12 May 2012

NPC Profiles: The D&D Animated Series: Diana the Acrobat

It is important to bear in mind that magical forces that brought the "gang" to Mystara, along with the extremely potent incantations of their "totem" items give the heroes their abilities. Class and level are assigned to make sense of saving throws, hit points, and so on, but in some ways, these guys just don't fit into the game as proper examples of their class. It's best to just treat them as unique creatures and not worry too much about tweaking them to adhere completely to the rules.

Diana the Acrobat

7th Lvl Thief, Lawful
Str 14
Dex 18
Con 16
Int 11
Wis 13
Cha 11

AC 4
HP 39

Aside from her golden +2 Armband of Protection (treat as the ring of the same name) and the Javelin Staff, Diana carries the usual rations, supplies and gear for a thief type adventurer, except lockpicks. Although her totem item, the Javelin Staff, grants her all the abilities of a 7th level thief, she hasn't had the inclination to purchase these tools.

Diana is a confident, fairly self reliant girl, stemming mostly from the natural athletic abilities she has developed since she was able to walk, as she tells it. An accomplished gymnast with many awards and medals from the school teams, Diana was a natural for the Javelin Staff's emphasis on the more physical aspects of the thief class.

Diana loves her friends and will always help them and stick with them to find a way home, but she always tends to evaluate her own abilities and role in an encounter and not let the others put her in situation she either can't handle, or finds too easy to challenge her. She constantly pushes herself to improve and succeed at her abilities, though her fear of failure is a personal thing, she's not a show off or overly worried about anyone laughing at her.

Diana's confidence and courage, and the appreciation for teamwork she's learned throughout a sports focused childhood make her a natural to step up and lead the gang if Hank is unable to.

The Javelin Staff (Totem of the "Acrobat" (Thief); Minor Artifact)

When not activated, the Javelin Staff appears as a six inch long rod of golden hued metal, but with a thought, the wielder can command it to extend to one of its functional sizes; A 4 foot Javelin, 6 foot staff or 10 foot pole. All three of these alternate forms cause the Javelin Staff to appear as a staff of shimmering green light, almost weightless but as hard as steel.

In Javelin form, the weapon may be thrown (with the range and damage stats of a Spear) with a bonus of +1 to hit and damage. This attack form is always Diana's last choice.

In staff form, the Javelin Staff may be used as a standard quarterstaff, either to bludgeon or trip opponenets, with a bonus of +1 to hit and damage. Damage from a successful bashing attack is 1d8. Before the attack roll is made, the wielder may declare a trip attack instead, lowering potential damage to 1d4, but causing the target to fall prone if a Saving Throw vs. Paralysis is failed. The DM may assign bonuses to this Saving Throw in the event the target is significantly larger than man-sized, or has more than two legs.

The weapon's 10 foot pole form is not a weapon at all! Besides all the common (and creative) uses for this ubiqitous dungeoneering tool, in this form, the wielder is endowed with impressive acrobatic skills, listed below with their base chances of success, as well as Diana's modified chances, for ease of reference.

Tightrope Walking: (80+Dex)% Diana: 98%
By using the Javelin Staff as a balancing pole, the wielder can easily cross most tightropes and similar narrow edges.

Pole Vault: Dex Check Diana: 18
By making a 25 foot approach at full movement rate, the staff is used to aid in jumps for height, adding its length to the approximate height of the wielder to determine the total height of the jump, ie 13 feet for halflings, 14 feet for dwarves, 15 feet for elves, and 16 feet for humans. A successful dexterity ability check must be made, or the jumper fails to reach the full height, slamming into any obstacles (including walls, if trying to vault atop) and falling to the ground. Such a failed jump requires a Save vs Paralysis to avoid suffering 1d2 points of falling damage.

Attempting to retain hold of the Javelin Staff after a pole vault (successful or otherwise) is quite difficult, requiring a check against 1/2 of the character's dexterity score.

Parry Flurry: Dex Check Diana: 18
Last, but certainly not least, while wielding the Javelin Staff and attempting no movement or attack manuvers in the current combat round, a character may engage in a series of defensive spins and sweeps, greatly reducing the chances of being hit by any enemies in melee. This act must be declared at the start of the round, and is the only thing that can be accomplished during the round, but doing so provides a temporar +5 bonus to the wielder's Armor Class. This brings Diana's effective AC to -1 if she opts for the parry flurry in combat. Parry Flurry is effective against backstab attempts, but has no effect against missile fire attacks.

* The Javelin Staff is unique among the gang's Totem Items in that it is the only one designed, in part, for direct offensive damage against an opponent. Keep in mind however that while athletic and competetive, Diana is not violent. She will attempt to avoid combat if at all possible without endangering her friends, perhaps even going so far as to challenge would be opponents to non-lethal tests of athletics instead of going to blows.

When carried by a normal human or demi-human (0 level, no class), the Javelin imparts the HP, Saving Throws, "thieving skills" and Combat Abilities of a 7th level thief. This boon does not apply to classed characters. In addition, any wielder of the Javelin Staff is able to invoke its various combat and acrobatic powers, outlined above.

Anyone stealing the Javelin Staff, or harming or killing Diana to possess it will instantly draw the enmity of her remaining companions (and the Dungeon Master, who will indirectly aid them in avenging their comrade) as well as the ire of Venger (who will be detailed in a separate post here soon). It's not apparent to the heroes, but Venger fears the totems, not necessarily their owners, as a threat to his and Tiamat's power. New owners, potentially much more aware of their world and more of a threat to Venger and his evil mistress, will only alarm him more.

Design Note: Since there is no Acrobat class in Classic D&D, I had to get a little creative. I chose to just make the acrobatic abilities part of the item's granted powers, instead of needlessly tweaking Diana's class. In addition, to further mimic the Thief-Acrobat class from AD&D 1st edition's Unearthed Arcana rule book, I would grant the wielder of the staff a +2 to any Str, Dex or Con check related to jumping, tumbling, balancing or other strictly athletic or acrobatic activities.