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Dynaheir (Baldur's Gate) in-game portrait

Dynaheir


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

Context

Dynaheir is a companion in the classic Baldur’s Gate video game, based on Dungeons & Dragon and released in 1998.

There are several other articles that may be useful for context :

  1. The Forgotten Realms setting primer explains the basics of Baldur’s Gate world. It’s the most recommended one before reading Dynaheir’s profile.
  2. The Jet Foundling character profile explain the Baldur’s Gate story.
  3. The Old-School D&D Genre article and the Vance-Arneson-Gygax Magic article dive into technical aspect of Dungeons & Dragons and DC Heroes.
  4. The video game FAQ is the more meta article discussing character writeups based on video games.

As explained in the Forgotten Realms primer, these profiles are based on a modded playthrough. Notably, these add a fair bit of intra-party banter. In the baseline game, the companions receive less characterisation.

This profile, she’s got S P O I L E R S. Howbeit, due to time constraints, our BG companion profile only cover them up to level 5 for now.

This profile is best read after the character profile for Minsc (and Boo).


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Background

  • Real Name: Dynaheir.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Witches of Rashemen.
  • Base of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’8″ Weight: 130 lbs.
  • Eyes: Dark brown Hair: Black.


Powers & Abilities

Dynaheir is an Invoker. This is a type of mage specialised in high-energy spells (think fireballs) rather than subtle charms and enchantments.

Low level

Being an old-school D&D mage, she starts as a weak, vulnerable combatant who can only perform a few acts of minor magic per day.

Notable applications include :

  • Determining what magical items found by the party actually do (and whether they are cursed).
  • Making a patch of ground slippery as if covered in grease. This is useful when defending a choke point.
  • Blinding or partially blinding a single target for a, err, spell.
  • Creating self-aiming magic missiles. But these are about as powerful as an arrow and Dynaheir can only cast a few of those before she must rest.
  • A spell of minor protection against evil attacks.

She has other spells. But these are more specialised and/or would require her to expose herself too much in combat. So they are more topical.

At this stage Dynaheir mostly provides a bit of extra firepower using a sling. Her presence in the party is a long-term investment, not an immediate asset.

Still, her identifying magical items saved a bunch of money. Many temples can do the job, but there’s a significant mark-up. And she can significantly soften the day’s hardest fight with her spells.


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Not so low-level

As Dynaheir’s level rises, she increasingly becomes the party’s get-out-of-jail card.

She still doesn’t have much of a role in routine encounters. But against powerful opponents and when things go bad, she can burn spells and magic items charges as a sudden equaliser.

She can do more subtle support. Especially by using up magical scrolls to cast niche spells (such as Charm) without having to memorise them. But at the end of the day she’s an Invoker, so most of her interventions involve explosions.

Dynaheir is also issued a mess of protective magical items, to compensate for her lack of body armour. The Foundling party is highly focused on acquiring protective assets.

On the level

Like with Khalid and Jaheira, how Minsc and Dynaheir could be level one characters after so much travel and adventures is a mystery.

Our No-Prize Hypotheses  :

  1. Minsc’ head wound is actually a recent one. It took place a few weeks before Dynaheir’s capture. It left him diminished across the board.
  2. Dynaheir lost access to her spellbook and other technical documents when she was captured. Being far away from the Wychlaran, she now has to rebuild her répertoire from scratch.
  3. Having been held prisoner by gnolls has left Dynaheir famished, feverish and weakened.

Soundtrack

For the Minsc profile I went with “Rashemen seems to be a bit like fantasy Finland”, so for Dynaheir let’s go with “And it also seems to be a bit like fantasy Russia”.

So something Russian, and that fits Dynaheir but being quiet, dignified and traditional… Can’t go wrong with Подмосковные вечера, I guess.

Available for download on Amazon .


The Witches of Rashemen

Dynaheir is a Human from Rashemen. See Minsc’s profile first for more about Rashemen.

She is a member of the Wychlaran, which foreigners usually call “the Witches of Rashemen”. Wychlaran translates to something like “old wise women”.

Organised magic is chiefly the pursuit of women in Rashemen. There is at least one organisation of male mages working with the Wychlaran, but their existence is a secret. The Witches have many, many secrets.

The Wychlaran

The Wychlaran is an all-women magical army/coven defending their nation. It practices all sorts of thaumaturgy. It is known for both its ability to organise circle magic, and for entreating powerful spirits of the land.

The Witches normally wear a distinctive mask while in Rashemen.

Some Rashemi lady mages have gone corrupt and formed other organisations. But Dynaheir is definitely a good witch. However, the Witches of Rashemen are dreaded across Faerûn.

This is ironic, as the Wychlaran has been the greatest foe of the evil Red Wizards of Thay . They have bogged down and destroyed a *lot* of invading Thay resources over time. The Wychlaran, and Rashemi in general, have been on a war footing against their more powerful Thayian neighbours for a very long time.

Spirits of the land

Rashemen is alive with spirits of various power levels and dispositions. These are fallout from the magical wars, invasions and catastrophes that plagued the Unapproachable East across ancient history.

Most mountains, hills, rivers, forests, remarkable trees, etc. have their resident spirit(s). Keeping them placated is part of folk wisdom. The Wychlaran usually handle the more complicated interactions.

Protective spirits (“telthor”) usually manifest as magical animals of the land and air (bears, wolves, hawks, etc.). However, some are ancestor spirits created when defenders of Rashemen fell in battle. These will often look like eerie revenants, though a few look like normal people. Many such defenders were Wychlaran members in life.

A typical example would be seeking the counsel of Stormwind. This is a gigantic living tree found deep within the magical and monsters-infested Ashenwood.

Other examples would be their dealings with the mysterious great animal spirit ruling Lake Ashane. Or the nearly invisible ice dragon haunting the depths of Lake Tirulag.

The Urlingwood

The Urlingwood is the Wychlaran’s private forest. Any within who are not hathran (“cunning woman”, or perhaps “learned sister”) will be put to death. The Urlingwood is crawling with spirit guardians, elementals, fey creatures, wards and security enchantments, etc.

Dynaheir (Baldur's Gate) painting by Inka Ottilia EDITED EXCERPT

This striking painting of Dynaheir by Inka Ottilia won a Beamdog contest, so I’d consider it semi-official. This picture is an edited excerpt of the work, to better show Dynaheir’s features. To see the full version as intended by the artist, you should instead check her Artstation page . Do it, it’s great.
Click on the image for a larger version.

The woods are where serious witch business is conducted. This means politics, major circle magic efforts, handling the most dangerous spirits, hearings, etc.. Outside the woods is the small burg of Urling, mostly populated by Wychlaran members.

Urling is famous for brewing firewine, a potent liquor beloved by berserkers. Firewine is as expensive as it is powerful. It could be a big export industry if the Rashemi had any sense of commerce… But they don’t, even though Rashemen lies on the Golden Way trade route. Still, a watered-down version of firewine is occasionally sold abroad.

The Wychlaran even operates a navy. Learned sisters field self-sailing small vessels called witchboats. These are small, fast and agile. Witchboats and their crew have consistently proved able to defeat naval incursions across Lake Mulsantir and Lake Tirulag.

Lastly the hathran are empowered to act as police, judges – and executioners if they wish. It is the Wychlaran who names the Iron Lord (the man who leads Rashemen) and they thus represent his authority. Hathrans must be obeyed.


History

All children in Rashemen are tested for magical aptitude at age ten. And Dynaheir passed.

Forgotten Realms map of the East with Rashemen and Thay

This map has Rashemen (and Thay) roughly at the centre, with the Sea of Fallen Stars visible for orientation. Click on the image for a larger version.

When that occurs, the child is taken away by the Wychlaran. The family gets compensated – often with livestock. Girls are trained for ten years, until they know enough of matters mystical to become ethran (“junior sister”).

Many then return to their community to become cunning women, doctors, priestesses, etc.. However, it is also possible for ethrans to study and train further to become hathran, a more senior member of the Wychlaran.

Ethrans may also contribute to the Wychlaran, for instance to provide magical energy during major rituals. But they are not initiates.

Dynaheir applied to become hathran rather than return home. However, this meant that she had to perform dajemma, a coming-of-age expedition abroad. For more about this tradition, see the Minsc character profile.

Have spells, will travel

Usually, junior sisters applying to learned sisterhood do their sabbatical as a small group. Travelling ethrans also serve as an intelligence asset for the isolated Wychlaran. They give the learned sisters a sense of what’s happening in other nations, as travelling cub reporters of a sort.

However, it would seem that Dynaheir got the hard mode for her dajemma. Perhaps she volunteered. Perhaps a senior sister did not like her. Perhaps previous incidents led to Dynaheir being held to a higher standard. Perhaps the hathran who stipulated the terms of Dynaheir’s dajemma was particularly aged… Who knows.

In any case she was paired with a young berserker named Minsc, who was to serve as her bodyguard. This seems traditional, perhaps in the sense that there were famous examples of this arrangement in the past.

Dajemma

Furthermore, Dynaheir and Minsc travelled all the way to the Sword Coast, which is the West Coast of Faerûn. Dynaheir mentions that it takes “almost a season” to make the trip from Rashemen, but two seasons would be a more reasonable estimate.

Baldur's Gate gnoll fortress stronghold

The gnoll-occupied stronghold, which is very brown. Click for a larger version.

This is especially true since their dajemma clearly ran into trouble. Minsc was seriously wounded in unspecified circumstances, resulting in brain damage. He continued to accompany and guard Dynaheir, but he was significantly diminished.

They nevertheless continued to travel West-South-Westward. They crossed the Dragonmere  (to the dismay of the easily seasick Dynaheir), then went all the way into Amn, or at least Northern Amn.

That they forged on even with Minsc in a sorry state reinforces the notion that their dajemma had specific objectives set by the Wychlaran.

A simple hypothesis is that Dynaheir is a “spy”, in scare quotes. In the sense that she was specifically to report about the current state of affairs in Amn and the Baldur’s Gate Southern hinterland.

In Nashkel, Dynaheir attracted the attention of Edwin, a Red Wizard of Thay. This strengthens the impression that she was on a Wychlaran mission. Edwin started looking for allies to kill the two Rashemi.

Hair of the dogs

In the Western Cloud Peaks, Dynaheir and Minsc were ambushed by a war party of gnolls. There were too many for them to handle.

Dynaheir was knocked out and captured, but Minsc managed to flee to get help. Given his berserker temper, that he retreated was presumably at Dynaheir’s order.

Dynaheir was kept alive by her captors, as was a young man captured during the same general time span. Any plans that the gnolls might have had for them became moot when Minsc came back along with a party of adventurers.


Description

Dynaheir isn’t hathran yet, so she doesn’t wear a mask.

Furthermore, based on real-world folk traditions, it is possible that the Witches wear masks so the dangerous spirits of their homeland cannot learn their name. That wouldn’t be an issue outside of Rashemen.

Dynaheir speaks in a pseudo-Shakespearian manner, like Marvel’s Thor. This likely indicates that she speaks in a version of Common that still draws heavily from its linguistic predecessor, Thorass (sometimes called Auld Common).

Dynaheir seems to be Black, which is apparently rare in Rashemen. But this is not remarkable in a wider Forgotten Realms context. There, populations (especially Humans) have been even more mobile than on ancient Earth.

It likely plays in her favour during her travels, as people aren’t going to spontaneously think of her as a Witch of Rashemen. On the other hand, with Rashemi being so wary of foreigners, it is likely that Dynaheir’s family is still considered immigrants unless they’ve been in Rashemen for four or more generations.

Dynaheir is voiced by Jennifer Hale (yay !), who does a super-soft voice for Dynaheir.


Personality

Dynaheir is a reserved, responsible, serious adult. She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She prefers to maintain a dignified, slightly aloof demeanour.

Dynaheir is highly interested in arcane magic. She likely decided to apply to become a full Witch so she could continue studying magic and discovering its secrets. In another time, she likely would have become a scientist.

She is serious about responsible, thoughtful use of magic. Dynaheir finds wild-eyed magical experiments as conducted by some of her less stable colleagues to be awful.

This ethran is Lawful Good, and considers it her primary duty to protect people and fight chaos and evil. She admires people who display great honesty, altruism and righteousness. Good alignments are common among ethrans and hathrans, who are careful to wield their great power in a careful, humane and restrained way.

On the other hand, Dynaheir has little humour. She sees jokes as a waste of time.

Minsc

Dynaheir feels sorry about Minsc’s state, as she knew him before his head wound (which apparently occurred during their trip). She hopes to be able to get him restored once they return to the Wychlaran.

In the meanwhile, she prefers not to play into Minsc’s delirium with his hamster. But she will reluctantly go along with it rather than emotionally hurt Minsc.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Dynaheir (Level 1)

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Lawful Good
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Wychlaran agent
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Wealth: 003
Init: 007 HP: 004

Powers:
Sorcery (VGA): 04

Skills:
Accuracy (Magic missile): 06, Occultism (Occult knowledge, Rituals): 04, Weaponry (Missile): 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Weaponry (Missile) is specialised in slings. Other missile weapons are at 00, to simplify.

Advantages:
Credentials (Wychlaran, Low), Language (Rashemi, Thorass).

Connections:
None demonstrated.

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Minsc and Boo, 0 points), MPR (Dynaheir very easily gets seasick and takes a long time to recover), Minor Irrational Dislike of being embarrassed, Magician’s Code.

Equipment:

  • EVERMEMORY RING [BODY 03. This rings halves the cost of first-level spells when filling the Sorcery( VGA) pool.]
  • Sling [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 02, Ammo: 01] and a bunch of sling stones.

Dynaheir (Level 5)

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Lawful Good
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Wychlaran agent
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Wealth: 004
Init: 007 HP: 020

Powers:
Sorcery (VGA): 06

Skills:
Accuracy (Magic missile): 08, Occultism (Occult knowledge, Rituals): 05, Weaponry (Missile): 03, Weaponry (Melee): 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Weaponry (Missile) is specialised in slings. Other missile weapons are at 01, to simplify.
  • Weaponry (Melee) is specialised in daggers and staves. Other melee weapons are at 00, to simplify.

Advantages:
Credentials (Wychlaran, Low), Language (Rashemi, Thorass).

Connections:
None demonstrated.

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Minsc and Boo, 0 points), MPR (Dynaheir very easily gets seasick and takes a long time to recover), Minor Irrational Dislike of being embarrassed, Magician’s Code.

Equipment:

  • EVERMEMORY RING [BODY 03. This rings halves the cost of first-level spells when filling the Sorcery( VGA) pool.]
  • BATALISTA’S PASSPORT [BODY 04, Flame immunity: 02].
    This ring was forged by the mage Batalista to explore the plane of elemental fire. It was enchanted with the help of salamanders from that plane. But he treated them so badly they engineered his death once he was in their realm.
  • Sling +1 [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 02, Ammo: 01, Advantage: +1] and a bunch of sling stones. Five of these are +1 stones (for a total of +2 Advantage on the shot), which are also useful to hit creatures immune to non-magical weapons.
  • Heart of the golem [BODY 07, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 07), Descriptor: Piercing, Slashing, Advantage: +2].
    This ancient blackened dagger was forged from the arcane metals of an iron golem.
  • ROBE OF THE GOOD ARCHMAGI [BODY 04, Blunting: 03, Enhance (Slashing, Piercing RV): 02 (cap is 08), Power Loss (Blunting drops to 01 against non Slashing/Piercing damage), Stealth penalty 0/1, Partial Coverage (Long Coat), Drawback: Can only be worn by a good-aligned wizard (0 pts), Advantage: +1].
    These enchanted robes can readily be compared to a chainmail hauberk in terms of effectiveness.
  • CLOAK OF PROTECTION +1 [BODY 03, Advantage: +1].
  • ELVES’ BANE [BODY 03, Enhance (OV against missiles): 01 (cap is 08), Enhance (OV against piercing attacks): 01 (cap is 06)].
    This belt was worn by the highwayman Pandar of Scardale to defy the Elves of Cormanthor. But while it thwarted archery, it proved of little help against pit traps and starvation.
  • THE BRAWLING HANDS [BODY 04, Enhance (AV with missiles): 01 (cap is 06), Enhanced Initiative: 02, Evasion: 05].
    The leather gauntlets are from Kara-Tur, and meant to be used by unarmed martial artists. They enhance most people’s physical speed and accuracy.
    Dynaheir was issued those not so she could win pub brawls, but as a defensive measure.
  • Healing potions (x5) [BODY 01, Damage Transference (No Delay, No Damage Taken): 02, Grenade Drawback].
  • Wand of frost [BODY 01, Ice production (cold attack only): 07, Range: 03, Ammo: 07, Limitation: Ammo cannot be refilled, Drawback: User must be a wizard or similar (0 pts)].
    Though Dynaheir is careful about not wasting charges, this sure is an equaliser against powerful opponents.
  • Wand of fire [BODY 01, Flame project (Area of Effect 1 AP): 06, Range: 04, Ammo: 10, Limitation: Ammo cannot be refilled, Drawback: User must be a wizard or similar (0 pts)].
    The fireball charges are also saved for when they are really needed.
  • Dynaheir also holds most of the party’s occult paraphernalia, though it’s in her bag rather than on her belt. A wand of monster summoning I, a still-unidentified wand, a wand of paralyzation, a big pile of spell scrolls, etc..

Level 1 spells from Dynaheir’s spellbook

Armor (Conjuration)

Cost: 24
Powers: Blunting: 02, Damage capacity: 02, Duration: 13, Enhance (Physical RV): 01 (cap is 05).
Notes: This magical field covers the caster, protecting them as if it were body armour. It weighs nothing, doesn’t hinder movement and lasts for 8 hours.
Notes: Body armour is more efficient in DC Heroes than in D&D. Here I went with the spell’s text (equivalent of wearing splint mail) rather than an AC simulation.

Blindness (Illusion)

Cost: 9
Powers: Flash, aaahaaaa (Saviour of the universe): 04

Burning Hands (Alteration)

Cost: 6
Powers: Flame Project: 04
Bonuses and Limitations: Flame Project has a Range of 0, but has Multi-Attack 1.

Chill Touch (Necromancy)

Cost: 17
Powers: Claws: 04, Flash: 03
Bonuses and Limitations: EV and Flash (aaahaaaa) are Combined, both have the “cold” Descriptor, Flash has No Range (yet he’ll save every one of us).

Chromatic orb (Evocation)

Cost: 10
Powers: Mystic blast (Scattershot): 04
Bonuses and Limitations: When casting, a Descriptor can be added to the attack by changing the sphere’s colour (+1). Available Descriptors are acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, sonic.
Notes: I’ve tweaked this to be similar to the 5th edition D&D version, for simplicity’s sake.

Color Spray (Alteration)

Cost: 8
Powers: Stagger (Area of Effect 0 APs): 04
Bonuses and Limitations: Stagger is resisted by Magic Shield, Magic Field, Shade.

Grease (Conjuration)

Cost: 14, but it’s the one that I want hooo hooo hooo.
Powers: Duration: 06, Friction control: 04
Bonuses and Limitations: Friction control only to lower friction, Friction Control can only be done on the ground.

Identify (Divination)

Cost: 6
Power: Enhance (Occultist (Identity Artefact)): 04 (cap is 10)
Notes: No Duration necessary since it lasts for but one Dice Action. It simply happens to be a long Dice Action.

Infravision (Divination)

Cost: 9
Powers: Duration: 11, Ultra vision: 04
Bonuses and Limitations: Ultra-vision only to improve sight in poorly lit areas (-1).

Larloch’s Minor Drain (Necromancy)

Cost: 11
Power: Vampirism: 03
Notes: Remember, Vampirism has a Range by default. I know, right ?

Magic missile (Evocation)

Cost: 7
Power: Mystic Blast (no AV): 03
Bonuses and Limitations: Mystic blast cannot penetrate the Shield VGA spell (-1 pt).
Notes: A rare spell with no AV, which is instead governed by the Accuracy (Magic missile) Skill (BC 5, FC 1). However, this skill can have twice as many APs as the AV of a fighter of a similar level in our power scale discussion. Magic missiles do not normally miss, and multiple missiles are represented by Critical Attacks leveraging this big AV.
Example: Lvl 5 fighters generally are capped to an AV of 05. A lvl 5 mage could thus have 5×2=10 APs of Accuracy (Magic missile).

Protection from evil (Abjuration)

Cost: 7
Power: Darkness: 01, Duration: 06
Bonuses and Limitations: Darkness only affects creatures with the Evil alignment, Darkness has a further +4 APs Special Volume Bonus.
Note: Summoned fiends cannot enter the Darkness, but this is considered a small Drawback of theirs rather than a property of the Darkness. Neither can they shoot magic into the Darkness .

Shield (Evocation)

Cost: 9
Powers: Duration: 10, Enhance (Physical RV): 02 (cap is 05), Enhance (Ranged OV): 02 (cap is 05).
Bonuses and Limitations: Can only affect the caster (-1).
Notes: Creates an invisible barrier floating in front of the caster.


Level 2 spells from Dynaheir’s spellbook

Blur (Illusion)

Cost: 8
Powers: Duration: 04, Evasion (Caster only): 05
Note: Causes the visual outline of the caster to waver and shift, perhaps a bit like Shade the Changing Man.

Detect Evil (Divination)

Cost: 4
Power: Detect (Evil alignments): 03

Detect Invisibility (Divination)

Cost: 7
Power: Thermal vision: 05, True sight (Mystical concealment only): 05
Notes: This is full-on Thermal Vision, so it can beat low APs of invisibility. It will also pick up people hiding in the shadows, in bushes, etc.. The True Sight component cannot pierce illusions, but it’ll see astral , out-of-phase, magically obfuscated, etc. subjects.

Glitterdust (Conjuration)

Cost: 18
Powers: Neutralize: 04, Flash (Selective Area of Effect 2 APs): 05
Bonuses and Limitations: Neutralize has No Range, but it’s Combined with Flash, can ride Flash’s (aaahaaa) range and is active in Flash’s Area of Effect. Neutralize can only attack Invisibility and similar powers, by making exposed subjects shimmer.
Notes: Saturates an area with gleaming particles. The selective area of effect is usually used to only target enemies. Lots of oomph for a level 2 spell.

Horror (Necromancy)

Cost: 10
Power: Aura of fear: 04

Mirror Image (Illusion)

Cost: 10
Power: Duration: 04, Illusion (Mirror Image only): 05

Stinking cloud (Evocation)

Cost: 11
Power: Chemical attack (Area of effect 2 APs): 03, Duration: 04
Notes: A big cloud of tear gas, essentially.

Strength (Alteration)

Cost: 6
Power: Duration: 07, Enhance (STR): 01 (cap is 05)

Web (Evocation)

Cost: 14
Powers: Duration: 08, Snare (Area of Effect 2 APs): 05
Notes: Summons a giant, tough, sticky spider web to lock down an area.


Level 3 spells from Dynaheir’s spellbook

Dispel Magic (Abjuration)

Cost: 10
Powers: Neutralise (Area of Effect 2 APs): 05
Bonuses and Limitations: Neutralise is limited to VGA spells, but should also work on the effects of most Rituals.
Notes: It affects the *effects* of a spell, not the spell itself. Essentially it attempts to cure a magical effect.

Ghost Armor (Conjuration)

Cost: 23
Powers: Blunting: 02, Damage capacity: 04, Duration: 10, Enhance (Physical RV): 02 (cap is 06).
Notes: The bigger brother of the Armor spell is more akin to full plate armour. But it lasts but one hour.

Lightning bolt (Evocation)

Cost: 8
Power: Lightning: 06
Notes: Trick Shots are possible, since the bolt can ricochet off obstacles and targets.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Baldur’s Gate computer RPG.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 27th of August, 2019.

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