Here’s a battle mage for battle mage week. Bonus, he’s a professor at the Arcane College of Smitehold!
Backstory and Levels 1-5
Zane Hiland was born to a good family, his father a merchant of humble resources. During his 18th year, a war threatened and he enlisted while the enlistment bonus was high. He had worked guarding his father’s wagons most of his teenage years and had some skill. The war never happened, however, and he was soon without his army pay.
Trained as he was in the army, he became a somewhat more effective guard for his father. Something of a duelist, Zane slew a couple of bandits that attacked one of his father’s wagons. One of the bandits he killed turned out to be more than he seemed, a young nobleman. Outraged, the nobleman’s father Zane’s father to a duel. Zane’s father would not allow him to stand, and his father was killed. With his dying words, Zane’s father admonished him to do more with his life. He was an intelligent lad, ever more so, and his father told him to enroll at Smitehold.
Zane challenged his father’s killer to a duel the moment his father had passed and killed him. In the next couple of months he had moved his mother into a smaller home, sold most of their assets, and left her with enough to live for several years. He took with him a fair purse with which to pay his tuition and joined the college.
Once in the college he proved a quick learner. He quickly learned the basics of the arcane circle. He used the knowledge to cast with a weapon in hand, usually his trusted rapier. His talent for swiftly passing through the arcs, as well as his good instincts for the magic, soon made him quite the favorite of the combat casters in the faculty. Within only a few years at the school, he was taken on by one of the professors as a research student, focusing on materials magic. With a good eye for valuable objects, trained by his father, Zane earned good commission in his work.
He was not pleased with it, however. Though he was happy to be able to send additional money home to his mother, he knew she had plenty put away. He calculated that he would be able to pay his tuition on a guard’s stipend while focusing his studies on battle, armor and energy spells, but also offensive magic.
His studies went well and eventually, having proven himself against a small young dragon that landed in the nearby mountains, he was given a position teaching at the school at the age of 31. He taught the circle, especially Ya, Ku, and Des, and he soon had 4 research assistants: 2 living in the Ku Tower, 1 living in the Ya Chamber, and 1 living in the Des Chamber. By 35, his position at Smitehold College had solidified with him being made head guard coordinator. Students now compete to be accepted as one of his researchers in the ways of combat magic.
Strength: 14, Constitution: 16, Dexterity: 20,
Wisdom: 15, Intelligence: 22, Charisma: 8
Abilities: Arcane Magic I, Battle Magic II, Spell Casting I, Armed Casting VI, Magical Intuition V, Casting Focus IV, Reactive Casting II, Weapon Mastery (Rapier) IV, Parry Mastery V, Disarm IV, Haggle I
Skills: Agility X, Weapon Skill III, Perception I, Diplomacy I
Zane Hiland is not very much of a mage. He knows a lot of arcane circle components (8+6+4+4=22 of the 24 possible), but his words and especially his fingers are more lacking (14 of 24 words known, but only 4 of 36 fingers). His major lack in magic is that the greatest DoP bonus he can get is +2 DoP to Battle Spells. This makes his magic power small relative to more dedicated casters.
His real strength is in casting while fighting. With 10 Agility, he passes through 6 arcs or radii a second when not using fingers. This means that with Armed Casting he can parry up to 12 times after a turn entirely spent casting a Battle Magic spell. Each parry and attack would only add 2% chance of spell failure, easily accounted for by his Casting Focus IV.
That said, he’s not skilled enough to actually parry 12 times in a row without hurting himself. With only a +6 To-Hit between Weapon Skill and Weapon Mastery (Rapier), he can’t rely on that to compensate for more than a parry or so. His Parry Mastery helps, making the second parry without penalty and reducing the penalty to -3 and -8 on the third and fourth. With 20 dexterity, this means he can continue to parry without much fear of hurting himself up to the fifth parry and maybe the sixth. Given his level in Disarm, he can increase his chances a little (+1) by making disarms in place of parries.
He does have one more trick up his (billowy) sleeve. Reactive Casting II means he can cast up to 1/2 second while on the defense in reaction to someone else’s action. This is enough time for him to use 3 circle components and a syllable. For him, that’s 2 DoP as if it were a parry. With that he can cast a small stone wall or a counter attack or armor for an ally all in direct reaction to enemy action.
What did you think of Zane Hiland? Would you try to recruit him? One of his students? Would you build a character like him? Comment below and let us know.