First things first. Thank you all for the support. I did not expect this many people following this soon (yes, my expectations were that low). In response I decided that instead of cheating and posting something old, I’d post something I’ve been working on for the past week. Some of you know, but perhaps not all, that I am a tabletop gamer. I love the story opportunities that role-playing games give me, even more so now that I am running games and creating worlds to support them. In a little over a month I am running a game for a convention at my Alma Mater, I’ll be using 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons and I just finished typing up the backstories for the characters. I’ll also be posting the quick game summary to give a little perspective on what the story they’ll be participating in is all about.
For these characters I gave myself a few challenges. One was to do at least one unexpected things with each of them (slightly successful), another was to try and avoid spellcasters (failure and doomed from the start) and the final challenge was to make the characters unisex. I feel these characters could be either male or female, though a few are more clearly one or the other in my mind because of the sources of inspiration. To add to this illusion of unisex characters I wrote their backstories in the 1st person, they are talking to someone who is asking about their past and that colored some details. After all, if you have a secret your trying to prevent from coming to light, you don’t just go blurting it out to some stranger. Hopefully these are entertaining and I am more than willing to field questions about anything.
He Did What?!
Description: Crown Prince Roderick has “borrowed” powerful relics from the royal armory and set off to the Cavern where the evil Duke Harris was sealed after his failed coup 300 years ago. The seal was never very strong and Harris’ evil magic has long made the Cavern a danger to the people and the kingdom itself. Prince Roderick seeks to destroy the Duke and prove himself a man and a hero. The only problem is that the Prince has never been the martial type, and it’s more likely he’ll get himself killed than achieve any great heroics. With this in mind the King has called upon you great heroes to go and bring back his son, before he is killed by some highwayman or worse, accidentally frees Duke Harris and arms him with the relics he would need to destroy the kingdom.
Sam the Valorous: Human, Entertainer, Battlemaster Fighter
Age: 25 years Height: 5’2” Weight: 165lbs Grey eyes, Pale Skin, Black Hair
Personality Traits: I hate Filth. There is nothing better than a good insult, even one directed at me.
Ideals: My technique only continues to improve, soon my art will be perfect
Bonds: My blade is my soul
Flaws: I speak my mind, regardless of the consequences
I am Sam the Valorous! Well, of course that is not my given name, my family name is Aubigny but I have well earned the title of Valorous and intend to keep it. How did I earn it you ask? I believe it was first bestowed upon me when I dueled the dreaded Tiefling pirate Despair. You might remember him as the one who burned half the coast to ashes a few years back. Well, I was enjoying myself in the city of Ashport when he sailed in in and demanded everything of value or he would reduce the city to rubble. Having not quite finished enjoying the sights I could not allow that so I challenged the horned jackanape in a duel to the death. He fought poorly for one so feared, but I suppose it was to be expected. I am quite the skilled duelist after all, I’ve mastered six different blades and all eight forms of Elvish Sword dancing. What? You thought there were only seven? Common misunderstanding, the eighth is much more intimate and outsiders rarely hear of it, my instructors even refused to teach me at first. However, I told them that if they could get me to blush I would leave off the matter. Between me and you, wow, elves. Not as uptight as they want you to believe, but as I said I have mastered all eight styles. My childhood? Well, I suppose it is reasonable to ask about such things. My father was a steward in the capitol of Torall, not a prized job but it did us well enough. I spent most of my time watching the noble children learn swordplay from their instructor. One day they took offense to my commentary and set about trying to teach me a lesson. Well, unlike those slack-jawed, lily livers I had paid attention to their lessons and gave each a sound beating for their troubles. Their instructor was forced to return the favor, and that is when I realized that there was so much more for me to learn. I left home, much to the relief of some I have heard, and set about perfecting my craft. Now the King has called upon me, and I admit to be quite excited about this mission. I have heard that Duke Harris was a decent swordsman in his day, and having been sealed he has earned the reputation of being unkillable. Killing an unkillable swordsman, now that would be a tale.
Greer of the Steelblood: Orc, Sage, Totem Barbarian
Age: 52 years Height: 6’8” Weight: 230 lbs Black eyes, Grey Skin, White Hair
Personality Traits: I listen to all sides of an argument before judging
Ideals: Knowledge of others leads to improvement of the self
Bonds: My clan is precious to me and my research shall lead them forward
Flaws: The promise of Knowledge is a siren song I cannot resist
I am Greer, Shaman of the Steelblood clan of the Deep Forest. When I was born a massive Owlbear was spotted near our village, twice the size of a normal beast, but strangely docile, as though it had only come to observe the event. It marked my birth as the next shaman of our tribe and I was brought up accordingly. I spent many days learning the stories, many days listening to the spirits and learning to call upon them. As my final trial I was sent into the Forest to seek my totem. That is when I saw the Owlbear for myself. It’s massive shoulders came up to my chin, it’s beak looked capable of sheering a tree in half. Truly, this was no mortal creature I had come upon. From it’s nest I took three feathers and a broken claw, the same totem I still carry to this day. When I returned I was given our clan’s relic, Sawtooth, a weapon made from the jawbone of some ancient horror. I have seen these teeth punch through steel, and I know they have been the weapon of the shamans for nearly three hundred years. Surely you must understand why we worship such beasts, why we live as we do? Our connection gives us great strength and provides us with all we may ever need. I led my tribe for many years, until the dispute with the humans and elves. We met in many gatherings, argued, debated, and threatened. It was during this that I realized the fundamental problem. We lacked understanding. If we do not understand each other, we cannot communicate. So I brokered a temporary peace, a delay, and set out to understand your savage cultures. I have not returned home in years, your ways are complex and multi-layered. I know I cannot force you to understand us, but perhaps this is my opportunity. If I save the young prince from his folly I may gain the ear of your king and foster a deeper understanding between our peoples.
Song Amongst the Willow Leaves: Wood Elf, Acolyte, Elemental Monk
Age: 346 years Height: 5’5” Weight: 125lbs Green Eyes, Alabaster Skin, Red Hair
Personality Traits: It has been many years since I have lived amongst people, I often find myself overwhelmed by it all
Ideals: The ancient traditions must be upheld
Bonds: Many sacred texts have been scattered throughout the lands, I will find them
Flaws: A dark secret weighs heavily upon my heart, preventing true peace
You may refer to me as Song Amongst the Willow Leaves. It is not the name I was born with, but it is the name I was given when I was reborn in the Temple of the Windwalkers. Yes, reborn. I went there broken, consumed, and the monks helped make me whole again. I lived within the temple for perhaps two hundred years, the early days were hard, but once I learned to listen I found myself appreciating the differences in the wind. I sat for six years in the Willow grove, listening to the song of wind and leaf. However, a few months ago the Grandmaster called upon me. He could tell my heart was still ill at ease, I had not forgotten the pain that brought me to the Temple, and as long as I carried it within me I could not become one with the wind and gain the freedom it calls its own. So I was sent upon a quest. Many of our sacred writings were lost in a great catastrophe, the destruction of the Great Temple of the Way. My task is to recovery as many of these writings as I can, the Grandmaster’s hope is that being once more in the world will allow me to cleanse the pain from my heart. This mission from the King is an opportunity. Not only is the King’s Library vast, but Duke Harris supposedly had a library as well. Either could contain what I seek.
Pip Scraps: Rock Gnome, Pirate, Thief Rogue
Age: 17 years Height: 3′ Weight: 75lbs Purple Eyes, Weather worn Skin, Short n Brown hair
Personality Traits: My friends know they can rely on me, no matter the trouble
Ideals: The sea is freedom, and the sea is wherever I am
Bonds: I’m loyal to Captain Nightsilver first and foremost
Flaws: Pride burned me once, and it will likely do so again
The name’s Pip Scraps, on account of me being found in the scraps box when I was little. Ol’ Geoffrey doesn’t know how I got in there, but he figured it had to have been at Port Roger’s. Captain Nightsilver officially made me a part of his crew right then and there. The Iron Whale was a fine vessel let me tell you, it smashed waves like an ogre through a treehouse. Captain even told me it could sail underwater, but I never saw that myself. Sure, the Nightsilver crew has bad reputation, people call us pirates and ne’er-do-wells, but that ain’t exactly the truth of it you know. We were salvage specialists, the Whale could dredge up sunken ships faster than Ol’ Geoffrey could polish off an ale, and trust me that man drank enough to put Moradin himself to shame. Now, upon occasion some Navy or another would claim we were trespassin, like you can lay claim to the seas bunch of idiots. But we never started no fights. Well, unless you count bar fights, but there is no better way to get to know a town than to brawl in the bar with some locals. Tells you everything you need to know. Course, some brawls are nastier than others. There was a group of local toughs that went around insultin the Captain and we had to correct them, but it wasn’t like we killed them or anythin. Why ain’t I still with the crew? Well, we got separated. There was a salvage out near Melora’s Teeth, ancient vessel, possibly sank some five hundred years ago. Turns out though that some merfolk had turned it into a temple, and they didn’t take kindly to our tryin to dredge it up to explore. All them tales of kindly merfolk? Goblin spit. They’re a vicious lot. Called up a storm that tore the whale straight in half. Ten years of helpin keep that giant iron behemoth afloat and sailin and they tore it in half. That was about three years ago, washed up on the coast a ways south and had a problem. I knew the rest of the crew survived, they’re tougher than dragon hide, but they could of ended up anywhere. I washed up on the wrong continent after all. Then I remembered what the captain told me. He said “Pip, I don’t care where you are, you make enough racket and I’ll come runnin. Whether to box your ears or save your skin I’ll decide when I get there, but I’ll come runnin.” So I decided to make a big ol’ fuss. Hero of a Kingdom, maybe even a pardon for the Captain and the others when they get here. Ha, They’ll sure be surprised by lil’ Pip then.
Tema Rockwater: Hill Dwarf, Soldier, Hunter Ranger
Age: 211 years Height: 4’3” Weight: 175lbs Slate Eyes, Dark Skin, Brown Hair
Personality Traits: I’ve lost many friends on the battlefield, and I will not face that pain again
Ideals: Blindly following orders is just a different type of tyranny
Bonds: I’ll never forget the ones who betrayed us
Flaws: I made a mistake once, many died, I will not allow the truth to come to light
My name is Tema Rockwater, 5th Iron squad of the Dwarven Army, Forward Scout. I led a typical Dwarven life, mining and exploring. My clan is nearest to the peak, so I spent many years out in the snow and ice, hunting, trapping. Then the Crimson Snow Killer came. Took the life of my father and my brother, left no trace except the red snow, nothing for us to bury. I tracked it, a yeti the size of an Ogre, with teeth like dwarven steel. I killed it. Shot it down like a dog while it ran bleeding in the snow. That earned me recognition and I joined the army some years later. Kept us fed, kept us out of trouble. Then orders came from the commanders, we were to rendezvous with another unit and punch through an enemy line. It seemed fishy, but orders were orders. It was a trap. A few of my squadmates were nobles, and one of the commanders had a blood oath, ancient history, no one even thought twice about it. Hobgoblins slammed into our west flank while goblin snipers picked us off. I should have died there. Almost did. The commander fled to the Underdark, while his clan petitions the church to recognize the sacred oath as righteous vengeance. I’ll show him vengeance one day, but expeditions to the Underdark are dangerous, expensive. I’ll need a lot of money, a Prince’s ransom for example.
Note: The mistake Tema made was dismissing a strange noise right before the attack. Thought it was nothing, but has realized in retrospect it was the Hobgoblin Commander giving orders to his men.
Húnd: Stout Halfling, Folk Hero, Fey Pact Blade Warlock
Age: 20 years Height: 2’6” Weight: 35 lbs Emerald eyes, Snow White Skin, Raven Black Hair
Personality Traits: When I set my mind to something I always see it through, no matter the obstacles
Ideals: No one can steer me away from my destiny
Bonds: My lord has made me his tool, and I shall serve him faithfully
Flaws: If there’s a plan, I’ll forget it. If I don’t forget it, I’ll ignore it
I am Húnd, Third Hunter of the Erlking, Lord of the Wild Hunt, and his most loyal subject. I was given to the Erlking by my mother, in payment for her debt to him. My childhood was spent serving him and preparing to take my place amongst his host. One day, I shall be my Lord’s Right hand, and ride beside him while he hunts the souls of mortals who have broken faith and earned his wrath. Truly there could be no higher calling. My people know this, when the Erlking sent me from the Feywild to walk the mortal lands I was hailed as a hero, one who shall dispense justice in this world. My mission this time has been made clear. Duke Harris broke faith with his countrymen, has dealt with dark powers, and is a blight upon the land. I shall hunt him down in the name of the Erlking.
A bit longer than I anticipated, but hopefully fun to read. Thank you all again, and I shall try and post something else before the week is out. No promises though.