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Art courtesy of Axepuff on Twitter

Paultin Seppa is a player character by Nathan Sharp. He is a human bard of the college of lore.[1] He is almost never sober, and when he is, he complains that he needs a drink. He plays the bagpipes, lute, and castanets, and will sing very rarely.

Personality Edit

Paultin is a complicated individual. While he might appear not to take things seriously and often speaks his mind, when the situation becomes dark or emotionally heavy, he retreats into himself, usually with a bottle of wine. In those moments, he becomes easily flustered, reacting with one word comments or experiencing 'decision fatigue'. He also supposedly hears a voice in his head which he tries to silence. Being chaotic neutral, he tends to be very selfish in his motivations, with even Nate referring to him as "kind of a jerk".[2] Although he is proficient in sword-fighting,[1] when in trouble, Paultin's first impulse is to try persuasion, and if that doesn't work, to cast spells from a safe distance.

Background (spoilers for season 1) Edit

The majority of Paultin's backstory is carefully guarded by Nate Sharp or Chris Perkins. What we do know is very limited: van Richten killed his entire family via zombie horde when Paultin was a child, leaving the young boy traumatized.[3] Somehow, he managed to find his way out of Barovia and forgot his Vistani heritage.

He met the other members of the Waffle Crew when they had drinks at the Rusty Pommel Inn where he was performing.[4] He stole the barkeep's coin purse, but Diath got the blame. The group then decided to flee the inn and continue adventuring together. When they were transported to Barovia, he became a subject of interest to Strahd, Escher, and the Dark Powers. Strahd communicated with Paultin through Mr. Shambleface, trying to convince him to join him.[5] It was revealed that Strahd had made a promise not to harm the Vistani after their people had saved him from death on the battlefield. Yet Paultin realized that his shadow was being manipulated by Strahd (like all Vistani shadows), which at one point came to life and attacked van Richten. Paultin continued to mistrust van Richten, and almost threw him off the roof of his tower.[6] van Richten asked Dee to keep Paultin under guard at the tower while the Crew went on a mission, but Paultin reappeared, making no mention of Dee's fate.

Strahd again tried to convince Paultin to join him, summoning him to Ravenloft and ordering Paultin to spy on the Crew for him.[7] Paultin also drew the interest of a vampire named Escher, who Paultin pretended to reciprocate feelings for in order to escape the castle. Falkon tried to turn Paultin into a wereraven, but Paultin instead convinced him to carry him away in hybrid form. On rejoining the Crew, Paultin kept those encounters a secret. He eventually came in possession of the Sunsword (even though it was foretold by Strix's Tarokka card), but he has rarely needed to use it.

Character development (spoilers for seasons 2 & 3) Edit

Once they left Barovia, Paultin was surprisingly quick to trust and form a bond with the deadly construct that tracked the Crew down, naming it "Simon" and calling it his "son". When Simon was later crushed by an earth elemental, Paultin was devastated, noting that everything he ever cared for died.[8] Diath had found the puppet's death amusing, but when Paultin confronted Diath about his reaction, Diath came to realize how pained Paultin was, and gave Evelyn gems to help pay for its repair.[9] Paultin would later become attached to other random creatures, such as Harshnag's giant hawk (which also died) and Artus Cimber's ice bird. The latter helped to stir a desire in Paultin to claim the Ring of Winter for himself. Interestingly, even after failing a charisma check against the Ring, Chris allowed Paultin to continue acting as himself (as long as he did not willingly part with the Ring), luring the Crew into a false sense of safety despite his possession.

Although Evelyn has had feelings for Paultin ever since she first began listening to his music in Waterdeep,[4] Paultin has not shown any response to her advances. When she was preparing to sacrifice herself for her friends, she kissed him in a moment of despair.[10] He did not react, but did relent to her request for a song. He also agreed to take part in the Vistani ceremony for her sacrifice, having to dress up in a raven costume. The magic of the ceremony caused him to become a raven in spirit form, and he was able to rescue Evelyn's soul from the Soulmonger. In the process, his own soul was temporarily transported to the realm of the Raven Queen, who gave him a crawling mummified hand that he could command telepathically. Shortly afterwards, he was transported back to Barovia to take part in a ceremony where he would merge with the piece of Strahd still inhabiting his shadow, and become the realm's new Dark Lord.[11] It was later hinted by Chris that Paultin is actually a direct descendant of Strahd.[12] Paultin destroyed the shadow with the Sunsword, which warped time such that the Crew suddenly found themselves in Barovia's past. Paultin met a Vistani there named Yesper who bore a striking resemblance to him and also played the lute and liked wine. Paultin was also reunited with a different version of Simon.[13] Unfortunately, Paultin was captured by Strahd and beheaded, and his soul wandered the mists for 50 years before Strix's friends resurrected him. He then used his Vistani heritage to force the mists of Barovia to let him and the rest of the Crew leave that land.

Paultin has admitted that getting drunk is a way for him to forget the losses he's experienced in his past.[4] He is aware that this isn't healthy, and has warned Evelyn "don't be like me".[9] His greatest fear is that he loses his current companions, although he has yet to actually call them his friends.[4] Rather, he has hinted, "there are people who I don't want to say goodbye to just yet",[11] and when he thinks the Crew are all dead, he becomes nihilistic and blames himself, saying, "that's what I get for being a nice guy... Everything dies I guess... There's a big hole, and it hurts".[14] Strix has pointed out to him that by being drunk all the time, he is actually putting them all in danger,[4] and Paultin stopped drinking afterwards. This changed after Paultin took the risk of using a suggestion spell on Diath to make him summon Shemeshka and save them from the force bomb. Diath, Strix and Miranda made Paultin feel bad for his actions, which caused Paultin to reject them and teleport away with Simon. A simulacrum of Paultin returned with the Sunsword and Simon, but his deception was revealed by Miranda, and the Crew went on a hunt for the real Paultin. Paultin meanwhile used the crawling hand to find and open the ancient tomb of an Omuan warrior that clutched the Chalice of Ch'gakare, and used a portal inside the tomb to travel to the Shadowfell, where the Ring of Winter began plotting the creation of a new domain of dread. Paultin befriended a pair of Shadar-kai assassins who agreed to help him with the Ring's plan, which turned out to involve murdering the Crew and drinking their blood from the Chalice, which would create a new domain of dread. Being under the Ring's influence also caused Paultin's eyes and blood to turn blue and his hair to lengthen and turn raven-black. Miranda was able to slip the Ring off his finger during Strix's magical time stop. Once free of the Ring, Paultin had a difficult time coping with what he had done, only revealing to the Crew that he now wanted to find the Ring in order to destroy it. He did feel guilty enough about having the Ring of Protection that he returned it to Diath, and realized that saving themselves from the death curse was the bigger priority. When he had a moment alone with Evelyn, he explained that the Ring of Winter had made his evil acts seem to make sense, as in a dream, and that he had only put it on because he hoped its ice powers would finally make him feel like a useful member of the party. He told her, "I'm not a fan of apologies, but I think that's what I'm trying to do", and admitted his discomfort talking about his feelings. While giving Evelyn a hug, he broke the fourth wall and acknowledged the viewers' calls for them to kiss, saying, "Chat, you can't rush this stuff". When Evelyn asked who he was talking to, he went along with her suggestion that he was praying to Lathander. The Raven Queen then appeared and announced that Paultin's fate had been stolen, and asked for him to return the Chalice and the hand. When he did, she thanked him by changing Simon's face to allow him to speak. Simon and Evelyn were both killed in the next episode, and Paultin cursed Lathander and demanded he bring her back. Rather than cope with his feelings, he began denying that she was really dead, and packed her parts and Simon's onto Waffles, trusting Diath to come up with a plan.

Notable Equipment (spoilers for season 3) Edit

  • blackened scroll case presumably containing a scroll of resurrection (stolen off a dead cleric and given to the Crew by the Sewn Sisters)
  • silver earring formed around a magically suspended teardrop (reward from the shadar-kai assassins)
  • Eyes of Charming
  • Sunsword (magical artifact once owned by Strahd's brother Sergei)
  • Canilith Mandolin (once owned by Paultin's ancestor Yesper)
  • Marthane family signet ring (bequeathed by Evelyn)[15]
  • pan pipes (bequeathed by Evelyn)[15]
  • doll of Paultin (roughly constructed doll made in Paultin's likeness by Strix during her 50 years alone in Barovia)
  • Chalice of Ch'gakare (large golden goblet forged around a hollowed human skull and decorated with gems, carrying a few drops of Strix's blood) (given to the Raven Queen)
  • Crawling hand / Hand of Hell (given to him by the Raven Queen; implied to have originated from the mummy of an Omuan hero) (returned to the Raven Queen)
  • Ring of Winter (once owned by Artus Cimber) (now in Miranda's possession)

Trivia Edit

References Edit

[1] Paultin's character sheet: level 10 or level 8 from Dragon+ magazine, Issue 2016

[2] "A Q&A with NateWantsToBattle". YouTube.

[3] DCA Episode 12.

[4] DCA Episode 73.

[5] DCA Episode 13.

[6] DCA Episode 24.

[7] DCA Episodes 19-20.

[8] DCA Episode 40.

[9] DCA Episode 50.

[10] DCA Episode 52.

[11] DCA Episode 53-54.

[12] DCA Episode 78.

[13] DCA Episode 58.

[14] DCA Episode 79.

[15] https://twitter.com/AnnaProsser/status/951749924068061185