That’s the name of the test campaign we’re running for 4e. Skybreaker. Our GM, Ron, loves obscure single-word names, but I’ll admit that it sounds intriguing. (I may not have much room to talk, though; my last GMed game was “A Plague of Angels.”)
We spent the first session creating characters and establishing a basic background. For the sake of simplicity, we agreed that the party had come together at some point in the past, and that we’d all traveled to the initial setting, the mining town of White Haven, because of rumors that a recent mine disaster was something more than just a typical collapse — that the miners had uncovered something meant to be kept hidden. Supporting this evidence was the influx of monsters into the area; it had had occasional problems with goblins and the like in the past, but now things were getting dangerous. The campaign will open with the party on the mountain road outside of White Haven. It’s up to us to decide where to go from there.
I often end up GMing, so it’s nice to have the chance to play.
I was tempted by the warlock, but I’m also one of those odd people who enjoys playing a cleric, so I decided to go with a cleric of the Raven Queen. We’re also using the standard array for stats, and no house rules. All of the core races are available.
This is what I ended up with:
Rodrik the White, human cleric of the Raven Queen
Strength 14, Dexterity 11, Constitution 12, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 18, Charisma 13
Hit Points 24 (bloodied 12)
Healing Surges: 8 per day, for 6 hp each
Defenses: AC 16, Fortitude 13, Reflex 11, Will 17
Proficiencies: simple melee weapons, simple ranged weapons, cloth, leather, hide, chainmail
Skills: Arcana (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Religion (Int)
Feats: Action Surge (+3 to attack rolls during any action gained by spending an action point), Raven Queen’s Blessing (new power), Ritual Caster (cleric bonus feat)
Rituals: Comprehend Language, Gentle Repose
Equipment: Chainmail (+6 armor bonus, -1 check, -1 speed, 40#), scythe (+2 prof., 2d4 damage, 10#), standard adventurers’ kit (33#), holy symbol (1#), ritual book (3#), 30 gp
(Carrying: 86#; normal load: 140#; heavy load: 280#; max. drag or push: 700#)
Channel Divinity: Divine Fortune (free, encounter, personal, +1 bonus to next attack roll or saving throw before end of next turn)
Channel Divinity: Turn Undead (standard, encounter, close burst 2, Wisdom attack vs. Will; hit: 1d10+4 radiant damage, push 3 squares, and immobilize until end of next turn; miss: half damage and no push or immobilize)
Healing Word (minor, twice per encounter, close burst 5; target can spend a healing surge and gains 1d6 additional hp)
Lance of Faith (standard, at-will, ranged 5, Wisdom attack vs. Reflex; hit: 1d8+4 radiant damage, and one ally in sight gains +2 power bonus to next attack against that target)
Priest’s Shield (standard, at-will, melee, Strength vs. AC; hit: 2d4+2, I and one adjacent ally gain +1 power bonus to AC until end of next turn)
Sacred Flame (standard, at-will, ranged 5, Wisdom attack vs. Reflex; hit: 1d6+4 radiant damage, and one ally in sight gains 1 temporary hp or can make a saving throw)
Cause Fear (standard, encounter, ranged 10, Wisdom attack vs. Will; hit: target moves its speed + 1 square away from me, avoiding unsafe or difficult terrain if it can — this movement provokes opportunity attacks)
Cascade of Light (standard, daily, ranged 10, Wisdom attack vs. Will; hit: 3d8+4 radiant damage and target gains vulnerability 5 to all my attacks; miss: half damage, no vulnerability)
Raven Queen’s Blessing (free, encounter, ranged 10; when my attack drops an enemy to 0 hp or fewer, I or an ally within 5 squares of that enemy can spend a healing surge)
That took about 20 minutes to work up, mainly because I’m not familiar with the new character creation system yet. I was pleasantly surprised to find the new encumbrance system takes up only about half a column, and it includes this note: “The amount you carry should rarely be an issue, and you don’t need to calculate the amount your character is hauling around unless it’s likely to matter.” Goodbye, encumbrance bookkeeping. You won’t be missed. (Hell, most of us never did it in the first place, I’d wager…)
Rodrik’s background is still a little sketchy, since the world’s history isn’t exactly filled in yet. But the basic story is that he came from Durinhal, the last bastion of civilization amid the trackless northern wastes. A land where winter holds sway for most of the year, and the goddess of winter is, accordingly, among the most popularly worshipped deities. Rodrik’s parents were both ordained in the Raven Queen’s service, and he followed in their footsteps, displaying at an early age the talent for channeling divine power.
Before he showed his talent, he was a quiet boy, an earnest if not particularly gifted scholar, more often to be found reading a book from the temple’s libraries than anything else. When he became an acolyte, the power changed him. He became more confident and more assertive, though he retained his love of reading. While the northmen are stereotyped as grim, Rodrik is typically lighthearted, quick with a laugh or a quip. Those who meet him are often surprised to learn of his devotion to the death goddess.
This is not to say that he takes his devotion lightly. He feels free to carouse, to laugh, to joke in the face of danger precisely because of that devotion. The Raven Queen teaches that death is the natural end of life, and Rodrik has accepted that his fate lies there — and so he sees no purpose in obsessing over an inevitable end, or in avoiding what pleasures he can find along the way. His cheerful disposition reflects his philosophy, and rarely does it crack. Only when faced with the undead does he radiate the grim purpose most expect to see in a cleric of the goddess of death.
Rodrik earned his styling “the White” from his hair, which turned shock-white when first he channeled divine magic. He’s since developed a preference for the color — his armor is enameled in white, his cloak is of heavy white wool trimmed with white fur, his clothing is white with only accents of color. Even the handle of the scythe he bears as a weapon is shaped from a bleached white wood. Only the black raven’s-head symbol of his deity diverges strongly from the color scheme.