The Human, Trickster and Sage

@tim, did you know that Hyrcania means “wolf-land”, and was thought to have tigers roam the land? Maybe our group should incorporate one of those beasts in our name!

@malatesta I have an idea for a character, let me through it past ya real quick; I am kinda piecing together the parts of the character builds in 5e.

Human Rogue (Sage/Arcane Trickster)

Personality trait: There’s nothing I like more than a good mystery.
Ideal: The goal of a life of study is the betterment of oneself.
Bond: I’ve been searching my whole life for the answer to a certain question.
Flaw: I am easily distracted by the promise of information.

Background: I barely recall my family’s faces, just a terrible dread of events that happened when I was very young. Some of my earliest memories corroborate the story told to me: I was born cursed and taken to a holy person in a temple near a great city. It was decided that I would stay there and be dedicated to the service of the gods, and in return my village would no longer befall whatever effects my presence brought.

Unfortunately, shortly after my dedication the holy person passed, and their successor was less that committed to the way of the gods. During the day I was trained in the arcane and devotional services, at night in sleight of hand and secret codes to easily find a mark and work with the other “cursed” children. During the festival days our skills were put to the test, where we would work the gathering crowds, collecting tithes while picking pockets or finding specific information for our priestly taskmasters.

As I grew older I began to ask more questions about my own situation as well as the nature of our temple. Dismissed at best or beaten at worst, I soon learned to apply my developing skills in stealth and climbing to study the abandoned archives of the former leader. During those long nights I learned a secret history of the world, and became obsessed with the occult. I also wondered how much of our “curse” was legitimate, with clues that our group of lost souls were key to a greater mystery, one that the larcenous miscreants now in charge couldn’t comprehend.

In time our group broke apart, some being sent to other temples, others leaving on errands and never returning, hopefully having successfully run away. Eventually I made arrangements for my own departure, but not before visiting the head priest in their chambers one night… they would survive, but likely never walk without a limp, and would certainly never come after me. I hope.

For the last few years I’ve been drifting from city to village to ruins to temple, following the merest whisper of a magical find or supernatural happening. I am almost always disappointed, though in that time I’ve created a reputation for investigating bandit activity. Even made some friends with the so-called “bandits”, many of whom take up in the very ruins I am investigating. Now I’ve got at least one or two trustworthy companions and we are slowly working our way up the food chain. My hope is to have a major player in the region fund an expedition to a far away land, where I am sure the answers I seek will be found.

I imagine the temple I belonged to be relatively primitive compared to an organized religion. More like a central building and surrounding village, with the former leader being a Brahmin-type, and followers living on the grounds. Of course they take it in a different direction afterward. I don’t think that will come up, but I wanted to point that the “temple” was more arcane than divine, in the D&D sense. Just a zen’d out hedgemage chilling in eir commune!

How does that work in your setting? Any changes or obvious hooks there? Does Sage/Arcane Trickster play too weird to not be a wizard? Let me know! :slight_smile:

Okay, Harry Potter!

Just kidding, I really really love it. I think taking a Sage background and Rogue/Arcane Trickster as your class sounds really interesting, and seems like a great example of the kind of easy customization 5e lets you do without a lot of added complexity.

The only reason you might want to go Wizard instead of Rogue is that Arcane Tricksters can only pick spells that are Enchantment or Illusion, except at 8th, 14th and 20th level, where they can pick spells from any wizard school. Also, Wizards get a spellbook, so that vastly expands your spells known.

Go Arcane Trickster if you mainly want to be a rogue with a bit of magic to help you out, go Wizard if you want to focus on magic. (You could go Wizard and pick the Charlatan or Criminal paths for a bit of Roguish flavor.)

I think either way works really well for your character concept.

As for hooks, here are the ones I noticed:

  • Who was your family and what happened to them?
  • What is the nature of your curse - if it is a greater mystery, what is it?
  • Why did the first head priest die?
  • Who was the criminal successor head priest, and will they chase you? Does e know something you do not?
  • Did you once steal something significant from someone who bears you a grudge?

Possible NPCs you know:

  • a bandit or group of bandits, or several
  • other “cursed” kids who grew up with you in the temple
  • other larcenous followers of the temple

As for the temple, how’s this: It was a temple dedicated to Kuvera. Kuvera is worshipped in many places as the god of wealth. Some call him Kothar-wa-Khasis, the Builder and Architect, which is what the dwarves call him.

But some old folks tell stories that long ago humans worshipped a different side of Kuvera…he is the god of wealth because ore and treasure are found in hidden places, and he was the demon-lord of the hidden, the underground, and secrets. Old legends say he was the lord of the yakshas, the forest spirit creatures and nature creatures (think trolls, ogres and the Indian version of fey), and that he was an asura, a supernatural deity many of whom are evil. Thieves and criminals have always worshipped this darker side of Kuvera.

Or - Manasa, a snake goddess, which after the death of the high priest turned into a dark Naga cult (Nagas can be good or bad but are always scary and magical).

Or if you want to go really dark, Seppophis the Huntress.