View Full Version : Trouble With a Backstory [4E]

2009-01-31, 09:02 PM
In our upcoming 4E campaign, I'm going to play a drow. His name is Johann, and he is arachnaphobic.

I've been slowly piecing his backstory together, but am having some trouble at this point (as the title so conveniently states). And while this could usually be something that could be filled in later, this little issue is actually denying me the ability to decide on a class. Yikes. I was hoping anyone could help me here, maybe pitch a few ideas that might make me go "ooh."

Here's what I have so far:

Johann was born to a drow priestess and her bodyguard. Soon after the birth, Johann's mother was struck down by a rival's hired assassin. TO explain it as Johann's Father did: "She was irrevocably evil and would probably have sold you to slavery, but still, it's kinda tragic." Johann's father (hereafter referred to as JF) was not so evil, however, and hid Johann away from the church. He taught Johann about being compassionate, as well as how to kill a man in close combat.

Oh, and JF was actually a devout follower of Vaeraun, the drow god of assassins, poison, and equality-for-everyone-unless-you-aren't-elfy-in-any-fashion. Which explains the close-combat kills. Anyway, a few years later, JF's little cult of Vaeraun assassins was getting ready to infiltrate the church of Lolth and totally kick some elfrachnid butt. But it turned out that the Lolth's Sting Ninja were one step ahead, and a priestess (in fact the one that killed Johann's mother!) showed up, transformed into a giant spider, and promptly ate JF right in front of the little drow, scarring the kid forever (and instilling in him a massive phobia of spiders; one because it ate his dad, and two because MY GOSH can you image how big that thing must've been? And he was right there in front of it?).

So, Johann made a run for it. And here's where I'm stumped. I've come up with a few options so far, but you can come up with some too if you want!

Johann joined a surface cult of Vaeraun and learned the assassin's arts, vowing vengeance upon Lolth and the priestess that took his family... assuming he manages to get over his fear of crawlies. [Class: Rogue, Monk-variant Ranger from WotC]

After wandering aimlessly on the surface for a while, Johann was taken in by cult of Elistraee. During his short stint with them, a priestess blessed the boy. He now wields moon-powers, and intends to use them to help other drow like him escape from the Spider Queen's clutches. [Class: Cleric or Star Warlock]

JF took Johann to a hidden temple of Vaeraun the day before his death. There, the two of them underwent a special blessing for luck (specifically on the upcoming mission) and unity (a big thing with Vaeraun, believe it or not). JF performed the ritual, being a priest himself.
While his dad was getting liquified by a giant spider-priest, Johann cried out in anger, there were some crazy lights, and the last thing Johann saw before waking up under the moon was the assassins getting struck down (though the priestess was quite explicitly still alive).
Vaeraun, being a hands-on kind of god, had taken special interest in the blessing of father and son. Johann got invested with a little bit of divine (infernal?) spark. When he saw his father die, the spark ignited, and Vaeraun's power was channeled through the little guy.
So now, years later, Johann is still trying to master his spark. As far as he's concerned, the power came from his dad, and he intends to lay some poetic justice down on Lolth and her followers. [Class: Cleric or Warlock]

...so, what do you think? Any of those, or have you a better idea?
Thanks for taking the time to read.

Mauril Everleaf
2009-01-31, 10:25 PM
I personally like option 1, especially since it doesn't require your DM to make you into some sort of Favored Soul. Option 1 keeps it relatively mundane and still rather interesting. I do not, however, know of this monk-variant ranger that you speak of. Link?

2009-01-31, 11:19 PM
I personally like option 1, especially since it doesn't require your DM to make you into some sort of Favored Soul. Option 1 keeps it relatively mundane and still rather interesting.
Good points, and thanks for responding, but sadly I am still not done deciding.

I do not, however, know of this monk-variant ranger that you speak of. Link?

Found here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4dnd/20080613a) is an article about converting your 3.5 character to 4th. They go alphabetical by class.

2009-01-31, 11:29 PM
I agree that Option 1 of the ones you presented seems the best. If you can afford to wait until PHB II, the Invoker is very much like the Favoured Soul, channeling a god's divine spark directly into powerful control spells.

Also, give your character the Drow Heretic feat from Children of Darkness, to manifest that spider-hate.

2009-02-01, 10:08 AM
Also, give your character the Drow Heretic feat from Children of Darkness, to manifest that spider-hate.

I suppose that's worth a feat, it wasn't very attractive the first time I looked at it.
I guess rogue would be the right choice, as I don't think Vaeraun's assassins would get bare-handed too often.

Alright, thanks folks! I should be able to take it from here, unless anyone anywhere as any more to say on the subject?

Aron Times
2009-02-01, 11:46 AM
Are you playing in the 4E Realms? Eilistraee absorbed Vhaerun and became the Masked Lady, and later sacrificed herself to free some drow from Wendonai's Taint. The only drow deity that survived the time skip are Lolth and Ghaunadaur (though he's mostly an abberant god now).

Perhaps your character now worships the Seldarine? Or maybe Selune, if you're into that moon power thing?

2009-02-01, 12:52 PM
We aren't playing the Realms, actually, which is how I'm getting away with worshiping Vhaerun. Otherwise, good idea.

Kol Korran
2009-02-02, 07:08 AM
hey Xallace. firstlet me say i always enjoy to see someone who puts an effort in their character. but, as a DM i must ask one question- why does Johann wants to adventure with a bunch of surfacers? especially when their goals and traveling probably have nothing to do with your revenge?

also, if we're on that matter- have you asked your DM how likely is it for his/her campaign to enable your own story and desires to develop? what if the game takes place on a deserted island, or in the middle of a vast jungle, unlinked to the underworld. or what if the campaign doesn't intend to delve underground at all? work with him/her so you won't get disappointed, and to be able to breath somelife into the character

(i always have my players with each other on their characters, it helps unify the party and build more interesting interactions. beside that, i always have them work with me, so their characters will have hooks and anchors in the campaign.)

hope this helps. i liked your characfter, and also join in the vote for option number 1, as long as you enjoy playing a striker.


2009-02-06, 09:43 PM
Firstly, let me thank you for enjoying my back story. I'm always happy when it's at least vaguely interesting.

Now, no worries on the lack of getting underground or otherwise being completely irrelevant to the location and plot. The DM absolutely loves Drow. And, everyone has to pass the character with the DM before creation, so I am good to go.

But why travel with a party? Well... I don't know. Especially now that one of the players has switched from tiefling paladin to eladrin wizard! I thought we could get some cool RPing going about a mutual kinship in being outcasts, but that's off the table now.

The rest of the party consists of a Human Infernal Warlock, Gnome Fighter, and the suddenly-Eladrin Wizard. Yeah, I'm feeling a little out of place. I've considered disguising myself as an elf and concealing my true goals. I've also considered just going in as drow and hoping I'm not killed by the eladrin on the spot. I don't know. I need to talk to this player and ask him why he switched.

One of the problems is that I don't think the other players have formulated their goals yet. The warlock is really just in it for the generic spell-caster's reasons ("ultimate arcane knowledge"). The others are complete enigmas to me, as a player, which is bad.

So, despite the length, this post was not very informative. Huh. I'll go speak with those players, I'm sure we'll figure something out.