Gamers logo

The Unsettling Sorcerer

An RPG Character Concept

By Neal LitherlandPublished about a year ago 5 min read

The man who entered the inn out of the darkness was a haint on two legs. His ragged black hair was shot through with lightning bolts of dirty white, a hitch in his stride gave him a strange, unnatural gait, and his heavy hands boar thick, hoary nails that were akin to claws. It was his face that was the most arresting, though. Every feature, taken on its own, was beautiful. When put together, though, they were disjointed and uncanny. The eyes were too intense, and slightly offset. The mouth was full, but too wide for the face, and the teeth were strong and white but a little too sharp. His voice, when he spoke, was too deep for the chest it came out of; it created the distinct impression of something speaking through him, the words echoing out of a deep, unseen well.

"A room, and a meal," the man said, approaching the counter. The inn keep stared at the strange figure, his eyes cutting to the heavy-shouldered buster on his stool near the door. Just in case the visitor needed some persuasion.

"My apologies, sir, but I have no rooms to let," the keep said, putting a gracious smile onto his face. The stranger laid down his hand, and a pair of heavy, unevenly milled gold coins sat atop the dark wood.

"There are two guests here, and you have eight rooms," the man said in that strange, unsettling voice. "I will take one of the empty rooms, and food."

"I'm sorry, but-" the keep started to say. The stranger's mouth didn't move, but his pupils dilated, and his eyes took on a strange, unsettling hue. The light in the room dimmed, the lamps seeming to draw back into themselves. The keep could no longer see the man he hired to watch the door, or even to the stairway a few yards away. All he could see was the dark shape with its corpse-flame eyes staring at him.

"Take the money," a soft voice whispered in the keep's ear. "Or I will take a price of my own."

The keep froze, staring into the darkness for what felt like an eternity. Then he fumbled a key, and placed it on the counter with a shaking hand.

"Room six," he said through numbed lips. "Enjoy your stay."

The darkness faded, the room once more lit by firelight. The strange figure favored the keep with a smile. It showed far too many teeth. He picked up the key, and turned toward the stairs.

"I will expect my food shortly," the man said as he half-stepped, half-pulled himself up the stairs. "You may leave the tray outside my door, should that be easier for you to do."

"Charismatic" Isn't The Same As "Pretty"

Consider "mysterious," "otherworldly," and "eldritch" as alternatives as well!

When playing an RPG with a Charisma attribute a lot of us default to assuming that means how physically attractive a person is. However, I'm far from the first person to point out that how attractive you are is only one of the many aspects that go into this attribute, and your overall Charisma is often more than the sum of its parts.

And when we add magic into the mix things can get really strange!

A sorcerer's Charisma isn't just about their tone of voice, body posture, and looks; it's a force of raw, magical power. And just like sorcerers themselves, it can take many different forms, and manifest in myriad ways. Sometimes it's a beautiful, ethereal, or subtle extension of the sorcerer themselves... and sometimes there's a dark undertone that is as compelling as it is off-putting.

A sorcerer may have been blessed by a fae creature, and though they have a plain appearance their voice carries all the magic of a Lord or Lady of the Forests. The blood of demons might run through a sorcerer's veins, leaving them with a charred scent that lingers in their presence, and a tendency of snorting smoke when angry. A sorcerer tainted by undeath might have clammy skin, a barely-noticeable pulse, or be surrounded by the chill of the grave itself.

Some sorcerers are indeed beautiful and fair. Some have great personal magnetism, drawing others to them in subtle ways. Others, however, have the touch of the unnatural or dangerous about them. The very power they wield marks them, changes them, and the more powerful their magic becomes, the more noted these changes can often be.

So next time you're thinking on making a sorcerer, consider the ramifications of the potent arcane bloodline they wield. What does it do to them long-term, and in what ways does it turn them into an Other? What is it about your sorcerer that people will find unsettling?

Also, for more on this topic, make sure you check out 50 Origins For a Sorcerer's Bloodline (That Aren't Inheriting It), as well as 5 Tips For Playing Better Sorcerers!

Looking For Even More Content?

That's all for this installment of my Unusual Character Concepts series! Hopefully this one gave you something to chew over, whether you're a player, or a game master.

For even more of my work, check out my full Vocal archive. Or if you'd prefer to read some of my books, like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife, or my most recent collection of short stories The Rejects, then head over to My Amazon Author Page!

To stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest as well! To support my work, consider either Buying Me a Ko-Fi, or heading to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a regular, monthly patron. That one helps ensure you get more Improved Initiative, and it means you'll get my regular, monthly giveaways as a bonus!

Or if you want to get all of that in one place, check out my LinkTree instead!

table toprpg

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.



Blog: Improved Initiative and The Literary Mercenary

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.