Lin Hsiao-tao

Name: Lin Hsiao-tao (Little-knife Lin)
Real Name: Lin Chien (translated from the Shou, Lin = Forest, Chien = Sword)
Race: Human (Shou Long)
Class: Fighter
Deities: The Celestial Bureaucracy
Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Lin Hsiung, human father, thief

Lin Pei, human mother, thief

Lin Fei, human uncle, thief.

STR: 16
DEX: 17
CON: 10
INT: 14
WIS: 10
CHR: 14

A slight, oriental man with a dark tan and black hair and eyes. He sports a neatly trimmed moustache which he scratches when thinking. His grin is ready but his eyes are intelligent and alert. At 5'7, he seems almost dwarfed by the great scimitar he carries strapped to his back. His head is covered in a wide-brimmed, conical straw hat.

Personality: Lin Chien is a very sociable person. At the same time, he is also shrewd and streetwise, supremely confident in urban wilderness. Lin Chien likes people – he just doesn't trust them. He appears relaxed and friendly, but part of him is perpetually on guard.

He is also unfailingly polite. Even during a fight, he never fails to greet his opponent and introduce himself. Just because they are about to fight to the death, is no excuse to forget his manners. And for that reason, he is perhaps more focused, since he does not have the blinding rage that distracts some aspiring warriors.

The Shou has a zesty approach to life and has been known to have a way with the ladies when it suits him, indulge in nights of gambling and gaming, and make merry with food and wine. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and he intends to live it to the fullest, and enjoy everything he does – whether exploring a dungeon, killing a monster or seducing a wench. His tone is always pleasant and amiable. It is rare to see him lose his temper – indeed, the Shou's lack of an ego makes him immune to most insults. He does not care about anyone else's opinion enough to get angry when it is unflattering towards him. He is, however, not above taking a sly poke at someone else's expense on occasion, just for recreational purposes.

He knows what obsession with wealth can do to people – he became an orphan because of it – and thus wealth to him is nothing more than a useful tool which warrants little thought outside of its commercial functions. While he gambles, it is more out of a need for recreation than a need to gain more wealth. Recognizing that disgruntled gamblers make poor future gaming partners, he is careful about not cheating, and liberal about ordering a round of drinks for unlucky gamblers.

Lin Chien prides himself on two things – professionalism and innocuity.

Once he accepts a job it is a matter of pride to get it done well and thoroughly, and nothing less is acceptable. Thus he may seem rather ruthless and driven when on a job. Anyone who gets in his way is apt to find that the Shou is far more frightening when he is all smiles and pleasant talk, or especially because of it. He has been known to exact information from captives with little more than a truly frightening smile and implied threats, and sometimes carefully applied violence.

The Shou also makes it a point to blend in the shadows both literally and figuratively. He recognizes that sometimes being strong and smart is not enough in this world and it serves for the strong to hide their strength, and the clever to hide their own cleverness. Thus when he speaks it is usually in the westerner's stereotype of Orientals’ garbled Common – a ruse meant to trap the foolish into believing that they are dealing with a simpleton. Ironically, Lin Chien's opinion is that he is not deliberately fooling anyone – if people wish to underestimate him, why relieve them of their own stupidity?

Likewise, he rarely steps forward to take the leadership of any group. That move would place him in a position open to all forms of attack and notice. No, his place is somewhere in the background, always observing, calculating. He is not here to stand out, but rather prove himself dependable, and ultimately indispensable.

Too many rogues try to convince others that they are more than just wealth-minded crooks, that they are meant for greater things. Lin Chien's approach is the exact opposite: convince everyone that he is little more than a petty rogue, leaving him plenty of leeway to accomplish his real goals while others expect him to indulge in petty thievery.

Background: Lin Chien became an orphan at age 7 when his parents, both thieves by profession, were executed for doing the unthinkable - getting caught. His father begged Lin Chien's uncle, Lin Fei, to bring up the lad, but not as a thief.

Thus, Lin Chien was raised under the stern arm of Lin Fei, who taught him how to use daggers and how to be streetwise, but none of the shadowy skills that characterize a thief's trade. And thus the young lad became exceedingly good at using a dagger, and gradually picked up knowledge of a few other weapons. He became the gang's trouble-shooter, the muscle who would provide strength of arms when stealth alone wouldn't do the trick. Due to his skill with the dagger, his street name was "Little Knife".

One day, Lin Fei was found dead, poisoned by an assassin from a rival gang. The gang instantly dispersed, each fleeing for his own life. Lin Fei, however, wise in the ways of his chosen trade, had long ago understood that such would be his fate, and he had impressed upon Lin Chien repeatedly that if he were to die, Lin Chien's first priority was to leave, run as far as possible, and seek a life of his own. Thus Lin Chien would not be drawn into the unending web of a rogue's life, and Lin Fei would have kept his word to Lin Chien's father.

For more information on Lin’s background see “The Lesson” by Roger, Lin’s creator.

Weapon proficiencies: Dagger (specialized), great scimitar, repeating crossbow, pry bar.

Equipment: Leather armour +1, Scimitar +2, Small Shield +1, 11 daggers, repeating crossbow, great scimitar, pry bar, pony.

Combat: "Be like the knife hidden in the sleeve, like the snake lying in the grass", is a phrase which may sum up the fighting tactics of this inscrutable oriental. For Lin Chien, combat is as much a test of mental prowess, as it is speed and strength.  Many of his tactics incorporate psychological ploys, which is why he vastly prefers mortal, intelligent opponents to beasts or undead.  His style is a deadly mixture of subtlety and viciousness, which is lost on non-intelligent creatures.

Not being the hardiest combatant or the strongest sword-arm, the Shou finds every means he can to twist the situation in his favour.  This usually means a lot of manoeuvring and making use of his environment - the Shou has been known to consider his own positioning carefully to allow himself a better chance to hit, climbing onto higher places to gain better vantage point over his foes, and even torches or stray kindling are not spared if he perceives a use for them.  Using distractions, intimidation, and tactical changes his brain often works as furiously as his sword arm.

In melee, against intelligent foes, he engages his opponent in friendly banter, always watchful for a chance to strike, to keep his opponent off balance.

His tools vary with the situation, as he believes in fluidity of movement coupled with flexibility of the mind. Not every battleground is the same, and thus, his plans vary as well.

Lin Chien usually fires off a volley of three daggers, in which he is exceptionally gifted, at his opponents. If there is time, two more volleys follow, until he is left with two daggers. At this point, it is usually a toss-up between fighting with two weapons, or with a weapon and shield.

If Lin Chien decides to fight with two weapons, he usually chooses his last two daggers. However, he has been known to utilise different combinations of other weapons with a dagger in his off-hand. Being rather addicted to the two-weapon fighting style, he occasionally combines weapon strikes with shield-punches when he is using a shield.

The repeating crossbow is used only when the distance to an opponent is far greater than dagger range. The great scimitar is used when the opponent in question is far larger than he is.


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