"I offer no mercy. Just my heart of cold steel
: Cold SteelPL
STR: 16 (+3), DEX: 18 (+4), CON: 14 (+2), INT: 14 (+2), WIS: 16 (+3), CHA: 10 (+0)Skills
Acrobatics: 11 (+16)
Climb: 5 (+8)
Intimidate: 10 (+10)
Knowledge (Tactics): 9 (+11)
Notice: 8 (+11)
Search: 5 (+7)
Sense Motive: 9 (+12)
Stealth: 7 (+11)
Survival: 4 (+7)Feats
Attack Specialization (2): Swords Combat Reflexes
Dodge Focus (5)
Improved Block (1): Melee
Improved Disarm (1)
Improved Initiative (1)
Quick Draw (1)
Takedown Attack (1)Feats in Red are from the Mecha and Manga sourcebook
Feats in Blue are from the Mastermind's Manual sourcebookPowers
: 56Cold Heat of Steel (Immunity: Emotions), Rank 5Immunity
(Fortitude: Half Effect), Rank 15Gaze into the Heart's Darkness
(Detect Inner Demons: Ranged, Free Action, Acute), Rank 4Device
(Hard to Lose), Rank 5O-Yoroi of the Heart's Pain
Protection (Impervious), Rank 5
Leaping, Rank 2
Regeneration (Source: Despair, Persistent, Regrowth), Rank 22
Bruised, Injured, & Unconsciousness (Once per round with no rest), Staggered or Disabled (Once per round of rest)[/color]Device
(Easy to Lose), Rank 4Despair and Grief, Daisho of the Heart's Pain
Strike (Mighty, Penetrating [Including Strength], Improved Critical, Split Attack, Attack Flurry 3, Linked), Rank 4 (Base Power)
Emotion Control (Despair Only, Touch Range, Linked), Rank 7
Attack: +9, +12 Swords, Defense: +13 (+5 flat-footed), Init: +8
Dmg: +3 Unarmed, +7 Despair and GriefSaves
Toughness: +7 (+2 without Armor), Fortitude: +6 (+2 Mod. +4 Base), Reflex: +10 (+4 Mod. +6 Base), Will: +9 (+3 Mod. +6 Base)Drawbacks
: -13Normal Identify
(Full round action)Soul of Hopelessness
: Cold Steel is a being born of suffering and grief. As such, he is weakened by despair's antitheses, hope. Whenever he faces someone who has conquered their own inner pain, each round, Cold Steel must make a Will Save (DC 15 or as GM deems appropriate) or be Demonized. This is not so much that he is afraid or dishearten, but confused and shaken at the thought of someone being able to overcome their suffering with hope. Also, he cannot be affected by abilities that inspire or improve moral, such as the Leadership, Inspiration, or Rousing Speech feats. In fact, whenever such abilities are used near him (even when he's not effected by them, such as an enemy using Inspiration), Cold Steel must make a will Save vs. 14 + the number of ranks in the feat + Initiator's Chr modifier. If he fails, Cold Steel is demoralized for a number of rounds equil to how long the effect of the feat would have lasted + the user's Charisma bonus.Hesitation
: Cold Steel's existence is, ultimately, due to heartbreak. As such, love, particularly impossible love, is important to him, to the point that it dictates his actions. Cold Steel will not strike down someone who is helpless in front of their true love, and will hesitate to do so if they can fight back (he will not attack them unless attacked first, and even then, he will only act in defense).Total Cost
Abilities 28 + Skills 17 (68 ranks) + Feats 25 + Powers 56 + Combat 38 + Saves 16 – Drawbacks 13 = 165/165Trade Offs
+3 Attack/-3 Damage
+3 Defense/-3 ToughnessCharacter InfoReal Name
: 27 (at time of sealing)Height
: Many know the story of the Seven Samurai. It starts with simple rice farmers being threatened and extorted by bandits. The rice farmers, tired of being oppressed, decide to higher samurai to fight the bandits, but being poor, they can only pay with rice, so the elder tells them to go and find "hungry samurai." They find seven noble souls, who agree to fight for them out of kindness and true dedication to Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, the code of the samurai. Eventually, the seven are victorious, but at the cost of four of the samurai's lives. Truly, a great tale.
That's only part of the story; the happy part. Two of the samurai, Kambei and Katsushiro, the master and the student, where members of the Lions of Bushido, an earlier Japanese sect of the Order of the Knights-Errant. Katsushiro had fallen in love with a village girl, and planned to stay with her. Only, during the final battle, tragedy struck, and his beloved was killed. Consumed with sorrow beyond words, Katsushiro went on a bloodlust fueled rampage that frightened the other samurai. The young novice cut down more bandits than any of the veteran samurai, finally coming to the bandit leader. The leader, knowing he could not contend with such fury, dropped his sword and surrendered. Screaming in rage, Katsushiro struck him with his fist, braking the man's jaw. Katsu proceed to beat the man into the dirt with his fists, becoming more and more crazed with each strike. Kyuzo, another of the samurai, saw what the once gentle youth was doing, and attempted to stop him. Filled with rage and blood-fever, Katsushiro attacked his ally. Kyuzo, unable to kill his friend and thusly unwilling to use his full skill, was eventually killed. As soon as Kyuzo's blood splattered on Katsu's enchanted armor, the holy enchantment activated, paralyzing it's wearer. Realizing what he had done, Katsu's rage turned to horror and shame, and he was filled with regret. But surely, Kambei would be able to help him atone.
But when Kambei discovered what had happened, instead of trying to help or even listen to his student, he turned and walked away, Katsu's pleas falling on deft ears.
And so, Katsu was left alone on the dead battlefield, and his sorrow and regret turned to hate. He hated the bandits for killing his love. He hated Kyuzo for stopping him from killing the bandit leader, and for dying; wasn't he the most skilled of them all? He hated his teacher for abandoning him in his darkest hour. But most of all, Katsushiro hated himself. He failed to protect his beloved, he killed his friend, and he turned his teacher against himself. And so, his hatred boiled and festered, burning his once soft heart until it was black and hard, like fire on steel.
It was then that the fallen samurai heard the voice. It whispered to him, coming from somewhere in him yet right next to him at the same time. It told Katsu that his suffering and pain where the stepping stones to discovering the true path, the way to victory. It could help him master his armor, whisper him the secrets he would need to know if he wanted vengeance against the world. Katsu demanded to know who the voice was, and it responded that it had no name, and if Katsushiro wanted its help, the samurai would need to give it his. It was then that Katsu realized the voice belonged to an Oni, a demon, and it wanted his name so that he could be its tool. Wanting to retain what little honor he still had, Katsushiro refused. But then the Oni offered him something more valuable: it could whisper the secret of how Katsu could see his beloved again. His broken heart trembling with hope, Katsushiro agreed, giving the Oni his name, and in return, it granted him it's power, that of suffering. Fuelled by this new power, he was able to control his armor, breaking the enchantment and freeing himself.
The demon, revealing itself as the Oni of the Heart's Pain, began teaching his student, now called Hiyako, or Cold Steel, the code of Shourido
, or the Way of Victory. Unlike Bushido, which taught duty to others, Shourido was a code to oneself, placing success above all else. And so, Hiyako gathered forth his own band of ronin, or fallen samurai, and taught them his dark code. Together, they became a fearsome force known as the Wolves of Shourido, mocking the noble Lions of Bushido that Cold Steel was once part of.
For years, the Wolves where active, killing bushi who where considered paragons of Bushido and spreading the teachings of Shourido across the land. Try as he might, the Shogun, the leader of the samurai, could not root the Wolves from the land. They're leader, the cunning man known as Hiyako, was rumored to have the power of an Oni. He and his followers could come and go like shadows with the rise and setting of the sun. Finally, unable to endure the death of his noblest followers and the unrest caused by Shourido's teachings, the Shogun swallowed his pride and called forth for any bushi, samurai or ronin, that could bring him the head of Hiyako. To his surprise, two men came forth: Kambei, the ronin leader of the Lions of Bushido, and the High Priest of Amaterasu, the sun goddess and highest deity of all Shinto faith. Kambei reveled that the men the Wolves of Shourido where hunting where members of the Lions of Bushido, and the High Priest explained why. The Lions had cast a sealing spell over a hundred years ago, keeping the strongest of Oni from entering the this world. The keepers of the seal had passed on the enchantment to their successors, protecting the enchantment. And so the Oni of the Heart's Pain was using the Wolves of Shourido to kill off the Lions, destroying the seal and loosing Oni upon the world. But, with the Shogun's aid, they could be stopped.
Hiyako heard that the Lions of Bushido where now recognized as a formal organization and their leader, his old teacher, had been taken into service of the Shogun as his personal Yojimbo, or bodyguard, his life as a ronin forgiven and erased. Disgusted that Kambei, the man who condemned Hiyako years ago, was being a second chance and a title he did not earn, Hiyako gathered his Wolves, intent on killing Kambei and the rest of the Lions in one night.
Using the power of the Oni, the Wolves walked through the shadows into the Lions of Bushido's new headquarters, planning on assassinating them in their sleep. As soon as they shifted into the main hall, a dozen enchanted mirrors blazed forth the light of Amaterasu, casting away the Wolves' Oni magic while countless samurai, fully armored and armed, sprang forth, led by Kambei. It was a trap!
Even without their dark power, Hiyako and his bushi where still warriors proud, and had trained for years together. They fought back hard, the madness of battle saw the death of dozens on both sides in the bloody melee. Eventually, Hiyako met Kambei, and issued forth a challenge of personal combat, demanding that the Paragon of Bushido test his strength against the Founder of Shourido.
At first, the two where evenly matched: Kambei's experience and discipline keeping Hiyako's swiftness and guile in check, while the youth's vigor was able to keep up with the veteran's battle trained endurance. However, when it seemed that the Lion of Bushido was gaining an edge, the Wolf ripped of his mempo, his armored face mask, revealing himself as Kambei's old student, Katsushiro. The fallen samurai taunted Kambei, saying that he was the cause of Katsushiro's fall and the founding the Wolves of Shourido. He was responsible for all the death and darkness. Once again, he had failed.
For a brief moment, Kambei believed his former student. For a brief moment, he doubted Bushido. And that was all it took.
Hiyako felt his teacher's wavering spirit, and knew that his ploy had worked. Calling on the strength he drew from Shourido, Hiyako unleashed as much of the Oni of the Heart's Pain's power as he could muster, aiming it at the illuminating mirrors. The mirrors had been linked to Kambei's dedication to the way of the warrior, and where weakened by his loss of faith. And so, Hiyako's dark power shattered them, allowing him to fully draw on the power from the Oni. And enough of the Lions of Bushido had been killed for the Oni of Heart's Pain to manifest itself though Hiyako, allowing him to become an avatar for it. Terrible and powerful, Hiyako stood before the frightened Lions, feasting on their dread. And yet, for all his power, the Oni vessel did not act.
Now on with his dark master, Hiyako' mind was one with the Oni of Heart's Pain. And so, he now knew the truth. Heart's Pain could never reunite him with his beloved. His reward, his existence, had all been a lie!
Seeing the dark creature's hesitation, Kambei and the High Priest acted, finishing the plan they had started. The samurai plunged his sword into his former student's monstrous chest, and then cut his own hand on the blade, letting their blood mingle as one. The ritual performed, the High Priest called on the full power of Amaterasu just as the dawn started to rise. The vessel of the Oni Lord twisted in pain as the light burned the inky darkness away from the human. Soon, Hiyako was freed from the demon. However, the spell was not yet complete. The Oni Lord was still bond to its servant, and if they killed Hiyako, it would only loose the demon into this world. And so, with the last words spoken, the spell ripped Hiyako's life-force from his flesh, trapping it in his armor. The Oni of Heart's Pain, now completely severed from Hiyako's soul, faded away.
By command of the Shogun, the wicked armor was hidden away, deep within a mountain shrine to Amaterasu, the Lions of Bushido given the duty of guarding it. And so they did for centuries to come.
However, the dark necromancer, Cursed Grave, discovered the legend of the armor, and was determined to put it to his own use. Storming the shrine, Grave's necromantic magicks made quick work of Lions, and he made off with the armor.
Performing a dark ritual, Cursed Grave released Hiyako from his imprisonment. The mystic told the fallen samurai that he knew his story, and said that if Hiyako would willing serve him, he promised that he would do all he could to help him get his revenge and find a way to regain his beloved.
To his surprise, the samurai refused to be called Hiyako. That was a name he had when he served the Oni of Heart's Pain. That monster was a liar, and there was no hope for him to see his beloved again. Cursed Grave, however, asked Katsushiro if his loyalty to his beloved was so weak that he would not try every source and chance he could, even if it was a trick. Realizing that even without hope, his duty was to his beloved, Katsu agreed. Besides, if he couldn't have love, he'd at least have his revenge. And so, he was reborn as Cold Steel, powered by the darkness of the oni, but never again their slave.
What Cold Steel doesn't realize, however, is that before completely reviving him, Cursed Grave took a part of him, his hope, and sealed in into a magic pendent. As long as Cursed Grave has it, Katsushiro will always serve him. For without hope, all he has is his duty.Notes
And so, I have returned. Sorry for the wait.
Cold Steel is a character I made to be an enemy of Steel Knight
. The two nicely contract one another, and Cold Steel's ability to see into the darkness of the heart will make for some interesting conflicts between the two. Not to mention that Cold Steel hates the Lions of Bushido, which where an earlier version of the Order of the Knights Errant. So of course, he wants to destroy Steel Knight. However, it would be interesting to see what would happen if Cold Steel's hope was freed from Cursed Grave.
Cold Steel is a strange being. He's not an undead, but he's not quiet alive, either. Cold Steel is partly immune to Fortitude saves, but he also has a Constitution score, and thusly heals normally, along with doing all the other, normal body functions an undead shouldn't not be able to. He's more like a person who's no longer whole. When Cursed Grave stole Katsu's hope, he also inadvertently took away most of his human traits. While Grave thinks that he's just a specter, the truth is, Katsu's ultimately alive, as he was never killed, and his heart, hard as it is, does beat. If his hope was freed, Kasushiro would become completely human, loosing his Partial-Immunity to fortitude saves.
Shourido is an invention of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. I liked it so much I made a character off if it. Shourido and it's counterpart, Bushido, can be explained and examined in this brilliant article here