Saturday, July 4, 2009

DINO-PIRATES Characters: Mbungo

The mighty hunter Mbungo comes from the deep jungle, but unlike Kana he is not superstitious or possessed of strange powers. Such abilities as Mbungo has he has learned through his own skill and hard work. As his description notes:

Mbungo knows the ways of the jungle, and can track and follow the beasts that dwell within. He isn’t the strongest, but he is nimble. He loves to show off his skills, but doesn’t always recognize when he’s outmatched.

Mbungo is a pretty simple example of an Expert character in DINO-PIRATES OF NINJA ISLAND. The odd thing about his build is his relatively low Intelligence. Normally an Expert will want a high Intelligence to take full advantage of the large number of skill ranks they get, but Mbungo's concept is a more physical one. He's got high modifiers in Acrobatics and Stealth, but is likewise killer in such varied skills as Medicine, Notice, Sense Motive and Survival. Mbungo comes in handy all over the place.

His highest ability score is his Dexterity, giving him the nimbleness to survive in combat even if he can't dish out large amounts of damage. A boost to his Constitution will help him stay alive, too. And a high Wisdom gives some of those key skills a boost, even if it comes at the penalty of a Charisma of -1. Mbungo is ill at ease in social situations, obviously.

As an Expert he gets to choose his "good" saving throw, and again working against apparent advantage, Mbungo chooses Fortitude. His Dexterity and Wisdom give him high numbers on Reflex and Will already, and Mbungo is more about withstanding pain than avoiding it. Kinda fits with his "Over-Confident" Vice.

Speaking of which, we haven't talked about these before. Every DINO-PIRATES character has a Virtue and Vice. These come into play as a means of regaining spent Conviction points. Any time a character does something that puts them at a disadvantage in order to live up to either their Vice or their Virtue, they can receive a Conviction point. Over-Confident is a great vice, especially for a character like Mbungo whose ability to get in over his head is un-matched. His Generous Virtue likewise can afford much hilarity if played up well.

Mbungo's skills reflect a life lived outdoors and alone. Obviously his big strengths are the Dex-based skills like Acrobatics and Stealth, but Wisdom skills are also potent. Medicine will come in handy and a high Notice can help a party out of trouble. Sense Motive may seem out of place, but Mbungo's ability to size up strangers has probably helped him out many times in the past. The Combat Evaluate use of that skill in particular can come in handy, especially for someone as adept at hiding from enemies as Mbungo. Acrobatics can be used to feint, and all of these skills give Mbungo tons of options for Stunting his rolls.

Mbungo's feat selection is eclectic, providing a variety of potential paths forward as he gains levels. Dodge Focus and Track are practically no-brainers, and he gets Exotic Weapon Training and Trailblazer for free as a Native. He chooses the Wrist Knife as his Exotic Weapon -- a nutty sort of choice, perhaps, but handy if unexpectedly grappled. Favored Opponent (Animals) makes him especially potent in the wilderness, and you're never sorry you took Evasion.

What's the future look like for Mbungo? A number of possibilities. Strictly advancing in Expert would allow him to expand and build up his skills array, making for a potent Stunting character who can find ways to do just about anything. Some Sneak Attack, Hide in Plain Sight and Skill Focus (Stealth) can come in handy. That Wrist Knife would prove effective if he were to take Improved Strike, since its damage can be combined with that feat. Taking a few levels in Warrior's not crazy talk, either -- with Mbungo's killer Dexterity he could become a real combat monster. A better melee weapon would be a good move there along with Attack Specialization to improve his damage.

So there's a look at a unique take on the Expert role in DINO-PIRATES OF NINJA ISLAND. Mbungo is an adaptable character, at his best in the wilderness, perhaps, but certain to prove useful no matter what the challenge.