Eohild, Shield-maiden of Rohan

[image description: screenshot from the bioware dungeons and dragons video game neverwinter nights depicting a blonde haired female human fighter in scale mail holding a longsword in one hand and a small round wooden shield in the other, accompanied by the halfling rogue henchman tomi undergallows.]

Sometimes when I play Neverwinter Nights over again from the beginning, which I do so often it’s become a running joke in my household, I create a character I love so well that I want to share them with the world. This is one of those times, and one of those characters, even though she’s not all that original. Kind of a poor man’s Éowyn (I almost gave her the surname of Dernhelm), Éohild was inspired by a piece of artwork by Matthew Stewart, “Eowyn before the Doors of Meduseld“, and a Rohirric name generator. The artwork became her custom portrait, which as displayed in the screenshots is hopefully low-res enough to count as Fair Use. As for the name, like Éowyn it contains the Anglo-Saxon word for horse, “eoh”, but instead of the “wyn” part, which means joy, it adds to that “hild”, meaning “battle”. Also like Éowyn, my character Éohild is a shield-maiden of Rohan. Never mind that no such land exists in Faerûn. This is my game and I’ll play it the way I want to.

My main motivation for creating this character was to try and make a non-multiclassed Fighter more interesting… to me, that is. I cast no aspersions on those of you who love Fighters. Actually, I did briefly consider making Éohild a Fighter/Rogue, taking a cue from the character of Morwen in the game The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, but in the end decided it would be much more fun to just make her a pure Fighter and then pair her up with Tomi Undergallows as a merry nod to her compatriot Éowyn’s relationship with another notable Halfling. Éohild is Chaotic Good and Tomi is Chaotic Neutral, so they get along just fine, and with him around there’s no need for her to add a level of Rogue, since he does all the lock picking and trap disarming for her.

In designing this character it was important to me to stay as close as possible to a portrayal of an actual Rider of Rohan and/or mediaeval Anglo-Saxon warrior, so she’s clad in the same sort of silver and gold scale mail as depicted in her portrait, wields a longsword (in this case, now that she’s reached higher levels, the Astral Blade Longsword), bears a round wooden shield, and has a short bow for her primary ranged weapon as opposed to a longbow which would not be suitable for use on horseback (or for that matter a crossbow which is never even mentioned in the entirety of Tolkien’s epic novel).

Not that she’ll ever get a chance to ride a horse in the base game, but if you haven’t already guessed, I’m real big on RP, even when I’m just playing by myself. Take her armour, for example. I could upgrade it to the magical +1 version but then it wouldn’t look right. I’d rather she got hit more often than be caught dead in blue armour, resembling a sad Smurfette. Chainmail would raise her AC by one point and she’d still look the part, but honestly none of the armours in the game come as close visually to Stewart’s artistic conception as the scale mail, and that sort of thing matters a lot to me.

[image description: screenshot from the bioware dungeons and dragons video game neverwinter nights depicting a horse hair helmeted female human fighter in scale mail holding a longsword in one hand and a small round wooden shield in the other, accompanied by the halfling rogue henchman tomi undergallows. a popup window with the heading “character record, eohild” indicates that this player character is a 7th level chaotic good fighter with 16 strength, 13 dexterity, 16 constitution and 10 in intelligence, wisdom, and charisma, an armour class of 18, 87 hit points, and 24,160 experience points with a total of 28,000 required to gain the next level.]

I also chose for Éohild the horse hair helmet, one of several different helmet styles in the game, since in the films Éowyn’s brother Éomer is shown wearing such a one. The Rohirrim are horse-lords after all, so it makes sense. The abilities, skills, and feats I chose were partly for optimisation and partly for roleplaying purposes. If something made more sense RP-wise, I didn’t worry about optimising my character. In this game you can’t really go wrong as a Fighter anyway. I mean, I suppose you could, but you’d have to try really hard. As a matter of fact, by the time Éohild got to level five, with the Weapon Specialization feat and all it was almost like all she needed to do was breathe on an enemy and they were toast. But before that, I added Weapon Focus: Longsword, Dodge, Power Attack, Toughness, and Cleave, all of which contributed to a pretty strong warrior who is very hard to kill, despite her relatively low AC of 18.

Speaking of low stats, when I first started the game, our girl only had a Charisma of 9, which is to say -1. It resulted in NPCs talking to her like she was human garbage, and even suspecting she might be an escaped convict. This was because when I distributed her stats, Charisma seemed the least important (i.e., the Dump Stat). I later regretted it though, for all sorts of reasons, so when she finally levelled up to the point that I could raise one of her Ability Scores by one point, I chose Charisma instead of something more useful to a Fighter, such as Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.

The way I retconned this is actually pretty funny (and based on real world history). After the attack on the Neverwinter Academy, Éohild went a fortnight without taking a bath because of rumours that bathing was one of the things that caused the Wailing Death to spread. Then, having eventually been informed that the magical disease did not seem to spread from person to person at all, she finally bathed and was able to rejoin the ranks of polite society. The fact that her Charisma is still only average despite her appearance, I attribute to her manner. See, she’s not of the nobility, a bit rough around the edges, and yet a mite haughty for a mere foot soldier belonging to a folk the wizard Saruman considered no better than peasants, referring even to their most noble house as “a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek”.

So yeah, like I said… a poor man’s Éowyn. And in my not-so-humble opinion, all the better for it.

Published by striderlee

Dungeon Master, homebrewer, foodie, bibliophile, and fantasy author. He/Him

2 thoughts on “Eohild, Shield-maiden of Rohan

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