Character Spotlight: Lu, Favored of Erathis

For my second contribution to our “Character Spotlight” mini-series, I’d like to introduce you to Lu, a character from the 4th edition ruleset of Dungeons & Dragons.

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Image copyright Wizards of the Coast.

Functionally, Lu is my interpretation of the classic Final Fantasy “red mage”: a spell-wielding adventurer who can cast both “white,” or curative, and “black,” or offensive, magics, as well as being a competent swordsman. In 4th edition D&D, a swordmage is someone who casts their spells using a light sword (falchion, epee, rapier, etc.) as their implement, or item through which they channel their arcane energies. Swordmages specialize in spells that move allies and enemies around the battlefield, such as switching places with a friend under attack or moving a foe into harm’s way, and can strike foes from afar. This serves as the “black mage” half. The clerical half of Lu serves as the “white mage” part of her persona.

Thematically, Lu is a variation on the traditional “lawful good protector” archetype you usually find in paladins: a rule-abiding servant of the weak who lives to smite the wicked and bring order to the world. She is honest, loyal, and devoted to her faith and her friends. She believes intensely in a higher purpose for her life and is firmly rooted to her service to Erathis, a D&D deity of order, structure, and civilization. Lu is a deva, a race of human-like people descended from angelic origins who are reincarnated in new bodies when they die. They are tall, slender, and ethereal. I wanted to instill in Lu a sense of heavenly kindness tied with earthly concerns about those around her and the divine purpose she believes she is destined to fulfill. Whenever I imagined Lu talking in game, I thought of voice actress Hynden Walch’s performance as Starfire from Teen Titans. I felt Starfire’s lack of contractions and the measured cadence to her speech suited Lu’s patient and caring, yet formal, nature.

What helped me really craft Lu’s persona and backstory was my participation in building her world. My friend and co-author, Jinx, was the dungeon master for our campaign. The theme was a dystopia, a land ruined by vengeful gods who rained destruction down upon the mortal world (similar in a way to the World of Ruin part of Final Fantasy VI or the post-Istar timeline in D&D’s Dragonlance franchise). Our adventure would take place a few years after the cataclysm and show how our characters were coping with the changes and working to either restore the world or simply survive. I used the deva’s reincarnation aspect to have Lu appear as a new incarnation just after the gods’ rampage, starting her fresh in this new land. I wanted her to project a sense of hope and purpose despite the crushing despair and destruction all around her.

I wrote a lot of material around Lu, her background, her birth into the ruined world, and the order of red mages in whose footsteps she followed. As such, I’ll split this article into a few posts that give each piece its due. Let me start with the character background I authored that explains in more detail Lu’s mannerisms, appearance, and beliefs. Next week, I’ll share the origin of the red mages and Lu’s first adventure as a new deva.


Lu, Deva Swordmage/Cleric (“Red Mage”)

Lu is a lawful good deva female, with the apparent age of 19. As a deva, she is immortal and timeless, but her current incarnation arose immediately following the Cleansing two years’ prior, appearing in a bright flash atop the upturned mountain now called Vertigo. Lu is a devout champion of Erathis, believing fervently that truth and order are the ultimate expressions of the divine.

Standing at just over six feet high, Lu is slender and sleek. Her platinum skin is painted with thin vertical stripes the color of a storm-filled sky; her long fingers share the same deep shade. Lu’s pale violet eyes, banded by a single, broad stripe of bluish gray, gaze upon the world with the unceasing watchfulness of a sentinel. Shining silver hair falls in straight curtains past her shoulders. Her gait is steady and purposeful; she has no wasted gestures or movements.

Lu’s demeanor is cheerful and patient, even in the most perilous and grim situations. Her voice rings like a silver bell: pure, clear, and measured, without contractions or slander. Lu is always generous with a smile, but, curiously, she never laughs. She is endlessly loyal and faithful to her friends and compatriots, and will do her utmost to bolster their spirits and soothe their wounds in the tides of battle. Lu’s faith, however, rests firmly on the scales of justice, and, as such, she is tireless and fierce when facing down the foes of order and civility.

While the other races may believe that the gods have forsaken them and abandoned this realm, Lu is adamant that they are still here, and watching. To her, the Cleansing was a brutal, but necessary, cataclysm. Lu believes the gods, foremost among them, Erathis, the savior of civilization, would never have consented to the world’s destruction unless the existing societies been beyond any means of mortal or divine redemption. Her sacred oath to Erathis is not to restore order, but rather to build the roads, ramparts, and cathedrals of a new order, a new beginning, to a world that has been judged and deemed unworthy.

Lu has donned the mantle of the fabled Order of Red Mages in her journey to bless the resurrected realm with the light and purpose of Erathis. True to the order, she wears the red greatcoat and feathered cap, filigreed with the curious ornate traceries favored by deva. She holds no loyalty to, or nostalgia for, the shattered realm of Teslamenta, however, knowing the fall of The Shining City was brought upon itself by pride and placement of mortal power before divine fealty.

“As the world was shattered and burned, I arose, new and fresh, into this realm. Those whose paths I meet do not understand why the earth was broken so. Though I am new in this incarnation, I remember so very much, and know, with all of my souls, that this has not been the first time these lands have been seared and purified. Now that the world has been stripped of its rot and decay once again, the time is right for the saviors of order to lay the proper foundations and sturdy walls of a just society. By the light and the will of the Great Goddess Erathis, this time, we shall build it right. Glory to the Goddess, my dear friends, and onward to our bright future!”

About brightmatrix

brightmatrix is a long-time casual gamer. His gaming journey has included Magic: the Gathering, the first, second, and fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons, and the first wave White Wolf games from the late 90s. If you are a denizen of the Twitterverse, you can read his posts on Magic, web development, puns, and other shenanigans at @brightmatrix.