Vendawan is an older man, appearing to be in his late 60's or early 70's. He has a long unkempt beard, and often has assorted food crumbs in it. He is average in stature, but stoops over somewhat from age, and he is of slight build.
Vendawan is of generally rumpled appearance. His clothing is dishevelled, stained and worn, like that of a merchant who's been on the road for too long. Frankly, the only reason for this is because he often forgets to change his clothes, he's got too much else going on to remember something like that. Strangely, though, he doesn't stink, he just looks messy.
Vendawan appears as though he has always just fallen out of bed. He's got crusties in his eyes, his nose needs blowing, his hair needs combing, and so on. He tends to scratch himself more than normal, in any of the places one might expect from someone who has just rolled out of bed(rubbing eyes, scratching head, under neck near beard, rubbing face, etc). He is decent and proper, of course, and doesn't spend his time 'adjusting stuff' and such(I think you know what I mean).
Vendawan is a man that was once a great and powerful wizard on the Ethian Council. His particular area of expertise was in providing economic support to the region, advising on trade routes and other boons to economy in the area. He is solely responsible for the prosperous trade route between the once isolated region of western Ceriloth and the City-State of Ethe, which provides a massive influx of prosperity into the local economy.
He's always been one who was interested in experimentation, and his home is FILLED with strange and wondrous experiments. If you have a plum crazy idea, and you want someone to run with it, Vendawan is your man. He has spent his time LITERALLY attempting to get pigs to fly, for instance, and if you're looking for something strange, odds are good that Vendawan knows exactly what you're looking for, or by gosh, he can make it for you.
Quite frankly, when viewed from the outside looking in, his home is little more than organized chaos, with the magical experiments bubbling away, sometimes failing rather catastrophically, sometimes ending in decidedly strange results, sometimes coming up with truly useful, if bizarre, end results. There are all sorts of strange contraptions and half finished inventions lying around. Any visitor to his home is likely to be subjected to any of a manner of strange happenings and wierd things, that tend to be innocuous rather than actually harmful.
As a younger man, before he joined the Ethian Council, he was a typical adventurer, and he joined many an intrepid band of adventurers on many wild missions. Most of the time he was adventuring, however, he had so many ideas that were 'outside the box' that he tended to get on the nerves of his adventuring comrades, who had more serious goals in mind. His adventuring partners all liked him, though, and saw through his quirkiness to realize that his power was one they needed to get through the day. He has many powerful friends whom he NEVER forgets.
He does tend to ignore the more mundane details of life. He'll often go for days without eating, and when he does eat, it will often be simply what his caring staff essentially force feeds him('You've simply GOT to eat, master Vendawan!'). His staff is, of course, attentive but cautious, some of his experiments are time critical, and you need to pick the right moment to approach him with such a mundane thing as eating.
Likewise, it is possible for him to really need to use the restroom, but be unwilling to break away from his task at hand. He is proper, of course, and won't simply 'let loose wherever', but he often reaches the point of crossing his legs and jumping around(like a child), to avoid having to deal with it. He simply has too many other things going on.
He's always liked one thing, however. He collects personal trinkets. He's always liked the stories that strange and different objects carry with them. What he most values in his home is a curio cabinet containing literally hundreds upon hundreds of odd little things, specific rocks, a toothpick, a set of 3 dice, a small unhatched egg, a hand mirror, a quill pen and ink, just to name a few of the objects in the cabinet. He collects things ONLY when they have a story that they will remind him of, and he meticulously cares for these objects, and NEVER forgets the details of those stories. He so very much likes to share those stories with his friends, acquaintances and visitors.
If you want to get on the good side of Vendawan, offer him a personal object of some strange lineage, and relate an amazing story about that object. The more amazing, wonderful and entertaining the story, the more Vendawan will like the person telling the tale. It should be noted that many people try to have their objects put on display in Vendawan's Curio Cabinet, but only the best objects, with the best stories, make it into the display. Furthermore, it should be noted that none of the objects have much intrinsic value, the value to Vendawan is in the story, not the object. The object is in the curio cabinet as a reminder, nothing more.
The stories he prefers are not for pure historical accuracy, of course, he actually enjoys the suspension of disbelief that comes from a 'tall tale' or 'fish story'. As long as the story makes for entertaining conversation, he will accept anything as said on face value. The less entertaining the story gets, the more likely he is to refuse to suspend his disbelief and question the story itself. His most entertaining stories are told by him from the perspective of first person and are WILDLY unbelievable but enormously entertaining. It's not uncommon for his best stories to begin with a premise as unbelievable as 'So, this one day, I was inside a dragon's stomach...'
Fortunately for his appearance, Vendawan is a man of very pleasant and disarming personality. He is warm and friendly, even towards total strangers, who quickly forget about his appearance due to his friendly and inviting demeanor.
He does tend to seemingly ignore or forget the minor details about life. It should be remembered that the minor details about life tend to be a LOT more than minor when you're talking about a powerful wizard like Vendawan. In his home town, he is known for simply staying at other people's houses after he magically forces the lock on the door after assuming he's simply lost the key to his door. The surprised family in the dwelling will often simply allow the entertaining and interesting old wizard to stay as long as he pleases, telling stories and spinning yarns, because he often will realize, later on, that he's not actually in his home, and be most thankful that the person didn't become incensed.
He will often make gestures to compensate the family for their troubles, never with money, of course, but often will grand displays of his wizardry that often help the people in rather immense ways. It would be nothing for Vendawan to conjure up a grand feast's worth of food, to magically spruce up the interiors of the commoner's houses with fancy quality furniture, to teach a young child in the course of an evening to totally comprehend a foreign but useful language for later in life.
Of course, while he means nothing by it, this seeming forgetfulness is merely a ruse. He doesn't forget a thing, but it provides him with a conveniently strange excuse to assist those that he feels need assisting. The commoners rarely notice that he actually targets people who seem needy at the time. He will absent mindedly show up at someone's house who have an ill person in the next room. He will then put on his show for effect, and then suddenly remember he's not in his own home, giving him the perfect opportunity to assist the commoners in some token way, such as using his knowledge to heal the sick, providing them food and clean water, maybe magically doing their chores to allow them time to visit with a loved one on a special day, and so on.
Now, while his forgetfulness is a ruse, he IS a very busy man, and he often simply ignores the minor things to get done his tasks. As such, he often simply ignores bathing, eating and going to the restroom as being less worthy of his time.
Make no mistake about it, however, Vendawan is a wizard of awe inspiring power. He has not used the full extent of his powers in quite some time, but he is fully capable of literally levelling an army with a pass of his hand if the situation calls for it. He has made it clear to the ruling nobility and politicians of the land that he is not interested in that life any longer, and he will not offer his services up for mercenary use to the highest bidder. He is retired, now, and does not wish to return to that life, for any reason. He simply wants to experiment and putter away, tinkering in his workshop and living his life. He truly has embraced the life of the retiree, seeking only to provide his 'children' with all that he wasn't able to have as a younger man.
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? Responses (11)
Hmmm - not quite what I expected - but I must say that on the whole I like this character - he's an ideal GM plot device
I like that he's a lot smarter than he appears, making out that he's an absent-minded dullard in order to achieve his goals, although I'm sure at least some of the locals will have caught on (I wonder what he thinks about that - and how he reacts to it)
One gripe - I never liked the idea that a single character could be powerful enough to level an entire army with a mere wave of his hand - that is, I'm afraid, the very definition of a munchkin
Overall - great character, but i feel I must downgrade him slightly for being too powerful - 4/5
The idea of the 'wave of hand army destruction' was to indicate 'extreme power' without going into the system specific details. It was exaggeration, of course, it would take longer than the simple wave of a hand, but it wouldn't take long for this guy to reduce a massed formation of grunts into a smouldering pile of ex-soldiers.
For what it's worth, in the D&D system, a single extremely high level wizard is MORE than capable of killing literally thousands of mooks. Trust me, I've seen it happen(in game, no less, our 7th level wizard killed 126 mooks in a matter of rounds, now, knowing that a 1st level wizard has a hard time killing anything, scale that up to 20th level or so along an exponential scale).
If you are doubtful that it's possible, just thumb through the high level wizard spells in the D&D rulebooks, which tend to be used on more powerful opponents, and consider what they would do to a massed formation(ala army) of less powerful opponents. Cloudkill in particular is extremely deadly to mooks, just as an example.
However, since I wished to avoid the details that were system specific, I simply left it to the imagination.
Forget the power stuff, it is an interesting character. Besides, after retiring should his readiness to combat dwindle.
I also liked the economical addition to his career... could he actually have developed magics to support this? :) Or was it more clearing trade routes from hazards?
All in all, he demonstrates nicely what should THE wizard be like... and why could people respect one, even if it is not a magical one-man army.
While he is an interesting old man, especially due to his demeanor that lets him ignore stuff he does not want to do (like blowing people to pieces), there are a few concerns I'd like to voice:
*Does his little game not cost him more time than it actually saves?
*What is his history? As it stands, he 'was and adventurer and sat at a non-descript council'.
I think that it would be beneficial to the post if you elaborated the way why he withdrew from worldly doings, why he is such a kind man when, as we know, power corrupts, where he got his awesome power, etc.
*Does a mage HAVE to be able to level armies to be interesting?
A decent post.
At the very first look, I was afraid this was going to be another bumbling old mage who was forgetful and very powerful. Instead I find an interesting character with other than violent plans, such as the curio cabinet and the job of being an economic advisor/mage. I enjoyed reading this post Monument.
There is room for improvement, his history is a little vague and that is the only thing, IMO that keeps him from being a 5.
I find it curious that you're terribly interested in his background, so much so that it clouds your vision of the character itself. As far as his background goes, he was 'an adventurer', and all the things that adventuring entails, he's done it, the stories are, quite frankly, less than important, and would be well outside the scope of a single NPC description.
The thing that *IS* lacking, of course, is a description of the Ethe Council of Elders, but unfortunately, I don't really know where to put that. Items? It is a 'thing', I suppose. NPCs? It's a group, not an individual. Plots? There's a lot of play you could get out of a council of elders, of course, but it's not a plot unto itself. Settings? I would have to say, this is the most logical one to me. Any suggestions for including this particular background element would be appreciated(ie where to place it).
Of final note, this particular NPC's background was not important to the storyline of our game. He just didn't deserve spending a gob of time on. The only thing of any importance pertained to the Ethe Council, details of which was specifically left out of this description as being superfluous to the character as he is NOW. Right now, he is no longer even affiliated with the Ethe Council, having retired(no bad blood, no blackmailed retirement, nothing nefarious, he just simply retired). So, there's not much more to say about THAT either.
I will happily write up a description of the Ethe Council, but honestly, it's pretty boring stuff: a group of older, wiser, democratic style advisors who run a particular city-state in our campaign(the PC home town). Think 'U.S. Cabinet' and you've got it.
Uber Mage to mess with players.
Ok character akin to Gandalf, Elminster, Merlin, and a myriad other old mages from many different settings. Indeed every setting is bound to have at least one; it is only logical that, in magical fantasy worlds, there are some who strive for magical power. These people most likely attain such power upon reaching old age.
Good write up, though old mages are 'easily supplied and in low demand'. Good work on the curio cabinet. Such personal twists are cool to have. 3/5
I agree with AG on everything...regarding this sub.
A good background character that could suddenly become much more should the need arise.
A good Gandalf/Edminister substitute. I quite like him personally.
*Commented on for the Commenting Challenge