We have been playing 4e D&D for a while now. First we started with 3.5e skills but recently incorporated Burning Wheel style skills because we wanted more role-playing possibilities in the game system itself.


The campaign was drifting off to a hack-&-slash grinder variant of running through scenarios without much character developing depth. I was playing a Half-Orc Rageblood Barbarian and my role-playing and input to the campaign was limited to "whargh, let's smash their heads!" Finally this slasher found his death, but I had grown fond of my little barbarian and had made up a whole background story for him. The main theme was that he was born in a wasteland tribe which revered the sun. But Ohr was born in a stormy night and was clearly marked to be a follower of Kord. So at coming of age he left his tribe in search for Kord and his destiny. He roamed the lands in search for a sign of Kord and proved his mettle by fighting in the pits against the local champions or monsters/thieves who threaten the villagers. This made him some coin but he didn't understand the value of it and soon lost all and moved on. Until he enters a tavern in Ramor (a big city) and joins the rebellion against Ippah, which invaded Ramor. During these quests stumbled upon a ruined temple of Kord and claimed a legendary dragonslayer fullblade by winning a duel with the resident Warforged priest.


Because I was so grieved by the death of my character, the DM suggested I played Revenant Ohr and now I just finished creating Mohrdus. He is basically a copy of Ohr but of the Revenant Race.

He starts with no memory of his past life, only the Legendary Fullblade is clear in his memory.

Kord did strike a deal with Raven Queen in order to get the sword back. But also so that Ohr should become a true champion of Kord?

My questions are:

  1. How do you roleplay a Revenant and how should it influence the hot tempered Half-Orc? I thought he would be more calculated now that he knows that he has died. Although he remains a champion wanna-be barbarian with lots of frustrations. The DM came up with some rage panting (cooldown) feature if he didn't kill enough while in rage.

  2. How can you find the balance of in-game role-playing a stupid char but suggesting good role-play of the party as a whole? I don't want to come over as I'm telling the other players how they should play but I feel the need of 'guiding' some less-experienced players in defining their character.

I included the stats, so you might understand more what Ohr was a kind of character and how I liked to play him. BTW my gamer profile is that of a "Thinker" with some storytelling.

Character Stats

(Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder)

Mohrdus, level 5
Revenant, Barbarian
Build: Rageblood Barbarian
Feral Might Option: Rageblood Vigor
Choose your Race in Life: Half-Orc
Berserker - Follower of Kord (Intimidate class skill)
Theme: Explorer

Final Ability Scores:
STR 18, CON 16, DEX 20, INT 8, WIS 13, CHA 9

Starting Ability Scores:
STR 17, CON 14, DEX 17, INT 8, WIS 13, CHA 9

AC: 22 Fort: 18 Ref: 18 Will: 13
HP: 55 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 13

Skills (Burning Wheel Based)

FYI, rolls are made d00 <= skill score means success. Each session that you use a skill it can go up d6 points if you roll over your current score.

Brawling 30+d10,
Hunting 42+d10,
Scavenging 25+d10,
Intimidation 35+d10,
Orienteering 45+d10,
Foraging 35+d10,
Tracking 45+d10,
Battle-Wise 25+d10,
Reading 25+d10,


Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Explorer Utility: Surefooted Stride
Revenant Utility: Dark Reaping
Barbarian Feature: Swift Charge
Barbarian Feature: Rage Strike
Barbarian Attack 1: Howling Strike
Barbarian Attack 1: Pressing Strike
Barbarian Attack 1: Great Cleave
Barbarian Attack 1: Thunder Hooves Rage
Barbarian Utility 2: Shrug It Off
Barbarian Attack 3: Brutal Slam
Barbarian Attack 5: Rage of the Crimson Hurricane


Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Fullblade)
Level 2: Heavy Blade Expertise
Level 4: Improved Rageblood Vigor

Items (these are all newly chosen by me)

Battlecrazed Fullblade +1 x1
Bloodcut Hide Armor +1 x1
Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier) x1
Adventurer's Kit
Climber's Kit
Potion of Cure Light Wounds
Grappling Hook
Ten-foot pole
Traveler's Kit

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if a 4e tag is entirely needed or helpful since it seems you play very homebrewed game and your questions ultimately revolve around more general, non-edition specific questions. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29 '13 at 20:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hey, it's usually better to ask one question per question. Your question #2 isn't really directly related to all the background and whatnot and you should probably split it off and have this one focused on how to RP a half-orc revenant barbarian... \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Oct 29 '13 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right mxyzplk, the second question is a lot more general than I thought. I will split it off. 4e tag, I used to have an idea of which system this question is related. I don't know if home-brew skills is enough to stop calling it 4e. \$\endgroup\$
    – El_Jairo
    Oct 29 '13 at 23:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take a look at the tour and the help; they're a useful introduction to the site. And since you have 20+ rep, feel free to join the chat! \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Oct 30 '13 at 10:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @El_Jairo Usually a heavily homebrewed setting is an issue for us dealing with rule questions, but luckily you are asking about non-rules related issues. As such, in general, if the question could apply to any version of D&D vs. a particular one we just tag it with the D&D tag, vs 4e or 3.5 for example. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 30 '13 at 12:46

No event is more important in a revenant's... life?... than his death. There are lots of roleplay hooks that can be built around that sort of thing. Your character knows nothing about his life or death, but that is also a roleplay hook, because he probably wants very badly to find out about these things. He is not Ohr anymore, but Ohr (or the person that became Mohrdus) is still a part of him, and could become an important part of his identity. It might be especially interesting if, by the time Mohrdus finds out much about his past life, he has become a drastically different person: how can he square his past with his present? What does it mean for his future?

It also sounds to me like Mohrdus is not very smart. This could dovetail surprisingly well with a search for clues as to his past life. He needs to be able to investigate and research, but he just hasn't got the brains to hack it in that line of work. That could be funny or tragic, depending on how you want to play it. Or maybe he could strike up a working relationship with a smarter character (in the party, or just a contact) who acts as the brains of his operation.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes I've been writing up a bit about that. Morhdus knows that he has been dead and that he now is alive with the very real image of this Fullblade engraved in his being. Furthermore he has the symbol of Kord which guides his personal quest. My question is rather how would his personality be influenced by this. Sure he is not just Ohr again but his instincts should remain the same, right? I'll add his stats & powers, just to give you guys more background. \$\endgroup\$
    – El_Jairo
    Oct 30 '13 at 14:23

Revenants are Servants of the Raven Queen...

"Each revenant arises in the world only by the will of the Raven Queen. She—or someone she has made a bargain with—has a specific purpose in mind for each soul she returns to the world. This purpose might be plain to the revenant, or it might be a mystery the revenant has to unravel before it can rest." - Dragon Magazine 376

You've been sent back for a purpose

Maybe you made a deal with the Raven Queen to comeback to the world to finally attain the glory you've always strived for in exchange for completing a task for her. Maybe She saw in you something she could use towards her own ends. Given that you character has almost no memories, this purpose is unclear, but that doesn't mean it can't factor in as a major story hook for you as the character and the DM to build upon.

Answering your questions directly:

  1. You may be the same body, even a similar personality, but the act of becoming a revenant is a life (no puns) changing one. The shattered memories only compound this. This is the perfect time to take the character in a different roleplaying direction if that's what you are interested in. Regardless he should not be exactly as he was, he was not raised from the dead, but remade.

  2. In character abilities and knowledge shouldn't have any affect upon out of character abilities and knowledge. Just make it clear you're talking as yourself, not your character when giving friendly advice to your fellow players.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a good point, you make there: "not raised from the dead". But still he is a rageblood, Half-Orc Barbarian. Maybe my view is clouded by Conan (Swarzenegger). I could leave out his temper and sensitivity about his looks. \$\endgroup\$
    – El_Jairo
    Oct 29 '13 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @El_Jairo Conan does strike a very memorable character. Barbarian as a class does not necessarily mean that your character is uncouth, but that he is simply not of any major civilization, his skills lie primarily in the physical, natural world, and that his battle prowess stems from his speed and strength and experience vs. learned technique and tactics. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 30 '13 at 12:43

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