Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Enigma » 2008-10-17 04:18pm

So the rest of Nal's party have also appeared. Should be interesting.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-10-17 04:31pm

Enigma wrote:So the rest of Nal's party have also appeared.
Wrong. It's still the night after Nalifan arrived. Which means the magic that was detected was . .

Yeah. Their chief wizard can detect that kind of magic a kingdom away without actually trying. When he tries, he can narrow it down to its location and its general type.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by LadyTevar » 2008-10-17 09:17pm

Its the witches who can bind a soul into cooked flesh that's scary to me. I know several Earth cultures believed eating an enemy's flesh they gained some of their spirit, but to see it done... *shiver*
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Enigma » 2008-10-17 10:17pm

LadyTevar wrote:Its the witches who can bind a soul into cooked flesh that's scary to me. I know several Earth cultures believed eating an enemy's flesh they gained some of their spirit, but to see it done... *shiver*

I don't know since how that wizard described Nal compared to the witches, one would be more afraid of Nal than the witches. :)
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Eleas » 2008-10-17 11:05pm

I don't know since how that wizard described Nal compared to the witches, one would be more afraid of Nal than the witches. :)
I wouldn't be so sure. I get the disturbing feeling these tribals are more dangerous for sheer craziness than pure ability would otherwise suggest. And then there's that shaman of theirs, who seems possibly powerful enough to give even a wizard of Nal's calibre pause.

I'll love to see where this goes. I'll also love to know how many of the rules binding him that Nal has already discovered loopholes in. After all, if I had to describe Nalifan d'Azurentian in just a couple of words, the first would probably be "sneaky." Closely followed by "vicious" and "arrogant," which is probably why I liked the character in the first place. :D
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Jaevric » 2008-10-18 07:58am

I've got a couple of ideas where Nalifan can abuse those bindings myself. It'll be fun to see if my suspicions are on track by the time the story is done.

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by LadyTevar » 2008-10-18 08:11pm

Jaevric wrote:I've got a couple of ideas where Nalifan can abuse those bindings myself. It'll be fun to see if my suspicions are on track by the time the story is done.
I've already told ImpO that I can see Nalifan killing the stupid Prince "in the best interests of the Kingdom"
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Enigma » 2008-10-18 11:30pm

LadyTevar wrote:
Jaevric wrote:I've got a couple of ideas where Nalifan can abuse those bindings myself. It'll be fun to see if my suspicions are on track by the time the story is done.
I've already told ImpO that I can see Nalifan killing the stupid Prince "in the best interests of the Kingdom"
Same here. It clicked in when he approved of the princess and how he hated the prince.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by General Trelane (Retired) » 2008-10-20 01:21pm

Enigma wrote:
LadyTevar wrote:
Jaevric wrote: I've got a couple of ideas where Nalifan can abuse those bindings myself. It'll be fun to see if my suspicions are on track by the time the story is done.
I've already told ImpO that I can see Nalifan killing the stupid Prince "in the best interests of the Kingdom"
Same here. It clicked in when he approved of the princess and how he hated the prince.
Indeed. The binding specifically mentions "to protect and serve its monarch", but it fails to explicitly mention the monarch's heir and leaves open the interpretation of protecting and serving.

So since we all expect this, I look forward to seeing IO develops this!
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Brain_Caster » 2008-10-20 02:00pm

General Trelane (Retired) wrote: Indeed. The binding specifically mentions "to protect and serve its monarch", but it fails to explicitly mention the monarch's heir and leaves open the interpretation of protecting and serving.

Indeed. Especially the word "serve" can be understood in more than one way. And as it so conveniently happens, the Khaduli appear to be cannibals...

Oh god, now I got a mental picture of Nalifan presenting this chief-guy with the king's head on a silver platter, and a side order of french fries, asking if he would prefer ketchup or mayo. :lol:

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by LadyTevar » 2008-10-20 05:38pm

Brain_Caster wrote:
General Trelane (Retired) wrote: Indeed. The binding specifically mentions "to protect and serve its monarch", but it fails to explicitly mention the monarch's heir and leaves open the interpretation of protecting and serving.

Indeed. Especially the word "serve" can be understood in more than one way. And as it so conveniently happens, the Khaduli appear to be cannibals...

Oh god, now I got a mental picture of Nalifan presenting this chief-guy with the king's head on a silver platter, and a side order of french fries, asking if he would prefer ketchup or mayo. :lol:
While cute, that is rather nullified by the "PROTECT" in front of it.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Jaevric » 2008-10-20 08:18pm

I was actually looking at it in terms of the binding not specifying which monarch Nalifan had to protect and serve. A Queen, after all, is a monarch as well.

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Raj Ahten » 2008-10-20 08:38pm

So just what the hell do the barbarians worship? They certainly are a nasty bunch. When there really are dark gods, their worshipers really can have no redeeming feutures.

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-10-21 01:16pm

Nalifan flexed his fingers and watched as his gauntlets receded back into the rings. He could have killed the fool a dozen different ways, of course. Any mage trained to deal with demons could have stampeded a herd of rothe through the loophole of "no black magic" without trying, but such advantages were best saved until needed as the loopholes would be closed afterward. Or worse. He had no faith in these humans' ability to behave sensibly.

He wiped his sword clean on the dead man's clothes. "Miranna."

The apprentice approached the drow with no little trepidation. "I'll be retiring to my chambers. You're free until morning when I'll want my guided tour of the city."

"Yes, my lord."

"Relax, I need good reasons to kill. Most of the time." He smiled. "That's a joke. It's funny because it's true." Smiling, he headed back into the castle. Once he reached his rooms he unlocked the doors and stepped inside. The pair of cats lifted their heads and went back to napping.

Dogs made superior guard animals, of course, but you had to train them to do that and establish the bonds of loyalty between master and animal. Being an ally of the King of Cats meant that the castle cats were reliable immediately. All they had to do was give the alarm and Nalifan could take care of any intruders himself. A big cat would be even better. He should see if this country had panthers.

He sat down at his work table and took out three slim folios bound in red dragon hide. Along with the spells in his brain they represented the entirety of his accessible spell library. The selection of spells was adequate for most situations, but it was distinctly lacking in magics suitable for annihilating armies and covert assassinations. This was going to be too much like bailing a swamp with a leaky bucket.

He did have a modest supply of paper and ink. He dipped a quill and began to diagram out the beginning of a spell pattern.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sargard was almost shaking with fury as he watched Nalifan leave. "Your majesty, he is a danger to the nation. Have him killed."

King Elois repressed a sigh. "For winning a duel? Don't be absurd."

"You've seen what he is father. He's not even a man. He's a danger."

"Do you think I give two spent coppers about your useless friends? Surround yourself with something beside well born garbage. The Khaduli are coming. All this will end if they aren't turned back. This one can at least fight. Leave me."

"Father-"

"Now!"

Sargard retreated from his father. Duke Ericorn approached. "Your majesty," said the duke, bowing.

"What is it cousin?"

"I had a proposal regarding your new wizard."

"He's my wife's pet. At least he can swing a sword."

"Indeed," said Duke Ericorn, "and he has the arrogance I would expect of a man with his reputed abilities."

"Get to the point cousin."

"Our chances of defeating the Khaduli are slim, unless he turns out to what Gest claims he is. If he's a charlatan, he could do far more harm than good. We are on the horns of a dilemma, leaving aside for the moment the further complication of his alienness. There is a solution. Why don't we test him?"

"Did you have something in mind?"

"Not yet, majesty. I'm still working on it. In the meantime, he should enjoy royal protection. You can always crucify him later."

"I will consider your advice cousin." The tone in the king's voice left no doubt that Ericorn had been dismissed.

The duke bowed and withdrew. Despite his words, he had no doubts that the mage conjured from another world by elven magic was formidable. Whether or not he was formidable enough to defeat the Khaduli was another matter.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Androsphinx » 2008-10-21 01:59pm

Enigma wrote:
LadyTevar wrote:
Jaevric wrote:I've got a couple of ideas where Nalifan can abuse those bindings myself. It'll be fun to see if my suspicions are on track by the time the story is done.
I've already told ImpO that I can see Nalifan killing the stupid Prince "in the best interests of the Kingdom"
Same here. It clicked in when he approved of the princess and how he hated the prince.
<delurks>

The problem with Nalifan killing the Prince from a narrative point of view is that it's very straightforward - huge loopholes in the binding both in terms of Nalifan's remit and his methods, an extremely obvious villain whose death would improve the kingdom's situation.

But what happens if it's the other way round - the king dies mysteriously, the Prince ascends, and the more sympathetic characters (the Queen & her courtiers) are pushed into plotting against their new & unpleasant ruler? With the oath binding Nalifan equally to the kingdom's wellbeing and the welfare of the king himself? That way the limitations on Nalifan and the conflict between his diverging goals of saving the kingdom, protecting the king, freeing himself and (possibly) some slight sympathy to the Queen & her followers can be much more creatively brought out.

Great work so far!
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-10-29 01:43am

Nalifan raided the kitchen for breakfast, defying scowling cleaver armed cooks to acquire a skillet of scrambled eggs and baked apple slices coated with cinnamon sugar. He retired to a dark corner to eat in peace, washing the food down with white wine he drank from a rime coated cup. Miranna found him as he was eating the last of the eggs.

"The servants said you were here," she said. "The cooks don't seem happy to be hosting you."

"No one like someone else fucking with their workspace," the drow replied.

"And yet you do it."

"Their comfort means less to me than mine. Also I don't let them know what food I'm going to be after until I grab it, a trick that's useful against poisoners as well as disgruntled cooks. The prince's boys hate me now more than ever and some might even be smart enough to spin a web for me to fall into. Besides, the company mostly sucks and the local aristocratic fashions are atrocious."

"I'm surprised you think any are dangerous to you."

"I'm bound. Someone clever could snare me using the terms of the binding and I simply don't know enough about the local political alignments. It's the people who aren't my enemies, but may believe its in their interest for me to be neutralized or die under the right conditions who are the most dangerous. There isn't a noble in this kingdom as smart as I am, but I am constrained and terribly ignorant. Both those conditions make me vulnerable and tragically it's clear that while the queen does have a good grasp of the magnitude of the situation, her wizard bound me to obey the monarch and that's clearly her husband. That's your master's fuck up and that's going to cost all of us. You humans really need to work on developing more flexible, outcome based codes of honour and duty. Of course, then good men might realize they need to run a yard of steel through the bellies of a large number of priests, aristocrats, and royals so I can see why there is a strong incentive for the upper strata of your societies to discourage that."

Miranna didn't reply. Nalifan scooped up the last of the eggs with his fork and consumed them. He placed the skillet on the counter and drained the last dregs of wine from his cup. "So, I gave you a mission. Did you succeed?"

"Yes. Garreth. He's a stable boy who is part of the Queen's entourage."

"Of course. Someone had to take care of the horses when she came down to marry. Lead on."

They exited the palace and headed toward the sprawling collection of stables. Miranna lead Nalifan to young man, perhaps sixteen or seventeen, with shaggy brown hair and a whipcord lean build. Peach fuzz clung to his cheeks and he had a protruding beak of a nose. "This is Garreth," said Miranna. "Garreth, this is Nalifan."

"Yeah," said Garreth. "I heard about him."

"I can follow that much Saltuth," said Nalifan in the same tongue. "You might want to watch the insolence. Some of the slugs that pass as nobles would take offense. And so might I."

Garreth gulped. "Yes, my lord."

"Shall we go?" said Nalifan pointing in the direction of the front gate. The humans nodded in agreement. "Good," he said. "Miranna, translate again please. At some point in time you might get an offer to betray me. I'm not going to talk about your duty to queen and country and all that other business. I have no influence over that. I can say that if you accept the offer and then come and tell me about it, I will reward you. Anyone who can beat what I can offer is more likely to kill you than pay you. Keep that in mind."

"I am the queen's man," Garreth said stiffly.

Humans and their honour codes. Was it so hard to admit that many of them would betray anyone for the right price, a fact that was constantly reaffirmed in their history? Apparently it was. "Of course you are," said Nalifan. "I meant no offense." Children.

The gate guards let them pass. Ahead of them stretched the city of Vinmark. Nalifan shielded his eyes from the weak sunlight seeping through the cloud cover and looked out below. The houses of the wealthy were on the hills near the palace with poverty generally increasing as the dwellings approached the river. "Tell me about Vinmark," said the arch-necromancer.

"I'm not sure where to begin," replied Garreth. "River trade used to bring in a lot of money, but with the Khaduli in the south a lot of that's dried up. That's hurting everyone who does buisiness on the river or with those who do. Still blacksmiths and bakers and what not, but there's less money in the city in general so everyone's feeling the pinch."

Nalifan listened to Miranna's translation. "What about crime? Are the gangs allied with an legitimate political powers? Are they big players in the city or small fry? How much weight do merchants and aristocrats throw around? What about royal officials?"

"Well, there's a bunch of gangs, some strong and some weak. Some hire out as muscle to the merchants when they need more than they already got. Some bunch of them is always fighting another bunch. The big shots have the most say, next to the king's men, but the king's men are mostly interested in seeing the city run."

"Who is stronger, the merchants or the gangs?"

"Merchants, plus the king's men 'ill back them."

Nalifan held up a silver noble. "What will this buy me?"

"A lay from a good looking whore, a meal at a nice place, a new tunic."

"Excellent," said Nalifan. "I've currently got a war budget just sufficient to maintain a mistress. How does the local religion fit into things?"

"I dunno," said Garreth. "I mean, well most of 'em follow the Three, but some don't. Most try and get on with their lives, maybe going to a few services a month, maybe more if they're devout or someone in the family is in trouble."

Those weren't the answers Nalifan was looking for. "Are they organized? If so, how? How much authority does their leader have over the rest of them? What kind of power base? How many men under arms? How much influence compared to the king?"

"Well they have church knights and land and stuff. I guess the patriarch is pretty powerful and the rest of the churchmen have to do what he says. They say he can do miracles and stuff, but I've never seen it."

"That's enough," said Nalifan. Clearly sophisticated political discourse was not among Garreth's abilities. "Show me around town, from the highest to lowest. Then I can start getting to work."
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-10-29 06:33pm

Vinmark failed to impress the arch-necromancer. It lacked the flamboyant wealth of Sembia, the splendor of the Sword Coast trading cities, the public works and planning of Cormyr, the beauty of Silverymoon, and the dark wonder of the drow city-states. It was poor in public spirit, wealth, and magic and it showed. Only the great cathedral was glorious. The domains of the merchant-princes were rather pedestrian, mere wood, brick, and iron bars over glass windows. Perhaps being razed to the ground and having to be rebuilt would be an improvement.

"That's enough," said Nalifan. He dropped five nobles into Garreth's hands. "I'm done with you. The rest of the day is yours."

"The Master of Horse-"

"-will be told you're helping me all day on the queen's orders. You're covered. The rest of the day is yours. Go." Nalifan turned to Miranna. "Let's go. We still have a full day."

"Where are we going?"

"Goldsmith," said Nalifan. "I need cash."

"Then why-"

"I don't have enough on me to finance the war," replied Nalifan. "That's different than nothing and what I do have isn't in local currency. It won't spend well. I'll be taking a loss, which won't make me a happy elf and it's only a short term solution, but it will do for now."

"Speaking of the war, you haven't asked a single thing about the Khaduli."

"That's not important at the moment," said Nalifan, "or rather I should say it's not the top priority at the moment. I'm short of army wrecking spells at the moment and no matter how nasty or tame they are, I will need such spells to win. Which means I need the resources to develop them in the limited amount of time available to me. Which in turn means that I need cash now. The Khaduli can wait a few days."

"I see," said Miranna. "The Khaduli have wizards of their own."

"Good to know," said Nalifan. "It helps explain why they can slice through the locals like a hot knife through butter. Do you know the drow word for an army without mages?"

"No."

"Prey. Although given the quality of leadership the 'oldest son inherits everything and the fools are rarely killed off' system tends to produce, there's all sorts of ways the Khaduli could be winning." He lead her across the street and down the strip lined with goldsmith's shops. They were clean brick buildings with bold signs in yellow paint announcing their custom. Many had large glass windows and iron shudders. Nalifan approached a three story building and stepped inside.

Three men stood behind the counter. Two were elderly and stooped with thick white hair and beards and the other was in his early twenties with a short cut dark beard and hair. Their garb was plain, but of the finest wool and well made. They stared at him in some surprise. "Greetings, master elf," said the taller of the two old men. "Forgive our surprise, but in this place your kind is more legend than fact."

"Forgiven," said Nalifan with a smile. "Do you trade in precious metals, gems, and jewelry?"

"We do indeed," said the other. "Since the time of our grandfather. Are you buying or selling sir?"

"Selling," said Nalifan. Miranna translated dutifully. The drow walked over to the counter and began removing items from an black velvet bag that was far too small to hold it's contents. Nalifan placed small stacks of gold and platinum coins on the counter, along with dozen pieces of jewelry and a small cluster of violet garnets. The goldsmiths subjected all of them to a critical eye, magnifying lenses, and scales.

A fierce bout of haggling ensued, which ended with a large number of gold crowns being paid to Nalifan to the complete satisfaction of no one. "One last thing gentlemen," Nalifan asked. "I'm interested in obtaining a rather large loan."

"That's almost impossible to get in this climate," said the shorter of the two brothers. "Many are thinking of how to move themselves and their wealth as far away from the barbarians as possible."

"I'm sure they are," replied Nalifan, "but since I'm the wizard who can stop the Khaduli if I get enough funding to support my magic, I'm not the usual case." All three men exchanged glances.

The younger man replied. "You'll want to talk to the syndics of the Bargeman's Guild. They have deep pockets and totally dependent upon the city's trade."

Nalifan smiled. "Excellent. A pleasure doing business with you."
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Vehrec » 2008-10-29 07:36pm

Money makes the world go round-and it also makes the magic that can stop it in its tracks. Of course, epic spells cost so much to cast and take so long that its just impractical to make more than one in the interum.

So, when do the Priests of the Three start showing up armed with Holy Symbols and cleansing incense to drive out the magic user? And might any of them be pious or holy enough to actually have the priestly magics themselves? :angelic:
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Crom » 2008-10-29 11:11pm

What is Nalifan's class makeup? I mean, he's referred to as an Arch-Mage but is that a title or does he actually have levels in that particular prestige class?

Also, he seems almost pedantic when dealing with Miranna. For example, the explanations over scrambled eggs seemed pretty in depth, is he grooming her for something greater?
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-10-29 11:14pm

Crom wrote:What is Nalifan's class makeup? I mean, he's referred to as an Arch-Mage but is that a title or does he actually have levels in that particular prestige class?
Lots of Wizard with Arch-Mage and Drow Paragon thrown in.
Also, he seems almost pedantic when dealing with Miranna. For example, the explanations over scrambled eggs seemed pretty in depth, is he grooming her for something greater?
I could be coy here, but I won't. He most definitely is.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Crom » 2008-10-30 01:34pm

Imperial Overlord wrote:Lots of Wizard with Arch-Mage and Drow Paragon thrown in.
This is more of a D&D question but I've never been clear on what Paragons are. How is it that someone can take levels in a race?
I could be coy here, but I won't. He most definitely is.
What is the relative levels of the people of Vanyard? I know that Nalifan is far from alone in Faerun in terms of power, but I get the impression that he's out of everyone's league in Vanyard. The reason why I ask is that I'm kind of curious about how much use Miranna could actually be to him.
"Our people were meant to be living gods, warrior-poets who roamed the stars bringing civilization, not cowards and bullies who prey on the weak and kill each other for sport. I never imagined they'd prove themselves so inferior. I didn't betray our people – they betrayed themselves."

-Gaheris Rhade, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

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Imperial Overlord
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-10-30 01:59pm

Crom wrote:
Imperial Overlord wrote:Lots of Wizard with Arch-Mage and Drow Paragon thrown in.
This is more of a D&D question but I've never been clear on what Paragons are. How is it that someone can take levels in a race?
Paragon classes are 3 level prestige classes that emphasize the best abilities of the race. They are character levels spent training and developing talents the race is known for rather than racial levels. In the case of drow, it gives good skill points, decent fighting, and some spellcasting abilities. It's where Nalifan picks up longsword proficiency as well.
What is the relative levels of the people of Vanyard? I know that Nalifan is far from alone in Faerun in terms of power, but I get the impression that he's out of everyone's league in Vanyard. The reason why I ask is that I'm kind of curious about how much use Miranna could actually be to him.
If the locals could have easily gotten their hands on someone of his power, they wouldn't have been desperate enough to try that Hail Mary Pass of a summons. As for Miranna, not all problems are nails.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Deadpan29 » 2008-10-30 02:16pm

And now for some game-geek pendantry. See
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races ... lasses.htm
or
http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/UA:Drow_Paragon
for full details on the paragon class

If he took all three levels of the class, then he has the following benefits:
*The ability to use Drow innate spell-like powers more often than most drow.
*Improved range on his darkvision
*Slightly better attack bonuses than a straight wizard/archwizard build
*Slightly better reflex saves than a straight wizard/archwizard build
*About 6 extra skill points compared to the straight build
*About 3 more hitpoints than the straight build
*The drow light-blindness gets reduced to light sensitivity
*Proficiency with rapiers, longswords, hand crossbows, and light armor
*A +2 bonus to Dexterity

The disadvantages to this are:
*He has spells per day and a caster level one level lower than he would with a straight build
*His Will save is a bit worse than it would be with the straight build

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-10-30 02:22pm

You left out one of the best benefits: Drow Paragon class skills for 3 levels with a character who is an Int whore. Nalifan took it from 18-20, so the loss of a caster level didn't hurt much (he has a crazy smash SR build) and Drow have very, very nice Will saves already.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Post by Crom » 2008-10-31 01:51pm

Well, the biggest thing I found confusing about Paragon levels is how do you go about getting those levels in game? Does the character find, say, an old Drow and say, "Hey old-timer, can you show how to be a real Drow?"

Then he spends three months running through a swamp with aforementioned elderly Drow on his back.
"Our people were meant to be living gods, warrior-poets who roamed the stars bringing civilization, not cowards and bullies who prey on the weak and kill each other for sport. I never imagined they'd prove themselves so inferior. I didn't betray our people – they betrayed themselves."

-Gaheris Rhade, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda

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