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View Full Version : (4e, but fluff is universial) Building Xanatos Gambit, the Chessmaster Bard



DragonBaneDM
2010-03-27, 02:26 PM
I've been listening to a lot of edgy musicals lately, most notably Dr. Horrible and Repo: The Genetic Opera. (I strongly recommend both!)

Anyway, they got me thinking on a new character concept: A Half-Elf Bard that's secretly evil, and sings a good bit of the songs from these movies. I've got an entire songlist built for him (Including "Be Prepared" from Lion King). He WOULD be Tiefling, but that's bad PR.

Also, the entire point of this character is tricking the party into furthering his power. I'm guessing at some point a monumental backstab will be necessary, but oh well, the guys I play with are tough enough roleplay wise to take it. (We've all pulled similiar stuff in the past on each other).

I have his attitude and songs worked out, but I still think I have two big things to bring into the calculation: His schemes and his build.

That's where you guys come in. What are some things you've done/ALWAYS wanted to do with an extremely crafty character?

Also, what's the RIGHT way to build a Cha/Int Bard in 4e? Cause I've certainly seen a lot of wrong ways...

Gametime
2010-03-27, 02:49 PM
I've been listening to a lot of edgy musicals lately, most notably Dr. Horrible and Repo: The Genetic Opera. (I strongly recommend both!)

Anyway, they got me thinking on a new character concept: A Half-Elf Bard that's secretly evil, and sings a good bit of the songs from these movies. I've got an entire songlist built for him (Including "Be Prepared" from Lion King). He WOULD be Tiefling, but that's bad PR.

Also, the entire point of this character is tricking the party into furthering his power. I'm guessing at some point a monumental backstab will be necessary, but oh well, the guys I play with are tough enough roleplay wise to take it. (We've all pulled similiar stuff in the past on each other).

I have his attitude and songs worked out, but I still think I have two big things to bring into the calculation: His schemes and his build.

That's where you guys come in. What are some things you've done/ALWAYS wanted to do with an extremely crafty character?

Also, what's the RIGHT way to build a Cha/Int Bard in 4e? Cause I've certainly seen a lot of wrong ways...

It really depends a lot on the campaign. One of the easiest evil schemes to pull off is your standard switcheroo - foil the Big Bad's evil plans, then co-opt the Big Bad's evil plans. Obviously, this depends on the evil plan in question, but if there's a MacGuffin involved you should be able to get most of the work done just by stealing it at the right time.

Be forewarned that bursting out into "Be Prepared" is something of a giveaway if your party is anywhere nearby. :smallbiggrin:

Nightson
2010-03-27, 03:20 PM
Don't use PC rules when making NPCs, use the DMG class templates.

Yakk
2010-03-27, 05:07 PM
Going sub Controller might be a good idea for a Xanatos Bard. And, as a Bard, you can pick up an assload of Controller at-wills through multiclassing. You could even go further, and go half-elf for yet another at-will...

DragonBaneDM
2010-03-27, 05:16 PM
Don't use PC rules when making NPCs, use the DMG class templates.

Muhahaha, you misunderstand sir. This IS my character.

Also, I've got a lot of songs that don't give away my evilness while still being fun to sing. On top of that, I'm gonna pick some obscure langauge no one else will know.

And finally, I'm MCing Wizard for sure. MAYBE Warlock.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-03-27, 05:30 PM
Well, for 3.5, take a look at the Joker Bard for the ultimate Xanatos.

If Changeling is allowed in 4e, it's kind of a natural given. Failing that, Human. Perfectly innocuous. Or maybe Halfing. No one suspects the Halfling.

Evard
2010-03-27, 05:47 PM
Make sure this is his catch phrase of some sort :p

"The key to strategy...is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory."
Cavilo, The Vor Game

(yeah found it on google :P)

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-03-27, 06:10 PM
Make sure this is his catch phrase of some sort :p

"The key to strategy...is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory."
Cavilo, The Vor Game

(yeah found it on google :P)

Vorkosigan learned from it, though... in fact, that was my sig quote for quite some time

DragonBaneDM
2010-03-27, 07:13 PM
*Slaps self on head*

OF COURSE!!! Changelings!!! BRILLIANT!!!

Mando Knight
2010-03-27, 09:28 PM
Be forewarned that bursting out into "Be Prepared" is something of a giveaway if your party is anywhere nearby. :smallbiggrin:

The soundtrack from the Music Meister episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is also a dead giveaway.

The Music MEISTEEEEEER! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPnqds02lFY)
And we are all his paaaaawns!

The MUUUSIC MEISTEEER!
Sings the song the world wants to hear! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iYhQKkehHE)

Telok
2010-03-28, 12:43 AM
I have a 4e bard that's considering taking a similar action. I recently led the party into robbing and murdering a moneylender (Bluff: "I detect evil in him. Plus it frees up capital and stimulates the economy"). Now I'm considering capturing them and turning them in to the local authorities.

The Magic Circle ritual is perfect for you. Wait untill they rest and take a watch, drop it around them, you can do anything you want with them. Just keep aware of the racial origins, elves and eladrin are fey, etc.

And Skill Focus: Bluff combined with the Glib whatsit ritual. Never underestimate the value of a well timed lie.

Draz74
2010-03-28, 12:53 AM
The soundtrack from the Music Meister episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is also a dead giveaway.

The Music MEISTEEEEEER! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPnqds02lFY)
And we are all his paaaaawns!

The MUUUSIC MEISTEEER!
Sings the song the world wants to hear! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iYhQKkehHE)

ROFL, threadwin. Evil Bard with Paragon Template applied.

Kurald Galain
2010-03-28, 03:53 AM
The Magic Circle ritual is perfect for you. Wait untill they rest and take a watch, drop it around them, you can do anything you want with them. Just keep aware of the racial origins, elves and eladrin are fey, etc.
If by "anything you want" you mean "prevent them from leaving", then yes.

However, to cast that, you first need a way to prevent them from moving for a full hour, and to prevent them from making perception checks (which you can still do while you're asleep). Ritual casting is not known for being subtle or silent.

So, a piece of rope is perfect for you!

Telok
2010-03-28, 08:38 AM
If by "anything you want" you mean "prevent them from leaving", then yes.

However, to cast that, you first need a way to prevent them from moving for a full hour, and to prevent them from making perception checks (which you can still do while you're asleep). Ritual casting is not known for being subtle or silent.

Perception checks just tell you the bard is chanting, it takes Arcana and interrupting your extended rest to know it's a ritual. If the players are anything like my group then he's likely to be the only ritual caster in the group. And just having the feat dosen't count, if you don't have any ritual components and can't be bothered to learn what your rituals do then you aren't actually a ritual caster no matter what your character sheet says.

Of course my group may be atypical, if it isn't combat then half of them fall asleep or go take smoking breaks. One of my first characters embezzled around 50k gold from the party fund over several levels. Most of them don't even notice the difference between my friendly, helpful characters and my manipulative sociopath characters. You'd think that constant verbal abuse and pushing "allies" around for fun would tip then off to the non-good alignment.