Are you stumped for what you want your next D&D 4e character to be? Wish you could somehow adapt one of your favorite characters to a medieval, high fantasy setting? Look no further, in this article I’ll be taking everyone’s favorite teleporting fuzzy elf and giving him the D&D treatment.
If you’d like a step by step account of how a character is created in 4th edition, check out our podcast, in which Stephen makes a Fancypants Elf.
What this is: This is a character progression based on Marvel’s Nightcrawler, it will allow you to create a character that is reminiscent of Kurt Wagner, while still jiving with D&D’s very particular feel.
What this is not: This is not a way to simulate Kurt exactly. Dungeons and Dragons doesn’t lend itself to a direct “port” of a character from a comic book.
As we go through, keep in mind that if you actually use the character, then the character will be yours. If you decide to not take a power I suggest, or swap out a feat, I’m not going to tell your mother about it. She’s got enough on her mind. This all assumes a fairly standard D&D setting, if your game master has a radically different idea of D&D from the norm you will have to make some adjustments.
The Pitch: Born to a couple of Eladrin explorers investigating a mystical confluence, Kyur Wylmner was somehow tainted by the phenomenon. For years his parents did their best to conceal him from the others of their kind but soon they were found. Fearing that the child was tainted by evil the Eladrin elders sent their Fey knights to destroy him. However Kyur had received some mystical training from his parents, and managed to escape the Feywild. Now he travels the world, branded as an outcast.
This will be more of the swashbuckler take on Nightcrawler a la Excalibur.
With the character concept done, let’s dive into the progression. A number in parentheses means that page in the Player’s Handbook, (FR XX) means that page in the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide, (PHbII XX) means the Player’s Handbook 2.
Ability Score Array: 10 STR, 11 CON, 14 (16) DEX, 18 (20) INT, 10 WIS, 8 CHA
Since we’re going to make our character a swordmage (more on that later) we want him to have a high intelligence, with dexterity being a close second for all the backflips he might want to do.
Arguaby Nightcrawler’s biggest attribute is his ability to teleport. The Eladrin come pre-packaged with that ability, along with the racial bump to dexterity and intelligence.
Eladrin Education: Acrobatics
For the Eladrin bonus skill I gave him Acrobatics, which is a nice way to get him up to circus-level tomfoolery.
Ok, let’s talk about this one. If we wanted to focus on all the teleportyness we had two options: Warlock or Swordmage. You can argue that Swordmage is problematic since Nightcrawler never attacked with a sword coated in eldritch emerald flame and warlocks get more powers that are straight up teleports. However, by the same token warlock powers are very “blasty” something that our hero doesn’t really do in the comics. In the end it becomes a question of what you want to focus on. Do you want to make a character with 8 teleport powers? Go with warlock. Personally, I wanted to make a character that would bamf in out of nowhere to protect his friends while flipping all over the place. I consider Swordmage to be a better class for that.
Swordmage Aegis: Aegis of Assault
This is the class feature that sold me on the swordmage for this character, whenever an opponent you have marked attacks an ally of yours you can teleport next to him and swash his buckle.
1st Level Feat: Student of the Plague (FR 41)
We’re taking Student of the Plague, the Spellscarred multiclass feat to represent Kyur’s mutation. We’ll say that it manifests as a glowing rune somewhere on his body, but has also darkened his skin to near drow-like tones. It also causes his eyes to glow a baleful yellow.
Trained Skills: Acrobatics (race), Arcana, Athletics, Diplomacy, Insight
At Will Powers: Green Flame Blade, Booming Blade
Encounter Powers: Chilling Blow
Daily Powers: Frost Backlash
The powers we picked out give him a good breadth of ability, while largely focusing on his magical sword skillz.
Gear: Leather Armor, Longsword, Adventurer’s Kit, 45 gold.
Our hero starts out with some basic gear. If you’d rather not have your Nightcrawler wear armor then cash it in for 25 gold. It d’t make a huge difference, but sometimes it’s nice to have that extra +2 to AC.
Utility Power: Dimensional Warp (FR 28)
Feat: Intelligent Blademaster (FR 134)
Here’s a solid and flavorful teleport power to keep you in the fight and to keep your allies safe. Intelligent Blademaster allows you to make basic attacks with your INT instead of strength.
Encounter Power: Transposing Lunge
This power is deceptively good. Granted if we were using the Aegis of Shielding it would be a bit stronger, but as it is it allows you to place an adjacent enemy into any other square adjacent to you. And best of all, it’s a teleport!
Ability Bumps: +1 CON, +1 DEX
Feat: Skill Focus: Acrobatics (201)
Trying to optimize him for teleporting and swashbuckling we neglected Kyur’s dexterity a bit. This puts him back on even footing as far as awesome back flips go.
Daily Power: Elemental Foible (FR 29)
Elemental Foible is a great power, especially if you have other arcane types in the party.
Utility Power: Armathor’s Step (FR29)
Feat: Eladrin Soldier (194)
So I’m writing this as I go along and I forgot just how many teleports Swordmages have available. Armathor’s step is a good utility power with an aggressive bent. Eladrin Soldier makes your attacks that much deadlier.
Encounter Power: Isolating Slam (FR 30)
It’s a good example of a power that can be explained as intimidating. You slash at the boss and all his cronies take a step back.
Ability Bumps: +1 INT, +1 DEX
Feat: Quickdraw (200)
The bump to initiative and ability to draw a weapon as part of an attack make this feat a must for anyone expecting to be ambushed. That means you.
Daily Power: Be Gone (FR 30)
You guessed it, teleport power. Itâ€™s not too much of a stretch to conceive of this power as our hero teleporting with the foe, depositing him 20 feet away, going all hackity-slashytime-hack! and teleporting back to his original location.
Feat: Adept Power (209)
Utility Power: Dimensional Dodge (FR30)
Power Swap: Lose Elemental Foible (FR 29), Gain Terrible Impossition (FR 43)
Terrible imposition is a really crazy power, and one that can be described in a lot of cool ways. Constant arcing, teleporting cuts; half-bamfing to displace an enemy; the sky’s the limit.
And level 11?
From here on out you should be pretty sure of where you want the character to go, but here are a few suggestions for paragon paths:
- Spellscarred Savant from the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide may be a good fit if you decide that you’d like to emphasize the “mutant” aspect, and it gives you the ability to pick up some teleport powers as well. (FR 64)
- Wandering Swordmage Also from Forgotten Realms, has some excellent powers and boosts, most importantly it allows you to teleport 5 squares if you use an action point for an extra action(FR 68)
- Shiere Knight From the Player’s Handbook 2 emphasizes a lot of the Eladrin-ness in the character, especially (you guessed it) the teleports. (PHbII 26)
Hopefully you guys enjoyed this. Make sure to check out the previous character Concept article about Green Arrow. Next time? No idea! We’ll see what I come up with.