Monday, April 17, 2017

5e The Wise Wolf (Wildhunt Shifter Bard of Lore)

This character concept is inspired by one of the two main characters of the Spice and Wolf stories. Holo (or Horo, but usually I see her name in English written as Holo), the Wise Wolf. She is an ancient wolf spirit who also has some influence on the growth of crops and has been around for hundreds of years by the start of the story.


Spice and Wolf is low magic fantasy, Holo is definitely of supernatural nature, but once she takes mortal form she doesn't display much in the way of magical abilities. Occasionally she takes the form of a giant wolf which may or may not be her natural form (personally I think her natural form is incorporeal and doesn't hold to any particular shape even though she ascertains that she is indeed a wolf.).

Now there's a couple of things that I think people are going to have issue with. One is wondering how this can be low magic if she's a hundreds of years old spirit who can turn into a giant wolf. The answer is that she can't just turn into a wolf at any given time. There is a pouch full of wheat that she carries about with her that is connected to a field she used to inhabit as part of a deal with a village where she would enrich the crops in exchange for them keeping her company. (eventually, they forgot she was real and the rituals became just rote following through with the motions and she grew lonely and escaped when they carried out the rituals incorrectly...that's first episode/novel, btw.) And if all that wheat is eaten she will either fade away or die or something, the story isn't incredibly clear and I'm not sure they really follow through with that being a concern. Maybe in the later novels which haven't been adapted to anime yet.

Also, the shapeshifting is her only real magical trick throughout the entire series save a couple of connected things like a fear causing howl that she only ever uses in wolf form. She has incredibly sharp senses, the tail, red eyes, and the ears, but in general she typically uses her accumulated knowledge and wisdom as well as her understanding of people and their hidden natures. The other main character is an exceptionally talented merchant with no magical or martial skills to speak of. The majority of stories involve a dovetailing of Horo's ancient wisdom and Lawrence's merchant wits. Low magic isn't so much about what's possible as it is about how common, blatant and easily used it is.

The second thing is that a lot of people would note "if her only magical trick is shapeshifting, why not go druid?" And the answer to that is that her main schtick is wisdom and and understanding of people. She wanders and picks up lore and that feels very much like a bard. Meanwhile, she can only become a giant wolf, which is something she could do as a bard via a polymorph spell. Going druid involves a lot of things that just don't fit the character.

In truth, even the polymorph spell is a lot more versatile than her own abilities. (This is part of the reason I think D&D needs a way to get characters shapeshifting outside the druid class because in fiction and mythology there are a number of focused shapeshifters with no other particular magical ability).

Now, there's no telling exactly what order Holo gained her powers in. By the start of the series she is ancient is living as an incorporeal entity inhabiting the wheat fields of a village. She has stated that she started as a wolf and it is incredibly likely that she learned to appear human sometime long after she learned other tricks. So this is more or less creating a character in the vein of Holo rather than Holo herself.

Spells are focused on maybe/maybe not magic style effects and she never showed any sign of healing ability. Though she is a very charming person so I am picking up some stuff of that nature.

I am using the Sage background sort of, but replacing Arcana with Nature.


For this I am using my typical theoretical 30 pt array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10.

1st Level Wildhunt Shifter Bard
Str:10
Dex:13
Con: 11
Int: 14
Wis:14
Cha:15

HP: 9
AC: 11
Save DC: 12

Speed: 30 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +2

Darkvision 60ft
Wildhunt Shifting: +1 Temp HP, Advantage on Wisdom saves and ability checks

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Flute, Pipes, Lute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan, Elven, Dwarven

Proficient Skills
History (Sage) +4
Insight (Bard) +4
Nature (Sage) +4
Perception (Bard) +4
Survival (Bard) +4

Background: Sage

Bardic Inspiration 2d6
Spellcasting

Cantrip: Minor Illusion, Vicious Mockery
 
Spell Slots: 2 (1st)
 
1st Level Spells: Animal Friendship, Longstrider, Sense Emotion, Speak with Animals
 
Reasoning: It's a bit odd to start a bard without a performance stat, but she isn't really a bard in terms of an entertainer so much as she is a collector of assorted lore over time.

2nd to 5th Level

2nd Level - Jack of all Trades, Song of Rest d6, +5 HP (14)
Spell: Comprehend Languages

3rd Level - College: Lore, Bonus Proficiencies: Persuasion, Performance, Deception; Cutting Words, Expertise: Insight, Perception, +5 HP (19)
Spell: Enhance Ability

4th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +1 Cha, +1 Dex, +5 HP (24)
Cantrip: Prestidigitation
Spell:  Suggestion

5th Level - Proficiency Bonus: +3, Font of Inspiration, Bardic Inspiration d8, +5 HP (29)
Spell: Plant Growth

Reasoning: Comprehend Languages goes in with her accumulated knowledge. Suggestion ties in to her incredible Charisma. Plant Growth relates to her occasional position as a spirit of the fields enriching the crops. Enhance Ability serves multiple rolls including giving her advantage on Charisma and relating to being stronger and healthier than she looks. I did use Performance here because she does eventually impress people with her dancing and there is her singing.

5th Level Statistics



5th Level Wildhunt Shifter Loremaster
Str:10
Dex:14
Con: 11
Int: 14
Wis:14
Cha:16

HP: 29
AC: 12
Save DC: 14

Speed: 30 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +3

Darkvision 60ft
Wildhunt Shifting: +5 Temp HP, Advantage on Wisdom saves and ability checks

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Flute, Pipes, Lute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan, Elven, Dwarven

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Jack of all Trades) +3
Animal Handling (Jack of all Trades) +3
Arcana (Jack of all Trades) +3
Athletics (Jack of all Trades) +1
Deception (Lore) +6
History (Sage) +5
Insight (Bard, Expertise) +8
Intimidation (Jack of all Trades) +4
Investigation (Jack of all Trades) +3
Medicine (Jack of all Trades) +3
Nature (Sage) +5
Perception (Bard, Expertise) +8
Performance (Lore) +6
Persuasion (Lore) +6
Religion (Jack of all Trades) +3
Sleight of Hand (Jack of all Trades) +3
Stealth (Jack of all Trades) +3
Survival (Bard) +5

Background: Sage

Bardic Inspiration 3d8
Spellcasting
Jack of all Trades
Song of Rest d6
College of Lore: Persuasion, Performance, Deception
Cutting Words
Expertise: Insight, Perception

Cantrip: Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation, Vicious Mockery
 
Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 2 (3rd)
 
1st Level Spells: Animal Friendship, Comprehend Languages, Longstrider, Sense Emotion, Speak with Animals
2nd Level Spells:  Enhance Ability, Suggestion
3rd Level Spells: Plant Growth

6th to 10th Level


6th Level - Countercharm, Magical Secrets, +5 HP (29)
Spell: Fear, Pass Without Trace, Haste

7th Level - +5 HP (34)
Spell: Polymorph

8th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Cha, +5 HP (39)
Spell: Locate Creature

9th Level - Proficiency Bonus +4, Song of Rest d8, +5 HP (44)
Spell: Legend Lore

10th Level - Bardic Inspiration d10, Expertise: Nature, Persuasion, Magical Secrets, +5 HP (49)
Spell: Hallow, Commune with Nature

Reasoning: Most of her spell choices here went toward her nature as a natural spirit, including Hallow given that she was a living blessing of an area for a while.

10th Level Statistics


10th Level Wildhunt Shifter Loremaster
Str:10
Dex:14
Con: 11
Int: 14
Wis:14
Cha:18

HP: 49
AC: 12
Save DC: 16

Speed: 30 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +4

Darkvision 60ft
Wildhunt Shifting: +10 Temp HP, Advantage on Wisdom saves and ability checks

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Flute, Pipes, Lute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan, Elven, Dwarven

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Jack of all Trades) +4
Animal Handling (Jack of all Trades) +4
Arcana (Jack of all Trades) +4
Athletics (Jack of all Trades) +3
Deception (Lore) +8
History (Sage) +6
Insight (Bard, Expertise) +10
Intimidation (Jack of all Trades) +6
Investigation (Jack of all Trades) +4
Medicine (Jack of all Trades) +4
Nature (Sage, Expertise) +10
Perception (Bard, Expertise) +10
Performance (Lore) +8
Persuasion (Lore, Expertise) +12
Religion (Jack of all Trades) +4
Sleight of Hand (Jack of all Trades) +4
Stealth (Jack of all Trades) +4
Survival (Bard) +6

Background: Sage

Bardic Inspiration 4d10
Spellcasting
Jack of all Trades
Song of Rest d8
College of Lore: Persuasion, Performance, Deception
Cutting Words
Expertise: Insight, Perception, Persuasion, Nature
Countercharm
Magical Secrets

Cantrip: Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation, Vicious Mockery
 
Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 3 (3rd) 3 (4th) 2 (5th)
 
1st Level Spells: Animal Friendship, Comprehend Languages, Longstrider, Sense Emotion, Speak with Animals
2nd Level Spells:  Enhance Ability, Pass Without Trace, Suggestion
3rd Level Spells: Feat, Haste, Plant Growth
4th Level: Locate Creature, Polymorph
5th Level: Commune with Nature, Hallow, Legend Lore
 

11th to 15th Level


11th Level - +5 HP (54)
Spell: Find the Path

12th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Cha, +5 HP (59)

13th Level - Proficiency Bonus +5, Song of Rest d10, +5 HP (64)
Spell: True Seeing

14th Level - Magical Secrets, Peerless Skill, +5 HP (69)
Spell: Detect Poison and Disease, Mass Suggestion

15th Level - Bardic Inspiration d12, +5 HP (74)
Spell: Glibness

Reasoning: More magic including her attunement to perception and the natural world as well as her incredibly Charisma. As with a lot of these theoreticals, there's something that feels like it should have been earlier, in this case, Detect Poison and Disease. In retrospect, I might put that in instead of Comprehend Languages way back at the beginning if I were to actually play this.

15th Level Statistics


15th Level Wildhunt Shifter Loremaster
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con: 11
Int: 14
Wis: 14
Cha: 20

HP: 74
AC: 12
Save DC: 18

Speed: 30 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +5

Darkvision 60ft
Wildhunt Shifting: +15 Temp HP, Advantage on Wisdom saves and ability checks

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Flute, Pipes, Lute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan, Elven, Dwarven

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Jack of all Trades) +4
Animal Handling (Jack of all Trades) +4
Arcana (Jack of all Trades) +4
Athletics (Jack of all Trades) +3
Deception (Lore) +10
History (Sage) +7
Insight (Bard, Expertise) +12
Intimidation (Jack of all Trades) +6
Investigation (Jack of all Trades) +4
Medicine (Jack of all Trades) +4
Nature (Sage, Expertise) +12
Perception (Bard, Expertise) +12
Performance (Lore) +10
Persuasion (Lore, Expertise) +15
Religion (Jack of all Trades) +4
Sleight of Hand (Jack of all Trades) +4
Stealth (Jack of all Trades) +4
Survival (Bard) +7

Background: Sage
 
Bardic Inspiration 5d12
Spellcasting
Jack of all Trades
Song of Rest d10
College of Lore: Persuasion, Performance, Deception
Cutting Words
Expertise: Insight, Perception, Persuasion, Nature
Countercharm
Magical Secrets
Peerless Skill

Cantrip: Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation, Vicious Mockery
 
Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 3 (3rd) 3 (4th) 2 (5th) 1 (6th) 1 (7th) 1 (8th)
 
1st Level Spells: Animal Friendship, Comprehend Languages, Detect Poison and Disease, Longstrider, Sense Emotion, Speak with Animals
2nd Level Spells:  Enhance Ability, Pass Without Trace, Suggestion
3rd Level Spells: Feat, Haste, Plant Growth
4th Level: Locate Creature, Polymorph
5th Level: Commune with Nature, Hallow, Legend Lore
6th Level: Find the Path, Mass Suggestion
7th Level: True Seeing
8th Level: Glibness

16th to 20th Level


16th Level - Ability Score Improvement: Resilience: Wisdom , +5 HP (79)

17th Level - Proficiency Bonus +6, Song of Rest d12, +5 HP (84)
Spell: Foresight

18th Level -  Magical Secrets, + HP (89)
Spell: Shapechange, Mind Blank

19th Level - Ability Score Improvement: Resilience: Intelligence , +5 HP (94)

20th Level - Superior Inspiration, + HP (99)

Reasoning: I ended up not drawing from outside the Bard list much when magical secrets came up. As to why I took Shapechange when I've already stated that she can only take wolf form. I would certainly try to work with a GM to fluff out versions of the wolf form that were progressively more powerful by using the stats of some other critter and just saying it's a wolf form. I probably should have worked in proficiency with Intimidation at some point, Holo can be damn intimidating when she wants to be even without being in wolf form, but she's actually fairly impressive as she stands.

20th Level Statistics


20th Level Wildhunt Shifter Loremaster
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con: 11
Int: 15
Wis: 15
Cha: 20

HP: 99
AC: 12
Save DC: 19

Speed: 30 ft

Proficiency Bonus: +6

Darkvision 60ft
Wildhunt Shifting: +20 Temp HP, Advantage on Wisdom saves and ability checks

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Flute, Pipes, Lute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan, Elven, Dwarven

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Jack of all Trades) +5
Animal Handling (Jack of all Trades) +5
Arcana (Jack of all Trades) +5
Athletics (Jack of all Trades) +4
Deception (Lore) +11
History (Sage) +8
Insight (Bard, Expertise) +14
Intimidation (Jack of all Trades) +8
Investigation (Jack of all Trades) +5
Medicine (Jack of all Trades) +5
Nature (Sage, Expertise) +14
Perception (Bard, Expertise) +14
Performance (Lore) +11
Persuasion (Lore, Expertise) +17
Religion (Jack of all Trades) +5
Sleight of Hand (Jack of all Trades) +5
Stealth (Jack of all Trades) +5
Survival (Bard) +8

Background: Sage
 
Bardic Inspiration 5d12
Spellcasting
Jack of all Trades
Song of Rest d12
College of Lore: Persuasion, Performance, Deception
Cutting Words
Expertise: Insight, Perception, Persuasion, Nature
Countercharm
Magical Secrets
Peerless Skill 
Superior Inspiration

Cantrip: Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation, Vicious Mockery
 
Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 3 (3rd) 3 (4th) 2 (5th) 1 (6th) 1 (7th) 1 (8th) 1 (9th)
 1st Level Spells: Animal Friendship, Comprehend Languages, Detect Poison and Disease, Longstrider, Sense Emotion, Speak with Animals
2nd Level Spells:  Enhance Ability, Pass Without Trace, Suggestion
3rd Level Spells: Feat, Haste, Plant Growth
4th Level: Locate Creature, Polymorph
5th Level: Commune with Nature, Hallow, Legend Lore
6th Level: Find the Path, Mass Suggestion
7th Level: True Seeing
8th Level: Glibness, Mind Blank
9th Level: Foresight, Shapechange

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