Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Best Left Buried: The Herald

The Herald
“Friends, clerics, and thrice-anointed members of this, the lavish House of Chalices; I have the honor, nay, the privilege of introducing you to the Company of the Twelve. They’ve slain the fallen archon of Karam-Kotal, they routed the draconic horrors of the Southern Steppe! They come to you now, vaunted in deed, to humbly offer their service to your masters at the behest of their own!”

Heralds, Historical.

Heralds are not what one would often think of as heroes. They are performers, their craft; that of the lie you wish to believe. They monger in reputation and pomposity, offering up embellished tales of mighty deeds and desirable connections between the ruling class and those who delve the dark places of the world. They are notably glib, guileful, and always in the service of more wicked and influential sorts. 

Comforting Lies: Heralds are masters of spinning the truth and rousing speeches meant to manipulate their fellow cryptdiggers from the pits of despair. Once per adventuring day, the Herald may bid a number of points of Grip and make a Wits check with a target number of 8+Grip bet. On a successful roll, all those in the presence of the Herald recover Grip equal to the amount bet. The Herald can not recover Grip in doing this. They find no comfort in these lies.

The Honor, Nay, the Privilege: Heralds have the Upper Hand when introducing themselves, their company, or their party to high-ranking members of society such as nobles, military officers, academics, or clergy. Heralds may spend a point of Grip to grant the Upper Hand to other party members during said introductions, even if that character would otherwise be hated, spat upon, or be otherwise Against the Odds.

The Company Man: Heralds are always assumed to be lickspittle to the superior officers within their cryptdigger company, for without their master’s favor they lack any power or authority. Heralds are Against the Odds to lie to their superiors or act against them. Heralds must make a Grip check if they are ever accused of sedition or betrayal by higher ranking members of the company (including other archetypes such as Veterans.)

Suggested Advancements: Take Master of Deceit if your Herald knows exactly what it is their line of work calls for. Take Ears of the Owl if they’ve spent some time in court and know they shouldn’t trust anyone. Take The Holy Song of War if your Herald has learned that faith is an opiate best shared with masses that can throw their weight around

Note: As there was talk of a desire for a Bard for Best Left Buried, I thought to cobble together a character archetype that better fits the tone of the implied setting and the mercenary company implications therein. Thus rather than a magic musical troubadour (which is silly) who knows lore (which steps on the niche of the Scholar), you get the Herald, a pompous social sort who is good at making connections, lying to benefit allies after a calamity befalls them, and who is adherent to the company's social order (as without it they lack any structure). They are one part A Knight's Tale Chaucer, one part Jeff Winger, and a few parts spy, company loyalist, and most likely to fall into alcoholism type face character. 

As with much of Best Left Buried,  the social characters shouldn't be entirely social-based. The Herald exists usefully in the crypt as a means to recover Grip at the cost of their own, and they have a use when getting jobs from important patrons (as well as when covering up for less than pleasant party members during said social interactions). Their downside is a bit less downside than some other archetypes due to its specificity; but the penalty is a bit harsher (beyond what will happen on a narrative level) and anyone else in the party who accuses them of betrayal/sedition can also invoke it (thus Veterans have more power/position, and if the party has a leader proper, they too will wield this over with the Herald.) They will likely work in interesting tandem with Dastards and Cutthroats, potentially allowing for a very dashing musketeer type trio.

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