Spurring from my leading a Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign through Ten Towns and Icewind Dale, I have been inspired. As my players leave Ten Towns to find a way to stop Auril, they venture into the territory of the nomadic barbarian tribes. It is in preparing for this part that I began to contemplate those born in the wild that are NOT of the class, Barbarian. Just last week, I dropped an article about Wizards of the Wild and explored those who use their intellect to protect, lead and fight beside their warrior brethren.
We have talked about the wilderness ARITIFICERS and my own creation, The MAKER (an enhancer of weapons for the barbaric tribes of Icewind Dale).
We also discussed Sorcerers among the barbarians and fleshed out Ulkora, shaman of the Bear Tribe as an Aberrant Mind Sorcerer.
Today we flesh out a wild wizard for use in your Icewind dale Campaign.
This brings me to the Elk Tribe. Probably them most ‘civilized’ of the clans, the Elk roam the wastes in the largest numbers and interact the most with the weaker Ten Towns folk. The Elk King, Jarund Elkhardt, has a powerful friendship with their longtime shaman, Mjenir. Both have lost sons and they understand the other’s grief. The bond between them strengthens both and, in turn, strengthens the whole of the Elk Tribe.
That is all the info we get on the Shaman of the Elk Tribe, Mjenir. Per the book, he is expected to be a druid. But, I would like to suggest something different.
THE SONS OF THE ELK
For generations, the Elk Tribe has been blessed by, not one, but three shaman leaders. The bloodline which Mjenir is a part of has been a part of the mystical leadership of the tribe for eons. But it is a bit more complicated than one shaman replacing the other. The reason there are always three shaman and always supplied by Mjenir’s clan is the triune connection they have with the spiritual health of the tribe.
Three generations have always been present to protect, heal and fight alongside their brothers. A grandfather, a father and a son are always surrounding the King and both protecting and advising him. Called forth long ago by the ‘Call of the Sun‘, Mjenir’s ancestors accepted instruction and gained power to do what it was they were called to do. A seer, a warrior and a druid they were called. To see what’s coming, fight the darkness and protect the wild itself is their manifesto.
MJENIR, FORCE OF NATURE
When one can no longer serve in his capacity, there must be another of their bloodline to take his place. Presently, Mjenir serves as the warrior mage calling on the power of nature itself to fight what the tribe cannot naturally take on. He is an Evocation Wizard, naturally. It just makes sense for a wizard of the wild to call upon the destructive power of nature to do his bidding. Mjenir can also use his magic to hold back that destructive power.
Also, since this tradition has been in his bloodline for many centuries, Mjenir is exceptionally knowledgeable in areas of the history of Icewind Dale, the flora and fauna and the dangers that lurk just around every corner. Not that a wizard needs much help with intelligence skills, but beginning with the background of Sage makes sense to give Mjenir proficiency in both Arcana and History.
And, being raised learning the bloodlines, history and magic of the SKINSCROLL, taking the feature of RESEARCHER makes total sense. Basically, if there is something he needs to know, if he doesn’t have knowledge of it already or direct access to it, he knows were to get it. He may confer with another tribe’s shaman or a holy man from one of the Ten Towns. Or maybe it’s just conversing with an old fisherman about the past. He might not have vast libraries, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t’ have access to vast amounts of info. Don’t look down on the barbarians because their information is on skins and cave walls or carved in wood or stone. Some of their insight is greater and much older than something out of your best wizard’s personal study.
Just because he’s a wizard doesn’t mean you can’t plan to arm him. Most of these Shaman should be at least 6+ level although they may only be story elements for your game. But, just in case you, as DM, plan differently, you can give them the Weapon Master Feat. They’re still barbarians and aren’t against taking up weapons when necessary, so give Mjenir not one weapon but four. The WEAPON MASTER feat gives your character proficiency in FOUR weapons of your choice. It will also give you a bit of a buff on either strength or dexterity. But plan ahead and don’t make both dump stats.
Mjenir focuses on the magic in nature itself. Calling forth fire and ice upon the enemy of the ELK, he and the whole tribe are attuned to the world around them. What’s happening in the Dale right now has not escaped them. In fact, they may have saw it coming.
SKARYU, SON OF MJENIR AND EYE OF WILD
Mjenir’s youngest son, Skaryu, has been gifted to focus on Divination magic. Seeing visions and interpreting dreams from a young age, he took his Uncle Pavez’ place upon his untimely death to a Yeti (sometimes one’s own fate is a blind spot). The King continually consults with the child about future events, especially which way the herds will move. It is unnerving to outsiders (even other barbaric Tribes) to hear such predictions from a child, but the Elk have been under a child’s tutelage before. It matters not the age when the light of sun shines on him.
The School of Divination may be the most looked over subclass for wizards. But Divination is more than knowing the future, it’s gaining insight into a foes weakness, locating an important artifact or being able to understand or decipher ancient languages.
RYETTI, MJENIR’S FATHER AND HAND OF THE LAND
The third of the shaman is presently occupied by Mjenir’s father, Skaryu’s grandfather, Ryetti. He is the druid of the clan and communes with the various nature spirits that inhabit the wilderness. Understanding them and listening to their warnings is as important as seeing the future or being able to call lightning during battle. For the ELK without the approval of the nature spirits, there is no need to know what’s coming or be able to fight it. If the land is against you, you are lost.
As usual, Circle of the Land is best and makes the most sense and the Artic spell options are powerful.
The three of them are an important part of the wellbeing of the Elk Tribe and the balance must be kept. The other tribes know this and have attempted to break the Triune of Shaman. If one or more of the three positions are left vacated and none of Mjenir’s blood are available to take their position, there is no telling what would become of the Elk. But they trust and, also, protect the shaman. The light of the sun has never allowed them to go without their leadership.
What crazy builds have you tried with Barbarians? Ever built a wild wizard? Let us know what you learned! Comment here!
WHEN IS A barbarian NOT A BARBARIAN?
PART ONE: ARTIFICERS OF THE WILD
PART TWO: SORCERERS OF THE WILD
PART THREE: WIZARDS OF THE WILD
ALSO CHARACTER REFERENCES BUILT OFF THE ABOVE CONCEPTS:
THE MAKER: ARTIFICER OF THE BARBARIAN TRIBES