Valen

Description:

Guidelines For Play
-Do nothing which is of no use.
-Watch, listen, and don’t say anything unless it really needs to be said and nobody else is saying it.
-Take a long time to carefully consider things.
-Speak slowly, softly, and politely.
-Show little to no emotion.
-Stay alive. If possible keep others alive but own life is more important than theirs, at least until character/relationship development happens.
-Do what you say you will do. This includes following through on threats.
-Follow Vows to the best of his ability. 2 of the 3 may be broken if doing so would result in interesting character development, but one must stay.
-Stop strategizing with the party in or out of character. Valen thinks they can’t trust him and he doesn’t need them to. If he is told to do something he will probably do it, but will not contribute to the conversation. After he decides not to leave, start talking more though still slowly and quietly.

Vows
-Wash daily.
-Clean or change into clean clothes daily and shortly after they become dirty.
-Keep hair neatly tied back and face clean shaven.
-Do not touch the filthy, diseased, dead, or undead.
-May attempt to cleanse or heal or attack with weapons.
-Never strike first in combat.
-Use violence as a last resort against those that can be reasoned with.
-Do not purposefully kill a creature that could reasonably be convinced to flee or join the crew or society as a productive member. There are no second chances however.
-Do not deliberately speak any lies, including bluffing, stating half-truths with the intent to deceive, exaggerating, telling white lies, and so on. This applies to all forms of communication.
-May choose to remain silent.

Character Sheet

Valentinus

Nicolas

Perrin

The Lancer

1) Where is he from? (What’s the culture there, quirks, common faith, etc.)
2) What does he look like? (full physical description including clothes)
3) Does he have recurring mannerisms? (Accent, Nervous habit, catchphrases, etc.)
-Rarely speaks, and then only at a whisper.
4) What keeps my character going when everything seems hopeless?
5) What’s his defining strength? What’s his greatest weakness?
-Unshakeable will, resolve, and self-control.
6) What are the character’s favorite and least favorite things? (Favorite meal, music, color, types of clothes, smell, location, etc.)
-Really likes coffee.
7) Is he mentally stable? What’ll set him off? Psychology!
8) Single greatest fear? (Everyone fears something!)
9) Greatest ambitions? (I typically have 2, go for those that he wishes to be remembered for even after his death… typically i go for something almost unobtainable in a normal game and then create small steps towards it that might be possible.)
-Achieve absolute physical and mental perfection and thus attain divinity like Irori.
10) Are you prejudiced towards any race? Type of magic user? specific type of physicality? Stupid people? Etc.
11) What are your friends like thus far? What does a normal day with your friends look like?
12) Who had the biggest impact on his life?
13) What’s my character’s type? (Attraction/Love)
14) What’s my family like? early childhood? Noteworthy events?
15) How would his parents (or those that raised him) describe him? (Try to do it from male & female pov)
16) Does he follow a code? If not, does he have things he will not stand for… regardless of circumstances?
17) How religious is he? Which faith? How did he get introduced to this faith? How far would he go for his faith?
18) Is he a member of an organization? (Could be as silly as being a part of a book club in wizard’s college, Think hobby’s typically)
19) What’s your character’s view on magic?
-He knows it can be useful, but can’t solve everything.
-What is dead should stay dead. Hates undead and those that create them and dislikes the idea of resurrection.
20a) If you could…what advice would you as the player give your character?
20b) What advice would you as the player give your fellow players regarding your character?

Quotes
“Knowledge without Wisdom is a boat on dry land”
“A sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body.”
“Only the reckless will ever completely rid themselves of fear.” This from Medusa’s monologue around minute 4 of Soul Eater Episode 28. Possibly check out the rest.
“You don’t see the forest for the trees”
“I am a leaf on the wind”
“If you die while I’m gone, do it quietly.”
“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.”
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
“The best defence is an overwhelming offence.”
“Without mastery, power is nothing.”
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
“I do not study the divine to imitate what they do… I study the divine to imitate what they are.”
“Nobility lies not in being superior than your fellow man, but in being superior than your previous self.”
“The greatest gift a student can bestow upon a master, is to surpass him in every way. For in the end, there can be, only one.”
“Removing all doubt, that is strength”
If asked about past: “It’s a long story.” If pressed: “I’m not a big fan of long stories.” If pressed further. “I was some place else and now I’m here. What does it matter?”
“Well you do know what those who underestimate sharks always say, right?…They scream, “Oh god, help me, I’m being mauled to death by a shark.”"
“My body is like steel. My mind is clear of worry. My soul strives only for perfection.”
“I am the mountain; unyielding. I am the storm; unrelenting.”
“Being able to hit first doesn’t matter if you can’t survive being hit second.”
“Maybe you should worry less about the tides who’ve already made up their mind about killing you and worry more about me, who’s still mulling it over.”

Mechanical Notes and Options
Gets 4 total stalker arts. 1st at 2nd level is Killer’s Implements. 2nd at 5th level. 3rd at 9th level is Obfuscation. 4th at 13th level.
Other Stalker Arts: Deadly Insight, Evasion, Murderous Insight, Rogue Talent (Allowed to take multiple times.)

Rogue Talents: Umbral Gear, Ninja Trick

Ninja Tricks: Forgotten Trick, Shadow Clone

Feats (7 total): 1st at 1st level is Agile Maneuvers.
2nd at 3rd level is Fiendskin (Jerry said I need to take 1 Damnation Feat out of the 4 normally and I can choose when to get the rest for free over the course of the campaign, within certain restrictions like I have to wait until a certain point or level to take each but can after that point whenever. Also for Fiendskin if when I get immunity to an energy type from the feat I can change any resistance to that energy type from the feat to another energy type allowed by the feat.)
3rd at 5th level is Improved Combat Maneuvers.
4th at 7th level is Deadhand, Panther, or Snake Style.
5th at 9th level is for Unbroken Stride Stance from Sleeping Goddess. Water walking at 1st initiator level (1 behind character level), spider climb at 5th, flight at 10th, and perfect flight at 15th. Take Unorthodox method with Additional Traits (Also probably Horrifying Mind) to be able to pick it as one of stances or take it directly using Advanced Study. Possibly take this at level 11 instead, or not at all if has another method of flight by then. Cloak of the Bat would be great aside from the “in darkness only” clause.
2 left open and order can change. Probably use those for Extra Stalker Arts.

Stances (5 total): 1st is Pugilist Stance (character level 2nd, stalker 1st, initiator 1st), 2nd is Phantom Sun (character level 4th, stalker 2nd, initiator 3rd), 3rd is Formless Dance (character level 7th, stalker 5th, initiator 6th), 4th is Hooded Killer’s (character level 11th, stalker 9th, initiator 10th), 5th is Stance of the Ether Gate (character level 13th, stalker 11th, initiator 12th)

Best Choices by Maneuver Level:
1st: Phantom Sun (SW), Poisoner’s (SS)
3rd: Formless Dance (VM)
5th: Hooded Killer’s (SS), Stance of the Ether Gate (VM)
6th: Spiritual Weapon (VM) This is meh since Valen doesn’t use armor. The best part is the SR which will be low. Only kept because it’s still the best for the level.

Good Heal skill, but usually/only used for Steel Serpent and torture.

Look into/ask Jerry about joining (Or maybe having been in all along) the Acolytes of the Arrow, Bloody Fangs, Lords of the Wheel, Sultanate of Beggars, or Wayward Path Martial Tradition. Just discovered that they give you access to a discipline instead of requiring you to have access to it already, so maybe others?

Maybe take 2nd level in monk for a bonus style feat and evasion. Would only lose out on +1 Will save and Soul Hunter level 12 Combat Insight (which seems kind of bad), but maneuvers and other Stalker things will also progress 1 level slower (though will still get the same number of maneuvers). Should probably take a level in Umbral Blade (Since it is the only PoW PrC Valen could easily qualify for.) before level 14 so that he gets a 7th level maneuver and stance at level 14. Otherwise will qualify for them at 14th level but since don’t get any new maneuvers or stances at Stalker level 12 (Aside from being able to exchange a previous maneuver for a new one, which would allow for 1 7th level maneuver but no stance or second maneuver.). If a level in another class is taken then wouldn’t get access to 7th level maneuvers because they wouldn’t progress initiator level, so it has to be something other than Stalker which does. Currently, a PoW PrC is the only thing I can think of that would work.

Items
Dueling dagger increases fighting defensively bonus by 1. Dan bong could be better since it’s a monk weapon and blocking, but gives a +2 to grapples and weighs nothing.
Monk Robes for increased unarmed damage, AC, and Stunning Fist uses
Something to cast ears of the city. Or just ask someone to do so.
Weapon with high critical modifier since deadly strike damage dice. Maybe custom weapon.
Maybe get a muzzle.
Glove of Storing with a ranged weapon in it. Free action to store and retrieve.
-If able to use it by then, have a bow and have a single arrow for use with Phantom Sun Stance strapped to a leg or arm, or maybe in the small of his back. That would be cool.
-Instead could just have a small thrown weapon hidden somewhere on body like a dagger or a shuriken (Needle form shuriken disguised as hair pin would be a classic.) since it just has to be “on your person”. Probably have multiple just in case some are lost/taken and have at least 1 that isn’t enchanted to thwart detect magic.. Maybe embed under skin? It would usually do so little damage that it would just be used to enable a claim, but would free up the glove or remove the need for one. If keeping the glove it could be used for a more damaging ranged option, a backup melee weapon, or maybe a non-weapon item altogether.

Arm Ideas
Grappling hook
Hidden weapon(s)
Shocking Grasp or some other touch spell

Has very good survival instinct. Will do anything to not die.

Damnation feats + Soul Hunter Archetype = Sold soul to a daemon to get revenge on Barnabus Harrigan. Maybe take or talk to Jerry about switching a trait to Horrifying Mind because of the deal with a daemon. Try to never let the party or any other ally see the fiend inside him. Maybe only those who Valen is ready or about to kill. Blood starts to turn black, or just does when final Damnation feat is taken making Valen an outsider. Possibly make other cosmetic changes like eyes turning color.

If he dies, next character (if high enough level, if not could wait until next next one) could be Umbral Blade Prestige Class. Valen could be the creature of shadow and fear that the character is connected to. This would only really work if Valen got to the point where he used Veiled Moon, because otherwise why would he become a shadow. And fear doesn’t have to mean things being afraid of him. It could be his own fear.

Another backup character idea is a fire kineticist like Ace from One Piece.

Maybe have him use weapons most of the time, then have a scene like Khal Drogo dropping his knives in contempt for the traitor.

Be really judgemental. Always notices everything, which includes negative things. When someone makes a mistake, call them out on it. Maybe just starts to happen as he becomes more evil. Always noticed before but is not saying it. Maybe correlation with talking more in general?

Shark half based off shortfin mako shark

Deadly Sin would be Envy. Why does all this stuff happen to me? Why can’t I have a normal life? Why don’t I have magic or a famous ancestor? I have to become more powerful to change this.

Could make him dyslexic to partially explain the lack of formal education and make it difficult for anyone to teach him during the campaign without magical help. Historically referred to as “word blindness”.

Knows Harrigans name was Dwali Kepu.

Age is somewhat ambiguous. If he doesn’t know it could be because the first years if his life are hazy (Maybe until waking up after ship explosion and seeing Tessa’s face? Or nursed back to health by Yerbira after nearly dying in the desert? (Maybe he actually did die at one of these points?!)) or he just isn’t sure how old he is and his birthday never mattered. Would know within a year or two still and might know season. If he knows but it’s hard to tell from his appearance it could be because Garundi grey earlier in life. Maybe he has grey hair even earlier than they usually do. He could also just look older or younger than he is. Youthful face could be tied to the physical perfection of Irori. Weathered face could be from being out in the elements a lot, on a ship and in the desert.

Could have heavily lidded eyes that give the impression of laziness, inventiveness, or tired.

Could have a deep respect for age. If he finds out how old Talethan, Sutelli, or Bani are he might start referring to them as “Ancient One” and treating them like they’re elderly. He’s not an idiot though, so maybe this is just him being mischievous. Maybe starts serious, but if they correct him he continues as a joke.

Maybe have claustrophobia? Could stem from sharks dying if they can’t most or something else.

“The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt—and there is the story of mankind.” -John Steinbeck

Born at sea to smugglers, Valen accidentally(?) exposed them at a young age. A guard who was suspicious of the ship they were on asked the boy what they were carrying. After the captain was arrested and the rest of the crew detained, his parents founds out what he’d done and were furious. After being punished, he ran away into the city where they were docked. In the city he lived with the other urchins and learned how to get by on his own, stealing what he needed to live. After living on the streets for a while, he was taken into the service of a noble after telling him that someone was plotting against him. Maybe not directly, maybe it was an innocent “Why do you spend so much time with someone who hates you?” or “Best be careful around that one mi-lord.” that set the noble on the trail to discovering the others treachery.

A short time after this, the ship he and the noble were on was raided by a young Tessa Fairwind. With a little inside help from one Barnabus Harrigan, who was the first mate of the ship Valen was on, she had rigged the powder stores of the ship to blow unless she got what she wanted. The captain was cooperating, but Harrigan made a mistake and the powder was set alight anyway. Nearly the entire crew of the merchant ship died in the explosion, including some pirates who had boarded the ship to make sure everything went as planned. The only survivors were Valen who, as the cabin boy and smallest threat, was rowing the loot to the pirates, the captain who was negotiating terms with Tessa, and Harrigan who was accompanying the captain as the first mate. Valen was rowing back to the ship with an empty rowboat for more loot when it happened so he was badly injured and nearly died. He was kept alive partially because Tessa felt really bad about causing this to happen to a kid but still had a badly burned back and wouldn’t or couldn’t speak for some reason.

Valen would have escaped with just the clothes on his back, so all possessions would be from after that. Only skills and memories are left from childhood.

He started speaking again with the monks, but still just at a whisper.

When the Yerbira found Valen, he had buried himself under the sand to escape the heat of the sun. Leaving only his head out so he could breathe but still covered by a bright piece of clothing so it was protected and he could be more easily spotted, he was sleeping through the day. They could have named him something along the lines of “Sand Snake” or “Sleepy/Tired/Sleeping Snake” to reflect this. He could have tattoos that show it as well, like a snake wrapped around his forearm. Could have it’s eyes closed for the sleeping part, or look like it’s partially buried for the sand part. Sand vipers are the most well known. Cerastes vipera is the species native to North Africa (Egypt).

A shoufa is a scarf worn by the Aiel, usually the color of sand or rock. Normally, the scarf-like garment is wrapped around the head and neck, leaving only the face bare. Some time during the Breaking of the World, the Da’shain Aiel added black dust-veils to the garments in response to the harsh conditions they experienced in their travels. The first Da’shain to violate the Way of the Leaf were admonished to hide their faces behind their veils as the rest of the Da’shain did not wish to see the faces of their loved ones on killers. When a modern Aiel pulls the attached veil over his or her mouth, it means that he or she is prepared to kill and is the basis for the derogatory phrase “black-veiled Aiel.”

Valen’s monk order does not kill without a veil hiding their faces. And then only as a last resort.

“Son” “Don’t call me son” Valen could have left monks because older or head monk was calling him son or child and he resents that because daddy issues.

Good cop, bad cop. Valen is bad cop. Good cop asks questions, doesn’t get answers. Valen tortures. Good cop asks again, with Valen standing there watching with his soul piercing gaze. Or good cop leaves to get something or to give the guy time to think. Then he starts to hear whispers. Telling him things. Psychological torture. Could just see something out of the corner of his eye, then maybe Valen appears suddenly right in front of him. Or he just hears the whispers and never sees anything, maybe can’t even tell if there really is someone there or if he’s just hearing things. Could be extremely quiet, just on the edge of his hearing. Could torture first and then use this to make him think he’s losing his sanity.

Valen will not be easily convinced to change his mind once it’s made up, but will generally go along with the wishes/orders of someone he respects. Shinso for taking charge and being good at persuading, things he’s never been able to do, as well as combat prowess. Lolo for healing, though doesn’t like her methods of “persuasion” or ties to gods. Bani for healing and knowledge of useful things. Elves for knowledge if they’ve shown it.

Has never had any real friends, so the concept might be mostly foreign to him. Throughout the campaign members of the party may or may not become his first.

Since he lost his arm, he’s been trying to ignore it as much as possible. Not letting it affect what he can do and pretending nothing is wrong. How can he be perfect if he’s missing an arm. If someone mentions it he might be surprised for a moment as he “remembers” that it happened. Now needs to find some way to get his arm back. Magic would be the best way, but that’s probably going to be really hard.

Kill the boy and let the man be born. Valen trying to get Jack to leave with him, then giving him his staff and sending him on alone could be symbolic of Valen giving up what was left of his old self and passing his old hopes on to Jack.

Mental Stats:
An undervalued assistant type character, like Soren from Fire Emblem. Someone who is only ever listened to by someone who understands his value, or when someone with authority demands it. Since he struggles to make friends and build relationships with just anyone, he clings to those who know his worth, whether they use him for his abilities or truly appreciate him as a person. An excellent adviser to a King or some other strong leader. A loyal and life-long friend and ally.

In other words, a low-Charisma character is more likely to be a doormat who shuns the spotlight rather than a smelly obnoxious rube who picks his nose in public.

I normally associate charisma with assertiveness. The low charisma characters I played have generally made quiet suggestions and don’t have the force of personality to push them through in a group. The higher charisma characters will push through their ideas even if they aren’t the best… They fade in crowds and struggle in company. They don’t fare well in the limelight. If you have a high wisdom you will probably realize your limitations and may find ways of dealing with this, typically befriending a higher charisma character that has the sense to listen to you and help you out in those situations…

He could also be painfully shy, with a soft voice who mumbles quietly when communicating, avoiding eye contact. Someone who is very much not comfortable asserting himself or his opinions in a group. Someone who actively avoids the spotlight. Someone who’s a follower, not a leader.

Lacking a formal education but full of earthly wisdom. You know how to survive and are very aware of your surroundings, but don’t necessarily know a lot of information about things. A character with high Wisdom and low Intelligence would have good instincts and inner wisdom, but not be very good at articulating why they do or think the way they do, nor be very good at following long trains of thoughts or solving puzzles etc. Valen could make decisions slowly and with much consideration. (Perin?) In 5E, wisdom is like perceiving/sensing, and intelligence is like understanding.

So high wisdom, low intelligence would be like picking up that some NPC doesn’t like you guys, but then jumping to the wrong conclusion as to why, or potentially thinking they’re actually your enemy when it’s something more complicated.

He could also be painfully shy, with a soft voice who mumbles quietly when communicating, avoiding eye contact. Someone who is very much not comfortable asserting himself or his opinions in a group. Someone who actively avoids the spotlight. Someone who’s a follower, not a leader.

The person could be very nice and personable, but only with people he knows, trusts, and is already comfortable with. (I.e. His friends and fellow adventurers).

Could be someone that while he has good idea, he wont share them out of shyness. Maybe he mumbles and people but people cant quite make out what he meant so hes often ignored. Maybe hes got the “I told you so” syndrome where he always had the solution but “no one would listen to him”, even tough he never explained his solution in a way others would understand.

This is the guy who instantly reads everything worthwhile about a person. The slightest fault in grooming, he notices. Every minor social error, he notices. Every time someone makes a little white lie, he notices. And, of course, while he’s in tune enough not to mention it, YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL. Everyone feels scrutinized, studied and questioned around him. Major creepiness.

Someone who is super observant, and who knows people and their motivations better than they know themselves, but is an annoying jerk?

Your cleric knows everyone likes you, but doesn’t realize it’s only cause of the healing. But they would pick up on the one that doesn’t like you, but still wants to be healed. Maybe that guy is out of luck next time.

You sense an enemy is fleeing the battle, and are confident they are too scared to return, so you turn to fight someone more pressing. A tactical error. You realize too late that the routed foe will go alert the rest of the lair.

Very unobtrusive – and slow to come up with new thoughts. But he watches everything, especially people, and generally knows the intent behind things that people do.

Trait Descriptions:
You are always on the lookout for reward and danger.
You grew up separated from your birth parents, and had to learn to watch out for yourself.
The only thing extraordinary about your appearance is its ordinariness. You carry yourself in an understated way, and many people who see your face soon forget it.
You grew up on the streets of a large city, and as a result you have developed a knack for picking pockets and hiding small objects on your person.
You are at home at sea.
You always sleep with one eye open.
Your tranquil mind is especially resistant to manipulation.
You learned to swim right after you learned to walk. When you were a youth, a gang of river pirates put you to work swimming in nighttime rivers and canals with a dagger between your teeth so you could sever the anchor ropes of merchant vessels.
When weaker wills falter, you keep a clear mind.
Your wanderings often go unnoticed.
Though you haven’t been traditionally educated, you’re blessed with potent observation and discernment.
Your hours of meditation on inner perfection and the nature of strength and speed allow you to focus your thoughts to achieve things your body might not normally be able to do on its own.
You were bullied often as a child, but never quite developed an offensive response. Instead, you became adept at anticipating sudden attacks and reacting to danger quickly.
You learned defensive moves from your trainers.
In your youth, you swam into the ocean as deep as you could, and had it not been for your wereshark ancestry you would have surely drowned.
Living among humans has honed your hidden predatory reflexes.

Bio:

Parents are a Taldan and Garundi. They were traders and smugglers operating mostly in the eastern Inner Sea. Bailed on parents into the city of Sothis where they were docked and lived there as a street urchin for several years. Served a legitimate trader or captain for a short time as a cabin boy until the ship was raided and he was taken. He then served the captain of the pirate ship that captured him, Tessa Fairwind, as her cabin boy. He eventually escaped by slipping overboard in the dead of night when they were anchored off the coast of Osirion and swimming for several miles until he reached it. He was found by some Yerbira and lived with them until they took him to a monastery where he spent the rest of his adolescence and has been until leaving recently to travel the world.

Valen

The Fruits of Our Mind geraldbyrnes3 Vrron