First of all, if you've not checked out part one of 'Pathfinder Diaries: Who even am I?' you can do so here. I'll wait until you've caught up..... All good? Awesome. Also, if you happen to be a player in my Pathfinder campaign, DO NOT READ ON. Cheers.
So, having ran excitedly back to my keyboard, I started researching the Pathfinder Magus class. The unquestionable holy Bible when it comes to all things Pathfinder, outside the core rule book (which I didn't have), is d20pfsrd.com. I'm honestly not sure how anybody would cope without this site. It is essentially the core rule book but on a screen and for free! Can't go wrong! According to the site, and I assume the core rule book, the description of a Magus is:
"There are those who spend their lives poring over ancient tomes and texts, unlocking the power of magic, and there are those who spend their time perfecting the use of individual weapons, becoming masters without equal. The magus is at once a student of both philosophies, blending magical ability and martial prowess into something entirely unique, a discipline in which both spell and steel are used to devastating effect."
By now I was talking to my fellow players in the office and who have played before. I started to get as much advice as I could, I think largely looking for reassurance that I was on the right track and everything would be fine. As it turns out it's fairly intimidating to create a character even for a game with just a few friends. Maybe it's the intimacy of the setting, all huddled around a table in someone's living room. Or, maybe it's just not wanting to look like you've made no effort at all, or maybe too much. Either way, I wanted to get it right. *News flash from future me - turns out, there is no right or wrong.
Beginning to think about skills and abilities
So, fairly set (or so I thought) on what I was, a half-elf (cos benefits!) Magus, I set about reading up on the attributes. Oh. Man. I thought I was intimidated before. I was hit with things like:
"To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the magus must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a magus’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the magus’s Intelligence modifier."
What in all hell does that mean? I'd heard some of those words on Critical Role episodes of course, but had no idea what they really meant in practice. I mean, I knew what a D20 was but had no idea that you needed like 6 other dice!
Panic and confusion. I was much happier writing my own little tragedy, but now some crazy math botherers were going to ruin it with their numbers and caveats to those numbers and situational bias and urgh! Again, I sought out help (a reoccurring theme). My buddy from work, a dwarven cleric if you must know, put me onto rpgbot.net. So, if d20pfsrd.com is the Bible, rpgbot.net is the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is, in essence, a replication of the same material but with one major difference; a colour code to differentiate the good and the bad of everything. Spells, abilities, feats, hit points, you name it, they have ranked it.
If you are starting to put the nitty gritty pieces of your character together, use these sites. Use them!
It's ok to make changes
It was right about now that an itch that had been growing somewhere in the back of my mind really started to bother me. I kinda always wanted to be a Druid. I just did. I'm a wee bit outdoorsy and sort of a lax hippie type. I kind of like the idea of messing with the elements and talking to trees and all that. Also, and stop me me if you've heard this one before, I wanted a wolf. I'm obsessed with wolves. Always have been, and how often do you get the chance to play make believe as an adult? I wanted a wolf damn it!
However, I knew it didn't work with my backstory (yet). You don't get too many family orientated Druids. At least you don't in my vision of what a Druid is anyway.
I finally ditched the Magus route after reading:
In combat, the Magus is defined by Spellstrike, which allows the Magus to deliver spells through a weapon attack.
That kind of sealed it for me. I didn't like the idea of, what was in my head, charging up a dagger to become a sort of taser gun. Call me childish (admittedly I was sulking because I wouldn't have a wolf friend) but if I was gunna be throwing lighting about, it was gunna be from my finger tips bro! Magus was gone. I needed to find a class again. I started bothering people (again).
When I grow up I want to be a...
I have since learned that just about every first timer spends way way way too much time fussing over the details. For me, the flip flopping between classes and races and all that was a very real thing. I was determined that my character and their backstory and skills and all of that malarkey would all fit together like a lovely symmetrical kaleidoscope of awesome. You know, like how real life doesn't. Now, you probably aren't getting the sense that I wanted to take a "supporting cast" kind of role in my campaign. However, I really did.
Maybe it's the performer gene in me, or a competitive streak, or a deep insecurity manifesting itself in a sort of "please God everyone like me" kind of way. Hey, maybe I'm just great and super funny. But in real life, I like to be first with a punch line. Very much an extroverted introvert (or visa versa). So, I wanted my character to be entirely the opposite. Dark, quiet and brooding. *Future me again - this is not what I would recommend when learning how to role play.
I also wanted my character to be this way in relation to combat. In short, useful but not the star of the show. I have since learned that you really don't get to make these kinds of decisions, especially combat wise.
Plenty of things were in the mix but something always put me off. I was looking at being a Sorcerer, but the tiny amount of hit points put me off. Very breakable. "A glass cannon" my GM calls Sorcerers, especially early doors. I thought about a Wizard, but the bookish nature of it hurt my feelings. My guy is purely all emotion followed by immediate reaction. They're not gunna poor over books no matter how cool the end result. I even nearly dropped magic all together to go straight Ranger but, again, the child in me started whinging on about casting spells and that.
Screw it. I wunna wolf. I wunna be a Druid. Rewrite time.
Backstory's back (alright!)
I won't bore you with my entire backstory, as it is quickly becoming a short novel. I've not even given it to my GM yet and we're 5 sessions in at time of writing. However, after a serious amount of planning, writing, scrapping and re-writing, I can give you some of the basic bullet points I've ended up with (currently):
- Linden Lindestorm was born a human in the north east of the inner sea region of Golarion.
- Son to a former stable hand mother who married her farmer husband before Lindens' birth.
- Lindens biological father was (likely) a roaming Druid that sometimes haunted the area up to, let's just say, no good.
- At a young age, after an accident involving a childhood friend, Linden discovered he had Druidic abilities, but repressed them.
I'm still working on the next part but, skipping ahead, we end up with a similar premise set out in part one of this diary, just with a few adjustments.
- Whilst moving livestock along the road to Korvosa, Linden and his family are set upon by a gang of unknown creatures and their powerful spell casting leader.
- Linden is left for dead, his family killed (as far as he knows).
- Unconscious and bleeding out, Linden was surely doomed. However, a young wolf discovers his body and lies on him for warmth and to try to stem the bleeding until a passing group of travellers manage to patch him up.
- Alive, but heavily scarred (the scarring almost brand like due to being hit by dark magic), and now embracing and honing his druidic abilities, the now inseparable Linden and the young wolf Cheera, set out to avenge his family.
- The campaign begins 3 years after these events, with Linden and Cheera living on the streets hunting information on his attackers from the criminals of Korvosa.
- 5 Tips for Backstory Creation
Useful bits & bobs
- Let's Make a Pathfinder 1st Edition Character
- How To Write a D&D Backstory
- Backstories don't have to be tragic to be interesting
- Citcal Role: Handbook Helper