Servant of a Dark Lord

A player in my current campaign is playing a summoner who wants to learn the ways of magic of the barbarian tribes invading his homeland (one of his beliefs is “the barbarians’ strenght lies in the secrets of their sorcerers, I must obtain them at any cost”).
Problem is, the barbarians are using Blood Magic (from MaBu), that was “taught” them by an Evil Overlord (the true power behind the invasion). Basically, as the PC is about to discover, to master this kind of magic one has to submit his will/soul to the Dark Lord. Think something like the Taken from the Black Company novels or lotr Nazguls, but slightly smaller in scale.

I was thinking of using a Trait to represent it, but I’ve got two problems with that:

  • first, I’m not really sure that’s the way is supposed to work. I mean, in game traits should be earned by vote, right? So I can’t just go “ok, now you’re one of the dark lord servants, here’s your trait”. Or can I?

  • second, I don’t really know what trait to use! Broken is way too generic. Corrupted is better, but still quite not it imho. Slave to the Power of Death a bit too strong for my tastes. Maybe Possessed?

Any idea? Thanks!

First, I’d start with “Tempted” or something.

Perhaps ask the player if he is interested in playing the fall of his character, or a Vader-esque fall and redemption.

Also, you could still incorporate a trait vote to grant whatever you decide the trait will be. Basically he has to earn this trait from the GROUP by his roleplaying–what’s he willing to do to learn their magic? What lengths will he go to? Is that reflective in the decisions he’s made and his impact on the story? If he’s playing well then it won’t be controversial. I’d be hesitant to just award him a trait when he gets there because it sounds like he would end up with an advantage and he should be held to make necessary sacrifices so that nobody at the table feels slighted (or worse, start coming to you wanting to learn all manner of obscure arts and tricks to bulk up their characters).

Using a trait vote like this also has precedent in Luke’s Si Juk campaign that’s pinned in the Playing subforum, in which the titular Si Juk wishes to learn some ancient tenchnique that makes him immune to persuasion magic.

I’m pretty sure it’s kosher to give out traits in response to the fiction. By this I mean, if a character loses his eyes, you could give him the Blind trait.

I had a PC with a similar kind of goal.

At some stage, while searching for magical power he was possessed by a ghost who acted as mentor, allowing him to train his Sorcerous skills without a proper teacher in exchange for fulfilling the ghosts lust for vengeance. Lots of fun, tragic consequences that kind of messed up his life and will surely take him to dark and horrible places.

Thank you everyone for your answers!
I’m pretty sure the player does actually wants to play out the fall (and, eventually, redemption) of his character, as in character burning he described his PC concept as a “court summoner tempted by dark powers”, but I’ll make sure that’s exactly he has in mind.

Great! I’ll have to read that :slight_smile: