Elf Ranger - Indus Monette - the illusionist (level 9)

 artwork by  moiraburk ( https://www.fiverr.com/moiraburk

Indus Monette - the illusionist 

I will not fictionalize the published adventures as though Indus ran through those, but I am imagining there have been some adventures to shape the progress at this new build.

This was less difficult than other characters, such as Aelar and Gabrielle Michelle, to build out at level 9. I felt the concept solidifying as the options were obvious. Similar to the other three Elf Ranger characters, Indus has a dual-purpose role in adventuring. He is an illusionist, but also a wilderness master. 

Indus gained mastery in Arcanist and improved Lore Master but also opened Pathfinder and improved Survivalist. That was easy to select as it clearly built upon the role of both magical and wilderness chores to lead for companions. Indus also opened Healer, Rider, and Alchemist to gain new tasks within an adventuring party where he could shine. I raised Nature in order to reduce it at a later step. 

I have Indus gaining spells and level benefits. He gains a follower and steed. He gains Puissant Suggestion and Wormtongue. So both add to the dual-purpose theme as he gained elements for the wilderness mastery as well as spells for the illusion and charm mastery. 

Topping off his growth as the cherry to his icing--Adventurous Trait gained by reducing Nature. 

Although I imagine Indus is about ready for retiring from the adventuring role, he is ready to become a courier, pilgrim, wanderer, wild soul, or something like that. He is ready to gallop swiftly as the wind along remote paths bringing healing, theatrics, and safety to the distant points of light in a dimming world. 

I used the Torchbearer 1st edition to fit my concept for this build and Thor's suggested rules for creating higher-level starting characters found at the Torchbearer blog (Begin by Being). At a later time, I'll review this build with the Torchbearer 2nd edition rules. 

This is the dry description of the process: 

  • Spending 69 (23 already spent building level 4) advancement tests (pass or fail) gives 16x Arcanist 2x raised, 11x Healer opened and 2x raised, 11x Pathfinder opened and 2x raised, 7x Lore Master 1x raised, 6x Rider opened and 1x raised, 6x Alchemist opened and 1x raised, 5x Survivalist 1x raised, 5x Nature raised.
  • Selecting level benefits and/or spells gives Master [dagger], Follower, Elven Steed, C3 Spell Puissant Suggestion, C4 Spell Wormtongue.
  • Reducing Nature by 1 permits a new Trait Adventurous. 

Level: 9

Stock: Elf

Class: Ranger

Descriptors: Singing, Remembering, Hiding

Abilities: Nature 3, Will 4, Health 4, Circles 3, Resources 0

Skills: Alchemist 3, Arcanist 6, Fighter 3, Healer 4, Lore Master 5, Manipulator 2,  Pathfinder 4, Peasant 3, Rider 3, Scavenger 3, Scholar 3, Scout 2, Survivalist 3

Wises: Elven Lore-wise, Faults of Man-wise

Traits: First Born 1, Curious 1

Level Benefits: Wilder, Essense of the Earth, Master [Dagger], Follower, Elven Steed

Weapon: Dagger

Armor: Leather

Hometown: Remote Village (gains Peasant, Early Riser)

Social Graces: Manipulator

Specialty: Scavenger (or Survivalist depending on choices of others in a group)

Nature Responses: Sings the ancient songs, Retreat and hide, Lives by struggle and grief (replaces Early Riser with Curious)

Circles Responses: Has a friend down the valley (dwarf adventurer), Has simpleton parents (herder and gardener, Peasant), Has no mentor (gains 2D coins), Has no enemy

Inventory: Dagger, Fleece-lined Cloak, Backpack, Traveling Spell Book 1, Traveling Spell Book 2, Rations, Belt Pouch, Candles (or Torches), Waterskin, Shoes

Spells: Silver Tongue [Thread of Friendship], Celestial Music, Supernal Vision, Phantasmal Vision, Honeyed Lips [Puissant Suggestion], Wormtongue

Belief: I will become a master if I can find a master.

Instinct: If there is work to do for a fit camp, I'll be fast to work.

I felt some trouble building Indus from the lower levels, but as I saw the combinations possible with higher levels, I was stunned how well it came together. At this point, he could function on many solo delves and critical missions without absolute trouble, so long as he can waft an illusory defense and escape swiftly. 

I want to note the spell The Hidden Ways from Middarmark. I found it a bit late in my study for this project, and I felt it would be a good spell for a low-level Indus. I considered returning to the level 4 rendition to replace Supernal Vision. I think replacing Supernal Vision with The Hidden Ways is a good candidate for improving the overall theme as a guide and support for a pilgrimage adventure. I mentioned his adventuring companions are pilgrims, so that spell could have served a good purpose. I chose to retain the lower level renditions, but it certainly could be a good consideration.

I also want to note the spell Wormtongue skirts the line between practically gold and a neat gimmick. When used in a campaign with a recurring NPC villain, this can be a fantastic spell to carry and use. It can give players a huge degree of authority. I considered how Thread of Friendship, Puissant Suggestion, and Wormtongue progress to greater levels of charm over NPCs (and maybe fellow PCs). But, if the NPCs, such as a villain of a campaign, the leadership of a town or group, or recurring laborers, merchants, and other town figures, become merely passing cameos, a player could easily waste resources trying to build a retinue of charmed NPCs that end up serving very little purpose.

For example, in one of several portrayals of Obi-Wan Kenobi we see him perform a mind-altering trick on a drug-trafficker. We never really see a long-term result of that, but it serves the purpose in a scene of opening the seat at the bar. If a GM treats Wormtongue in that manner (that's fair), it seems like it diminishes the purpose of a player investing in the spell. 

Contrasting this, if we let the portrayal of Wormtongue be too closely interpreted like Grima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings, I fear we short-change players who can use the spell for really positive purposes. 

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