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All walk and no play

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can make Erran´s feet grow roots, the skin hardening like bark, and he might soon discover (much sooner than any imagined rewards of progress) that, notwithstanding the solid and straight shapes his trees line up to, to bare the weight of them all was making him as numb and silent inside as the ground under. What of his spirit then? - that freedom wind, that chase of light to the horizon, and of streams´ tinkling, and calling trills, what of these? It was not until, confident that I´m ready, I spoke the pass-further-word ¨d20srdorg¨, (when I seemed to have, for the first time, realized the true size of my undertaking), that there was enough hesitation to my momentum to stop and listen to such warnings. And, so, I stopped, and seeing that my trees don´t let out signs of vanishing into the atmosphere like yet another dream of youthful fancy, I could allow myself to take off my burden and enjoy, for a while, a breath of that very unbound ease which, just moments ago, evoked threat to my would be too thin growth of wood. I leaned on a side, on soft moss, and let the new world be as small as these fingers of words, playing with effort and trees no greater than bits of soil and of fallen twigs. To my amusement, and maybe, also, that of a chance reader, play happened to find its way into describing, through filters of dnd definition, the character Erran; and the antics of this venture I render here. :::: For race, the choice came naturally, as the descriptions set the Elves so far apart in certain ways, and those - so close to a most inner self of mine, that I could see for myself no more fitting an ancestry. And yet, from living among other races, there is enough tempering (and tempering with) of some qualities, that, perhaps, I should most properly deem myself a Half-elf. But the better part, or, should I say, rather - the one by which I find my joy in life, is with no doubt the Elven one. Of sub-races, I feel most kin to those called Wood-elves, though there seems to be to me a mixture of both sun and moon influences, hard enough to quantify well, so as to place me, decidedly, in one or another of the High and Wood branches. :: An honest look at my abilities shows them to vary, with the occasional outstanding scores depending on my investment of will. Only when I compare with others, while lending a bit of help from the skills which are associated to the abilities, the ranges of the six basic aspects become somewhat obvious. Now, if there is an ability which stands before all in the influence on my life, that must probably be Wisdom. Not that I could look back at events of life and call myself on any occasion a wise man, but Wisdom fits me best rather as a learned, a developed trait. And also because of an inborn perceptiveness that only now and then is forced to let the intellect of Intelligence take over and handle challenges of the mundane. By the manner in which I tend to approach world and people, and by my life pursuits, I can only conclude that the next scores belong to Charisma and Intelligence. From the so many ways in which one deals with the physical, small, or more demanding - like, albeit in fantasy world settings, combat, I must deduct that my Dexterity serves and would serve me in much greater measure than Strength. And Constitution should be, perhaps, the last of them. :: For class, were I to limit myself to the four ones presented in the official manual of basic rules, I believe I would have felt free enough with a mixture of Cleric and finesse-weapon Fighter (or a very strange kind of Rogue, instead - one with no criminal inclinations). But after learning that there are Rangers and Druids too, I found it very hard to go back to that initial choice. Still, a mixed class seems to describe me best, with only some of the features of Ranger and Cleric. However, given that I have no playing experience to base my decision on, it would not surprise me to find that mixture of features well at home with the Druid class; even if I would have to give up the bow, which is more a symbol than weapon to me, anyway. :: It seems a good point to go back to abilities and make a few choices in the direction of skills. I would take no less than four from under Wisdom, if possible: Insight, Perception, Survival, Medicine, and if I were to give one up at a beginning of my adventures, that would most likely be the Perception skill; which could be something I would strive to improve while levelling up. A second? Medicine; but that´s it! From the outlets of Charisma, I would take, perhaps, Performance and Persuasion, although I can not think of many usual contexts in which my real self would feel at ease to purposefully exert them; they belong, rather, to the sphere of more personal, intimate self-expression. And the Intelligence based Investigation appeals to me, but, again, as something I must work to become good at. :: Intelligence seems to have a good deal to do with remembering things and making use of one´s learning. I know myself as the opposite of that image, almost, as I strongly tend to draw my thinking resources from inspiration, imagination. But I do not despise knowledge; now that this trait of mine is well enough established to give me that sense of self-grounding which makes it unnecessary to oppose learned knowledge in others anymore. In fact, I have spent a great part of my life studying Human knowledge, seeking to reach the essence and source of it. And all to just disappointment and, with it, a final ease and leave to let go of learning, and seek truth beyond what the mind can comprehend. Still, for all that trouble, I now find another reward in being easily able to choose, for my character, the Sage background. :: To select from available options for the Sage build-up, I could let dice aside, and judge based on my past. My speciality, by proof, must be researcher. A few of the listed traits of personality seem, in variable measure, to fit me. But to choose the one with greatest weight, I would have to point at being willing to listen both sides of an argument; however, that also happens to be a most exhausting avenue of personal application, so for my own good, and also, often, that of the others involved, I am now cautiously keeping distance from that judge seat; by the way, this context of potential opposites reminds me of alignments: mine is probably good, and rather chaotic. I could think of many times in my past when I felt the dedication to knowledge, but for what it brought me, and because the ideal that I wanted to reach, and which showed up again, fresh, to guide me out of the ruins of disappointment with knowledge, was another, was beauty, I, most authentically, can embrace only it; the latter. A bond now... maybe the one about having searched my whole life for something, which may metaphorically be called ¨an answer¨; although I know, as probably you can tell, that, in fact, I was searching for something to live, that can only be lived. And a flaw: that I, not seldom, fall for that trap of the complicated solution, while simpler ones are available; just look at the size of this blog post! I guess, it has always been an adventure of sorts to me, the quest through knowledge, through meanings, and what I deal with had to be complex enough to feel that I comfortably, in spirit, inhabit it. :: I decided to not include in this portrait physical traits, I mean - other than what my picture there lets out, and more than a feeble mentioning of equipment (the bow bit). It was a portrait of personality rather, and of the soul, of course, as with these, only, most likely, we may, someday, over waves and wires, join forces in imaginary adventures. I could have written all in only a few words as a short account page description, but then I would maybe not have found another good context for remaining under the auspices of dnd learning while taking a break from making progress. And I enjoyed more this leisurely chat-like confession than I would have had the calling card format. I hope the length also suited your expectations for agreeable socializing. :::: ~o-- ~-o--- ~--e-- ~::- ~---o- ~ ~~-- ~ ~---e~ ~ee- ~--o-- ~::- ~-o--- ~-e(-- ~ ~~-- ~-:~~- ~ ~-e(-- ~-~- ~---e- ~ ~-o--- ~-:- ~-~::- :: Until a baring of good news ~

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Updated 02-03-2018 at 03:35 PM by Erran



  1. Erran's Avatar
    In need of a change, while not affording to break away from my studies completely, I again gave in to the playful interest in character definition. This time I considered an actual character, derived from the Erran root, while facing the realities of play as found in the posts of campaigns so far followed. The definition will take place in two parts, presented through comments to my two blog posts that approach the topic (to this date: All walk and no play, here; and Gazing at the stars). The focus in the two parts will be on means and meanings, respectively. :::: To begin, I set down what could already be decided by the Erran heritage. First, the name: Errandûrr (rhymes with moor-r). Then, the race, class, and background: Half-Elf, Ranger, Sage. Just two short comments at this point. One, that I took Half-Elf instead of Elf because of the greater customization freedom it offered; besides being still at trying to have my elvish side express more. And second, I took just Ranger, instead of a multi-class, thinking that it would probably be better to gain experience with each class individually, before attempting a mix. Last, I record that tendency towards feeling at home with a combination of Dexterity and Wisdom as main abilities, followed closely by Intelligence and Charisma [Update: about Charisma - see notes on changes below]. The aspect of skills I will address later. :::: In defining a character, one has to consider both the means of the avatar to achieve desirable results in the face of challenges, and the player´s means to act realistically in accordance to the demands of a specific role. I kept this in mind while fine tuning Errandûrr´s characteristics and making equipment choices. I also took into account levelling-up options. :::: I chose this foundation of scores: 10 Con, 10 Str, 14 Dex, 13 Int, 14 Wis, and 12 Cha [Update:] 10 Con, 10 Str, 13 Dex, 14 Int, 15 Wis, and 10 Cha, knowing that the Half-Elf race adds +2 to Cha and +1 in two other ability scores (Int and Wis Con and Dex, in my character´s case)(*), and also knowing that the Ability Scores Increase feature only comes up every four levels, while every even score above 10 brings an increase in the associated ability modifier. [Update: (*) While a child may be understood to have inherited from his parents qualities both physical and non-physical, in the case of Errandûrr I ended up considering the race responsible only for physical traits - the bonuses to his Constitution, Dexterity and even Charisma (in relation to a sort of passive charm). The ability scores Intelligence and Wisdom, as well as the biggest part of his Dexterity, are understood ss being related to his upbringing and his later studies.] A few comments here. First, I did not let the lowest scores (Con and Str) drop below 10, which would reflect the real-me facts of not being capable to endure much hardship, while not being sickly, and not relying on strength to accomplish things, while not being a weakling either. Second, with regard to combat situations, Errandûrr´s higher Dexterity and non-physical abilities give him a higher chance to avoid being hurt, rather than withstand punishment: Dexterity influences the armour class, the initiative and the chance to dodge, while the non-physical abilities influence the resistance to spell effects, including psychic control. As I will probably present in some detail in the second part, Errandûrr past of predominantly interior life prepared him in this direction that the scores show. One more thing with regard to Dexterity: I´m not particularly agile or an Acrobat, and neither will be Errandûrr, and perhaps all my physical abilities are at a balanced low score, but in a combat situation, as already mentioned in the main post, I would rather rely on Dexterity, and of all the physicals, it is Dexterity that I can perhaps best imagine having more of. It should be mentioned that, in spite of his rather high above average Charisma, Errandûrr will, in general, keep a low profile, probably, only making use of social skills in special situations; and more on this in the second part. The greatest demands on my acting, perhaps, are made by the Intelligence and Wisdom scores. To be up to those of the first, will mean to overcome my reluctance to learn game lore, as well as to use a too varied vocabulary (I´m looking mainly at behaviour descriptors and slang terms, where I´m really behind the usual player). And the demands of the latter (not considering any association with the Medicine and Animal Handling skills) would be met by honing my psyche-based awareness (how odd does that sound...) and exercising my powers of observation. While still at ability scores, one final note: The bonus that the Increase feature brings will probably be allotted depending on influences that the adventure exposes Errandûrr to - not as a patching up measure, but to reflect a focus brought about by those influences; and in the absence of any, I would stick with increasing Dexterity and Wisdom. :: The final ability scores are: 10 Con, 10 Str, 14 Dex, 14 Int, 15 Wis, 14 Cha [Update:]11 Con, 10 Str, 14 Dex, 14 Int, 15 Wis, 12 Cha. As Erandûrr was gradually defined, it became obvious that I cannot reasonably maintain similarity with myself in certain aspects of his nature. After deciding that the idea of associating Charisma to his inner strength, developed by facing the cuse, did not have sufficiently solid ground, I return here to correct his ability socres. I lowered his Charisma to better fit his personality, and I increased the Constitution a little, which is in accordance with what I said in the second part of this definition, about him having been healthily brought up as a child. :::: Of all possible skills, the Sage background imposes proficiency in two - Arcana, and History [update: instead of which I chose Medicine], while the race and class allow me to choose among four. I selected Insight and Nature, on the race side, and on the class side, Perception and Survival. In doing so, I moved away from the attempt to represent myself as accurately as possible through a character, in order to give a suitable form to the intention of playing a role of support, of assistance in a team. But I did not have to make a complete compromise, as the Insight and Nature skills speak much about the impression nature makes on my soul (a connection which should facilitate the gathering of nature related knowledge, although the usual effect is to stimulate my artistic side); Insight also being aligned with a tendency of empathic, or at least harmonizing approach to interactions. And the Perception and Survival skills played throughout my life, as through that of most people, I assume, a role of variable importance. As the Ranger, my main job will probably be to help the group navigate through the challenges of crossing the wilderness, while working side by side with rogues in dungeon scenarios. To prepare for that job, I started to familiarize myself with details of monsters, diseases and poisons (Nature), spells (Arcana), and traps, and I will try to absorb as much knowledge about the game world I would play in (History) as possible; which probably will begin with reading about the different DnD campaign settings. [update: see 3rd comment] I may also spend some time with freshening up my knowledge of real wilderness survival techniques. To seriously assume a particular class role, in my case the Ranger, is probably a long term commitment... :::: (continued in the next comment)
    Updated 03-07-2018 at 01:50 PM by Erran (ability scores change: Con - Cha)
  2. Erran's Avatar
    (the previous comment continued) :::: A look at the table of spells per level informed me that up to level 5, included, I may know 4 spells only, and those mostly of level 1. While giving a lingering look to that level 3 ¨Speak with Plants¨ beauty, I selected only these future spells from the Ranger´s list: Detect Poison and Disease, and Goodberry, to be followed by Detect Magic, later on; of level 2, Find Traps. [Update:] A few comments: first, the Detects and Finds, to be more realistic, should also require a Wisdom-Insight check, as I would rely more on a 6th sense in life, than on experience, so that could be mixed with Errandûrr´s supposed experience based knowledge; second, the Goodberry would work as a gift of the forest, rather than something under my control - and I couldn´t think of any good check for that. :::: The Half-Elf race and the Sage background confer knowledge of the languages Common and Elvish, and other three, which I have chosen to be Sylvan, Primordial, and Celestial. [Update: It is not clear to me, at this time, if Primordial is the basis of speech for each elemental type, or if it´s understood as clearly divided into four distinct languages; with regard to the second case, I am still in doubt about choosing between Auran and Aquan.] It was a decision of the heart: the first two being related to nature, and the third to the plane above from where I am inspired to see beauty. Although a Half-Elf, Errandûrr has only a rudimentary knowledge of Elvish, and his Common does not rely on too large a vocabulary. In his case, Elvish is not a language the knowledge of which is derived from his racial roots, but something he studied later in his youth; and is part of the features covered by his Sage background. Those among whom he spent his earliest years conferred him a basic skill of speaking Sylvan, and the mentioned knowledge of Common. And these languages only are understood to be related to his race. Besides Elvish, the Sage background gave him ability at ¨speaking¨ the language of the heart. That is not a usual language, although it borders on the Celestial and the Primordial tongues. It has to do with artistic expression and has a two-fold effect: it gives him a permanent bonus of +1 to both Performance and Persuasion, but only in interactions with creatures sensitive to beauty the beauty in nature; and it gives him a chance (1d20 with bonuses and penalties depending on Errandûrr´s condition) to support, through speech imitating natural sounds, a telepathic connection with Elementals, which offers the benefits of a rudimentary knowledge of all Primordial tongues. These choices will be explained, in some measure, in the second part of Errandûrr´s definition. [Update: Errandûrr´s definition, in its current development stage, only leaves room at high levels (10+) for such communication with Elementals. The language of the heart is first of all something between him and the trees, the forest. It would be entirely up to the Elementals if they would ¨understand¨ Errandûrr, by participating in his emotional interactions with wooden life.] :::: The last aspect that I will address here is that of equipment. I chose to neglect the standard one and, assuming I can depend on at least 100 gp at the beginning of an adventure, I made a list of items, taking into consideration both potential uses and weight handling. I included a few items which may be found in kits, or which may not be mentioned in any reference document. I also added a trinket. In the following listing, the items are grouped into: [A] armour and weapons, [B] adventuring gear, and [C] extra items. A * sign indicates that the item will be placed in the backpack. A quantity greater than one is indicated within brackets. :: [A] Leather armour, Dagger (x2), Shortbow, Shortsword; [Update:] it may be a good idea to bring a Handaxe along too, if only as a tool (adds 5 gp and 2 lb. to costs), unless the GM would agree that a Shortsword can also inflict slashing damage; [B] Backpack; Arrows (20), Bedroll, Bell*, Blanket, (Map or Scroll) Case*, Chalk* (x2), (Traveller´s) Clothes (including a hat made of straws or twigs), Healer´s Kit*, Lamp, Mess Kit*, Oil Flask* (x2), Perfume Vial*, Quiver, Rations* (4 days), (Silk) Rope, Sack* (x4), Shovel, Soap* (x3), Tinderbox*, Waterskin, Whetstone*; [C] (various bits of) Herbs*, (Fishing) Hooks*, (a thin sheet of) Leather (waterproof, about 3 sq. ft.), (a small) Mirror*, muffling material* (like batting from an old suit of padded armour, tow, or fur), (Short Steel) Nails* (4-5), Needles and Thread*, Scissors (Fingernails), (Silver) String* (10 ft.); ¨a glass jar containing lard with a label that reads, Griffon Grease¨. :: Of the extra items, I consider only the weight of the trinket big enough to count. The total weight would be 75 lb., of which 21-22 lb. would represent the contribution of items inside the backpack. According to the simplified rule, Errandûrr´s speed would decrease to 20 ft. (from the base speed of 30 ft.), while a more realistic estimation would probably have it at 15 ft., or so. In any case, he would be forced to travel at a rather slow pace, and should this be an issue, with reference to the team´s goals, he would give up the following items, to stay at 30 ft.: Bedroll, Blanket, (Map or Scroll) Case, Mess Kit, Rations (2 days), Shovel, Tinderbox, Whetstone, and the jar of lard. He would then have to replace some items with more of what nature provides. An alternative would be to use a mount, of course; and having a permanent mount would allow me to bring along other useful, life simplifying items, like a tent; and a pot. [Update:] While going through the rules once more, I noticed that a Waterskin only holds half of the daily required quantity; although, while carrying less weight, perhaps even less than 0.5 gal. per day, a few days, could be enough to survive. But to stick with the manual rule, one would have to stay close to a clean stream, or travel between less than one day apart villages in order to survive on the contents of just one Waterskin. A second, would mean to give up the rope or rations, probably. I conclude that, for the purpose of most adventures, to have a mount is imperative. [Update:] In the last version of his equipment (both full and simplified versions) I included the Handaxe, even if only to be used as a tool. And it may be a good place to mention that my reluctance to hurt trees would not suit Errandûrr´s role of keeping the team safe in the wilderness well. Another matter that should be addressed in the passing is whether or not his Perception would suffer from carrying too much weight for too long (8h/day marches), or if he would have disadvantage in the first round of combat when attacked while carrying his luggage. Given that even 80 lb. is not that much weight to carry with one´s back, perhaps only after 4h of marching or so should a penalty of -1/h be considered. :: As I could not guess the prices for the (C) section of my list (excepting, of course, the trinket and the pieces of wood), and as the other items amount to a bit over 94 gp (Handaxe included), I assume that I could have to spend all the 100 gp with purchasing everything. This would put Errandûrr in the situation of either having to make a living in the wilderness, or to find a patron/employer at the beginning of an adventure. [Update: The current sheet list includes more items than were mentioned here; and may go through more changes until the first adventure/campaign.] During the days spent in a city, provided that he can afford it, the modest lifestyle would fit him just fine. [Update:] He would most likely invest any excess of wealth in gaining new proficiencies (which would be backed up by a familiarity with the topics on my part, of course). :::: At level 1, if my calculations are correct, Errandûrr would have 10 hit points (a critical blow would probably be fatal), an AC of 13 (which means that about half of the attempts to hit him would succeed), and his damage would range between 3 and 6-8; although the rules may have to be altered a bit in accordance to a knowledge of poisons that he would possess. Definitely not front rank material, in any case. :::: This is the end of the first part of Errandûrr´s definition. A future break from my studies will occasion a return to it, to deal with his personality, his life story and to go into more detail about some of the choices mentioned here. And then... some more time will have to pass before I could see him take part in an adventure... Good bye! Until next time ~
    Updated 02-23-2018 at 10:47 AM by Erran (language of the heart usage note)
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    While his mind did pick up bits of historical information while browsing through the town hall´s archives, all was easily sent to a very distant place in Errandûrr´s memory as soon as he started to learn about being a Ranger. Underneath that: The ¨Ranger¨ class oriented studies have raised healing to a much greater level of importance than general DnD general settings information; besides I am more interaction- than store&recall oriented anyway.
    Updated 03-07-2018 at 01:57 PM by Erran