May 30, 2011 by Jeff
The Tome Show recently announced a new book club where once a month we’re reading a D&D-based novel and discussing it at some depth. The first book we’re reading is called Twilight Falling, by Paul S. Kemp, it’s the first of the Erevis Cale trilogy and I was inspired by reading it to do this RP Build article. You see, Cale is a former assassin/thief who has become a follower of Mask, the god of thieves in the Forgotten Realms.
This got me thinking, back in the day (3rd edition) we used to easily be able to make characters like this. With levels in several classes you could make a PC capable of being a loner or part of a team and that works for this D&D story because it was written in the 3e days of the game. 4th edition, however, makes it hard to make such a character…so I thought, what the heck, I should give it a shot.
I don’t know if I’m making a 4e version of Cale…but I’m definitely going to try and make a 4e PC inspired by him. So let’s fire up the D&D Insider Character Builder and see what we can build…
Well, the obvious choice is cleric…or rogue. Maybe even assassin. Cale used to be an assassin or rogue and then became a cleric later in life. What we’re seeing in the books shows him to be mostly cleric, though. The more, I think on it, however, the more I think the natural fit for Erevis Cale is Avenger.
A holy assassin, trained in stealth but relying on spells as much as steel. I think down the line I might consider multi-classing cleric, to try and add in some of the specific flavor of the character as well, but we’ll see what happens when I get to feats.
As for the build, I’m going to go Censure of Unity/Commanding Avenger. None of them are really a perfect fit and Cale used to be a loner, but as of the story of this novel he’s working with a team and is, in fact, leading that team. This build will help indicate that role.
This should be obvious and easy…it’s not actually either, but it should be. I’ll say no more for now, but for obvious reasons, Erevis Cale is a Human. I can’t recall exactly where Cale is from, I want to say Amn, though, and bonus suits him well, so that’s how I’ll go for now.
I’m going with the double 16 array and naturally putting my human boost in Wisdom with the other 16 in Intelligence. It fits Cale fine and boosts his powers nicely Dex is third highest, which will play into some of the skills we’ll need as well as portray the character well.
I get to train in 4 skills and get Religion for free, which, actually, is the one thing so far that I have to compromise on…I don’t feel like Cale is well versed in religion, but I have no choice so there it is. For my others I need to try and make him more assassin/thief-like. As such, Thievery and Stealth are no-brainers.
The next two are less obvious, but I think Streetwise is a nice fit. Not perfect as Cale often relies on others’ contacts to get things done, but it fits decently well. Likewise, I’m going with Perception. Cale notices some things that others don’t…although sometimes after the others do, but it’s a good enough fit.
It’s time to dig into the big difference between 4e and 3e character concepts. I want to focus on powers that either look like swordplay or clerical spells to suit this character. Let’s start with at-wills. For their ability to simulate roguish swordplay, I like Overwhelming Strike and Leading Strike, avoiding some of the flashy, radiant based powers (since even if we called them spells, radiant doesn’t make tons of sense for a follower of the god of thieves.
As for encounter powers, there are a few I can go with. Relentless Attack works well as yet another sword maneuver, but I don’t want to ignore his cleric-y side entirely. So I think I’ll go with Shielded by Faith. It simulates swordplay in one part but then has a boost to defenses that could be a blessing from his god.
When it comes to Daily Powers things get a bit more difficult. Cale doesn’t use things like radiant (as discussed) nor does he have flashy spells that throw lightning and or teleports him around the combat. This eliminates a lot of our 1st level daily choices.
I’m tempted to go with Strength of Many…but it almost feels like I’ve gone too much into the “team player” category here. I mean, he has a bit of a history with it, but a longer implied history of being a loner. My other choice is Steelsworn Oath, which allows him to move his Oath of Enmity to another target and do damage at the same time. I think I have to go Steelsworn, it’s less interesting, but I think a better thematic fit.
This is the last real interesting place for us to make choices. First, to simulate his occasional use of healing and spellcasting, I think adding Initiate of Faith is a good idea. It gives him the healing, later it will give access to powers and paragon paths that we’d be interested in. The only down side is that it trains us in Religion, a skill we already automatically have.
The other feat should be something to make Cale feel more…awesome. There are some easy choices like Improved Armor of Faith. Easy to track, always useful. But the character is always wearing leather armor, but this feat applies to cloth or none. I could see a case for it, but I’m going to go with Avenging Resolution. Turning all attack rolls of 1 or 2 into a 3 is pretty awesome in any character.
Finish this character off with some mundane equipment and I think you have a decently built 4e version of Erevis Cale from Twilight Falling. Now, I might actually make him higher level if I were simulating the character more closely, I’m thinking level 8 or so for this novel. But for now, I think this is a good place to start.
I hope you consider joining us for the Tome Book Club and please let me know what you think of this build. Would you have done it differently? Would you like to see future RP build of a higher level version of this character to represent his journey through the books?