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The Blessed

An Unusual Character Concept

By Neal LitherlandPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
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The toughs swaggered into the alley, their hands on their weapons, and sneers on their faces. Their armor was scarred from use, their hands calloused from long hours with blades and bludgeons in their fists, but most telling of all was their eyes. They were hard, and merciless, used to looking at terrible things without so much as flinching. They were cold, and dispassionate. These men were hunting hounds, sent to run prey to ground, and tear it apart for their master.

As the brutes entered, the residents of the alley stirred. Haggard men peered at them from under dirty locks of hair, and half-starved women and children shrank back as if trying to press themselves through the bricks to escape. Their clothes were ragged and torn, their hands and feet just as often wrapped in strips of cloth as they were in gloves or shoes. Fear wafted off all of them as surely as the smells of sweat and desperation... all except one. He knelt at the rear of the alley, his head bowed, and his empty hands resting in his lap.

"You," Chaine barked, striding forward, scattering the scared urchins and beggars before him like chaff before an angry wind. "Get up!"

"You don't have to do this," the man said from where he knelt. His voice was low and deep, a rumble like thunder on the horizon. He didn't raise his eyes from the ground as he spoke. "Please. Reconsider your actions."

"Oh, I've thought through them plenty," Chaine said, tapping Fang on the shoulder. The hulking enforcer cracked his neck, and shrugged his huge, studded club into his hands as he stalked toward the kneeling man. "Maybe you should have done the same before you tried to tell Miras Vane where he could and couldn't collect his debts from."

Fang brought his club back, rushing forward with a snarl. His shoulders bunched, and he swung with the full weight of his body, the weapon whistling as it whipped through the air. The kneeling man merely raised a hand, and caught the club mid-swing. It cracked into his palm, stopping dead as surely as if Fang had smashed it into a wall. The man raised his head, and stared at them. His eyes were a deep, crimson red, just like the stories had said. He clenched his fist, and dozens of fractures ran down the center of the weapon as if it had been struck by lightning. Cursing, Fang dropped the cudgel, and stumbled back.

The man stood in a single, fluid motion, his body unfolding from his kneeling position. He towered a full head and shoulders over even Fang, his unblinking, crimson gaze watching them all. A man toward the rear of the pack took a step back, murmuring under his breath when he saw the symbol burned into the giant's forehead. The brand of a sword marked his brow, and even as he watched them, beads of blood oozed from the mark, running down the bridge of his nose.

"The blessed of Charne are weapons," he said, curling his hands into fists, the knuckles cracking. "And he cares not why you fight... merely that you do."

Only one of them was allowed to leave that alley, crawling on his hands and knees. He told the story of what happened through broken teeth, wheezing that the alley and all those in it were protected by the Blessed.

Power Comes From Many Places

Blessed characters are a staple of the fantasy genre. From holy warriors wielding the potent light of righteous gods, to those with celestial blood running through their veins walking the mortal world, this is not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination. However, just like with my previous character concepts of The Cursed and The Fey-Touched, the idea of the Blessed is to see how many different powers and character classes you can extend this background to.

The gods move in mysterious ways.

The most obvious examples of a Blessed character are clerics and paladins, along with inquisitors, but they come with the caveat that their blessings can be revoked if they displease their god. That is not a prerequisite of a Blessed character; you simply must have gained your power, in whatever form, from a divine act in some way. Even if that divine act is solely a story concern, and not necessarily mechanical.

As an example, take a hulking barbarian with an unusual appearance. There is no "divine" tag on their powers and abilities, but you could make that the explanation if you wanted to. You might give them the Celestial Totem Rage Powers to show how their bear the favor of the gods of light. Alternatively, you could give them the Beast Totem powers, claiming this is a blessing from a god of nature, bestowing on them the ferocity of a champion. Or the Spirit Totem Rage Powers to show that you were touched by a god of death, who spared you when you should have fallen in battle, allowing you to wield a portion of their powers when in your frenzy.

A fighter of unusual size, speed, and skill, could easily be a Blessed character. This is particularly true if there was a notable event at their birth (a celestial creature standing as godparent, perhaps), or if they were previously a scrawny, sickly individual who underwent a ritual to transform them into an avatar of a god of war. A sorcerer may have received their bloodline at the behest of a god (as I mentioned in 50 Origins For a Sorcerer's Bloodline), or a witch's familiar may have come from a mysterious, divine origin. Oracles may have been "blessed" by particular gods, their curses acting as thematic reflections of that god's teachings or portfolios. Bards may have been given their voice as a gift from a god, or a swashbuckler's luck may be seen as a divine gift as much as it is an example of their skill.

The key to making a Blessed character really work is that their story has to play into the unfolding campaign in some way. Whether your gifts and powers were bestowed on you by a particular deity so you'd have the tools to fight this current fight, or you've been looking for a reason why you're like this, and finally getting an answer, it should be folded into the ongoing story in some way, shape or form.

Lastly, remember, a Blessed character is more of a background/origin story. You are not required to be a believer/follower of a particular deity or faith to have been given their blessings. In fact, that might be a part of your story; reconciling the origin of many of your abilities with the fact that you are not a believer. It's even possible you didn't ask for this blessing... but you have it, and there's no sense in letting it go to waste!

Like, Follow, and Stay in Touch!

That's all for this week's Unusual Character Concepts post!

For more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, and stop by the Azukail Games YouTube channel. Or if you'd prefer to read some of my books, like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife, my dystopian sci-fi thriller Old Soldiers, or my recent short story collection The Rejects, then head over to My Amazon Author Page!

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About the Creator

Neal Litherland

Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.

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Blog: Improved Initiative and The Literary Mercenary

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