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Xylem portrait by Jessica Kuczynski

Download Character Sheet: Xylem Character Sheet

You can find the other premade characters here.


Who Xylem Is


Name Pronunciation: ZAI-luhm kwin-tik

Gender: Man.

Manner: Calm around animals and nervous around people.

Goal: To have a career working with animals.

Backstory: Xylem is a nineteen-year-old gnome who grew up in the bustling city of New Capital. His parents were prominent botanists who tried to share their love of plants with him, but they quickly realized that Xylem’s passion was for animals. Then when Xylem was nine, a fire at the New Capital Research Gardens killed both of his parents. His aunt, Stella Quartic, tried to raise him as best she could, but she was busy working three different jobs. After that Xylem found it increasingly difficult to fit in with the other neighborhood kids, so he retreated into spending time with animals, especially Waffles, his enormous part-mastiff dog.

Behavior: Xylem prefers animals to people. With animals Xylem is calm, focused, and patient, but around people he gets nervous and awkward. He can’t hide his feelings and he often struggles to start and end conversations. He also has a tendency to just blurt things out, especially when he is surprised or upset.

Small Size: Because Xylem is small, navigating a bustling city like New Capital can be dangerous. Even though the city is designed to accommodate people in a wide range of sizes, busy streets full of distractions and large people mean that accidents involving smaller people are a significant possibility. Fortunately for Xylem, Waffles is so large that Xylem can ride on his back, safely above the stomping feet of the crowds. In this capacity, Waffles is a service animal and he has received special training that helps him stay calm and focused amidst the city crowds.

Waffles the Dog: When Xylem was twelve he found an abandoned puppy. Xylem fed him and tended to his injuries and the two formed an intense bond. By the time Waffles had reached his full part-mastiff size, the two of them were inseparable.

Waffles is a mutt with a lot of mastiff in him. He is a muscular dog that is as big as a small pony, with a short golden coat, dark muzzle, and droopy ears. Waffles is patient and gentle, but is also protective and wary of strangers. He is devoted to Xylem and, when defending him, Waffles is fierce and brave.

Family Surname Tradition: Many gnome families have unique naming traditions. In Xylem’s family the current surname tradition was started by his great great grandparents, who were mathematicians. They decided that each generation would have a different mathematical last name that indicated which generation they were. This is why Xylem’s parents and aunt have the last name Quartic, while Xylem has the last name Quintic.

Appearance: Xylem is a young adult gnome that is just under two feet tall. He is riding a large, muscular dog the size of a small pony, which is clearly part mastiff. Xylem has an oval body with sky blue skin and purple freckles. His spiky hair and long eyebrows are flame red with streaks of with orange and gold. Xylem is wearing a simple, threadbare orange tunic and pants. Around his neck is a thick green necklace that loops twice. Upon closer inspection, the necklace is actually a plant in the shape of a tiny, serpentine dragon.



What Xylem Can Do

Class: Athlete.

Body #: 4

Mind #: 4

Species: Gnome.

Species Trait—Heightened Senses: Waffles has extremely keen senses. Because Xylem and Waffles have such a strong connection, Waffles can alert Xylem when he detects something unusual. Whenever Xylem uses an Awareness Skill (Insight, Perception, Survival), he gains additional information on full successes (two successes).

Physical Defense—Dodging: You are trained to use dodging for physical defense. The aesthetics of this dodging are up to you. However you are only able to dodge in situations where you have the freedom to move. This means that any time you are squeezing through a tight space, are balanced precariously, or are restrained, you cannot dodge.

Mental Defense—Protective Outfit: You are trained to use a special protective outfit for mental defense and you can use this training any time that you are wearing it. However you are unable to sleep in this outfit (perhaps it is too delicate or lumpy to sleep in), and it takes a significant amount of time to put on. For Xylem this is a magical plant in the shape of a small dragon that he wears around his neck. This is a juvenile Dragon Tree sprout that his parents got for him when he was young.

Body Skills:

Combat Skills

      Unarmed Fighting  (Unarmed actions like punching, kicking, tripping, and wrestling)

      Melee Combat       (Using melee weapons like swords, spears, and axes)

      Ranged Combat     (Using ranged weapons like bows and throwing daggers)

Strength Skills

 ✔  Athletics               (Strength and endurance activities like running, jumping, and throwing)

      Climbing               (Climbing up and down trees, rocks, and other steep surfaces)

 ✔  Flying                   (Doing complex maneuvers and flying in difficult conditions)

 ✔  Riding                   (Caring for and riding mounts)

 ✔  Swimming             (Doing complex maneuvers and swimming in difficult conditions)

Dexterity Skills

      Acrobatics             (Feats of agility, balance, and flexibility)

      Manual Dexterity   (Picking locks, disabling traps, pick-pocketing, etc.)

      Mobility                 (Using agility and flexibility to keep moving)

      Stealth                  (Hiding, moving silently, and generally being sneaky)

Mind Skills:    

Knowledge Skills

      Arcana                   (Magical knowledge)

      Culture                  (Religions, customs, languages, and history)

 ✔  Nature                  (Knowing about animals, plants, weather, geography, and physiology)

      Technology            (The basics of math, engineering, and crafting)

Social Skills

 ✔  Communicating with Animals (Communication and interaction with animals)

      Deception             (Misleading others)

      Diplomacy             (Honest communication)

      Intimidation           (Using fear and awe to get cooperation)

      Performance          (Getting and holding people’s attention, disguises)

Awareness Skills

      Insight                   (Reading people and assessing social situations)

 ✔  Perception              (Noticing subtle things in your environment)

 ✔  Survival                 (Navigating and sustaining life in different environments, first aid)

Ability #1—Animal Companion: You have formed a strong bond with Waffles the dog. As long as you treat him well, he is loyal to you, follows your instructions, and accompanies you on your adventures.

  • Directing Your Animal Companion: You have a strong bond with your companion, so it is assumed that you can communicate clearly with him using any mode of communication that he is able to perceive, such as touch, sound, and gestures.
  • What Your Companion Can Do: Within the limits of their physical capabilities, animal companions can do all of the things that a well trained animal can do. Common abilities are staying put, coming when called, tracking, retrieving, carrying things on their back, pulling a load, guarding, attacking, and doing tricks. In addition, your companion can do those behaviors that are natural to their species. Characters who are significantly smaller than their companions can ride them.
  • Training: Waffles is trained in Unarmed Fighting, Athletics, Swimming, Perception, and Survival. His physical defense is Dodging and his mental defense is a Protective Outfit, which is a collection of protective symbols that have been worked into the leather of his saddle.
  • Body and Mind Numbers: Body 5 with Mind 3.
  • When to Roll: When in a calm environment, no dice roll is needed for your animal companion to perform familiar tasks of average difficulty. Rolls are only needed when there is a distraction present, your companion is upset, the task is difficult, or you are attempting to get him to do something new. Note that Waffles is considered a service animal and has had special training that allows him to ignore (no roll is needed) ordinary distractions, such as crowds, tempting foods, and nonthreatening animals.
  • What to Roll: The dice roll for an animal companion is handled separately from the character they are bonded to. This roll uses the body and mind numbers of the animal with any training they have that applies to the roll. The character they are bonded to can do preparation for them, or help them if they share the same skill.
  • Calming Your Companion: Any time you are physically present with your animal companion, you are prepared to help them calm down and stay calm.

Ability #2—Pockets Full of Treats: Your pockets and pouches are full of treats for a wide range of different animals. Any time that you are interacting with an animal, you may take out a treat and offer it to them. If the animal is calm enough to be interested in the treat (this is decided based on the situation), then you are considered prepared for using the Communicating with Animals and Riding skills with that animal.

You can choose between having these treats easily accessible, or having them wrapped up in packages and jars. If the treats are easily accessible, then you can get them out quickly, but you smell like animal food and are constantly attracting both domesticated and wild animals. If the treats are in packages and jars, it takes more time to get them out, but you don’t attract animals. It takes half an hour to swap between these two different ways of carrying the treats.

Ability #3—Balanced Expertise: You are good at both body and mind skills. Three times a day, you are considered prepared when you use either the Communicating with Animals or Riding skills.

Ability #4—Alert: You notice subtle things about the people and places around you. Three times a day, you are considered prepared when you use the Insight, Perception, or Survival skills. You may take this ability twice if you desire.


Equipment Xylem Has

Special Item—Collar of Flight: Once per day, this enchanted collar lets Waffles fly for one scene. Waffles does this by running through the air. This item is based on the Boots of Flight.

Equipment for Abilities: You have all of the equipment needed to ride and care for your animal companion, including a saddle. Pockets and pouches are full of treats for a wide range of different animals.

Tools for Skills: First aid kit that is used for the Survival skill.

Defensive Equipment: Xylem has a protective outfit that is a juvenile Dragon Tree sprout that he wears around his neck like a necklace.

Standard Supplies: 

  • Everyday outfit
  • Sturdy backpack
  • Waterproof tarp
  • Towel
  • Bedroll
  • Fire-starting kit
  • Lantern with oil
  • Portable cooking pot
  • Wooden dishes and utensils
  • Utility knife
  • Waterskin
  • Travel rations
  • Rope
  • Twine
  • Chalk
  • Soap
  • One handful of coins


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