Given that I’m still pretty new to D&D (having started in early 2010), I’m still having “firsts” that are old hat for most gamers. I’ve just created my first character with a real concept, who I can really role play.
Factotum the Human Bard probably uses the same concept as a lot of 4e bards out there: Multiclassing. His motto is, “Oh, I’m great at that!” He’ll try anything. Note that he’s not especially GOOD at any of those things, but he thinks he’s ultra-capable.
His starting pre-racial stat array was 13 in every ability, with the one extra point in Charisma (I wonder how many 4e players ever discover that trying to balance your stats gives you five 13s and a 14). As a slight nod to character effectiveness, I put his +2 human racial bonus in Charisma. So, he has 16 Charisma and 13 everything else. Optimized, he is not!
Factotum’s feats are, of course, his bread and butter. I made him a human so that he could have an extra feat at first level. Naturally, both feats are multiclass feats, so he’s a Warlord and a Rogue. Yeah, sneak attacking bards – woo hoo! I’m only picking feats that give him skill training; right now he’s trained in eight skills.
I’ve had a chance to play two Living Forgotten Realms sessions with Factotum. The first was not so great for him; it was the only LFR game I’ve seen so far that was four straight fights, with no time carved out for skill use. He muddled through all right, but he didn’t really shine.
The second session was this past week, and it was a blast. I hadn’t realized that the always-awesome Andy had set up a long series of LFR adventures at the local store with the intention of having a semi-consistent group of characters start at level 1 and go all the way through the heroic tier over the course of many months. I just happened to have signed up for the first game in this series. Two other players had brought fourth-level characters, so they obviously didn’t know about the series either. No matter – off we went!
SPOILERS AHEAD for CORE 2-1 The Radiant Vessel of Thesk
Our quest was to go to Thesk and find a mysterious “radiant vessel” on behalf of an insane halfling. We had a great opportunity for role playing in a small community in an effort to figure out what the heck this radiant vessel was. Factotum tried to turn on the charm, but managed to stick his foot in his mouth more often than not. With the help of the rest of the group, though, we ultimately got a lead: the radiant vessel was a woman with a mystical aura around her that destroyed undead creatures. She had been taken by orcs to some distant mountains, but her cousin had a map to get there (the cousin had been having a fling with one of the orcs – the hussy).
Into the mountains, then; Factotum was happy to stealthily lead the way. When we came to a room with ladders leading down to a chamber with enemies, most of the party climbed down to fight. Factotum, naturally, jumped down the 20 feet (and almost reduced enough damage with his Acrobatics check to land on his feet). He charged into a flank in order to sneak attack a minion. When confronted with a pit to cross (which could be done with ladders), Factotum jumped it.
Eventually the party found the kidnapped woman, surrounded by orcs and an imp. Factotum Bluffed his way in, saying that he was a trained physician. It would have gone well, too – if only he had been trained in Heal. A few failed skill checks later (the party’s Goliath Barbarian/Warlord didn’t have much luck, either), and we had killed the poor woman and her baby.
It was a sad moment around the table, but we wiped our tears and brought the body back to the cousin. Factotum was a blast to play, even though he usually missed in combat (his attacks were at +6 versus Armor Class or +3 versus other defenses). The best moment was when one of the other players said, “Factotum HAS to come back next week!”
Well all right then! It’s a lot of fun to have a character with actual personality. I need to learn to bring some of this to NPCs when I’m running games, too.
And since I think Factotum is so much fun, I decided it was worth taking 15 minutes to hack the five-page PDF that the Character Builder spits out into a one-page version. You know, I should probably just use the original offline Character Builder for this guy…