Dec 07 2020

Stars-At-Dusk, Shady’s More Subtle Cousin

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SmartBlueCat's Inigo, showing off his prowess with one-handed weapons

After musing on why Iko wasn’t working for me, I noodled around with some ideas. One, which I’m pretty sure I lifted from Jim Pruitt of WebDM (but I don’t have a direct link for) was a black-furred tabaxi named Lucky (which was short for “Lucky-To-Be-Here” or “Better-Lucky-Than-Good,” depending on his mood when you asked), who was a suave gambler type, like Maverick or Lando Calrissian, a master of infiltration and smooth talking. His build would focus around the Lucky feat (obvs.) as well as a couple levels of Diviner in order to have portent dice, and his favorite trick would be to make other people unlucky by walking in front of them.

Unfortunately for Lucky, his playstyle and the campaign were a mismatch. So far the adventures have all been “Go to site, kill monsters, go home, go on to next site, repeat.” What is there for a well-dressed smoothie to do in a story like that?

So I went back to an older character of mine, who has manifested occasionally in various forms over the years but never actually had a chance to come to the forefront. His very first incarnation was as a Fantasy HERO character in 1986 who got played all of once; then as a Star Wars fanfic character, a fursona I came up with but never adopted, and most recently, as a very distant support character who appeared indirectly in my Storm King’s Thunder campaign. And that is Dusk, a wandering tabaxi/catfolk/khajiit/whatever swordsman. Usually Dusk’s fur is midnight blue or black with blue/turquoise highlights, but since the advent of Inigo I decided to avoid the blue angle and just stick with black and silver fur.

Dusk (5th level version)
CG Male Tabaxi Fighter 3/Rogue 2
AC 18 (studded leather, shield), hp 41 (5 HD; 2d8+3d10+10)
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
STR 10 (+0), DEX 16 (+3), CON 14 (+2), INT 10 (+0), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 14 (+2)
Saving Throws Dex +6, Int +3
Skills Acrobatics +6, Athletics +6, Deception +5, Intimidation +5, Investigation +3, Perception +4, Persuasion +5, Stealth +9
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Orc

Action Surge, Cunning Action, Feline Agility, Improved Critical (19-20), Second Wind (1d10+3), Sneak Attack +1d6

“Compelling Argument” (+1 Silver Rapier). Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d8+4 piercing damage.
Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 150 ft./600 ft., one target. Hit: 1d8+3 piercing damage.

As a child, Dusk (full name Stars-At-Dusk) was part of a tabaxi caravan who had the misfortune to be waylaid by bandits on the road. In a moment that could have been pity or could have been simply “waste not, want not,” one of the bandits took him in and taught him the ways of highway robbery, as well as scouting potential victims, the art of the pickpocket and the shell game, and more.

Dusk never felt at home among them, and as he grew to adulthood the gnawing at his conscience turned into a burning desire for escape and redemption. It all came to a head when the bandit troupe launched a raid on another tabaxi caravan—Dusk couldn’t stand by and let history repeat itself. He turned on his captor/companions, slaying several and giving the caravan warning enough to mount a defense. Severely wounded in the fight, Dusk was taken in by the tabaxi survivors and welcomed as a long lost cousin.

Now he travels where the fates lead him, on the lookout for a chance to do good and hopefully make a little coin along the way.

Personality-wise, he is generally cheerful and quippy, with a love for wordplay and a wry sense of humor. He is not what you’d call a crusader, but in order to make up for his dark past he has vowed to live a good life and help out where he can.

As he gains levels, he will go to Rogue (Assassin) 5, and then Fighter thereafter. His first priority will be the Mobile feat (giving him the poor man’s version of Rakish Audacity and crazy fast movement), then maxing out Dexterity, moving on to the Alert and Lucky feats. He’s basically intended to be a Crit Machine in combat, but also allow me to indulge my love of acrobatic moves and physical prowess. But even at 5th level he’s nimble and dangerous, while still being an excellent scout and a capable face for the party if required, giving him more flexibility than the one-trick Iko. On the other hand, he can’t Arcana his way out of a paper bag, so hopefully there’ll be some other brain in the party to take care of that stuff.

Whattya think?

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