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Comments: 7
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Rating: 3.75
Condition: Normal
ID: 8103


February 1, 2015, 1:15 am

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Artan Keybreaker


Dwarven Assassin

Artan dresses in the style of the nobility and affects the air of a soldier or professional mercenary. His regular attire frequently involves casually worn pieces of armor such as bracers or pauldrons, but no major pieces. He keeps his black beard neatly trimmed and braided, and his black hair is worn short. His favorite colors are black, dark blue, and silver. He is soft spoken but serious and has cultivated a taste for wine.

High ranking and wealthy clans have ‘Viednavak‘, negotiators or problem-solvers, people who collect debts, and deliver punishments for not keeping their words or paying their bills. Humans call these people assassins. Artan was raised to be elite, polite, and efficient. Work for the clan is rare, as dwarves rarely break their words. His work on the side is to maintain his skill, and to provide for him a luxurious lifestyle unenjoyed by most dwarves. It is very common for the position of Viednavak to be in absentia, to prevent the negotiator from developing an emotional connection, and thus remaining an outsider.

Shadowbind - With a thrown knife, Artan can fix a target in one location, by pinning their shadow to the ground. This requires the target have a shadow, and a basic attack roll. The target can change their facing, but are rendered immobile until they remove the dagger from their shadow.

Dual-wield - Artan favors daggers, and keeps a number of them on himself.

Rogue Skills - Skilled with picking locks, hiding, and moving silently. He is not a thief and doesn’t pick pockets.

Divination - mundane skill.


Fancy clothing, assassin’s garb, a large number of daggers, both mundane and magical, currency is carried in the form of jewelry and letters of credit. A set of 'dragon bone' dice that are used to cast fortunes. Using the dice is much like the I Ching, and Artan is very meticulous when it comes to his horoscopes and divining his fate.


Artan enjoys wine, music, and the company of attractive women, but sees nothing wrong with enslavement of non-dwarves, murder or genocide against non-dwarves. In public he is a patron of artists and musicians, frequenter of gambling halls and brothels. When he practices murder, he is silence.

Most of his kind dislike him for his ‘cowardly’ ways of fighting and his soft hands that have never held a forge hammer or ax. To other dwarves, he is a pariah figure. He need only mention ‘Viednavak’ and other dwarves will know that they are in the presence of an assassin

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Moonlake
February 1, 2015, 3:04
Yet another uncommon assassin specimen, liked the use of headers to make the sub have a more structured feel (I'm just a structure person).
Voted Aramax
February 1, 2015, 7:25
Best part is your take on the dwarven assassins 'guild', special abilities spell out was also nice 4/5
Voted axlerowes
February 1, 2015, 13:10
Another wickedly cultured killer, a fun play on this trope of dastardly dangerous yet dapper would be to write a finishing school for killers. . .perhaps something french...then you could throw in a Pygmalion element in there and have of one of the trainers fall in love with a recruit once he/she transitions from feral killer to a wine sipping stylish slayer.*

As to this particular dwarven incarnation of the smooth criminal, I like the bits and pieces you have put together here. The superstitions (or are they?), pro-establishment justifications of his actions and the descriptions of his weapons (that peter pan trap dagger he has is really cool).

What is interesting is that your write up suggests he was raised in high society, but he dissliked by most of his kind. This would suggest that high dwarven society is very undwarven. You given us bit of the Continental fop archetype: soft hands, likes the arts, wine....etc. In gilded age america you could very well suggest that high society was unamerican in that it emulated european culture, but can you do the same for the dwarves. Where did the dwarves develop this foppish standard for their 400? Don't tell me rich dwarven heiress will be marrying titled but penniless Elves.

*Le Femme Nikita
Voted MysticMoon
February 2, 2015, 15:16
I like the Viednavak aspect to this. Agree with axle about the dagger being really cool. There is certainly enough here to use this NPC.
Voted Murometz
February 4, 2015, 16:42
I second that Viednavak is a fun concept here!! Interesting dwarven "thing".
February 5, 2015, 0:01
Insert a dwarf doing that fingers to the throat gesture Viggo Mortensen does in Eastern Promises
Voted valadaar
March 28, 2016, 10:44
This is a good one! The shadowpinning dagger is great!


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: ephemeralstability

In a crowded marketplace, a man is standing on a soapbox, orating. Some of the crowd are cheering, some hissing, some standing around saying "I can't hear a bl**dy word he's saying". It's a hustings for an election. The PCs can either leave, or stay and listen. If they do the latter, then they can vote too, and they might get quite involved in the cheering. Depending on who wins they might get quite involved in the post-election brawl too...

There are numerous possibilities with this encounter: the PCs might end up talking to one of the nervous candidates before their speech, and offer encouragement and support. Of course this candidate may well turn out to be someone with outspokenly unorthodox views, and the crowd don't take kindly to s/his supporters. Or maybe the seemingly innocuous candidate turns out to be a complete racist, and the PCs wander off embarrassedly, pretending they weren't talking to this person five minutes ago.

Encounter  ( City/ Ruin ) | September 23, 2003 | View | UpVote 1xp

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