Your Life Before Your Life

I am loving these new themes printed in last months Dragon Magazine #399. I have to admit that I am still a little apprehensive about them, considering heroic tier just got a big boost. The first themes came with the expansion and development of the Dark Sun campaign. They were interesting but not nearly as powerful and beneficial as the new Dragon Magazine themes.

I will say one thing that I appreciate much more about the Dark Sun themes, they are tied much more closely to the campaign world. These Dark Sun themes also have the benefit of special and flavorful paragon paths tied directly too them. Sadly the Dragon Magazine themes do not have associated paragon paths, however each theme provides a paragon path-like development for the heroic levels.

Personally, I see the themes as a great way to flesh out what your character was before becoming an adventurer. The possibilities could be endless honestly. The Dragon Magazine themes are applicable to almost any campaign world, but you could craft specific themes in the way of the backgrounds that are already in the books. They could be great hooks for character development and paths for DMs to send PCs down.

I have crafted a couple as we will be adding themes to our characters in my own group soon. I thought of these themes based on some PCs that already exist in our game:

AMNESIAC
An amnesiac is a little off. Things just don’t quite seem as clear as they should. There are these memories that are swimming about an amnesiacs head, pieces of a puzzle. But some of the pieces are missing, of frankly most of the pieces just don’t fit. Things do not make sense. Maybe you cannot remember your childhood. Or maybe you do and you just cannot recall anything between then and now. Entire experiences are missing from your memory. Why do you have a wedding band but no spouse, who is this picture of that you carry in your back pocket and why do you have these tattooed instructions that you need to “find John G.” on your back.

There could be many reasons for why you cannot remember your past. Maybe you had a near lethal encounter with a mindflayer or perhaps your family was literally erased from the time continuum by an evil wizard. What you should be concerned with is what those memories mean. Do you want to put the puzzle together? Can your memory be fully reinstated? Are you afraid of what you will discover when it is? All these are questions that an amnesiac character should ask herself.

Starting Feature-
There are things that you know but you are not sure how you know them. Its as if you were someone else before now. You have skills and memories from a life that you cannot remember or recall clearly, but these mysterious talents are at your disposal. If you dig deeper you may remember even more. Only time will tell.
Benefit: Select one class specific multiclass feat that you qualify for. You gain that feat as a bonus feat.

Additional Features

Level 5 Feature
You seem to have abilities and skills that you never remember acquiring. However you came to learn such things, you seem to be pretty good at it.
Benefit: Choose one new skill that is on the list of class skills from your chosen multiclass. You gain training in that skill. In addition you gain a +2 bonus when using that skill.

Level 10 Feature
You feel more comfortable now than ever with your abilities. They may be alien in nature to you, but at one time you must have been a master of them. You can now use these abilities as easily as any others that you know.
Benefit: You may use your highest ability score for attack rolls made with powers from your chosen multiclass.

Optional Powers

Remembered Trick    Amnesiac Utility 2
You may not be able to learn new tricks but you can still remember old tricks
Daily
Minor Action    Personal
Effect: Choose one skill. Until the end of the encounter you gain training in that skill.

Scattered Mind        Amnesiac Utility 6
Sometimes it is good to forget what just happened
Encounter
No Action    Personal
Effect: If you are dazed, stunned or dominated, end that condition.

Remembered Talent    Amnesiac Utility 10
There was definitely a time in which you used to be talented
Daily
Minor Action    Personal
Effect: Choose one hybrid talent from the hybrid talent options associated with the hybrid version of your multiclass. You gain that hybrid talent until the end of the encounter.

REINCARNATED
A reincarnated creature has been thrust back into this world after dying in another life. The cause of your reincarnation could be greatly varied from religious to cursed or even an intricate plot to spy on a certain race. Perhaps you magically reincarnate when you die like Doctor Who. Reincarnation does not even have to be about death. Maybe your were once a drow warrior and an ancient druid has transformed you into an elf, in hopes that you will recognize the pain and suffering you enact on the elven people. Or maybe your ancestors were tieflings and now your human village believes that their forefathers literally live on the bodies of human descendants.

There are many directions to take this theme. You may want to consider whether your character finds her new state to be a blessing or a curse or just a matter of fact. Do you embrace your new form? Do you embrace the life you came from? Are you at odds with your new and old form? Perhaps you do not even know you were reincarnated and clues from the present are hinting at your past life.

Starting Feature-
Your connection to your past life, no matter how weak or strong, makes you capable of adapting inherent qualities from your previous race to your current race. You seem comfortable transitioning between two cultures and have a knack for overcoming some of the cultural barriers that outsiders may find stifling.
Benefit: Select a race other than your own. You are considered a member of that race for the purposes of meeting prerequisites. In addition you speak all the listed languages for that race.

Additional Features:

Level 5 Feature-
As you grow in power, you start to remember more from your past life, bits and pieces and things you learned from before. You develop a familiar knack for those skills.
Benefit: You receive the skill bonuses for your chosen race associated with this theme.

Level 10 Feature-
Not only do you feel more comfortable around you old race, they seem to be more receptive to you now.
Benefit: You receive a +5 bonus to charisma based skills and checks when interacting with your chosen race associated with this theme

Optional Powers

Second Chance at Life        Reincarnated Utility 2
You just got a new body, this is no time to screw it up
Encounter
No Action    Personal
Trigger: You make a death saving throw.
Effect: Consider the result as if you rolled a 20.

Will Not Fail a Second Time     Reincarnated Utility 6
Who said there are no second chances
Daily
Free Action    Personal
Trigger: You make a d20 roll and dislike the result
Effect: Reroll the d20. Use the second roll, even if it is lower.

Echoes of the Past        Reincarnated Utility 10
You reach deep and for a brief moment clearly recall what you once were
Daily
No Action    Personal
Effect: Select a racial power for your chosen race associated with this theme, you may use that power as normal until the end of your next turn.

 

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