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Rising to level 9 is a blend of growth and refinement. I see this as a walk into the eccentric unknown as Romi gains Laborer, Orator, Sailor, and Weaver. Gaining Laborer and Sailor are paired to one another as she deepens her understanding of the Bjornings and relationship to that culture of struggle against the wilderness and the sea. Orator reflects a boon as she will be exhausting herself denouncing the luxurious and complacent living of the Bjorning aristocracy--particularly the high queen who is seeking to place her own daughter on the throne against the tradition of an elected high king or high queen. Gaining Weaver is an emblem of her growing sense of the threads of fate; it isn’t really for any greater reason--perhaps it would be fine to consider a wise for this purpose rather than a skill. Romi grows Alchemist, Commander, Fighter, Healer, Hunter, Orator, and Theologian; all are directed toward the embodiment of Sigrun Shieldbreaker’s legacy. Well, perhaps the Alchemist is not quite part of the embodiment; that’s to make edibles for followers of the cult renewal that empower vision, rage, companionship, and other necessary elements of taking power from the powerful. As well, I think it is fair to say Theologian is about empowering her sermons with philosophies of the apotheosis of Sigrun Shieldbreaker and how those paths are available to other Bjorning heroes--such as cult members.
Taking level benefits of Companion, Pockets, Shoulder the Burden, Friend of the Powerful, and Transformed (sneaking becomes suffering) requires a bit of description. Romi has a narrow path ahead, so having a partner in the walk will be a childhood friend; both are changed by adulthood and ready to commit to one another for sacrifices of renewing the cult of Sigrun which might lead to persecution or death. Pockets! As a level benefit, I couldn’t ignore it. Shoulder the Burden is a bit different for Romi; the primary purpose is for Romi to take the burden of others, especially her companion, but also others in an adventuring party. She is shifting to a more lay-clergy profile, so this benefit looks more like that profile. While she will garner the ire of powerful figures, she will, without doubt, tickle the fancy of other powerful figures and gain friends in high places, so I knew Friend of the Powerful fit the concept. Finally, Romi is transformed as she loses her sneaking descriptor, replaced by a suffering descriptor. I’m not certain what that will empower, but it feels so closely aligned to the concept, I could not ignore it.
Romi loses no further halfling nature to gain additional wises or trait levels. She has met her destiny.
I see no reason to revise the Belief or Instinct; however, depending on the progress of her efforts to reform Bjorning politics she might need updates by this time.
This is the dry description of the process:
- 12 points to open 3pt Laborer, 3pt Orator, 3pt Sailor, 3pt Weaver
- 56 points to raise 8pt Alchemist 2x, 8pt Commander 2x, 8pt Fighter, 8pt Healer 2x, 8pt Hunter, 8pt Orator 2x, 8pt Theologian 2x
- Take level benefits: Companion, Pockets, Shoulder the Burden, Friend of the Powerful, Transformed (sneaking to suffering)
- Nothing more
Descriptors: Sneaking, Riddling, Merrymaking
Abilities: Nature 3, Will 5, Health 3, Circles 4, Resources 0
Skills: Cook 3, Criminal 3, Fighter 4, Hunter 4, Scout 2, Scavenger 2, Steward 3, Manipulator 3, Alchemist 4, Healer 4, Theologian 4, Commander 4, Laborer 2, Orator 4, Sailor 2, Weaver 2
Wises: Needs a Little Salt-wise, Sakki Downs-wise
Traits: Hidden Depths 1, Opportunistic 1, Stoic 1, Touched by the Gods 1
Level Benefits: Abstemious, Stubborn, Plucky, Companion, Pockets, Shoulder the Burden, Friend of the Powerful, Transformed (sneaking becomes suffering)
Fylgja: Gull (gains Opportunistic)
Hometown: Rimholm (gains Steward and Jaded) [a bustling metropolis]
Social Graces: Manipulator
Specialty: Manipulator (or Hunter depending on choices of others)
Nature Responses: fast through breakfasts (swap Jaded for Stoic), stand and fight (nil), rather be at home (+1 Nature)
Circles Responses: has no friend, has parents (huldufolk mystics), has a mentor (halfling burglar), has an enemy (huldufolk in-laws)
Inventory: Wineskin, Tinker’s Kit, Cloak, Satchel, Rations, Candles, Small Sacks
Belief: The High Queen of the Bjornings fails to honor her heritage; I must rally the Bjornings to cleanse the ghost-fences and roving trolls from the Sakki Downs.
Instinct: Always look for opportunities to gather companions.
With that build, Romi meets her destiny. I imagine this builds to a battle against the high queen and her retinue against Romi, her retinue, and the host of Bjorning cult members honoring the true legacy of Sigrun Shieldbreaker. That’s what I see as the climax of Romi’s narrow path to walk; someone else might not see that or be convinced of it. If she happens to live through that battle, perhaps she can become a shrine maiden honoring Sigrun Shieldbreaker and finally gain a peaceful romantic partner to grow old in love and peace; perhaps her luck will change as fortune smiles over her new life. Now, if she dies in that battle, then perhaps she also rises in apotheosis as a young lord while the high queen darkens the world of the Bjornings all the more by imposing greater political oppression over rivals, peers, and subordinates. That could happen too.
I never took up a route of Ritualist for Romi to gain a more Cleric-like role in her party of adventurers. I’m not unhappy with the mechanics of prayers despite some frustrating misgivings about the 2e rendition. I felt the role of Romi was to understand and interpret the theological epiphany that Bjornings needed to have, but I did not feel she needed to become a rogue priestess or prophet. She is a reformer and renewer, but not a miracle-worker. I’ll leave projects related to the prayers in Torchbearer for some future time.
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