Could use some help creating an dark, merciless good-guy (and acting like one)

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Hi, I am struggling to fit the final pieces to a character concept I am working on: 


  • This character is already part of a campaign, but ofc character development is a gradual process, so changes can be made
     (it was my first campaign, so forgive me the default names ^^)

  • When we started this campaign I played two characters since there were only 3 of us, after a while new people joined and together with the DM we decided that one of my characters (Khashana, a pacifist healer cleric) would die. He devoted a few sessions to the story, where the party eventually encountered a powerful Lich, too strong for them to handle. Kelemvor (Khashana's deity) offered to grant her the power to defeat the Lich but which would kill her in the process, since she wasn't ready to receive his gift yet. She agreed.

  • The DM then allowed me to hybridize my character, since I had just lost one, which I did. Avenger seemed a natural choice given what just happened to his friend. 


Below is the backstory I have so far:

Hiyal is a friendly, pacifistic wizard, seeking arcane knowledge. Or at least he was, but that was a long time ago, long before this story unfolded. In those days he wandered the lands, travelling from library to library, looking for new spells, new insights in the fabric of the cosmos and clues about the whereabouts of his people, the enigmatic Devas. One day he arrived at an abbey dedicated to Kelemvor. Upon requesting access to the archives the abbot offered a trade: only if Hiyal promised to let Khashana, a tormented Kalashtar, accompany him would the abbot allow him to look through the countless books and scrolls the order possessed. Hiyal agreed, and after his studies they wandered off together.

Over the years they bonded, neither of them particularly talkative they still understood each other's intentions and how similar they were. That was before Khashana allowed Kelemvor to take control of her body in order to save Hiyal and his friends, tearing away at her flesh in the process. Though they were saved Hiyal could not forgive himself, if only he had been stronger, trained harder, then maybe he would have been able to stop this. He took up a weapon and pledged his allegiance to a new god, to Bane, god of war. From there on he dedicated his life to relentless training. Every opportunity he had he would hone his skills to the point of perfection. He would no longer waste his time avoiding conflicht, and got into fights more often, when he did he would have an elaborate battle plan thought out and would not tolerate any insubordination.

His mind now preoccupied with the thrills of melee combat his raw magical energy will often leak out, stabbing at the enemies' minds and bodies or engulfing his body in righteous fire. Fueled by his rage he will not stop until his allies are safe from harm and all that lies before him is a mound of lifeless enemies.

Extra info:


  • I plan to turn him into a bloodmage, and imagine him wildly swinging his sword, wounding himself in the process, because of his arcane powers his blood would then assault his enemies aswell.

  • Most of his powers are psychic, causing his enemies to see horrible creatures or causing them to attack one another in fear.

  • I imagine his avenger powers involving radiant energy to be almost fire-like, scorching his enemies.


Questions:


  • What do you think of it so far? In my mind Hiyal became a berserking avenger, and his innate arcane powers would unconciously leak out. He wouldn't be exactly casting spells anymore (expect in special situations). 

  • How can I play that he is still a good guy, but merciless to his enemies? (oath of enmity style)

  • Any mannerisms you can suggest?





  • How can I play that he is still a good guy, but merciless to his enemies? (oath of enmity style)





This would be the primary sticking point, as 'merciless' and 'good guy' are antonyms.
I consider him to be 'chaotic good', he protects his companions, will help people in need, but ruthless towards bandits etc. For those of you who saw Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X: one of the characters, Hajime Saito, lives by the code "Swift Death to Evil" (悪即斬, Aku Soku Zan, also translated loosely as "Evil Unto Evil", where evil is killing) which kind of sums up the idea. 

Carve out corruption, seek out evil. In order to fight monsters one needs to become one. 
Yes, definitely not a good guy by any definition of the term I can conceive of.
Avenger (wis based) and Wizard (int based) sounds like a rather weak hybrid as well. 

Hybriding on swordmage works a bit better, but honestly, it sounds like a melee based warlock, hexblade or sorcerer using close burst and blast powers might be a better fit thematically.

I'd probably go warlock, packing a pact blade.
I am aware that the hybrid will never be fully optimal. Regardless of the class however, the original question still stands: any suggestions about the story behind this character?
I am a fan of anti-heroes, so might I agree that he could be good--but it'd have to either be bound by a code of conduct (e.g. committing the same evil act onto someone who has done it to others).  You'd have to adhere to that code quite fiercely and possibly show some degree of mercy.   
Thanks for the suggestion, seems like a good idea. You say "it'd have to either be bound..." but you mention only one option after that.
Did you have another in mind as well?

I think at the end of each encounter with an "important" and "intelligent" creature I might have him ask his victim how he plans to atone for his sins. If the creature's answer does not please him, or if he senses the creature is lying he will then execute him.
Thanks for the suggestion, seems like a good idea. You say "it'd have to either be bound..." but you mention only one option after that.
Did you have another in mind as well?

I think at the end of each encounter with an "important" and "intelligent" creature I might have him ask his victim how he plans to atone for his sins. If the creature's answer does not please him, or if he senses the creature is lying he will then execute him.



I would not think you could claim any kind of 'good guy' status if you're executing defenseless people.
The main concept I am trying to communicate with 'good guy' is that he will help innocent people without expecting any reward, protect his allies even if it kills him. Justice as his only motive (albeit a twisted form of justice). I agree, he is not your typical 'knight on a white horse', but in a world where killing is day-to-day business (I'm sure we all killed an Orog or other intelligent creature once) can you really blame him?
He's certainly a bit morally ambiguous if he's executing the helpless, but I can understand it.  It is a tactically sound decision and one of moral importance (to your character).
I had an anti-hero character I used to play, and idea that let me work with it was this.  He had a deep code of conduct, morality, and behavior.  But in his mind, once the moral decision had been made that violence was an appropriate answer to a problem, that was it.  Over and done with.  Whether he slit the guy's throat while he slept, hacked him down in a high-noon showdown, dropped a mountainside on his head, or ran his enemy through after capturing him.  The moral decision had already been made, the means to that end were irrelevant.  The important decision is whether or not to kill somebody, not whether or not to challenge him to a duel vs. bushwhacking him.
I had an anti-hero character I used to play, and idea that let me work with it was this.  He had a deep code of conduct, morality, and behavior.  But in his mind, once the moral decision had been made that violence was an appropriate answer to a problem, that was it.  Over and done with.  Whether he slit the guy's throat while he slept, hacked him down in a high-noon showdown, dropped a mountainside on his head, or ran his enemy through after capturing him.  The moral decision had already been made, the means to that end were irrelevant.  The important decision is whether or not to kill somebody, not whether or not to challenge him to a duel vs. bushwhacking him.



This is about what I am trying to accomplish, and your post helps me fine-tune it some more. Thanks!
Avenger (wis based) and Wizard (int based) sounds like a rather weak hybrid as well.



Considering that Avengers have Int as a secondary stat, and Wizards Wis as a secondary stat, it isn't actually as weak as you think it might be.

Anyway, yeah, one other thing you might want to do is have your character continually struggle with his choices, always unsure if he's doing the right thing. 
Avenger (wis based) and Wizard (int based) sounds like a rather weak hybrid as well.



Considering that Avengers have Int as a secondary stat, and Wizards Wis as a secondary stat, it isn't actually as weak as you think it might be.

Anyway, yeah, one other thing you might want to do is have your character continually struggle with his choices, always unsure if he's doing the right thing. 



I started him off with 18wis/18int, he won't be optimized per-se, but nothing too dramatic either. 

Thanks for the suggestion, I think I won't have him doubt it all the time but rather have him have one major crisis at some point or another, where he will be pseudo-depressed.
Here's some thoughts:

Executing a helpless opponent is not always wrong. If fact, there are situations where not executing a helpless opponent is wrong. Most evil opponents will go on to hurt more people if you spare them, so the "good" act of sparing them will just end in innocent people being hurt later on. As Wishful said, if the person needs to die, the person needs to die. 

Your character could even have the sort of philosphy that he has to do things that others would find morally repugnant. I. e., he doesn't want to kill the helpless mass murderer, but he knows no one else will, and the murderer has to die, so he takes the burden upon himself and guts the sucker. 

Hope that helps.

 
Yes, I know I misspelled "Jensaarai".
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Since you are part wizard, there is a good start for your dark character.

Whenever you use a wizard area burst and blast power, ignore the fact that there are any allies in the effected area. It's their fault that they're there. You are a zealot and will stop at nothing to destroy your enemy. If your allies get in the way...too bad for them.

Then pick up feats that allow you to transfer damage or effects to others in your group. Finally, focus on wizard summon powers that bring in demons.

You could also reconsider races...vrylock, revenant, shade, or one of the monster manual races.
Thanks for the feedback you two!

@JensaariWarrior I like the 'sacrifice your own morality' mentallity and will certainly include this in my character.

@da_duke I don't think I will be targetting allied party members, the goal is to protect my friends, by slaying my/their enemies, so that they needn't suffer any more harm. 
Most people don't understand the diference between good and merciful. try reading The Prince, by Machiavelli. alternatively read this quote from a recent commercial i saw: "I have a rule, i do what i say. if someone doesn't do what they said they would, i make then regret it for the rest of their lives."

In general, make him a defender of the weak, but his way of protecting people is by killing those who would harm them, hunting them down like beasts. hold no bars, and always run 100% violence on those who deserve it, but never hurt someone who doesn't. break the law when the law impedes justice, but don't look for chances to commit crimes.

hope this helps. 
Most people don't understand the diference between good and merciful. try reading The Prince, by Machiavelli. alternatively read this quote from a recent commercial i saw: "I have a rule, i do what i say. if someone doesn't do what they said they would, i make then regret it for the rest of their lives."

In general, make him a defender of the weak, but his way of protecting people is by killing those who would harm them, hunting them down like beasts. hold no bars, and always run 100% violence on those who deserve it, but never hurt someone who doesn't. break the law when the law impedes justice, but don't look for chances to commit crimes.

hope this helps. 

+1 thanks
Another thing your character might do is give a villain one chance for redemption, just so he knows he's giving them a fair shot. If they go straight, great! If not, then they're dead. They had their chance to do the right thing; now, that evildoer deserves no quarter.
This is a good idea: I might have him do this depending on the severity of the crime(s). I am doubting to have him somehow 'mark' the ones who are given a second chance, as a permanent reminder to them. Also when he encounters criminals with that marking he knows they failed to redeem themselves.

I want it to be something distuinguisable, something they criminals will see often but not disgraceful (so no scars on their face etc), like a mark on the back of their dominant hand (the hand that commited the crimes). Any input on this matter would be appreciated.
This is a good idea: I might have him do this depending on the severity of the crime(s). I am doubting to have him somehow 'mark' the ones who are given a second chance, as a permanent reminder to them. Also when he encounters criminals with that marking he knows they failed to redeem themselves.

I want it to be something distuinguisable, something they criminals will see often but not disgraceful (so no scars on their face etc), like a mark on the back of their dominant hand (the hand that commited the crimes). Any input on this matter would be appreciated.



hmm...he's a wizard/invoker, yes? so get the "arcane mark" ritual, and talk with your dm about being abe to cast it on people. The mark could be anywhere, or could only appear sometimes, and wouldn't be as disfiguring as scars or more traditional markings. !!! if your dm's ok with it, you could give them an obvious mark that's invisible unless their commiting a crime (how you define crime could of course vary: crime in the eyes of your god, crime in the eyes of morality [anything that's evil], or a crime in the eyes of the law), so that they're reminded of that one chance he's given them whenever they're about to throw it away. because it's his mark, he would know it was on them just by looking at them.
Talked to my DM about this, he will incorporate a small storyline where I 'discover' a divine/arcane ritual similar to what you described. Here is the concept:


  • Cost: 25G of reagents + 1 Healing surge worth of HP (cannot be reduced in any way)

  • Effect: Places a 'mark' on target creature, which will turn invisible once the ritual is completed. Whenever the target is about to commit a crime of any sort the mark will start glowing, becoming visible. If the target proceeds with his criminal dealings the mark becomes permanently visible.

  • 'Crimes' are defined by my character, basically he pours part of his soul in this ritual, which is why I have to spend a healing surge to cast it. I am still wondering if the mark should become invisible again if the target 'undoes' the crime (when possible: an example would be when he returns a stolen object)

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