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Rowan Buckman
A nice day on the farm after adventuring.
Player Name Kevin Honz
Relatives Alive
Languages Common, Elvish, Ibixian
Marital Status Engaged!
Date of Birth PR 447
Place of Birth Ambleside, Wistness, Amusa
Species Human Tiefling
Gender Male
Height 5'10"
Weight 140 lbs
Eye Color Brown Gold


Rowan Buckman is a wild magic sorcerer tiefling, though he didn't know the terms "wild magic," "sorcerer," or "tiefling." After his powers unexpectedly flared up as a teenager, he ran from home to get answers and some control. Whether in books or on adventures, Rowan sought to discover the origins of his powers and their purpose, while potentially helping others along the way.

Physical Appearance[edit | edit source]

Rowan originally appeared as an average 19-16 20-year-old human -- 5'10", 140 pounds, brown eyes, and messy brown hair he hid under a hat. His common clothes had seen better days. This wasn't a disguise, but rather the result of a curse that concealed his tiefling race from even Rowan himself (see "Love is an Open Door" below).

Since his final transformation, his infernal heritage is on display: pinkish-red skin, golden eyes, sharp canines, horns, and a tail. While he can now afford to dress better, he usually doesn't for the average day on the farm.

He treasured a necklace that looked like a small pumpkin. It was a gift from his boyfriend, Jonah, in celebration of Rowan winning the town's pumpkin-pie eating contest. As the winner, Rowan would have been the one to launch Ambleside's gourd trebuchet at the Harvest Festival. However, ever since he ran away before the festival occurred, the necklace represented the life he left behind. He no longer has this necklace, having thrown it in the river after the fire at Ambleside detailed below.

Personality[edit | edit source]

Having spent about two and a half years talking to no one except another hermit, Rowan's social skills are developed, but a bit rusty. In large groups, he'd often rather listen to others than speak himself.

Part of Rowan dreams of being an adventurer, using his new powers for good. He has the ideal that his gifts are meant to be shared with all, not used for his own benefit. On the other hand, the part of Rowan that wants to stay alive and safe often wins out. Others might call this side of him "cowardly," but he sees it as "sensible." He'd risk too much, though, to uncover a lost bit of knowledge about his powers' origin.

Rowan's human appearance during his adventures with AFEW.

History[edit | edit source]

A Blunder of Ice and Fire[edit | edit source]

Rowan Buckman was an ordinary, teenage farm boy who would never set the kitchen table on fire on purpose. Arguing with his father, as sixteen-year-olds are wont to do, he let his anger loose and banged his fists on the table. However, he also let loose something else - a surge of wild magic - and everything flammable he touched caught fire. His fast-acting father quenched the flames before disaster and had questions for the boy. What was that? How did he do that? Unfortunately, Rowan had all the same questions.

With no known magic lineage, Rowan and his parents sought answers from the priests and elders in Ambleside, a small town in Wistness. With the exception of one priest certain Rowan had made a pact with a devil, they also could not explain this condition. Weeks passed, and these magical flare ups and the accompanying small-town gossip only worsened despite attempts to control both.

This came to a climax one afternoon. Jonah Atwood, Rowan's boyfriend, was tickling him despite his protests. Losing control in a fit of giggles, Rowan shot a ray of frost point blank into Jonah's chest. Rushing him to a healing priest, Rowan was told Jonah's outlook seemed grim. The townsfolk were already uneasy, and now Rowan had hurt, possibly killed, someone he loved. He took the only option he thought he had: he grabbed some belongings, a few days' worth of food, and ran.

A letter Rowan wrote to say goodbye, long after he had already burned down his home.

A Goat and His Kid[edit | edit source]

As his food was running out, Rowan encountered a seemingly abandoned cottage at the base of a mountain. Here was a place with old, jarred food and nobody he could hurt while he learned to govern his powers. He tried meditation, prayers, and breathing exercises to varying degrees of success. The calming practice of gardening helped, and he tamed the herb and vegetable gardens in the back. In fact, the cottage began to look rather attractive, ignoring a few holes in the roof from stray fire bolts.

After a few months, the third and final year of Wistness' autumn cycle was coming to a close. Winter approached, and Rowan received an unexpected guest: the owner of the cottage. An old Ibixian hermit, Kaikias normally resided on the mountain's summit, but spent the harsh four months of winter here at the base. He was surprised to find the chimney smoking upon his approach, and more surprised to find a human boy had eaten most of his reserves. Kaikias' limited Common helped them come to an understanding, and eventually a friendship. He taught the boy herbalism, some simple weapons, and the basics of Ibixian. In return, Rowan maintained the cottage during the milder parts of the seasonal cycle.

After a couple years, Rowan grew restless in this hermitage. He could handle his magic better; it almost never surged unless he was trying to cast a spell. Still, he had no leads as to its origin. His youthful ambition couldn't quite shake the idea that perhaps he was destined for something great, that these powers were the product of or access to some grand scheme. Maybe he had been granted these powers to help people. The alternative, that his flight from his home and Jonah's possible death were random and meaningless, would be too much for him to bear. After reading about the archives of the Crystal Tower in Galik, he set off to the city in search of answers. What he found there turned out to be so much more...

"Burn Ambleside"[edit | edit source]

Rowan, seen wielding both control and fury as he unleashes the power of the crown against his hometown.

The following occurred during the "Ancients Alive" campaign. Quotes are as accurate as my memory and notes allow.

Rowan arrived at Galik in the midst of the magical blackout and the chaos surrounding the Crown of Empyrosis (Yro). Instead of researching, he used his powers to help extinguish some of the burning temples. After this, he joined a group sent to investigate the manor of Bruneld Redmane, a priest of Kossuth. The party fought Banites, rescued Shalyah and Rowanna Redmane, and discovered the crypt where Yro could be destroyed. Destroying the powerful artifact had been their first priority, until another theory was spun. Yro was one of four primordial artifacts from the myth of the Quelmar Great Fissure. While each item is individually capable of horrific destruction, obtaining all four would allow a wielder to shape the very fabric of reality. Myths hinted that Yro would be the only way to destroy another of these artifacts, the Staff of the Osugborn Marsh. Therefore, the staff should be destroyed before Yro.

Rowan's bounty, which went out all over the coast

The Galik Gazette published news about Yro's location within the city, much to the Lyreguards' horror. Their leader, Duthar, planned a distraction: bring Yro and set fires at a sufficiently expendable town, such as Nestle, Ambleside, or Pepperoncini (which the country boy calls "Pepper Chine"). The eight chosen for this task debated ethics and options at length; Red especially protested endangering any citizens. They were making little headway when Rowan coldly interjected, "Burn Ambleside." The town that had done so little for him could burn, and Rowan thought they would be happy to see him a villain.

The eight traveled to Ambleside, and Andif disguised Rowan upon their approach. They first stopped at the Buckman farm on the edge of town. Rowan talked to his father Jebediah for the first time in almost three years, warning him to leave town with the family. He said the moon was going to fall, a white lie supplied by Luther that disguised a more complicated truth. Rowan told his father he would join them in Pepper Chine when things calmed down, and not to believe any rumors he heard in the meanwhile. He would always be on their side. When Rowan asked if Jonah had survived the frost ray, Jebediah affirmed he had. Rowan then asked about Jonah's whereabouts, and Jebediah gently began, "We had a small ceremony, with Jonah, us -"

"YOU HAD MY FUNERAL?!"

"We had a nuptial ceremony." Jonah had married another man and left town. Jonah may have been fine, but Rowan was devastated.

By that evening, his family had left town. There was no one left in Ambleside who Rowan loved. Red and Blumenthal chased citizens out of the planned targets, the cathedral and town hall, to avoid casualties. A crowd gathered in the main square, and it was time for the show to begin.

Rowan donned Yro, summoned a lion fire elemental, and brushed off his disguise. He stroked the fiery mane by his side. Being recognized by the townsfolk, he shouted "Since your hearts were cold to me, this should warm them!" He cast a fireball upon the town hall roof. At the shout of "Devil!" he responded, "This is no devil, but the power of Yro!" while setting the cathedral's roof ablaze. The other party members scattered amongst the crowd to spread the rumors of Yro, the goal of this operation.

The note that went out with Rowan's bounty, along with a list of his conspirators

As the party reached the exit of the town with their mission accomplished, a massive mound of earth shot up and blocked their exit. A priest of Grumbar was here to challenge Yro, which was a threat to his earth demigod's staff. A violent battle of earth and fire erupted, flaming crown against magical axe. Red had done her best at every moment beforehand to spare innocent civilians, but now casualties abounded. Houses burned and were demolished by pillars of earth. Midnight pleaded with Rowan, who was still wielding Yro, to leave - they had done their job, after all. Rowan was convinced that the axe handle was the Staff of the Marsh, though, and he stood his ground. Perhaps it was the crown's power that blinded him, or maybe it was simply his own ego.

As the battle raged on, Solum was badly wounded and hiding. He summoned his courage, though, and rushed the priest. He stabbed the man and fled for safety, but he never made it. Lifting the axe up high, the priest brought it down with a divine rage that cleaved the poor monk in two.

Shortly afterward, a fireball incapacitated the priest. Rowan had been wrong; the axe did not conceal the staff. He had been so sure of it, so confident, but the party could have run. Solum could still be alive. Dozens of townsfolk who helped raise Rowan could still be alive. Maybe if Rowan had chosen to run, or had demanded a more ethical operation, none of this would have happened. Red and Midnight had warned against this. Why hadn't he listened?

The party began the trek back to Galik with the priest in tow, since he could lead them to the staff at the Howling Crag. Rowan had a lot to consider. He had been sent to Ambleside to play a monster, but had he become a monster along the way? He hadn't killed Jonah when he ran away, but hadn't he killed so many more today? In any case, he had no unfinished business left in Ambleside. He snapped the pumpkin necklace off his neck and tossed it into the river, hoping that some new good deeds might wash away his sins.

A portion of Rowan's journal, with sketches of the doors pictures when casting spells.

His later adventures are catalogued in his journal.

Man Seeking Man and Answers[edit | edit source]

Among later adventures concerning Yro and the other primordial artifacts, Rowan grew in power and control while training under Coseismus, the fiend-hating Grumbaran priest who joined their team. He also grew feelings for the burly man before Coseismus left the team suddenly. Some of his last words to Rowan were "Don't forget me," and Rowan was determined to keep his memory alive.

Rowan received glimpses at his origins with wild magic surges that granted him branding smite, darkvision, and fire resistance. Chet, a purported sorcerer, has also helped the farm boy in his search and has considered devilish or demonic powers. Gaining branding smite and searing smite led Rowan to consider paladin origins, and pursued the path of a paladin later in his adventures. The clarity of a tentative oath empowered him to be braver and stand with his friends.

Languages[edit | edit source]

Rowan speaks Common, Elvish, and enough Ibixian to get by. He also speaks all things pumpkin, being the son of pumpkin farmers.

Powers and Abilities[edit | edit source]

As a wild magic sorcerer, spellcasting is something Rowan cannot entirely control. He experiences magic as letting something loose through his body, especially his hands. During his hermitage, he realized the metaphor of opening a door is useful to him: he lets power come through, but sometimes there's a surprise on the other side of the door. Later training with Coseismus revealed to him that he can use his gardening connection to fertile earth to help prevent magic surges.

Mechanically, when casting a magic spell, he rolls for a wild magic chance (1d20) unless

  • he is standing on a square (5'x5') of fertile ground
  • he is casting a cantrip or spell at its lowest level without metamagic

He likes to make pumpkin spice healing potions for others, combining Kaikias' herbalism with Buckman flavoring. Rowan gives pun-filled speeches to bolster the spirits of his team ("Inspiring Leader" feat).

Some Magic Surges so Far:

Rowan in his brief stint as a talking pumpkin.
  • gained the ability to cast "Branding Smite" and "Searing Smite" once per day, 60 feet of darkvision, resistance to fire damage, and +1 Charisma. All of these surges were partial transformations into his tiefling form, which Rowan only realized in retrospect
  • turned into a talking pumpkin until Golkont removed the curse
  • reverse aged from 19 to 16 (Edna aged him up again)
  • cast fireball at 6th level centered on himself, destroying the sunken Ellipses
  • received visions of elemental apocalypses

Attacks and Weapons [edit | edit source]

A gnarled, wooden quarterstaff with a burnt end was his favorite weapon. A gift from Kaikias, it reminds him of long winter nights swapping stories via charades and broken phrases.

In his paladin training, he learned to use a rapier, with a small whittled axe reminiscent of Coseismus' tied to the pommel. Upon gaining paladin spellcasting, this totem became Rowan's holy symbol.

Love is an Open Door[edit | edit source]

With the primordial artifacts and those that sought them for evil destroyed, Rowan was left with lingering questions. At the signing of Ynnis Valenford's newest book, the group met Clancy, an orphan boy that crackled into a fireball. As flames spread through the building and bodies strewed over the ground, Rowan was brought back to the fires in The Ellipses, at Ambleside, and his kitchen table. This time, though, Rowan could help. He could use his ray of frost to help, not hurt, and his newfound paladin capabilities allowed him to revive citizens.

The experts at the Healthy Hearth diagnosed Clancy with a dark curse, a curse of shamed parents. Clancy was a tiefling, but in infancy had been magicked to appear human. This magic lapsed and crackled as it hid his true form, leading to the wild magic surges of Clancy. The symptoms were all too familiar for Rowan. After a failed reverse conjuration with Chet, he went with Ynnis to the hag, hoping her strange magic could break the curse. The hag's twisted nature revealed her true intentions, and both males walked away from her doorstep without asking for what they had thought they wanted.

Coseismus confronted Rowan, saying he didn't have to always live his life in fear and repression. With that, Rowan took Coseismus' hand, and opened all the doors in his mind. Rowan lifted into the air as wild magic surged through him like never before. Every wild magic surge he had held back till this point burst out. His eyes turned gold, canines sharpened, skin reddened, and a tail appeared. When the dust had settled, there was Rowan. Vulnerable. Exposed. Fully himself for the first time.

And fully a creature Grumbarans, including Coseismus, were set against. Coseismus was about to dash off upset, until Rowan pulled a drastic measure. He swore his Paladin's oath:

  1. "Everyone's life has value. No person and no town is expendable. I will do my best to save and preserve lives whenever I can. With the realm at stake and a team to follow, this does not mean to do things alone and uncalculated, but to weigh the heavy value of life in all choices.
  2. I will not run away from friends. I will not abandon the battlefield as long as someone is still out there. No one else gets left behind, even in self-sacrifice. My spells are not made for the frontline quite yet, but I will hold my position until we all leave together.
  3. I will be there for you, Coseismus, till death do us part.

Coseismus, will you make me the happiest tiefling in the world?"

With this last promise, Coseismus stayed. After their wedding (healthily funded with the 58,000gp from the lords of Galik distributed to the primordial heroes), the two adventured together at Cozy's request. Rowan became a true Oath of Redemption Paladin. They eventually settled down in Nestle, where the late Edna had gifted Rowan The Edesian. This autumnal town became their new home, with plenty of space for a small farm and not too far from Rowan's parents. Everything was safe, though, because the frightened boy on Ambleside Wanted posters looked nothing like the smiling tiefling with a loving husband at his side.

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