View Full Version : Help with statting some unusual NPCs [3.5]

2009-02-06, 03:28 AM
So recently I asked a friend of mine who's new to D&D to join a campaign I've been running for two of my friends. This game has been going on, with interruptions, since 2005 and the world is something of a mismash of Samurai Champloo-style Anachronism Stew (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnachronismStew), guided by Rule of Cool (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool) as according to whatever my players want pretty much. ("I want my Half-Ogre to be a Samurai." "Okay cool, we can fit a Feudal Japan-style culture up here.")

Anyway, the thing is, this friend of mine wanted to play the same character he had in our last campaign (a human mercenary fighter best summarized as "Snake Plesskin, except a lady.") I thought he could just reuse the character born in this setting, but he specifically wanted the same character, dropped out of her own reality. Since in our last campaign, that reality was on the verge of being wiped out by awakening of all-devouring Great Old Ones, I'll allow it.

But I figured there's no reason I couldn't do something fun with it for myself... what kind of DM would I be otherwise? So I figure my friend's character, Valda, isn't the only refugee from across space and time. Somehow her passage attracted a few other individuals, who got displaced and chucked into the current campaign along with her. And of course, these individuals need to be the kind of people that are going to make that Very Bad News for everyone else.

They didn't come from Valda's world, or any typical kind of D&D setting. They came from our very own world, pulled out of time and space, along with enough followers to make them all the more dangerous. I don't intend these figures to appear right away; they'll need time to get their bearings, explore this strange new world, and figure out exactly how they're going to settle it. By the time they cross paths with the PCs, they'll have conquered substantial territories and be ready to take on the Luxan Empire, the main human civilization in this campaign setting.

These men are:

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Cromwell)
Short Bio: A rather unremarkable Yeoman, elected MP for Huntingdon, possessed Puritan leanings and joined Parliament's struggle to stop the Personal Rule of King Charles I. Ended up becoming the most successful general of the Civil War (both Civil Wars, technically), executed King Charles and set up a Commonwealth. After multiple Parliaments failed to not suck, became Lord Protector. Banned plays, public houses, and Christmas. Beat the hell out of the Cavaliers (twice), the Scots Covenanters, and the Dutch Navy. Kind of looks like Russel Crowe. Also wiped out a fifth of Ireland in there somewhere.

Charles XII, King of Sweden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_XII)
Short Bio: When he became King of Sweden at the age of 15, it happened to be the dominant power of Northern Europe, controlling Finland, much of Livonia, and profitable German territories. Sensing weakness in the boy-king, the Polish King Augustus II convinced the king of Denmark and Czar Peter of Russia to try and gang up on poor Sweden. When Charles invaded Copenhagen and forced the Danish King to surrender almost immediately, they started thinking they had messed with the wrong dude. Also took down a Russian army of 20,000 with 8,000 guys at Narva thanks to an Act of God and his habit of insanely charging into the teeth of death. In addition to his Spartan lifestyle, Charles was reputedly a mathematical genius and shaved his hair half-back and spiked it for that "crazed modern viking" look.


But I don't want my players to get who they are, at least right away. My friends are history buffs, but mostly on Classical and Late Antiquity, whereas I've sweated through a few years of Early Modern classes. Still, I'm thinking of disguising Cromwell* and Charles as "Gideon" and "Iron-Head," respectively. (Iron Head was the literal meaning of Charles' nickname in Turkey, although it really means 'fixed-asset' due to his expensive exile in the Ottoman Empire. Cromwell saw himself as the Hebrew Judge Gideon, called off his farm to fight for God.)

The question is how to represent these figures (not to mention their underlings; Charles' shrill voice-of-reason Count Piper, Cromwell's comrade-in-arms Lord Fairfax should make appearances). Right now all I have is a scattered collection of thoughts.

Both should be around EL 10.
Neither should have magic-heavy classes, since Charles and Cromwell shooting fireballs just makes the whole thing far too silly. Besides, they probably wouldn't trust sorcery and witchcraft.
Of the PrCs I've looked at, 'Cavalier' makes the most sense for Cromwell since he's from, well, literally the Cavalier Years. Yet I really don't want him to be useless outside the saddle, as that could make for a potentially lame confrontation.
Charles XII probably needs the Swashbuckler class, because he personally never wore armor--he was insanely confident like that.
I know about the Marshal class, but unfortunately I don't have the Miniatures Handbook so I'll have to do without it.
Both need the Diplomacy skill, as well as Ride and Handle Animal. Cromwell should have Knowledge: Religion, and Charles Knowledge: Nobility & Royalty as well as Knowledge: Mathematics & Engineering.
I tend to build NPCs using the elite array, so I'll probably do something like:
Cromwell- Str 13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 15;
Charles- Str 14, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 15, Wis 8, Cha 12
for their base stats.
I was debating using the Crusader class for Cromwell, but it would notably outweigh other melee characters (such as the incoming Fighter, or the Elf Monk).
Would a Barbarian/Swashbuckler cross-class be feasible? Because the "running right into the enemy's face, ignoring injuries and slashing wildly" thing is pretty much Charles' M.O.

Fairfax, Piper and John Mazeppa, Hetman of the Cossacks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ivan_Mazepa) will probably appear as well. But they'll probably just be regular (if High-Level) Warriors. Cromwell and Charles, on the other hand, can have PC classes and level-appropriate magic items. And if anyone was curious, this setting has gunpowder weapons (Anachronism Stew), so resupplying their mens' guns won't be a problem. I was thinking the first thing either would try to do, once they get used to the idea that they're not getting home anytime soon, would be to establish a fort somewhere in the secluded wilderness, and start out raiding for supplies and equipment before beginning to take and hold villages and the like, both supposing that since God has stranded them in this strange realm they may as well do something to civilize its heathen peoples and bring civilization to the barbarians.

So, does anyone have any suggestions how I can realize the attack of the Early Moderns on my characters' unsuspecting realm?

*And yes I know for some of our UK and Irish posters Cromwell may be a controversial figure. If anyone has any strong opinions on him, however, I ask you to let it be so this thread doesn't get locked.

2009-02-06, 08:02 AM
While I'm certainly familiar with these historical characters, I can't say I know them well enough to try to stat them out at all realistically. Half of the details I know about Cromwell are from that song done by Monty Python, I'm sad to say.

But as for a Barbarian/Swashbuckler... that could work. However, I think the "charging forward recklessly" is a character trait that would work equally well in any melee class. You don't have to go into rage to be reckless. I'd consider a Fighter/Swashbuckler. There's a feat that allows you to count your fighter levels for purposes of advancing the Swashbuckler's grace class feature - and this way you'd be able to get more feats and make him a bit more powerful. More powerful is always important for a BBEG, especially one who eschews magic.

Also, how does divine magic work in your game? If a loyal member of the Puritan church were to come with Cromwell, would he gain access to divine magic by his devout faith in Christ? Naturally, if he did, he'd see these things as miracles, further proving that God is behind their mission to civilize the heathens...

2009-02-06, 01:12 PM
Eh, as long as their class levels vaguely sync with their personalities, I'm not at all worried. Cromwell can have a magical flaming sword, he just took it from a Dragon's Horde or whatever. (Actually there probably should be some kind of limit on magical gear.... this is a low-magic game, and I don't want my players rolling it when/if they bring Charles and Cromwell down.)

As for their faith, well, it will be kind of hard to step around with Cromwell but I wasn't planning on bringing it into the limelight. 95% of 'clerics' in this setting are just Experts charged with tracking the celestial bodies, performing the sacrifices, etc. The remaining few thousand individuals are charged to go forth and do great deeds in the name of their Patron, although all nine gods worshipped in the Luxan Empire are constantly competing with each other. Arcane casters are slightly more common, but placed under strict oaths to never interfere in mundane politics or the daily life of normal humans. So yeah, just have a well-equipped, trained and battle-hardened army and you could certainly give the Empire a mortal struggle.

2009-02-06, 07:57 PM
Can I just say that having Oliver Cromwell in your campaign is the AwesomestThingEver? But, wouldn't he smite you for suggesting his class be Cavalier?