The 20-level classes presented in books other than the Player's Handbook have become popular choices for players and DMs. Earlier articles in this series have discussed how to import numerous classes from Player's Handbook 2 and other sources into the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. This installment focuses on the Factotum (from Dungeonscape) and the Spellthief (from Complete Adventurer). At the end of each entry are alternatives for how to include the ideas written here but without requiring the introduction of these classes into your game.
Numerous explorer companies exist in the civilized lands. Some of these are clubs for noblemen of low rank, places where disgruntled third sons can feel important and be among likeminded individuals. One such group is the Lodge of the Sphinx, an exploration company based out of Urmlaspyr in Sembia. While some of the members are talentless spoiled nobles, soaking in the cigar-smoke-filled 'good old boy' environment, many others are skilled travelers with incredible breadth of knowledge and ability. Members of any class can join, but some of the best are factotums, true jacks of all trades.
The Lodge was founded in 1342 by Bertin Clanin, an ambitious son of a Sembian noble house, as a club for his raffish and disaffected dandy friends. To the surprise of everyone, including himself, Clanin (known affectionately as "Teller" by his friends, for unknown reasons -- began taking exploration seriously. Clanin's company blossomed, and lazy chaff was soon weeded out from dedicated and seasoned explorers. They traveled the world, seeking out its exotic locales. The company is still active today. Its leader, a descendant of Bertin named Heraldon Clanin (LN male Sembian human aristocrat 2/factotum 7), organizes expeditions to Chult, the Moonshaes, and other distant lands. The Lodge commemorates its founder and its name with a miniature, petrified sphinx perched above the fireplace in the common room.
A small band of volamtar -- dwarves who patrol trails between dwarven and human settlements in the name of Marthammor Duin -- has been frightening travelers who traverse the pass between Sundabar and Silverymoon. They call themselves the Trailfinders of the Pass. Merchants staying in Auvendell claim to have seen and spoken to the group, and testify that the dwarves were affected by bizarre magic that caused them to blink in and out of sight. Unbeknownst to the travelers, the dwarves were under the effect of a Netherese curse.
The enterprising volamtar are multiclassed factotum/clerics led by Elmenhardt Gundergrlim (CG male shield dwarf factotum 4/cleric 3 [Marthammor Duin]). Their unusual plight arose when the dwarven merchant Rurik Silverhilt hired them to clear out the underground tunnels believed to have once been the Low Road. In those depths, they discovered a breach in the sealed way station that led to buried Netheril. To their surprise, the chamber beyond the breach was intact. In the chamber, they found several unfamiliar items of unknown power, including an ancient hourglass, a massive spellbook, and a magical chair.
Unfortunately, their presence drew the attention of the ghosts of Netherese who had died when they were sealed behind the gate. One of the ghosts, a powerful chronomancer by the name of Krefeldithian (not to be confused with The Chronomancer , Jeriah Chronos), cursed the dwarves. This unusual curse causes them to blink out of time whenever they try to explain what they saw or return to the tunnels.
The stricken dwarves fled the chamber, unable to take any of the items with them except for a single map of the region. Now they wander the Silverymoon Pass, trying to rid themselves of the curse.
Factotums gain the ability to channel positive energy in a manner similar to clerics. They can use this energy to turn or damage undead and to heal wounds. Normally, a divine practitioner in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting is required to select a patron deity that grants her abilities. Factotums are an exception to this rule. A factotum can choose a patron deity -- often Tymora, Llira, or another god or goddess related to luck and inspiration -- but is not required to do this. Religious factotums worship the god they find to be the most inspiring. Some factotums pray to numerous gods, paying homage to whatever deity is most useful at the time.
If a factotum does not select a patron deity, her powers are nothing more than borrowed divine energy. She is most likely unaware of the source, drawing from the divine ether or from unknown powers. This also means that she is probably considered faithless -- a mortal who does not worship a particular god of the Realms. As such, her soul has no place to go when she dies. Most factotums are canny enough to realize this and carefully choose when and how to worship a particular god that suits their ideals.
Those wishing to use the lore presented above but without employing the factotum class have a simple alternative. Explorers on Faerūn can easily be rogues, experts, bards, and other skilled classes. Factotums have an impressive array of skills and abilities, but other classes can easily make exceptional explorers.
During the Time of Troubles (1358), numerous deities were wounded or killed in avatar form. Their blood spilled into the land, causing miraculous and sometimes devastating changes in the environment. Mortals that came in contact with the blood or ingested it when drinking tainted water sometimes experienced unusual mutations. Other, more fortunate mortals developed strange gifts, including the ability to steal magical energy. These mortals are known as spellthieves.
The spirit of portfolio theft imbued the spilled blood with the properties that created spellthieves. Some of the fighting had nothing to do with portfolio acquisition but stemmed instead from long-held grudges and feuds. Nevertheless, the world was charged with the ripples of the divine theft, tainting even the most noble of blood. The deities that fought during the Time of Troubles include Anhur, Bane, Bhaal, Clangeddin Silverbeard, Gilgeam, Gond, Gwaeron Windstrom, Ibrandul, Iyachtu Xvim, Kelemvor, Labelas Enoreth, Hoar, Leira, Malar, Mask, Myrkul, Mystra, Nobanion, Ramman, Red Knight, Selune, Shar, Shaundakul, Tiamat, Torm, and Tymora. Any deity involved in fighting (whether the aggressor or defender) that was injured can be the catalyst for the imbuement of a spellthief. The land in which a battle took place is the most likely place for a spellthief to be born, though pregnant women exposed to godsblood sometimes gave birth to future spellthieves in other locations.
It is not entirely accurate to say that spellthieves are the result of stolen divine power. Gods in Faerūn derive their power from the fervor and numbers of their worshipers. Drops of shed godsblood do not directly weaken a deity, but they do forge a connection between a deity and the affected mortal. The deity in question does not even need to be alive. Dead deities still have enough power for the connection to survive. In most cases, neither the deity nor the spellthief becomes aware of the connection, but in some, the spellthief learns to exploit the connection to siphon off minute fractions of the deity's power. These mortals can gain access to the Godsblood Spelltheft feat.
A number of well-known spellthieves gained their powers from godsblood spilled during the time of troubles. Anwhar Bellgate (NE male Chondathan rogue/spellthief 6) is a merchant who travels the Trade Way between Scornubel and Waterdeep. During the Time of Troubles, he developed powers of spellthievery after coming in contact with godsblood shed during the battle between Bhaal and Cyric. Anwhar continues his mercantile endeavors, but by using the strange death powers he channels from Bhaal's blood (see the Godsblood Spellthief feat), he has become a highly successful assassin. Other individual spellthieves have used their abilities for any number of causes and life paths.
One of the few organizations of spellthieves is an unlikely group known as the Fallen Justice. They were a group of 13 Untheri scouts who came in contact with Ramman's blood when the Untheri deity of war died during the Time of Troubles. During the violent battles that took place, the scouts were drenched in their Lord's blood, absorbing a larger than normal amount of his power. Today, the group -- led by their valiant commander Erilon Amadar (LN Untheri male scout 4/spellthief 7) -- fights against the former foes of Ramman, especially the followers of Hoar and Gilgeam.
Most spellthieves are the result of direct contact with godsblood, but some are the children of those who were exposed. Others gain their powers when exposed to a powerful wild magic event or when tainted water (such as from the Winding Water) is ingested in large quantities. The myriad of strange events related to the Time of Troubles allows for a large variety of explanations for the emergence of spellthieves.
For those wishing to use the lore presented above but without introducing the spellthief class into their games, there is an alternative. Spellthieves could be rogue/sorcerers or rogue/wizards who use their spells and sneak attacks to remove the abilities and defenses of their enemies. Characters can select ambush feats (as presented in Complete Scoundrel) that allow rogues to sacrifice sneak attack dice to inflict a number of types of penalties and hindrances.
About the Author
Eytan Bernstein hails from exotic Long Island and spends his days writing and editing projects for numerous game companies. In addition to his work on Dragons of Faerūn, the Magic Item Compendium, and numerous other projects, Eytan serves as a partner and PR & Marketing Manager for Silven Publishing. Eytan enjoys hunting for gems and minerals in rock quarries, studying religion and theology, composing music, and playing with his many pets. For more information about Eytan, check out www.eytanbernstein.com. Send questions and comments for Eytan here.
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