Friday, September 23, 2011

Adventuring into Arctura: Matthias the Grey Shepherd

Recently I've been invited to join a local roleplaying group. They apparently play a loose variation on D&D 3.5 rules using a fairly amazing and well thought out campaign setting created by the GM called Arctura.

Essentially the world is for the most part covered by either ocean, jungle or savannah, with only small areas devoted to farming and cities. Humanity constantly needs to fight the jungle and its monstrous beasts back or be overrun. There is also only one god in this setting, Pelor, the god of Good and Light, though there are many lesser deities such as the great animal spirits of the tribesmen that are worshipped by some.

Over the next couple of posts I'm going to post up different possible character ideas that I have, and I'd like you to take a look at them and tell me what you think. It doesn't matter if the character can't easily fit into a class, as it sounds like the GM is very flexible when it comes to assigning mechanical abilities and it's more focused on roleplaying than dice. Since I like to play weird, out of the box characters, this plays to my tastes.

To start off with, though, here's a character that could probably pretty easily be created using character classes, Matthias the Grey Shepherd:


Necromancer by m00nlight101

Matthias comes from a parish in the Founts [largest amount of consecutive farmland on Arctura and one of humanity's great strongholds]. The teachings of Pelor hold strong there, but they have been a bit… corrupted over time. Y’see, the problem that Matthias’ corner of the Founts has is the dead. When you die, you either get to join the Sun God in his paradise in the heavens above or you get cast down into the earth, never to be heard from again. Where most priests would just call it then and there, Matthias’ flock are a bit more… forgiving. After all, doesn’t Pelor love those who return to him after succumbing to darkness and doesn't he cherish those who labor in his name?

So Matthias and other priests of his peculiar brand of Pelorism, called Grey Shepherds, give the dead a second chance. They use “sanctified” rituals of necromancy to reach down into the earth, pluck a damned soul from there and intern him in a corpse (preferably his own, but any will do) to earn his place in the heavenly kingdom. For small time offenders this might mean something like tirelessly tilling fields or performing other manual labor for a few years or decades after death. Some even volunteer if they know that they have sinned and join a quick response defense force for decades or centuries beyond death, animated when needed. For others, they might be called on crusade to push back the hellish jungle and convert the heathen by force if necessary. For if the heathen won’t be converted by speeches, punishment or even the threat of death, there is always an eternity of service that they can be called to perform…

Matthias, of course, hates unsanctioned necromancy, as it is a vile and evil sin to manipulate the dead into serving any aim but the furtherance and protection of Pelor’s realm. He is currently wandering as a missionary, using his undead servants to further Pelor’s cause and help push back the jungle.

Personality: Matthias is very out going and genuinely happy to be alive and doing the lord's work. He honestly thinks that raising sinners and unbelievers is the right thing to do, and even believes that by doing so he is bringing them closure and eternal happiness. While he has had some exposure to outside cultures and the threats of the wild, this adventure will probably be his first real encounter with the Jungle and the predatory outside world. His naive faith will keep him strong for a time, but I do not know if he will have the strength to persevere. He often knows what the "right" thing is that his faith has taught him, but exposure to the real world might change or at least challenge a lot of those beliefs.

Possible conflict: Matthias' belief system is, frankly, based on a lie. Now that he's outside of the Founts he'll likely come in contact with those that see Necromancy as an evil art, and Pelor forbid that he should wander into temple, undead manservant in tow. How Matthias will deal with this will define his character. I currently see him as soldiering on, seeing this crisis of faith as a new test but feeling inexplicably guilty each time he raises the dead, but who knows what role playing will bring.


So that's what I have for Matthias so far. He could probably be easily made into a cleric/wizard or cleric/sorceror. Comments and critiques are very welcome, as well as any cool insights that I could have on his personality and outlook on the world.

Thanks for reading!

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