Adventures In Leetham
Psionic Gnome, formerly a hermit
XP = 37 as of this posting…
Agility d4 Smarts d10 Spirit d8 Strength d6 Vigor d12
Pace 6 Parry 10 (11 with staff) Toughness 7 Charisma 0
All four Psionics at d12, Fighting d12, Riding d4, Healing d8, Notice d8, Investigation d4, Survival d4, Knowledge (“Arcana” / Arcane Lore) d8, Language (Gnome) d8, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4
Gnome edges (low light vision, clever, resist Psionics) arcane background: Psionics, advanced training: 3 Psionic skills, bonded pet: Mastiff, power points +5, rapid recharge, power points +5, mentalist
Packrat (major), Curious (major), Heavy Sleeper (minor), minor vow: asceticism.
Mendel’s gear is very basic, ascetic, and not worth mentioning (aside from his magic staff that can spray flammable goo and allows him to speak Goblin when holding it). Mendel looks like a Jawa or a midget Jedi…
Fundamentally, Mendel is a traveler / wanderer (curious and inquisitive: always seeking knowledge), but he was not always living that lifestyle…
Mendel was born in one of the many hidden enclaves of the Gnomish Society. Beyond hermetic and tinker gnomes, there is a full and rich culture that is known only to the gnomes themselves. Gnomes, generally, do not trade with other societies and value not being part of the rest of the world. They are smaller (and physically weaker) than other races, but have advanced, technologically, far beyond even the dwarves.
The hermetic gnomes have been either banished by gnomish society or have decided to remove themselves for personal reasons. Tinker gnomes travel up to the surface to test their theoretical inventions before returning with a fully functional new device. Many on the surface think of these two as being of different races due to their vastly divergent attitudes towards others.
Mendel was identified at an early age for his Psionic aptitude and was assigned a mentor. This mentor trained Mendel in how to operate certain machines essential to the enclave’s survival (which could only be operated by one with his powers). Mendel was not be alone in this training and, while others saw it as a great honor, Mendel saw it as lifelong servitude and a waste of his potential. Not seeing the honor that others believed he was having bestowed on him, Mendel left the enclave to focus on training his Psionic powers. Mendel’s mentor is still alive and currently resides in the enclave he grew up in, as far as he is aware.
MORE DETAILED CHARACTER QUESTIONS / DATA:
· Lying: Is it ever okay to misrepresent the truth? Any skeletons in the closet?
Yes, often, the truth is a slippery, as powerful minds like Mendel’s can easily manipulate it for multifarious purposes. The truth is that there are always many points of view about what is the truth… If you want to work in some type of “skeleton” in Mendel’s closet involving the Psionic Master who trained him that would be cool Chris… He doesn’t have an “enemy” hindrance, so doesn’t deserve anyone especially out to get him because of it, but there could be some sort of interesting backstory that we could come up with to flesh out that significant area of his (otherwise hermitic) past more…
· Cheating: Does the character ever break the rules? Why?
Yes, mostly by constantly mischievously wielding Psionic powers, or because of an ascetic / hermitic (quasi-Taoist) view that government and the authority it claims is unnatural, unnecessary, and arrogantly presumptuous. In terms of traditional D&D alignment, I think of his character as firmly “chaotic” (and somewhere in a grey area between neutral and good). He is a healer and master of dreamwalking, and he scorns but pities the weak-minded. He is not evil or malicious, but he is certainly not selflessly heroic or law-abiding. He tends to help innocents if it’s within his power and no risk to him.
· Stealing: Is it okay to take things? From whom might it be okay?
Yes (packrat), but since Mendel has taken an ascetic vow of poverty and eschews wealth, he’s obviously not interested in typical theft for monetary gain, yet he’s curious and likes worthless trinkets (rather than valuable baubles), as well as actually useful tools (but not so much the crazy contraptions of his tinker-Gnome cousins). He also neither understands (nor feels beholden to respect) most people’s attachment to their property or “valuable” items.
· Killing: How does the character feel about the taking of lives? Under what circumstances might it be acceptable or unacceptable?
Mendel has less compunctions about killing weak-minded or evil entities / beings. He is not a pacifist, but neither is his first instinct to kill first and ask questions later. He is curious, and generally prefers clever or tricky solutions to obvious brute force.
· Authority: Is the character a control freak or are they most comfortable being directed by others? Are they a righteous upholder of the law? Do they ever question orders?
Mendel is somewhat of a control freak, feeling that all is potentially within his power; he doesn’t like or respect any authority that is corrupt, or any petty authority that is weaker or less wise than himself, and he would definitely question any order he disagrees with and only uphold laws he happens to believe in. He is generally okay being directed by others as long as he is willingly helping them and / or shares their goals. In that case he is very cooperative and useful.
· Regime/Politics: Does the character approve or disapprove of the current governing force? Are they actively protecting or actively trying to replace the current regime? Are they involved in politics at all?
Apathetic, unless it hinders his agenda, NO (at least in “home” territories not ruled by evil), and NO!
· Philosophy: Do the ends justify the means? Are we free to choose our actions or does fate rule our destiny?
Sometimes the ends justify the means: to quote Machiavelli, “So far as he is able, a prince should stick to the path of good but, if the necessity arises, he should know how to follow evil.” Mendel would not become totally evil or cruel outright, but he is willing to get his hands dirty on occasion (e.g. break someone’s mind) if an important objective calls for it and there is no other (more clever) way available. So, he’s somewhat Machiavellian / Nietzschean in that way. Mendel certainly has a will to power that he struggles with (despite his hermitic and ascetic humility) and he does NOT believe in destiny: “there is no fate but what we make for ourselves…” Essentially, Mendel’s mind is too powerful for him to believe that any aspect of the world (as he perceives it) is beyond his potential control; even elements of it currently beyond his powers’ control may not always remain so (he feels sure), since his (once latent) powers have multiplied exponentially over time and with intensive training… I’m not looking to “turn him to the dark side” whatsoever, but he is rather “un-Jedi-like” in his more “Sith-like” hunger and yearning for more power.
· The Law: What form of law does the character practice or approve of – anarchy, honor systems/self-rule, personal codes, written law? Should one obey and uphold the law without question or should the laws be subject to creative interpretation? Does the character have a personal honor system or set of unique beliefs?
Mendel is an (almost anarchistic) ascetic hermit. He respects and honors powerful mental abilities and disrespects weak-minded fools. He has no use for law, but remorseless or malicious cruelty serving evil purposes violates his personal code of honor.
· The Unknown: How does the character react to foreigners/aliens? Are they open to new cultures or do they ridicule or fear them? Are things from other cultures to be appreciated or destroyed as heretical?
Mendel is curious and wise. He is open to diversity and to the unknown. He is would never be baselessly xenophobic without a good reason, nor would he be overly prone to fear unknown phenomena out of awe / terror.
· Other People: How does the character regard other people? With suspicion? As tools and obstacles? With respect? How does the character feel about the rich, the poor, the powerful and the weak?
Mendel is friendly, generally kind, and curious, but he is surreptitiously suspicious and hyper-aware (reading minds / emotions with telepathic / empathic abilities, sensing presences, etc.). People can be both tools and obstacles to Mendel, but only if necessary: he would not go out of his way to harm anyone. He respects the mentally powerful and scorns or pities the weak and/or rich.
· Habits: Does the character have any particular habits or vices? Are there any habits or vices the character finds morally reprehensible?
Trickery, curiosity, packrat, nosy, wants to try halfling pipe weed, despite the risk (mostly for vision quest / clairvoyant purposes).
· Secrets: Does the character have any secrets or secret goals? Why? Under what circumstances might their secret be told?
Secrets = T.B.D. (involving his Psionics teacher?), and could be revealed if the party has an encounter related to it and it somehow comes to light… Other than that, nothing major or damning comes to mind. He is generally helpful and cooperative.
· Class: Where does the character sit in the game setting’s class hierarchy? How does the character feel about those in lower classes? Do they ignore them, regard them as animals, look down upon them with contempt or view them with kindness, as under their direct care and responsibility, or in a symbiotic relationship? How about those in the classes above? Do they view them as evil or as something to aspire to?
Mendel is poor and cares nothing for money (he was a hermit). He empathizes with the poor; he thinks the rich are shallow and superficial and does not aspire to wealth at all. He scorns (or is ambivalent toward) the rich, depending on their attitude…
· Campaign Specifics: Say your game involves psionics (extrasensory perceptions like mind reading and clairvoyance) that are considered immoral to know and use. Both the GM and player would need to know how the character feels about psionics.
This one is rather obvious… Mendel feels the prejudice and fear in others when they react to his use of his powers. He knows that many might hate him, fear him, and view him as unnatural. The toughest question for me was actually pride versus humility (on the sins/virtues table). My original concept was a Psionic “Jedi-like” Gnome inspired by Yoda (who would have been totally selfless), and I’m certainly not feeling the urge to “turn Mendel to the Dark Side…” but I’m finding it hard not to play some pride (and mischief) in his clever Psionic abilities, and I’m obviously not restricted to the black and white moral code of Star Wars: i.e. Jedi versus Sith… Concurrently, I guess I’m playing Mendel with an “appropriate” amount of understandable pride / enjoyment in his burgeoning powers; he certainly doesn’t feel shame or guilt because of them, even if he understands why others fear or resent him, but neither is he too overconfident or reckless. He feels great satisfaction in finally coming closer to mastering a gift he was born with, but spent most of his life not understanding (or using to anything approaching its full potential). I obviously don’t want him to be “evil” in any sense of the word (he supports the party and its mission), but he is perhaps not as squeaky-clean as a true Jedi would be… (some of the Psionic abilities could be considered inherently evil, or at least they incline in that direction).
Sins and Virtues Table RESULTS: pride = 1/3, kindness = 3/3, abstinence = 3/3, chastity = 2/3, patience = 3/3, charity/generosity = 3/3, diligence = 2/3
Pride → 3 2 1 1 2 3 ← Humility
Envy → 3 2 1 1 2 3 ← Kindness
Gluttony → 3 2 1 1 2 3 ← Abstinence
Lust → 3 2 1 1 2 3 ← Chastity
Anger → 3 2 1 1 2 3 ← Patience
Greed → 3 2 1 1 2 3 ← Charity/Generosity
Sloth → 3 2 1 1 2 3 ← Diligence