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5 Questions Every Ranger Should Be Able to Answer

Frequently depicted as the paladins of the natural world, rangers are far more complex than that. They are the fighting force in the places few others dare to tread. They stand on the bridge alone, preventing others from passing. They are loyal to their cause, to an individual, to a group, or to an ideal. While their general mission of protecting those that cannot protect themselves against terrible dangers frequently draws them to the wilderness, they can be found in towns, cities, and royal courts. Some look upon them as vigilantes, working outside of the law while others see them as the only semblance of law where the local guard fears to stand watch.

Join us Fridays as we delve into the classes one at a time, helping you to get in touch with your character. Previously we had similar questions for the barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

One does not simply walk into the mouth of danger for no reason. Even treasure hunters and tomb plunderers do not seek out terrible danger half as terrible as a ranger encounters on an average Tuesday. You face this danger out of loyalty to someone, some group, or to an idea. What is it that you are loyal to? Describe those you are loyal to. Is it your hometown? Maybe it is just your family. Perhaps it is something larger, like your people who have been persecuted by the crown for generations and no one is coming to help you in your people’s time of trouble? Maybe your kingdom was conquered, and you are one of the last of the royal guard, living in the wilderness to avoid detection by the new rulers, all this time you are carrying out your liege’s final request: protect the people.

2) Why Do You Continue On When Few Others Do?

The obvious answer here is, “because I am loyal to them,” but that is to easy of an answer. Others were loyal as well but they abandoned their such a dangerous situation. You are a ranger and stand your ground when few others do. Something drives you forward when prudence and good sense says to flee. What is it? Are you fighting to earn the respect of the parents of the one you love? Do you seek the safety of your family and your people? Did someone now gone save your life and you are fight on in your memory? What drives you into danger?

3) How Did You Become So Comfortable with Nature?

A ranger works among by the wild places in the same way a physician does surrounded by the sick. Some find those environs so dangerous, they will work hard to avoid them. You, however, fear it not and even find it comforting. That level of comfort does not come without any explanation. It can be as simple as growing up in a small town or as a serf child on a lord’s farm and you played in the woods when ever the adults were not looking. Perhaps you’re an orphan or a runaway that fled a city to avoid those from whom you had no defense, found people that took you in and loved you, so when they were in danger, you stood your ground. Even more, you learned to make friends with animals. Did you share with a wolf some meet from a deer you shot? Did you pull a thorn from a lion’s paw? Did you raise a dinosaur from an egg?

4) What Was The Most Memorable Danger You Encounter Alone?

Remember, this is a world where a hag can disguise a cave as a candy house so unsuspecting children will enter, and it can devour them before the parents realize their young are even missing. So any tale about some deadly foe you encountered should be more interesting than a mundane mountain lion or bobcat. Make it something not from our world like gremlins, kobolds, giants, demons, or a ravaging horde of undead. No matter how you survived, it should not be by strength alone. Relying on your arm strength is for fighters. You should have survived and even overcome by your wits. Did you have the zombie horde run off the cliff edge like lemmings? Did you tie the giant’s shoe laces together when he was asleep? Did you sic the gremlins on the kobolds?

5) Do You Really Like Your Fellow Adventurers More Than Your Animal Companion?

Jokes about rangers loving their wolves a little to much aside, rangers are people that spend less time around others than they do battling monsters. Because of that, they can be socially less adept than other classes. So their interactions with their fellow adventurers should be a little awkward. No place is that better illustrated than in the Lord of the Rings when Aragorn first meets the hobbits. He’s abrupt, gruff, and even off-putting. It is when he proves to the four that he is there to help that they begin to trust him. In the same way, if your character grows up away from civilization and does not choose any Charisma-based skills, then your character should be rough around the edges. While your character should always be well meaning, helpful to the group, and never a jerk, there is plenty of room there for your character to be less than socially graceful. The strong-silent type, always phrasing their thoughts in as few words as possible, is an excellent way of doing this. No matter how you portray your character, remember to be one of the group.

Iragui is our signature ranger. His kind are knows as dragonborn but some call them a dragonspawn or even a wyvaran. He and his kind are no strangers to the wild places far from human civilization. With so much smaller numbers than humans, they have to be brave and delve into deadly places with little backup. Iragui knows the sounds of the woods and the smells of the caves. He know if the smell of mold is harmlessly decomposing something dead or if he should draw his weapon. He knows to be ready for battle when the birds are suddenly silent. All these little cues he constantly pays attention to, sometimes so much he misses the casual conversations of his fellow adventurers. While that doesn’t make him the most friendly of travelling companions, they do appreciate it when he warns then that battle is about to begin.

Find the racial stats on this dragon-based race and all our other nature-friendly races in the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 as well as Player Races 2 for Fifth Edition, and Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 and Age of Races 2 for 13th Age.

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5 Questions Every Barbarian Should Be Able to Answer

Conan is the classic barbarian. Most artwork for this class depicts someone from a tribal background in some type of leather clothing covering only the bare essentials to be considered “decent,” wielding a sizable weapon. While there is nothing wrong with that image of a barbarian, it is only one interpretation of a barbarian. The problem with it came in when some versions of the game mechanically reinforced it. As late as D&D 3.5, a barbarian was illiterate unless you took “reading” as a language. This meant that all barbarians are tribal. Personally, I am quite glad this has been done away with. It allows for different interpretations of what a barbarian can be. One such interpretation: the movie Falling Down. In it, Michael Douglas plays a man who has simply had enough, lashing out at the problems he sees in society. This is one reason why I like the 13th Age and D&D 5e idea of background separate from a class and am glad that it looks like Pathfinder 2e is going that route as well. Ever wanted to play a noble that rejects the laws their family set up? Now you can.

When coming up with this 5 Questions I took a long look at modern and even some classic iterations of the barbarian class and decided to focus in on a few aspects that I feel are key: using anger as a way to help them fight, self sufficiency, and a natural instinct to spot danger. To see which aspect of the other classes we focused on for their 5 Questions posts, see what we posted for the bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Does Your Rage Come From?

The classic answer is that you are an uncivilized person and you simply cannot control yourself. While this answer is perfectly fine, this is far from the only available option. You could be cursed (ahem, failed science experiment) that when you get into a fight you lose your head and fly into a battle rage, potentially making you a danger to everyone in the fight except yourself. My personal favorite is the civilized person that use to make biting comments and engaged in sarcasm–letting the rage inside of them out in small doses–but saw their friends and loved ones hurt and finally unleashing the full force of their anger. I like this one because it subverts what many expect a barbarian should be, opening up a range of character possibilities.

2) How Do You Try to Emulate Your Characters Rage?

This question is quite a bit more meta than the other questions we’ve asked in the 5 Questions series, but I think it is important with the barbarian. A barbarians rage is meant to be uncontrolled, reactionary. It is telling Hulk to “smash,” because telling him anything else isn’t going to help. So when you are done with your turn, you have to sit and wait for everyone else to take their turn. That design choice lends itself towards a more thoughtful, tactical approach to your character. If you play it like a tactician, carefully considering every move to figure out what is the optimal course of action, you are not letting your character live as they should. So to help me get into my barbarian more, I intentionally choose less than optimal actions if it means it would be more reactionary. When facing multiple opponents, I generally go after the toughest looking enemy until one of my allies is hurt, then I rush to attack whomever was hurt (prioritizing the squishiest ones first), taking whatever attacks come from leaving an enemy in the middle of a fight. But that is just me; how does your way to attack your enemies reflect being in an all-consuming rage? Do you ignore all but the closest enemies to you? Do you just run through your enemies, one attack at a time, no matter if they drop or not? What is your style?

3) How Do You Reflect Your Ability to Spot Danger?

The barbarian class typically grants some advantage to spotting danger. How do you reflect this in your character? Are you jumpy, ready with a weapon in your hands because a cute, fluffy bunny rustled some bushes nearby? Are you constantly looking g around, trying to maintain a constant vigilance? Are you always listening to everything going on around you? How do you role play your ability to spot Danger?

4) How Did You Learn to Depend Upon Yourself?

Barbarians are frequently have the survival skill and other skills that would help them do well on their own. That is understandable considering the classic barbarian is one that shuns civilized society for the natural world. It even makes sense for the civilized barbarian; getting angry rather quickly tends to drive people away, requiring you to depend upon yourself more. If you’re cursed, you probably do not want many people around you for fear they will get hurt, promoting self sufficiency. So what was that like? If you are a societial outcast, how do you make clothes for yourself? What was it like learning to hunt? We’re you raised by a tribe and they taught you? We’re you always on the outskirts of civilization and had a basic idea of how to survive on your own before, even if it was not previously your soul source of survival before and now it is? Did you almost starve before learning how to use a bow? Do you trade with the local tribes, helping you get what you cannot do yourself?

5) How Much Does It Mean to You That Your Companions Accept You?

No person can exist without interacting with others. Even the most standoffish dwarf still needs friends. Barbarians may be self sufficient, but they still need friends and companions as well. So what does that mean to you? Put it another way: what will you do to protect them and keep them? Being with a person that frequently gets angry is not an easy person to get along with and after you failed to hear the cries for help from your fellow adventurers yet again because you were fighting the toughest-looking bad guy might mean they are not happy with your character. So how far is your character willing to go? Should such a situation arise, how will your character grow and change? Who will you become?

Catfolk are known for being free spirits and Khol Saka is no exception. He roams the plains, playfully pouncing on whatever trouble comes his way, appearing more care free than most humans. Just don’t get him angry; you wouldn’t like him. It is as if he turns into an uncontrollable green rage monster, even if he still looks like a catfolk on the outside. He will scratch the face off of anyone that hurts him or his allies, unable to stop himself even if he wanted to.

Khol Saka is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Download this awesome book today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

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5 Questions Every Sorcerer Should Be Able to Answer

Sorcerers can be a bit of a problematic topic, depending on what edition of the game you play. If I remember correctly, they came into existence because a sizable chunk of the Player’s Handbook was for wizards only so they created another class that used the exact same spell list. So there are some originalists that do not feel they should exist. I’m more of a modernist in that sense where I accept the class as they are and go from there.

The basic concept of the class itself is that you can just do magical abilities. No matter the reason why, you can just wave your hands, utter what would otherwise sound like nonsense and BOOM magic happens. Frankly it sounds like that if the magic didn’t happen, you’d be locked up for insanity. But here you are, making with the magic. So yeah!

If you want to play a sorcerer, here are five questions that will help you get into your character. See our 5 Questions for bards, clerics, druids, fighters, monks, paladins, rogues, and wizards here.

1) How Did Your Magic First Manifest?

One day you were an average person. The next you were making sparks shoot out of your fingers or you levitated something or you made someone suddenly agree with you. Wait a second, how do you know that that last one wasn’t just a really persuasive argument? Simple, you tried it again without waving your arms or putting that same amount of force to your voice and it didn’t work. It is only when you did that exact same sequence over and over again that you realized that you were making magic. The same is true with the other spells you cast. You tried to make fire happen without waving your hands or suddenly gain the ability of perceiving magical auras by speaking different words but they simply don’t happen.

This brings us to a first if several non-obvious truths about the sorcerer class: sorcerers have to work hard at their magic. Being a wizard requires years if study while sorcerers just make the magic happen so it is easy to think that being a sorcerer is easy. That’s simply not true. There is no guidebook to being a sorcerer. Wizards literally have a book that says this is how you make magic; sorcerers have to reinvent the wheel for every new spell they want to cast. That requires lots of work and patience.

2) When Was The Last Time You Lost Control of Your Magic?

Like I said, being a sorcerer just happens. You did something and unexpectedly magic just happens. So was anyone hurt when you did that? How about the second time that happened? Third? How many times were you told to keep your magical powers under control after you broke something without meaning to? In your anger did you burn someone without meaning to? Is this why you left home and became an adventurer, because you feel you are a danger to those you care about decided to not return until you could control your new-found powers better?

3) Did You Always Choose to Use Your Magical Abilities for Good?

Frankly, I hope the answer to this one is “No.” It is far more of an interesting answer to decide to choose good instead of always being good. Say you left home in a hurry because you had burned someone, not bringing much in the way if food or supplies. You are now a homeless person. So if you manage to outrun the stories about yourself, you’re going to be hungry. So you walk into a tavern and and charm your way into a free meal and a night’s rest from the tavern owner. So when the tavern owner comes to their senses and brings their spouse comes to collect what you owe, you try again and fail and get run out of another town. Sooner or later (maybe after spending a few nights in jail for your actions, maybe after you saw someone in need and you helped and someone looked upon you favorably for the first time since you developed your powers), you realize that you have to clean up your act and can use your abilities to earn your keep instead of stealing it from others.

This brings us to the next non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it’s easy to go bad. Instead of choosing to clean up your act, suppose you always decided to stay selfish. Sure you did the occasional good deed so you could tell yourself you’re a good person, but much of the time you are motivated by your own wants and desires, ignoring the pain you cause others. That way is easier, even quicker. That is a seductive thought, one that your sorcerer should be able to understand, no matter which way they choose.

4) What Spell Is Inside of You That You Can’t Seem to Cast?

Much like Rincewind with a powerful spell inside of him that doesn’t want to come out, you should also have a powerful spell inside of you that doesn’t want to come out yet. You know it is inside of you, but you can’t seem to get it to come out yet. Maybe you don’t even have a name for it yet, but you can feel it inside if you, deep in your soul. Do you hold it back until you can control it? Perhaps you try to bring it out, but it simply will not come out yet. Is it asleep inside if you and you are not sure you want to wake it yet? This is why I like to make my sorcerers with a theme. You know you have a raging inferno inside if you and you try to tap into it and instead you only get burning hands. You try again and you get scorching ray. Then fireball and so in until you can fully tap into that power deep inside if you that you know is there.

This brings us to our last non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it should be confusing as hell. Why does flapping my arms and saying nonsense make magic happen when it doesn’t for someone else? Why can I now call forth this one spell when I couldn’t yesterday? How come I could make this magic spell before but I simply can’t now? There should be very little about your abilities that actually makes sense. That would make some seek stability. Which brings us to our last question:

5) What Do Your Fellow Adventurers Offer You?

Why are you with this group of adventurers instead some other group? The simple answer is that they offer you something that others cannot: stability and acceptance. Your powers can be viewed as weird or downright scary by those that do not understand them. For you to stay with your fellow adventurers, they must have accepted you for who you are. Maybe they express that acceptance while teasing you, but they will stand by your side if anyone is mean or attacks you. This group may very well be the most stable relationships you have had since you developed your powers. So the question then becomes, what will you do to defend them when they need you?

Greyrend, our signature sorcerer, left her clan of lycanthropes and other skinwalkers when she was only 12. She could only manifest her magical powers when she was angry and she did not have much control of her powers at first, making her an outcast. She tried to live among humans in her human form, but growing up among wolf-people didn’t imbue her with the greatest amount of social skills. While she can unleash destructive power, she prefers to focus on ways to enhance her natural fighting abilities and to adjust the minds of those that oppose her, making it feel like she has some acceptance, even if it is only for a little while. Since joining up with her fellow adventurers, she has had to change other people’s minds far less. They are helping her interact with others when she is less than socially graceful and teaching her how to get along better with others.

Greyrend is featured on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Download this adventure today and check out all our Pathfinder, D&D 5e,13th Age, and Traveller titles today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

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5 Questions Every Druid Should Be Able to Answer

The clerics of the natural world, druids believe in the divinity of nature and the elemental forces. They draw their magical power directly from these forces. This gives them power to tap into incredible raw power that they can channel for the greater good (the greater good) for the Wild places.

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium

Join us each Friday as we delve into the classes one at a time, helping you to get in touch with your character. Previously we had similar questions for fighters, clerics, monks, bards, rogues, paladins, and wizard.

Before I continue, we have been having trouble with our Facebook account and have been unable to share our posts in groups for quite a while. So we are asking you to help us. Please share this post (any any other post of ours you find entertaining) to your Facebook profile, any Facebook groups you belong to that would find this post helpful, as well as any other social media platform (Twitter, Google+, Reddit, etc) that you frequent. This will help us during this period. Thank you in advance.

1) Where Does Your Deep Connection with Nature Come From?

You’re not just some random person wandering around a forest. You are a priest and defender of the wild. You can feel the pain of the trees as an axeman cuts it down. You experience the pain of animals hunted for their skins. You cannot bare the enslavement of wheat plants in rows for food instead of being allowed to grow wild and allowed to live a full life, free of civilized taint. Where do you get it? Do you worship one of the elemental lords? Were you blessed by a fae queen? Do you have a shard of the planet’s spirit in your soul? Where does your connection come from?

2) What is Your Spirit Animal?

This one is weird since it sounds like a game term, but it isn’t. A spirit animal, as I mean it, is the soul of a beast that is inside a person, like when a person and their pet have pretty much the same personality. A druid, possessing a deep connection to nature, would be deeply connected it there spirit animal and they would let it show in their mannerisms, their attitude, and their whole person. So what animal spirit do you possess? Consider making that the creature you change shape into, when you gain that ability.

3) How Do You Behave in Urban Environs?

The short answer to this one should be, “Not well.” Remember, you are the priest of nature, and when you are in a city, you are witnessing trees and stones forced into unnatural shapes to make buildings. This could make you angry and want to yell at carpenters and stone cutters. Before your eyes, you see horses forced to wear bridals and harnesses and being made to work for their supper instead if being free spirits. This could make you want to free the horses when the the stable master’s back is turned. Or you could instead see nature as undefeated in the city, forcing people to give a wide berth around a weed that is growing in the middle of a street or giving the rats some food. What is your personal style of behaving “weird” by city folk standards?

4) Why Would You Side With Humans Over Fey?

You may be a priest of nature, but you are still human (or a dwarf or elf or whatever). No one ever sees what their side is doing is completely right, unless you are brainwashed. Reasonable people can disagree. So what would make you say that the side of nature has gone too far and want to protect some humans? Would it be some fey resorting to murder instead of playing the pranks that most fey resort to. Is it fine to kill a dwarf that cuts down a tree? Is it ok to kill an elf if you eat it (since that is nature’s way)? Is disrupting human commerce as far as you will go to protect your furry friends? How far will you go?

5) How Do You Share Your Love of Nature to Fellow Adventures?

Obviously you are working with your fellow adventurers towards the greater good (the greater good) of protecting nature, even if that is not their goal. Yet if they do not respect the wild places, it is doubtful that you will stay with them for long. How do you share with them your passion for protecting the untamed wilderness? Do you make shelter for them each night so they do not have to endure the elements during the night? Do you call and have a deer come to you so your party can eat and not have to hunt? Do you wake up each morning surrounded by bunnies and song birds and ask the others to hold them as a way to start their day off on a positive note? How do you spread the joy of nature?

Kanoa is our signature druid, although some call him an oracle of the sea. His kind, being one of the gillmen, live underwater and are distant relatives of humans. He sleeps with the fishes and walks with an octopuses. While he has no problem with shipping, he does mind it when ports and harbors dump their garbage in the sea, and he makes his displeasure well known to the council chambers of local cities. His eternal fight for the sea is never done.

Find the racial stats on the gillmen race and other nature-friendly races in the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 as well as Player Races 2 for Fifth Edition, and Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 and Age of Races 2 for 13th Age.

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5 Questions Every Wizard Should Be Able to Answer

Wizards are the geeks of the fantasy realm. They spend quite some time in books, prefer to spend time in a library instead of with other people, and they are frequently imagined as wearing glasses. They are the studious ones, the one that went to a university and can bend the universe with a gesture of their hand, words of power on their tongue, the right magical material within their grasp and an investment of power from their mind. The road to become a wizard or wizardess is far from easy and many burn out along the way. You are one of the lucky ones that was able to achieve such a lofty goal without losing your mind or worse.

Experiences that you had while learning to harness such power will shape your outlook on the world, and these questions will help you define that outlook. Previously we had similar questions for fighters, clerics, monks, bards, rogues, and paladins.

1) Why Did You Start Learning Wizardry?

Did your parents scrimp and save in order to send you to wizarding school? Did you exemplify some basic talent and a traveling wizard took you on as their apprentice? Are you from a rich family and going to wizarding school was always in your future whether you wanted it or not? Were you a blacksmith that wanted to learn to enchant your swords because enchanted swords sell so much better? Did you simply decide that that is what you wanted to do with your life? Did you follow someone you were in love with? There are all kinds of answers to this question and yours should be both unique and interesting.

2) How Did You Learn to Wield Arcane Power?

The two most obvious answers to this questions are at an arcane college/university or as an apprentice to a great wizard. Other less common answers include self taught, a tutor as part of your upbringing in a great wizarding family, and other similar examples. The important distinction in this answer is that you are taught from another source as opposed to a sorcerer where the magic was always inside them.

Describe what your schooling was like. Did you learn illusion magic quickly so you could make an image of yourself taking notes while you cut class? Did you have to perform hundreds of menial tasks for your teacher in exchange for them teaching you the basics? Did you take up mud artistry in addition to leaning transmutation magic so you can change your clay statue into stone?

What where your classmates like? In a sizable school you’d have dozens, hundreds of peers. As an apprentice, you’d have only two or three. Do you have close friends or bitter rivals? Come up with a memory involving classmates that happened during your schooling years that you remember fondly and another one that still causes you pain.

3) Why Did You Leave?

If you start off as a 1st level wizard, you are far from accomplished. Sure you can cast cantrips all day and a few 1st level spells, but there is so much you cannot do yet. First year Hogwarts students could levitate a troll’s club. While a first level wizard could levitate the feather with a cantrip, the club is out of the question. Nor can you locate your lost keys, unlock a door because you lost your keys, nor walk on the walls to get to the open second floor window which you wouldn’t have to do if you could find those dang keys. Like I said, you’re barely competent as a wizard, yet you left your studies behind. Why did you do that?

4) How Do Others Perceive You?

As I said above, wizard are the nerds of the fantasy world, and nerds are not known for their popularity. So how do others see you? Does your family get you and what you are doing, or do they just not understand what you study and why you do it? Do the people that you grew up with respect you or fear you? At the same time, do you hold a grudge against those that picked on you when you were young and now seek revenge now that you wield immense power? Do you make friends easily, or do people risk getting blasted by magic just to punch your face within ten minutes of meeting you?

5) What Have You Learned From Your Fellow Adventurers?

The thing about wizards is that they never stop trying to learn. Every moment is an opportunity to learn something new. So what is it you learned from your fellow adventurers? Do you learn to always expect an ambush from the ranger or how to secure your belongings from the rogue? Did the monk teach you that meditating can help focus your mind? Or rather is it that your fellow adventurers inspired you to learn something new? Did you learn to make someone large to help make the fighter more deadly in combat? Did the bard teach you the value of enchanting someone?

Luis is our signature halfling wizard. He learned wizardry from his tribal mage because he was one of the clever people in his tribe and wanted to learn arcane secrets. When the tribe was taken over by a priest that wanted to return to the old ways, he and the others well schooled were thrown out of the tribe. Being a halfling, he was able to make friends faster than other wizards. From his fellow adventures, he learned to accept himself for who he is since he no longer had to hide his intellect to appease religious extremists.

Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin features Luis blasting a black dragon with ice. Help us bring you more great role playing game posts by downloading Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for Fifth Edition, Pathfinder, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry. Use the “holiday2017” coupon code to get 30% off your order today.

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5 Questions Every Paladin Should Be Able to Answer

I have seen quite a few paladins in my time—both at the table and in fiction, and my favorite is O-Chul from the Order of the Stick Comics. He is what a paladin should be in my opinion, fighting for justice without overdoing it. Paladins have a stereotype of being “lawful stupid.” Frequently they appear so full of themselves and their station that they make everything about them.

A paladin should put their deity above everything incuding their own pride. They shouldn’t be glory seeking zealots but seeking to glorify their deity through their every action. Their should be someone with rock hard faith in the rightness of their cause, not the rightness in themselves. If anything, they should doubt themselves, questioning whether or not their every action is the right one to exemplify the rightness of their deity and their cause. Here are 5 Questions to help you role play a paladin better. Previously we shared with you 5 Questions to help you play a fighter, cleric, monk, bard, and rogue better.

1) What Caused Your Strong Devotion to your Deity?

Following a deity is one thing. You worship, follow a few tenants, and go about your daily life. Being devoted is another. A devoted person will take time out of their day to contemplate how to best incorporate their deity’s tenants into their actions and will wonder if they are devoted enough. Being a paladin is far, far more devoted than that. You are so devoted that you are willing to go into dangerous places risking your own live to do your deity’s work and are willing to kill while doing so. Being that devoted should be sobering. One does not do that “because it seemed like a good idea at the time,” at least, not for long. The person had to have had a life changing event to inspire that level of devotion. So what was it? Were you rescued from certain death or worse by a servant of that deity (or the deity him/her/itself/themselves)? Perhaps you were in a bad place in your life and the church helped you leave that life behind. Did you lose a family member to monsters or strung out on demonic narcotics and a paladin of this deity was the only thing that kept you alive? What bad place were you in and how does this deity help change that in you?

2) What is Your Purpose?

For many religious people that find faith because of some great change, they feel they now have a purpose to their lives that they lacked before. What is that purpose? “Spreading the word of the deity,” is far too easy and generic of an answer. It would be specific and would relate directly to your old life before you began worshiping the deity. It is this purpose that propels you to wake up every morning, even when you are questioning your devotion to your deity. You remember what your life was like before and are determined at all costs to not return. You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct that keeps you on that purpose. That purpose can suddenly change your perspective in any situation. If you were addicted to drugs, you would be particularly merciful to someone you were after the moment you found out they are hooked on those same narcotics and even more wrathful if the person you are after sells those bits of false pleasure. If you purpose is to hunt down demons so no one else’s family need die and you were hunting down a nest of demon worshippers, you would only show mercy to those that were doing their bidding out of fear, not out of a desire for power. What drives you?

3) What About Yourself Do You Not Like?

You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct because you were in a bad place and do not want to return. The thing is, deep down you blame yourself for being in that bad place in the first place. If you didn’t blame yourself, you could have fought your way out of that situation and became a fighter or learned to see the right opportunity to escape it and became a rogue. Instead, you couldn’t adapt, couldn’t figure a way out, and needed rescued. Situations like this can make a person turn their anger at the situation inward and see the fault with themselves, making them not like some aspect of themselves.

Yet there is the purpose that let’s the person ignore that inner struggle, silencing it for a time while focusing on the work. As such those unresolved feelings fester inside and can make the paladin stumble. This is exactly why paladins have the ex-paladin sections in their class description, about breaking their oaths. Everyday for a paladin should be a constant struggle between the good person they want to be and the darkness that lurks inside. What is that darkness for you?

4) How did those you know respond to your change?

People don’t like change. You have changed yet your old friends and family have not. They are still in the same place they were before. Some people can handle that you are a different person now; others cannot. Some relationships should end, like those that helped you to get to your bad place. Others were unaware of how bad that place you were in truly was and do not understand what that change means to you. So when you start trying to help them in ways they do not want helped, it is not uncommon for people to abandon the changed person. Name three relationships that changed for your character. The first should be someone that helped get you to that bad place. The person can be evil but does not have to be. The second should be someone you were close to before but you are now estranged from. The third should be someone you casually knew before but are now close to after your change. All three of these people should be people your GM can use as NPCs to cause internal conflict, making the story more personal.

5) Why Do You Stay With Your Fellow Adventurers?

Let’s be honest, adventurers can be a rather unpredictable lot. They steal, fail to show proper respect for “worthy” deities or those that serve them, and can commit all manner of sacrilege, not because they are evil (necessarily) but because they are ill-informed of what they are doing. Is this why you stay with them? To help them see how they could be better? Or do you see the person you use to be before you went to your bad place and are trying to help them find a way to avoid the same fate? Is this simply a relationship of convenience, where they happen to be fighting the same evil you are? Or do you genuinely care for them and as a good and faithful friend you are sticking with them?

Corrakwak is a tengu paladin (sometimes preferring the term inquisitor) of the goddess Amanozako, bent on making sure that all are treated fairly. He despises those that go back on their word having once been left for dead by those that use to be his close friend. As such, Carrakwak has trouble making close friends now, but has learned to trust his fellow adventurers enough to know they will not cheat him. Now he fights for truth and justice with a vengeance.

Carrakwak is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, the Book of Heroic Races Player Races 1 for 5e and Book of Heroic Races Age of Races 2 for 13th Age. Download these today at the JBE Shop with the “holiday2017” coupon code until January 31st for your game to choice to get 30% off your order.

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5 Questions Every Rogue Should Be Able to Answer

Comparing a fighter with a rogue is a healthy exercise and helpful when trying to understand how these characters are fundamentally different. When in a fight, a fighter walks up to the thing and beats it down until it is dead while a rogue will look for the creature’s weak point and strike there. When trying to get something from a cave where a monster lies sleeping, a fighter will most likely wake it up with the clanging of its armor and then have to kill it before getting the treasure while a rogue will quietly sneak past it and just take it. When trying to talk their way into a room past a guard, a fighter will try to intimidate the guard into letting them pass while a rogue may intimidate but will more likely turn on the charm and convince the guard that they should already be in there. The common thread in all of them is that a rogue relies on looking for the opportunity, and that is where the heart of your character should lie.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the rogue should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, monk, or bard, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) Why Did You Start Seeing the Opportunity in Every Situation?

Being a rogue doesn’t mean that you look for an opportunity; it means that you just see the opportunity in every situation. You were not born seeing the opportunity. This is a survival mechanism; you were made. So something had to happen over and over again, and you compensated by looking for ways to fight back. This happened so often that it comes to you as easily as breathing. So what was it? Did you grow up an orphan on the street and had to hide in order to avoid the bigger kids? Are you the scion of a noble and were constantly tricked by someone jealous of your station? Was one of your parents an abusive drunk that would beat you until you could find ways to keep the drunk from attacking before the beatings began? In short, something in your life was not pleasant for a long time and this is how you survived. What was it?

2) How Did You Escape that Bad Situation?

You’re an adventurer and are no longer in that bad situation. The story of how you got out of there is one that will hold considerable meaning to you as it will be your goto backup plan the moment the chips are down. Did you run away from your problem? This will probably mean that if the battle turns badly, you may well abandon your friends to get away. It will also mean that you take feats and other class choices that let you move faster and get away without taking attacks from your enemies. Did you finally confront that abusive parent and say, “No more!” If that were the case, you’d probably make character choices that let you attack before anyone else, striking hard with that first blow, ending the fight right away. It also means you would rush into battle faster than the fighter. Did you outsmart your jealous rival, tricking them as you were? This means you will rely on far less conventional tactics than most characters. Maybe you will use a net, whip, or other weapon that incurs some type of penalty onto your enemy. Your method of escape is a proven method of survival in your mind. What is it?

3) When Did You Fight Your Instincts and Trust Someone?

Trust is a difficult thing when you have been treated in some fashion that turns you into a rogue. However, those that do not trust lead very lonely lives. Sooner or later you have to take a chance and trust someone. Come up with three examples. Two of them should be good friends, even if you have moved on and have not talked to them in a long time. The third should be someone that let you down. It could be out and out betrayal, but it could also be something as ordinary as simple human failing. Remembering those that you trust is what keeps you trying to trust again. Feeling that pain of being let down should always temper that trust, keeping you from getting too close.

4) What Actions Will Make You Trust Again?

As mentioned previously, you don’t trust easily. To a rogue, actions speak louder than words. You have heard words over and over again and no longer trust them. “I won’t get drunk and hit again,” “I only want to help you, “I won’t tell anyone your secret.” It doesn’t matter. You’ve heard all the lies. So what does someone have to do to make you trust them? Is it someone that makes sure you get a fair share of the gold? Someone that stands up to a bully? Honesty no matter how much it hurts? What is it that will let you put your guard down to someone?

5) How Does Staying With Your Fellow Adventurers Benefit You?

While you will not sell out your fellow adventurers, you can walk away from them at any time. So why do you stick with them? There must be something in it for you? Money is the obvious answer. Going on adventures makes you rich. Yet you could find another group of adventurers. Why do you stick with this particular group? Do you trust one of them (or *gasp* all of them)? Are you doing it as a favor for someone that you want a favor from? Did someone you trust ask you? Or are you with them only for the moment and could leave when you get paid? Why are you still in this group?

Edward grew up a noble but renounced his birthright because of all the political games he had to play. He did run away, stealing to survive from that day forward. It was the Princess Yolanda that made him trust again. So when the King caught Edward and Yolanda together and he talked with them, Edward trusted the King as well. Now he adventures to prove himself worthy of the Princess’ hand and the King’s approval, trying to amend his past crimes.

Edward stands tall on the cover of Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven. Download this adventure for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition. Download these and all of our books today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

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5 Questions Every Bard Should Be Able to Answer

“Why did you think going into the dungeon and singing at the monsters was a good idea?” Let’s just agree that the idea of going into a deadly location armed with a tune is silly concept, at least at first glance. Yet, no one will hear of the hero’s exploits unless someone that is skilled at retelling the tale of heroic is there to witness them. In so doing, they have to know how to stand their ground and meet dangers head on. So it makes sense that they would use what they are best at to full effect.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the bard should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, or monk, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) How Long Have You Been Training?

Anyone can move to music. Anyone can pick up an instrument, blow on it or pluck a string, and make noise. Anyone read words on a page while changing pitch. These, however, are not the product of years of training, dedication, and long hard work. That is what you have done. Day in and day out you played your lute until it comes to you as easily as breathing. You strengthening certain muscles while hammering your dulcimer, carrying your tuba, lifting your trombone again, and again, and again. Imagine what it was like, being a child on stage performing your dance routine and years later still performing. Not only are you good, you are captivating, enthralling, mesmerizing, inspiring. Your performances are quite literally magical. What were those long days like? Did you enjoy them or were they downright torture? This is actually the perfect intro to the next question…

2) Why Did You Start Training and Keep Training?

First off, why did you start? Did it seem like fun? Did you try it out and liked it? Were you forced by your parents for some village or clan festival? Trying it is one thing; continuing it is another. Children are notorious for trying something and stopping the moment it gets hard. So why did you stick to it? Did you tell your parents you wanted the instrument, they got it for you, you were unhappy when it got hard and your parents made you continue after they spent the money for it? Did they tell you how proud they were of you for doing so? Were you determined to earn someone’s approval by playing hard? Were you trying to emulate the local performer? What made you keep going when it was hard?

3) How Did You Learn a Bit of Everything?

Bards may not be experts in any one area, but they are darn good at just about everything. They may not be front line fighters but they know how to use a number of weapons well. They may not have the spell breadth of a wizard, but they do have a solid number of spells. Their skill selection is diverse. How are you so well educated, so much of a jack of all trades? Did you get sent to college or did you go to the school of hard knocks? Was far more expected of you than most others or were you naturally gifted at learning anything you were shown once. How are you so good at everything?

4) What Drives You To Be Better?

While this answer should always be, “To be better than I was yesterday,” what fun is there in that? If anything this is a great end point for your character—coming to a point where you are in competition with no one but yourself—but not a good starting point. This is a point of professional conflict with your character. Are you trying to be better than someone you consider your equal, that started around the same time as you, but got all the recognition that you feel you deserve? Perhaps you want to be just like your hero, the one person that got you into performing in the first place. Maybe you have this idealized version of yourself and you are forever striving for it but never attaining it. Over the course of the campaign, you should come to terms that you are only in competition with yourself, and talk to your GM about wanting to explore this in the campaign. Maybe your rival or hero can play a part in the campaign and your character can find a kind of peace when they finally see the truth of the situation. This will make your character engaging long after the campaign is over.

5) What “epicness” does your current group of companions present?

If you are going to tell the tale, sing the songs, perform the scene of the exploits of your character and their adventures, their deeds should be worthy of tales, songs, and plays. Maybe they haven’t done anything yet, but you see the spark inside them. What is it that makes you believe in them, and how does being with them make you believe in yourself more?

Sharem is our signature transman samsaran bard. He remembers himself playing instruments and telling tales in previous incarnations and started playing to connect with his former lives. That is what kept him practicing year after year growing up. Today he is more of an actor than a musician. He makes his performances showy, using his whip whenever possible to swing over the audience. He uses similar showmanship when in the dungeon as well. By keeping the monsters’ attention on himself, his companions can take them down with ease.

Sharem and his fellow adventurers are on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet. Download this Pathfinder book today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

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5 Questions Every Monk Should Be Able to Answer

Monks may not have been in every edition of d20 fantasy games, yet most accept them as one of the core classes. If your only exposure to what a monk should be is by watching Kung Fu or by watching bad (awesome!) martial arts movies, then I recommend checking out a few other sources of inspiration. High up on my list is the movie Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring. It is an excellent movie about the life of a monk. It can help you see a monk as a complex person rather than just someone that wanders around spouting nonsense and calling it wisdom (wah). You could also sign up for some martial arts classes and understand first hand the discipline a monk possesses. Unlike learning sword fighting and casting spells, martial arts classes are relative common and should be taken advantage of if you want to understand how a monk sees the world.

If you want to play a monk, here are five questions that will help you get into your character. See our 5 Questions for fighters and clerics here.

1) Were You Born To This Life, Or Did You Choose It?

The fundamental question, how did you get here? This will alter your world view. If you were raised from a small child to be a monk, you will see their ordered way of life as the only natural way to live. Such an austere lifestyle will be something you do not even question. You will recognize the importance if breathing and how it relates to life and fighting. However, you may always wonder who your parents were and why you were sent to the monks. If you joined a monastery later in life, you may choke at the lack of pleasures, chafe at the rules. Like Doctor Strange, you find it difficult accepting their ways and practices. Yet you choose this life for some reason. What happened that made you see this lifestyle as better than the one you previously choose.

2) Why Did You Start Adventuring?

Unlike classes like fighter and ranger that pretty much require adventuring, monk is one of those classes where it would be completely normal to stay in the building where you train and never go adventuring. So why did you? Did your master send you out in the world to gain experience (not XP) so you can achieve a higher plane of enlightenment? Perhaps you walked out of your own accord, not feeling that the reasons you originally joined changed. Did “real” life happen, like a family member die and you are now just wondering around looking for answers before returning to the monastery? For one fleeting moment, did you achieve enlightenment and now are trying to reattain it?

3) What Do You Think Of The World Outside the Monastery?

Now that you have spent time in the monastery, what is it like going out into the world? If you were raised by monks, this place would be strange, almost alien in the way that people do not treat each other with respect and honor. If anything, the monsters of the world might be more familiar to you since you probably have seen your fair share of them, being away from civilization. If you were raised in civilization and choose the monastic life and then returned to civilization, you would definitely be surprised by how your perspective has shifted. Things that once seemed normal to you would seem completely unreasonable. Your “fish out of water” point of view should be evident whenever you enter town.

4) How Do Your Actions Demonstrate Your Philosophy?

Being a monk means you have a philosophy, a way of looking at the world that is part practical, part mystical. Unlike lawful religion that sees things in start terms—good and bad, holy and unholy, worthy and unworthy—monks tend see the world through the lens of discipline because of their rigorous training. But the specifics of what your monk philosophy are up to you. The real question is how does your actions demonstration what that philosophy is? Do you believe in only defending and will only attack those that attack first? Will you always give someone the option to surrender? Are you careful where you step, always cautious of stepping on a bug or a worm? Will you have tea with your enemies? Always think how your actions are different than a typical fighter. They should be very visible to everyone.

5) What Do You See In Your Fellow Adventurers

For a monk to travel with adventurers is a great honor. It shows that they are worthy of you. What do you see in them in worthy? What sets them apart? You should be able to answer that for each of the characters.

Emberwood choose to join the Cragtree Monastery at age 407. Before then, it found life confusing. Humans did not make any sense. The monks were the first such humans that were logical and saw the world in much the same way. All the other students admired Emberwood for his ability to meditate endlessly, since it did not need to eat or sleep. Now that he is over 1,000 years of age, he is the last of his monastery. The numbers of the Cragtree Monastery dwindled over the intervening centuries and yet Emberwood stayed. It was only the building collapsing under it that broke it from meditation. In all that time, Emberwood never achieved enlightenment like the other monks had. It recalled the words of one of an old master, that enlightenment sometimes comes from strange places. So it went in search of those strange places. It continues to meditate every morning but then continues on seeking what it had not yet achieved.

Emberwood is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Do you prefer 5e? Download his kind’s racial traits today in the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2. How about 13th Age? Download the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 today. Be sure to use coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

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5 Questions Every Cleric Should Be Able to Answer

Last week we posted an article about 5 Questions Every Fighter Should Be Able to Answer. Well, we decided to make that into a series and share with you our thoughts on 5 Questions Every Cleric Should Be Able to Answer. Like last week, this series applies to any d20 fantasy-based game, such as Pathfinder, D&D 5e, 13th Age, or Swords and Wizardry.

Of the core four classes, clerics frequently get the least respect. In books and movies, they seldom have the spotlight. They can fight, but do not have the selection of weapons that a fighter possesses. They can cast spells but not as good as a wizard. In combat, they tend to have to drop what they are doing because the fighter has a boo-boo.

So why play one, other than the party needs a healer? Well, the role playing opportunities are excellent. The class itself is so full character and life that someone playing a cleric should just drink it up. To help you do this, here are 5 questions you should be able to answer when playing a cleric.

1) Why Did You Join This Church?

In all d20 fantasy games gods are as plentiful as puddles after a rain. So why did you join this church? Please note, this question is not, “Why did you join the clergy?” I’m just asking what got your foot in the door initially here. Was it because your parents are dead, and they took you in and raised you? Were you a merchant looking to make important business connections? Did you like the spectacle of their ritual sacrifices? Did a member of the church save you from an undead attack? Were you hedging your bets for the afterlife? Perhaps it was as pedestrian as, you grew up in a small town and it was the only religion in the area. All of these answers will help provide you with a solid foundation for your character.

2) What Made You Join the Clergy?

You could easily have been just a another member that listens to the cleric speak from time to time, made the occasional offering, and lived the rest of your life, but you didn’t. Why? Do you genuinely believe that the deity’s beliefs and methods are something you agree with, and you can see no other way for you to live your life? Do you have a need to tell everyone how much better their lives would be if they just did what your deity said. Were you in some kind of tragic accident/attack that killed everyone in your town/family/etc and the church is all you have left? Is it that you like to kill things, and this is one of the few socially acceptable ways of doing so in a civilized society. Do you crave the power to tell someone that follows the same faith as you what to do, and they do it, no matter what? How about this answer, its just a job. While we have trouble imagining that today, 500-1,000 years ago, being a priest was not a calling of faith but a way to provide a job to the fifth or eighth child of a land owner that didn’t want to split their territory. This is a defining moment in your character’s life, one that keeps you close to the deity’s power. This should not only color how you see the church but the world as well.

3) What Does Your Character Do To Have Fun?

Sure you can play a stereotypical cleric that loves singing the deity’s songs, reading the deity’s holy books, yet even real life clergy get tired of that from time to time. Heck, some even enjoy watching Family Guy. Not many, sure but still. They all have to kick back and relax. Not only that, some are naturally relaxed and can chill with no problem; others never seem to be comfortable having fun. Is your character socially awkward and makes noticeable but cute mistakes trying to fit in while drinking and playing cards? Are they an entertainer that missed their calling and are the life of the party by singing and juggling? Perhaps your character is more studious and is a voracious reader. This question adds a layer of complexity to the character and provides your character with more depth.

4) Where Do You And Your Deity Disagree?

The all to frequent answer to this is, “I don’t know. I never thought of that one before.” Before being asked that question, most players of clerics just substitute their deity’s beliefs for their own and call it a day. Remember, you are playing a person, not a bunch of talking points. Play someone with their own unique point of view. This can be technical, trivial point that no one outside the church’s clergy would care about or this can be as a serious fundamental point? Perhaps it is that you felt the deity should have acted to save someone from harm and the deity failed to do so. This sets up a conflict between the character and a major part of their life. If you want to explore this aspect, make sure you communicate this to your GM to build something with that in your game.

5) What Is Your Relationship To the Rest Of The Group?

Do you see your party as potential converts and are always telling them about why they should kneel before your god’s symbol? Do you see them as allies on a common mission. Are they just comrads in arms or are they friends? Like I said last time, you should definitely trust your party. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot have a complex relationship with them.

Runa Cloudsoles is our signature dwarven cleric. Her clan worshipped Marduk and joining the clergy was her dream. She seldom had time for fun, working the cloud silver mines to help her family earn a living. Now that she lives on the ground, she is free to seek adventure. While Marduk believes justice should involve an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, she shows mercy more often than others of her order would otherwise be. She sees her fellow adventurers as friends that work towards similar goals: justice, adventure and wealth. Runa, however, wants to use her wealth to talk to her family and find out if they want to live on the ground with her and make a safe and stable place for them. Read more about Runa here.

Pathfinder player? Give your cleric a celtic flare and download Book of the Faithful: Celtic Subdomains today. Do you prefer Fifth Edition? Check out the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1, which includes the cloud dwarf subrace which Runa is one of.