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WotBS Trillith-Inhabited Heroes...

emeraldbeacon

Explorer
My campaign has had some player turnover at the top of the game, but seems to have finally stabilized. One of the newer players decided to play a Wild Magic Barbarian, and expressed an interest in learning WHY he had these strange powers. I realized it was a perfect chance to give his mysterious abilities a strong tie to the game's plot... and have secretly imbued him with a Trillith. He doesn't know what's inside of him yet, or how it manifests, a fact that I want to string out as long as I can... A few questions, though:
  1. How long should I keep it a secret? I don't want to tip my hand too early, but there are several Trillith-centric encounters in the first two chapters (Kathor/Justice, Krystin/Prophecy, Indomitability, and Vuhl/Deception) that might recognize the hint of something there.
  2. Is there a time that I should absolutely reveal the truth by? I'm thinking that, by the time the party reaches the Temple of Echoed Souls, he should know... and the whole party should learn of the true origins of the union via a shared vision.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for a good name or identity for this trillith, that would suit a Wild Magic Barbarian? I'm toying with ideas like "Zeal" for the fighting aspect, or "Wonder" for the quirky wild magic effects that are spawned when he rages.
 

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I think that feeling some resonance with Kathor and Crystin - like maybe if they're near one of them, they can slightly better control the chaos - could drop a hint that something's up. You could have Indomitability, when it breaks free, call out to the PC and say, "Be free with me," which will just seem a bit weird at the time.

Drop hints as you want, and perhaps let the player do some self-exploration - maybe getting help from Three Weeping Ravens in Seaquen to meditate and sense some other presence, or having some divination by the wizards of Lyceum detect the entity.

You should definitely reveal the truth by the time the party meets Balance in Eresh. With hindsight, that adventure's one of the weakest one, so giving a PC some personal challenge to make contact and communicate with their trillith could liven it up.

Zeal and Wonder are great names. (Other options, Mania, Desperation, Unpredictability, Escape.) If you've read ahead, the 'big bad' of the trillith is Freedom, who is herself trapped in physical form. Maybe your PC's trillith knew Freedom, and either wants to help or thinks she's dangerous. The trillith could have just fled to the surface, not knowing what to expect, and ended up bonding with the PC, and has struggled to communicate. You might even occasionally have some of the wild surge effects get tinged with some abstract, Rorschach-style imagery, suggesting something is trying to communicate.
 

emeraldbeacon

Explorer
Right now, we're just finishing the Chapter 1 Gauntlet. Kathor only got to see him in passing, but gave him an odd look... he recognized something familiar, without really recognizing what it was he noticed. When they get to the farmhouse, Crystin, too, will sense some degree of familiarity with him, though again, she won't understand what it is. I like your idea of Indomitability speaking to the trillith inside of him rather than the PC, leaving the PC to wonder what exactly is going on... while Deception will probably play things a bit cooler.

The plan is to ultimately have the trillith (leaning towards Zeal as a name) start contacting the PC (a dwarf from Dassen), in surreal dreams (strange imagery of a wolf running through clouds)... then having the same imagery of those dreams start popping up in his wild magic surges (the image of a massive, spectral dire wolf appears surrounding you, then fades away).
 

Salicus

Explorer
Right now, we're just finishing the Chapter 1 Gauntlet. Kathor only got to see him in passing, but gave him an odd look... he recognized something familiar, without really recognizing what it was he noticed. When they get to the farmhouse, Crystin, too, will sense some degree of familiarity with him, though again, she won't understand what it is. I like your idea of Indomitability speaking to the trillith inside of him rather than the PC, leaving the PC to wonder what exactly is going on... while Deception will probably play things a bit cooler.

The plan is to ultimately have the trillith (leaning towards Zeal as a name) start contacting the PC (a dwarf from Dassen), in surreal dreams (strange imagery of a wolf running through clouds)... then having the same imagery of those dreams start popping up in his wild magic surges (the image of a massive, spectral dire wolf appears surrounding you, then fades away).
Can say that one of my PCs plays the subclass in the 5e version which is pretty much beeing able to cast spells because u host a trillith. I did it that, they always feel stuff when they meet other Trillith. They instantly had a good connection to crystin and some kind of familiarity. Then they always felt a presence when near other trillith which I gave kind of a feeling which is near to the name of the trillith. I am actually now in the Echoed Souls adventure with my players and plan to reveal it to him there. Planning to do it in the trials to meet something like a mirror image of himself, which is trying to tell him and lay everything open. They already know that not all trillith are bad, so it should not break the group I hope.
 


emeraldbeacon

Explorer
And of course, now the Wild Magic barbarian wants to change to Path of the Zealot. Awesome... I might still be able to use the trillith concept, just twist it around a bit (kind of like how in Critical Role Season 2, Jester is a cleric of something that's... technically NOT a deity?)...

If that is the case, though, I'm curious about what would happen if he ends up with Indomitablility's boon, and how it might interact with the level 14 Path feature, Rage Beyond Death...
While you’re raging, having 0 hit points doesn’t knock you unconscious. You still must make death saving throws, and you suffer the normal effects of taking damage while at 0 hit points. However, if you would die due to failing death saving throws, you don’t die until your rage ends, and you die then only if you still have 0 hit points.
 


emeraldbeacon

Explorer
I'm afraid I don't know how the 5e version of Indomitability's boon works.
When endowed by or granted a boon by Indomitability, you gain the following benefits:
  • You stabilize whenever you are dying at the start of your turn.
  • (other stuff too)
I would take this to mean that you are "dying" if you are at zero hit points and not stable (i.e. making death saving throws). Rage Beyond Death seems to handle "very hard to kill" a different way... you're still making death throws, and still taking auto-failures if you suffer damage, but unless you actually DIE before your turn, you auto-stabilize, and are simply conscious & stable at 0 HP (until the rage ends). Perhaps a little overpowered, but still susceptible to getting mobbed (let's be real, come level 14, you're never going to be auto-killing a barbarian by dealing max-hp-overkill, like you might to a wizard).
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
I would suggest that Indomitability's boon would reset the death saves at the start of the turn if the PC has not already taken 3 failures from damage. If the PC took 3 failures from damage before the start of their next turn, Indomitability's boon does not reset them, and the PC dies if at 0 hit points when the rage ends.

You do have some fiat over who Indomitibility chooses for his boon. In our game, he chose the two who had the most "never say die" attitude while in the fire forest. You can spread the survivability around, especially if others act more in line with Indomitability's nature.
 
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emeraldbeacon

Explorer
I would suggest that Indomitability's boon would reset the death saves at the start of the turn if the PC has not already taken 3 failures from damage. If the PC took 3 failures from damage before the start of their next turn, Indomitability's boon does not reset them, and the PC dies if at 0 hit points when the rage ends.
Agreed. Indomitability only triggers if the bearer is "dying," not "dead," and a Zealot Barbarian with 3 death fails is technically "dead and still on his feet."
 

emeraldbeacon

Explorer
So, as a small update, the hero in question is a Dwarf who, after consulting with the player, is actually a nephew of Lord Dashgoban himself. Going off of the descriptions in the guide, I decided that Dashgoban is a leader who is satisfied in his own station, and prefers patience & caution in making political maneuvers, only making moves when they are prudent for his people. This didn't mesh well with my player's Barbarian class, which became the catalyst for his departure from Dassen. The trigger for that, of course, was a trillith inhabiting him, accidentally granting him semi-uncontrolled magical powers (Wild Magic).

Speaking of said trillith, Zeal was largely formless beforehand, but after mingling with the Dwarf's memories and thoughts, has begun to coalesce as a wolf. I've made wolves a symbol of the House of Dashgoban, symbolic of family that stays united, and works together, patiently, to achieve their goals for all. For my player, though, it also has created an image evocative of a "lone wolf," letting him be his own person.

He's quite likely to be the first player to collide with his backstory in Chapter 4, as the heroes seek Dashgoban's aid in repelling Steppengard's assault. The rest of his story will begin bubbling forth throughout Chapter 5 (meeting Balance), 7 (revelations in the Temple of Echoed Souls), and 10 (finally encountering Trilla).
 


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