(I find both games to be good in some ways, and utterly dreadful in others. Castles & Crusades is closer to what I actually want out of my D&D gameplay. D&D Next might fit this bill too.)
By now WOTC is basically using the D&D Encounters program as an extended preview of 5th edition D&D, making it very difficult for 4th edition fans to actually USE the current modules for play.
So instead of going to Next, the local venue runners have decided to go to Pathfinder!
(I would lie if I haven't at least been a little instrumental in pushing them over to it. Not a large degree, but some cheerleading and mention of the game repeatedly has helped a bit. Just a BIT though!)
So instead of D&D Encounters we are moving to Pathfinder Society which is Paizo's organized weekly short game session deal.
It has a TON of PDF pages to read to see what and what not is legal for play, and in many cases you have to "earn" the right to use certain classes, races, and the like. To me this is kind of assy as PF Society does allow you to use whatever you have books you purchased, but some things you need to do stupid things to play them in game.
Even moreso as a LOT of Pathfinder is available as free website pages to read or print out. Which is good given how ridiculously large just the Core Rulebook is.
(And I vastly prefer the Beginner Box set they did. Sadly they never made an Expert Box with additional races, classes, and levels for people such as myself who don't like how ridiculously large and unwieldy the full game is.)
While I have a concept for a character, a Dwarf Gunslinger is a bit too complicated for a newbie game so I have decided to play my second choice, which will give me more impetus to paint up my Warmachine Khador Widowmaker variant model and the Guard Dog miniature who I use in said miniatures game already. (And normally pet it and call it a GOOD BOY. Because I love doggies. Especially armored ones that eat off faces to protect my Warcaster.)
So I present to you, printed fresh from the Freeware PCGEN character generator,
The miniature is a leather and furs clad NOT FANTASY RUSSIAN woodslady (with silly midriff showing outfit) wielding two axes. So I thought about either making her as a Barbarian, Ranger, or Fighter with dual weapons wielding.
Given her outfit and my thoughts of a nimble woodswoman hunting enemies of the Motherland in snow covered forests Ranger ended up being a superior choice over the Barbarian. With her Dexterity based combat style the Barbarian Rage ability isn't as useful and a Fighter loses out on skills.
So Rangers get some handy woodsy skills, the good old Preferred Enemy power, and later on a pet and some Druidic magic!
(If you wish to know a bit more about how the Pathfinder Ranger rolls, here you go: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/classes/ranger.html#_ranger )
So she is pretty damned evasive, has a fair damage accuracy and output, and will get better as she goes. (Weapon Focus and Specialization are normal feats I plan on grabbing. My 2nd level Ranger feat will be Quick Draw which will allow her to more accurately charge into combat with one handaxe for 2 handed bonuses and damage, then grab her second axe next round for lots of dual wielding murderfun.)
If I was willing to sacrifice Two Weapon Fighting as a feat I picked up at first it would replace her Quick Draw at second. But for first level having double swing actions is gonna be HUGE. Also having 12 Hit Points and 17 Armor Class is pretty solid. A pure Strength Fighter probably won't have as high of AC or will have its equal yet with severe penalties to his or her already poor skill ratings.
This is also why I went with the lighter Studded Leather Armor over a Chain Shirt.
Anyhow, let us see her basic story:
Natalya's young life was simple. She grew up in the cold northlands with her mother, father, and numerous pets. Living miles away from the nearest village her father Sergei was a woodsman and tracker, hunting dangerous animals and keeping trade routes safe. Her mother Anya was a druid's assistant and healer who helped keep the local Druid's Grove safe and who tended to the locals which normally lead her to be away for weeks at a time.
Natalya then mostly became her father's daughter, being taught the ways of a Ranger when she wasn't busy playing with woodland animals. The times she went along with her mother to deal with medical needs and the like of nearby villages she found people in general and the children her own age odd and distant.
People were mostly evasive. Dishonest. Clannish and self serving. More concerned with money and collecting useless material goods. Animals were better in her mind. She tended to be shy around these awful people and their ways. (Not to mention she never understood most people spending money on fancy clothing and spending the long and cold winter months hiding indoors with hearths spouting smoke into the air. This particularly bothered her during the summer months where she rarely wore much at all and even then mostly because of her parent's urging. The amount of scars all over her from crashing through wild brushes and landing on sharp rocks did more to make her realize clothing had at least some benefits.)
As she came of age her parents tried to introduce her to potential suitors and get her to do more with people besides just swinging axes at the odd bandits that would make the mistake of moving through this well protected region.
But this protection is what caused her to eventually leave.
A group of bandits were soundly defeated by Natalya, Sergei, Anya, and Anya's Druid Superior. The Druid decided to let a few of the younger ones escape, feeling that they were more or less bored young nobles who clearly would learn from their misadventures with the dregs of society, go home, and grow up.
Instead one of them, Windsor Hawson decided to funnel his family fortune into getting revenge. He found a group of young Necromancers and Vampire groupies who were much like him except dabbling with the forces of the Undead instead of just doing a bit of banditry. Over the course of a year his parents had untimely and unfortunate deaths, and his elder brother never returned from a business trip. Now with a fairly large estate and more money than he really had any need for, he was able to fund and patronize these Necromancers and even get in contact with a recently turned Vampiress he would free from her mistress, and get her to fall in love with him.
He was only using them all.
He then brought his group to get revenge on the region, burning trees, slaughtering animals, raising the dead, and finally attacking both the Grove and Natalya's house simultaneously. While nobody was at the house it was razed, with many of her beloved animal friends' corpses defiled and left for the family to discover.
The attack on the Grove was less successful, as more Druid initiates were present at the time, but the battle was costly for both sides leading to the Druid Superior's demise along with at least 28 Necromancers and their flunkies.
Windsor and the Vampiress chose to hunt down Sergei and Natalya who were out on a camping trip, investigating reports of a rampaging Dire Bear who was reported to be attacking travelers in the region.
When they attacked, Windsor was merciless. He used what little magic he had learned from his dupes to attack with summoned skeletons and all but forced the Vampiress to attack suicidally. Natalya and Sergei fought a defensive running battle, taking advantage of running streams and the terrain to confound and evade the superior enemy and her enraged "lover".
As the fight continued for hours and Windsor's resources ran out he became more and more unhinged, becoming more abusive to the Vampiress, and taking further risks.
Using stealth Sergei and Natalya were able to figure out what was going on and what Windsor was up to, eventually getting the Vampiress to turn on him, causing him to flee.
Heartbroken, she let the two in on everything that had happened and helped them come to a last minute rescue of the Druids.
As the sun rose, the Vampiress wept tears of blood and let the Dawn Star claim her.
The Grove and the Forest were gutted. They survived but much was lost.
Natalya begged permission to go bring Windsor to justice no matter how long it took and no matter where he would go. She told her parents that they had wanted her to interact more with people and this would be the perfect way for her to do so.
With worried looks they knew there was no way they could stop her, fearing as she left (with a surviving puppy who had managed to not be noticed when their home was destroyed sneaking behind) they would never see their daughter again....
Personality: Natalya does not entirely understand people and civilization. To her simple hard work, direct discussion, and being true to oneself and to others is the way things should be. Laugh when a thing is funny. Cry when sad. She doesn't get the masks people wear in plain sight to hide their true selves. She finds collecting finery and wasting resources to be foolish. She finds caging animals repulsive. One should earn the flesh of the Deer, the flesh of the free and the wild.
She WANTS to understand society. But she fears it might always be beyond her. No matter once she takes out Windsor she plans on going back home anyhow. If she can earn some money to repair what time and hard work alone cannot so the better. And magical axes to deal with the vile Undead wouldn't hurt much either.
Plus bears and wolves don't care if she wants to climb a tall tree naked and just listen to the songs of the birds and enjoy a good nap in the sun. Or a brisk winter swim.
People are strange.
Quotes: Deez eeez not how vee duu eet in zee wilds. Wilds are good. Citeez are pointless.
Vhen can vee go back outside?
You vear those clothes to hide your fatness. Your clothes would make good tent. Two tents even! Should buy good axe and go make bridge to fish off of. You not be so fat then.
Combat Style: Natalya's style is simple. Attack from the woods, strike hard, strike fast, get back into the woods. If woods aren't available she will make use of any and all terrain she can find.
There we go! A brand new character ready to go on adventures and hopefully not die horribly.