Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Archetypes Part 5: Warforged Servant

Warforged are one of the most obvious features of Eberron, as a setting.  The complex social standing of Eberron as beings created for a war that is no longer being fought is one of the awesome existential questions implied in the setting, and I wanted to give a PC an opportunity to explore it.  However, to do that, a PC would have to accept the fact that, at least for now, he's property.  Warforged Servant is a good role for someone who doesn't desire very much spotlight and would be tough to play for someone who wants lot of attention.

Archetype: Warforged Servant
Race: Warforged
Class: Any Arcane or Martial
Religion: None
Hook: You have been given to Prince Oargev by House Cannith to serve him in some specific capacity.  You are a fairly typical warforged trained in battle and/or arcane practices.
Benefits: Select Ancient Model, Experimental Model, or Refurbished Model:
     Ancient Model: You are one of the Warforged found and reactivated by House Cannith in the first creation forges.  No one knows who made you, how they did it, or why.  You were found with an ancient item that is tied to your life in some way.  You begin play with a level 1 magic item with an enhancement bonus.  You may spend residuum to further upgrade and enchant this item as if you had the Enchant Magic Item ritual.  If this item is out of your possession for more than 24 hours, it appears back on your person again.
     Experimental Model:  You are a top-of-the line Warforged designed to be able to take advantage of Cannith's newest and least reliable innovations.  You may purchase items from House Cannith that can only be used by Warforged or creatures with the Living Construct type of your level+4, so long as you have the gold to pay for them.
     Refurbished Model: You were put into service years ago, but due to some sort of mistake you were returned to House Cannith .  They partially rebuilt you, wiped your memory, and upgraded you as best they can.  Of course, your wipe wasn't as complete as Cannith might have hoped, but the magics they used to do so leave you more open to rapid reprogramming. You occasionally get echoes of your old life.  You are trained in one additional skill or can speak one bonus language.  In addition, you may retrain 2 feats, trained skills, languages, or powers each time you level up, instead of 1.

Commentary:  I figured the Warforged Servant archetype was a good one for someone who doesn't love the spotlight, doesn't feel a need to engage on a high level in most role-playing encounters, and wants to play the mildly inhuman.  In my mind, this guy could run anywhere from HK-47 from KotOR to Data from Star Trek: TNG, and I'm pretty okay with that.  I limited the classes the Warforged could play, primarily, because, in my mind, the freedom for warforged to pursue their own interests, like casting Primal, Divine, or Shadow magic, would be developments that wouldn't come until after the Last War's end.  That said, Warforged are best suited to Martial classes, so taking away some of their other options isn't really that big of a limit.  They were designed to be Fighters (Though, they can make GREAT Wardens (or Transformers as I like to call them) or Barbarians.  
     The other reason I really wanted to include a Warforged Archetype was that I wanted to, during Heroic Tier, bring in LOTS of campaign-cannon NPCs and tie them to the PCs.  After all, Oargev is a cannon NPC-turned PC, so rooting the players deeply in the world is one of my key goals in the campaign.  What better way to tie a PC to the most Iconic of Eberron villains, than to have him be a forge-brother of the Lord of Blades.
     We thought we would have a 4th PC until about a week before we started the game.  He had shown interest in playing a warforged E-fighter (Slayer) but, being somewhat new to the hobby, wasn't as comfortable doing heavy role-play, making him a great fit for this archetype.  After he had to drop out due to work commitments, I didn't want to overhaul my plans for their first adventure, drop a key plot point or two, and deal with the problems a 3-man 4ed party can bring.  We decided to make a Party Controlled NPC Warforged Slayer named Tact.  He's simple to play, so it doesn't sacrifice much time having one of the players run him in combat in addition to their own PC.  Also, he's mute, so in role-playing situations, I am practically incapable of stealing the scene with a DMPC.  In the very first session (Oargev's 18th birthday), the Prince is given, as a gift, a pair of veteran warforged, the officers of a new type of warforged unit designed and trained to not need a human commander to make command decisions.  Unfortunately, one of them was badly damaged during Thrane's recent Invasion of the Messengers, destroying the speech patterns of one of their commanders, Tact, so he is being given as a bodyguard to the Prince.  The other warforged commander, a warforged who favors a two-bladed sword, is called Blade.  He commands the Prince's Own Warforged, a unit of 100 warforged mages, warriors, and skirmishers, commanded to go where the Prince goes and defend his life.
     The good news, it looks like the player that was unable to play may be able to step back in, so we'll get Tact's voice-box fixed (or maybe give him a Circlet of Command, making him a silent, telepathic warforged!).

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