I thought is would be fun to post some of my characters from some campaigns. First up is my most recent character from a just-completed Skull & Shackles campaign. Presenting the new Hurricane King: Xantrian de Sauveterre!
Xantrian de Sauveterre
Male human (Taldan) bard 14
CN Medium humanoid (Human)
Init +4, Senses Perception +16
AC 28, touch 13, flat-footed 28 (+9 armour, +3 deflection, +3 natural, +3 shield)
hp 138 (12d8+47)
Fort +11, Ref +12, Will +11
Speed 30 ft.
Melee brine’s sting +17/+12 (1d6+8/18-20) or masterwork brass knife +17/+12 (1d4+7/19-20)
Ranged masterwork light crossbow +11 (1d8/19-20)
Special Attacks dirge of doom, distraction, fascinate 5 creatures (DC 22), frightening tune (DC 22)
Spells Known (CL 14th; concentration +21)
5th (3/day)–bard’s escape, cacophonous call, mass (DC 20), shadowbard
4th (5/day)–dance of a hundred cuts, dimension door, freedom of movement, heroic finale, phantom steed, communal, virtuoso performance
3rd (5/day)–dispel magic, exquisite accompaniment, feather step, mass, glibness, good hope, phantom steed, see invisibility, terrible remorse (DC 18)
2nd (6/day)–acute senses, allegro, blistering invective (DC 17), dust of twilight (DC 17), gallant inspiration, glitterdust (DC 17), invisibility, pilfering hand (DC 17), silence
1st (6/day)–expeditious retreat, grease (DC 16), lock gaze (DC 16), remove fear, saving finale, toilsome chant, touch of gracelessness, unseen servant, windy escape
0 (at will)–dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound (DC 15), prestidigitation, read magic, spark
Str 24, Dex 10, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 20
Base Atk +10; CMB +17; CMD 27
Feats Arcane StrikeB, Combat CastingB, Discordant Voice, Disruptive, Flagbearer, Lingering Performance, Penetrating StrikeB, Persistent Spell, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Perform [oratory]), SpellbreakerB, Step Up
Skills Acrobatics +6, Appraise +1, Bluff +24, Climb +5, Craft (Untrained) +1, Diplomacy +31, Disguise +5, Escape Artist -2, Fly -2, Heal -1, Intimidate +17, Perception +16, Perform (Oratory) +29, Perform (Untrained) +5, Profession (Sailor) +16, Ride -2, Sense Motive +11, Stealth -2, Survival -1, Swim +13
Languages Common, Polyglot
Archetype Arcane Duelist
SQ arcane armour, arcane bond (bonded object [Brine’s Sting]), arcane strike, bardic performance (35 rounds/day), bladethirst +3, barroom talespinner, bonus bard spell (11×), bonus feats, cantrips, focused mind, focused study, inspire competence +4, inspire courage +3, inspire greatness (2 allies), pride, rallying cry, shackles seafarer, silver tongued, soothing performance
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds, scroll of dispel magic, wand of mirror image (23 charges); Other Gear brine’s sting, masterwork brass knife, celestial armour, +3 darkwood buckler, belt of physical might +4 (Str & Con), headband of alluring Charisma +6, amulet of natural armour +3, ring of protection +3, cloak of resistance +3, feather token, anchor, fogcutting lenses, gloves of dueling, Hurricane Crown, mutineer’s bane earring, quick runner’s shirt, rod of splendour, fancy pirate clothes, spell component pouch, tattoo (full back), belt pouch, extra-fancy bicorn admiral’s hat of awesome, backpack, bedroll, soap (1 lb.), torch (10), trail rations (5 days), waterskin, flint and steel, ink (1 oz. vial), inkpen, iron pot, journal (50 pages, oilskin cover), mess kit, small steel mirror, hemp rope (50 ft.), Grok’s memento, farglass, banner (for Flagbearer), Shackles letter of marque
I had a lot of fun playing Xan, and not just because he was the captain. The Skull & Shackles adventure path, more than any other one I have played, really encourages you to embrace the theme, and almost every one of us did, including the GM. We had “Black” Tom Locke, cleric of Besmara, carpenter, cook, ship’s doctor, and the best pilot of the lot of us. Luban Abrar was a Zen archer who fled her monastery for unknown reasons and eventually became an inquisitor of Calistria; Luban was also in charge of the siege engines and boarding parties. Whenever anyone died, friend or foe, first mate Marrik the undine druid used to race to cast a reincarnation spell, which the GM house-ruled always brought the recipient back as an aquatic (or at least amphibious) race.
And then there was Captain Xantrian de Sauveterre, the musically-inept bard. Yup, look at his stats: the only Perform skill he has ranks in is Oratory. I actually put in his back-story that he used to try to sing for his bardic performance, but the last crew he was with threatened to mutiny if the captain didn’t make him stop. Since Xan was orating all his bardic performances, it quickly became accepted that he was in fact just talking all the time; one of the other players actually called him “Captain Windbag”, which I though was both hilarious and perfect. And other aspects of the character changed subtly to support his non-stop talking: Lingering Performance became a semi-magical effect where even if Xan stopped talking, you would still hear him – probably some sort of psychological effect where since you just assume you’ll hear him talking, so your brain fills in the missing sound. Exquisite accompaniment became a floating mouth beside Xan, talking non-stop in his own voice. Virtuoso performance became an echo that, while continuing to orate in his voice as a second performance, would also occasionally issue conflicting commands to the crew. And with shadowbard, Xan was in his glory: his own shadowy clone, also talking in his own voice, also giving a bardic performance. At one point in one major battle towards the end of the campaign, Xan had three bardic performances going at once, thanks to virtuoso performance and shadowbard. The players loved it, of course, but the characters thought they’d died and gone to Hell. I never “performance-cycled” – performing for just one round then letting Lingering Performance keep the effect up for two more rounds – because most of the rest of the group isn’t into that level of optimization.
Besides talking, Xan’s other defining trait was his pride. He’d never let a challenge or insult go unanswered. He always had to be well-dressed. His personal pirate flag basically screamed, “Harrigan, I’m coming for you!” He actually had a pirate ship (named “Sirenia”) custom-built in the Senghor shipyards rather than use one he captured. And he always, always had to have the biggest hat. Xan’s hat was a major source of enjoyment in the campaign, to the point that we joked that the Sirenia was the only pirate ship in the Shackles with an on-board haberdasher (the old meaning of someone who deals in hats, not the modern meaning of a clothing outfitter). Xan was actually forced to give up his first big hat as part of a deal with Tsadok Goldtooth, but Goldtooth only said that Xan had to hand over his hat; he never specified what condition it had to be in. So, immediately after agreeing to the deal Xan promptly instigated a good old-fashioned bar brawl, and made sure to conveniently lose his hat during the melee. He may or may not have also intentionally stomped on it a few times during the fighting. So when the dust settled, Xan picked it up off the floor and handed over to Goldtooth a trodden-upon, beer-and-rum-soaked mess of a hat. And then he promptly went down to the market and bought the biggest hat he could find.
Skull & Shackles has gotten some mixed reviews, but I think that’s in large part due to powergamers ignoring the feel of the AP. If the players and especially the GM really get into the Hollywood-style swashbuckling pirates theme, this AP is one of the most enjoyable. More Pirates of the Caribbean, less Black Sails.