An old character background that I made for an online game I was playing, about two years ago, thought it would be nice to put them on here. Everything in a quote box, is copy pasted from my original character write-up.
Bilner Mark 7 – Warforged Wizard (School of Artifice)
Made this character back before WOTC had released their UA for the Artficer class, the subclass that was made in the Eberron UA while not great, was fun to play around with. I did enjoy the chance to just straight up choose magical items to get, it meant that I had a little bit of an upside for sacrificing useful abilities. SCAG was brand new at this point as well I believe, so I ended up building them as a GISH, because… well that’s my favourite archetype.
I had the idea that a sentient mixing machine would make for an interesting character, ended up drafting the following for his backstory.
Created as really nothing more than a fancy alchemical tool, by a very lazy wizard, in order to create potions and craft magical items, Bilner Mark 7 is the eight version of the Automatic Potion Making Golem. Bilner spent most of their time making healing potions that their master would sell to local merchant and adventurers. One day however incorrectly mixing a combination of herbs and magical materials resulted in an explosion that destroyed his creator’s tower and buried his elder siblings. This explosion of magical energies awoke Bilner and granted them sentience.
Before they could relate this to their creator, they were banished by the furious mage, by which I mean blasted with a spell that launched them off the cliff that once housed their master’s tower.
Crashing into the sea, Bilner was taken by the waves and the currents for days, maybe months until they washed up on shore miles away from the only place they’ve ever known. Now truly alive, Bilner took they’re first few steps as sentient being. Given very little real combat capability Bilner soon found himself under attack and unable to defend himself from every creature that they encountered.
Using what knowledge (primarily coming from the Headband of Intellect that had been bonded to their head) was programmed into them, Bilner managed to devise methods to recreate spells that he had seen his master cast through alchemcial means. Slowly learning how to defend himself Bilner traveled to nearest town in a quest to gain more knowledge about the world, and also to perhaps find a way to rejoin his master.
And, not from the backstory, but still important to understand the character.
Tangent, I was hoping to flavour all of Bilner’s spells not as actual magic but from alchemy or similar things. Just as a flavour thing so it shouldn’t have any mechanical effect.
We were allowed a magical item from an appendix that I do not remember, since we were starting at 4th level. Oh yeah! I did also multi class Bilner into two levels of fighter to offset how squishy they were going to be as an artificer. I believe with the Warforged trait, and a shield, they ended up with a pretty decent AC. Right, back on track, the headband was my main explanation for how Bilner actually became sentient. I ended up having a few questions from the DM, so here’s that convo here. I’m omitting what they said to me, just as a courtesy.
Why does Mark 1 follow Mark 7?
This is about Bilner’s familar which was going to be a clockwork raven, the clockwork part purely being flavour. It was called Raven Mark 1.
Bilner is the 8th version of the potion making robot, (Mark 0 bring the prototype, then mark 1 and so on.) The raven familiar is Mark 1 of the sorta clockwork/magical familiar raven that Bilnar has crafted.
What shape were the other Marks & What happened to them?
One of my favourite little world building pieces I wrote- I guess I really am an engineer(ing student) at heart.
Mark 0: Essentially a coffee maker. Herbs and materials had to be pre-ground and then put into the top which was then mixed and turned into a potion through the machine. More of a proof of concept than an actual proper machine. Was placed in storage.
Mark 1: Gains a blender on top. Blender was found to not be able to grind the materials at separate grain sizes and therefore not the best for making potions that require differently ground materials. Was placed in storage.
Mark 2: Gained two robotic arms with hands able to use proper tools. Was unusable as the arms were not able to tell what they were holding. Placed in storage and then scrapped for parts after Mark 4 exploded.
Mark 3: Added “eyes” to the main base. Was much better, but was only able to do the very basic preparation process, the more complicated mixing parts were too much for the basic system. Scrapped for parts.
Mark 4: Exploded during creation.
Mark 5: Much more humanoid figure. Essentially a torso with full arms and head. Able to do basic prep, still had the same issue the Mark 3 however and was scrapped for part to be used for Mark 6.
Mark 6: Added the headband of intellect in order to allow the machine to complete the entire potion making process. Same design as Mark 5, however as it was unable to move all materials and tools had to placed in arm’s reach, and also required supervision in case it dropped something and was unable to pick it up. Scrapped and used in Mark 7.
There were other similar creations but they were also presumed either destroyed or buried in the explosion that destroyed the tower and gave Bilnar sentience.
I understand the concept of using Alchemy to mimic spells, but there are some spells that I don’t see being mimicked in this way. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, for example. If you can find a good way to explain it, I’m probably willing to wave it.
My first thought for that case at least would be a form of laughing gas, however that would maybe run into issues with the fact that it doesn’t affect creations with a low int. Maybe the way the gas interacts with the nervous system of the creature affects only a frontal lobe region which dumber creations wouldn’t have? I can understand having to justify every spell getting tedious however, perhaps split the difference and say that it’s a combination of alchemy and actual magic?
I’ll be writing up an explanation for the spell sniper feat that’ll be posted in the actual character application. My first rough thought would be that in their first couple of encounters involved Bilner being surrounded by close up fighters. In an effort to combat that Bilner started to devise means of a better projectile system for his attacks (which involved tweaking his eyes for better focus and magnification, perhaps actually crafted a secondary lens with a reticle that slides over his eye).
Anyways, I’m really excited about this character concept and have been having a lot of fun figuring Bilner out.
I believe this mostly came from the image I found online of a warforged wearing a hood, was the only really… wizardy-low-tech warforged I could find. Omitted the image for obvious reasons.
Standing at about 5’5″, Bilner was created primarily as more of an alchemical appliance than a combat unit. With a slim silver body covered by a dark black robes Bilner does not cut a intimating figure at all. Dark leather boots cover his feet and on his hip is a sheathed dagger. His face is nearly featureless with no visible nose or mouth, two inlets form his eyes which are covered with a thin blue crystal. On his forehead the rune of knowledge is inscribed in the rough scratches of draconic, that rune is the only hint that a headband of intellect have been built into Bilner’s head.
Some general questions or things that the DM wanted about our characters.
One sentence that describes your character’s concept mechanically.
A primarily support Warforged Artificer that fires spells from behind the main tanks.
One sentence that best describes your characters personality.
Curious about everything and lacking common knowledge of the world, tends to forget that other people around him need things like food and water.
What did your character do before becoming a Delver?
Ah, so the main plot of the story was that our characters were heading to city where there was an established culture of labyrinth diving. Think, Damachi, or any light novel/web novel isekai with a dungeon gimmick.
Serving their creator in making potions, after that traveling between villages and towns in order to learn everything they can about the world around them.
Why did your character become a Delver?
Knowledge and in order to experience new things. Hopefully to become more useful so their creator will take them back.
What does your character ultimately strive to achieve?
To find their creator and apologize for destroying their tower. Hopefully also to rejoin them, this time as an apprentice rather than an appliance.
On Spell Sniper
Ended up scrapping this as it was a bit of stretch, ended up just taking the Alchemist feat, because well duh.
During their first encounter with some hungry animals, Bilner was surrounded and nearly destroyed. Luckily a nearby tree offered sanctuary for them, as the animals clamored under them Bilner realized that if they were to survive they would need to devise a method to increase the distance between their opponents. After blasting the animals, Bilner worked to create a crystal lens that helped magnify his vision. Attaching that to a hinge allows him to lock onto creatures from farther away, combined with dismantled crossbow that’s been inserted into his arm Bilner is able to launch his “spells” from even farther away.
Finally, the last message I sent to the DM before being accepted to the game. Few questions answered there that you should be able to get from context. And from this, I realize that we didn’t start at level four but rather probably level two.
The name is Bilner, it’s a bastardization of the German word for creator. 😛
The intelligence band is combination of the story reasons and min-maxing, where I’ve built in reason for the min-maxing to be a core part of the character’s story. In my mind it’s literally a part of Bilner’s head (if you’ve played 4e at all, the warforged race there had the ability to install items into them, not really applicable but this is sorta what I’m imagining), if it were to be removed it would be a huge blow to his spell casting ability, but not to his usefulness. My ultimate plan for Bilner is for him to dip two levels into fighter in order to pick up the extra proficiency bonuses. He’ll serve as a gish for most fights using the green flame blade cantrip as his main attack and then maybe picking up the booming blade one as well. Without the headband he’ll still be able to craft potions and imbue items so really he’ll only lose out on spellcasting attacks (something he wasn’t going to focus on, as most of his spell slots will be used up.)
You make a lot of good points about the spell sniper feat, to be honest I didn’t see the Alchemist feat when I glanced at that UA. It makes a lot more sense mechanically and thematically for Bilner so I’m going to switch those around.
I also really like that concept for the combination of alchemy and magic! It’s exactly what I had in mind for the concept.