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Peregrine
2005-05-19, 12:51 AM
Let's face it: the average actor is a complete ponce. Sure, you get the occasional travelling player who can handle his own on the road, but most of them turn faint at the sight of stage blood. They couldn't stage a convincing pillow fight, let alone a rousing duel with blunted swords. But it's the dramatic action scenes that put bums in gallery seats. What's a theatre operator to do?

Easy. Hire stunt doubles.

Doubles, stand-ins, substitutes; they're tougher, smarter, and less flighty than your average actor, and they know which end's the pointy end of a weapon too. Sure, they might be a bit more abrasive than other actors, but hey, most of them are actually real adventurers trying to make a quick coin between slaying dragons or fighting hordes of darkness.
[hr]
"Graargh! Die! Diiie!"
"Achson?"
The director, a gnome with a chronic pipe-smoking habit, didn't look pleased.
"Yes?"
"Do you think you could stick to the script? Not that I'm not quaking in my boots and all, but you're distracting from the hero. Just yell once and seize--I'm sorry, your name was?"
"Kailia." She didn't look pleased either.
"Yes, you. Pick her up, then charge at the heroes, and knock--"
"Knock down Norrin and Trodo with my sword, yes, I read the script."
"And then?"
"Then your leading man--" The four stunt actors gave the rather bemused, if handsome, elf a disgusted look. "--swings in, and I throw Kailia aside..."
"...at which point I fall dramatically off the front of the stage..."
"Yes, very good." He tapped out his pipe and refilled it. "Knew I paid you for a reason. Now, do you think we can get it right before tonight? Action!"
"Yes?"
"No, not Achson, action!"
[hr]
Kailia Bloom
Sorcerer 4
Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Half-Elf)
Hit Dice: 4d4+7 (18hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30ft (6 squares)
Armor Class: 11 (+1 Dex), touch 11, flat-footed 10
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+1
Attack: Morningstar +2 melee (1d8-1) or light crossbow +4 ranged (1d8/19-20; 80ft)
Full Attack: Morningstar +2 melee (1d8-1) or light crossbow +4 ranged (1d8/19-20; 80ft)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: None
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 19
Skills: Bluff +13, Concentration +8, Diplomacy +6, Intimidate +8, Move Silently +4, Perform (acting) +7, Spellcraft +9, Tumble +4
Feats: Persuasive, Spell Focus (Illusion), Toughness
Alignment: Neutral Good

Spells Per Day: 6/7/4
Spells Known:
0: dancing lights, ghost sound, mage hand, prestidigitation, resistance, read magic
1: disguise self, feather fall, magic missile
2: minor image

Familiar: Kanto (Cat; Tiny Magical Beast)
Int 7, +2 natural armor, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link, deliver touch spells
Kailia gains the Alertness feat (+2 to Listen and Spot) when Kanto is in arm's reach.

Equipment: Masterwork morningstar, masterwork light crossbow, silver dagger, cloak of charisma +2, 435gp

Age: 21
Height and Weight: 5'5", 120lb
Appearance: Not quite as buxom and beautiful as some of the leading ladies she stands in for, Kailia's still pretty enough herself. Her own hair is dark and wavy and her eyes are green, but on stage she's usually made up to look like somebody else anyway.
Languages: Common, Draconic, Elven

"I know you're supposed to catch me as I fall, but catch me there again and we'll see how good that 'shining armour' is, savvy?"

Swooning, fainting, collapsing into the hero's arms: it's a tough job, but someone has to do it. No, really. You think those theatre managers will spring for a down-stuffed mattress to soften your fall? You think these milksop leading men can sweep a woman off her feet without dropping her on her head? Bah. You don't know the meaning of "tough" until you've been dragged off by an archvillain, bound to a dark altar, hastily unbound, and told to flounce across the stage to your "rescuer" -- all while wearing the same, stupid, low-cut gown.
[hr]
"That Famous Guy" Trodo
Fighter 4
Size/Type: Small Humanoid (Halfling)
Hit Dice: 4d10+4 (30hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 20ft (4 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (+1 Dex, +1 size, +4 armor), touch 12, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+2
Attack: Short sword +8 melee (1d4+3/19-20) or sling +8 ranged (1d3+2; 50ft)
Full Attack: Short sword +8 melee (1d4+3/19-20) or sling +8 ranged (1d3+2; 50ft)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: Halfling traits
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +3
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14
Skills: Bluff +5, Climb +4, Hide +5, Intimidate +5, Jump +8, Listen +1, Move Silently +3, Perform (acting) +8; armor check penalty -1
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perform [acting]), Weapon Focus (short sword)
Alignment: Neutral Good

Equipment: Short sword +1, masterwork sling, masterwork chain shirt, 40gp

Age: 30
Height and Weight: 3'2", 36lb
Appearance: Nondescript, curly brown hair and a round, youthful face. Come on, you must know who he looks like...
Languages: Common, Elven, Halfling

"Oh Gods, not another angsty reluctant hero role..."

Trodo's one of the lucky ones, but he'll smack you one if you try to tell him that. He made it big as the stand-in for the lead actor of a major production -- sure, you know the one I mean. Trouble is, now he can't get past being typecast by theatre managers, and mistaken for the real thing by audiences.

The gold, fortunately, is some small consolation.
[hr]
Norrin Axeshire
Cleric 4
Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Dwarf)
Hit Dice: 4d8+4 (25hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 20ft (4 squares)
Armor Class: 19 (+1 Dex, +6 armor, +2 shield, +1 deflection), touch 12, flat-footed 19
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+4
Attack: Dwarven waraxe +6 melee (1d10+1/3)
Full Attack: Dwarven waraxe +6 melee (1d10+1/3)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft
Special Attacks: Turn undead 4/day
Special Qualities: Dwarf traits
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +7
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 13
Skills: Heal +6, Knowledge (religion) +0, Perform (acting) +6, Survival +6; armor check penalty -5
Feats: Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus (Perform [acting])
Alignment: Neutral Good

Spells Per Day: 5/4+1/3+1
Spells Prepared:
0: create water, detect magic, mending, resistance, virtue
1: bless, command, divine favor, shield of faith, magic weapon*
2: aid, eagle's splendor, enthrall, spiritual weapon*

Domains: Travel (Survival is class skill, freedom of movement 4 rounds/day), War (Martial Weapon Proficiency and Weapon Focus with dwarven waraxe)

Equipment: Masterwork cold iron dwarven waraxe, masterwork banded mail, mithral heavy shield (bearing holy symbol), phylactery of faithfulness, ring of protection +1, healer's kit, 545gp

Age: 60
Height and Weight: 4'4", 180lb
Appearance: He's under orders to let his red hair grow out, just to give him that rugged and hairy dwarf-warrior look his employers are after. His face is a bit less lined and leathery than some people expect, but that's what makeup is for...
Languages: Common, Dwarven

"'Get yer axes, lads! We're a-gonna' -- too much? Yes, quite, too much. Ahem."

Norrin took holy orders in his youth, but he always had more of a knack for the festivals and morality plays than for theology and preaching. Fortunately, it was a skill his hierarchs encouraged, and eventually he was sent out to minister to his fellow performers.

Out of dwarven lands, though, he's found it hard to break free of the axe-wielding, mithral-mining stereotype. All right, yes, his god is patron of metalcraft and righteous wars, but that doesn't mean he can't play the sensitive healer type once in a while, right? Wouldn't his ministry be much more effective if he could get respect for playing a leading role, instead of just coming out for action scenes? Well, he'll get his breakthrough part, some day...
[hr]
Achson
Bard 4
Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Half-Orc)
Hit Dice: 4d6+4 (20hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30ft (6 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+1 Dex, +3 armor), touch 11, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+3
Attack: Longsword +4 melee (1d8/19-20)
Full Attack: Longsword +4 melee (1d8/19-20)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft, orc blood, bardic knowledge 7, countersong 4/day, fascinate 4/day, inspire courage +1 4/day, inspire competence 4/day
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 17
Skills: Balance +3, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +6, Intimidate +4, Jump +2, Knowledge (history) +8, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +8, Perform (acting) +9, Sleight of Hand +4, Tumble +8
Feats: Dodge, Great Fortitude
Alignment: Neutral Good

Spells Per Day: 3/3/1
Spells Known: 6/3/2
0: dancing lights, daze, flare, ghost sound, lullaby, read magic
1: charm person, disguise self, sleep
2: hold person, mirror image

Equipment: Masterwork longsword, masterwork studded leather armor, dagger (2), cloak of charisma +2, disguise kit, 856gp

Age: 23
Height and Weight: 6'5", 310lb
Appearance: Very orc-like. It's a little disturbing, actually. He's got the coarse black hair and the sunken, reddish eyes, and very little of the more human traits most half-orcs have. When he's done up in stage makeup to add the scars, it's quite uncanny.
Languages: Common, Goblin, Orc

"RAAAAARGH!"

The secret of Achson's success is that he looks rather more orc-like than most halfbreeds. Many acting companies will pay top copper for that little extra verisimilitude in the ravening foes they slay, but they're not quite willing to approach real orcs. Achson's actually quite a nice, sensible fellow if you get to know him, but he does get a kick out of playing the bad guy.

He first met Trodo on the set of the halfling's breakthrough role, and to this day he can drive his little friend into inarticulate rage simply by saying, "Graah! Find the halfling!"
[hr]
Using the Heroes of the Stage: This party is most suited to urban adventures, particularly those where intrigue and performing play a bigger role than combat and treasure hauling. While they are perfectly competent adventurers, they prefer to employ their talents on the stage. As NPCs, they should have lodgings and a comfortable carriage at their disposal, as well as another 1000gp or so in wealth (mainly due to Trodo's success). You may wish to extend these benefits to players using this party, but make sure it's not taken as an excuse to go out and buy a round of magic items, and go dungeon crawling.

When roleplaying the party as NPCs, keep in mind that while they are friends and colleagues, they play different roles on stage and also have different ideas about just how organised their little company is. Trodo and Kailia mostly act as stunt doubles to less robust performers, while Norrin and Achson are usually hired as extra warriors for fight scenes. Achson and Kailia wear matching cloaks and have tried to convince the others to dress alike; it says a lot that Trodo prefers his nondescript cloak of elvenkind.

On the stage, most of their heavier equipment is stowed away, though Kailia and Achson always keeps those daggers close. They bring out the adventure equipment (including Kailia's incongruously large morningstar) when on the road, but even then they usually travel in caravan. The party avoids combat if possible, but if forced to fight, they try to evade and whittle down opponents, while Kailia confuses and misdirects them.
[hr]
Design Notes: I forget what exactly inspired this little bit of silliness, but after coming up with my other entry it seemed like a good idea to write one that would be in the running for the humour award. I think I was originally going for a group of imitators well known for particular roles, but obviously I only went that way for Trodo (and arguably Achson). It was just too hard to pick good roles that didn't all come from that one movie trilogy.

sktarq
2005-05-19, 12:58 AM
Okay...Wow....I stopped by work to utilize the DSL line and you just made me laugh so hard i had peopple looking in the windows. This is brilliant!

Vik
2005-05-19, 06:38 AM
Indeed, a very cool idea !

The Glyphstone
2005-05-19, 10:57 AM
Neato. That reminds me, I need to get to work on my own entry. Cna't fall behind the competition...

Sneak
2005-05-21, 12:28 PM
Awesome! I love it.

zeorge
2005-06-15, 09:00 PM
This...is...hilarious!
awesome job