Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

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Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:04 pm

So, if you've ever felt any discontinuity over the fact that Elves are supposed to live these very long lives, and yet, here they are in the game in the hands of a player, and they really have little to show for that longevity when compared to the other characters -- especially compared against the humans -- ~ shock!~ ~horror!~

Are all Elves in players' control juveniles? Or idiots? What's the deal?

Well, I just recently finished reading Poul Anderson's World Without Stars, Appendix N author, if not an Appendix N book. In it, Humans live a very long time thanks to the science of the future... BUT they must periodically erase some of their memories to keep from getting really strange. And so I then wondered if the same could be the case for Elves, and why you'd find yourself running an Elf that was merely Level 1. You see, they live so damn long that they periodically must undergo a special ritual meditation and excise vast chunks of memory. They don't lose everything, but it can mean starting over in some ways...

I like what this idea makes possible:
• Elves can still know stuff first hand, but from long ago
• Being 1st Level doesn't mean they are in remedial class
• Games could explore what they gave up -- and why
• Stuff they used to know could come back to haunt them
• Probably more stuff that hasn't occurred to me yet

"What do you think, sirs?"
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
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Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Rostranor » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:37 pm

I was reading something, dont recall now where though, that there was a certain amount of racial memory osmosis that occured. The jist of it was that elves live so long that they actually forget things, which is why stories are so important to their culture as its a way for them to remember. The other side effect that elves even if they were not alive during events remember them and talk about them as if they were because they partake in the same story telling rituals. I thought that as a pretty neat concept I think it was in Harn maybe...

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by MrHemlocks » Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:12 am

In my campaign elves live less than 300 years. I hate the way elves and other pixies races have changed over the years. When I was a child I remember reading books, yes books not laptops or tablets, that described these creatures as little folk. Most lived under mushrooms, in old trees or between the walls of cottages. Than came Tolkien :roll: He made elves over six feet, talked like arrogant snubs and the rest...

Take for instance the story of Rumpelstiltskin. He was an elf...did you know that :wink:

Image

TIME TO BRING BACK THE OLD PIXIES...DOWN WITH TOLKIEN :)

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by cjoepar » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:14 pm

I wouldn't worry too much about Tolkien's elves, Mr H. Peter Jackson is well on his way to utterly erasing everything Tolkien wrote and rewriting it completely different anyway, soon they will be unrecognizable except by us old people that still actually read books before we see the movie.

I no longer try to reconcile the elves of literature with the elves in rpg's. I have resigned myself to the reality that they have to be roughly the same effectiveness as other races and so they can't really be elves anymore. <shrug>

Interesting approach, Gnomeboy.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by cthulhudarren » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:25 pm

Real elves can't stand the touch of iron and have witch-sight.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Gameogre » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:59 pm

Seriously,you guys are OLD.

Elves never worked anyway. 2,000 or 300 years it doesn't make any since. Before the pc started playing them they spend how long to reach the starting 0 level? (or 1st level for those D&D freaks) and then WHAM 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 (if they are seriously lucky) in just a very short time. A few years probably.

I just don't choose to look at it because it's silly. If I cared enough to do something about it I would just slap them with normal human age limits or restrict them to npc only race.

Players suck at playing None humans anyway. 100% of the none humans played by pc's in my game play exactly like humans with physical differences only. Even those who play Dwarves, a marginally better race role playing wise at my table are all Drunk,greedy,bad tampered humans.

Great...I just talked myself into looking at Fallen Empire cause im tired of the elf/dwarf crud.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Johann » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:40 am

Here's how I handle the immortality of Elves in my house rules:
Elves, also called ‘The Fair Folk’, live in fantastic palaces and halls in an invisible otherworld. This world can be reached through fairy rings, enchanted trees or certain lakes and woods, especially at dusk and dawn.
Elves are lithe and either stunningly beautiful or strange and terrible to behold, owing to mutations such as antlers, green leaves instead of hair and so on. They are immortal but most of them succumb to ennui after a few centuries. Elves are usually in allegiance to one of two fey courts: The Seelie Court [...] The Unseelie Court [...]
Elves neither age nor reproduce. When an elf fades away (due to hardship, injury or ennui), he or she is reborn in the otherworld as a 1st-level elf, possessed of fleeting memories of past lives (not to mention a fabulous home and an eclectic collection of treasures). If an elf truly dies, the Fair Folk’s number is diminished forever.
...and...
Noble Privilege: An elf chooses one of the following boons reflecting his or her fabulous wealth in the otherworld:
1) mithril chainshirt (AC 14, encumbers as leather armor)
2) mithril longsword (attack and damage +1, hits ethereal creatures)
3) goblin servant (1 HD, Loyalty 9, may be replaced upon reaching a new level)
And the mithril stuff is treated as cursed if separated from its owner...

Best wishes

Johann

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by catseye yellow » Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:47 am

GnomeBoy wrote:So, if you've ever felt any discontinuity over the fact that Elves are supposed to live these very long lives, and yet, here they are in the game in the hands of a player, and they really have little to show for that longevity when compared to the other characters -- especially compared against the humans -- ~ shock!~ ~horror!~

Are all Elves in players' control juveniles? Or idiots? What's the deal?

Well, I just recently finished reading Poul Anderson's World Without Stars, Appendix N author, if not an Appendix N book. In it, Humans live a very long time thanks to the science of the future... BUT they must periodically erase some of their memories to keep from getting really strange. And so I then wondered if the same could be the case for Elves, and why you'd find yourself running an Elf that was merely Level 1. You see, they live so damn long that they periodically must undergo a special ritual meditation and excise vast chunks of memory. They don't lose everything, but it can mean starting over in some ways...

I like what this idea makes possible:
• Elves can still know stuff first hand, but from long ago
• Being 1st Level doesn't mean they are in remedial class
• Games could explore what they gave up -- and why
• Stuff they used to know could come back to haunt them
• Probably more stuff that hasn't occurred to me yet

"What do you think, sirs?"
in old warhammer, like 1st edition old, elves had this ritual that kept them from going mental aptly named bran-wa-shin.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Skyscraper » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:31 am

Interesting idea gnomeboy. The partial amnesia can of course open up a lot of stuff story-wise. Such as someone walking up to the PC as an old friend, but the PC simply doesn't recognize him. Are elves serene with that aspect of their personality? Maybe they want to hide that their brains can't handle all the information they acquire in life and they don't tell any non-elf about that trait, hiding it. When that forgotten friend from years back shows up, maybe the elf tries to act as if he remembered to save face.

You could also have an entire dream aspect to this. For example, perhaps all lost memories are not lost, they are pushed into the dream world, and when the elf dreams, he recalls lost memories. That could again open up story elements as information from a past conflict or some such, could return to the PC in dreams.

This being said, since the other posters all provided their take on elves, I'll do the same, lol :)

I'm exhausted on the elf/dwarf/halfling stereotype. It's been overused. I agree with gameogre that elf-dwarf-halfling characters as played by players are usually unintersting and underwhelming from a RP standpoint. They always fall into the same stereotypes and the characters developped around them are usually superficial, predictable and constrained within the stereotype. I've opted demi-humans out of my last DCC campaign, but I've kept the classes that I renamed. I changed the rare mechanics that didn't fit with my idea of the classes, for new mechanics, but 90% of the class remained unchanged.

@cejoepar: I admit to not really understanding the rage (perhaps not yours, but that of many tolkien fans) agaisnt Jackson. He is not Tolkien. Like any artistic creation, he took a basis for his own, namely Tolkien's book, and created from that. This will of course inevitably yield something else than Tolkien's creation, since it is, by definition, a new creation. I play in theatre plays, and any given play is staged in a unique way every time it is done, with the stage director being responsible (with the actors, to some extent) for creating a new, unique creation based on the original text. I do not evaluate Jackson's creation by comparing it to Tolkien's, I simply take it as a new creation, and find it most enjoyable.

Last year, we did one special creation, used for funding our theatre: we asked amateur writers that gravitate around the theatre, to write a short text, and some of us (including me) staged those texts with students of our drama school. We had some really great texts to work with. The author we of course invited to see the creation that resulted from their texts, and one of those authors, when he saw his text being staged in one way, really took offense, saying that the intention behind his text had not been conveyed properly and that he wanted the scene to be reworked according to his intention (we had more than one reprensentation, he told us about that after the first). That really highlighted, IMO, that the author did not understand what staging a text means. If you accept that your text is going to be staged, you need to let go of your preconceived ideas about it, because the stage director is OF COURSE going to interpret it in a personal way. (And by the way, that author's text was magnficiently staged according to me, I have no idea why he was so insulted.)

The uproar around Jackson modifying Tolkien's creation is really deplorable IMO because his creation is not being judged on its merits, it is being judged according to the differences perceived by the viewers between their interpretation of Tolkien's books and that of Jackson's movie. The fact that he might have had some interesting ideas appears to not be considered, since changing any story aspect is simply seen as a sin in itself. To me, this goes against the very idea of creativity and is undesirable.

Those that want to read Tolkien should read Tolkien. Those that want to see a movie loosely based around those books can watch Jackson's movies. Those are not mutually exclusive experiences as long as each is seen as its own entity.

IMHO of course.

Anyway, that's it for this rant ;)
Last edited by Skyscraper on Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by GnomeBoy » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:35 am

Yeah, it's really the story aspect of this that intrigues me. New toys to play with...!
Skyscraper wrote:Interesting idea gnomeboy. The partial amnesia can of course open up a lot of stuff story-wise. Such as someone walking up to the PC as an old friend, but the PC simply doesn't recognize him. Are elves serene with that aspect of their personality? Maybe they want to hide that their brains can't handle all the information they acquire in life and they don't tell any non-elf about that trait, hiding it. When that forgotten friend from years back shows up, maybe the elf tries to act as if he remembered to save face.
Following on from this, I can well imagine that Elves meeting an old friend (Elf) whom they haven't seen in a long time would be aware that their friend might not completely remember them, and approach accordingly. The memory 'loss' might be followed by a period of isolation, where the Elf lets the world revolve awhile before rejoining it.

But yeah, the idea of throwing an unknown NPC (of any race) at a player character, and the NPC seems to know all about the character is an idea-sparking situation...
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bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by cjoepar » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:06 pm

Yep, I understand completely and don't disagree with you, Skyscraper. Peter Jackson bought and paid for the right to use a couple of Tolkien's ideas in his creations. The movies are enjoyable, to a point (how many times can you watch someone fall 12 stories while swinging like Tarzan or Spiderman on chains suspended in a huge cavern or sliding 200 feet on a skateboard/shield before you start wanting something new, though?). I am particularly happy with the way Jackson portrays the fighting abilities of elves, and shows them as exactly the kind of accomplished martial artists I would expect from someone who has thousands of years to work on those skills. I do think there is a point after a couple thousand years though, where Legolas would figure out that it's an inefficient use of his arrows to keep shooting them at someone who is 2 feet away, but I understand there are 12 year old kids who think that's cool so he keeps making the character do it. I would never describe my feelings about Jackson as rage, and for most fans I think it's disappointment, not anger. I was just trying to point out that to a generation that doesn't read much, the original story that was created by Tolkien will remain unknown. Also, I think we can safely say he has gone past the point of artistic interpretation (which again, is his right to do). With the Hobbit it is an entirely different story in the movie compared to the book, really. New (major) characters that never existed, characters brought in from The LOTR, and so many other changes that if I wrote it all out you could fill up three movies with them all. But as I've said to others, at least when I watch his movies I have no idea what's going to happen ahead of time. :D

But for the discussion at hand, Jackson's elves wouldn't be any more balanced as a character class. I like the way Gameogre puts it, though. It's really not important enough to dwell on it. We've played rpg's for 30+ years, and it's never really been a sticking point. Everyone just kind of knows that you can't really have elves exactly like they are in the literature and still have a balance between them and other races and so they move on and get back to playing.

Johann, those are some creative fixes for the mithril equipment.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by jozxyqk » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:51 pm

Wonderful ideas, Johann. Do you have your house rules compiled somewhere?

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by GnomeBoy » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:17 pm

cjoepar wrote:...It's really not important enough to dwell on it. We've played rpg's for 30+ years, and it's never really been a sticking point. Everyone just kind of knows that you can't really have elves exactly like they are in the literature and still have a balance between them and other races and so they move on and get back to playing...
This is exactly the point of my starting the thread -- a game can gloss over it OR make something out of it. Hence, putting the idea out there.

Those that want to keep on keeping on, rock on. Those that want a new toy to play with, rock on.
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Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Johann » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:12 pm

jozxyqk wrote:Wonderful ideas, Johann. Do you have your house rules compiled somewhere?
Yes, I do. However, they're constantly in flux and have not been tested. I ran several DCC funnels earlier this year but at the moment we are playing Warhammer 1e. A DCC campaign is up next spring and I'm currently preparing the sandbox and the rules.

If you're interested, PM me and I'll e-mail you the .pdfs. They're nicely laid out and cover my reimagining of the classes (owing a debt to Grognardia where Dwarves are concerned - they are indeed born from rock) and a bunch of rules dealing with spellburn etc.

Any feedback is of course welcome but don't sweat it.

Best wishes

Johann

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by boneguard » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:59 pm

Rostranor wrote:I was reading something, dont recall now where though, that there was a certain amount of racial memory osmosis that occured. The jist of it was that elves live so long that they actually forget things, which is why stories are so important to their culture as its a way for them to remember. The other side effect that elves even if they were not alive during events remember them and talk about them as if they were because they partake in the same story telling rituals. I thought that as a pretty neat concept I think it was in Harn maybe...
IIRC, that's pretty much what the AD&D Complete book of elves state. Elves lives for so long that they forget stuff however they use the Reverie to relive the important stuff they want to remember. Essentially selective memory.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:27 pm

Elves experience time differently from the way humans do. Seasons, and even years and decades, may seem like minutia not worth remembering. A fly lives a shorter life than we, and probably pays more attention to the time between seconds.
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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Skyscraper » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:10 am

cjoepar wrote:Yep, I understand completely and don't disagree with you, Skyscraper. Peter Jackson bought and paid for the right to use a couple of Tolkien's ideas in his creations. The movies are enjoyable, to a point (how many times can you watch someone fall 12 stories while swinging like Tarzan or Spiderman on chains suspended in a huge cavern or sliding 200 feet on a skateboard/shield before you start wanting something new, though?). I am particularly happy with the way Jackson portrays the fighting abilities of elves, and shows them as exactly the kind of accomplished martial artists I would expect from someone who has thousands of years to work on those skills. I do think there is a point after a couple thousand years though, where Legolas would figure out that it's an inefficient use of his arrows to keep shooting them at someone who is 2 feet away, but I understand there are 12 year old kids who think that's cool so he keeps making the character do it. I would never describe my feelings about Jackson as rage, and for most fans I think it's disappointment, not anger. I was just trying to point out that to a generation that doesn't read much, the original story that was created by Tolkien will remain unknown. Also, I think we can safely say he has gone past the point of artistic interpretation (which again, is his right to do). With the Hobbit it is an entirely different story in the movie compared to the book, really. New (major) characters that never existed, characters brought in from The LOTR, and so many other changes that if I wrote it all out you could fill up three movies with them all. But as I've said to others, at least when I watch his movies I have no idea what's going to happen ahead of time. :D
Very eloquently said!

Merry Christmas! :)
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by lukash » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:29 am

I assume elves have other interests aside from adventuring. Adventuring is an uncouth profession for an elf.
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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Skyscraper » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:30 pm

lukash wrote:I assume elves have other interests aside from adventuring. Adventuring is an uncouth profession for an elf.
Yes they need to contemplate the non-passing of time, as it non-passes before their very eyes.
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Karaptis » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:40 am

I like what Tales did and said the Ativans were elves (if someone is dead set on playing an elf that is what they are). Make them Melniboneanlike. I'm really beginning to dig that setting.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Bonemouse » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:33 pm

My version is that all elves are born immortal but have that potential stripped away by the elven elite (eg the King of Elfland.) Those loyal to this Illuminelfi may be gifted with longevity or even rarely have their immortality restored. Of course that means doing favors for some of the most depraved and sadistic beings in the world. Others might choose a lighter path and seek to regain their immortality in other ways, like making deals with demons and evil sorcerers. Again others may simply be happy to live out their short lives amongst the filth of men.

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Re: Elves Live So Very Long, And Yet...

Post by Skyscraper » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:55 am

Bonemouse wrote:My version is that all elves are born immortal but have that potential stripped away by the elven elite (eg the King of Elfland.) Those loyal to this Illuminelfi may be gifted with longevity or even rarely have their immortality restored. Of course that means doing favors for some of the most depraved and sadistic beings in the world. Others might choose a lighter path and seek to regain their immortality in other ways, like making deals with demons and evil sorcerers. Again others may simply be happy to live out their short lives amongst the filth of men.
Interesting idea!
Maledict Brothbreath, level 4 warrior, STR 16 (+2) AGI 7 (-1) STA 12 PER 9 INT 10 LUCK 15 (+1), AC: 16 Refl: +1 Fort: +2 Will: +1; lawful; Armor of the Lion and Lily's Blade.

Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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