It is time for another fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons character build. This time we will look at P’Saden, the Great Old One triton warlock character I played in the RPG Crate sponsored game, Adventures on the Open Road: Anchor Head Cave. As we were playing a seafaring adventure I wanted to use a triton. Ever since they came out in Volo’s Guide To Monsters I wanted an excuse to use these not-quite-mermaid people. I had no particular interest in the mechanics of the race, just the concept. I can honestly say I have never played a character like this before. Not that I haven’t played a wily swashbuckler, but not one with the superiority complex inherent in triton. It was kind of like playing an elf rogue. I had to figure out how he got from uptight xenophobe to smarmy spell slinger.
D&D character for Adventures on the Open Road
The merfolk live along Coast Dest, a place they simply call the Shattered Coast. Although they have trade agreements with the land dwellers, they don’t trust them. The growing navties are a direct threat to merfolk territories. Merchant tritons double as spies and saboteurs, working to stall the land dwellers expansion into places they had no business being.
As the son of a well-respected merchant family P’Saden spent much of his youth visiting the coast land. He learned the tricks of the trade as well as how to spot a threat. In his early adult years P’Saden took command of a trade ship. Far from home, the voyage was assaulted by pirates. In the chaos P’Saden dove into the ocean, slipping the notice of the enemy.
Swimming for his life, he was soon surrounded by nothing but dark water. He prayed to the gods for safe passage home. In the deep something heard his pleas.
Triton warlockSomething massive moved all around him. P’Saden knew things dwelled in the depths and consume the wayward. His time had come but he would not go out without a fight. He drew his knife as tentacles reached out from the shadows. He slashed with little effect. His limbs were bound and a great suction cup closed around his head. His mind exploded in agony as all the things he had experience through out his life flew to the surface at once. When his secrets were revealed a voice spoke inside his mind.
The creature made promises in exchange for more secrets. A bargain was struck. P’Saden passed out. When he woke he was home, under the care of his parents. The next few weeks were filled with incoherent dreams and sleep walking. When P’Saden finally recovered he decided it was time to leave his home and fulfill his end of the bargain. If he didn’t, worse things would befall him and his family than being consumed in the dark places of the ocean.
Obviously I went with Great Old One Patron. My inspiration for the creature is not secret. The thing in the depths is a Dagon-esque being that feeds on secrets. It may very well be an aboleth. I think the way I described its powers could work with that monster. To be honest I didn’t give much thought to what the pact holder actually is, just that it had tentacles because, why not?
I chose Pact of the Chain because I wanted to have some kind of companion. Originally I planned to have a pseudodragon that would transform itself into a parrot, but a monkey seemed to fit P’Saden’s unpredictable nature a bit better. In the end I chose an imp that acted much like the monkey from Pirates of the Caribbean, thus I named the monkey (imp) Jack.
Invocation and spell choices
P’Saden has a way of putting people at ease. Though he is not known for his common sense, he is very intelligent. He knows many languages and, with powers granted by his pact, can understand any language he hasn’t formally learned. Every night he writes the secrets he learned in an old journal. When he wakes the secrets are gone. Any night he does not offer up something is plagued with nightmares.
Everything about his personality and abilities only increase his ability to gather knowledge. The evocation choices were all about being able to see and hear what others couldn’t. I picked Devil’s Sight more for the ability to see through magical darkness than I did the extended darkvision, and Eldritch Sight so no magical wards would escape P’Saden’s notice. One with Shadows was an evocation I chose for a very specific purpose, although I don’t think I ever had a chance to use it. P’Saden has ways of getting into places. I figured once he is in there he can just disappear in a corner somewhere and he should be able to eavesdrop on conspiratorial conversations.
Almost every spell has a purpose for the character’s daily life. Many exist to get him in and out of places he isn’t suppose to be in: misty step, fly, suggestion. Others work as distractions or gathering information: mage hand, minor illusion, unseen servant, detect thoughts, and suggestion again. Of course his main combat gimmick is eldritch blast, which he channels though a toy pistol.
I would have liked to use P’Saden in the way he was intended but alas that was not the way out game rolled out. But if you want to see him in your game keep in mind that he is an information gatherer. He fits best in an espionage or urban game that is heavy on roleplay. Also he has an aversion to halflings.
With his standing in the economic place of the merfolk he had his pick of any merchant guild he wanted. His aptitude for secret knowledge and lust for travel lead him to the spy masters. They took him as an agent, sending him on covert mission to the surface world. Over time P’Saden took on the guise of a pirate, thinking it the most exciting path available to him. With his pet “monkey” he now travels the surface looking for work that will put him into places of high traffic and militaristic importance.
Usually I take this time to talk about a character’s connection to the world and their backstory, however I already covered a lot of that with the character choices. Instead I have scene that will shed some illumination on P’Saden’s character. I wrote this piece a few days before our game to help me get into the mindset of the character. To learn more about how he acts in certain situations check out the video below as I feel P’Saden got a lot of screen time.
Guild Merchant. It is all in the paragraphs above.
The rock looked happy where it was, so why move it?
Well, because I wanted to, that’s why. I pick it up and hurl it as far as I can. It crashes to the ground a few feet from the delegates, scattering sand on their fancy boots. Many of them look at me, grumbling their uptight judgments. I jog through their line, kicking sand at them as I go. There is a reason why I am not allowed at these types of parties.
“Look there, longshanks,” I shout to Morova. “’Tis a beached whale.”
I point at Reinhold. The fat human ambassador for Colrenth.
The fat man blubbers indignantly. Morova grabs my arm, roughly yanking me from the group. I am aware of the other delegates looking at the scene with smug satisfaction. May the kraken gobble them up. Morova is a full head shorter than me, but she sets her marble eye on me in a way that would melt the spirit of lesser men, or men who cared for that matter.
“P’Saden, we have come a long way to put this party together. It is our intention to broker some sort of agreement here. He can’t do that if you are dancing around like a school fish, insulting everyone.”
“You brought me along. You get what you get.”
I shrugged, busying myself with pushing over rocks with my foot and watching the tiny crabs scuttle for safety from the afternoon sun.
“Yes, you get what you get when you hire a pirate, that is all too true.”
I stiffen at the word pirate. I meet her glare and easily feel superior because she is so short. I open my mouth to speak and she grasps my face, like a parent who is trying to stop their child from swallowing bad seaweed.
“You will listen and listen well. You have one job to do. Make sure these sharks aren’t planning to eat us alive. If it weren’t for the fact that your mother, my sister, insisted you were the best man for that job you wouldn’t be here.”
Morova storms away.
The delegation moves on a few of them cast judging looks my way. Not an ounce of pity in any of them. These stuffy nobles think I got what I deserved. They think me a spoiled child and they revel in the swatting I just received.
I reach down to my belt and then let out a whale cry.
“Beached whale! Beached Whale!” I holler.
Some of the delegates look back. Fear stretched over their faces. Good. They should be afraid of me. I am a scion of the deep. A master of the chain. My eyes flick white as Jack jumps off my shoulder. The imp starts to dance around the delegates. Through its eyes I see Morova, she is glaring at me with hate in her eyes. Moving to the front of the crowd to put an end to my game. She doesn’t realize this isn’t a game, but she will.
My pistol is in my hand and I am leveling it at these people so important in their own lands. Morova sees it, but seems unfazed, fine by me. The others aren’t though. They understand power and they know that with one of these in my hand I am calling the shots here. If she ignores the warning signs then she will have to put up with the storm.
“Hey, Reinhold,” I shout at the top of my lungs.
The fat man turns. All his rolls flail like a jelly fish. As soon as I see his eyes I fire. The energy starts in my heart, the place where a black pearl resides. It travels through my chest, my arm and my fingers, causing the flesh to crack with purple energy as a pale bolt leaves my gun’s muzzle. In a flash it finds its mark, burrowing into Reinhold’s forehead. The space around the wound blackens with infection. It doesn’t matter. The man is dead before he hits the sand.
Jack is on my shoulder again as the guards draw swords. I did my job. I don’t need to stick around for the aftermath.
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