Excerpts 05/07/2007

Complete Champion

If you want to give your D&D character a tie to the divine and a chance to gain benefits (both roleplaying and mechanical) from worshiping a deity, an ideal, or a cause, then Complete Champion is a great book to use. As the introduction to the book mentions, your character doesn't have to sacrifice at a temple or give up doing what he likes to do best -- after all, the D&D game is about coming up with interesting ways to have fun. Complete Champion turns the myths and legends of the D&D game into usable features of the campaign world and shows you how to make them work best for your character.

Fingers of the Laughing Rogue

Ownership equals possession. If you want an item, take it -- as long as you're willing to risk the consequences. If someone takes an item from you, you didn't guard it carefully enough and should take better care next time.

Members of the Church of Olidammara like to refer to themselves as the Fingers of the Laughing Rogue, but the church lacks any formal organization. Few cities permit open worship of the deity of thieves, so Olidammara's church is little more than a loose network of hidden shrines tended by secretive clerics. These temples are always located in urban environments -- usually at the heart of thieves' guilds or smuggling rings -- because the Laughing Rogue's followers enjoy the music and vices of the city and find little of interest in more rural environs. It would be incorrect and shortsighted to say that members of the church never leave civilization, however. They can frequently be found plumbing the depths of hidden temples and dungeons in search of vast stores of ancient wealth.

The Fingers of the Laughing Rogue live for the opportunity to deceive. Some church members believe that any creature they can take advantage of is weak and exists only for their benefit. Most, however, have had hard lives themselves at some point, so they focus on the wealthier members of society who, they believe, are more deserving of their attention. In addition, openly lawful individuals are frequent targets of the Laughing Rogue's church. The followers of Olidammara enjoy deceiving anyone, but nothing pleases them more than swindling a paladin or some other champion of law.

To the followers of Olidammara, deception is a form of worship. The church teaches that anything taken from someone else was clearly not meant to belong to that person, and that any theft in Olidammara's name increases the deity's power. Each member tithes a portion of his take to the church, giving thanks for the deity's blessing and offering prayers for success on the next job. Offerings are always left anonymously by night on a small hidden shrine, and they always disappear before another night has passed.

The church's only noncriminal activities involve music. The Laughing Rogue loves musical entertainment, so Olidammara's few large temples are always filled with music of all kinds -- calm garden tunes one day, and bawdy tavern chants the next. The church frequently sponsors gifted performers, and any appearance by a famous bard is sure to be attended by many of the deity's followers. A musician is never the target of a deception perpetrated by church mem bers unless he has committed an act that draws the wrath of a worshiper.

Both the church and its members are unreliable when it comes to agreements. They can change allegiances on a whim if doing so appears entertaining or profitable. According to the church, many grades of deception exist, and white lies are only the beginning. For these reasons, any follower of Olidammara forms only a few close friendships.

Enemies and Allies: The Fingers of the Laughing Rogue have many enemies. Few understand the church's principles and ideologies, and lawful organizations especially condemn its activities. The churches of St. Cuthbert and Heironeous in particular frequently attempt to expose temples to the Laughing Rogue and shut them down.

Scale: 10 (regional).

Affiliation Score Criteria: A member of the church cannot gain affiliation benefits without first deceiving at least one person (by robbing, successfully bluffing, or otherwise misleading them). Furthermore, a member cannot be of lawful alignment.

Criterion Affiliation Score Modifier
Character level +1/2 levels
Chaotic alignment +1
Bluff, Disguise, or Hide 5-9 ranks +1/skill
Bluff, Disguise, or Hide 10 or more ranks +2/skill
Knowledge (religion) 5 or more ranks +1
Can cast 3rd-level or higher illusion spells +1
Can hide in plain sight +2
Lacks ranks in Bluff, Disguise, or Hide -2
Multiple Use
Secretly breaks an unjust law (if character is not chaotic evil) +1
Openly breaks an unjust law (if character is not chaotic evil) +3
Secretly breaks any law (if character is not chaotic good) +1
Openly breaks any law (if character is not chaotic good) +3
Humiliates a law enforcement officer +1
Survives an encounter with an EL 3-4 higher than own character level +1
Survives an encounter with an EL 5 or more higher than own character level +2
Avoids a battle as a result of careful preparation +1
Wins a battle as a result of careful preparation +4
Wins a battle against seemingly insurmountable odds as a result of careful preparation +8
Scores two consecutive critical hits in a single battle +1
Converts a new member +1
Deceives a creature into offering a desired item +1/4 creature's CR
Deceives a lawful creature into offering a desired item +(1/4 creature's CR) '+2
Successfully steals a valuable item +1/1,000 gp value
Becomes the patron of a musician +1
Is caught breaking the law -8
Is caught in a lie -4
Acts in a lawful manner -4
Associates with known lawful beings (such as paladins or monks) -4

Titles, Benefits, and Duties: To gain a new rank and its associated benefit, a church member must repeat her success at deception, this time against a foe that has a CR within 1 of her character level. Affiliation titles represent some of the church's major categories of deception. The infamous crimson deception, at the top of the list, is an achievement that only a few members have ever pulled off in the history of the church. Such a deception is on par with talking a mature adult dragon out of its hoard.

Rank Score Title: Benefits and Duties
0 3 or lower None.
1 4-9 White: Gain a +2 bonus on Bluff checks made to feint in combat.
2 10-17 Blue: Gain a +2 bonus on Perform and Tumble checks.
3 18-24 Gray: Gain a +1 bonus on saves against lawful spells and effects.
4 25-29 Black: Caster level +1 when casting illusion spells or spells of the Trickery domain.
5 30 or higher Crimson: Once per day, force one opponent to reroll an attack, check, or save after you know the result of the roll.

Roleplaying Applications

Favored Feats: The Fingers of the Laughing Rogue teach that a truly successful combatant is one who fights only when she wants to. Anyone foolish enough to get hit is in the wrong place. Thus, members prefer feats that increase their combat mobility (such as Spring Attack) and enhance their ability to choose their own battlegrounds.

Favored Combat Tactics: Many church members take levels of rogue, so they attempt to set up sneak attack opportunities whenever possible. Clerics try to remain unobtrusive, often staying invisible and summoning monsters to fight for them. Most affiliates also like to use spells that incapacitate their enemies so that allies can do the dirty work of killing. All, however, revel in the chaos of a battle once joined. In such situations, they focus on known lawful enemies first and try to humiliate as well as defeat such targets. A member of Olidammara's church can agree with a member of the Fist of Valor (see below) on at least one topic -- defeating Hextorites is good fun.

Favored Adventure Types: A member of this church enjoys any quest designed to take another person down a peg. If the enemy is lawful -- especially one in a position of authority -- at least one Finger of the Laughing Rogue is likely to lurk in the shadows, hoping to teach him a lesson. High-risk quests might interest church members, as long as the payoff is high as well. After all, the greater the danger, the finer the song that can be written afterward.

Favored Oaths: Common oaths uttered by members of Olidammara's church include "By my fingers!" and "May you be the target of his laughter."

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