Friday, September 11, 2015

The Littlest Titan (Explaining Massive Damage, and Massive Weapons)

We've all shared a table with one of those fighters at some point in time. During the days of 3.5 it was the guy who dual-wielded greatswords with the Monkeygrip feat. In Pathfinder they're the Titan Maulers, Titan Fighters, and any other melee specialist who looks like they're compensating for something by using a sword nearly as big as they are. In older editions it was the fighter with the tetsubo or the giant's bastard sword. Regardless of what form they take, though, these combat brutes combine overwhelming strength with the capacity to reduce most opponents to little more than cooling meat with a single swipe.

If you've been looking for a new spin on this archetype, though, I've got an idea for you.

Carry A Big Stick

In order to get the most mileage out of this idea, you need to pull out all the stops for your damage dealing capabilities. High strength, a barbarian/fighter combo with the Titan Mauler and Two Handed Fighter archetypes, Power Attack, Furious Focus, Vital Strike, all that good stuff. If you can wrangle an unusual race like an Ogrekin, then go for it. Any bloodlines, Rage Powers, etc. that will give you strength bumps, like the Infernal Bloodline for bloodragers, or just taking Dragon Disciple, are also options. If at any point you hear a voice that says, "yeah, I could take that feat to really buff my damage, and combine it with this class archetype that multiplies everything by two, but that feels like a little too much wooge," this is the time to ignore that voice and go for all the cheese. You're not just a fighter with a big sword; you're Memnoch the Sunderer, whose blows can cleave opponents in twain through even the finest armor.

You get the idea.
If you're looking for a way to crank up the damage, let me direct you Pathfinder's One Hit Wonders: Tips For Building A Bigger, Badder Brute. Also, due to a recent change in the rules, it seems that the Titan Mauler can, indeed, now use a Large-sized greatsword. So remember that.

The Runt of The Litter

To townsfolk, and even to fellow adventurers, the Littlest Titan is a Herculean figure. With an unbreakable, iron grip, and the strength to wrestle giants to the ground, his prowess and raw might are breath-taking. To the tiny titan himself, though, he never sees what he does as exemplary. It's always just good enough, or just barely acceptable, no matter how awe-inspiring or impossible the physical feat he just performed is.

The reason is because he was not raised among men, so he has no frame of reference for what men are supposed to be capable of.

That guy in red, for example, was flung halfway across the Inner Sea.
Who raised the Littlest Titan, and how, is completely up to you. Was he a deformed baby, left to die of exposure in the wilds, but instead adopted by a tribe of ogres who mistook him for one of their own? In which case he would always have been delicate and sickly, according to his adopted family, and he would always strive to be stronger, faster, or more skilled than they were, even if he would never grow to match their sheer, physical size. Maybe brutal treatment taught him brutality in kind, making him a vicious warrior who takes no prisoners, or who eschews all weakness as something that should be killed. Maybe it taught him compassion, and he defends those who lack even his "little" strength.

With the sheer variety of creatures and races in Golarion, this concept can be spun hundreds of different ways. A human with Ogrekin blood could, according to the chart in the back of Bastards of Golarion, display bulging muscles or a deformed limb that speaks to inhuman ancestry (if you want the flavor, but couldn't convince your DM to give you a full-on Ogrekin character). A tiefling might be taken from the crib, and forced to contend with devils and demons in possession of gifts and powers he would never be able to match. A child from the Land of the Linnorm Kings might be taken in by fire giants, shown how to work their forges until eventually his body raises to the challenge of wielding such large tools. Frost giants or storm giants may also work as a surrogate family, skewing the character's view of the world so that he constantly views himself as little more than a child in the face of what he expected to become. The blood of dragons flows through many, and those who were acknowledged by their sires may have grown up in the presence of power the likes of which few people truly understand. Elemental races like the Ifrit, or even the animalistic might of orcs, could lead to offspring who only share half their sire's blood, but who are determined to be accepted as strong by those who bore them.

It's also important to ask how the character acts, now that he or she is adventuring. For example, would the half-orc who was constantly towered over by bigger members of the clan be unable to turn down a challenge to prove his strength (no matter how ridiculous or obviously impossible)? Would the Oread boast loudly about his prowess in order to hide his insecurity, spinning the personal myth of The Mountain Who Slays as a way to insulate himself from the nagging voice that he'll never be more than a pebble?

It's your character, but with such a strange back story it's important for you to have the full road map of who they are, where they were, and what brought them to where they are now.

That's it for this latest installment of Unusual Character Concepts. What do you guys think? If you want to help support Improved Initiative, then head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to toss some change in my cup. If you want to keep up on my latest updates, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter too!

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