Keep on the Shadowfell: The Party

Character generation guidelines

1) Choose five characters, evenly distributed among the various Toho games. For example, even if I had some good ideas for how to translate Momiji, Hina, and Kanako, I could only choose one of them, because they’re all from the same game.

2) The characters have to be legal first-level characters under the 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. Some Toho characters, like Kanako, Sakuya, and Mokou, would not really be themselves if I had to nerf their power down to Level 1. The Paladin power “Tower of Faith” (a must for Kanako) isn’t available until Level 15; “Time Stop” (an integral part of Sakuya’s identity) isn’t available until Level 22, and Mokou’s immortality (represented by the Undying Warrior’s ultimate power, “Spontaneous Resurrection”) isn’t available until the highest possible level, 30. Thus, the characters I chose are not very high up on the Toho power rankings.

3) For gameplay purposes, there has to be at least one character in each of the four roles: Defender, Striker, Leader, and Controller. A party without someone to cover each of the four roles is much less likely to survive.

From The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil: Cirno

Meiling, Patchouli, and Sakuya are all very translatable into D&D characters: Meiling as a Monk or unarmed Brawler Fighter, Patchouli as a multi-element Wizard, and Sakuya as a dagger throwing Rogue with splashed arcane powers. But Sakuya can’t really be represented until higher levels, and Meiling and Patchouli just aren’t as cool as Cirno.

Cirno could have been a Sorcerer, Warlock, or other caster class with ice powers that doesn’t require high Intelligence to be effective. But because of the fairies’ link to nature, the logical translation for Cirno is a Druid with ice and faerie powers. No surprise there, and I guess I’ll just never have her use the druid’s shapeshifting power (what would she turn into anyway, a penguin?)

Cirno’s role in combat is a Controller, restricting the movement of her opponents, allowing her allies to face them on more favorable terms. Her low Intelligence (9) keeps her from accessing the Burning Blizzard feat that increase the damage of her ice powers, but it’s in character for Cirno to have an Intelligence of 9.

From Perfect Cherry Blossom: Youmu

I can’t come up with good character translation ideas for most of the characters from PCB. Would Chen be a druid who shapeshifted into a cat? Would Alice, Ran, and Yukari be summoners? Would Yuyuko be a necromancer with the Ghost-Touched feat? Yuyuko and Yukari’s godlike power is part of their character, and bringing them down to Level 1 would already be a bad translation. Letty could work as an ice wizard, but we’ve done that already.

That leaves us with Youmu and the Prismriver Sisters. Any one of the Prismrivers would make a nice Bard. But a D&D party needs melee characters, and since we skipped over Meiling in EOSD because of Cirno favoritism, we’re picking Youmu.

To translate Youmu, we need a build that dual-wields. I went for a two-blade ranger over a tempest technique fighter because of the ranger’s ability to dual-wield larger weapons. The mobility and damage output of a ranger are also in character.

To represent Myon, we give Youmu some shaman powers such as Call Spirit Companion. The shaman’s spirit companion isn’t so much a companion as it is an extension of the character, seeing as the companion moves when the character moves, and hard hits to the spirit companion cause damage to the character. The drawback is that since Youmu needs points in both Strength and Dexterity for the ranger powers and Wisdom for the shaman powers, her power is diluted, leading to her relatively low defenses.

From Imperishable Night: Reisen

Of the other characters in Imperishable Night, Wriggle would be a Druid specializing in insect swarms, Mystia would be a Bard, and Erin would be an archer warlord (a martial build that conveniently has healing powers built in!). Erin is one of those powerful characters that don’t translate easily to low levels, and the choice came down to Reisen and Mystia because the party needed a healer.

Reisen’s build ended up being somewhat of a mindscrew: as Erin’s disciple, she is also a healer and shooter, but she has splashed some arcane-based psychic powers in there. The result is very similar to the psychic healer class known as Ardent, without actually being an Ardent. Her bullets go into people and heal them.

While the leader of the group in a story sense would probably be Satori, Reisen fills the Leader role in combat by providing boosts and healing to the other party members. She may not be very effective in attacking enemies directly outside of her gaze attack Eyebite. She may have ridiculously low physical defenses (there’s no wrong way to hit a Reisen). But she makes up for it by making the rest of the party much more effective. With her high Charisma, the effects of Powerful Warning are also very strong (+5 to all defenses is essentially a counterspell).

From Mountain of Faith: Momiji

Of the other characters in Imperishable Night, Shizuha might be a Druid or Cleric, Hina would 100% be a Darkspiral Aura warlock with an array of curses (a translation homerun), Nitori would be an Artificer, Aya probably a Marauder Ranger or Monk for maximum speed, and Kanako a Paladin with as many faith-related powers as she could get her hands on. Suwako could maybe be a Druid with an alternate Frog form. But in the end, Momiji’s sword and shield combat style was the one the party needed most.

I flip-flopped for a while thinking of making Momiji a Rogue who just happened to have a shield, but eventually decided that the party needed a character with a defensive focus.

A shield automatically goes a long way toward high physical defense, and a high-Dexterity build allows her to be hard to hit despite her light armor. As a Fighter, she can compel enemies to focus their attacks on her, and then deflect them. She has a wide array of attacks that can exploit weaknesses in physical defenses. Her own weak mental defense is super-exploitable though.

From Subterranean Animism: Satori

I didn’t see many obvious translations in the cast of Subterranean Animism. Parsee could maybe be a Warlock with curses similar to Hina, and Yugi might be a Monk or Fighter similar to Meiling. Orin could maybe be a summoner, and Utsuho a low-intelligence Sorcerer with huge area-of-effect fire attacks.

But Satori was the most obvious: a telepathic Psion with completely maxed out attacks and an Orb of the Sympathetic Eye. I know giving a Level 4 item to a Level 1 character sort of makes her slightly unbalanced, but it’s in character and it’s the only exception I’ve made so far. +6 vs. Will means a 75% chance to hit on some low-level enemies. Mental Trauma combined with Reisen’s Direct the Strike for extra Mind Thrusts can quickly bury an enemy from a distance.

If I was sending my minons against this party, Satori and Reisen would be the first targets. When I demo the combat encounter, you’ll see just how dangerous they are.

4 Responses to “Keep on the Shadowfell: The Party”

  1. Frein says:

    Can a rogue feasibly access Time Stop in 4th ed? In 3rd ed Sakuya would have to be a ridiculously high level multi-class rogue/mage(or sorcerer) and in 2nd ed the best way would be to go rogue dualed to mage fairly early. You’d still need a ton of exp to reach 9th level spells, though.

    Nice character designs, though.

  2. Satori says:

    As a person who is in tune with both the Touhou Project and Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, I must say, I am appalled by much of your decisions in race-class combinations.

    Cirno as a druid and not, say, a Dragon Magic (Cold) sorcerer? Druids are not known for their cold powers, whereas Strength/Charisma sorcerers can easily specialize in the damage type.

    Momiji as a fighter and not a Wildblood warden? A longtooth shifter Wildblood warden is Momiji in every respect.

    Satori as an Intelligence/Charisma-based psion? Last I checked, Satori was an Intelligence/Wisdom-based character (such as a psychic-focused Orb of Imposition wizard), especially given her affinity for animals (Nature) over people (Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate). Koishi would fit the Intelligence/Charisma psion to a tee, on the other hand.

    Eirin as an archer warlord and not an archer artificer? An artificer can be a crafter of performance-enhancing drugs rather than a mechanical tinkerer; why, the Healing Infusion class feature leans the class towards that.

    Aya as a ranger or monk and not an Intelligence/Wisdom psion, a build that involves the manipulation of wind-like forces that slide enemies to and fro? I feel that that is more key to her combat style than her agility.

    Another aspect of your work that I felt you had failed in would be your choice of race. Having each character be a human is, simply put, dull. I believe that when translating an existing character into 4th Edition, a system that encourage refluffing and reflavoring, the mechanical themes of a race, rather than what the race represents flavor-wise, should take first priority. I would have Cirno be a dragonborn due to the race’s +2 Strength and +2 Charisma (perfect for a Dragon Magic sorcerer), +2 History (Cirno has been shown to be capable of recalling past events with moderate accuracy), and cold-compatible Dragon Breath power. Likewise, I see no reason for Momiji to be anything other than a longtooth shifter Wildblood warden; it just so happens that longtooth shifters amount to wolf-people.

    To top it all off, even given the classes you had chosen for each character, their mechanical expressions are rather mediocre. I fail to see why you had chosen a 16/14/13/13/10/10 array for an Intelligence/Charisma psion over the more intuitive and obvious 16/16/12/12/10/8. The ability score array for Momiji is even worse, and do explain how a light shield and a short sword would be more effective than a heavy shield and a longsword, which one could easily visualize Momiji as wielding.

    In my opinion, you had put much thought into this miniature project of yours. The thought just so happened to be uninformed and a tad ignorant.

  3. Satori says:

    Another reason why Koishi should be the Intelligence/Charisma-based character and Satori the Intelligence/Wisdom-based one is that Insight, the skill that covers mundane “mind reading,” is Wisdom-based.

    The Sorcerous Vision paragon feat allows you to replace all of your Insight and Perception checks, active and passive, with Arcana checks. Although this would be an appropriate feat for a paragon-tier version of Satori by all means, she would be an Intelligence/Wisdom-based character nonetheless, as, again, she is a friend to animals (Nature) and not people (Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate).

  4. DoubleSmiggins says:

    @Frein: A rogue can easily access Time Stop by spending just a handful of feats, all they need is 13 Int or more to meet one of the requirements (Wizard Multiclass, and there might be ways around that). In 3.5 no multiclass to an arcane caster is needed with some preparation time. Ranks in Use Magic Device and scrolls of Time Stop or items that can use it – spend enough money and it’s sorted. Multiclassing to wizard could work though if only because 3.5 Time Stop doesn’t allow you to target others during it, I’m fairly sure, so Telekinesis and violent thrust on a large knife collection could work – if it’s considered to be targeting the knives and not people, up to 75 knife attacks could be made with judicious use of Quicken Spell, though 75 knives would be needed, there would be workarounds using less knives and getting less attacks but using each knife multiple times… If Baldur’s Gate II has taught me correctly, physical attacking still works in Time Stop in 2nd, so no extra shenanigans are needed except Attack Faster And More Accurately.

    With that said, Sakyua doesn’t need 4th Edition Time Stop, it doesn’t help replicate her style since this Time Stop provides two standard actions which can’t be used to attack or ready attacks (bar some major improvisation or elite tweaks, all it’s good for is buffing or fleeing at least as far as I can see, I may be derp). It could be useful but it’s not vital or the cornerstone of the build. What is more important is to get as many attacks as possible, since that seems to be what she does – stop time, attack or ready attacks, start time again and have a stupid number of attacks trigger or resolve or whatever. Minor action attacks (such as the 7th-level encounter power Snap Shot), rogue attacks that are bursts or blasts (Cloud of Steel (7th-level encounter), Daunting Barrage (19th-level daily) and so on), teleports (movement while time-stopped is sufficiently fast as to count as a teleport), action points and anything and everything that allows more action points to be gained and used.

    Going back to the party, Youmu seems a lot more to me to be an Assault Swordmage of some kind, not that a Ranger doesn’t work… Any sufficiently fast movement is indistinguishable from teleporting, and assault swordmages can teleport a lot. The Aegis of Assault mark, if you’re feeling generous, could be construed to be Myon floating at the target and making a nuisance of itself (and allowing Youmu to teleport to herself…), which could free you up to multiclass to a martial class instead of Shaman – and that may be neccesary since Youmu is not exactly an elementalist which means there’s only a narrow selection of swordmage attacks that fit for her (thunder, force and untyped attacks are the main choices) but many more fighter attacks work just fine. If one is not feeling generous enough to work the mark that way, then give her the background that allows one to multiclass twice to get Spirit Companion Myon and fighter attacks (I forget what it’s called, but my powergaming group member swears by it) – fix’d. You wouldn’t need to take the second multiclass feat immediately, just by 4th level so you could get the power-swap feats to expand your options. Making her an Eladrin would be good for an extra teleport, or you could take Shadar-Kai for a shorter teleport that makes one ghostly…

    Your interpretations make sense, but I do think Satori’s comments and interpretations are valid and make more sense. If the appearances are already set, then provided you don’t pick something of the wrong size you can use any race as the base, certainly, which frees you up to do more things. After all, there’s never technically been a rule that a dragonborn has to have red or orange or yellow scales, and in the setting none of the characters would identify themselves as human anyway so it would work fine.

    Eh, I’m horribly late to discovering this topic, but I have to post because I like the idea so much~

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