Last year, I worked through a bunch of cool character concepts based on almost every class and race I thought would be fun. This year, I’m going to work on creating my NPC’s and other characters for my Coldforged setting. Today, I have Wanderer, King of Tyndaria.
The very first campaign I ran in Coldforged saw a number of shifts in the setting as the narrative unfolded, both positive and negative. One of those developments was that the fighter in the game, Wanderer, became not only the bodyguard of the King of Tyndaria, but his adopted son and heir after the events of the campaign. This set in motion a swath of changes, both to my kingdoms and to the world that I had never anticipated.
Wanderer is not of any of the standard races. He is a demi-golem, created as a construct and imbued with a soul and life all of his own. The Archlich Moduru created him as a powerful servant and general. Unfortunately, the soul that he used to create Wanderer had desired all its own, broke free and fled Moduru’s grasp, though much of his time wandering was lost to memory.
Arriving on Tysis, Wanderer ended up with a group of adventurers. Who trekked across the continent, fought against and eventually defeated Moduru and many of his minions, even losing an arm to the mighty vampire Tetravin. During their adventures, he created and led an elite force of Tyndarian defenders called the Blades, who followed him in multiple battles and even had some of the other characters join. These blades swore allegiance to Wanderer, and hence through him to the King Tor of Tyndaria His one constant through this was that he wished to become human and, in the last stretch of the game, finally had his wish granted and became human.
After the game, as I proceeded to other adventures, King Tor was assassinated, and Wanderer became king. This was a fractious incident with many of the Houses of Tyndaria, and began the sundering that exists to this day, high houses rebelling, being pulled back in, and fracturing themselves. While Wanderer is a physical powerhouse, he is not a battlefield genius and relies on those who he commands to execute his needs without much oversight as he directs the war efforts and engages with the enemy himself.
During the Silentknives Rebellion, he was unable to wear down the Silentknives, and in the end, simply left the territory to itself, after he reconquered each other rebelling territory. While he had many victories, he simply could not continue the war deep in enemy territory.
Defeated in war, and victim of rebelling houses, he did have a particularly bright spot: His wife Messanna bore him twins, one boy, and one girl, both born healthy and alive. He seemed to be happy, and the Kingdom started to piece itself together.
Then, without warning or notice, the royal family vanished. War started up almost immediately, and Grady, the Field Marshal of the blades, took over running the Kingdom. War broke out all around the Kingdom, and Grady was inept at the coordination that Wanderer made look so effortless. He suffered a string of losses and floundered trying to keep the kingdom that Wanderer had inherited. It was an unmitigated disaster.
However, after 6 difficult years, Grady was given a reprieve. Wanderer, suddenly and unexpectedly, returned. He was sitting on his throne, alone, and simply imprisoned Grady in a tower in the castle and, without another word, returned to ruling the kingdom as if he had never left. His heart had hardened, however, and what was once strict, if benevolent rule quickly turned ironfisted and callous. Now, his wars were personal affairs, and the battles he participated in were once sided routs. He was no longer the wary and deliberate foe, he was an implacable one-man army.
When I made wanderer, he was a form of golem with a soul – a decade or more prior to warforged. I gave him a static set of stats (this was 2e, so it was hard to adjust them anyway) and a specific, powerful ability: he was immune to magic. Much like other golems, who were vulnerable to specific spells at the time, but otherwise immune, he too would be immune to all magic, both beneficial and harmful. This did mean, however, that any damage he took was lasting, and needed to be healed the good old fashioned way: 1 hp/day, 2 if resting. This put a huge cramp in the gameplay at the time, but being a young, naive DM, I figured it would be fine. We managed it, but it was painful at times.
Wanderer, King of Tyndaria
Wanderer has returned, and he seems to be reverting back to demigolem status, with many of his human traits fading and his golem traits reverting, which has caused him much mental distress and could be contributing to his brutal disposition
When I started to build his stat block – and its current form is brutally overpowered and not tuned at all – I wanted to make sure I integrated a few things into his design space.
First, I wanted to showcase the fact that he has strong construct attributes. He’s technically a humanoid Construct, but my monster program won’t allow that yet
second, I wanted to display the parts of his character that meant the most when we ran through the campaign oh so many years ago: Acids Edge, his +3 Acidic Longsword; his replacement fist, which was custom made for him and could be used as a shield and had a crossbow built into it; and his royal status as King.
Thirdly, I wanted to make sure that he felt like a pumped-up PC. I wanted to make sure that I took abilities that other players and DM’s recognized and added some serious zing!
I’m going to go through his stats and try and explain my reasoning behind each of them. This is not to defend them, but to explain what I am going for so that if there are any ideas on the improvement they follow the thoughts or dispute them reasonably.
AC: This one is simple: Breastplate + Arm-shield + Dex (14+1+3)
HP: As a level 23 Fighter (battlemaster) 23d10. This is really low for a CR 22 monster, but I do have counterbalances for that later on.
Stats: Keeping in line with my original stats 3 high and 3 REALLY high.
Saves: These matter only for non-spell saving throws (see later) and I gave him proficiency in Str, Cha, and Con to fit his character.
Damage Immunities and Resistances: As a construct, I want him to strongly resemble the most powerful of the constructs out there. Giving him Resistance to B/P/S and Immunity to poisons simply makes sense. Combined with his Implacable Resistance Trait, this essentially boosts his HP past 500, more in line with a CR 22 Creature.
Implacable Resistance: This represents his demi-golem abilities. This will be written in the future to be Spells and Magical effects. He can still make saving throws against battlemaster abilities, monk attacks, and other types of non-magic attacks, but magic is extremely weak against his constructed form.
No Remorse: This is simply Action Surge for a monster block as he would have for a level 23 fighter. I decided I didn’t need to amp this up at all.
King of the Battlefield: These represent the pinnacle of Battlemaster training. He is able to, five times per day (the same number as a 20th level battlemaster) use his maneuver and have it affect his whole turn. The additional damage it grants is important because it pulls his average damage up from below what the calculator says he should have and into the proper range with the additional d12. These are improvements in Pushing Attack, Menacing attack, Accurate attack (which I made static, instead of variable for a tiny bit of ease), and Trip. He also has Parry as a legendary Action under Defensive stance, making his armor class better than it seems on the stat block almost every turn.
Recuperate: a much-improved version of second wind, and the thing I am most likely to cut. His low HP total makes him extremely vulnerable to a melee group with all magic weapons, so I wanted a chance for him to regain a touch of that.
Multiattack: allows him the 4 attacks a fighter gets per turn.
Acids Edge: as a character, he had a serrated longsword named Acid’s Edge. A +3 Longsword with the acidic.
Crushing Fist: The arm he lost, replaced with an iron prosthetic. It’s not part of his multiattack, though if he chooses he can make an attack with it on his turn. It is used, however, for both his reaction and his Legendary Action.
Hand-Crossbow: The Prostatic had a heavy crossbow mounted in his arm. It’s a rather reasonable enough ranged weapon, and I wanted to reference the punch it gives without more movement shenanigans or knockdown, so I figured the highly specific impact effect would be a nice touch.
Retaliation: As his only reaction, this represents his exemplary melee skills and his ability to fend off single attackers without real fear, as well as making it necessary to come at him in groups, as well as buffering his hit points out a touch more, and with the Push being 15 feet, most opponents will be able to re-close with him for their other attacks.
Unrelenting: I have developed a pretty specific design philosophy for my legendary actions. I think that there should be a movement, a 2 point attack, and a special ability. This is his, fairly basic, movement ability allowing him to press the advantage or withdrawal as needed.
Defensive Stance: This is his special ability, and combined with his reaction, it ensures that he is nearly always attacked at his higher armor class of 21.
Pests: Wanderer has enough abilities so I thought a simple and basic attack with his fist or crossbow once per round (costing 2 points) would be the best legendary, if he needs it.
I hope you enjoyed this look at both my first draft at creating the most powerful single ruler in the Kingdoms, as well as his history and more. Let me know if you think there are any additional changes I should make either for clarity or power level. He might be unbalanced, I’ve heard that happens on the first draft.