Dear fellow-forumites, let me introduce my latest charname: Ocker Trueforge, dwarven Skald. I created Ocker about a month ago. Rolled a ridiculous 98, my highest roll ever (together with one on a Cleric/Ranger years ago). It made me consider actually lowering his stats, but in the end I decided not to. No-Reload has proven to be hard enough for me as it is.
The 19 CON (20 with tome) is very copious I know. Regeneration is nice when resting/travelling, but not fantastic. However I might for the first time equip the Claw of Kazgaroth. At a -2 CON penalty he’d still have full HP and full shorty save bonuses. The Claw combined with the shorty saves would give +1 vs. Death and +8 vs. Wands, Polymorph, Breath, and Spells. Antidotes should cover most failed saves vs death (spiders’ poisons, arrow vs biting).The Claw further grants a +4 bonus AC modifier against BG1’s ubiquitous missile attacks.
Ocker is a Mountain Dwarf (also referred to as Shield Dwarf) whose forebears according to Gorion hail from the great dwarven stronghold of Mithral Hall in the Frost Hills in the Spine of the World. Ocker would love to visit Mithral Hall someday, in order to learn more about his roots, his ancestors, and “his” culture. At the same time, thanks to having grown up in Candlekeep, surrounded by Humans and other humanoids as well as Dwarves, Ocker is comfortable and non-judgmental in his dealings with people regardless of their race or vocation, and quite curious about different cultures and lore in general. The Dwarf has studied many a tome on the history of the Realms, on the different regions, kingdoms, peoples, faiths and, with particular interest, the great battles. In Winthrop’s Inn people often have Ocker recount the stories and accounts he’s read about or heard from visiting scholars. He has even put a number of tales to song and performed them at the inn. The reading, writing, storytelling and singing have Ocker eager to set out and live his own tale although he’d sorely miss the wealth of knowledge the library provides. Ocker is remarkably sociable for a Dwarf, always curious to know new people and their backstories. As an NG Skald, Ocker considers himself an honorable warrior-poet, and is most likely to team up with warrior types of noble heart, although he’ll also want to continue his arcane studies, so the company of at least one Mage would be very welcome. In spite of his alignment his aforementioned curiosity and his non-judgmental nature make him likely to work and travel with companions of all alignments, including evil, as long as they don’t relapse in committing evil actions. He believes in second chances, atonement and redemption rather than punishment.
Ocker hasn’t only studied history and literature at the Candlekeep Library; recently he’s taken an interest in interpreting magic scrolls. He had always understood that Dwarves have no affinity with the arcane arts, until fellow Shield Dwarf Behring of Daggerford, mage and loremaster, visited the Keep a short while ago. Behring’s arcane prowess surprised Ocker as much as Candelkeep’s wizards Gorion, Osprey, Mordaine, Tethoril and Ulraunt. Too little time has passed for Ocker to actually train in the art of spell scribing, but he has already learnt to successfully utter a number of incantations from scrolls. He would have dedicated more time at the library to increase his affinity with arcane magic, if it weren’t for Gorion’s message this morning that Ocker was to leave Candlekeep with him.
I’m playing with the rogue Rebalancing mod, which slightly alters the Skald kit. Description:
Skalds now have a +1 penalty to the casting speed of all spells as an additional disadvantage. Their battlesong has been slightly revised as well. The updated kit description reads as follows:
SKALD: This Nordic bard is also a warrior of great strength, skill and virtue. His songs are inspiring sagas of battle and valor, and the Skald devotes his life to those pursuits. Skalds are honored and respected as great warrior-poets who memorize the feats of each raid and battle, setting them down in the form of poetry. Spells are nearly unknown in the Skald's society and they are viewed with suspicion in any event. Using magic is slightly more difficult for a Skald and requires additional time and effort.
- Gains Skald's Song at first level. This ability further improves at 9th and 18th level
- Gains a +1 bonus to hit and damage with all weapons at first level
- Pick pockets ability one-quarter normal
- Suffers a 1 point penalty to spellcasting speed
By chanting a war song, a Skald can inspire allies as they go forward into combat. Chanting can elevate spirits, remove concerns about danger, keep men's minds focused on combat and fill friendly forces with a sense of being larger than life. The effects of the song further improve as the Skald gains more levels:
1st: gives allies +2 to hit, +2 to damage, -2 to AC and immunity to Fear
9th: gives allies +3 to hit, +3 to damage, -3 to AC, immunity to Fear and Confusion
18th: gives allies +4 to hit, +4 to damage, -4 to AC, immunity to Fear, Stun and Confusion.
Ocker did all chores in Candlekeep except Reevor’s rats and killed both Shank and Carbos while under the effect of Haste (thanks to Deder’s oil of speed). He set out with Gorion, but the latter fell at the hands of a group of bandits led by an imposing warrior that had seemed to know Ocker. He had Imoen join him, and travelled back to Candlekeep with her where he arranged for Gorion’s burial and left Imoen at the gate. The harsh world he had seen himself end up in was no place for innocent little girls such as Imoen. She gave him a Wand of Magic Missiles she had no doubt stolen from someone in Candlekeep.
On Gorion’s body he had found a letter by someone named “E.” advising Gorion to go to the Friendly Arm Inn. Ocker decided to do the opposite, fearful that he hadn’t been the only one to have read that letter. He travelled immediately south, toward the High Hedge hoping he could trade the Wand of Magic Missiles for something he’d find more useful. To get there he had to kill two skeletons whose throwing daggers hurt him more than a bit. He had to quaff two healing potions before he could take care of them. A good helmet would be worthy investment, he inferred. The mage at the High Hedge, Thalantyr, had a dim blue ioun stone for sale, ‘The Fragment of Enlightenment’, that protects against critical hits and gives a +20 lore bonus. Unfortunately it was slightly more expensive than he could afford. Thalantyr asked Ocker if he had seen his apprentice somewhere. According to the sage the young mage, Melicamp, had left a few days ago, to the south, and never returned. Ocker decided to go look for him, hoping that would give him a discount on the Fragment of Enlightenment. He first made a stop in Beregost though, where he calmed Marl, got Firebead a book he was after, retrieved a letter from two Ogrillons for Mirianne and killed four huge spiders that had occupied one of the town’s homes. After that he travelled south and did indeed find Melicamp, transformed into a chicken! Ocker returned with Melicamp to Thalantyr, got the latter a skull he needed, and saw how Thalantyr restored Melicamp to his human form. [Ocker reached level 4 thanks to these exploits.] He sold almost all of his possessions to buy the ioun stone he had so eagerly desired.
Ocker was eager to find some worthy companions, but hadn’t ran into any in Beregost. Therefore he decided to travel further south, hoping he’d have better luck in the next town, Nashkel. His decision proved to be a good one when on the road to Nashkel he met a Barbarian warrioress of great strength who challenged him to a duel. Before she could touch him, he knocked her back with a good hit of his throwing axe. The woman, a bit of a misandrist, was actually impressed and agreed to join Ocker. Not much later, at the northen outskirts of Nashkel, he received a ring that further increased his charisma from a kindly nobleman. In Nashkel they met yet another imposing warrior, a Rashemaan Ranger by the name of Minsc who was on a quest to save his ‘witch’ from a group of gnolls to the west. Ocker agreed to help the Ranger, but told him they first needed to rest. So the three went to the Nashkel Inn where they were attacked by Neira. The bounty hunting priestess managed to hold first Minsc and later Ocker, but not the enraged Shar-Teel who kept the Cleric more than busy until Minsc regained control over his body and dealt the killing blow.
After they rested the party visited the Nashkel Carnival hoping for cheap potions for their trip westward. They met a dwarven crook who wanted to sell them an overly expensive scroll of Stone to Flesh with which they would be able to restore a petrified warrioress to her fleshly form. Rather than buying the scroll from the Dwarf, Ocker decided to sell a Helmet of Infravision they had found on the bounty huntress’s body at the Nashkell Inn and buy a cheaper Stone to Flesh scroll at the Temple of Helm. The woman was depetrified and presented herself as Branwen, a Nordic Warrior Priestess of Tempus. In her thankfulness she offered to join the party, to which the others agreed.
They bought her a suit of chain mail, a war hammer and a helmet and then travelled west, to look for Minsc’s witch. On their way they had to kill a Cave Bear. At one point they reached a lake and met a fisherman whom they shared a meal with. The area also housed a number of skeletons.
After their meals the party further explored the area until they were accosted by three bandits: a female Mage, a Fighter, and a hobgoblin archer. What followed was a battle that could have gone either way. In the end Ocker and Shar-Teel were they only ones standing.
Branwen silenced the Priest and the hobgoblin, but not the Mage she had hoped to silence. The latter managed to sleep both Minsc and Ocker, at different times, and to charm both Shar-Teel and Branwen. The Fighter and the archer who seemed to have an unlimited supply of poisoned arrows tried to take down Minsc and Shar-Teel, while the mage proceeded to attack Ocker with her staff. Minsc was the first to fall, but then the charms on both Shar-Teel and Branwen wore off. Shar-Teel went straight after the mage, slaying her before she could take kill Ocker. Branwen, at near death status, and with no healing potions, saw the hobgoblin archer aim his bow at her. She rushed toward him to prevent him from shooting, but came too late. She fell as well. Then Shar-Teel bested the Fighter in melee combat, so that only the hobgoblin, Shar-Teel and Ocker (sound asleep) remained. When Ocker awoke he saw the hobgoblin hit Shar-Teel more than once, bringing her health to dangerously low levels. He started to sing his battlesong to instill hope and more courage into his companion. She cried a battlecry and slew the hobgoblin with a fierce blow of her greatsword.
After the battle, the two decided to rest and then to return to Nashkel to get their fallen comrades raised at the Temple of Helm. When he laid himself down Shar-Teel approached him and suggested they spend the night together. Both were bruised and battered from their battle against the bandits, but his admiration and thankfulness for the strong woman with her wide feminine hips and massive thighs, combined with the adrenaline that both still felt rushing through their bodies were too much for Ocker to even contemplate declining her proposal. He felt a bit awkward as he had never done this before but the absence of both Minsc’s and Branwen’s prying eyes and ears made him feel comfortable enough to give himself over to the moment and forget his worries for a while.
The next day, without discussing the events of the night before, the two travelled further westward until they ran into an enraged Amnish guard captain who had apparently just slain an innocent family. There was clearly something off about this man, as if he was possessed. Ocker managed to prevent a fight, calming the man and taking him to Nalin at the Nashkel Temple of Helm, where it turned out that the cause of the Captain’s behavior had been a cursed greatsword. At the Temple of Helm they got Branwen and Minsc raised, after which the party set out on their second attempt to find Minsc’s witch.