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The Legacy Vigilante, A Pathfinder Character Concept

You Can't Kill a Mask

By Neal LitherlandPublished about a year ago 4 min read
Top Story - May 2023
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Drake spun on his heel, his crossbow snapping up as he swept his arm left and right, looking for a target. Tarwen slapped him on the shoulder, hissing under his breath.

"The hell are you doing?" Tarwen snarled.

"I heard something," Drake said.

"Maybe it's the Ghost, eh?" Bodwen chuckled from where he was working the padlock.

"Ghost is dead, Bod, you know that," Tarwen snorted, turning back to the storefront. "Went off the Celestine Roof onto the paving stones. Nobody could have survived that crash."

"They didn't find the body, though, did they?" Drake whispered.

Tarwen had his mouth open to say something, but when he turned, he caught a flash of something in the moonlight. He put a hand up instinctively, and a lightning bolt of pain slammed through him as something bit deep into his hand. Clenching his teeth against a scream, Tarwen gripped his wrist, staring at the sharp shaft of moonsilver spiked straight through his palm.

"What the-" Drake asked, turning to look at Tarwen. That was when a shadow detached itself from the alley, and lashed out. A fist connected with Tarwen's head, and he dropped insensate to the ground, his jaw snapping shut with a sharp, hollow crack. Tarwen staggered back, staring. He saw no eyes... but he felt them staring at him from out of that shadow. They watched him, and they judged him.

"The hell is-" Bodwen tried to say, half rising to a crouch and trying to turn. The shadow snatched him by the back of the collar, slamming his head into the hardwood door. He knocked once, twice, and then a third time, letting go of Bodwen as he went limp.

"You're dead!" Tarwen snarled, scrabbling at the blade on his belt with his remaining head.

"You can't kill a ghost," the figure whispered, a chuckle like a burble of blood slipping from the darkness.

True Legends Never Die

First introduced in Ultimate Intrigue, the vigilante is one of the most unique base classes in the Pathfinder RPG. People who take on alternative identities to lead crusades, fight crime, or even to act as the face of an adventuring company, but who can then set aside that persona to achieve their ends from their social persona, vigilantes make for a varied experience that can allow you to take on the roles of various different heroes and villains.

For those who read through my Character Conversion archive, you'll note that this class is versatile enough to make characters like The Hulk, Spider-Man, and Batman, simply by choosing different powers and archetypes.

However, vigilantes are no more immune to death than any other character class. And while you can often get yourself raised or resurrected from death, there is another option that is really only available to vigilantes... which is that someone else takes on the mantle of a fallen vigilante.

What makes this a particularly interesting proposal is that you have both a story aspect to this "replacement" character, as well as a mechanical aspect. For example, who is this new vigilante who's taking on the persona and legend of the dead character? Was it a sidekick, trained in their fighting style and skills, who steps into their mentor's shoes? Is it an admirer who believes in the cause, who attempts to recreate the legend of the dead vigilante? Or someone else entirely?

Secondly, while you may have the same persona/costume/look of the dead vigilante, that doesn't mean you have the exact same skill set. For instance, if the dead vigilante was an Avenger, you could replace them with a Stalker. You could change their fighting style, invest more in reputation and Intimidate, build power armor to wear beneath their cloak, or even take on a new weapon of choice. In time the legend may change and shift, incorporating the alterations that the new vigilante has made to the legend they have adopted.

As a final note, it's important to keep in mind that this isn't something expressly for player characters. If there is a vigilante that the PCs are opposing, and they die, an evil character can just as easily don the mantle to continue the myth as a hero could.

For those looking for additional inspiration, consider checking out A Baker's Dozen of Fantasy Vigilantes, as well as 5 Tips For Playing Better Vigilantes.

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 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

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (12)

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