I'm just doing some random brainstorming for fun, but sometimes this results in some cool stuff that I end up using in later campaigns so I thought I might as well post here for some feedback. I'll need to have some feedback on game mechanics as well, so if this needs to be in a different forum I understand, but I'm approaching this from a character/rp side first and mechanics a strong second.
I'm curious about how I should go about creating a backstory for a one-armed character. I DM more than I PC so this is just as likely to end up being an NPC as it is a PC if that makes any difference. Obviously, if I'm using the single arm as the starting point, I think that figuring out how the character lost it would probably be my first focus and would likely result in some more forward momentum. I see a couple of ways that someone could lose an arm:
-battle (either war or with a monster)
-Some sort of sacrifice (for a ritual or to appease some monster or deity)
I think which of these it is (or something I haven't thought of) and how the character reacts to it is essentially the key to this. I think there are a couple of ways that someone could react to this:
-become a pacifist
-become a drunk
-hide (either hiding the injury or becoming a hermit)
I think it would be more interesting to approach this from a PC perspective first and the last two options really don't seem like they would really be good places to start as making a DM or the other players try to convince another PC to act or change is bad for the group. So, being a pacifist really gives a pretty clear direction as for a class Cleric with pacifist healer (maybe a multi-class to be more useful). The other obvious option is to be out for revenge. How would that work mechanically? I could see some sort of one handed weapon wielder or wizard. Someone who won't need a shield of two handed weapon. I'm also trying to consider what losing an arm might mean for primary stats. It shouldn't have any effect on wis, int, or cha but I could see it causing lower scores in dex, str and/or con. What would be a reasonable score for these stats be? And, how would one go about building a melee based character with that penalty?
The other two reactions might be worth investigating as an NPC, so I'll hold off on commenting on that yet.
Any thoughts or comments are appreciated. This has been more of an open brainstorm than a well thought out character idea so I'm well aware that this isn't a very solid concept yet and would appreciate some constructive input.
As to melee potential, maybe he could be some sort of fencer. They only need one arm for combat.
Another option: Artificer. There is a paragon path (Self-Forged) that allows you to forge a mechanical arm.
Either of these have potential RP factors.
As to stats, I would call them depending on how old the wound is. Were they born without an arm? They would probably not have any DEX, STR, CON penalties then, as they are used to it. In contrast, a recent wound would probably give similar stat reductions. Either way, I'd actually see a penalty coming in on Diplomacy checks occasionally, if only due to the oddity of a one-armed hero. However, this could also work as a +1 Intimidate, as you might look more menacing without that arm!
There is a graphic novel called La Legend des Nuées Ecarlates( The Legend of the Crimson Swarms), its a french graphic novel taking place in a Fantasy Mediviel Japan.
The Hero of this novel is Raido, a samurai who whas sent to a suicide mission by his lord and when he was badly wounded, he was betrayed by the Vice general, who took his right arm and his left eye and took his famed swords the Crimson Swarms, a pair of katanas who can be assembled to be a double blade and left him to die in the snow.
He survived and developped a way to fight one-armed, with a blade looking like the masamune blade of FF7 with the hilt modified with a ring, permiting him to spin the weapon and manipulate it.
Later on he fight the General who left him to die, the General used medecine and magic to implant the right arm and left eye of Raidon into himself.
After the fight Raido retrieve his katanas and becomes much more deadly.
Hope it helps.
The ideas are helpful, but I don't read French so I have no idea what the words mean. Are there English or Spanish translations available?
Don't think so, but the meaning of the words isn't really important, its for the style that i showed this.
One class to consider might be a Swordmage, since they function best with a one-handed sword and nothing else.
Master of the flying guilletine is a classic martial arts movie where the hero is a one armed martial artist.
Using ki focus as his implement it dose not matter what he holds in his hand(s).
Doesn't a swordmage style charecter need one arm free for somantic components of spells? kind of hard to cast spells with one arm if your holding a sword in that arm.
Swordmage need a free hand for their Ward giving them a +3 AC.
Also a few ideas of what the weapon could look like.
I second the one handed swordmage, perhaps he was a staff wizard or two handed warrior who lost his arm in battle so he had to take up the new class to supliment the loss.
Another idea would be warlock, perhaps a Full Metal Alchemest type of thing where you knowingly or unknowingly sacrificed you arm for power.
You might even manifest a phantom limb for your magic when you cast. perhaps a limb/tentacle made of the cosmos that fades in and fades away for starpack, a demonic limb might rip from your stump when you cast in combat then burn away in colored flames a the end of the combat. For feylock you might grow a vine based arm that covers in flowers and blows away into a scatter of petals at the end. Darkpack could have hundreds of spiders climb out of nowhere and swarm into the shape of a limb, scattering and scurrying away to the darkness after its all over.
In the case of a phantom limb i propose this:
personnaly for my Hexblade i used something similar.
He had his arm and a good chunk of the left side of his face and his eye ripped off, while dying he made a Pact, gaining Hexblade powers, comming back from the brink of death(Revenant) and use a Bio-mecanical arm of alien facture(gauntlet axe) and has a half skull mask with seven eyes embed in it on his wounded face(helm of seven death)
A Swordmage/Warlock hybrid MCed with Assassasin or Figther could be fun.
If your DM is amenable to the idea, you could run a hexblade and have the pact blade overlay the implement you use to manifest it. If that's a rod or a wand you could even refluff it into a sword hilt from which the blade springs (see Thundarr the Barbarian and Star Wars for precedent).
Have the handicap be a narrative element instead of a mechanical one. People manage normal lives (and in some cases extraordinary ones) with one arm even in a world devoid of magic, so I imagine that in a world in which spellcasters can conjure and control ghostly hands at will, the only time it's even going to need any narrative tapdancing would be when you're called to wear a pair of gloves or do chin-ups.
The arm might even have been part of the price of the hexblade's pact.
"I'd give my right arm to wield power like that."
"That can be arranged."
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