Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun

Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun is a major player in the culture of Waterdeep. He is described in the source material as interfering in events often years into the future. To this end ‘my’ Blackstaff is going to be a Seer.

The sourcebooks describe him as just a ‘magic user’ but Rolemaster gives you plenty of different types of magic user to choose from. There are three realms of magic. The Eassence is Mystra’s Weave, Channeling is power derived from your god or deity and mentalism is that inner magic controlled by the mind of the caster. We are in Jedi territory with the mentalists!

Eassence is proably the most overtly powerful magic, this is where you will find your fireballs and lightning bolts and such. The three core magic users of this realm are the magician, illusionist and alchemist.

Channeling includes your cleric, animist (druidic type) and the healer. All Channeling casters have access to some level of healing magic with Clerics being able to raise the dead and healers instantly healing the wounded by taking the injury on themselves and then healing themselves with their magic.

Khelben “Blackstaff”Arunsun

Mentalists focus on the mind and bodily control for the most part. Their magic rarely effects more than one target at once and can be more subtle. The mentalists have a healer called a Lay healer and a Seer who can work with past and future knowledge. This is where I want to put Khelben Arunsun.

Don’t think for one second that a Seer is a push over. Mentalists are great ones for Telekinesis and he can easily pick up objects and throw them across the room with devastating effect (don’t think vase of flowers, think ripping up a cobble stone and throwing that 300′).

There were more options for my Khelben. In addition to those nine options Rolemaster has three ‘hybrid’ magic users that straddle different realms to give us a sorcerer, mystic and astrologer. These are really fun to play and Mystic was a really strong contender when considering this NPC. In Rolemaster terms Khelben is 39th level which does give a lot of scope.

It was while I was developing Khelben that it occured to me that although creating NPCs is a great way to learn the basics of any roleplaying game, for a new game master creating a 39th level character is not the best way to start. I would strongly recommend creating a fist full of lower level characters before tackling anything like these more powerful NPCs.

I would also say for NPCs don’t fall into the trap of always going for Magicans and Clerics as stock magic users. If you mix it up a bit and use the entire spectrum then you players will never know quite what is going to hit them next.

4 Replies to “Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun”

  1. I’ve been reading your posts about the DD conversion to RM and I am seeing more and more familiar names and settings appear, but mostly because I have been playing Neverwinter Nights again. I’ve never actually beaten the game, or even made it past the 2nd episode. Ironically, I have all of the expansions going up to Hordes of the Underdark. There’s just something about the whole game system that turns me off and I can never stay interested in it long enough to play it through. I have Kingmaker expansion and it’s still sealed in the original plastic wrapper!!!

    Anyway… I am seeing a lot of the names and locales from Neverwinter. Since Neverwinter is the most in depth knowledge I have of D&D canon, how much (if any) are you using in your current campaign? I’m trying to visualize the events and people you mention and I am falling back to Neverwinter setting and sticking everyone in there.

    I am on vacation next week and I am determined to make a sizable dent in Neverwinter Nights. Maybe I can start a blog about my journey through Neverwinter! LOL

    1. The campaign I am planning is going to be based in the north so Neverwinter will feature. I am going to kick it all off in Waterdeep which is about 300 miles down the coast from Neverwinter. It is my intention to use quite a lot of the source materials. There is inevitably going to be a lot of crossover of key personalities between Waterdeep and Neverwinter.

      1. That’s really cool and will be very helpful for me when I’m visualizing the events. Waterdeep is part of the Neverwinter computer game and it’s good to know that I’m not completely mashing all of the game world settings together. Without much knowledge of D&D canon, it seems that ShadowWorld is to RM what the Neverwinter is to D&D.

        I’ve never liked having someone else (the publishing company) dictate what the world factors are for the gaming setting/world. I understand the reasoning and I appreciate the rationale behind it; everyone is on the same page, everyone knows who these personae are, everyone knows about Waterdeep, Neverwinter, etc. They are all standard canon for D&D, it keeps everyone on the same page, and it levels the playing field for all of the players. To those ends, I’ve taken ShadowWorld and incorporated it into my world, not taken all of my players and sticking them in ShadowWorld. My gods, I so love Quellbourne!

        1. I reinstalled Neverwinter last night after what you said and yes Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun is very prominent in the opening story and Waterdhavian refers to people from Waterdeep. Another place that get mentioned in the game is Luskan and they are a real bunch of thieving pirates, literally as they are the major privateering naval power in the north.

          I am familiar with Shadow World and Faerun after the time of troubles, which is when my game is set also has areas of wild magic roughtly analogous with Essence storms and the opposite, regions of dead magic, in which no magic will work.

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