A mastermind from a far-off land, come to the Sword Coast of Faerûn to fulfill his ambitions. A craftsman and axe idiot determined to perfect the armor he creates, and willing to test it personally. A cleric of magic itself, putting her faith in the Art and in knowledge, vowing to master and spread both. The bladesinger student of a now-dead master, eager to prove their style to be superior. Every Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. This time we’re heading to the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms, meeting new kinds of adventurers for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition! Don’t forget your copy of the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide!
The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is the first Forgotten Realms supplement for the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and is actually the first non-adventure/campaign supplement for the edition since its beginning. If you want to know all about the SCAG, I’d highly suggest checking out Episode 35 of our own Stories of the Fifth Age podcast. Adam and Jared did a great job of going through the book step-by-step. For Meet the Party purposes, the Guide provides us with new builds for almost every class, new backgrounds, some interesting context and tweaks for every race that appears in the Forgotten Realms, and even some new magic. The below characters don’t even cover all of the new material you can use to make characters, but I’d say it’s a good start. Let’s Meet the Party, shall we?
Kohl Zianhur, Feral Tiefling – Level 3 Rogue
HP: 18 AC: 14
Str: 8 Con: 10 Dex: 17 Int: 14 Wis: 12 Cha: 14
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Hellish Resistance, Devil’s Tongue, Alternate Appearance (Leathery Skin, Small Horns, Casts No Shadow), Expertise (Deception, Persuasion), Sneak Attack, Thieves’ Cant, Cunning Action, Roguish Archetype: Mastermind, Master of Intrigue, Extra Language x3, Master of Tactics, Background: Far Traveler, All Eyes on You
Gear: Rapier, Shortsword, Explorer’s Pack, Leather Armor, Daggers x2, Thieves Tools, Traveler’s Clothes, Dulcimer, Poorly Wrought Maps of the Sword Coast made in Mulhorand, Mulhorandi Jewelry worth 10 GP, a Pouch with 5 GP, A Vial of Dragon Blood
Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Insight, Perception
Tool Proficiencies: Thieves’ Tools, Disguise Kit, Forgery Kit, Dice Set, Dulcimer
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Kohl is a spider sitting at the center of a web – thankfully Lolth isn’t involved. Get close to him and you’ll feel the expected bite of a rogue’s weapons thanks to his high Dexterity and Sneak Attack. Stay out of physical grasp but within the reach of his web and you’ll still be prey: his Master of Tactics lets him Help as a bonus action, and can Help an ally attack an opponent from 30 ft away. Outside of fighting, the web spreads even farther. He can speak Common, Infernal, and three other languages, and thanks to Master of Intrigue he can mimic speech patterns and accents. Devil’s Tongue gives him access to vicious mockery and charm person. He’s proficient with pretty much every set of tools that can used for crime, and has devoted Expertise to convincing and lying to others. Finally, he can use All Eyes on You to turn his Mulhorandi origins into another tool to draw others in.
Garm Trueforger, Shield Dwarf – Level 3 Barbarian
HP: 32 AC: 16
Str: 17 Con: 15 Dex: 14 Int: 8 Wis: 12 Cha: 10
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, Dwarven Combat Training, Tool Proficiency: Smith’s Tools, Dwarven Armor Training, Rage, Unarmored Defense, Reckless Attack, Danger Sense, Primal Path: Battlerager, Battlerager Armor, Background Clan Crafter, Respect of the Stout Folk, Extra Language
Gear: Greataxe, Battleaxe, Explorer’s Pack, Javelins x4, Spiked Armor, Smith’s Tools, Maker’s Mark Chisel, Traveler’s Clothes, Pouch with 5 GP and a Gem worth 10 GP, A Vest with 100 Tiny Pockets
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception, History, Insight
Tool Proficiencies: Smith’s Tools, Tinker’s Tools
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Garm is a Battlerager, a living ball of spikes hurtling towards his enemies and swinging a greataxe all the while. With all the usual power of the barbarian behind him, going down the Battlerager primal path has allowed him to wear the spiked armor of the Kuldjargh, trading away the benefit of Unarmored Defense in exchange for doing even more damage. With every attack Garm makes while raging he can make an attack with the armor as a bonus action, and grappling an enemy also jabs them with the spikes. Going further down the path of the Battlerager will see Garm gaining temporary HP, rapidly closing with foes, and even dealing damage to those brave enough to actually hit him.
Rowan Greycastle, Human – Level 3 Cleric
HP: 21 AC: 16
Str: 15 Con: 13 Dex: 11 Int: 14 Wis: 16 Cha: 9
Racial/Class/Background Features: Spellcasting, Divine Domain: Arcana, Arcane Initiate, Channel Divinity (Turn Undead, Arcane Abjuration), Background: Cloistered Scholar, Extra Language x2, Library Access
Gear: Mace, Scale Mail, Light Crossbow with 20 Bolts, Priest’s Pack, Shield, Holy Symbol, Scholar’s Robes of Candlekeep, Writing Kit, Borrowed Book on the Subject of your Current Study, Pouch with 10 GP, A Glass Orb Filled With Moving Smoke
Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Insight, Medicine, History, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: None
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Rowan worships magic itself, and its goddess Mystra. As a result her Domain spells are all related to arcane, not divine, abilities: at Level 3 she has access to detect magic, magic missile, magic weapon, and Nystul’s magic aura. With Arcane Initiate she’s also gained proficiency in Arcana and can pick two wizard cantrips in addition to her cleric cantrips, making them cleric cantrips as far as she is concerned. Her Domain’s expression of Channel Dvinity lets her turn celestials, elementals, fey, and fiends as easily as undead. As her faith and knowledge of magic grow, she’ll be able to remove spells from allies, increase the power of her cantrips, and even learn high-level spells from the wizard spell list. Library Access will help learn those spells, giving her the right to study in Candlekeep, premier archive of knowledge on the Sword Coast.
Naivarra Holimion, Sun Elf – Level 3 Wizard
HP: 17 AC: 14
Str: 8 Con: 13 Dex: 16 Int: 16 Wis: 10 Cha: 12
Racial/Class/Background Features: Darkvision, Keen Senses, Fey Ancestry, Trance, Elf Weapon Training, Extra Cantrip, Extra Language x2, Spellcasting, Arcane Recovery, Arcane Tradition: Bladesinging, Training in War and Song (Proficiency: Scimitar), Bladesong, Background: Inheritor, Inheritance
Gear: Dagger, Arcane Focus, Explorer’s Pack, Spellbook, Leather Armor, Scimitar, Red Tiger Tatoo, Traveler’s Clothes, Pan Flute, Pouch with 15 GP, A Metal Urn Containing the Ashes of a Hero
Skill Proficiencies: Perception, History, Investigation, Survival, Arcana, Performance
Tool Proficiencies: Pan Flute
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Cantrips Known: Booming Blade, Green-Flame Blade, Lightning Lure, Sword Burst
Naivarra is one of a breed of wizards like no other – a bladesinger. Rather than hanging in the back and lobbing spells, Naivarra fights right in the middle of the battle, delivering spells with the blade of her scimitar. Training in War and Song means she can wear light armor, making her much hardier than other wizards by default. Once she begins her Bladesong, however, her foes truly regret attempting to kill the wizard first. She gains a big enough boost to AC to become the hardest member of the party to hit, moves faster, gains advantage with Acrobatics, and gains a bonus to concentration checks. As she masters her style, she’s only going to get tougher and deadlier with a blade, all the while gaining more arcane power.
Each of the characters above draws their Class build and their Background from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. Other than that, Garm and Naivarra are a Shield Dwarf and a Sun Elf; these Forgotten Realms races use Mountain Dwarf and High Elf from the PHB respectively for stats and features. Kohl used the alternate appearance option from the SCAG, giving him a look more in line with Forgotten Realm lore, and used the Feral option to gain a bonus to Dexterity rather than Charisma.
I took the liberty of giving Garm his Spiked Armor and Naivarra her Scimitar and Leather Armor; while these aren’t items gained automatically in character creation, I felt it made sense for them to have gotten their signature gear by Level 3. Finally, while her spells remain undecided in Meet the Party tradition, I did choose Naivarra’s cantrips, all of which are first presented in the SCAG. While they’re not only for bladesingers, they do give the character’s playstyle a feel that matches well with the elven tradition of war and song.
Who They Are
Kohl Zianhur is far from home, and he likes it that way. Granted, Mulhorand was a nice place for a tiefling to live, and it was recently freed by its newly-manifested gods. Slavery was even ended there! The gods have decided to stick around though, which puts a rather firm cap on how far someone with Kohl’s ambition can climb. At the same time, Mulhorand’s freedom means Kohl can come and go as he wills; he has decided to go. He’s quite fond of his homeland, and worships the gods who might very well be his ancestors faithfully, but opportunity has drawn him to the Sword Coast.
Garm Trueforger, faithful to the name of his clan, considers himself an artisan first and an adventurer second. While shield dwarves are always warriors to some extent or another, Garm was as close to a non-combatant as they came, spending his days crafting armor for the Battleragers known as the Kuldjargh (in Common, ‘axe idiot’). War comes to all shield dwarves eventually, however, and with his back against the wall Garm had no choice but to don one of his own creations and join the fight. He almost felt bad for the orcs, afterwards, when the red left his vision and he could see what he’d done. Almost. Now he still crafts spiked armor, but believes that he can perfect the craft via ‘practical field testing’.
Rowan Greycastle, a Tethyrian of the Sword Coast, has always marveled at the magic of the world. From hedge mages to the Red Wizards of Thay, magic seems to infuse everything, so Rowan decided to put her faith in it. Mystra answered that faith, and directed Rowan to the great library of Candlekeep. For years Rowan studied everything she could of magic, praying to Mystra for greater understanding, yet also coming to respect Oghma’s tenets of spreading knowledge. Eventually, Rowan felt that she had learned all she could at Candlekeep for now; her magic had to be put into practice, and her knowledge put to good use.
Naivarra Holimion aspired to be a bladesinger from an age that would seem early to humans, nevermind a sun elf. She still considers the day a master of the Red Tiger style of bladesinging accepted her to be the most important day of her life. Red Tiger being a young style, a mere three hundred years old, Naivarra stands a good chance of altering the history of this expression of the Art for all time. Sadly, not long after Naivarra’s master proclaimed her initial training complete and granted her the right to bear the tatoo of her style, he was slain in battle. Naivarra now bears the tatoo and his ashes with pride, determined to prove the worth of the style that has been passed to her, no matter who dares to stand in her way.
How They Interact
Kohl sees all of his companions as friends, but his calculating nature also sees them as assets to be deployed for the greatest possible effect. He finds Garm’s rage fantastic (if gruesome) entertainment when applied to the right people, but also sees the dwarf’s reputation as a crafter as a key to yet another door. Rowan is a little straight-laced for Kohl’s tastes, but she’s always willing to talk and her access to Candlekeep could be a potential boon. Naivarra doesn’t have any connections for Kohl to manipulate, and oddly that means the Tiefling sees her as his closest companion: they work together to watch one another’s back, with no ulterior motive.
Garm doesn’t think much of Kohl’s skulking ways, but there’s no denying that the Mulhorandi is an expert negotiator. When Garm needs supplies for his latest modification to the spiked armor design, Kohl is often the source. The potential for magically enhancing battlerager armor makes Rowan his favorite conversation partner; while not an enchanter herself, the cleric of Mystra has many interesting things to say on the topic. Naivarra’s combat style couldn’t possibly be more different from Garm’s, but it is beautiful to behold, and Naivarra’s defensive abilities make her the dwarf’s preferred sparring partner.
Rowan knows that Kohl is a sneak-thief and a schemer, and yet she is fascinated by him. His innate magical abilities are a subject of interest, and her time among monks of Oghma have made someone from such a far-off land (with an entirely different set of knowledge and perspectives) a potential treasure trove of learning. Garm actually seems interested in what she has to say, despite a lack of arcane knowledge on his part; it’s nice to always have a willing ear. Naivarra’s bladesinging is an amazing expression of the Art, truly blessed by Mystra. Although she can’t hope to emulate the sun elf’s abilities. Rowan hopes to one day add a tome on the Red Tiger style to Candlekeep’s archives.
Naivarra dislikes the way Kohl sometimes hides in the shadows; her sun elf pride considers such ways to be anathema. However, his skill at diplomacy and with a blade appeal to her. Of course, she doesn’t actually fancy him. That would be silly. Garm is a brute, but a brute with a craft. If the Red Tiger style is to become dominant, Naivarra will have to overcome many such opponents, so Garm’s efforts to test himself against her are welcome. Rowan strikes Naivarra as more an admirer of and dabbler in the arcane than a true practitioner of the Art. That being said, the human does seem to show the proper respect, which places her above most of her kind.
The Sword Coast is a land of opportunity for adventurers, but also a land of great dangers. It’s a land of meddling gods, scheming fiends, and contentious factions; and that’s without even exploring the rest of Faerûn! Will Kohl make his fortune, Garm perfect his craft, Rowan complete her understanding of the Art, and Naivarra become a legendary master of the Red Tiger style? Or will they all become little more than footnotes in the long, long history of the Forgotten Realms? That’s for you (and your dice) to determine!
Originally posted 2/26/16 on the Mad Adventurers Society!