Heroes on Demand: Donovan, Fereldan Adventurer

Welcome yet again to Heroes on Demand, your weekly source of ready-to-play PCs for a number of different RPGs.  For this week’s installment, we’ll be venturing once more to Fereldan, meeting one of this land’s native sons.  While most people are content to simply get through their day with their lives and livelihood intact, there are some that have embraced the notions of the heroic adventurer, and seek to carve their own legends into the history of Thedas, to be remembered in tale and song when their spirits have long since departed the mortal realm.  So ready your steel and your courage as we introduce…

"Just because it's called the Old Code doesn't mean it's not worth living by."

“Just because it’s called the Old Code doesn’t mean it’s not worth living by.”

: Dragon Age RPG

Class: Warrior
Background: Fereldan Freeman
Level: 1

Communication 3
Constitution 2
Cunning 1
Dexterity 3
Magic 0
Perception 2
Strength 3
Willpower 2 (Focus: Courage)

Class Powers
Weapon Groups (Brawling, Heavy Blades, Light Blades, Spears)

Armor Training (Novice), Single Weapon Style (Novice), Two-Hander Style (Novice)

Speed: 11 yards
Initiative: +3
Defense: 13
Armor Rating: 5
Health Points: 37

Equipment: Bastard sword (2d6+4), dagger (1d6+4), 3 throwing knives (1d6+3), light mail armor, backpack, traveler’s garb, travel rations for 1 week, waterskin, 22 silver pieces

Background: Donovan grew up hearing the heroic tales of his great-grandfather Adaric, a hero of the Free Marches known for his valor in the face of great peril, and aspired to become as famous a hero as his ancestor.  Training under the watchful eye of his uncle, the chief instructor to the household guard of a lesser Bann, Donovan learned much about swordplay, ranging from the powerful styles used in his native Fereldan to the quick, darting styles favored in Orlais and Antiva.  He was also quick to learn by heart the old code of the Nevarran knightly orders from days past, seeing them not as antiquated words but a guide by which to live a life of courage and true nobility.  Having proven himself in his uncle’s proving grounds, Donovan has embarked upon his journey, confident in the belief that he is destined to be a great hero, whether that destiny take shape as a commander of soldiers, a knight in service to a noble lord, a champion of the downtrodden, or even to stand amongst the ranks of the legendary Grey Wardens.  And if there are a few fair maidens to be rescued along the journey, then so much the better.

Design Notes: Donovan was my initial character for the few adventures of the Dragon Age RPG that I got the chance to play.  I was initially casting about for a different name when rolling this character up, but my gaming group opted to apply my long-standing forum handle for the sake of getting things moving.  As we had used the dice roll method for generating ability scores, I carried those over to this article, thus giving him slightly better starting scores than a character made using the point-buy method offered in the Box 2 Player’s Guide.  In a way, he’d make a pretty good example of the idealistic young adventurer that is typically the lead protagonist in a high fantasy story.

In terms of combat ability, it might have been a more mechanically sound choice to go with the weapon and shield style of fighting, giving Donovan a better defense, but the idea of a skilled swordsman using a massive sword and quickly changing between defensive and offensive stances had a much stronger appeal.  A fairly common house-rule that I’ve come across, one that even seems to have been used in Green Ronin’s own Quick-Start Adventure, is to allow a character to spend some of their starting silver to upgrade their class’ default starting armor by one degree.  If choosing not to use this house-rule, then simply downgrade Donovan’s armor to heavy leather and increase his starting funds by 20 silver pieces.  If that is the case, he should focus on acquiring a suit of mail as quickly as possible to help boost his survivability in combat.  He’s really not good for ranged combat, having only a few throwing knives, but given his adherence to knightly virtues, it’s perfectly in character.

Interestingly enough, Donovan would also make a prime candidate for the Grey Wardens, if the GM is using that option in their campaign.  He’s got the raw fighting prowess and an inclination towards fighting the good fight, though his code of ethics might clash with the Grey Wardens’ “whatever it takes” approach to combating the darkspawn threat.  Still, it might be an interesting goal to pursue, and an interesting personal conflict between his code and the Wardens’ pragmatism.

Image is from The Chronicles of Narnia Wiki.

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