D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:00 pm

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Mythalidor;24145419 wrote:So I had another character I was wondering if you could think a backstory for. This either a challenge or super easy, based on how well you deal with vagueness.
Race: Tiefling
Name: Haven't decided yet but I plan a Virtue name, whichever of these three you can fit most easily as part of the background: Silence, Defiance, or Tact. Or you can pick a different Virtue.
Class: Warlock/Fighter? Not 100% He is supposed to be an archer with a demonic familiar, sort of shadowy themed.
Background: Haunted One or Folk Hero
Concept: The main concept of this character is to be sort of a demonic version of a ranger, pact of the chain familiar rather than an animal companion, uses a lot of darkness based spells. I feel like he is a generally nice guy, helping the little people, but has had of lot of bad things happen in his past, either to him or by him.
Ideas:
Based on the virtue names I had a few ideas that might help, but feel free to ignore these if you can think of anything better.
Silence: He could have been an assassin/spy and later was betrayed, or chose to leave his employers.
Defiance: He could have been a slave or something, and decided to fight back for freedom.
Tact: He could just be very tactful in his speaking, and he used his silver tongue to gain powers from his warlock patron, then they got upset with him, or something.
I don't really know, I good at thinking up characters but I'm bad at deciding details.
This wasn't as much of a challenge as I thought it would be...
Using what you provided (mostly about being a Fighter/Warlock... with a demonic "animal"...) the gates opened up...
On how you could be demonic in nature (with a demonic like pet) and also still have a pet like a ranger... though being a Fighter/Warlock.
You could even change the "demonic pet" I selected for you into a Hell Hound or something similar if that's more fitting for what you had in mind... but I thought what I picked really fit with the Warlock side of things!
As always, I'd love to hear feedback!
Enjoy!
============================================

I have lived my entire life fighting the evils that roam this world. Despite every effort I’ve made to save the lives of those who are good and innocent, people can never see past the cover of which my story is; and that is, that I am a Tiefling, so my appearance is demonic in nature, which invokes a feeling of distrust, even from those whom I have just saved. Being a Tiefling means that somewhere in my bloodline there is demonic influence that has tainted and waited for this moment to spring forward and birth a being that looks more demon than man.

Because of that resistance to who and what I look like, I have adopted the name Defiance; perhaps because I never had a true name of my own. From what I have discovered about my own past, my parents, both human, were killed by their fellow villagers. When the mid-wife delivered my mother’s baby, she immediately dropped me and screamed. My father leaned over to see me, and saw my demonic appearance and knew that he and his wife were doomed. My father quickly scooped me up, and ran to the nearby river and placed me on a small log. It’s unclear if he was hoping I would die, or trying to save my life; but by the time he returned home, the villagers had gathered, with the mid-wife explaining what she’d seen. My mother was dragged out of bed, my father strung up. My mother was forced to watch my father hang, since he claimed he had made a pact with a demon, in hopes of having a healthy child, as my mother had had four failed births in the past. I could never find evidence that it was true that my father made such a deal. He may have been trying to save my mother. But my mother died a few short hours later, from bleeding out from an internal wound, said to have been inflicted by one of the horns on my head.

As an infant, I was found by a farmer, further down the river, who took me in and brought me to the Church to see what should be done. The Church took me in and raised me, to see if it is true that an infant, who is not raised around evil, can be raised to be good; despite their appearance. The Church raised me and were kind to me; but other orphans still tended to stay away from me, despite the Church’s insistence that the children interact with me.

When I was old enough, I thanked the Church and ventured into the world on my own. Something the Church had not prepared me for was the world outside. Having been raised by the Church, my life had been a sheltered one; and it was a band of mercenaries who came upon me, fighting against several goblins, and took me in and taught me how to fight.

When I learned what they were doing, harassing nearby towns, rather than “protecting” them as they had told me, I turned on the leader and informed the nearby town’s local militia where the mercenary hide out in the hills was. The militia came and decimated the mercenaries and thanked me.

And this is where my story took an unexpected twist. As I was leaving the town, cutting through the very hills the mercenaries had made their home; I saw a wagon being attacked by Bugbears. I quickly rushed to their aid; but they were stronger than me, and one blow to the back of my head sent me spinning into darkness.

I had thought I had merely been knocked unconscious; but in hindsight I wonder if I had been killed. In the darkness, a fiery light appeared, and my very soul seemed to be seared by fire. When my eyes flew open, there was a Balor demon, sitting on a throne, and his rumbling voice sounded like fire crackling on dry wood, “My son, it is good to see you.”

I knew now, this was the demon who somehow influenced my bloodline. “What do you want?” I spat back, realizing I was suddenly in chains, my arms pulled behind my back, a chain around my neck, pulling me painfully forward.

“I wish to make a pact with you,” he laughed.

“I refuse,” I growled before even listening.

“That would be unwise, because that would leave your soul here with me,” his smile was like a fire spreading across the woodlands.

“What is this pact then?” I hissed.

“You are to collect the souls of vile individuals,” he explained. “Something you were already doing.”

“Why would I do this for you?” I snapped back.

“Because otherwise you stay, chained up there, never to die, all eternity, feeling your bones and flesh being pulled apart, but never to be sundered,” he explained. “As for the why, before you even ask, there is a War In Hell happening now. These souls you take will be absorbed by him,” his hand gestured to a Quasit sitting next to him. “You feed him souls, they come to me, I make them a part of my army, and use them as soldiers.”

He smiled, “Don’t worry, the Quasit is able to polymorph into anything; allowing you to move freely upon the world without anyone suspecting the truth – that you serve a demon. Do you accept?”

I closed my eyes; I would serve him for now; but I would find a way to break free.

“I do,” I said.

“Good,” he laughed, and stood and touched my forehead. I felt my soul rip in half, and a portion of his enter mine. “Now we’re bonded. A piece of my magic is now yours to command, Warlock.”

I felt my soul, my flesh, everything shredded apart then opened my eyes again, to be next to the caravan. The people I had come to help, all dead, and the bugbears now long gone.

They would be the first souls I would feed this damn Quasit…

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:00 pm

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Great Dragon;24144027 wrote: Xidus Bamwar
Hill Giant Chief
His small Tribe recently killed by a band of heartless Adventurers, and himself only spared to fullfil the technicality of a contract, he now revenge !!
I got the details from you; that the contract was relocate or die...
I did both; and did some development of Xidus Bamwar and why he would want revenge...
More than just the fact that his people were killed... I made it more personal for him.
Also, I wasn't sure if you were wanting these in a specific location or a specific band of heroes/from a specific location...
But I looked at the Forgotten Realms map (since I know your campaigns are a variation of the Forgotten Realms)...
And selected a location that made sense to me...
But locations can easily be changed to fit what you need.
Since he's an NPC I didn't dive too deep into a ton of dialogue and such; just giving a focused reason for the way he is the way he is.
As always, I look forward to any feedback you might have!
Enjoy!
===================================================

The Greyguard, a Hill Giant tribe living in the rolling hills of the Greycloak Hills had lived a long and fulfilled life. They preyed primarily on those who traveled west of Anauroch’s endless sands, coming between the Greycloak Hills and Evereska.

Xidus Bamwar was a powerful leader; no wiser than any other Hill Giant but he earned the respect of the clan and became their Warchief because of his fearlessness. Xidus Bamwar had led several successful raids on passing caravans, earning the tribe an assortment of exotic treasures and slaves. This had gone on for years, earning Xidus Bamwar the love and appreciation of his people, earning him an assortment of mates, fathering many children.

One of his youngest, Volum Bamwar, often questioned his father why they would attack other humanoids, and Xidus explained, each time, that the giants were on a higher order than regular humanoids; that the ordning permitted them to do this, as a social status.

Xidus and his tribe attacked passing caravans one too many times, however; during one of their attacks on a caravan of gypsies leaving Anauroch and headed for Neverwinter, several of the gypsies had managed to escape. For days wandered directionless until they arrived in Parnast to the north where they reported the attacks made by the Hill Giants.

News reached Llorkh, a town on the verge of rebuilding itself again, and not so long ago suffered a decimating attack by Stone Giants. News rapidly traveled west to Daggerford, run by Duchess Morwen Daggerford. She immediately hired a group of mercenaries to travel to the Greycloak Hills and remove the Hill Giants.

The mercenary crew, simply known as The Blade’s Alliance, quickly rode out to the Greycloak Hills and located the Greyguard Hill Giants. Knowing that the Hill Giants had strength and power over the Blade’s Alliance, their leader, a Half-Elf Ranger named Fourd Foxfire, knew their best opportunity of attack would be at night. Moving quietly, the Blade’s Alliance struck ruthlessly, slitting throats before one of the giants awoke. A fight broke out, and by the time Xidus Bamwar saw the decimated tribe, dozens dead before the fight ever started, including his youngest son, Volum, Xidus demanded to know what Fourd and the others wanted.

Fourd explained that the Hill Giants were to cease their attacks, and apologized for those that had to die; but he knew that only a show of force would earn the attention and respect of the Hill Giants. Xidus Bamwar agreed to take the surviving members of the Greyguard and relocate far to the south, in a less populated area of The Far Hills, just south of the Sunset Mountains.

For two years, Xidus Bamwar led a more peaceful life, capturing and killing wildlife around the Far Hills, with minimal interaction with humanoids. His people prospered, but in the mind of Xidus Bamwar, he could never erase the visage of his youngest son, throat slit; nor could he erase the visage that the Blade’s Alliance wore on their tabards; the symbol of Daggerford…

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:01 pm

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Great Dragon;24144027 wrote: Azo Redeemer of Men
Gold Dragon Wyrmling
The self appointed secret protector of a small mining town. Able to change his shape, but only into a Squirrel, a Finch, and an Otter.
Flaw: is always Gold Colored.
New: Able to become a (male) Halfling with bright Gold Eyes.
This was enjoyable to write... Had some fun with the idea... Wasn't sure what mining town you had in mind, and you had mentioned staying away from the Swordcoast in one of your posts... So I picked a place far to the East of it... and where a Golden Dragon might call home... Naturally, there's a bit of tragedy in this story... but it's to explain the father's view on humans, and why Azo should stay away from them (which you hadn't mentioned, but I thought would add some flavor to Azo in his "mortal guise")...
As always, change what's needed (the name of his mortal guise is a combo of me and my wife's Halfling Characters from EverQuest)...
I'd love to hear feedback!
Enjoy!
=================================
“We must not meddle in the affair of mortal,” Aurum said, his golden scales reflecting on the setting sun, as his gaze looked down at Parnast, a village that sat in the wild frontier, just east of the Greypeak Mountains.

Azo, Aurum’s youngest and only offspring looked up at his father. “Why?”

“Because many mortals are driven by greed,” Aurum explained, matter-of-factly. “I wish I could say otherwise,” he said turning to face his son. His heart ached and bled, because it had been mortals, bandits, who had tricked, trapped and killed Aurum’s mate and Azo’s mother, Aurelian. Aurum knew not all humans were like the murderous bandits who had lured his mate, but he was not willing to take that chance with Azo. “Stay away from them,” he said gruffly, trying to push down the memory of his mate, murdered and cut open, which still burned fresh in his mind.

Azo sighed. He understood his father’s warning and why his father urged him to stay away from mortals. Azo, though he missed his mother greatly, never blamed all humans for the actions of the few murderous bandits. Aurum cranked his neck, his neck sparkling just as the final rays of sunlight died behind the horizon, “Stay here. Stay away from the humans. There is urgent business that I, and other Elderly Dragons must attend to. Promise me you will stay away.”

“Of course,” Azo nodded, but his eyes drifted from his father, down the Parnast.

As the full moon rose, in her eternal effort to chase down the sun, Aurum took to the skies, his mind solely on his son’s wellbeing.

Azo, however, was already thinking about the mortals. If the problem had been that the mortals would attack him for being a dragon; then the answer was to not be a dragon. For the next several days, Azo attempted to polymorph himself into something else. He had managed to change into a squirrel, a finch, even an otter – but there was a problem. Each one of those forums were gold in color; something that would undoubtedly attract human attention and lead to his capture.

What if he could be a mortal? Or at least look like one? Several nights were spent practicing, until finally he had polymorphed himself into a young Halfling. The gold reflected in his eyes marked his identity, but by every other aspect, Azo had looked like a normal halfling. He took to traveling down the mountain side and adopted the name of “Morobunce Goldendaisy.” He spent his days in Parnast, interacting with other mortals, and learning from them. The times he knew his father would be returning, he would leave, resume his form up in the Greypeak Mountains.

Years passed, and he became a bit of a celebrity in his mortal guise in Parnast. People wondered where Morobunce Goldendaisy would disappear for days, sometimes weeks on end. And when he returned, he always elaborated on some exciting tale to explain his disappearances which made him more and more of a celebrity. His father, Aurum, never learned the truth and soon left his son to be on his own.

Azo never stopped caring about mortals and was always excited to take on his “Morobunce Goldendaisy” form whenever he could.

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:01 pm

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AH0098;24155233 wrote: 1st
Name: Caelynn Naílo
Race: Half Elf
Gender: Female
Class: Bard (Lore)
Background: Port City Noble
Personality: Nobody stays angry at me or around me for long, I can defuse any situation. Nothing can shake my optimistic attitude. I'm a born gambler who can't resist taking a risk for a potential payoff. I know a story relevant to almost every situation.
Ideals: I am a free spirit--no one tells me what to do. Friendship. Material goods come and go. Bonds of friendship last forever. Creativity. The world is in need of new ideas and bold action. Honesty. Art should reflect the soul; it should come from within and reveal who we really are.
Bonds: I want to be famous, whatever it takes. I am in love with the heir of a family that my family despises.
Flaws: A scandal prevents me from ever going home again. That kind of trouble seems to follow me around.
Notes: She left her family in her home city, she is a half elf from either a Sun or Moon elf and human pairing? She is extremely bubbly and optimistic as possible. She purposely dyes her hair extreme colors to the dismay of her family. Her favorite instrument is a double necked Lute, and plays it similar to a modern rock style of obscene noise, but her voice is beautiful.
I think my favorite part of writing this was explaining the dual neck for the lute.
As I was writing her - I stepped into her spunky side, because I had written her father's personality...
So that combined with her personality traits you wanted...
It just bloomed.
The rest I think came out all right as well.
Although at one point, the POV writing changed - but I think I caught that (writing at work, someone side tracked me so POV randomly changed!)
Hopefully I caught all of them.
As always, I'd love to hear feedback!
===================================

My name is Caelynn Naílo and I come from a split bloodline. My mother was a Moon Elf, my father a human, who had been rescued by her. My father had been running from a small band of human marauders who had killed his horse. My mother, Sailatin Greenmeadow had used her lethal accuracy with a bow and arrow to kill three marauders before any of their bodies had hit the ground. With three dead in the blink of an eye, the others quickly turned and fled. My mother came down from the tree which she had been hiding from and introduced herself. My father, a human named Bauren Naílo, had been wounded in their attack, and my mother tended to his wounds.

That should have been the end of it, but my father returned, once a month to the same spot, calling for my mother. One day, she finally came out of hiding and told him that he must not return. But my father did not listen. Each month, he returned, called for her and she finally came down. He explained that he could never thank her enough for saving his life and that’s when he proposed to her.

My mother declined at first; but still, my father returned, once again, every month, down on one knee. Flattered by his determination she finally accepted, but their wedding was in private. And their love finally explored, I was born into the world. My birth however caused fury in my mother’s family, since they had not known she’d been seeing a human in secrecy.

My mother left her family, and she and my father took to living in the woods. As I grew, I seemed to take the best of both of my parents. My father’s determination and romantic nature, led me to learning to write poetry and song; while my mother’s side provided me the beauty and grace of her elven blood. My father, ever the optimistic would tell me the stories of how his determination won over my mother’s heart. That unbreakable determination and optimism definitely coursed through my blood, just as my father’s silver tongue and ability to shatter anyone’s anger and frustration. My mother taught me how to use a lute, something that many of her family played. Once I learned, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to represent my human side and my elven side in my music. I forged my own custom lute, with two needs; one shorter than the other. The shorter one represented my human side; the shorter life. It had less designs and straight forward neck. The other neck, slightly longer, was more elegantly designed, and represented my elven blood. Each side was meant to show that no matter the bloodline, music came from it.

When my mother’s side of the family came to visit, they treated my father poorly, despite explaining that they “accepted” him at long last. When they invited us back to their homes, I had dyed my hair using berries to show off my father’s side of being wild. It was much to the dismay of my mother’s side of the family, and it became something I did each year we returned to visit my mother’s side of the family. I also took that chance to play my lute for them, which they called “Rolling Rock” music because it sounded like rocks rolling down a mountain side to them; but they could not deny my smile, my laughter, and my ability to make them tap their feet to the music. It was a great pleasure for them to be disappointed in me, because of how they viewed my father and how I portrayed myself, but their undeniable attraction to the music I sang.

While with my mother’s family, Itook the time to learn about the world beyond the woods, reading volumes of information about legends and lore. By the time I had hit the age of eighteen, I had spoken to my mother and father about exploring the world beyond the woods that I had read about. The people I encountered were nothing like how the Moon Elves had described them. I learned that the world operated using money, and I quickly used my talents as a bard to spin wonderful tales and my double necked lute made me an icon in every town I sung my way through.

The human side of me made me interested in gambling; the thrill of not knowing the result excited me and seemed to feed my creativity. The more popular I became because of my lute and music, the more I embraced the outside world. I realized I had wanted my name to fall off the lips of the world with awe and love.

One night, at a mining town, a small caravan of elves, escorting elven made swords stopped for the night. Many of them entered “Last Spin Inn” where I had been performing. Seeing “familiar” faces, in that they had been mostly elves that night, seemed to bring out my spunky side. Pulling the ponytail out of my hair, I strummed and sang loudly and rambunctiously. At the end of the show, one of the Elves approached me and introduced himself as Telannin Thornweaver, a Sun Elf. The Thornweaver name rang a bell in my mind; it’d been mentioned in the family’s books.

“Thornweaver,” I mentioned. “As in the Warclan?”

Telannin smiled, “You know my family?”

“You could say that,” I smiled.

We spent the night talking until the sun rose.

And somewhere in that conversation, my heart began to sing a new song…

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:01 pm

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AH0098;24155233 wrote: Name: Tezir Grenavi
Race: Variant Human (Rashemi)
Gender: Male
Class: Barbarian (Totem or Wild Soul?)
Background: Barbarian Tribe Member
Personality: I see omens in every event and action, my traditions speak of the spirits and Fey. I don't pay attention to the risks in a situation. Never tell me the odds. When I set my mind to something, I follow through no matter what gets in my way.
Ideals: Freedom. Tyrants must not be allowed to oppress the people. Noble Obligation. It is my duty to protect and care for the people beneath me. Glory. I must earn glory in battle, for myself and my Lodge. Destiny. Nothing and no one can steer me away from my higher calling.
Bonds: I idolize a hero of the old tales and measure my deeds against that person's. I protect those who cannot protect themselves.
Flaws: I have a 'tell' that reveals when I'm lying. Once someone questions my courage, I never back down no matter how dangerous the situation.
Notes: on his Dajemma, his coming of age journey. From the Black Bear Lodge. His mother gave him a resounding prophecy before going on his journey, before sending him on his journey.

As always I do hope you enjoy delving into the stories of my creations.
Heh. This one I had too much fun with. Anytime I get to write a Barbarian... I am going to lose myself.
I used to play Barbarians in 2nd Edition... I played a Barbarian Shaman in EverQuest...
Barbarians are my jam!
And for some Easter Egg Goodness - if you're familiar with Mortal Kombat, you will get the name "variations" for the characters I introduced...
Such as the character's mother, Kaleena... which is a reference to my favorite female of the Mortal Kombat franchise... Mileena.
I kind of fell in love with Kaleena as I wrote her also...
I did something where it's from the character's point of view...
Then goes into the past...
Then back to the character's point of view...
To help develop his mother... and that helped develop him...
The creature she fights (no spoilers yet!) is a reference to both something in Star Wars (I am sure you can figure it out)... and ElfQuest (if you're familiar with it)...
Anyway - enough rambling!
As always, looking forward to feedback!
Enjoy!
====================================================

All of my life I have felt different; different than everyone else from my tribe.

A stone skimmed across a shallow lake, was no more than a stone that’d been thrown. But for me, I could almost feel what happened next. After the stone sank after the final skim, it slowly nestled at the bottom of the lake. Forgotten by everyone else but for me, I could almost feel the never-ending ripples of the consequences; from moving the stone to the stone’s new home. Every action, every second, another ripple formed. Life was a lake, we were all stones, skimming across the lake, and in death we would sink to the bottom, forever forgotten.

Near Raven Rock, far to the north, just south of the Spine of the World, our tribe had lived peacefully. Raven Rock, home to my own ancient ancestors, was the home of a clan of barbarians that rode on giant, fantastic ravens; said to somehow come from the Feywild. That connection to the Feywild is what made me different. My mother, a beautiful, but stubborn woman, would not be held back, even while she was pregnant with me. She had led a group of warriors in an attempt to track down a Yeti which had been killing their livestock, and could account for the disappearance of several people from the tribe, including children…

“This beast has killed much of our livestock,” Kaleena Grenavi shouted over the howling winds. “If we do not find it and kill it, we will soon starve. I suspect this beast is also responsible for the disappearance of Netana’s children, and for Saraka’s disappearance.” She pushed forward, despite being nine months pregnant, foot in front of her, three feet of snow, and the winds pushing against her. The others, six men and three women, all glanced at one another, and shook their head, but said nothing against her, save for Jhade.

“If this beast is indeed responsible for Saraka’s disappearance, and ultimately, his death,” Jhade tried to keep pace with Kaleena, “then there is little chance any of us might succeed. Saraka was a master with the blades.”

“If we do die tonight,” Kaleena said, turning to face Jhade, “then we will die a quicker death than starvation, for that will be our fate if we do not find and kill the beast. And you know better than to ever tell me the odds. That makes me only want to do this more.” Despite the dire situation, Kaleena could not help but smile. Jhade was her sister, and Netana – whose two sons vanished one night – was also her sister. Kaleena was doing this not just for the tribe, but she needed this revenge; and nothing would stop her. Not the weather. Not her pregnancy. Not even the odds that they might perish.

Kaleena had managed to track the beast near Raven Rock, where it had found a cave to call home. Skeletal remains of all kinds; animals, human and humanoid littered the cavern floor. This Yeti had been hunting in these grounds for a very long time. Among the skeletal remains, Kaleena found Saraka’s blades and the necklaces of Netana’s children, just as she feared. Scanning the cavern there was no sign of the Yeti being inside. Kaleena commanded the others to wait outside and they would spring a trap. Kaleena would wait inside the cave and the others would signal her when the beast approached; when it rushed in, they would rush in from the outside and strike it from behind.

The towering white Yeti blended so well with the snowy ground that it was not until it was nearly at the entrance until Jhade spotted it and gave the raven call. Kaleena gripped her weapon and shouted a challenge to the beast, who rushed into its cave. Kaleena had set up a trap that the Yeti stepped into; Saraka’s blades cut deep into its leg as it howled. Kaleena lunged at the beast with her spear and drove it into the beast’s heart; but the beast did not die. It snapped the spear in half, leaving a portion of it in his chest. The others rushed in and attacked from the rear; the trap had pinned the Yeti’s foot, preventing it from turning to face them. They continued stabbing at it mercilessly, until its white fur was crimson red, but still it did not stop. Kaleena stood up and jumped at the beast, gripping the stub of the spear still lunged in its chest and swung with all of her weight to drive it further. The beast gasped, and she knew it had pierced the beast’s heart; but that’s when she felt a warm sensation running down her legs. She looked and realized the Yeti, in its final moments, had raked its claws against her protruding stomach.

She released the spear and collapsed on the floor, eerily, at the same time the Yeti fell forward, dead.

Jhade and the others rushed to Kaleena’s side, seeing the deep wound across her stomach. Jhade began to deliver the baby, knowing that the wound was deep enough to cut into the child. As she delivered the child, it did not breathe; three claw marks across the child’s chest had undoubtedly sealed its fate; but then something happened. A magical surge of energy coming from the cave and the child suddenly burst into tears crying. Kaleena smiled, before losing consciousness from the blood loss.

That child was me; the three claw marks are still scars I bare on my chest. I was born into this world without breath; but given life by some unseen force. My mother believes it was the Fey; Fey who had been imprisoned by the Yeti’s dark power; now free, giving their thanks for the freedom by giving the warrior that freed them, life to her child.

Like my mother, I am stubborn, perhaps to a fault. I never like to be told the odds, because they never matter to me. For me, perhaps because I was touched by the Fey who had somehow been imprisoned by the Yeti; their magic in me, their message, is that no matter what – no one should ever be allow to oppress people. It’s become my duty, my honor, my life, to defend, protect and care for those who need my help.

My mother believes, as do I, that I was spared by the Fey for some larger reason; and as I leave the Black Bear Lodge, for my Dajemma, my coming of age journey; I will see what the world needs of me.

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm

Sorry, Tawm - how much feedback would you like? I do weekly critiquing with a group, so I'm used to giving detailed feedback. If you want me to do detailed analyses (e.g. sentence construction, punctuation, craft - stuff like that), I can do it, but it would be easier (and faster) if I only did one at a time. :)

Otherwise, all I can comment on is the content - and since I don't know all the aspects of D&D 5E, I'll get things wrong, I'm sure. For instance, what does the "Virtue" thing (for the fighter/warlock) refer to? What does "Concept" refer to? It's hard to know what to say other than "Hey, I like it! <insert smiley face>", which sounds artificial. :(

So let's see what I can do without being artificial! :D

The Tiefling story sounds interesting, but I think there may be a logical fallacy there: the demon tells the tiefling to collect the souls of "vile individuals". How does the tiefling know that the caravanners are vile?
======================
The story of the Hill Giant is intriguing. I think there are several aspects of it I'd like to see developed further (perhaps in future, or perhaps with other NPCs):

1. You say that Xidus Bamwar "earned the respect of the clan and became their Warchief because of his fearlessness." I'd like to see at least one incident to SHOW me how fearless he is, not just tell me. (Maybe facing down a hail of arrows or a sorcerer? Something like that).

2. You write of the gypsies: "For days wandered directionless..."

I think there's a word missing there. :)

3. You wrote: "News reached Llorkh, a town on the verge of rebuilding itself again, and not so long ago suffered a decimating attack by Stone Giants."

You're changing tenses in the middle of the sentence, which throws me a little. This is easy to fix, though - e.g.:

"...a town on the verge of rebuilding itself again, having suffered an attack by Stone Giants not long ago."

4. You wrote: "Knowing that the Hill Giants had strength and power over the Blade’s Alliance..."

What power do the Hill Giants hold over the Blade's Alliance? Mystical? Magical? I'd reword this - how about:

"Knowing that the Hill Giants were stronger and more powerful than the Blade’s Alliance..."

5. Fourd apologises for the deaths, but knows that only a show of force would earn the Giants' respect.

This is a contradiction in terms. If only a show of force earns the Giants' respect, why does Fourd even apologize? He should intimidate or threaten the Giants, not apologize. (Especially since you mentioned that the adventurers are "heartless").
======================
Azo, the Gold Dragon Wyrmling, is fun. :) There are a couple of things I'd like to know:

1. Why the "Redeemer of Men" nickname?

2. If Azo is Aurum's only offspring, then he can't also be "the youngest". (He's the oldest, too.) :) Consider an edit.

3. You don't need so many tags when Aurum, or anyone else, speaks. It weakens the effect. Just choose one; let me show you what I mean.

----------------
“Because many mortals are driven by greed. I wish I could say otherwise.”

He turned to face his son, and his heart ached; was it not mortals - bandits - who tricked, trapped and killed Aurum’s mate and Azo’s mother, Aurelian?

Aurum knew not all humans were like the murderous bandits who had lured his mate, but he would not take that chance with Azo. Never again!

“Stay away from mortals, my son.” Aurum tried to push down the memory of his mate, murdered and butchered, which still burned fresh in his mind.
----------------

4. LOL @ name, "Morobunce Goldendaisy". How does he explain his golden eyes?
======================
Sorry, but I found inconsistencies in the half-elf's background before you even started writing it. That's not your fault. :)

The "Bonds" and "Flaws" contradict each other. First, she's in love with the heir of a family that her family despises; but then, she can't go home ever again.

So what's the problem with pursuing this heir? Even if her family hates his family, she doesn't have to deal with it. She can just blow them a raspberry - "Phhhhhhhhffffftttttt! Nyah nyah!" and elope with this guy. :P

Also, I really doubt this half-elf can defuse any situation. "I vill not say zhat," says Count Strahd Von Zarovich. Behind the half-elf. :twisted:

Either that, or just Lolth. Outside her home dimension. Without her psionic abilities or mage/cleric spells. In her monstrous spider form (i.e. 66 HPs). And in a baad mood. :twisted:

I like Caelynn's story, but I can see you've changed it a bit. The initial request says that her family hates her lover's family. In your story, her Moon Elf family hates her human father. So I'm confused. :?
======================
I like the barbarian story. :) Hold on - Raven Rock? Isn't that a major location in the "Skyrim" game? ;)

I don't mind the POV-shift (first Tezir, then Kaleena, then Tezir again).

:shock: I don't know ANY women who would go hunting despite being nine months preggers. ;) Aren't any of the tribe going to try to persuade her not to go hunting? For the sake of the baby, at least, if not for her own sake? I doubt that's realistic, but hey - go look for realism in D&D! :lol:

Hmm. If you make Jhade her sister, then why not make Netana her half-sister - or better, a life-long friend? It's a bit of a coincidence to make them BOTH her sisters. ;)

Um, the Fey that healed this guy were INSIDE the Yeti? :shock: How were they not eaten by now?

It's a good story - exaggerated, sure, but I can imagine a barbarian exaggerating it to impress people. ;)
======================

And that's what I thought. :)

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
Sorry, Tawm - how much feedback would you like? I do weekly critiquing with a group, so I'm used to giving detailed feedback. If you want me to do detailed analyses (e.g. sentence construction, punctuation, craft - stuff like that), I can do it, but it would be easier (and faster) if I only did one at a time. :)
Hah! I should be more clear - since they're coming from the site, I am just cross posting them here (if anyone wants to read them).
So the feedback is mostly from those who requested the stories! By no means am I expecting anyone on SHP to critique them and give feedback (unless they wanted!) But yes, since they're copy and pastes from the forum I am originally posting them from; the "asking of feedback" is more so from the ones who submitted these to me to write.
So please feel no pressure to critique them! I should have been more clear.
I post them here for anyone to read; but also for archiving purposes; because the Moderators at the OotS forums can be... picky.
So a thread may be alive and well, then the next day vanish. So I'd hate for my efforts to randomly be lost because of some moderator...
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
The Tiefling story sounds interesting, but I think there may be a logical fallacy there: the demon tells the tiefling to collect the souls of "vile individuals". How does the tiefling know that the caravanners are vile?
Well, I don't think the demon cares either way; whether vile or not. If an innocent is claimed in the process, so be it. ;)
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
The story of the Hill Giant is intriguing. I think there are several aspects of it I'd like to see developed further (perhaps in future, or perhaps with other NPCs):
1. You say that Xidus Bamwar "earned the respect of the clan and became their Warchief because of his fearlessness." I'd like to see at least one incident to SHOW me how fearless he is, not just tell me. (Maybe facing down a hail of arrows or a sorcerer? Something like that).
2. You write of the gypsies: "For days wandered directionless..."
I think there's a word missing there. :)
3. You wrote: "News reached Llorkh, a town on the verge of rebuilding itself again, and not so long ago suffered a decimating attack by Stone Giants."
You're changing tenses in the middle of the sentence, which throws me a little. This is easy to fix, though - e.g.:
"...a town on the verge of rebuilding itself again, having suffered an attack by Stone Giants not long ago."
4. You wrote: "Knowing that the Hill Giants had strength and power over the Blade’s Alliance..."
What power do the Hill Giants hold over the Blade's Alliance? Mystical? Magical? I'd reword this - how about:
"Knowing that the Hill Giants were stronger and more powerful than the Blade’s Alliance..."
5. Fourd apologises for the deaths, but knows that only a show of force would earn the Giants' respect.
This is a contradiction in terms. If only a show of force earns the Giants' respect, why does Fourd even apologize? He should intimidate or threaten the Giants, not apologize. (Especially since you mentioned that the adventurers are "heartless").
1. Indeed, I should have given an example!
2. Nice catch! This happens because I time myself and only give myself an hour to write these; so more often than not, my brain is going faster than my fingers, and I never go back and edit, otherwise I am more inclined to keep expanding beyond my hour limit.
3. Nice catch again. I probably got side tracked and lost my train of thought. :)
4. Strength in power, as in sheer, raw strength (as in a waken Hill Giant could easily crush someone); but yes, that should have been made far more clear.
5. It's more of a, "Sorry I had to kill some of your tribe, but it was the only way to show you our strength and stealth. We could have killed more."
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
Azo, the Gold Dragon Wyrmling, is fun. :) There are a couple of things I'd like to know:
1. Why the "Redeemer of Men" nickname?
I was leaving that to the person who requested it; being a young, gold dragon; I couldn't in the hour I give myself, find a way he would be a redeemer of men. So the person who requested that character can grow the dragon's origin beyond what I wrote.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
2. If Azo is Aurum's only offspring, then he can't also be "the youngest". (He's the oldest, too.) :) Consider an edit.
Nice catch! Originally, I was going to think he had brothers, also slain by humans; but ended up only being the mother (drove the point home enough), and never changed it.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
4. LOL @ name, "Morobunce Goldendaisy". How does he explain his golden eyes?
Morobunce is a name translated from Tolkien of "Thomas" and "Daisy" was a translation from Amiee's name.
(I wish I could find the translator again)
As for the golden eyes; all a part of his unusual legend and lore to the people!

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
Sorry, but I found inconsistencies in the half-elf's background before you even started writing it. That's not your fault. :)
The "Bonds" and "Flaws" contradict each other. First, she's in love with the heir of a family that her family despises; but then, she can't go home ever again.
So what's the problem with pursuing this heir? Even if her family hates his family, she doesn't have to deal with it. She can just blow them a raspberry - "Phhhhhhhhffffftttttt! Nyah nyah!" and elope with this guy. :P
I don't make the character's flaws and such; those are what are submitted to me.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
Also, I really doubt this half-elf can defuse any situation. "I vill not say zhat," says Count Strahd Von Zarovich. Behind the half-elf. :twisted:
A bard with high enough Charisma can get their way out of any situation, technically.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
I like the barbarian story. :) Hold on - Raven Rock? Isn't that a major location in the "Skyrim" game? ;)
It may be, but it appeared in Icewind Dale as a part of the Forgotten Realms.
Which, I think, pre-dates Skyrim.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
I don't mind the POV-shift (first Tezir, then Kaleena, then Tezir again).
I do this with the "..." leading to he's now thinking of her, and envisioning it as it was told to him...
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
:shock: I don't know ANY women who would go hunting despite being nine months preggers. ;) Aren't any of the tribe going to try to persuade her not to go hunting? For the sake of the baby, at least, if not for her own sake? I doubt that's realistic, but hey - go look for realism in D&D! :lol:
I've watched the show Vikings and seen something similar; with pregnant women going into battle. Especially if said woman is already a leader.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
Hmm. If you make Jhade her sister, then why not make Netana her half-sister - or better, a life-long friend? It's a bit of a coincidence to make them BOTH her sisters. ;)
Because it's all references to Mileena, Kitana and Jade. ;)
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
Um, the Fey that healed this guy were INSIDE the Yeti? :shock: How were they not eaten by now?
It's a good story - exaggerated, sure, but I can imagine a barbarian exaggerating it to impress people. ;)
That's why I said the beast is a combo of something in Star Wars (technically Empire Strikes Back; the Wampa; as well as something from ElfQuest; namely Madcoil.
So the Yeti and the cave are a reference to the Wampa: https://www.starwars.com/databank/wampa
But there was magic about it; wild fey magic; similar to Madcoil's creation: https://elfquest.fandom.com/wiki/Madcoil who also killed without mercy and lived in a cave.

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:28 pm

Tawmis wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am
I post them here for anyone to read; but also for archiving purposes; because the Moderators at the OotS forums can be... picky.
So a thread may be alive and well, then the next day vanish. So I'd hate for my efforts to randomly be lost because of some moderator...
Yikes. :shock: Moderators delete your posts at random? That shouldn't happen. The background stories you write are fine - I don't see any reason for anyone to delete them, unless they're being jerks. :x
Tawmis wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
Sorry, but I found inconsistencies in the half-elf's background before you even started writing it. That's not your fault. :)
The "Bonds" and "Flaws" contradict each other. First, she's in love with the heir of a family that her family despises; but then, she can't go home ever again.
So what's the problem with pursuing this heir? Even if her family hates his family, she doesn't have to deal with it. She can just blow them a raspberry - "Phhhhhhhhffffftttttt! Nyah nyah!" and elope with this guy. :P
I don't make the character's flaws and such; those are what are submitted to me.
That's fine! Like I said, it's not your fault. :) I just thought it was amusing that the person who came up with the character missed it, that's all. ;)
Tawmis wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am
A bard with high enough Charisma can get their way out of any situation, technically.
Can they? :| What about extreme situations (e.g. in boss fights against bosses with high CHA or INT, like Count von Zarovich ... or Lolth ... or, just for the sake of argument, an Adult Dragon (on the scale of someone like Smaug)? ;)

All right, never mind CE characters like the above. But let's just say a powerful and wise LG monster, like an Adult Gold Dragon. Could a bard with a high CHA convince an AGD to - say - part with some treasure? Or an egg? :lol:
Tawmis wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
:shock: I don't know ANY women who would go hunting despite being nine months preggers. ;) Aren't any of the tribe going to try to persuade her not to go hunting? For the sake of the baby, at least, if not for her own sake? I doubt that's realistic, but hey - go look for realism in D&D! :lol:
I've watched the show Vikings and seen something similar; with pregnant women going into battle. Especially if said woman is already a leader.
All right, I won't say that it's never happened. Sure, it happens. I'm just concerned: isn't it bad for the woman's health, as well as the unborn child's health - especially during the final month of pregnancy? :?

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:01 am

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:28 pm
Yikes. :shock: Moderators delete your posts at random? That shouldn't happen. The background stories you write are fine - I don't see any reason for anyone to delete them, unless they're being jerks. :x
Well, they will lock threads that they feel veer off, even slightly. They will delete threads if they feel it violates any of their (extensive) forum rules. For example, double posting. Common enough rule on most forums (as most forums frown on "thread bumping") - but for example, my backstory thread; each backstory is it's own thread, so I can link it to the person requesting the backstory. And quite frequently, I post several backgrounds back to back, before anyone else replies, because I have so many requests; and can get in a writing mood and write several at a time. So technically my thread is in "violation" of the rules; but they often make exceptions for such cases. But what one moderator says OK, may not be known to another one who comes in, sees the thread; locks it and says it will be deleted in "X" amount of days.
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:28 pm
Tawmis wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am
A bard with high enough Charisma can get their way out of any situation, technically.
Can they? :| What about extreme situations (e.g. in boss fights against bosses with high CHA or INT, like Count von Zarovich ... or Lolth ... or, just for the sake of argument, an Adult Dragon (on the scale of someone like Smaug)? ;)
All right, never mind CE characters like the above. But let's just say a powerful and wise LG monster, like an Adult Gold Dragon. Could a bard with a high CHA convince an AGD to - say - part with some treasure? Or an egg? :lol:
If the player, playing - say the Bard (a class that relies on Charisma) - provides good enough dialogue, that is reasonable - can then ask the DM if they can use their Persuasion skill.
Lord Vlad Drakul is staring at the Bard, and the Bard suddenly breaks out, "Listen. I get it. Bite my neck, feed on me. You're fed, I'm dead. But - what if I used my music to lure people here? Say it was a festival of great magnitude," sweeping his arms all about for dramatic effect, "then you," points to Lord Vlad Drakul, raising an eye brow for further emphasis, "and your minions close the gate, and trap hundreds of people to feed on. Wouldn't that be better?"
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:28 pm
Tawmis wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:19 pm
:shock: I don't know ANY women who would go hunting despite being nine months preggers. ;) Aren't any of the tribe going to try to persuade her not to go hunting? For the sake of the baby, at least, if not for her own sake? I doubt that's realistic, but hey - go look for realism in D&D! :lol:
I've watched the show Vikings and seen something similar; with pregnant women going into battle. Especially if said woman is already a leader.
All right, I won't say that it's never happened. Sure, it happens. I'm just concerned: isn't it bad for the woman's health, as well as the unborn child's health - especially during the final month of pregnancy? :?
Certainly. One would also argue, being well equiped, and marching into the lair of an ancient red dragon would be unwise to one's health; but it happens all the time in D&D. ;)

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Rath Darkblade » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:58 am

Tawmis wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:01 am
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:28 pm
Yikes. :shock: Moderators delete your posts at random? That shouldn't happen. The background stories you write are fine - I don't see any reason for anyone to delete them, unless they're being jerks. :x
Well, they will lock threads that they feel veer off, even slightly. They will delete threads if they feel it violates any of their (extensive) forum rules. For example, double posting. Common enough rule on most forums (as most forums frown on "thread bumping") - but for example, my backstory thread; each backstory is it's own thread, so I can link it to the person requesting the backstory. And quite frequently, I post several backgrounds back to back, before anyone else replies, because I have so many requests; and can get in a writing mood and write several at a time. So technically my thread is in "violation" of the rules; but they often make exceptions for such cases. But what one moderator says OK, may not be known to another one who comes in, sees the thread; locks it and says it will be deleted in "X" amount of days.
Hmph. Well, if moderator 2 doesn't know the exception, all right. But if he does, and then locks it anyway, then wouldn't you say he's being a jerk? :x ;)
Rath Darkblade wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:28 pm
Tawmis wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:24 am
A bard with high enough Charisma can get their way out of any situation, technically.
Can they? :| What about extreme situations (e.g. in boss fights against bosses with high CHA or INT, like Count von Zarovich ... or Lolth ... or, just for the sake of argument, an Adult Dragon (on the scale of someone like Smaug)? ;)
All right, never mind CE characters like the above. But let's just say a powerful and wise LG monster, like an Adult Gold Dragon. Could a bard with a high CHA convince an AGD to - say - part with some treasure? Or an egg? :lol:
If the player, playing - say the Bard (a class that relies on Charisma) - provides good enough dialogue, that is reasonable - can then ask the DM if they can use their Persuasion skill.
Lord Vlad Drakul is staring at the Bard, and the Bard suddenly breaks out, "Listen. I get it. Bite my neck, feed on me. You're fed, I'm dead. But - what if I used my music to lure people here? Say it was a festival of great magnitude," sweeping his arms all about for dramatic effect, "then you," points to Lord Vlad Drakul, raising an eye brow for further emphasis, "and your minions close the gate, and trap hundreds of people to feed on. Wouldn't that be better?"
[/quote]

Oh, dear. This could go two ways:

1. Vlad Drakul raises an eyebrow and says: "Nein, Mr. Bard. I don't expect you to talk - I expect you to die!" :twisted:

2. Vlad Drakul lets hundreds of 0-level NPCs into the castle, and then his many minions descend upon them and feed like crazy.

As for what happens if the bard is like Elan - I shudder to think. ;)

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:48 pm

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=506
jbr712;24179189 wrote:I do enjoy a good backstory. I have some notes on the character at first conception but would like to see an independent take on the character.
Name: Wolfgang von Hexen
Class: Warlock (Hexblade)
Race: V. Human
Feat: Prodigy
Skills: Arcana, Deception, History, intimidation, Persuasion (2x proficiency from prodigy), Stealth
Languages:
Common
Orc
Goblin
Elven
Tool Proficiencies:
Dragonchess
Jeweler’s tools
Notes: the von Hexen family is a minor noble family located in the regional capital (the family name is courtesy of the DM, it was just too apt to pass up). Wolfgang is the second child, but oldest son.
If you have any questions, feel free to let me know.
People really do love their Hexblades...
I think every Warlock I've written here feels like it's always been a Hexblade.
This was fun to write (now that I finally had some free time!)
The being mentioned is a being that's been mentioned in QUITE a few other backgrounds I've written in this thread...
And lends to the idea that all of this happens in a "Forgotten Realms Tawmis Verse" which has been fun.
As always, I'd love to hear feedback!
============================================

When your family has a long line of history, well documented, and well-funded, it is easy to lose yourself in all the things that come to you. My name is Wolfgang von Hexen, and I come from a noble family living just outside the regional capital.

When I was young, there wasn’t anything I wanted that I didn’t get. Servants brought me food, clothing, and would run errands for me to acquire things I was interested in. In truth, there was little need for my mother and father, as they were too busy being politically busy. From my father, I learned the skill to deceive and intimidate, as there were more than several occasions where I watched from the door that was ajar, as my father conducted business with his associates. Some of whom looked quite wealthy, like my father; while other seemed to be of the “shadier” business. From my mother, I learned the silver tongue – or the devil’s tongue, as my younger brother calls it – the ability to persuade. My mother was quite talented at it; the way she would serve drinks and speak so eloquently.

One of my family’s servants, a woman by the name of Adouria would spend her time telling me fantastic stories of the world beyond; where Elf and Orc raged war against one another. She had been well versed in both of their languages, claiming that at one time, she’d been a slave to a band of orcs known as the Red Eye Orcs, and that it had been Elves who rescued her. She claims she learned the Orc tongue while she was a slave, and then in turn learned to speak Elvish during her time with the elves. She bore scars on her arm and a gash on her cheek that certainly seemed to lend to the idea that she had endured some hardships.

The parts that interested me the most were the stories of magic that she spoke of. The Red Eye Orcs apparently worshiped some dark god or demon, and their shaman would gain great power from it. I’d lived my life in luxury and comfort and gotten anything and everything I wanted. I was bored.

I began going to the Great Library and learning about magic in this world, and read tomes from great wizards who documented their findings.

In one of the tomes I read about, a wizard documented how his close friend had summoned a demon by the name of Bar’garius whom he had gained magical powers from when studying to become a powerful wizard was not working for him. This made me search for other tomes that mentioned the demon Bar’garius – and it turned out finding more information on the demon was not at all difficult. The demon was mentioned in several volumes about working with mortals and granting them power for a cost. In one of the volumes it explained how Bar’garius had been expelled to the Shadowfell and that his barter with mortals was a means for breaking open the gate and being free to return to the Planes of Hell.

I was twenty two years old when I traced the runes on my bedroom floor, cut my wrist to place a drop of blood in each of the runes and completed the spell. A shimmering portal opened and my eyes gazed into a bleak, colorless world, where there seemed to be no light – only shades of darkness – when two shimmering red eyes appeared.

“Who calls upon Bar’garius?”

“I do,” I replied, “Wolfgang von Hexen.”

“What do you want of Bar’garius?”

“Power,” I replied.

“You seem to have coin and fortune, what can Bar’garius grant you that you can not buy?”

“Magic,” I replied, smiling.

“True,” the demon replied, “Bar’garius can grant you power. But what does Bar’garius get in return for granting you such power?”

“I know you’re trapped in the Shadowfell,” I explained, smiling. “And I know you wish to return to the Plane of Hell, so that your own power is properly restored. While bound in the Shadowfell, you are weakened. You’ve been granting mortals power which you are able to provide so they go forth and use their new found powers in your name. The more mortals who agree to your bargain, the stronger you become in the Shadowfell. And with enough ‘servants’ to your name you will one day be able to break free of the Shadowfell.”

“You know much of Bar’garius’ past, but what can you do to help Bar’garius’ future?”

“Grant me the power you’ve granted others and I will use my newfound powers to assist you in finding a way to be free of the Shadowfell,” I explained.

“How would you help Bar’garius be free sooner?”

“As you said, I have coin and come from a noble family,” I replied. “With my resources I was able to learn of you and your fate. With more power I can do so much more to help you.”

“Then we have an accord,” Bar’garius said.

Through the shimmering portal black cloudy ink emerged and entered my mouth and nose and consumed my body; I could feel the very fabric of my body being changed. When it was through I collapsed to my knees, but saw shimmering shadows around my hand.

“You are the weapon of Bar’garius now,” the demon said. “Do not fail me.”

I watched as the portal closed and stared at my hands as a shadowy sword appeared.

“I will never be a servant,” I smiled, “I will use your power Bar’garius. But in the end, it is you who will kneel to me.”

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:48 pm

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=511
Great Dragon;24180542 wrote:This Challenge is meant to be a heavy Investigation and Roleplaying situation, and since I'm only good at Plot Ideas and Mechanical twerking, I place this here to see how you spin this one.
Unlike a lot of my Characters, this one has not been "placed" anywhere in the World yet, so you have full freedom to do what you want.
Using the PoVs of either (one or more of) the Townspeople or the dPC (or switching between them) should make for an interesting challenge for you.

The small town is located between two major trade Cities but remote enough that Wilderness Encounters are more common. Mixed Races live (mostly) peacefully together.
Everyone in town knows about the Copper Dragon family that has their Lair somewhere nearby.
Most Dragon family members are seen in town in their Humanoid forms.
But, the appearance of what looks like a Green Dragon Wyrmling has the townsfolk upset and traveling armed.
Rizalyxev Rambreaker
(Riza-lie-xev)
Copper Dragon Wyrmling

Str 15, Dex 12, Con 14,
Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 13.
AC 16. HP 30.
Speed 30, Climb 30, Fly 60.
Blindsight 10' Darkvision 60'
Saves: Str +3, Con +3, Wis +2, Cha +3
Skills: Perception, Intimidation.
Breath (recharges on 5-6)
Acid 4d8 Dex DC 12 for half
Slowing Con DC 12. 1 minute.
Half Speed: No Reactions:
Either Action or Bonus Action.
Lair actions as per MM

"Mother believed that I was Cursed by Tiamat upon my hatching, after my Father commented on how I looked more like a Green Dragon than a Copper. While I wasn't rejected by my parents, none of my siblings liked me, and constantly make sure I know this.
I also found that Shapechanging was difficult for me, and as such I had more negative Encounters with "people" than any of my siblings.
As such, I hate everyone but my parents. I love my Mother and respect my Father.
I have taken over the Tunnels and Chambers of what was a Goblin nest, recently cleared out local "Adventuring" groups cutting their teeth learning their profession. I have made it my Lair, and after dedicating the time needed, I have some nice tricks to use on anyone trying to oust me.
Now, I'm out to prove to all those "Superior" people just how wrong they are…."[/SPOILER]
The main thing I'm looking for (in addition to a cool Backstory) are Clues about this dPC for the Players to have their Characters find by Investigation and RP with the Townspeople, ideas about the Personalities of various Dragon Family members, and Hints that maybe there is a misunderstanding about this dPC, and after Exploring to find the correct caverns, there is the Major Encounter in the Wyrmling's Lair.
Both Combat and Roleplaying are possible. Depending on how this dPC is dealt with, he can become a Great Ally or a Major Foe.
From PM:
One of the things that I thought of after I posted this idea, was that to cause further confusion, there could be an actual Green Dragon Wyrmling (of random gender) that also has a Lair somewhere in the area. Starts out not knowing about the dPC, but once it does, is out to cause as much trouble and confusion as possible.
Well, I look forward to seeing what you do with this.
A hero is only as good - or interesting - as his villain.
And the idea of having an actual Green Dragon Wyrmling being involved spawned the entire thing...
So we see some of the point of the view from the townsfolk from the town...
We see a brief view from Rambreaker, our beloved cursed Copper Dragon...
But then we get an inside look and thoughts of the actual Green Dragon Wyrmling...
I think I definitely opened some potential ideas for you to explore...
And tied it all to my beloved and dreaded, Emereth...
The title is a poke at A Tale of Two Cities...
As both our cursed Copper Dragon and the Green Dragon Wyrmling both want the same thing - make their mother proud because they love her.
Enjoy!

As always, I'd love feedback!
==================================================================


The Terribly Confusing Tale of Two Dragons.

“Well,” Kole sat down and gestured to the barkeep to bring another beer, “if you ask me, that dragon is trouble. Saw it sweep down on my live stock. Picked up Bessy and just flew off with her. Haven’t seen Bessy since, and that was six days ago.”

“It can’t be,” Tanya shook her head. “I was out harvesting the lands, just beyond the town’s walls, when a group of goblins got the drop on me. I would have been dead had it not been the arrival of Rambreaker.”

“Rambreaker,” Kole shook his head. “Why do you call that foul beast Rambreaker?”

“Because after it killed the goblins, it stopped to ensure I was all right,” Tanya explained. “And I asked it its name. Well, first it said it was Rizalyxevyezeriot or something – but when I looked confused, it explained that it translated to ‘Rambreaker.’”

“More like ‘Sheepstealer’,” Kole took a big drink of his mug of ale and wiped his beard with the back of his sleeve.

“You must be mistaken,” Tanya was convinced Kole was wrong. “Having this dragon protect us is the best of times!”

“The worse of times! The damn thing stole one of my sheep!” He shook his head. “Bessy was the best sheep for sheering off the coat. Without the wool, we’re in financial distress…”

“But have you not seen those magical carvings that have appeared? They’re of the dragon, and so … happy looking. Sometimes… I see it… smile… and laugh,” Tanya replied. (1)

“I am going to have to agree with Kole, Tanya,” Bayrd replied. “Everyone knows that Green Dragons – along with Red, Black, Blue, and White – are all evil. They’re simply bred that way. The bloodline of Tiamat.”

Tanya peered out the window of the old ‘Bark Wood Tavern’ and sighed wistfully, “But what if this one is different? Somehow free of Tiamat’s curse?”

Even as Tanya gazed out the window, Rizalyxev – better known as “Rambreaker” to someone – emerged from his den; a cavern that had formerly belonged to a group of goblins; most of whom had been killed by Adventurers passing through the area. The few that had survived were tracked down by Rambreaker.

My name is Rizalyxev – some of the mortals I have interacted with know me as “Rambreaker.” My scales are as emerald as the forests at the base of the mountain I call home; however, this is believed to be due to a curse. As it would so happen, my mother – a Copper Dragon name Tylienia – “The Sun Scale” – had killed the youngling of a Green Dragon named Emereth, to protect her own young. Emereth was so furious she appealed to Tiamat to curse my mother. Tiamat, knowing Emereth and how she had faithfully served her, granted her the boon. I am, in truth, a Copper Dragon, but was born with scales of green. The irony, my father claims, is that I was a symbol of the youngling that my mother had killed, defending me and my siblings; and that as I grew in age, Adventurers would seek me out, believing I was evil, to put an end to me.

When I was old enough, I left my mother and father behind, as I felt that sightings of me flying around might jeopardized them. Now this former goblin den is my home.

The local town, near the base of the mountain is where I’ve made an effort to show them that I am not evil, by helping them when I can. One such example is when the goblins who had survived the attack on their den from the adventurers, ambushed a mortal woman. I flew down and killed the goblins and ensured the woman was unharmed.

Things seem like they might be going good.

But things would quickly take a turn.

To further complicate matters, I believe I have seen a green dragon, around my age also flying around. The humans cannot distinguish the difference between it and me, so there is some confusion. Understandably so. I have tried to track the Green Wyrmling, but it continues to elude me. (2)

My name is Vazerthyn – though, I’ve told some of the mortals my name is “Rambreaker.” I have been following Rizalyxev for several years. His mother murdered one of my brothers, before I was born; my mother, Emereth has never forgiven her. My mother told me about Tiamat’s curse that was bestowed upon the murderess and found Rizalyxev one day. She revealed his location to me and I have done everything I can to ensure he will never know peace.

He’s recently taken up residence in an abandoned goblin cavern and trying to gain allies with the mortals at the nearby village; undoubtedly in hopes that they would befriend him and ensure any adventurers who came along to not harm him. I can’t allow him to have a peaceful life. Sometimes I strike at day, sometimes at night – but I always make enough noise to be heard, as I use my breath on live stock to kill them. I’ve yet to kill one of the mortals; because then they would come up and hunt him down and kill him.

I don’t want that. Not yet. I want to enjoy tormenting him because I know he can’t track me, no matter how hard he might try.

He knows I am here. He knows what I am doing.

But there’s no one who can help him. Because no will trust him.

His scales are green; just like mine.

Adventurers will kill him if they see him. The towns people below are torn, confused. They see him helping them; but then they see me – believing it’s him – killing their livestock. Some may seek to protect him; but others may hire adventurers to try and kill him.

How ironic would it be that I would have to intervene and kill the adventurers because I don’t want him killed yet?

He will suffer. I will ensure he will suffer.

My name is Vazerthyn and I will avenge my brother and make my mother proud.

=========
(1) From the Copper Dragon Wymling: Magic carvings of the dragon’s smiling visage can be seen worked into stone terrain and objects within 6 miles of the dragon’s lair. See: https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/copp ... n-wyrmling
(2) One of the abilities of a Green Dragon Wyrmling: Within 1 mile of its lair, the dragon leaves no physical evidence of its passage unless it wishes to. Tracking it there is impossible except by magical means. In addition, it ignores movement impediments and damage from plants in this area that are neither magical nor creatures, including the thickets described above. The plants remove themselves from the dragon’s path. See: https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/gree ... n-wyrmling

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Tawmis
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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:50 pm

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=514
synapsecod;24191687 wrote:Hello Tawmis!
I stumbled upon this thread. I am very much impressed by your writing, and wanted to ask you to have a go at a character idea that I have. I hope your talent will help me understand my character's personality better.
Here is a starting point that may help you:
Name: Vesper (still need a last name)
Race: Changeling, has spent most of their time after the Academy as a male human private investigator (Vesper)
Gender: Male (technically only the gender of this particular persona)
Class: 1 lvl Cleric (knowledge) / 1 lvl Wizard (school of enchantment)
Background: Private Investigator
Alignment: (Chaotic) Neutral
Personality: Let your creativity go wild!
Notes:
- I would like something to do with the evil goddess Shar. Maybe I am a cleric of hers, or maybe I pray to her on the side?
- I like to imagine I had found the love of my life at the Academy, but something happened to her.
- Or anything else. Let your imagination go wild!
I am very curious what you will come up with! Feel free to change anything I have suggested above :)
Thanks in advance!
This was quite fun to write... and I had an opportunity to tie it to some existing backgrounds I've previously written (see the notes at the end), which is always fun.
I really dove in with this character...
I think the idea of him calling on Shar, who I knew about, but never really READ UP ON, really gave me a doorway.
I think we all deal with darkness in our souls... some more than others...
Creative folks seem to have an insatiable darkness that feeds on our souls...
So I was able to really connect with this character...
And added a twisted bit of irony (which might be recognizable before it's plainly stated at the end)...
As always, I appreciate feedback!
============================================


Much like the world we live in; we are all born with darkness inside of us. For some, the darkness is a brief shadow, destroyed by the light of hope. For others, the darkness lingers, like a long, starless night where not even the moon dare show her face.

My name is Vesper, and I was born into this world a Changeling. My mother, Kiiso, is a Changeling like myself. She says that she used to travel with a band of Gypsies, before joining a Monastery and finding peace. One of her mentors at the Monastery sensed great magic in her and taught her the ways of Wizardry.

That same sense of magic passed through my mother into me. Perhaps because my mother sensed that magic coursing in my veins, or perhaps because she sensed the darkness, even at a young age that lingered in my soul.

I’ve always felt that there was nothing that was simply mine. Not even my birth. I was born with a twin brother, who in every regard was the opposite of me. Where I seemed to see the darker side of things, he was overly optimistic. Where I was weaker and had magic, my brother was stronger, more agile. In appearance, we were exactly alike; but in every other regard, we were twins who could not be any more different if we had tried.

My mother tended to me since my brother, Varkaun, seemed to be well adjusted. Like me, he was a Changeling, but he wore his Mask beautifully, and the ladies always seemed to look at him, even as I walked next to him. My mother shared with me the knowledge she gained when she was a gypsy, on how to read people, and learn to pick up on small things – she called them “signs” in how people react to things, whether it was a nervous twitch of their nose when they lied, or how they tugged at their ear when they were lying.

When I was old enough, my Mother sent me to Darius Mage Tower (2) in Silverymoon where I met Carmyar, a beautiful Moon Elf, with long, blond hair, as bright and warm as the sun; and eyes, a soft green like the rolling hills. I’d never seen someone of such… beauty.

I didn’t know how to speak to her. Like me, she was studying magic – but I did not know how to approach her. All too often she caught me glancing at her as she walked by; I was too enthralled by her beauty to be aware she was looking at me, smiling back at me.

One day, our teacher had asked us to pair up with other students, and I had not connected with any of them over the weeks, so I was pleasantly surprised when Carmyar was standing next to me.

“Would you like to me my partner?” she asked her voice like a gentle note of music.

I stammered over my words, before I finally said, “Yes. Yes. Yes I would. Please.”

She sat next to me, and even as she did so, it was as if she did it all in slow motion. It took great effort to not stare at her constantly as we worked together to understand magic.

After that class, we’d spend days walking together, talking about our lives, and the magic we felt coursing in our bodies. It’d been one of those nights, when the stars were aligned, the full moon watching us, casting beautiful shadows on her face, that I leaned forward to kiss her, and just as our lips were about to touch, a familiar voice said, “There you are brother!”

Carmyar and I both jumped at the unexpected sound. It’d been my brother Varkaun.

“What are you doing here?” I growled.

“I’d not seen you in a long time, brother, I came to see how you were doing,” he replied. “And,” he looked at Carmyar, “I see you’re doing quite fine. She’s quite beautiful.”

I saw Carmyar blush.

She looked at me, tugging at strands of her hair, “You did not tell me you had a brother.”

“You didn’t speak of me brother? I am wounded!” He extended his arm, “Allow me to fill you in about me.”

Carmyar took his arm and the two began to walk off, talking, leaving me to stand in the darkness as a cloud passed over the bright moon, drowning me in darkness.

I ran away from the school that night, so desperate to get away. I ran blindly, tears streaking my eyes, until I finally collapsed. Through blurred vision, I cast my gaze up at the moon that seemed to be emerging from the dark clouds and saw the moon had been purple with a dark ring around it.

I heard a voice in my head, “Shar…”

The goddess… she could take away pain… make people forget…

I closed my eyes and prayed to her.

Surprisingly – whether I was mad or it was real – I heard a voice in my soul. “You are like me. A twin made of light has taken everything from you. I can help you forget that pain. Live in the shadows of your soul and call upon me as the one you love above all else, and I will help you…”

“I embrace the darkness,” I whispered.

And in that moment, the pain, the loss, was washed away.

I was free.


============ NOTES ===========

(1) The reference of Kiiso as the mother comes from another person’s background I wrote, not too long ago, who was also a Changeling (“female”). So with the idea that perhaps in this complex multiverse of realities, this same Kiiso was your character’s mother, some years after her adventuring career had come to an end and she settled down or, it’s completely unrelated, and your mother, Kiiso, simply has the same name; with “Kiiso” being a common name (like “Bob”, “Robert”, “David”, “Thomas” in English). In the end, it doesn’t take away or add to your character’s own background, other than having a named mother. I simply enjoy tying in things like this if I can. Kiiso’s origin story is here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=471

(2) The Darius Mage Tower also appears in a previously written story I wrote; and I used that to tie in your love interest to the character that that piece had been written for. Again, doesn’t add or take away from your story, and is just another way of me tying in character backgrounds together, to make the Tawmis-Verse as it’s been playfully called, feel more alive by being connected. Carmyar’s story is here (to see what eventually happens to the school) - http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=299 and her brother’s origin which directly ties to hers is here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=297

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:50 pm

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=523
Lyracian;24196377 wrote:I thought I would see if you can help me expand what I have.
Your character's
Name: Redvus Dundonald
Race: Hill Dwarf
Class: Cleric of the Forge (Divine Soul Sorcerer later)
Background: Sailor
rough outline for a backstory:
Viking Dwarf Priest!
Following a self-imposed exile from the order or Solarus [sun god forger of the world] Redvus is seeking to try and find an answer to the infighting between the dwarven factions* by spending time with other cultures. He can trace his ancestors back ten generations to a dwarven demi-god and was drawn to the priesthood at a young age when he felt the healing magics flowing through his blood.

Decedent of a God
Reading Percy Jackson books to my daughter it got me thinking about what his children would be. First quarter-gods then eight-gods and after ten generations there would still be some divine blood in the lineage. This seemed a great idea for a character background. Drawn towards the Cleric class by a natural affinity for the Gods and then multi-class with Divine Soul Sorcerer to play up the bloodline.

Why Adventure?
I always like to have some reason for a character to be wandering around adventuring. In the game world there is a schism between the Luddites and Steamer in Dwarven culture; those that want to embrace new technology [gunpower] and those that do not. How does this affect the priesthood? Might priests get banished from the order or choice to remove themselves seeking to try and find an answer by spending time with other cultures. A self-imposed exile as a journey of discovery seems a good reason for a character to be out and about in the world.
This was fun to write...
I tried to capture the Viking feel, by introducing this concept that your people were always at war with a common foe...
Before things turned to inside fighting...
And the reason for the evolution of that inside fighting...
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback! Good or bad!
===================================

My people were born into this world, under the guidance of Solarus, God of the Sun, Forger of the World. We have channeled his powers into our own; creating forges that burn so hot and so bright that we can forge and shape metals.

Living in the Great White North, life was often short and brutal. If the chill of the frozen nights did not freeze you, the lack of food made survival difficult. If those did not take your life, then the Ogres of the Great White North, were there to fight for everything you wanted – whether that was warmth or food.

For as long as I can remember, my people have waged a war against the Ogres of the Great White North.

Our children are bred to be warriors from an early age, and the idea of growing old was not one many ever considered.

Something in recent years has changed, however. Our people have discovered a combustible powder that can be focused into a steel pipe and project objects at incredible speed, causing immense damage. While, at this stage, it’s currently only large objects; so we’ve created what we’ve dubbed a cannon to fire upon the invading Ogres. One would think that this might be a good thing; but those who developed this powder are already finding ways to hone this down to smaller objects, so that one day, we might be able to carry a destructive force in our hands just as easily as one carries a sword or axe.

A revolt by many who oppose this has torn our kingdom apart. They’ve been attacking the forges that make these cannons and going as far as abducting and beating those who are working on the smaller versions of the cannon, even threatening their families.

We now fight a war on two fronts and each day the Ogres draw closer and closer to these hills we call home and have fought so hard to protect.

Those that oppose this technology fear that these weapons will be turned on ourselves and cause harm; while those who make it, swear it will only be used for defense.

I’ve seen both sides of this. The makers of these weapons are trying to do what’s best for the Kingdom; and those who fear the results, also believe they’re doing what’s best for the Kingdom.

My own blood traces back at least ten generations, where the blood of my god courses through my veins. I am not a divine being, but perhaps because of the bloodline, I am a loyal, faithful member of the Church of Solarus; and I have called upon my god to guide me in this internal struggle between my people, but I’ve not heard anything.

Perhaps he is inundated by the prayers of my people, and I must find the answer myself.

Tonight, I set sail to new lands, to see how others in this world settle these internal wars… I only pray that I return in time to save my people…

My name is Redvus Dundonald, and I am the descendant of a god, and the light of hope for my people…

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Re: D&D Character Background Challenge (It's Own Thread Now)

Post by Tawmis » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:52 pm

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsing ... tcount=530
Aidamis;24197065 wrote:Hello OP! how do you do?
While I'm already working on a character right now, I think that two brains are better than one, so I'll gratefully take you up on your offer.
*Name: Shou Akimura
*Race: human
*Class: fighter
*General outline: child of members of small land nobility. Eventually ran way from home and joined an adventuring group due to being ostracized (see below) and because of fear of a noble's responsibilities, obligations and constraints.
*Particularities: just one - for whatever reason (up to you, OP), he was born (blessed? cursed?) with hermaphroditism, which obviously caused some issues eventually. As stated previously it's mostly others who had issues with this, the man himself learned to live with it. (I took inspiration from Legend of the Five Rings' "horrible secret" disadvantage)

Again, thanks for offering the service OP, looking forward to what you might cook up :)
Cheers
This is one of those things... where it's difficult to write... not because of the story...
But you want to handle something as sensitive like hermaphroditism and gender identity with a lot of care...
It's pretty easy to offend someone these days!
But I think I walked the balance and explained why Shou is the way "he" is...
As always, I welcome feedback!
================================================

I come from a noble family but I have never felt like I’ve belong there.

I had spent most of my youth trying to determine who – or even – what I am.

When I was born, I was named Shou Akimura, meaning “Soaring Autumn Village.” I was named that because it had been Autumn when I was born, the first child of the village born in Autumn that year; and my parents had been so happy their hearts soared. They’d tried for years to have a child and had never been able to. They believed they had been cursed by the gods for some shame in their bloodline that they were not aware of.

My mother firmly believed she was cursed after holding me. The Nasu, or Nurse, told my mother she’d never seen anything like me; and now my mother saw why. When she wondered if I was a boy or girl, she was surprised I was a mixture of both. She knew she would have to keep the secret from her husband and simply told him that she had given him a son, knowing this would make him the most happy.

I learned to live life as a boy; helping my father with chores around the house and farm, getting my hands dirty and sweating, while my mother would watch from her chair, sewing yet another blanket together made from the wool we had gathered from the sheep.

When I was old enough to begin going to class, after practicing with swords; since all the boys were trained to become honorable warriors to defend the women, I began to notice I looked different than many of the boys – down… below. Afraid of being different, I would cover myself and often be teased for it, especially as a teenager.

One day, after hours of being teased, I ran home to my mother to question why I looked different than the other boys. She explained to me that she did not know why – but that I must keep this secret from my father.

This made it increasingly difficult to live at home, that I was forced to hide something about myself from my own family.

Things would only get worse for me when my mother eventually gave birth to a young girl, when I was eighteen years old. She had been born normal, and now had become the main focus of my mother’s affection; so as twisted as it might have been, knowing that I had this secret about myself, that I could at least confide in my mother with, now that my sister had been born – and born normal – all of my mother’s time and affection was directed at her.

I decided to tell my father the truth about me – and he did not react as I expected. I thought he might tell me he still loved me. After all I had grown up as his son for nineteen years; I was still the same person he knew. But my father was horrified and demanded that I leave. I quickly packed several possessions and left home.

On the road, I had met an interesting man, from a distant land, who introduced himself as Tyrell Stormshadow. He claimed to be a bard – a man of music and storytelling. I traveled with him for weeks and he indeed knew how to play the lute and tell good stories. One day he had asked me, as we sat around a crackling fire, shadows dancing around us as the flames swayed, “You are young and when I met you, clearly not an experienced adventurer. But the wakizash strapped to your side is of exceptional make, so I am guessing you come from a rich family. Why would a young man, from nobility, leave his family behind?”

I debated tell him a lie, but something inside me told me I would need to be truthful with others going forward, so I told him how I had been born, and how my mother was ashamed and my father cast me out.

Tyrell Stormshadow smiled and said, “First, let me say I am sorry for all you’ve gone through, Shou. But how your organs look should never be a cause to fear or hate you. Who you are is the person inside. The flesh is only a mask we wear over our souls. Some masks may scare people, it’s true. But the person behind the mask is not necessarily as scary as the mask itself. I’ve stopped looking at the mask people wear and try to see their souls. That’s how you truly know someone. Someone with a scar across their face may look horrifying, but perhaps they got that saving their young daughter from a man or beast that meant her harm. The scar he wears is no different than your own. Remember that when you meet others. Judge them not by how they appear, but how their souls act. That is what truly matters.”

I traveled with Tyrell Stormshadow for many weeks after; his story weaving and unique skills had gotten us jobs with other adventurers, whether that was driving out goblins from a cave, chasing giant rats out of a sewer, or looking into the disappearance of royal members of a family…

One day, after finishing a task with several others, Tyrell said he would be leaving and that there was someone else he was to meet. I expected to go with him, but he put his hand on my shoulder and smiled, “No, now it’s time for you to find your path. I’ve taught you all I can teach you about yourself. You are your own man now. You no longer need me to help you see that. Go on, venture forth in the world, confident in who you are; and remember what I said – judge not by how they appear, but how their souls act.”

I gave him a hug and he walked off, strumming his lute, singing a song about some fallen angel who had escaped captivity and wreaking havoc upon the world. As grim as it sounded, he made the song sound quite pleasant…

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