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Jet Foundling Baldur's Gate example Player Character portrait 1

Jet Foundling

(Baldur's Gate CHARNAME) (Part #1)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Everybody’s got a secret, sonny,
Something that they just can’t face,
Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it,
They carry it with them every step that they take.
Till some day they just cut it loose
Cut it loose or let it drag ’em down,
Where no one asks any questions, or looks too long in your face,
In the darkness on the edge of town.


Context

All the context is explained in an introductory article about Baldur’s Gate. This character profile assumes that you’ve read that.

Spoilers ?

This first entry doesn’t have spoilers per se.

Howbeit, the foreshadowing that there’s some sort of Big Dark Secret about CHARNAME’s heritage comes earlier than in the game.

The one very small spoiler is in the “It’s in the blood” section. This incident usually occurs within the first 10 minutes of the game.


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Same bat-time, same bat-channel

This profile is part of a chronological series. As always, these should be read in order. The series goes :

  1. Baldur’s Gate profiles – an introduction.
  2. Jet Foundling (BG1) – A dark and stormy afternoon in Candlekeep.
  3. Jet Foundling (BG1) – Hit the road, Jet.
  4. Jet Foundling (BG1) – Against the Iron Throne.

There’s also a technical article about D&D and the DC Heroes RPG, and a technical article about Vance/Arneson/Gygax magic.


Background

  • Real Name: Jet Foundling.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Gorion (ward), Imoen (foster sister).
  • Group Affiliation: Former Watcher of Candlekeep, former apprentice to the Avowed.
  • Base of Operations: Candlekeep.
  • Height: 6’6″ Weight: 215 lbs.
  • Eyes: Dark brown Hair: Jet black.


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History (prelude)

(This part includes original material, about this specific version of CHARNAME).

Our tale starts with Gorion – a mage, monk and scholar. During his youth, Gorion served as an adventurer with a secretive, good-aligned organisation . His activities were generally a secret, but between adventures he was based in Candlekeep .

Circa 1348 (Dales’ calendar) Gorion brought in a baby. He never explained the infant’s provenance. Since her skin was coal-black, he called her Jet. Made-up rumours predictably sprang about Gorion’s love child and Drow elves, the latter inevitably abducting Human women as sex slaves. It didn’t make sense, but it sure was lurid.

Gorion never said anything about the baby’s father. He but vaguely mentioned that the mother was a friend from Silverymoon  who had passed on. The monks assumed that she had died in childbirth.

The infant was a terror. She cried incredibly loudly, and was startlingly aggressive and temperamental. Nevertheless, Gorion cared for her with great patience and — to everyone’s relief — the occasional cantrip  of silence.

Gorion’s ward

Gorion raised the child to become one of Candlekeep’s little scribes. He emphasised self-control and anger management in her education. Gorion even had adventuring friends teach the little girl meditation exercises. These were similar to those used by priests to channel divine magic.

When little Jet became plagued by awful nightmares, Gorion was also prepared. He spent days teaching her visualisation exercises used by veteran mages to resist sorcerous assault. Part of the training involved *not* remembering her dreams, ever.

A hardened priest of Tyr  then came especially to tutor Jet for five months. He taught her to sense the presence of the one-handed god to find discipline in all circumstances. Such exercises are more commonly taught to holy warriors to stay collected in battle and withstand psychic attacks.

Jet later learned similar exercises from a priestess of Lathander , but less intensively.

White sister

Jet grew up to be a quiet, mousy child. When she was ten, Gorion came back from further mysterious travels. This time he brought in a little girl of Jet’s age, called Imoen. She too was stated to be an orphan, and now his ward in Candlekeep.

Candlekeep in the Forgotten Realms (Dungeons & Dragons), near Baldur's Gate

Click for a larger version.

Though they were nothing alike, Jet and Imoen adopted each other as sisters. But whereas Gorion watched Jet like a hawk, he was relaxed when it came to Imoen. Thus, the diminutive Imoen spent most of her teenage years at Candlekeep’s inn. She waited tables and did chores.

Though she resented the chores, Imoen enjoyed the innkeeper’s light-hearted nature and dorky humour. He was more of a substitute father for her than the oft-absent, rigid Gorion (or “Mister G.”, as she usually called him).

Neither girl was popular. Jet came across as awkward and repressed and Imoen as hare-brained and dishonest. Furthermore, rumours spread that Jet was half-giant (when it wasn’t about exotic large animals) and that Imoen had slept with half the men in the Keep.

But they doggedly stuck by each other.

Bar brawl

This led to an incident when they were 14. Imoen was accused of theft by tavern patrons. The drunken travellers quickly escalated to physical violence.

Her foster sister charged in with a blood-curling, deafening cry. At 14, Jet was already 6’1″. She picked up a four-person oak bench and rammed two men into a stone wall, breaking bones. Then she beat the crap out of Imoen’s aggressors.

It took four Watchers in plate armour to pin the enraged Jet to the floor. The guards then realised that Imoen had fought at Jet’s side. She had seriously wounded two travellers with a kitchen knife, and accidentally cut a monk trying to stop her.

The monks were shocked, and upset about Gorion and his wards. Imoen was harshly disciplined. Jet was in solitary for two months, and her meditation regimen was doubled. The girls’ popularity didn’t improve either, though the innkeeper refused to fire Imoen.

On the other hand, the jokes about Jet and Imoen being comically mismatched stopped. The monks also became more careful with their ribald insinuations about the 14-year old Imoen’s sex life.

All apologies

Imoen working at the inn, she was largely out of the way. However, Jet now scared the other junior scribes. Mortified, the meek girl sewed up clothes as gifts for the monks. She also offered to join Candlekeep’s guards full time.

Baldur's Gate video game - Candlekeep - Courtyard - Inn

The Candlekeep inn, on the outer ring of the fortress.

Having a 14-year old girl join the troopers felt ridiculous. Yet the captain of the Candlekeep Watchers had to consider that she was way taller and stronger than his men. She had also been trained by holy warriors and veteran field clerics since childhood.

Furthermore, Jet was awkwardly swaddled in huge, drapery-grade hooded robes to hide her body. It’s not like visitors would be able to tell she was but a kid.

The foundling Jet was allowed to join the guard. But she was forbidden to spar with naked steel. Since she couldn’t really learn swordplay, Jet instead trained to wield flails.

She acted as a soldier’s soldier. She eagerly embraced every bit of mindless discipline and practiced every drill to exhaustion to show that she was a good girl.

Growin’ up

By the time they were young adults, the lives of both lasses sucked. Imoen retained her childish and playful character, and was terribly bored at Candlekeep. She wanted to see the world and have adventures. Yet she lacked the courage to run away without her foster sister.

On her end, Jet was more repressed than ever. She was trying embarrassingly hard to be a model guardswoman. But what she really wanted was to be a library nun, or maybe a seamstress. The thought of physical violence made her uneasy, as did the idea of marriage (or even a casual relationship).

Both girls were now considered to be outsiders to the regimented Keep, despite having grown up there. The sisters were also increasingly lonely, as their personalities were drifting apart. Though they were each other’s only friend, they could see that they would eventually have little in common.

Yet they doggedly stuck with each other. The diminutive Imoen felt safe with Jet around, and the increasingly depressive Jet felt much better with Imoen to cheer her up.


Soundtrack

The Baldur’s Gate EE soundtrack fits.

 

*Some* bits from BG games musics are on Amazon .


Description

As a young adult, Jet is towering — about 1.98m — and she’s still growing.

Her skin tone is also extraordinarily dark. This unusual appearance has shaped her entire life.

Her unique complexion could lead some to mistake her for a Drow , were it not for her gigantic stature and tightly curled black hair. By Earth standards the closest tone would be some Nilotic “blue Black” folks. But there’s even more dark blue and less orange in the mix, and Jet’s features don’t look that Nilotic-ish.

She would be underweight were she not remarkably muscular. Her build evoke a lean, mean professional boxer with whipcord muscle. ”Statuesque” would definitely come to mind were Foundling more comfortable with herself.

Jet talks softly in order to sound more girly and less intimidating. She’s self-conscious about her voice since it can be INCREDIBLY LOUD. As in “gives orders across a battlefield, breaks the 120 db threshold” loud. She might be able to kill a small gnome just by yelling at them.

Clothing

Ms. Foundling is self-conscious about her physique, and the way people stare at her. She thus prefers to wear heavy, hooded robes. If among others she’ll prefer to sit, or squat, or otherwise not tower over them. She often keeps her hood on because she thinks her hair is ugly (it’s not).

A sewing enthusiast, Jet Foundling decorates her thick robes with intricate patterns in warm and shiny colours. These distinctive garments help her feel less awkward in public.

Since she tends to be cold (it’s a long way from her heart to her extremities, and she’s low on fat), Jet routinely wears multiple layers. For instance there’ll likely be an everyday work dress under the heavy robes, and quite possibly a shawl over it all.

Plus, she hates catching colds, since her sneezes are deafening.


Personality

Jet is awkward, repressed, shy, gloomy, hesitant and self-effacing.  She’s also naïve, sheltered, and bad at saying “no”.

Baldur's Gate video game - Candlekeep - Courtyard - Fountains

Imoen blabbering in Candlekeep’s second ring/courtyard.

On the other hand she’s highly composed. She received lifelong training to withstand levels of anger that would incapacitate most people.

Foundling almost always gives the impression that she’s uncomfortable and would rather be elsewhere. She’s never sure of how to behave or position her body.

She’s particularly uneasy with how people usually base their impression of her solely on her unusual height and skin tone. But she’s too shy to attempt to project a different image.

Tales of wonder

Though Gorion was a rigid taskmaster, the sage also told his wards many, many stories of the Realms. Of heroes and monsters, lovers and infidels, battles and tragedies. Jet loves those even as a young adult.

However she sees these tales as something that takes place very, very far away. It’s too divorced from her constrained, monotonous, meticulous, regimented, chores-tastic existence in Candlekeep.

Jet likes telling Gorion’s stories to her sister Imoen, occasionally with embellishments. She’s not a half-bad storyteller. And Gorion’s tales are now one of their main shared interests as Imoen and Jet’s personalities drift apart.

Pessimism

When it comes to her own life Jet is gloomy, pessimistic. She likes making others’ lives better, but sees her own as doomed to ill luck and disappointments. According to her, nothing she tries will ever work out.

This is in part why she loves stories. Stories can have happy endings, and even the tragic endings can be beautiful.

Kind and generous

Jet is a particularly kind lass, who likes to help. In D&D terms she is firmly Neutral Good , with Lawful tendencies.

She always has some coin for the poor (even with her terrible Watcher wage) from nearby villages. Everybody knows that Watcher Foundling will help with small problems, sick animals, heartaches, moving heavy objects and the like.

Howbeit, people who took repeated advantage of Imoen’s sister had their valuables vanish in the middle of the night.

Between her kindness and her sheltered upbringing in a regimented environment, Foundling is a sucker for a good cause or sob story. She also can be clueless when it comes to dishonesty and crime. Frex she never suspected Imoen’s activities, always taking her sister’s flimsy explanations at face value.

Yet, an actual conperson would likely not see Jet as an easy mark. With enough experience at gauging character, one can sense that there’s something deadly about her. It’s faint, but once noticed it’s a huge alarm bell.


Powers & Abilities

Jet Foundling is real tall, extraordinarily strong and rather fast and precise. When helping Imoen at the inn, she can easily carry 300 lbs. barrels of ale. These normally take two strong men and ropes to move.

Baldur's Gate - Candlekeep - Big general view - Nearinfinity

The whole of Candlekeep. Click for a larger version.

If she wanted, Jet could pick up and lift overhead most people with just one hand. Then die of embarrassment for looking like a freak.

While her training as a woman-at-arms was simple, she was thorough about it. As a result, she has solid fundamentals with her technique. She’s proficient with various sorts of flails and shields. She also knows how to use her impressive reach in battle.

Since childhood she has received extensive training in meditation, visualisation and other mental exercises. These are derived from the martial arts, certain religious practices, and magery. This gives her a strong, disciplined, resilient mind.

Gorion also laid certain wards around her soul, but that’s all Jet knows.

Other assets

She’s an okay seamstress. But for her stuff to actually be marketable she’d need an apprenticeship under a professional. And she’s too old for that.

She’s also an adequate copying nun and manuscript illuminator.

There’s been a strange incident where Jet fought like a girl possessed. But she’d rather forget about that. It only occurred once, and Ms. Foundling sensibly avoid fights. Punching somebody in anger could well break their skull.

As she leaves Candlekeep, Jet is relatively well-equipped – flail, chainmail hauberk, surplus Watcher helm, medium shield, spare flail. But she’s not as well-armoured as most Watchers in Candlekeep, since she had to equip herself on Gorion’s dime.


History (in-game)

(With this section the in-game events start.)

Gorion had set Jet and Imoen’s birthday on the same day. A few weeks before the girls’ 20th, he grew withdrawn and worried. Though Gorion was clearly concerned about some grave matter, he characterically refused to explain anything.

Don’t look back in anger

One rainy afternoon, Gorion hurriedly came to the guards’ barracks to warn Jet. They would be leaving ASAP. He shoved a purse full of gold into her hands. Jet was to buy all necessary supplies whilst Gorion finished preparing.

The sage left before Ms. Foundling could stammer out that she had no idea of what sort of supplies were needed. Reasoning that Imoen’s boss at the inn, Mr. Winthrop , knew about travellers, Jet took his advice and bought his goods.

The light-hearted Mr. Winthrop was gloomy that day. The rumours of impending war between Baldur’s Gate to the North and Amn to the South were getting alarmingly precise.

Furthermore, the iron mined in the region had some sort of “disease” that made weapons and armours brittle. At Winthrop’s advice, Foundling bought a spare flail in case the main one’s chain broke.

It’s in the blood

As she continued hasty preparations, Jet ran into Imoen. Imoen excitedly babbled about a letter that Gorion had recently received, from one Elminster . When Jet perplexedly asked how Imoen had gained access to that letter, her sister grinned sheepishly and hurriedly left.

As the rain got heavier, Ms. Foundling found refuge in the priest’s dormitory so she could protect her new supplies. As she finished repacking her bags, a shady and dirty man approached her to confirm her identity. When she did, he muttered something about a bounty and attempted to stab her.

Jet reflexively punched him in the nose, crushing all the cartilage. As the would-be assassin choked, Jet moved without thinking. She grabbed him with both hands, lifted him above her head like a rag doll, and shattered his spine over her knee.

Grabbing her bags, Jet walked out of the priests’ quarters laughing. She was feeling great. The rain didn’t bother her at all, except for the wisps of steam near her face because her eyes were on fire.


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Jet Foundling (Earliest)

Dex: 03 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Neutral Good
Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 04 Occupation: Former guard
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Wealth: 002
Init: 009 HP: 004

Powers:
Super-ventriloquism: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Super-ventriloquism only to amplify her voice’s volume. It is Form Function.

Skills:
Artist (Calligraphy and illumination, Seamstress, Storyteller): 03, Evasion (Must wield a shield): 04, Martial Artist (EV): 04, Weaponry (Melee): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Weaponry (Melee) is specialised in flails. Other melee weapons are at 02, to simplify.
  • Martial Artist (EV) can only be used when wielding a hammer or flail.
  • Martial Artist is at this point useless. It’ll become useful later on through Character Advancement.

Advantages:
Familiarity (Myths and legends of the Realms, Simple military equipment and protocols), Language (Thorasta, Chondathan), Rank (Private).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance (Tallness, skin tone), Dependent (Imoen, 0 points), Innocent, Serious Rage.

Equipment:

  • Footman’s flail [BODY 02, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 08), Descriptor: Bludgeon, R#5].
    A flail receives a +1 to the final roll total when attacking a shield-wielding target. But melee opponents with a medium melee weapon get a +1 to *their* final roll against a flail-wielder who doesn’t have a shield.
    The low BODY and high R# are caused by the iron crisis.
  • MEDIUM SHIELD [BODY (Hardened Defenses) 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 04), Descriptor: Bludgeon, Recommended STR 02, R#04, Note: OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 2 APs].
    The low BODY and high R# are caused by the iron crisis.
  • CHAIN MAIL w/NORMAN-STYLE HELM [BODY 02, Blunting: 03, Enhance (Slashing, Piercing RV): 02 (cap is 08), Power Loss (Blunting drops to 01 against non Slashing/Piercing damage), Enhance (RV against Critical, Devastation and doubles): 03 (cap is 08), Enhance (Unarmed RV): 03 (cap is 10), Stealth penalty 2&slash;3, Drawback: Audial Perception rolls have +1CS to their OV/RV, R#03].
    The low BODY and high R# are caused by the iron crisis.
  • Large backpack with some trail rations, a canteen, a rain poncho, spare socks and other basics for three-ish days.

Design Notes

These stats represent the Player Character almost at level zero. Her class kit and her full D&D attributes aren’t quite there yet, as she’s unaware of the real extent of her capabilities.

As a small bit of context, in early (A)D&D editions fighters had a huge incentive in having as high a Strength score as possible. Since it meant stark bonuses to both hit and damage. This presumably derived from inspirations being the likes of Conan or Fahrd.


D&D 5th edition stats

In BG1, I rerolled until I got an absurd stats array (94 total points). I *think* the BG1 gameplay expects one to take this approach. Given the high stats of many of the characters, the big reroll button (plus the ability to store one set of rolls), the ability to move ability points around at no penalty, etc..

Presumably the Player Character’s special heritage is the rationale for this.

So as to match this approach in D&D 5th I re-rolled for a minute or so to get another high set of attributes for her fifth edition stats. But it’s not as high, since the fifth edition allows for attribute scores progression.

Build

The build used for Jet in BG1 (Fighter (Berserker)/Cleric) is a charop’d  one. I started with the charop then fleshed out the character accordingly. But a *roughly* similar build works in 5th edition.

It’s not as aggressively optimised, but heh. Charop is less important with modern rules sets anyway.


Jet Foundling (level 1 fighter)

Medium humanoid (human), Neutral Good


Armor Class 18 (Chainmail, shield)
Hit Points 12 (Hit Dice 1d10)
Speed 30ft


Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
19 15 15 14 17 16
+4 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3


Proficiencies (+2 proficiency bonus)
Saving Throws Strength +6, Constitution +4.
Skills Arcana +4, Athletics +6, History +4, Perception +5.
Armor All, shields.
Weapons Simple, martial.
Tools Calligrapher’s supplies.
Senses Passive Perception 15.
Languages Common, Thorasta, Chondathan.


Flail. Melee Weapon Attack +6 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target, 1d8+4 bludgeoning damage.


Second wind Regains 1d10 +1 hit points. Recovered after a short+ rest.
Two-weapon fighting style Irrelevant for now, as Jet prefers to use a shield.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Baldur’s Gate computer RPG.

Helper(s): Darci. When finalising my portraits I used Ms. Nyakim Gatwech’s Instagram  for tones reference (especially for the eyes).

Writeup completed on the 23th of August, 2018.

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