehorn him into the AD&D 2E rules, so RoPL actually made it easier to create this character. And there’s more…

Because the rules give an overview of each of the eleven kingdoms, based on my concept, I can easily slot him into the game’s background. So, Weaver (if that’s his real name) is from Lyonesse, and was trained by the Night Ward, a secret organisation of assassins that dispose of spellcasters in that land. Whilst King Meliodas officially denounces their actions, he privately appreciates their work (as he fears all spellcasters) and fails to crack down on their activity. However, when Weaver discovered his own spellcasting ability, he realised that if this talent was revealed, he would be the next victim of the Night Ward, so ran south. Finding Eastland to be a bit too lawless, he fled further south and ended up in Ascalon. Unfortunately, this was where he was caught and rather than compete in Hykaria’s death pits where criminals fight to reduce their sentences, is now working off his debt as an indentured ‘servant’ to Lord Talbot.

Now, once you have a character you want to play, you then start casting about for a miniature to represent them and having heard good things about HeroForge, I decided to see if I could translate the image I had in my mind’s eye of Weaver into an actual miniature.

So, this is the closest I could get to Weaver from my mind’s eye, so what will HeroForge charge me for having my own custom-built miniature? Let’s have a look…

$19.99?! And that doesn’t included shipping?!

Well, whilst it’s a nice idea, I think that’s a little out of my price range. However, as I am the Master of Web Fu and can generally find a figure to represent anything I want, I’m sure we can do better than THAT…

So, Dungeons & Dragons Critical Role Unpainted Miniatures Hollow One Rogue and Sorcerer Male, from Wizkids. Approximately a fiver (£5.00) for both figures, so I get a figure to represent Weaver for £2.50 and a weird sorcerer chappie to use elsewhere. Result!

And to be quite honest with you, I prefer the figure I found to the one I actually built, as it looks more like what I think Weaver should look like. AND I happened to find that my FLGS had one pack in stock, so I didn’t even have to pay shipping!

My Web Fu is Strong…

7 thoughts on “Character Building

  1. Nice story! I also find it interesting to tinker with game mechanics. I think I read an article once about how any class could essentially be an Assassin. A Magic-User specializing in stealthy spells would make quite a deadly assassin for example. Though it sounds like Weaver’s skills were quite broad which is really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Faust. I tend to go for more atypical characters, so come up with a concept first, then try and find a way to realise that within the confines of the system I’m playing. Another favourite character was a gnome swashbuckler with an outrageous French accent, possibly influenced by Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, but quiteca bit shorter. Another fun character to play!

      The 2E bard was a kind of Jack-of-all-trades class, so an ideal base for a variety of types of character, something that The Complete Bard’s Handbook capitalised on, certainly moreso than some of the other Complete Handbooks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great that you were able to adapt your old character into the new rules Jez, and no surprise you were able to find a relevant figure with your Web-Fu ! LOL


    • Thanks Dave. The Romance of the Perilous Land system does allow for a fair bit of customisation, so not every Knight is identical and the Heroes of Avalon supplement does give some interesting Backgrounds which not only give bespoke talents, but do give ideas for roleplaying. One of my players initially was playing a bog-standard Ranger, until I showed him the Wolfmaster background…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is really spooky.
    So, a few years back I started writing a tale about a man who was not who he said he was; a man much like your character here. His name was John the Weaver.
    On my most recent(and probably last) trip through 5E D&D, I made John the Weaver my character. He was a bard.
    He was also a self-serving git; and he was one of the only evil characters I’ve ever played.
    Get out of my head, Jeremy.


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