Character of the Week: Jason’s Jackmerius


I’m piggybacking off of Mattias’ article because in our discussions before he published it, certain parts of his character caught my fancy, and it inspired me to try my hand at my own iteration.  The core of the idea at the time in our discussions was:  Demon hunter who uses magic.  After more discussion Mattias mentioned how he was playing around with the idea of multiple personalities and the He Who Fights Monsters trope.  My thought:  What if this were literal?

Since the starting level for his character is 5, I can’t really twink out this character as far as I would like to (see: why Jason is not a fan of class-based level-up systems) which means instead of doing an in-depth twink I’m just going to outline where the character will be headed in their Stats, and mostly just discuss the Who aspects (though they are influenced by the eventual stats, because I’m like that).

First I will begin with where my story differs from Mattias’, and that is from the very beginning.  Yes, Jackmerius had no innate magical talents.  He was just a mundane individual (I’m leaving the race open.  I told you this wasn’t a very intense twink).  But being mundane and a part of a mundane household doesn’t offer you any protection from the world of magic.  The mechanisms of how and why remain a mystery in this background (Dungeon Mastesr need more work), but the result is the same no matter what:  A demon slaughtered everything Jackmerius cared about, and Jackmerius witnesse it.  He had never before seen anything so powerful.  He needed revenge.  He needed to find this thing and end its rampage.  But how do you defeat something so strong?  What could possibly defeat it besides… something similar.

At this point there are multiple paths to play with.  You might think, “Oh!  Jackmerius becomes a summoner in order to take control of the forces which disrupted his life, and then use them against the unfettered one which killed his family!”  Now, that would be a pretty fun build, focusing on summoning.  There are a bunch of cool prestige classes devoted to such a venture (one of my favorite being the Alienist, but that’s because I like Lovecraftian lore).  But I don’t want a summoner.  Jackmerius is supposed to become the monster he hunts.  While the Alienist prestige class does offer a great insanity mechanic (well, not really.  It just nerfs some of your stats to represent insanity), it doesn’t really turn him into the monster.  Well, he could be a monster in the moral sense, but I am intrigued by the idea of him literally becoming a beast.

So the path I choose for Jackmeriu is the school of Transmutation, specifically for the Polymorph and Shapechange spells that come along later.  Not only that, but he can become a Master Transmogrifist.  So now I have a Stats goal for him and just need to figure out how he gets there.  First in this process is the fact that Jackmerius is mundane.  There is nothing innately magical about him.  So Jackmerius is a Wizard (just like Mattias’).  But he wants to do one, and only one, thing:  transform.  As such he will specialize, and on top of that will choose the Focused Specialist alternate class feature as well as the Immediate Magic alternate feature (to replace the Familiar that would be stuck at level 3).  Just like Mattias’ proposed character build he will start taking levels of Master Specialist at level 4, and swap to Master Transmogrifist at level 8.  Mechanically the goal for this build would be for Jackmerius to transform into a combat-capable form and potentially buff himself via other spells so that he could rock anyone in combat.  The early levels will be rough/risky due to a lack of access to any extraordinary forms to make up for his low hitpoints and lack of weapon proficiencies (yay natural attacks eventually!)

The background for this?  Well, as mentioned Jackmerius was mundane and knew of nothing as strong as the demon he wished to destroy except for the demon.  In his search he quickly discovered wizardry.  Of course in his early readings he found references to summoning, but he refused to bring more monsters into the world.  He needed to destroy them.  He turned his research focus away from demons specifically (though he kept them in his mind) and instead looked up ways to increase your own strength. Ways to better yourself.  Ways to become something greater.

Unfortunately constantly shifting your own form and identity can take its toll.  When in other forms Jackmerius began to develop other personalities to match the form.  Some were kind while others were ruthless.  Eventually they became strong enough that they became a permanent part of his psyche and would even operate as a sort of conscience, requesting Jackmerius to let them out or telling him to take certain actions.  Yes, Jackmerius is stronger than he was, and his strength continues to grow, but at what price?  What will happen once he gains access to truly monstrous forms? What will happen once/if he can remain in alternate forms permanently?  Will he ever find and kill the demon, or will the other beings in his head take over and lead him astray?

You will just have to find out by playing Jackmerius in one of your games.


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