Today’s CHARACTER REFERENCE is an oddity. Warforged have been an interesting choice for a pc since they debuted in EBERRON. They were created for a specific task and, once the war was over, they found themselves lost and wandering the world around them with no real idea of what their purpose was anymore. This race smacks of an AI droid gone sentient. They are not equipped to reinvent themselves and, yet, that is what they must do. Makes for some interesting story building.
STITCHES is an even bigger enigma. The name itself suggests a splintering; a moment of near dissolution. Another great creation by our own PANDA, we receive the character whole, ready and with a purpose: to kill. As an assassin, the act of killing is a means to an end. To kill is to get paid. And payment equals more equipment or some sort of lifestyle. But what does a Warforged need for? That’s what the player or DM will have to determine. Maybe, he’s a collector and has no idea why he does it. Possibly, he just lives for the thrill of the hunt. Or the contracts are a purpose that fills a void. Creating this need is the most important and interesting thing about this character.
But, going back to name STITCHES. Let’s say something happened in the warforged’s past that left it broken and nearly dead. This means someone ‘stitched’ him together. Was it a Thieves Guild who saw a tool to finally put them on top in the criminal world? Or maybe the Guild is who broke him and someone with a grudge against them repaired him, repurposed him and set him against them: killing them one by one by one. Possibly, he was a valiant knight of the kingdom and, now, he’s been turned against the crown as an enemy cleans them out of their way. So many possibilities.
Stitches’ background seems obvious: Criminal. This will give him proficiencies in stealth and deception which will come in might helpful. Also, two more tool kits on top of your Thieves’ tools you get as a Rogue already. The Poisoner’s kit is an obvious choice. But an exotic choice maybe Tinkerer’s Tools. See the Archetype question for why.
You can go a step further and pick the Feature: Criminal Specialty. That specialty is, of course, HIRED KILLER. Not sure why there’s no details here. I’m sure there needs to be a plus to picking this. Possibly trade deception for something that aids in your aim or use of your chosen assassin’s weapon. Maybe, it gives pluses in negotiations for hits that brings in more buck for your bang.
The go to choice here is usually ASSASSIN. Which, once again, brings proficiencies with a disguise kit and a poisoner’s kit along with a growing arsenal of handy abilities that will make your Warforged deadly, to say the least. But let’s consider an odd choice.
While I was digging for ideas for this character, I ran into one of Matt Mercer’s little concoctions which all of us Critical Role fans know all too well: The GUNSLINGER. The only problem here is that it was made as a FIGHTER class archetype and you will have to negotiate with your DM. I’m sure there are some adjustments to be made here to bring the big guns without totally tipping the scale and making your rogue way too op.
As stated in the last article, I think FLAWS get a bum rap. They are mainly great addons to aid roleplaying.
For, STITCHES, I think one of two issues works.
First, being disassembled and put back together should affect any sentient being. This could give the Warforged anything from PTS to an all-out personality disorder. This trauma could actually lead to the emergence of several personalities vying for power. It could also be as simple as his former personality coming through. He begins to remember who he was and he wasn’t always a cold killer; much less a paid assassin. I’ve had a bit of practice at this with a Warforged in my game who did not know who he was and was trying to retrace his past. This could totally open up some great game play and discovery, but it will all depend on your relationship with your DM. Laying that much power into the hands of one man…just saying…make sure you trust him to make the story make sense and, yet, totally surprise you.
Another possible flaw could be that, being broken, STITCHES has grown APATHETIC. Maybe your assassin has a real problem with feelings; in that, he doesn’t have any. This could be a great journey to rediscover who your character was before and move toward acting like a real sentient person and not just a ‘killer robot’. Either way, have fun with it!
IN A FIGHT
STITCHES is like any rogue. He strikes when you least expect it and, when he does strike, it’s deadly to say the least. Your Warforged is an expert at the art of hitting the right artery or organ in just the right manner. You shouldn’t see him coming. So, he’s not going to be on the frontline until he can sneak his way there. Rogues are great when paired with a fighter/paladin/ranger type; aka someone who can do damage fast. Rogues will clean up with a finisher.
If you make your assassin a ranged assassin either with a bow or tinkered rifle, they will be more apt to find a perch and pick off targets with as much or more devastation and accuracy as those standing toe-to-toe with their enemy.
As stated already, STITCHES may be either working for a Thieves’ Guild, against one or for one against another guild. Figuring out your character’s motives depend some on the motives of those who pull the strings. Do they like their bosses/contractors? Is it more of a hate/hate relationship? Is Stitches only in it for the hunt, the money or purpose? That will determine a lot.
This aloof Warforged could be paired up with a group as a part of a hit or maybe Stitches is using them as cover to get inside. Perhaps the whole party are assassins where they all have their part to play to get the job done.
This suggests a pretty dark group, but for some this fits the bill.
As a PC
Besides the possibilities above, Stitches may become a part of the group confused and broken. Maybe someone in the group helped to patch him back up. Much like the relationship of Robot and young Will Robinson on LOST IN SPACE, there’s a bond that binds the two together but the Warforged struggles with their dark past.
Once again, your character may be on a quest to find out who they really are, running from the thieves’ guild that rebuilt them while dealing with moral dilemmas that come from an unknown place. If your relationship allows it and your DM has the ability and imagination, you could place your character in his able hands and see where it goes.
Or maybe Stitches has not identity problem at all. This would make for a dark character who kills without remorse and may have to be taught to ‘act normally’ in society in order to just exist.
As a NPC
If the DM brings STITCHES in as an NPC, the party has a problem and a long-term nemesis.
DMs, has any member of your party OR the whole party EVER done something that warranted a contract? No way, right? They’ve never ticked off someone so much that they wished them dead? Right? I mean, only once or twice a session. DUH! This Warforged Assassin could be the perfect answer. They find themselves looking over their shoulder; coming into conflict many times with an uncaring, unbribable killing machine. Imagine the build up to a final battle that may mean the death of one or more of the party to just deal with this unimaginable threat.
Or, one last thought…
You could do all of the above, DMs, all the while being in cahoots with this PC. Stitches travels with them to learn their weaknesses; all to find the perfect opportunity to attempt to pull off the ultimate TPK! Once again, if you are conspiring with a player, you will have to have an unbelievably amazing relationship with the whole party. Proceed with caution.