Plug-and-Play NPC – Paradigm Exemplar

A hulking metal man walks towards you, a smile spread across his face. “Hello friend,” he says, extending a gauntlet. “Have a minute to chat? You seem like you just might worthy of my time, which is more than I can say for the rest of the…patrons of this rat trap inn.” His eyes darken as he scans the dirty rabble around him, his smile fading. He brushes his hands over his immaculate filigreed chest plate as if worried their filthiness is contagious. “Ah,” he recovers, his face brightening as he remembers his purpose. “My apologies. My name is Paradigm Exemplar and I think we could be of use to one another.”

History

Shortly after his creation, the first impression most people had of Paradigm Exemplar was that he was…immense. Pushing seven feet tall and covered in thick plate armor, he had no difficulty standing out in a crowd. Once people got over their initial shock, it quickly became apparent that he was not designed to intimidate, but to be eye-catching. His blue enameled armor was covered in swirls of delicate white gold filigree and his face was open and expressive, more so than the majority of his fellow warforged. Quick with a smile and graceful bow, Paradigm was chivalry made flesh (so to speak). And he knew it.

While almost all warforged were created for battle, Paradigm’s creator, a clever half-elf named Lujian Foxtail, had a slightly different goal for him. Despite his physical prowess, Paradigm had never seen the field of battle alongside an army or charged into the thick of things astride a warhorse (for which all horsekind was very thankful, given his bulk). This was because Paradigm Exemplar, for all his bluster and brawn, was simply a showroom model and nothing more. Lujian would bring the highly-polished construct to upper-crust parties, hoping to impress potential investors who saw the benefit of retaining an army of loyal, fearless, and highly efficient warforged that didn’t need food, sleep, or wages.   

Paradigm didn’t mind being relegated to arm candy, all considering. More than a thirst for battle, he thirsted for the attention of the beautiful, wealthy people around him. Still, he wouldn’t shy away from an opportunity to prove his competency in a fight, and oftentimes a partygoer would have one or three too-many glasses of wine and seek to prove themselves his superior. Usually, these friendly duels would be brief, showy affairs which Paradigm would do his best to end quickly and with style. After the scuffles, he would always shower his opponent with praise to help them save face and further ingratiate himself to potential patrons.

For years, Paradigm and Lujian were sought-after party guests throughout the highest echelons of society, and life was easy. Sadly, nothing lasts forever, especially when one’s creator is caught in a compromising position with a noblewoman in a wine cellar that wasn’t as soundproof as expected. In short order, they were ostracized by their former friends and patrons, their novelty and charming ways no match for their tarnished reputation. Lujian spent much of their remaining money throwing lavish parties attended by no one in an effort to regain some semblance of social clout, but his efforts did little to forestall the inevitable. 

Soon the money ran out and Paradigm was forced to leave his life of polished and poised honor duels for the brutality of the blood-soaked sand of the arena. Over the next year, Paradigm lost his luster as well as his affable nature as Lujian forced him into fight after desperate fight with terrible odds, thinking that if they were just able to get enough money they could buy themselves back into the good graces of society. Much like the last misguided attempt ay reclaiming their glory, this plan failed, and Paradigm’s creator turned to the street drug known as Green Ash to numb the loss. The feeling of that loss was not so easily placated for Paradigm, and soon any sense of obligation he felt for his owner, as he now regarded Lujian, was replaced with a more-than-equal measure of pity and, eventually, even this pity wore thin and was replaced by hate. 

One night, after a particularly brutal battle with a troll, Paradigm picked up his winnings and gathered his only important possession – a small cloth bag he hid from Lujian, filled with all the bits of filigree broken off his armor over the his countless battles. As he stood over the wrecked from of his former friend, he wanted nothing more than to leave him in his own filth and never again set eyes on the man. Yet somehow, Paradigm felt a soft stirring of pity and obligation and so, despite the hate in his core, he carried Lujian to a house of healing and left enough coin to give him a shot at recovering. No matter what he had been subjected to, Paradigm was a noble soul. It was time he reminded himself of that fact even if the world no longer recognized it.

Over the next weeks and months, Paradigm spent his remaining gold travelling as far west as he could, desperate to start again somewhere far away from anyone who knew his past. When funds ran low, he would hire himself out as a mercenary, bodyguard, or bouncer, and when things got particularly desperate, he would find himself treading the sand again, facing off against equally desperate opponents as the sound of the crowds echoed in his mind. Eventually, Paradigm earned enough money to travel to the dwarven fortress city of Kholum, where he settled down and began saving every copper that came his way to achieve the object of his enduring focus: restoring himself to his former glory. It took a decade of labor, but what was time to someone who did not age? What was a bit more waiting for someone who had lived through everything he had? Eventually, he saved enough to have all of his components reforged by the best armorers, re-enameled by the most sought-after artists, and, at long last, to have his precious filigree melted down and restored by the king’s own jeweler. After all, he deserved the best, did he not? Viewing himself in the jeweler’s looking glass, his armor more resplendent than ever, he smiled for the first time in years. 

Paradigm Exemplar was reborn, and he would never again allow the world to treat him as anything less than he deserved.

Desires

  1. To be recognized for what he is (a peerless feat of technology) and to be treated as such
  2. To achieve lasting glory and to be elevated to his correct position in society
  3. To get revenge on those that wronged him in the past.

Roleplaying Tips

Paradigm is a foppish, would-be nobleman whose raw charisma and force of personality is the only thing keeping him from being wholly insufferable. He views everyone in terms of how they could be useful to him and treats people accordingly. He is never directly rude, however he can be dismissive of the “small folk” that cross his path. On the other extreme, he will do his best to drown people in praise if he suspects they could be useful to him. Be sure to use flowery language as befitting a temporarily dispossessed member of the Aristocracy such as he. Remember, though Paradigm may be full of himself beyond reason, he has fought and proven himself an able combatant for years and does not suffer insults lightly. 

Adventure Hooks

  1. Paradigm knows the location of the tomb of one of the last great dwarven forge masters. He needs capable adventurers to help him fight his way in, gather as many priceless artifacts as possible, and return to the city so he can gift them to the king. He hopes this will earn him a noble title for his troubles and he supposes the players can keep some of his castoffs and whatever gold and jewels they happen to discover as payment.
  1. A nobleman embarrassed Paradigm at a dinner party and Paradigm demanded satisfaction. The nobleman, being a coward from the top of his ugly hat to the soles of his ugly shoes, said he will only face Paradigm in a melee accompanied by his men-at-arms. Paradigm accepted, of course, but now is trying to find a group of people to stand with him. The winner is due 1,000 gold, which Paradigm will gladly give the party for their efforts. He just wants to see the nobleman grovel like the dog he is.
  1. Paradigm had paid a local smith to forge him a sword and shield to match his armor. Before he could collect them, the prized items were stolen from the smithy by a group of roughs and he needs the party to help get it back. He’d do it himself, of course, but he simply can’t be seen in that part of town without seriously damaging his carefully repaired reputation. If the party can do this, he, Paradigm Exemplar, will owe them a favor. Who could ask for anything more?

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