Character Backgrounds

Character backgrounds for the new Dragon Reach campaign.

Character Backgrounds

Postby Greylen » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:58 pm

Don't forget to get these done, guys. If you don't have anything by Thursday, I'll be posting one for you. :-ss :!!
Magic? Who needs Magic?
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Re: Character Backgrounds

Postby Boric Glanduum » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:50 pm

ARgh. Well, I guess I know what I'm doing at the office on Wednesday, don't I?
"Ah, the life of an adventuring cleric. I remember it well. A perpetual struggle to maintain the hit point totals of four or five nigh-suicidal tomb robbers determined to deplete them at all costs."
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Re: Character Backgrounds

Postby Theylan » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:16 pm

Waterdeep -City of Splendors
My name is E’liarsin or Eli. I’m a corporal in the City Guard or was. Life in the Guard was good. I have to admit there was never a dull moment in the Docks Ward. A couple of months down there and I was a veteran for anything the North Ward and Trades Ward could through at me. In fact, life was all out boring when my reassignment out of the Docks happened. The Trades Ward at night kept me on my toes. The footpads would be out and about and the Watch would need our help, but honestly North Ward was cushy. The most excitement I ever got there is when I had to escort a noble down to the Docks to receive a shipment of some fine artwork. The thieves’ guild knew it was coming and we had to fight our way back to North Ward and even on to his home. The irony is once we got it inside he had it stolen from him two days later, it seems the guild could not be persuaded to give up. I have to thank that noble though, he set me on my current path, sort of anyways. I was called in one day to provide a little extra muscle as this nobleman went to the Trade Ward for a meeting. He rented a room to meet with someone he called a “specialist in recovery”. It seems he wanted his artwork back, funny these nobles feel so slighted with every crime. Anyway, we met in a “secret room” which simply means it was warded from eavesdropping. There was a man in the room, slight of build, cloaked, probably an elf. He was hard to look at, by that I mean my eyes just seemed to wander away from him, as if he weren’t there. He had a single sword strapped to his back. After ten minutes a deal had been struck and a sum of platinum negotiated, I’m sure the amount was twice what the art was worth, but as my noble friend reminded me it was “the principle of the matter”. We left and on our way back to North Ward, we had made it about four blocks when I felt a note pressed into my hands, I never noticed anyone walking near me. I quickly looked around and caught a glimpse of the elf we had just met. He was walking away from me but looked back over his shoulder gave me smile and a nod then disappeared around the corner. The note said “I can see the potential is there. Go see Master Norry- Trade Ward- Hammer and Shield- Tell them you wish to “sing the blade” give them this note.
There was no signature only a wax seal of a sword with two streamers from the hilt. I did nothing for a couple of months but the words of that note nagged me daily. Finally I went to the Hammer and Shield, where I was directed to Master Norry, He was a plump man with a dagger connected to a golden chain worn about his neck. He looked at me sizing me up, then without looking handed the note over his shoulder an elf emerged from the shadow and took the note, a single longsword strapped to his back. Master Norry simply said to me “Dhirsten here will begin your training”. Master Dhirsten looked me over once and said “we begin tomorrow morning, dawn, don’t be late.” My training to be a bladesinger began. But to this point in time I had no magic training. So Dhirsten made me learn that art first and then he said I must learn what it is to be a true elf next. So here I am today, several months after that first meeting, leaving Waterdeep in search of adventure because my Master’s last instruction to me was that I need experience “experience that can’t be found in the Guard or in my classes. He sent me away “fully trained” and I do feel trained at least pointed in the right direction enough that given practice and time I will be able to sing the blade.


Part II.
Master Norry told me that I might want to take my adventuring northward toward Everlund and Silverymoon. He mentioned I should start at a tree fortress knows as Teuveamanthar that was on the edge of the High Forest along the Dessarin trade route about a day south of the Dassarin itself. He gave me papers that he said “would help get my foot in the door”. When I arrived at the Forest Fortress I found a bustling little community that surrounded a lone giant oak. Within that giant oak I could see the fortress itself. The great oak stood afar off from the High Forest sitting atop a hill. I could see lookouts atop the tree and I imagined this provided a great vantage point for miles. The town itself was a bustle with dwarven craftsman building a stone wall around the town which appeared to have been completed to height of about five feet. There were shops and inns and tradesmen everywhere. The main gate was wide clearly designed to allow wagons up to three at a time to pass in one direction. Within the walls there were also several stage areas where wagons and goods were set at rest while their masters off bartering or seeking rest themselves. The unfinished walls had archers patrolling their tops and the gate was well manned. I was stopped as I approached and asked what my purpose was. Being directed toward the tree itself I took my leave after paying a copper piece entry fee. To make this long story short I was impressed by the town but was more impressed by its leaders. The mage Dietrich was the orchestrator of the community with sizeable help from a Dwarf an half-orc. Speaking with the latter two I was informed that they had been having problems with some Hill Giants that had been coming down from the lost peaks. They were sending a party of “negotiators” to work out a deal. Which was basically leave the trade route of Dessarin alone or get wiped out. Kreeg the half-orc was to lead the party so clearly negotiations were expected to be short and minimal if they existed at all. It was for this task that I was recruited. What an adventure that was. We marched with fifty men along the trade route up to the Dessarin river then turned toward the forest. Amongst the trees we could see a band of hill giants who had clearly been waiting for the next caravan to make its way across the river. Upon sighting the giants Kreeg called for ranks and the archers formed up behind him the rest of us foot soldiers formed lines in front of them. I stood next to the banner man. Once ranks were formed Kreeg asked the banner man for his pike. Then Kreeg provided a bloodied hill giant head from a bag and placed it on the pike for all to see. You would not believe the frenzy that worked up in those hill giants. With a roar they came rushing from the forest. Over the tin of clanging armor and rushing giants I heard our leader exclaim “Men, it looks like negotiations were unsuccessful. Archers, Fire!” Giants fell in a great storm of arrows and lightning bolts. Those few who made it through the wave quickly impaled themselves on pikes and finally the great Falchion of Kreeg would take the toughest left. From that first encounter we moved toward the Lost Peaks and had several more encounters. Every encounter began the same; a pike, a head and a proclamation that negotiations were unsuccessful. I learned a lot about giants and I filled my purse with 1700 GP on that one month excursion.
I hope this is the experience Master Dhirsten wanted me to gain.
Incidentally Lorin I rolled a 17 on the extra GP roll.
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Solaster

Postby Just Rob » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:59 pm

I am a loner. I travel from place to place seeking to bring the light and healing power of Pelor to the unenlightened of the world in each region that I can get to. My name, my family, my history is forgotten in the distant past - people today call me the Solaster. It means "light bringer" in the dialect of one of the early tribes that I came upon and the title has stayed with me ever since. I knew that I had a calling to minister to the good races of the world since I was a young boy and would miraculously heal the small woodland creatures that stayed around my home. Soon, people would come to see me from miles around to minister to their aches and pains or to mend broken bones or gashes in their flesh. It came naturally to me, and soon I came to understand that I was a Favored Soul of Pelor, sent to bring his healing power and light to those who otherwise felt cut off from any aid. My own pains at losing my parents and being ostracized from my village for being "unnatural" and "strange" were wrapped up in the work I was doing. As I progressed, I gained more and more abilities and sought to begin to travel to do more good to those who wished it farther afield. I would occasionally join a group of adventurers engaged in some good cause who could use the benefits of a worshipper of Pelor to help them in their efforts, but it never lasted long. I would move from place to place and group to group as the coming and going of the seasons. Now, I hear of unrest and conflict in these lands that stem from forces of evil seeking to gain power and influence over the good peoples of the area. That I cannot permit. People deserve the right to choose for themselves how they will live their lives and what powers they recognize in their own daily living. Force is an abomination. I hear there is a group forming to combat some giants who are troubling the region. I may consider seeking to join them - if they will allow a loner such as myself to travel with them. There is solace in peaceful reflection that comes from solitude. I may have to give that up for a while for the greater good of Pelor.
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Malgrim Irontomb

Postby Boric Glanduum » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:01 pm

The young dwarf pushed open the heavy tavern door and walked into the interior gloom, pausing for a moment to allow the glare from the street outdoors to fade from his vision. His gaze passed quickly from table to table, accounting for the positions of every being in the great room and behind the bar. Piles of gnawed bones rest on dirty plates scattered across the tables. The suspicions in his head were quickly drowned by the mouth-watering aroma of red meat and fine ale.

The Old Skull Inn had come highly recommended, both for the quality of its provender and for the quality of information available from the patrons. The young dwarf was in desperate need of both. He took one more moment to brush the road dust from his tunic and from his breeches. He shook out his cloak and grimaced a bit at the amount of dirt that swirled in the sunbeams coming through the cracks in the door. It had been a long journey, but he believed he had finally found the last stage.

Despite his worries, few of the patrons noticed his entry, let alone the new accumulation of dirt on the threshold. These were all folk more willing to sit out a cold day in a warm inn than folk overly concerned about others’ business. Others’ business was just that: not their own and today they liked it best that way. Neither the dwarf’s entry nor the accompanying dirt escaped the notice of a large human standing at one end of the bar. He shook his head as he reached for a broom. The dwarf was still rubbing the sunlight out of his eyes as the human approached, the broom in one hand and the other hand extended in a welcoming gesture.

“Greetings, stout one. May yer beard soon reach the floor! How do ye fare this bright winter’s day?”

The dwarf grabbed the human’s outstretched hand in a strong grip and shook it thrice. “I fair well, especially if that’s roasting beef I smell, with a fine mug of Black Dog to go with it?”

The human smiled and said, “No Black Dog, I’m afraid. We don’t see much of that up here these days. But I can promise ye a good bit of Dragons’ Breath if that’ll suit ye.” Seeing the dwarf’s face light up, he nodded. “Just give me half a moment.” The human pushed open the door with one hand and with the other, swept the dirt out into the street. “Now, let’s see what we can get ye in the way of a meal. How does a trencher of roasted beef sound, with a bit of veg stew on top?” He ushered the dwarf to a table near the bar, one with taller benches, better suited to the short legs of the stout folk.

The large man returned quickly carrying a well-laden trencher in one hand–exactly as he’d described, but with a loaf of crusty bread riding atop the meal–and a foamy mug in the other. He set them down and motioned to a chair. The dwarf nodded as he filled his mouth with beef, vegetables, and a thick, rich gravy. The human sat, grinning, clearly enjoying the dwarf appreciating his food.

“Now, if ye need anything else while yer in town, friend dwarf, just call fer me. I’m Durgo. My mother owns the Old Skull, and most people in town know who I am.”

The young dwarf looked up from his meal. “Durgo” was one of the names he’d been given. He swallowed, took a great gulp of ale, and then said, “Orizer sends his regards. He said that you would know a good place hereabouts to pick up a new hammer and shield. I find myself in need of the same.” Durgo’s eyes narrowed, then widened as he smiled and nodded.

“A hammer and shield, ye say? A hammer and shield. I believe I know just the place ye should go.” He quickly described a route through town. “Now tell them when ye get there that Durgo sent ye. They should be able to help ye with anything ye need. And,” he gestured at the table, “yer meal is on the house. Let me fill yer mug. Another Dragons’ Breath?”

The dwarf made quick work of the next mug, and another after that. He wiped the last dregs of gravy up with the last bite of bread, then sat back and patted his belly. He rose and walked quickly to the bar and tossed a gold coin on the bar. “Durgo, my friend. I trust this is enough to reserve me a room for the night? If you’ll have some hot water ready on my return, I’ll be glad to pay the rest of what I owe you before I retire.” Durgo nodded and pocketed the coin as the dwarf left the tavern.

Durgo’s instructions were excellent and the dwarf quickly found the building he sought. The sign outside swung in the cold winter wind. A bell tinkled overhead as the dwarf swung the door open. His footsteps echoed in the room; the only other sound was the scratching of a pen nib on rough parchment. An aged dwarf stood behind the counter, writing slowly, then looking up as the young dwarf shut the door behind him. “I’ll be right with you,” he said to the youngster.

The young dwarf perused the small room. It was nondescript and devoid of decoration or frills. The long counter dominated the room, with a door leading into the back of the building. The old dwarf was over 300 years old, if a day; he was dressed in well-tended scale armor and an unusual close-fitting helm. From the height of the front of the counter, it is apparent that a platform runs behind the counter on which the old dwarf is standing. With a final definitive stroke of the pen, the old dwarf shut the ledger and looked up at the youngster, chuckling.

“Jozaeln, put away the sword. I do not think he means us harm.” A sound from behind the young dwarf caused him to whirl around, only to find a young female elf sheathing two swords. “Thank you, Jozaeln. Now, young one. I’m pretty sure you mean no harm, but I’d like you to be very careful until we have a little chat about why you’re here. Be especially careful with those hands of yours; I see your two axes, and now Jozaeln knows about them too. I really don’t relish having to clean the floor today.”

The young dwarf kept his hands extended at his side and smiled. “I would have expected no less a welcome. I mean you no harm. I am come on a long journey to seek you; at least, I assume I have the pleasure of speaking to Nalim Bazgyth, paladin of Moradin?” The old dwarf gave no sign of acknowledging the name, or even recognizing the name. The young dwarf sighed, looked at the ceiling, thinking hard. After a long moment, he looked the old dwarf in the eyes and said, cryptically, “I am to speak of a blade that slows the wielder, a darkened blade of legends whose wielder is a simple rogue.” The old dwarf nodded and responded, “But if they were three, their name would be Kerym.

“Welcome, young one. I am that Nalim whom you seek. Who sends you?”

“I am sent by Orizer to seek a hammer and a shield. I am told that there may be a need that my services might fill.”

“And what is your name and stronghold?”

“I have no stronghold. I am outcast, a wanderer. I have taken upon myself the name of that which I have been accused of loving the most: everlasting gold. I have taken upon myself a stronghold name that best describes where my heart now resides: an iron tomb. I will not sully my beloved dwar tongue by naming myself with its notes.”

Nalim nodded knowingly, “So, Malgrim Irontomb it is. I have been waiting for you. The High Old One instructed me to put you right to work. It appears that the reports from Orizer have been quite favorable and both He and his partner are anxious to see what you can do. They trust you’ll live up to Orizer’s claims.”

“I share that hope, longbeard. It is an honor to be referred to the Hammer and Shield. To have drawn the notice of the High Old One himself? Not to mention The Rogue–at least, I assume that’s who you mean by ‘his partner’?” Nalim nodded, a bit surprised that such a young dwarf had even heard of The Rogue, let alone knew much about him.

“Well, there is no time like the present to get started. Come in the back and let us talk some specifics, shall we? Get some details hammered out. Besides, I’m sure you’re thirsty from the road and, coincidentally, I happen to have a cask of the Black Dog back there. I think we can draw a mug or two to help the details flow a bit easier, eh?” Malgrim licked his lips as he followed Nalim into the back room.

----

Malgrim found himself only a few days later approaching the tiny village of Newkeep, miles to the south of Shadowdale. Nalim had let him rest for a full day before shipping him off on a mission for the Hammer and Shield. Nalim warned him that there was danger involved, but would say no more than “You’ll know it when you see it, lad,” and “It may be a bit beyond your normal work, but it needs doing and, after all remember that ‘every good blade goes through a little pounding and folding at the forge.’”

As he circled around one of many rises on the foothills of the Desertsmouth Mountains, Newkeep finally came into view, nestled on the other side of the rise. What he saw stopped him in his tracks and filled him with dread. An enormous humanoid with two heads – an ettin – was moving through the village. One massive hand held a small cow, the other held a massive club. A second club hung from the beast’s waist.

By the Stones, what do I think I’m doing? Malgrim thought. An ettin? “An ettin,” he repeated aloud, nearly jumping in shock as he heard his voice. “What am I doing?” he asked himself. “I owe nothing to my Hold, my Clan, my Hearth, or even my people at this point. I am Outcast. I am mosgrim.” Beardless. Outcast. Shunned. Not for the first time did a wry grin cross his face thinking of the similarity between his chosen name “Malgrim” and the word shouted after him as the heavy stone doors of his family home closed forever behind him.

A final sigh left his lips and he shrugged. If he wanted to be a member of the Hammer and Shield, he had to follow orders. He had to complete their little tasks. So, he would complete this task or die trying. Nalim was right; such a task was far beyond anything he’d ever done. But he could hear in his imagination the death cries of all within the village. They were unaware the beast was among them; he alone knew and he alone had the chance to do something about it.

Malgrim shrugged his shoulders out of his pack and laid it gently in the brush. He removed everything from him save his weapons and his armor; even his belt pouches and his rough wool cloak joined the small pile of belongings. Loosening his two handaxes in their baldrics, and checking the bolt in his small hand crossbow, he headed toward his enemy at a dead run.

Despite the young dwarf’s best efforts at stealth and silence, the ettin somehow saw him as he closed the distance. Bellowing out a challenge, the ettin’s left head yelled out “Inock!” which was apparently his name and the right head yelled “KILL!” The huge beast dropped the cow and drew his second club. Seeing this, Malgrim shook his head and began a prayer to Hanseath to watch over him. The dwarf ran towards the ettin and, jumping atop a water barrel, used the barrel to launch himself into the air at the great beast.

The ettin, Inock, saw the minuscule dwarf hurtling toward it and reacted the only way he knew how: with his clubs. The first club missed Malgrim – barely – while the second dealt him a harsh blow, knocking him to the ground. Shaking his head, Malgrim rose from one knee, trying to decide whether the discordant music he heard was real or imagined.

The beast came at him with another mighty blow from each club; this time both narrowly missed the dwarf. Malgrim drew both of his axes and responded with mighty swings of his own. He surprised himself with the vehemence of his reaction and was pleased to feel the first blade bite into the ettin’s flesh. He twisted through the beast’s legs and swung his second axe; to his surprise it cut deep into the ettin’s ankle, severing tendons and muscles. The giant was crippled.

Inock was not dead, however; he was only crippled and the pain of Malgrim’s axes pushed him deeper into a rage. Both heads yelled out “Kill!” and “Inock crush!” respectively. Twice more the clubs fell; the first struck the dwarf, nearly stunning him and pushing him away from the ettin’s legs. The blow threw him away from the second club; Inock spun with the momentum of the missed strike and turned, staggering away from Malgrim on his crippled leg.

The young dwarf saw his chance and jumped, using the ettin’s own knee for a platform. The axes swung again and two more bloody lines appeared, this time on the ettin’s flanks. Inock roared out “Kill dwarf!” with his left head; his right head yelled something unintelligible. Both arms swung clubs yet again. This time both connected with the dwarf who was tossed around like a tumbleweed in a cyclone.

He was hurt; he had felt something inside rupture with the last blow and he could not catch his breath. Malgrim reached for a flask of healing potion he kept at his belt and then realized: his belt pouches. They were with his pack, under the brush and outside of town. He had nothing. Another silent prayer winged its way to Hanseath and another to Moradin – his family’s favored deity and a deity he’d sworn never to acknowledge again. At this point, what does it hurt? I need all the help I can get! Staggering back toward the ettin, he could tell that the beast, too, was hurt. Badly hurt.

Inock roared again and swung the massive clubs; Malgrim’s foot slipped on a round rock and he stumbled, falling to the ground. The clubs whistled through the air where, a moment before, Malgrim’s head had been. Malgrim rolled and looked above him: all he saw was ettin-flesh. From deep within his breast emotion swelled; he bellowed out, “For the Honor of the Mosgrim!” His two axes again flashed and blood coursed downward, raining onto the young dwarf. Inock screamed, for that was the only way to describe the cry. The beast screamed a death cry with both throats as blood and offal dropped from his ruined groin. Inock managed three halting steps before crashing first to his knees and then onto his faces. With one long groan, the ettin grew still.

Malgrim was only barely aware of human villagers pouring from the surrounding buildings. One approached and asked the dwarf his name. Malgrim was too far gone, however, and could not answer. Blackness swallowed him.

----

Malgrim awoke, fully expecting to find himself in the darkness outside the circle of everlasting light of the Eternal Forge. Instead, he gazed upward at a broad smile on an aged dwarven face. “Jozaeln! He is still with us! Pour us a mug of Black Dog, will you? Good girl.” Looking down at the young dwarf, Nalim said, “We thought you’d left us, Malgrim. We thought you were gone. As soon as the villagers’ word reached us, Jozaeln and I hurried to tend to you as fast as we could. The villagers did a bit, but they were truly too deep in shock and horror at finding that beast in their midst. Now, don’t ask how we knew, but we knew that ettin was headed for Newkeep. At least, we were pretty sure. The Rogue was, anyway. I guess he was right after all.

“But you made it. I’ve been instructed to give you this pin. Now, it’s not what you’d get as a full member of the Hammer and Shield, but it will serve to identify yourself to those who need to know. And you’ve no time to rest. We’re going to have to ship you out; I can’t tell you where right now as the High Old One keeps his work close to the Forge, don’t he? But I can tell you that you won’t be without help. Word is that The Rogue is sending one of his own to help as well. You’ll know each other by the pin you wear.

“You did a fine job, my lad. A truly fine job. And I’m sure you won’t let us down. Or the All-Father neither.” He held up a hand forestalling Malgrim’s protest. “I know you don’t.... But he watches over all his children, even those who think they have no beard. Now rest. Rest until it’s time to leave. You've earned it."
"Ah, the life of an adventuring cleric. I remember it well. A perpetual struggle to maintain the hit point totals of four or five nigh-suicidal tomb robbers determined to deplete them at all costs."
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