Earlier this week I handed the stat blocks for the Book of Beasts: Arcanist Codex off to the editors for checking over. While this is a huge step to getting this book produced, it is not the final step. As JBE’s two brilliant editors are making sure stat blocks are excellent, I begin moving to the writing of the flavor phase. Sure the skeleton of every character is there now, but now I am filling them out, giving them flesh as it were.
Of all the ones I have created thus far, Arcanist Codex was the toughest. Let me describe the process I used for Arcanist Codex. First I came up with the concept for all 20 of the NPCs included in each of these class codices. This ensures a wide breadth of character concepts. Then I build each character without their spells or magic items. Magic items core to the character concept come next. Choosing spells for prepared casters is a two-step process. First I had to choose the spells in their book. Then I get to add spells prepared that day. Once that’s complete, I’ll check over to see if all the choices made work together. You’d be amazed at how often that is not the case. Things like having a rather high number of touch spells sound great until you realized that the character lacks Weapon Fineese and other feats that would be rather beneficial to this build. From there, you have to decide if you need to change the spells out, which feats to lose from the character so you can add in more appropriate ones, or if you need to adjust the ability scores to make it more melee-focused. Do magic items need to be replaced? Once that’s all done, any remaining gold is spent, any unspent skill points are allocated, list all other spells in the spellbook (yes, we effectively list their entire spellbook), etc. Next comes the big question: does this NPC work as a whole? After all of this, if I don’t feel the NPC just doesn’t work, I’ll scrap it and start over with either a new concept, create a completely new NPC from the same concept, or just figure out if this one needs to be tweaked to make it shine. Then I had to check over all the stat blocks, looking for any errors or inconsistent presentations overall 20. It is only here that when these are all as good as they can possibly be that they get turned over to the editors.
Bloodrager Codex—the one we’ll be working on after this—promises to be much easier. There are significantly fewer spell levels. Plus it is a spontaneous caster so I only have to choose spells once instead of twice.
Be sure to get yourself the Arcanist Codex, the Bloodrager Codex, and all the rest as soon as they are complete by subscribing to the Book of Beasts: Character Codex Subscription. Subscribe today at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.