We did, in fact, start the fire.

Quote Originally Posted by Miranda d'Ormin

Miranda d'Ormin: Light in the Darkness

Spoiler: backstory
Show
Miranda thanked the Orien footman for opening the carriage door for her, He showed further deference by setting down a wooden stool so she could step down onto the ground.

“So you don’t drink on odd days or what?” Landon asked her.

“No, I don’t do it during daylight hours,” Miranda said.

Landon stepped downwind and lit his pipe. The embers bathed his face in orange light under the darkness of night. “You aren’t going Puritan on me, are you, girl?”

“Nah. Just something to lose a little weight,” Miranda said.

The two of them approached a small thatched hut. A handful of what Miranda gathered were local town guard stood out front, leaning on spears they didn’t know how to hold properly. Clearly not the kind of thing they were used to in a town this size.

They showed their identification from the church and stepped inside. The midwives from Jorasco swarmed around the bed holding the new mother.

The oldest of them climbed down from her stepladder and bowed before Miranda, perfunctory as it was. The halfling dipped her hands in a bowl of steaming water to rinse the blood off them and nudged her gryphon-beaked mask onto her forehead, her skin damp with sweat. The room clearly had far more people in it than it was designed for. Already, the air was close. Miranda suppressed the urge to fan herself.

“Well met, Dame d’Jorasco,” Miranda said with the appropriate gesture of respect. “You did the right thing by reporting this to us.” The newborn rustled inside an apple box a respectable distance from the mother.

“Not like I had much choice,” d’Jorasco groused. “I know better than to ask what’s going to happen to that poor child. Ask me your questions and I can get back to where I’m needed.”

Landon winced. “I’ll, uh, I’ll let you take this one. I’ll go talk to the mother. She still in absentia?” he pantomimed a puff on an absentia pipe.

“That’s illegal out here. It can hurt the baby,” d’Jorasco said. “She’s lucid enough, but she’s very upset.”

“Duly noted,” Landon said with a wink at Miranda over the halfling’s head. He stepped off to question the mother.

Miranda pulled a collapsible pole from her belt and stalked around d’Jorasco. She traced a circle around her in the dirt floor with its tip and stood in its center.

D’Jorasco swallowed. “This isn’t necessary. We’ve cooperated with the Flame.”

“I’m sure someone in your line of work can understand how important it is to adhere to proper protocol,” Miranda said. “While you are in this circle, you cannot speak a lie. Nor can I. I will ask you one question to calibrate the spell. I will extend you the same courtesy.”

Miranda telescoped the pole and clipped it back onto her belt. “Let me hear whatever’s been burning behind your eyes since I walked in here. Tell me what you’d least like me to hear, Dame d’Jorasco.”

D’Jorasco’s face contorted into a grimace of pure contempt for an instant as Miranda’s magic washed over her.

“You’re despicable. What you do to these women and their children is evil. If it weren’t for my vows as a healer, I’d slap that smug grin off your face,” she said. She seemed winded after she spoke, like a balloon that had been deflated.

Miranda was indeed smiling. The truth could not be hidden under a bushel forever. Her own deceptions for the good of polite socialization were no exception.

“There. Doesn’t that feel better? Fortunately, our authority is not contingent on your approval. Your house provides medical service in exchange for money. Whoever lives in this hovel plainly can’t afford your services. You’re forbidden from healing for free. Who paid you?” Miranda paced around the confines of the circle.

“The father,” d’Jorasco said.

“Where is he? Did we pass by him on our way in?” Miranda stopped and knelt, looking into d’Jorasco’s eyes, hidden by the looping whorls of her dragonmark.

“If I knew, I would do everything in my power not to tell you.” D’Jorasco held Miranda’s gaze.

“I believe you. Why isn’t he here?” Miranda asked.

“You know why.” D’Jorasco glanced at the box holding the baby.

“I suppose I do.” Miranda stepped out of the circle and passed by it. She stroked its fur and dropped a piece of dried apricot into its paws. She pried Landon away from the mother. “Anything useful?” she asked him.

Landon laid a damp washcloth across her forehead. “I’ll be back after we take care of all this unpleasantness, miss.”

He tipped out the ash from his pipe once the two of them stepped outside the hut.

“Nurses made small talk. Hear there’s something picking off cattle near the edge of town. Three guesses what,” Landon said.

“Very promising. Big talk with their boss means he’s probably responsible for that thing in the box,” Miranda said. “Local talent?”

“Some glory hound saved the town from brigands and monsters a few times. Not the kind of place that can have a statue of him. Specialized in fire magic. His name was something like Robert, Rupert—“

Miranda felt the Flame alight inside her. “Ruprecht?”

“Yeah, that’s it. How did y-“

“In time, all comes to light,” she said. “You stay here. Civis for reinforcements and take the old lady in for questioning. I’ll make a sweep of the town.”

Landon grunted. “All right. Just keep a lid on that torchbearer stuff out there. Makes these hicks uncomfortable.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Miranda was able to explore the town in short order. It was largely empty, so there were few people for her to question. Everyone was gathered around a barn by the edge of town. There was what could generously be considered a crowd milling around out front. They tried to light torches together from a central brazier that guttered in the wind. The full moon loomed overhead, but was blanketed by a haze of cloud.

“Not much of a perimeter,” Miranda said during a lull in the conversation about the harvest. She made sure her comment was made within earshot of the man with the warmest coat, doubtless the sheriff.

He turned around and displayed his symbol of office proudly on a silver chain around his neck. “Haven’t really got the manpower for it, miss.”

Miranda nodded. “Speaking of manpower, has anyone got in touch with Ruprecht the unassailable? This seems like the kind of thing you use him for.”

“We’ve tried, miss, but he’s not home,” the sheriff said.

“Imagine that,” Miranda said. “Something’s trapped inside. Probably just a wolf. Nothing we can’t handle. Got a man going around back to flush him out now.”

A bright flash of light burst through the seams of the barn’s wooden panels and Miranda heard the unmistakable sound of a body hitting the ground.

“Not just a wolf. Let me go explore. It would be better for everyone involved,” Miranda said to the sheriff.

He thought it over. “If it’s church business, it’s not my place to interfere,” he said once he’d figured out a way to acquiesce without showing weakness in front of the crowd.

The wind blew out the brazier, eliciting grumbles from the crowd. Miranda shrugged off her cloak and handed it to the sheriff. She clothed herself in fire and spoke a prayer to the Flame.

“May the shadow offer my quarry no succor; Flame, illuminate my enemy and protect me from darkness.”

She crept around the back of the barn and stepped over the man who’d been thrown clear. He was breathing. Jorasco could deal with him later.

Miranda cast long shadows into the barn. She breathed through her mouth to block out the stink of animal blood that was splashed in gouts across the floor. Her footprints sizzled as the blood caramelized in her wake.

“Congratulations, Ruprecht. You have a son. And he’s beautiful,” Miranda made no effort to hide her presence. Either the flame would aid her, or she would rejoin with it as this beast tore her throat out like it had done with all these horses.

“You stay away from him! Do you hear me? I’ll kill you if you touch him!” Ruprecht yelled, his voice distorted by his snout. Up in the rafters, then. Miranda snapped her fingers and conjured a choking mist around him. She saw his shadow in it as he leapt from its confines.

Ruprecht stood before her, hulking on two legs. The tatters of his cloak hung from his muscled back. His snout dripped with gore and lightning sparked in his eyes. His clenched fists began to glow and radiated flame. He took a fighting stance Miranda had never seen in her life, but still found familiar in a way she did not question.

“Light on your feet as always, eh, zephyr?” she said and gently clapped twice like a Phiarlan ballet dancer.

Ruprecht lunged at her and closed his jaws on empty air. Miranda discorporated into flame and coalesced behind him.

“Why would you call me that? The only person who ever called me that was-“ Miranda punched him in the kidney before he could finish.

“Your master, Milosz the Unburnt. Well, I suppose just Milosz, now. A real shame when a man like that returns to the flame, no matter how inevitable it—” Miranda was laid low by a spinning kick to the face, burning off her eyebrow.

“Don’t you dare joke about that! He was murdered by those zealots from Thrane. I loved that man like a father.” Ruprecht was breathing heavily now. His back was hunching. He was becoming more savage.

“I know. I celebrate the date every year. It’s the day I was born. But you know that already.” Miranda surrounded herself in a hemisphere of stone and healed her wounds as Ruprecht hammered at the outside with his fists.

“Your cell worships the Flame in its own way, even if you don’t know it yet. Contrary to the men who killed Milosz, I don’t think of you people as heretics. Just as misguided worshippers. I don’t know how you’re doing what you’re doing, but the existence of you so-called Jade Phoenix Magi is weakening the Flame.”

Ruprecht made a crack in the dome and forced his snout into it. He was at shoulder height now in his most bestial form.

“When we die, we’re supposed to return to the Flame. If what you and your brethren believe is true, you’re cheating the flame of thirteen souls, and I have Milosz’s.” Miranda gathered her power and jammed her fist into Ruprecht’s maw, like a Vadalis lion tamer. She loosed a blast of holy fire and squirmed through the hole in the stone dome when she heard him stop moving outside.

She knelt and caught her breath. Her clothing was torn from the jagged stones, and she was bleeding all over.

Ruprecht coughed smoke before her, lying naked on his back in his human form.

“It’s over. You’ve won. Kill me, monster. In my next life, I’ll return the favor. No matter where I am born, no matter how poor the village, or how remote the tannery I must claw my way up from to begin my quest, I will remember you and I will bring you to justice,” Ruprecht croaked, half-cooked.

Miranda was almost out of healing magic, and her choice was obvious. She touched her hand to Ruprecht’s charred face and restored the vitality to his ruined lungs and destroyed throat. With her other hand, she closed irons around his wrists.

“I know you may not think so, but I’m not a monster. I don’t want to hurt you. I just want to help you see the light. If the church can get all of your order together, we can start to repair whatever defect in the Flame is allowing it to leak the souls that belong with it.”

Ruprecht took a shuddering breath with his regenerated lungs. “And my son?”

Miranda lifted his head and clipped a collar around his neck. She pulled him to his feet and led him out of the barn.

“You know the answer.”

Transport had arrived to take care of Ruprecht and the Jorasco woman, so Miranda left them to it. The guardsman was being tended to after Miranda had paid Jorasco’s fee. She caught her breath on a barrel by the farmhouse with a mug of cider the farmer had hospitably offered her.

The rosy fingers of dawn would soon banish the moonlight from Miranda’s presence, and though she squinted, she was grateful nonetheless.

A girl with a wooden sword and a crudely painted shield bearing a fascimile of the Flame’s insignia nudged at Miranda’s legs.

“Is it exciting being an inquisitor? Fighting the bad guys and being all rawr! Boom! Crash!” she banged her sword against Miranda’s shin.

Miranda handed her the bag of dried apricots and stood up hesitantly, feeling some bones out of their usual resting places.

“I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”


Spoiler: stub
Show
LG human conjurer 5/crusader 1/silver pyromancer 5/ jade phoenix mage 9


Spoiler: abilities
Show

str 12
dex 13
con 14
int 15 (increases here)
wis 8
cha 10

Spoiler: table
Show


CR Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1 Wizard 1 +0 +0 +0 +2 concentration 4, k (religion) 4, k (arcana) 2, k (history) 2, k (planes) 4, spellcraft 4 snowcasting, fell drain Abrupt Jaunt, scribe scroll, specialize: conjuration (ban: enchantment & necromancy)
2 Wizard 2 +1 +0 +0 +3 concentration 1 (5), k (planes) 1 (5), k (religion) 1 (5), k (arcana) 1 (3), spellcraft 1 (5)
3 Wizard 3 +1 +1 +1 +3 concentration 1 (6), k (planes) 1 (6), k (religion) 1 (6), k (arcana) 1 (4), spellcraft 1 (6) energy substitution (fire)
4 Wizard 4 +2 +1 +1 +4 concentration 1 (7), k (planes) 1 (7), k (religion) 1 (7), k (arcana) 2 (6), spellcraft 1 (7)
5 Wizard 5 +2 +1 +1 +4 concentration 1 (8), k (planes) 1 (8), k (religion) 1 (8), k (arcana) 2 (8), spellcraft 1 (8) bonus feat (spell mastery: (lesser orb of fire, alter self, alter fortune) )
6 Crusader 1 +3 +3 +1 +4 balance 5, tumble 1 planar touchstone (catalogues of enlightenment: dragonlance campaign setting’s sun domain) Furious counterstrike, steely resolve 5
7 Silver Pyromancer 1 +2 +3 +1 +6 concentration 2 (10), k (religion) 1 (9), k (arcana) 1 (9), spellcraft 2 (10) Pyromancer, purge undead, bow proficiency
8 Silver Pyromancer 2 +3 +4 +1 +7 concentration 1 (11), diplo 2, k (religion) 1 (10), k (arcana) 1 (10), spellcraft 1 (11) Sacred flame
9 Silver Pyromancer 3 +3 +4 +2 +7 concentration 1 (12), diplo 2 (4), k (religion) 1 (11), k (arcana) 1 (11), spellcraft 1 (12) uncanny forethought Smiting spell 1/day
10 Silver Pyromancer 4 +4 +4 +2 +8 concentration 1 (13), diplo 2 (6), k (religion) 1 (12), k (arcana) 1 (12), spellcraft 1 (13) Persistent fire
11 Silver Pyromancer 5 +4 +4 +2 +8 concentration 1 (14), diplo 2 (8), k (religion) 1 (13), k (arcana) 1 (13), spellcraft 1 (14) Smiting spell 3/day (blinding), improved sacred flame
12 Jade Phoenix Mage 1 +6/+1 +6 +2 +8 concentration 1 (15), spellcraft 2 (15), tumble 4 (5) Arcane Thesis (orb of fire) Arcane wrath, rite of waking
13 Jade Phoenix Mage 2 +7/+2 +7 +2 +8 concentration 1 (16), spellcraft 2 (16), tumble 4 (9) mystic phoenix stance
14 Jade Phoenix Mage 3 +8/+3 +7 +3 +9 concentration 1 (17), diplo 1 (9), tumble 3 (12), swift concentration
15 Jade Phoenix Mage 4 +9/+4 +8 +3 +9 concentration 1 (18), diplo 1 (10), intimidate 5 rapid metamagic Empowering strike
16 Jade Phoenix Mage 5 +10/+5 +8 +3 +9 concentration 1 (19), diplo 1 (11), intimidate 3 (8), collector of stories
17 Jade Phoenix Mage 6 +11/+6/+1 +9 +4 +10 concentration 1 (20), diplo 1 (12), intimidate 3 (11), never outnumbered Firebird stance, Jade Phoenix master
18 Jade Phoenix Mage 7 +12/+7/+2 +9 +4 +10 concentration 1 (21), diplo 1 (13), intimidate 3 (14), nimble charge battle blessing
19 Jade Phoenix Mage 8 +13/+8/+3 +10 +4 +10 concentration 1 (22), diplo 1 (14), intimidate 5 (19) Quickening strike
20 Jade Phoenix Mage 9 +14/+9/+4 +10 +5 +11 concentration 1 (23), diplo 1 (15), intimidate 4 (23), 1 free


Spoiler: spell chart
Show

Spells per Day
Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st 3 1 - - - - - - - -
2nd 4 2 - - - - - - - -
3rd 4 2 1 - - - - - - -
4th 4 3 2 - - - - - - -
5th 4 3 2 1 - - - - - -
6th 4 3 2 1 - - - - - -
7th 4 3 2 1 - - - - - -
8th 4 3 3 2 - - - - - -
9th 4 4 3 2 1 - - - - -
10th 4 4 3 3 2 - - - - -
11th 4 4 4 3 2 1 - - - -
12th 4 4 4 3 2 1 - - - -
13th 4 4 4 3 3 2 - - - -
14th 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 - - -
15th 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 - - -
16th 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 - -
16th 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 - -
18th 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 - -
19th 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 -
20th 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 -


Spoiler: maneuvers/stances by level
Show

maneuvers:
6
foe hammer
mountain hammer
douse the flames
leading the attack
battle leader’s charge

12
+divine surge
14
+radiant charge
16
+rallying strike
18
+inferno blade
20
+greater divine surge


stances
6
leading the charge

16
+aura of perfect order

Spoiler: playtips
Show

Spoiler: lvl 5
Show

You function as a fairly straightforward conjurer here. Abrupt jaunt is a lifesaver at low levels and never loses relevance, so enjoy your get out of jail free card. Enchantment is a standard ban choice, but I advise going for necromancy over evocation for your second both due to the Silver Flame not believing in raising the dead and other necromantic accoutrements, and the usefulness evocation will impart throughout your career


Spoiler: lvl 10
Show

A few important points of clarification:

You are taking planar touchstone catalogues of enlightenment for the dragon lance campaign setting’s sun domain, which imparts turn undead as a good-aligned cleric, not the sun domain from the player’s handbook which imparts greater turning 1/day. This will allow you to enter silver pyromancer without needing to dip cleric or wait til you can enter sacred exorcist.

Silver pyromancer sets your caster level to your character level, so later boosts will put you ahead of the curve.

Crusader adds versatility and martial prowess and helps lay groundwork for later qualification to jade phoenix mage.

Silver pyromancer adds paladin spells to your wizard list (including wands, of course), grants proficiency with the bow, helps you put the hurt on undead, smite bad guys, light enemies’ clothes on fire, blind enemies, and ultimately deal all fire damage as holy damage next level.

Your magical prowess continues to increase, so enjoy being a wizard.


Spoiler: lvl 15
Show

Uncanny forethought allows you to reserve a number of slots to cast any spell you know. Casting the spell in this fashion, you can add snow from snowcasting and impart the cold descriptor. With this in play, energy substitution (fire) will activate and you can turn the spell into fire. Sacred flame then turns that fire damage into untyped holy damage, allowing it to harm everyone equally.

This is the reason you didn’t ban evocation. One of the school’s primary weaknesses is energy typing. Removing this as a factor makes its spells far more attractive, and now anything that deals hit point damage no longer needs to keep this in mind as a factor.

You have finished silver pyromancer and are now in jade phoenix mage. You’ve finished revising your arcane thesis on orb of fire, and have gotten it back with full marks. It has by far the best rider effect of the orbs (daze) and since it has an energy descriptor, it is eligible for your aforementioned trick.

This is important because it allows you to reduce the overall level as standard for metamagic with arcane thesis and apply other feats, like fell drain, at a discounted cost, and it raises your caster level as well, which is awfully nice.

Rapid metamagic means that when you apply energy substitution to a spell, it will only take its normal casting time, allowing you to cut down on the normal fullround imposed by uncanny forethought.

Jade phoenix mage adds additional versatility in the form of your listed maneuvers alongside some cool new stances beefing up your damage in melee and making you unappealing to approach.

You also get the ability to beef up a spell with a free empower (such as orb of fire!) any time you hit an enemy with a martial strike once an encounter.

You can also boost your caster level further thanks to mystic phoenix stance for all spells, which is great, and it also imparts damage reduction, helping survivability in melee should you choose to close ranks and put the hurt on enemies with your martial maneuvers.


Spoiler: lvl 20
Show

You’ve got more jade phoenix mage under your belt and have more powerful stances giving even bigger bonuses.

Battle blessing is now up, allowing you to cast the paladin spells imparted by silver pyromancer as swift actions.

Firebird stance gives you an increase to the cl of fire spells (read: all spells thanks to your trick) by 3, and provides another avenue to deal damage to large amounts of nearby enemies.

You’ve also got a free quicken 1/encounter, which can end whole encounters. Again, your signature attack, metamagicked orb of fire is eligible, but almost anything can benefit from this feature.


Spoiler: sources
Show

srd: wizard, spell mastery
complete mage: rapid metamagic
five nations: silver pyromancer
dragon lance campaign setting: sun domain
tome of battle: crusader, jade phoenix mage
libris mortis: fell drain
player’s handbook II: immediate magic, arcane thesis
complete arcane: energy substitution
planar handbook: planar touchstone
frostburn: snowcasting
complete champion: battle blessing
exemplars of evil: uncanny forethought
cityscape web enhancement: skilled city dweller