My ladyfriend has contributed a number of pieces of artwork for my Magical Marvels posts, including Kofek’s Tongue, Wallcraft’s Offerings, and Gravewhisper’s Claw. Recently, she’s been working on a character portrait to commemorate the first character she ever played in one of my games: Moreven the sorceress. I’m so impressed by it that I wanted to post it here on Comma, Blank_, and since it’s Friday anyway, I thought I’d take a break from my series on the Weapons of the Ascendant Crusade to turn Moreven into a Colorful Character! The real Moreven was killed by orcs, but now you can include a clone of her in any game you choose! As always, you can see more of my ladyfriend’s art on her DeviantArt page.
Moreven was always something of a goof. During the simple education children in her town received, she frequently distracted from the lessons to make her classmates laugh–despite the punishment it earned her. As she grew older, she became somewhat notorious as a practical joker. If someone found themselves surprised and humiliated by an unforeseen happenstance, odds were good that they’d hear laughter and running feet right after it. Most of the town’s adults looked on her as a troublemaker–though one which they hoped would ultimately grow out of her propensity to make a nuisance of herself. Among her peers, however, Moreven was a queen. Though they sometimes fell before her pranks themselves, her peers none the less adored her for the entertainment she provided them, and for her part, Moreven reveled in their adulation.
When Moreven was 12, she found that she was beginning to develop some very peculiar abilities. Abilities which allowed her to bend or even break the laws of nature. Immediately she began using her newfound skills to mastermind even more elaborate pranks, and for a time this worked. But it didn’t take long for people to figure out that Moreven was doing things which shouldn’t be possible. Things which scared the people of the small rural town. Many of them, even her adoring fans, began to distance themselves from her, then to shun her. They whispered amongst themselves that she was haunted or possessed–whispers which only grew louder when she began to talk to a weasel she had found amongst the crops. Moreven retaliated against the townspeople’s whispers with more devious pranks. Pranks which started to skirt the line between harmless fun, and genuinely causing harm. Unsurprisingly, this only strengthened the growing opinion that Moreven was becoming unnatural, and unsafe. Things came to a head when one of the town elders demanded she keep away from his son. Moreven responded by magically knocking a ladder out from under him when he was repairing the roof of his home. She heard the wet cracking sound of his legs breaking as he hit the ground, and knew that she had gone too far. She fled the village then, at the age of 15, without bothering to even say goodbye to anyone.
For a while, Moreven managed to earn enough money for food by performing magic tricks in small towns. Her natural clownishness made her an excellent performer, and she found that she could recapture the adulation she had felt from her classmates when she used her powers to entertain, rather than to harm. But her simple magic tricks only kept a given village entertained for so long before she moved on–though rarely before tapping into her skills as a prankster to punish a heckler or two.
Eventually, Moreven met up with a troupe of halflings who made their living the same way. They offered to let her travel with them, and for a few months she did. Traveling with a group had its advantages. On her own, Moreven had been accosted by bandits several times, which was less of a problem in a larger group. And while the halfling jugglers, singers, and comedians were good, none were good enough to draw attention away from Moreven’s increasingly elaborate magical shows. On the face it was a good deal, but Moreven quickly became frustrated with the Halfling’s mannerisms. Though she craved the attention of admirers, Moreven was not a very sociable person, and found the constant friendly hounding of her traveling companions infuriating. They never seemed to want to stop jabbering on about nothing at all. Things came to a head when Moreven discovered that one of the halflings had been stealing from her purse whilst she was asleep. Swearing off ever working with halflings again, Moreven left the troupe in the same manner that she had left her village–though not before setting one of their carts on fire.
In the next town, Moreven was performing a show in a tavern when she was approached by a woman with horns and a tail, who asked if she would be interested in working together to solve the town’s bandit problem. Morrie had never thought of applying her now well-developed sorceress’ abilities to adventuring, but the woman assured Moreven that she was one of the most talented young spellcasters around. Moreven had come to love her life of performing, but realized she would never make enough to pay for more than food and a room before needing to move on to another town. Adventuring would give her an opportunity to make some real money. And besides–nothing was stopping her from performing in the towns they visited.
Moreven quickly showed an aptitude for the life of an adventurer. There was gold to be had, and she wanted a piece of it. Moreven and her band were very successful, and when they heard rumors of a secret cathedral to an evil god which was filled with unbelievable treasures, they set out looking for it immediately. It took some doing, but they eventually found the cathedral buried in a cliff side, managed to sneak in, but what they found was not gold and gems. What they found was a necromatic hellhouse. They saw people held in cages, fed to undead monsters to make them strong, necromancers sewing bits of corpses together to create unholy abominations, and numerous other horrors which should not be spoken of.
Moreven was disgusted by the blatant display of evil before her. Egging her compatriots on, the party descended on the cultists, and sent them to their dark god. Once the grisly work was done, there was little treasure to be found, though the freed prisoners managed to pool a few dozen gold pieces in thanks. What Moreven was able to find was a clue to the location of another cathedral, and she insisted that the party investigate. They did, and found the location to be much the same, in both the level of evil, and the level of treasure. The party wanted to move on to more profitable ventures, but Moreven pushed them to continue hunting the undead and the necromancers who create them.
For a time, the party humored her. She was a valuable sorcerer, and surely one of the temples would have treasure more valuable than the few baubles they’d been able to gather so far. Meanwhile, Moreven was becoming more obsessed with fighting and destroying these horrible monsters. She began to study their craft, guiding her own sorcerous development into the necromatic magics, to better combat her hated foes.
Eventually, Moreven’s increasing desire to hunt undead rather than seek out treasure caused the group to part ways amicably. Moreven now travels on her own, moving from town to town as a performer, and listening intently for any rumors which would point to any nearby bastion of necromancy.
Moreven craves the attention of an adoring crowd, but in more intimate social situations she’s a recluse. She prefers not to be hassled by peoples problems, or even their genuine interest in her. She’s not completely without social graces, though, and can maintain a conversation if she needs to. She simply prefers not to need to.
Moreven has become remarkably adept with Necromancy spells, and with the help of a powerful magic item (the Skull of Necromatic Mastery) she is able to attack her opponents using negative energy spells from even a great range. She does, however, keep a few conventional evocation spells at hand if necromancy fails her.
Being a performer, Moreven has a large number of spells which are primarily useful for entertaining a crowd. She often uses these spells to confuse or distract her enemies in combat.
Thoughts on Use
If all you need is something to spice up a small town, then adding Moreven as a traveling entertainer can do that. Having a sorceress casting flashy spells in the background of a scene can add depth and flavor to a game world.
In a more serious context, Moreven has become somewhat renowned as an “Undead Hunter.” She can be sought out by PCs in this capacity to offer advice, or other assistance in hunting and destroying undead.
Moreven The Sorceress (CR 3)
Female Human Sorceress 14
Init +2; Senses Perception +0
AC 15, Flat Footed 13, Touch 15 [10 + Dex(2) + Robes of Deflection (3)]
hp 79 (14d6 +28)
Fort +6 Ref +8 Will + 12
Melee Undying Staff – 4 (1d0/18-20 x2)
Ranged Light Crossbow + 2 (1d8/19-20 x2)(80ft)
Sorcerer Spells (CL 14th; Concentration +18; +2 save DC for Necromancy spells; +4 to overcome spell resistance)
7th (3/day)– Reverse Gravity
6th (5/day)– Acid Fog, Symbol of Fear, Undeath to Death, True Seeing
5th (6/day)– Waves of Fatigue, Cone of Cold, Seeming, Overland Flight
4th (7/day)– Dimensional Door, Arcane Eye, Ice Storm, Fear, Rainbow Pattern
3rd (7/day)– Explosive Runes, Gentle Repose, Ray of Exhaustion, Flame Arrow, Fireball, Dispell Magic
2nd (7/day)– Ghoul Touch, Command Undead, Pyrotechnics, Spider Climb, Invisibility, Whispering Wind
1st (7/day)– Magic Missile, Disguise Self, Silent Image, Ventriloquism, Floating Disk, Identify
0 (at will)– Acid Splash, Detect Magic, Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Mage Hand, Light, Ghost Sound, Touch of Fatigue, Prestidigitation
Whenever you apply a metamagic feat to a spell that increases the slot used by at least one level, increase the spell’s DC by +1. (Does not stack, does not apply to Heightened Spell.)
Arcane Bond — Able to summon a familiar.
Metamagic Adept (3/Day) — May use a metamagic feat without increasing a spell’s casting time.
Str 11 (+0) Dex 15 (+2) Con 14 (+2) Int 14 (+2) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 19 (+4)
Base Atk +7/2; CMB +7; CMD 19
Feats Eschew Materials, Spell Focus (Necromancy), Greater Spell Focus (Necromancy), Metamagic: Extend Spell, Metamagic: Maximize Spell, Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration, Combat Casting, Improved Counterspell, Iron Will
Skills Bluff (+21), Knowledge (Arcana)(+19), Spellcraft(+19), Knowledge (Religion/Undead) (+19)
Languages Common, Elven, Gnoll
Gear Robes of Deflection +3, Light Crossbow, Bag of Holding, 100ft of silk rope, 10 days of rations, crowbar, bedroll, spyglass, the preserved right arm and left leg of a full grown gnoll, Undying Staff, Skull of Necromatic Mastery
New Item: Undying Staff
Moreven’s signature staff was acquired when I ran her and her fellows through the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 module The Standing Stone. It is constructed from humanoid bones wired together into a single piece. The staff has 1 charge of Animated Dead, and 2 charges of Create Undead. Moreven had a smith modify it to mount a blade on the end, allowing it to serve double-duty as a glaive.
New Item: Skull of Necromatic Mastery
This mysterious and ornate skull is immensely powerful. Any caster who possesses it is able to cast their Necromancy spells with an additional range of 60ft. This range increase includes spells with a range of “touch,” which allows the Necromancer in question to use frighteningly powerful spells without putting themselves in direct confrontation with their target.
Familiar: Weasel, the Weasel
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +3
AC 22, touch 14, flat footed 20 [10 + Dex(2) + natural(8) + size(2)]
hp 4 (1d8)
Fort +2; Ref +4; Will +1
Speed 20ft, Climb 20ft
Melee bite +4 (1d3 – 4 plus attach)
Space 2 and 1/2 ft.; Reach 0ft
Str 3 Dex 15 Con 10, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 5
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 6 (10 vs. trip)
Feats Weapon Finesse, Alertness
Skills Acrobatics +10, Climb +10, Escape Artist +3, Stealth +14
SQ: Attach (Ex) When a weasel hits with a bite attack, it automatically grapples its foe, inflicting automatic bite damage each round.
Familiar Special Abilities Share Spells, Empathic Link, Deliver Touch Spells, Speak with Master, Speak with animals of its kind, Spell resistance, Scry on Familiar, Improved Evasion