We’ve been previewing some of the art for Neil Spicer’s upcoming Imperial Heroes, but thus far we haven’t really gotten too far into developing the personality of the character of Jin Thiesson. Those of you who purchased Neil’s terrific Gothic Heroes already know the great detail he has invested in these characters, really making them come alive in a way I’ve never seen in a product like this, but for those of you who haven’t yet had your mind blown by the dramatic stylings of Senor Spice, here is the kind of depth you can expect from the characters featured in Imperial Heroes:
Background: Jin Thiesson (JEN THEES-suhn) grew up as part of a noble family in the west. Her mother was a Tiun* expatriate who journeyed across the arctic with her Chelas* father’s caravan, and the two married soon after. As a girl, Jin chafed under the expectations of her parents, not simply because of her impatience for learning the social graces, but also because the other noblewomen looked down upon her foreign mother and never made them feel welcome. Despite her father’s admonition to fit in, Jin rebelled against those who crossed her, using her Bluff and Sleight of Hand skills to start rumors or plant false evidence to embarrass her enemies. In addition, she often disguised herself to steal away at night and explore the city to experience brief moments of a life different from the one her parents provided.
Unfortunately, Jin’s life changed forever when most of her family perished during the riots and plague following their king’s untimely death. She feels tremendous grief and remorse for never living up to her parents’ expectations before they passed away. Now, she and her older brother Akobi only have each other after selling their estate and starting over with friends in a small coastal town. Only recently has she turned around her melancholy to enjoy her newfound freedom. Even so, she misses her mother and clings to what memories she has of her.
Note: For maximum roleplaying impact, if there’s another human PC in the group (and no one plays Jin’s brother Akobi), that person, with their consent, should be chosen as Jin’s brother or sister instead.
Physical Description: Jin has a lean, compact build, taking after her Tiun* mother more than her Chelas* father. Just 5-feet, 4-inches tall, she weighs barely 100 pounds. When adventuring, she keeps her long, dark hair in a single braid down the middle of her back but lets it hang loose in less dangerous settings. She has unusual blue eyes from her father and bears a small tattoo of a pseudodragon with its tail coiled around her shoulder and neck. Jin favors functional garments of black and dark blue because they help her move more freely and blend with the shadows. She even dyes her armor to match. Among her most prized possessions, she keeps a single, heirloom kimono from her mother. Though rarely worn, she often looks upon it as a reminder of her parents’ love despite their cultural differences.
Personality: Jin proves a lot more outgoing than her older brother, Akobi. She makes friends easily and enjoys learning about different people and cultures. Goodhearted and compassionate, she honed her talents as a rogue by routinely sneaking away from her family estate to experience the world outside the nobility. Where possible, she helps others, and cannot abide tyrants or villains. Unafraid to take the law into her own hands, she exults in laying cretins low—not just with her weapons, but also through guile and trickery. Because of this, Jin resents those who question or belittle her capabilities, which sometimes includes her overbearing and self-righteous brother.
Jin always advances as a rogue, increasing all her existing skill ranks except Knowledge (local) and Sleight of Hand, which she alternates with Escape Artist and Use Magic Device. At 2nd level, she acquires Combat Expertise as a combat trick with her rogue talent. At 3rd level, she picks up the Improved Feint feat with a planned progression into Greater Feint to set up her own sneak attacks even when fighting alone. Lastly, at 4th level, Jin adds her ability score increase to her Wisdom while using her next rogue talent to obtain a ki pool. Thereafter, she spends future rogue talents on ninja tricks such as darkvision, feather fall, shadow clone, and vanishing trick. She also acquires feats like Mobility, Spring Attack, and Wind Stance to help her move more efficiently in battle.
Note: It’s possible to play Jin as an actual ninja rather than a rogue. This can be done either from the outset of her career, or by changing to a ninja (with the GM’s permission) after adventuring in the Far East. Either way, Jin would retain all her skills and feats, but lose her trapfinding ability in exchange for a ninja’s poison use. See Ultimate Combat for further details on these changes at higher levels.
• Jin gets in over her head sometimes with a penchant for challenging tyrants and troublemakers. This often leads to her friends and older brother having to rescue her, a fact she counts on too frequently, and it sometimes causes strained relationships.
• The death of her mother during the outbreak of plague in their former kingdom left a scar on Jin. It’s made her far more conscious and fearful of disease, but it also gives her a healthy respect for the protection of natural environments, pitting her against those who would corrupt the world for their own ends.
• Jin has a fascination for other cultures, immersing herself in them so she can sample the varied experiences they offer. She collects small mementos of distant lands and likes to exchange gifts with foreigners whenever she can.
• Able to read her brother like an open book, Jin knows all about his love for the Destined Empress and enjoys teasing him about it without mercy. In actuality, she recognizes the two make a good pair and secretly does her part to soften or explain his woeful attempts to win the would-be ruler’s affection.
• Jin takes on the things her brother can’t bring himself to do. Though she respects how he always makes the honorable choice, she knows some people don’t deserve it. So she takes her own actions against them to protect his reputation.
Scaling the PC
Under a 15-point buy, reduce Jin’s Intelligence and Charisma by 1 and her Strength by 2. This requires the removal of her skill rank in Sleight of Hand as well as her mastery of the Elven language. It also reduces her damage rolls and corresponding skill scores by 1.