Inventing a Patron

… sometimes, the A-Z Challenge leads to strange titles. I normally wouldn’t use ‘invent’ in this situation, but here we are.

Creating a patron is not so difficult, and gets easier the more entities you have defined in your campaign.

If I don’t have a particular patron in mind, I’ll probably start with a randomly-generated name and epithet (tables for that one to come). The Tome of Adventure Design has some excellent tables for this, Table 4-35 (page 276) in particular.

I’ve automated that particular table and, since it’s “I day”, let’s see what it gave me.

… 191 out of 5,000 generated. I’ll cull the list first and then pick one.

  • Ich-Dereg, Caller of Souls
  • Ilassa, Musician of the Seasons
  • Ing-Yg’Lotul, Thief of the Full Moon
  • Iqu’Zaroth, Servant of the Water
  • Ishtoog, Devourer of the Seas

A few here, I picked because I liked the imagery. ‘Caller of Souls’, ‘Musician of the Seasons’, and ‘Thief of the Full Moon’ speak to me. ‘Servant of the Water’ reminds of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit — really good story, and gives me a lot I can draw on. ‘Devourer of the Seas’ suggests a relationship, probably contentious, with Barakhareesh, Dragon of the Seas.

I’m going to go with Ilassa, Musician of the Seasons.

First, her goals. I expect at least one has to do with the seasonal cycle, possibly to do with them being properly observed, maybe to do with making sure they happen at all… or perhaps even changing them. Other could have to do with music, but that might be just a matter of how she works, not what she does or why. I don’t have anything concrete, so I’ll roll and find out.

1, 2, and 6: Support a person or organization, promote a condition, oppose an ideal. Okay. Okay, that’ll work. This one isn’t even hard.

Support a person or organization, Ilassa wants to see the Llyr Mi Lann tribes, who are close to the land, survive and prosper.

Promote a condition, humanity — mortals in general, really — living in harmony with nature.

Oppose an ideal, she’s really averse to civilization, especially with the way it tears up and damages the land.

I’m getting a heavy druidic vibe from this, so I decided on a semi-Celtic sounding name for the tribes. She supports the tribes in what she sees as their best interests, but her position against larger civilizations and promotion of nature could interfere with what they see as their best interests. Some built-in conflict, nice.

Now let’s consider her favors and drawbacks. They should tie back to goals or theme.

  • ‘Seasons’ and ‘harmony with nature’ is an easy one. At first grade, treat Acrobatics, Animal Lore, Athletics, Detection, Stealth, and Wilderness Lore as ‘trained’, in the wilds. This is perhaps aided by the drawback: appearance and personality take on aspects of the seasons, to noticeable and unnatural (and potentially annoying) degree. In spring hair is brown or green, summer is golden blond, autumn is red as the leaves, and winter is white as snow.
  • For the second one, let’s look at ‘musician’. We’ve already got a skill favor, perhaps… yes. With a successful Charisma check, a vassal with at least 6 favor may spend a point of favor to cast Bestial Communion or Heed the Silent Forest. Even when not using this ability, there is a constant feeling of togetherness with the wild… when in civilization the vassal feels naked and alone, and takes disadvantage on Luck saves against emotion-affecting effects.
  • At third grade, as long as the vassal starts with at least 10 favor the vassal may use this ability to cast Hedge of Twisting Thorns and Sudden Transmogrification (animal forms only, one target per favor spent). Also, the vassal can use the same ability to cast Unchain the World Eater within a settlement. This use of Unchain the World Eater costs 1 favor for 80-foot radius of effect, 2 favor for 160-foot radius, 3 favor for 320-foot radius, doubling for every additional favor spent… and requires one Dark and Dangerous Magic check per favor spent. The vassal takes a feral mien, constantly surveying her surroundings and distrusting anyone who reeks of civilization — and rolls Insight and charisma checks with disadvantage checks in such situations.

‘The wild’ is basically anywhere outside a settlement (even so much as a village). ‘In civilization’ is in a town or larger settlement. Everything else is neither of the above: a vassal on a farm or in a village does not gain the favors of the first grade nor the drawbacks of the second.

Closing Comments

Creating a new patron is fairly straightforward. This one is still rough, but I’ll polish it up in my next post.

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