Monday, August 5, 2013

Vylokir, Revisited

"Depending on your point of view, the seal represents a proud guardian of the natural cycle or one who has sold her soul to darkness for eternal life."
- Thoughts on the Golgari Symbol

 A new D&DNext playtest packet is upon us.  With that being said, it means that Living Ravnica characters must be updated as well.  So, it appears that Vylokir is getting a make over.  We'll give him a Grisly Salvage, so to speak.

Originally, when the newest playtest packet came out, I was disappointed that characters either chose a feat or increased an ability score by 2.  My biggest gripe against this was the fact that it seemed to destroy original character concepts.

In 4E, many of the races were ideally suited to certain classes based on what ability scores they naturally got bonuses too.  This led to "ideal" builds, like the Elf Ranger, Eldarin Wizard, Halfling Rogue, etc, etc.  Needless to say, my Goblin Artificer tended to be sub par because goblins really didn't get bonuses to the scores need to be a successful artificer.  Due to the increasing math of 4E, this meant that my "unideal" character couldn't hit enemies as well as another "ideal" race/class build.

At the beginning of the D&DNext playtest, characters started with a 15 as their highest base ability score, which was then augmented by their race and class.  I liked this idea a lot, because it balanced out.  A gnome (lacking a Strength bonus) could still have a 16 Strength due to the class ability adjustment bonus.  The dwarf, who got a racial bonus to Strength, and a class bonus, could end up with a 17 Strength, but both of those still received the same +3 bonus to attacks (due to 16 and 17 both having the same +3 modifier).  

With the removal of the Class Ability Score Adjustment and the option of increasing ability scores at certain levels, I was afraid for my gnome fighter.  I thought his strength would always be sub-par, and the dwarf would always be the better fighter pick, thus bringing us back to the 4E problem I had about ideal race/class combinations.

Thankfully, the base ability score is now 16.  With no Class Ability Score Adjustment, a gnome can start with a 16 Strength, and the dwarf can have a 17, and they both remain balanced.  When the time comes to take a feat, the dwarf can elect to give +1 to two ability scores, increasing his strength to 18 and getting a +4 bonus.  The gnome has to use that feature to give +2 to his Strength, increasing it to a 18, losing the opportunity to increase a second ability score.  This seems fair to me, as it still shows that dwarves are naturally stronger, yet does so in a way that doesn't make the gnome player feel bad for wanting to play a gnome fighter.

Now that I've spoken I'm my soapbox, I'm ready to re-build Vylokir.  The elf will be re-cast as a druid, something that I feel is more Golgari than a mage (especially with the choice of traditions we currently have).


NAME: Vylokir, Level 4
RACE: Male Wood Elf (Devarkin)
CLASS: Druid (Circle of the Land)
AC: 14 (Hide Armor)
HP: 22 (rolled for HP)
Hit Dice: 4d8
Speed: 7 (35 feet)
GP: 31
Senses: Low-light vision
STR 13 (+1)
CON 12 (+1)
DEX 15 (+2)
WIS 17 (+3)
INT 10 (+0)
CHA 8 (-1)

Racial Abilities: Low-light vision, Elf Weapon Training, Keen Senses, Free Spirit, Trance, Fleet of Foot, Mask of the Wild

Class Features: Druid Lore, Spellcasting, Wild Shape (2/day), Druid Circle, Feat

Circle of the Land (Swamp)

Attack/Spellcasting Bonus: +1

Spell Saving Throw DC: 14 

Feat: Arcane Initiate (Cantrips: Chill Touch, Read Magic 1st Level Spell: Cause Fear)

Lore: Subterranean Lore (Undercity), Natural Lore (Insects), Magical Lore (Necromancy)

Druid Cantrips: Shillelagh, Fire Seeds, Guidance

Spells Prepared: 5 Druid Spells

Background Trait: Licensed Fool

Gear: Hide Armor, Quarterstaff, Short Sword, Vial of Acid, Vial of Poison, Adventurer's Kit, Herbalism Kit

Quarterstaff: +2 vs AC; 1d10+1 bludgeoning
Short Sword: +3 vs AC; 1d6+2 piercing


A few character notes on some of the updates/changes:

Devarkin is just another name for a Ravnician Dark Elf.

The Hide Armor is made from sleek black beetle carapaces.  The staff has various fungi growing off of it, with various odds and ends at the top, including a skull.  Vylokir typically licks the blade of his short sword before going into battle (and before pouring poison onto it).

The Licensed Fool represents that he is a little unstable and off-putting, but, due to his connection to the Golgari and their purpose of creating food sources, he is typically welcomed (although grudgingly) among places where he would normally not be welcome.

The Arcane Initiate represents his well rounded-ness at spellcasting.  Eventually, we'll hopefully see him create a plant zombie of his own.

As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter @artificeralf If you want to talk about the campaign, be sure to use the hashtag #LivingRavnica