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 series Iâ€™ll be taking Frank L. Baumâ€™s beloved characters and turning them into D&D badasses.
You may also want to check out the first installment of the Oz series, in which I translate Dorothy and Toto into D&D types.
What this is: This is a character progression loooooooooooooosely based on a character from the Wizard of Oz, it will allow you to create a character that is reminiscent of The Scarecrow, while still jiving with D&Dâ€™s very particular feel.
What this is not: This is not a way to simulate The Scarecrow exactly. In fact this one might be the biggest stretch of the series (at least until we get to the Lion, but Iâ€™ll let you be the judge of that).
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, the likelihood of the world imploding is very small. These characters are somewhat tied to an off-beat D&D setting, but with a little tweaking can fit into any standard D&D game.
The Pitch: In a strange plane where the Shadowfell and the Feywild intercept lives a strange creature. He (she?) doesnâ€™t remember who he is or where he came from, all he remembers is his job: Keep the mischievous Kenku (Monster Manual II Pg. 152) out of the Sorceressâ€™ fields. This creature has found that by using its shape shifting abilities (also clueless as to why it has them) to turn into a ragdoll-like creature goes a long way to keeping the superstitious crowfolk at bay.
Kuebiko, as the kenku call him, joins Thaley when she reveals to him that she seeks the Magus Magnificus. He reasons that the great mage will be able to restore his lost memories and identity.
With the character concept done, letâ€™s dive into the progression. A number in parentheses means that page in the Playerâ€™s Handbook, (MP XX) means that page in Martial Power, (Eb XX) Means that page in the Eberron Playerâ€™s Guide.
Ability Score Array: 18 STR, 10 CON, 10 DEX, 13 INT, 8 WIS, 13 CHA
Kuebiko is wiry and strong, and also fairly loquacious. His intelligence is one of his greatest attributes, but he lacks the practical application of it, thus his low wisdom.
I spent a long time looking over the various races available. In the end it took some creative license to come up with a good race for our scarecrow, but I think changeling allows us a lot of latitude in the character.
Shifter Ability Bumps: +2 INT, +2 CHA
I decided to go for the Intelligence boost instead of dexterity because although the Scarecrow is fairly flexible (and a great dancer), his defining feature has always been his intelligence.
Although I agonized over the race, the class was always clear to me. The Scarecrow is a leader of men, even if he doesnâ€™t know it. Also a brilliant tactician, even if heâ€™s not aware of it. This class will make Kuebiko a solid leader stat-wise.
Commanding Presence: Tactical Presence (144)
At character creation Kuebikoâ€™s charisma and intelligence are even, but, again, I feel that our hero ought to be smart, so I went with the intelligence based class feature.
1st Level Feat: Tactical Assault (201)
The warlordâ€™s action point-triggered abilities are some of the best in the game, Tactical Assault gives our hero an extra edge.
Trained Skills: Athletics, Diplomacy, Heal, History
Weâ€™ll make Kuebiko an erudite warlord. Youâ€™ll note the absence of intimidate. That is largely because Kuebiko is not actually good at scaring things.
At Will Powers: Commanderâ€™s Strike, Wolf Pack Tactics (145)
Encounter Powers: Leaf on the Wind (145)
Daily Powers: Pin the Foe (146)
Through this progression weâ€™ll focus on powers that move Kuebikoâ€™s allies around the battlefield, showcasing his battle acumen.
Gear: Hide Armor, Halberd, Adventurerâ€™s Kit, 30 gold.
I decided to get hide armor instead of chain, sacrificing +1 to AC for a +1 to movement. The halberd is an excellent weapon as reach gives the character a huge presence on the battlefield and allows his to use Commanderâ€™s Strike while flanking.
Utility Power: Repositioning Command (MP 105)
Feat: Improved Tactics (MP 136)
Repositioning Command allows you to shift all your allies within a 10 square radius. Now, I donâ€™t know what kind of D&D youâ€™re playing, but I canâ€™t think of too many combats Iâ€™ve run that spanned more than a 100 ft. sphere.
Improved Tactics gives us a nice compliment to our 1st level pick.
Encounter Power: Steel Monsoon
Steel Monsoon allows you to shift your allies 1 square, but you have to hit with it.
Stat Bumps: +1 INT +1 CHA
Feat: Jack of All Trades (198)
At 4th level we net ourselves a +3 modifier to Charisma and Intelligence. Jack of All Trades makes our scarecrow competent at most things and gives him some meat to the knowledge skills he should have (but we donâ€™t want to spend feats on).
Daily Power: Stand the Fallen
So far weâ€™ve passed on healing powers, but Stand the Fallen is very good and itâ€™ll round up the buff/heal aspect of our warlord.
Encounter Power: Guide the Charge
Feat: Combat Medic
Guide the Charge is one of those powers that really emphasize the fact that support characters can have viable support without foregoing attack and defense. That said, Combat Medic is a must have (at least in our groups), being able to trigger an allyâ€™s healing surge without wasting your whole turn is pretty handy.
Encounter Power: Surprise Attack (148)
The great thing about warlords is that the secondary effects of their powers often come in the form of extra attacks for their allies.
Ability Bumps: +1 STR, +1 INT
Feat: Lend Might (MP 137)
Here we set ourselves up for the next bump at level 11. Also Lend Might is great for powers that grant attacks to your allies.
Daily Power: Iron Dragon Charge
Another great â€œfree attackâ€ power, Iron Dragon Charge allows you to bring your defender along if you beat him in initiative.
Utility Power: Defensive Rally (MP149)
Feat: Saving Inspiration (MP 137)
Because you usually donâ€™t want your allies to be on fire weâ€™ll take Defensive Rally and Saving Inspiration, two great powers that will keep your party un-ignited.
And Level 11?
By this point you will more than likely know which way you want your character to go, but here are a couple suggestions:
Chameleon (Eb 60) from the Eberron Playerâ€™s guide gives you some interesting mechanics by copying your allies abilities. Definitely a cool visual if you and your striker attack with the same power in rapid succession.
Both Battle Captain and Combat Veteran (153-154) make you more, um, warlordy? The former giving massive boosts to your allies, the latter giving you more staying power in the battlefield.
Images via rhemdoodles.blogspot.com