Her son was born, and the lad was queer. He was strong, and fierce, just like his father had been. But his milk teeth were sharp enough to draw blood, and he was prone to rages. They say his eyes shone red in the darkness, and that the smell of death lingered on his skin. His strength grew, and he was stronger than most men by the time he was old enough to grow hair on his face. In time, he was driven from the town, and forced to live in the wild lands of the Broken Hills. Though there are beasts and bandits aplenty in those hills, none dare venture into them after darkness without a tithe to give. For if you move in the lands of the Draugr's Bastard, he will demand payment. And if you lack the gold, he will gladly take value in your blood.
|The hills have teeth. Walk shy of them, if you would avoid being bitten.|
An Unexpected Dhampir
When someone tells you they're playing a dhampir swashbuckler, you probably picture something like Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of The Night. While that's one option, a lot of us get stuck imagining all vampires as Vlad Dracula, and all dhampir as being in the same vein... so to speak.
Not so with the draugr's bastard. We already have a different look, since he comes from strong, northern stock. So he's big through the shoulders, with thick, dark hair, and likely dresses for the weather in a fur cloak and heavy leathers. He is still pale, as one would expect with his heritage, but he's also fearsome and barbaric. A man from outside civilization, as surely as he is outside the normal cycle of life and death.
Then we get into his mechanics. Because while dhampir get bonuses to charisma and dexterity, it's important to remember that all sorts of things can be one-handed piercing weapons. Such as a bastard sword, if you take Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword), Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword), and Slashing Grace. When you have that combination, you can swing around that heavy blade faster, and with greater precision, than one might expect. And if you throw in feats like Power Attack, watching you fight is almost like watching a predator unleashed onto the battlefield.
|Cold, and ruthless, as the snows he lives among.|
While the legend of his birth might be true, or it might just be a wild tale that's gotten out of control, the man himself is clearly otherworldly. And whether he'll choose to stay in the northlands near folk who hate and fear him, or whether he'll seek out opportunities elsewhere, depends on the player behind the character. Of course, if he grows in skill and power, he could easily become more than a local legend to the hill folk. The people who leave him offerings, and who call on him when reavers threaten their lands, or when it looks like war will spill over into their holdings.
That's all for this week's Unusual Character Concept. Hopefully it got some gears turning for folks out there. If you'd like to see more of my work, then check out my Vocal archive, or head over to the YouTube channel Dungeon Keeper Radio where I work on skits and sketches with fellow gamers. If you'd like to keep up-to-date on all my latest work, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter. And if you'd like to do your part to help keep Improved Initiative going, then consider stopping by The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page, or just Buying Me A Coffee.