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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. Nate later comments that, "he looks like he might be thirty, but it's been a very very, rough thirty. Yeah, he's in that age range, but the years have not been kind to him".[4]

He met the other members of the Waffle Crew when they had drinks at the Rusty Pommel Inn where he was performing.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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, capturing him and bringing him to Ravenloft, ordering Paultin to spy on the Crew for him.[8] Paultin also drew the attention 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 I (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.[9] 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.[10] 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,[5] 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.[11] 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.[12] It was later hinted by Chris that Paultin is actually a direct descendant of Strahd.[13] 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.[14] 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.[5] He is aware that this isn't healthy, and has warned Evelyn "don't be like me".[11] His greatest fear is that he loses his current companions, although he has yet to actually call them his friends.[5] Rather, he has hinted, "there are people who I don't want to say goodbye to just yet",[12] 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".[15] Strix has pointed out to him that by being drunk all the time, he is actually putting them all in danger,[5] 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, guided by the evil voice of the Ring of Winter. 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 (during the AMA, Nate revealed that his black hair is now permanent).[16] 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 (when later exposed to the effects of a Fear spell, he revealed that his biggest fear was actually seeing the Crew frozen dead at his feet). He could not express these feelings to the others, only saying 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,[17] 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.

Character development II (spoilers for season 4) Edit

Although he respected Omin, Paultin was the only one who actually thought someone should watch over Evelyn and Simon as they were being resurrected. However, even after the spell took effect, Paultin had difficulty accepting that she was really alive, escaping into the hall and slapping his face to wake himself. He implied that he had been having recurring dreams that she was back and that everything was the way "it's supposed to be, but [things aren't] like that in this campaign ever!" When he finally accepted that she was real, his eyes welled up with tears and he became choked up, finally telling her, "it's good to have you back," and "you're back now, and that's all that matters".[18] He was also happy to see Simon return, even if he could no longer speak and immediately darted Omin, to which Paultin gave the awkward excuse, "he's adopted".

Paultin's tendency to place survival over other considerations ironically caused him to be the sole voice of reason when the Crew became paralyzed trying to decide how to deal with Aremag the dragon turtle. He willingly gave up his magic mandolin, but his generous gesture was undermined by Evelyn and Strix trying to take things back and angering Aremag even further, to the point that they had to give it the bomb anyway, which had been Paultin's original plan that Diath had rejected. Diath apologized to Paultin, who answered with a simple "k", although Paultin did comment to Simon later, "you listen to me." When the bomb exploded, Paultin and Evelyn hung on to each other. However, soon after, they began arguing over Evelyn's tendency to repeatedly jump into dangerous situations without thinking about how it affected others.[19] Paultin pointed out that "none of you are survivors", and that constantly being faced with their deaths or his own "is getting to be too much...and if this is going to be a routine, then that's a toxicity I don't want in my life". Evelyn tried to argue that she was just being true to her calling, and when she later asked whether he really cared, he answered "enough", and "yes, you're needed...because we're a mess." Evelyn had harshly questioned why he was even still with them, and although Paultin replied, "I don't even know any more...that's something I need to mull over", he later affirmed that he was going to stick around, despite the frustration of not really understanding how deep his bonds with the Crew had grown. He explained that tossing the mandolin had also been his way of breaking off ties with Barovia and Yesper, who was the only member of his family he still remembered. "I didn't want that to be who I was anymore, and I felt I was ready to get rid of the last...pains of my past, and embrace what felt like a new family".[19]

On reaching Waterdeep, Paultin noted that Evelyn became friendly with a deserter from Xanathar's faction, who asked if she was dating anyone. Paultin pointed him out to the city guard and got him arrested, and when he reappeared, Paultin tried to trick a half-giant into tossing him out a window (but failed). During a battle with several zombie beholders, Paultin took a disintegration ray to the chest, which turned him into a pile of dust. His spirit remained behind and continued to observe the battle and make comments, as if watching a movie. Evelyn managed to carry his remains to a priest of Lathander and use the True Resurrection scroll to bring him back, and he hugged her as she began to cry. After Magnus told the Crew they could live in his house, Paultin went directly to the bar, where he calmly accepted the presence of an invisible bartender. He suffered some PTSD, having daily hallucinations where he would see himself suddenly disintegrated, and clung to a necklace where he had placed Evelyn's ring and a small gear.[20] When Evelyn received an invitation by Omin to Red Larch, Paultin decided to tag along, especially when he heard there would be drinks. Omin's family inn was attacked by Mercykillers, and was soon after pulled into the mists of a domain of dread. A Vistani Dark Power banished Evelyn to her own plane, and Paultin pleaded with it to return her. Moved, the Power brought her back in exchange for Walnut's ring, but she refused, and they were forced to kill it. They were then dragged back into the Prime Material Plane to the town of Nightstone, which was invaded by warring demons and devils. Paultin refused van Richten's aid, even using his body to cushion him from a fall, but the old priest ignored his antics and used his ritualistic magic to protect the church. Seeing Evelyn try to defend them all from a powerful pit fiend, Paultin used Vistani abilities he had not touched since Ironslag, casting both curse and evil eye to weaken it. When the battle was over, Paultin banished van Richten rather than accept more of his help.

On their return, Paultin discovered that Simon had been keeping a human boy locked in a chest, which was a crime that risked getting Simon destroyed. The puppet had drawn pictures of himself as a real boy, and later ran off into traffic, showing signs of being suicidal. Paultin brought him home, at a loss for how to help him. At some future point, he takes a job to uncover what happened to a centaur who Anya (played by Nate's fiancee on Dark and Dicey)[4] had killed, and after he amuses himself stealing her magic bracelet, she threatens to track down his family and have them killed (also because she wants him to father her children).

Notable Equipment (spoilers) Edit

  • Eyes of Charming
  • Sunsword (magical artifact once owned by Strahd's brother Sergei)
  • three-string lute stolen off a bard at the Yawing Portal Inn (down to 2 strings after his competition with Dorka, a servant of the Dark Power Vedeer)
  • Marthane family signet ring (bequeathed by Evelyn)[21], which he hangs on a chain around his neck along with a small gear[20]
  • cloak of billowing (a gift mysteriously left at the Waffle House. It does nothing but billow dramatically on command)[22]
  • pan pipes (bequeathed by Evelyn)[21]
  • doll of Paultin (roughly constructed doll made in Paultin's likeness by Strix during her 50 years alone in Barovia)
  • silver earring formed around a magically suspended teardrop (reward from the shadar-kai assassins)
  • blackened scroll case containing a scroll of true resurrection (stolen off a dead cleric and given to the Crew by the Sewn Sisters; later used on Paultin's ashes to bring him back to life)
  • Canilith Mandolin (once owned by Paultin's ancestor Yesper)(thrown into the ocean and recovered by Nit Luap, before the latter got swallowed by Aremag the dragon turtle before it exploded in the bay of Port Nyanzaru)
  • 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 (spoilers) Edit

  • Nate has admitted that Paultin Seppa's name was a play on the musical group Salt-N-Pepa
  • Nate pointed out that since returning from the Shadowfell when his hair was longer, his hair is still black and disheveled, but now shorter than his shoulders[16]
  • Paultin's favorite color is maroon[16]
  • Nate is the only player who revealed a place for fans to see an actively updated version of his character sheet

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] Dark and Dicey Episode 8. (1:29:40-2:02:30)

[5] DCA Episode 73.

[6] DCA Episode 13.

[7] DCA Episode 24.

[8] DCA Episodes 19-20.

[9] DCA Episode 40.

[10] DCA Episode 50.

[11] DCA Episode 52.

[12] DCA Episode 53-54.

[13] DCA Episode 78.

[14] DCA Episode 58.

[15] DCA Episode 79.

[16] DCA AMA Session.

[17] DCA Episode 85 (1:01:43-1:15:16)(1:19:38-1:21:20)

[18] DCA Episode 91.

[19] DCA Episode 93.

[20] DCA Episode 99.

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

[22] Common Magical Items Appearing in D&D's 'Xanathar's Guide: To Everything'. D&D Beyond.