My latest Play-by-Post experience, the first outside of my Zendikar-D&D group, is a themed one: a "Nature's Allies" party hailing from the Feywild!
In a group effort of cooperative story-telling (which I love) and also cooperative party-building (which I love again), we and the DM acknowledged that we needed a fey noble of sorts in the party. I caught the opportunity quickly and said I would have made a noble fey knight! And since I wanted to try out the Half-Elf exploiting the new Skald powers, I would have been a "Half-Eladrin", something that the Master approved, making it possible for me to use the Eladrin-only Fey Knight feature and power. But all of this wasn't enough...
It ain't good if it ain't twisted
I'm a lifetime DM and started being a player only recently: I hope this is enough to explain why I really can't play a character which hasn't a lot of dark side on him/her! Ok, that's not always true, I do have a Good character and an Unaligned one which acts quite well morally speaking, so it's not really my rule, maybe just the tendency of this period. After all, each character we build and play, I think it can be a picture of our current state of being and more. So maybe I'm a bit "bad" these days and I want to play characters that are a bit bad themselves!
Back tot he point, after building my classic fey knight (using the Knight class) I quickly discovered that even with the Skald multiclass and Dilettante power, I just didn't have enough options to represent the complexity I wanted my character to have. I needed to be a defender, so I quickly started considering the other classes of the role, but none of them had what i wanted. I wanted darkness. So I thought "Why not a Blackguard taking defendery paladin powers? Will it be enough?" - To do it while still being able to be a "basic attacker" (and to have a first level daily power), I needed it to be a hybrid Blackguard. But what class to hybrid with? Warlock was nearly my instant choice, but since I was already choosing a Striker class, why not choosing the Controller Warlock, aka Binder? And what do we have here... Gloom Pact Binder. haven't I heard of the Fey Court of Gloom someehwere..?
A noble from a fey court of gloom!
Yes, the choice was made. When I started talking about the possible background, the DM who had just kindly accepted my strange build (hybrid weren't allowed in theory, but he liked the concept enough to make the exception!), he even devised a way for us to be all part of the court of gloom I was proposing, a court based on the "Lands of Eternal Autumn", an accordingly gloomy part of the Feywild we made up!
More or less at this point or little before, I had chosen he would have been a Tuathan, using the character theme with the same name appearing in Heroes of The Feywild. Descending from heavily fey-influenced humans and eladrin, he would have had the right to be played as a "full fey", which was my aim from the start. Mechanically speaking, it wasn't a good choice, especially since I didn't choose the shapeshifter-like Tuathan powers, but the "heroic" ones which are a bit underwhelming, but it was a strong flavor choice. And he was already quite strong mechanically, being able to cover more or less every role, with a lot of marking powers, a striker mechanic, two controller powers one of which at-will, and leader healing once per encounter and leaderish effects on each basic attack (which also happened to be striker due to Balckguard's mechanic). You could ask what's left of the original fey knight idea, but that's only if you look at the names on the character sheet. Those things are meaningless in the game's world if you don't metaplay. And in the game's world, Carwyn Sihderfein is a blond handsome half-eladrin in shining plate armor, with a big shield and an elegant eldritch long sword. He uses dark magic but that's typical of the fey of gloom, and he's one of them.
He's also the typical Face of the party, and uses seduction, trickery and intimidation as needed to reach his goals. For Carwyn (and most fey), the end justify the means, and "morals" are something rather alien..!
Fey and morality
Carwyn will be a defender and a leader mostly, one of those party members who actively care for their allies. But that doesn't mean he must be selfless as a character..! On the contrary, he's rather selfish. He does have a peculiar "code of honor", but being a fey, it's a very "open for interpretations" code! He values challenges, oaths, duels and all these things for example, as his proud Tuathan blood tells him from inside, but he will play dirty in each and every occasion, because for him victory is not an option. He's a zealous teller and listener of epic sagas of the fey and tuathan: he firmly believes that the heroes *must* win, and he firmly believes that he and his allies are the heroes, always. Besides, all the heroes of the stories he grew up with, or at least all the successful ones, were mostly of the trickster type, and eager to use any kind of magic for their advantage. So he's just following "good examples". I think this is the heart of the "fey theme": they're not without morality, they just have a very different, nearly alien version, influenced by the magical nature of their world, just like "natural morality" is influenced by the world it appeared in.
So Carywn is also a magic user, dark magic user. One of the players, probably having seen the word "paladin" on my character sheet, asked me how would have Carwyn felt when benefiting from death, if he had used his necromancy power to give him THPs when a creature died in battle. Here's my reply!
That's a good question, it helps flesh out the character! I think he'd feel quite "normal". Not only he's accustomed to dark magic, he's also a "the end justify the means" type, and having been instructed by her warlock mother in that dark part of the Feywild, he also thinks that the arcane (or shadow magic) is just another "vital fluid" of nature, just like many others. That is, he doesn't deem necromancy as unnatural, on the contrary he sees it as a way that nature (or better yet intelligent beings) have to "recycle" vital energy (he surely thinks this in other terms though!). He uses death too with his Shadow Warp power: each death allows him to slide creatures around, be it enemies, allies or even himself.
Edit: he also tends to speak of death (and many other things) in romantic and poetic terms, sometimes giving the impression he cares, but more often making it appear as something largely insignificant..! He's not exactly a heroic knight, he's a fey after all!
So this is all for now, I'll post more about this character, speaking of his background and personality first, then the mechanical aspects, and in the end what it feels like playing him!
I realize the whole blog series will be a bit narcissistic, but then again so is Carwyn...
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