4/16/2013

Characters I've Played: Thorren

The goal of this type of post is to update a character that I've played before and intend to play again, though on occasion I may share a character who I probably won't play again.

Thorren was a character I created for Sunday Game Group's Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition campaign in a homebrewed setting in which our group would be playing "monsters" struggling to overthrow a human-elf-eladrin kingdom which enslaved or oppressed all the other races of the world. The intent, eventually, was for the PC's to raise an army and lead the assault on the corrupt kingdom and overthrow it.

Thorren Bluffwatch was a Minotaur Seeker. Given that most of the members of the game played World of Warcraft or WarCraft III, we often referred to him as a Tauren, and the Bluffwatcher NPC type from WoW inspired Thorren's last name. As a Seeker, Thorren was of the primal power source and focused on using that power to aid him in making ranged attacks.

Rather than making Thorren an archer, I chose to make him a thrown weapon focused Seeker, giving him a hammer bound to return to him and a number of axes, javelins, and knives to be thrown situationally. Thorren's abilities generally focused on the production of ice or lightning effects.  He was great fun to play even though the Seeker is a fairly underdeveloped, flawed, and unsupported class in DnD 4e.

In the interim, I've picked up playing WoW and Thorren became a Tauren Shaman, with a leaning toward lightning and fire powers.  So in remaking him for a potential RPG, I'd like to incorporate both versions of Thorren.  As is typical based on Sunday Game Group's system of choice, I'm going to do this exercise in Fate Core's ruleset (just as I did for myself, here).

As a quick reminder, this means I'll need a name, a high concept, three phase aspects, a skill pyramid, and some stunts.  If you'd like more of a breakdown on these, go back and check out my previously linked post for a more detailed rundown.

Naming this character is a simple choice.  The name was inspired by the videogame and transferred out and then back in, so keeping it the same is a no-brainer.
Name:  Thorren Bluffwatch

Next up is the High Concept.  As the most likely place for me to play Thorren is in a Fate WoW RPG as has been discussed several times by SGG, it seems to make sense to involve his race and class here.  Tauren Shaman would be the simple way, but I always try to aim for making the High Concept more dynamic, so I'll try to add a bit on here.  I think Thorren's personality is probably the element missing in this situation.  Thorren's personality, in my mind is based strongly on his loyalty to his friends, people, and the Horde, so I'll call him a Steadfast Tauren Shaman.
High Concept: Steadfast Tauren Shaman

As before, I think of the first phase aspect as "back story" so here's a good opportunity to get in why Thorren is called Bluffwatch.  Tauren have a clan society (pretty clearly influenced by Native Americans) in which children can take on either their parent's surname or a name created by their deeds.  I've always intended that Thorren's family took the name Bluffwatch for being renowned defenders (with keen perception) of the bluffs (or, in WoW terms, Thunderbluff) that are their home.  Thorren carried on in this tradition for a time and took the name, but has since set out on broader adventures.  I summarize this in Generations Watching the Bluffs.
Phase One (Background): Generations Watching the Bluffs

The second phase-aspect is generally the first "guest star" situation that will link a character to the others in the party.  Given that I don't know who else will be in the party, I'll try to leave it a bit open ended.  In terms of the original game, Thorren met his companions because he had been captured by humans who hoped to sell him into gladiatorial slavery, but he escaped with his band of adventurers.  In WoW terms, I tend to consider that Thorren should have entered the lore of the game about when I started playing, and so probably first began his wider journey during the Cataclysm.  So I'll attempt to incorporate those things together.  I think something like, Forced to Battle, talking of Thorren's duty and the fact that he doesn't always look for the battle.  Fighting for Others might actually better sum up my general concept and get back to Thorren's personality, but lacks the outside influence.  I'll split the difference as best I can.
Phase Two: Called to Fight for Others

Third phase is another "guest star" with the same limitations at the moment.  In this case I think it's time to speak to Thorren's connections to nature.  In the original version, he was tied to lightning and ice, and in the WoW version he was tied to lightning and fire.  But in both, he could call upon spirits to aid him.  I think I'll focus on the lightning (or something near to it) and the spirits since they're a commonality.  And I think I have something that sounds cool.
Phase Three: By Ghosts and Thunder

Now for skills.  In the DnD game, Thorren was noted for his perception (which has lived on in SGG by the phrase "what do your ____ eyes see?" since we riffed off Lord of the Rings' "what do your elf eyes see?" by replacing "elf" with "Tauren").  In WoW terms, he's also renowned for his vigilance.  Seems only fitting that his strongest skill be notice.  From there I think fight and empathy make a lot of sense, given that he's a strong fighter in both settings and Shamans in WoW theoretically gain their elemental powers by communicating with and understanding the spirits.  Trailing along with that empathy would have to be rapport and lore, given that they'd strongly correlate the same connections.  I'd include shoot in that same tier as Thorren has always had an element of ranged combat to him, though less so in WoW than in DnD.  I think his Tauren size lends Thorren the physique and athletics skills, he has some ability to ride (aka the drive skill),  and his work and loyalty to the horde have gained him the contacts skill.

Great(+4): Notice
Good(+3): Fight, Empathy
Fair(+2): Lore, Rapport, Shoot
Average(+1): Physique, Athletics, Ride, Contacts

Now to finish off with stunts.  These are the most likely things to change upon actual game play dependent on how we work elemental powers in game. That said, I think the first stunt I should take is one that allows for Thorren to use Empathy to make attacks using elemental powers. To make it aspect-y I'll dub it Speaker to Elements. Next I think I'll add an ability to play off Thorren's ability to notice at a prodigious rate. I'll use it to allow him to use his notice for a trapping of investigate. It seems only right to call it What Do Your Tauren Eyes See? The final stunt should be about Thorren's connections, I think and his ability to call on allies. I'll take a line from the game and call it The Horde is Family.
Stunts: Speaker to Elements
What Do Your Tauren Eyes See?
The Horde is Family

So someday, Thorren will be ready to play again. I'm looking forward to it.