View Full Version : A Few Backgrounds

2010-06-13, 01:18 PM
Artemis "Art" Belisar, Dragonborn Ardent and Talaric Strategist (LG)
"Nothing exists except empty space and us. And we are but a handful of thoughts."

The Artist: Art is a lithe figure, a woman that moves with grace in her step. Unlike the typical rusty browns and reds, her scales are a pure silver and have a slight sparkly sheen to them, a trait most noticeable in the sunlight, and they contrast well with her deep blue eyes. Her "hair" is long, reaching to the middle of the shoulder blades. Her armor is a suit of blue-and-amethyst splint mail, similar in design to old samurai armor. Her right hip holster contains a compact repeating hand crossbow that mechanically unfolds into its ready form. Her left holds a short sword whose handle extends and converts it into a greatspear at the press of a button.

Art is an upbeat and cheerful soul with a natural inclination towards learning new and interesting things, but she has a certain sense of serenity as well: She is not so much a child, running from toy to toy and giggling, but more one who finds the new fascinating and worthy of study. Her innate telepathic abilities have led her to be somewhat controlling as a person, however subtly. She is intellectual and tactically-minded, using her powers to plan complex stratagems, and she is a rather accomplished artist, hence her nickname. While not meditating or planning, she enjoys painting telekinetically, sitting in front of the canvas with eyes closed and head tilted upwards while the paint and brush move of their own accord to copy the image solidified in her mind. Her civilian wear is often elegant and slightly mystical in appearance, much like herself.

Art's voice has a smooth and refined english accent, as well as a slight flanging effect with the occasional syllable that becomes more pronounced when using her powers.

(It should be noted that dragonborn in my campaign settings are a bit more slender than the near-neanderthals that vanilla ones are, and that they have tails.)

The Scholar: I remember vaguely how my tale began. I was a child just like any other, playing in the streets, learning the values of life. Things were simple before I learned that I could influence those around me. Hate, love, fear, joy, I could make them do as I wanted with but a thought. It occurred to me on my sixteenth birthday that I had a great power, and with it a great privilege... No, a great task, to right things wrong in the world. Unfortunately, I was not aware of the underlying delicacies of said world. My 'repairs' were like taking a mallet to a pocketwatch.

It did not end well.

With no home and the weight of a village left in turmoil on my shoulders, I left to the city to find other means of using what I then thought was a curse. It was there that I found a group of young mercenaries, or 'adventurers' as they called themselves. Among them, a human fighter named Flint and an elven rogue. Her name was Aniya. I decided out of hunger for food and friendship to join them. And so, with time, the three of us became good friends. With Flint's strength, Aniya's dexterity, and my influential prowess, we were an unstoppable team... For a time.

Of all the mistakes I could have made, of all the good deeds that could have been punished, my crime was not reading the minds of those I trusted. A terrible mistake. Two years after my joining I learned firsthand that my human friend harbored more than just a friendship for me. Shocked and a little dazed, I politely declined his request. He pleaded, tried to show reason, but I still refused. Perhaps it was because I felt it wasn't my place, that I couldn't feel the same way about him. Perhaps it was because I had glimpsed the darkness inside him in passing, and it kept me wary. Regardless, he did not take it well. A typical rain of curses, foul names, and vows of revenge rang through the air. With a sigh I reached into his mind to soothe him- And was almost physically thrown back by the anger that permeated it. Unlike the anger of most men, quick to flare up and quick to subside, this was genuine: He meant every syllable. I ran as far as I could from the one person whose hatred I couldn't simply wave away. I ran and hid.

Even through my exploits, I felt like I was missing something. Something that I found while traveling through a small mountain range somewhere in the north. I found a university, a small, ancient order dedicated to the gain and spread of knowledge tucked deep within the mountains. They took me in, surprisingly, with little trouble. And there, I found what I had been missing: Knowledge. The ability to pull the puzzles of the world apart, analyze them, and put them back together. Here I learned, I honed my talents, and I began to understand the world like I had liked to pretend I did all those years before.

The Veteran: Several years have passed since my induction, and since then I have found life, peace, and even love. But after a while, my scales began to itch for something else. Something that arrived, quite unexpectedly, when an old communication artifact from my adventuring days lit up. Aniya required my assistance with an adventuring matter, and so I packed, said goodbye to my draconic love Asharr, and moved as fast as I could. The reunion with my old friend was great, and the exhilaration from the quest at hand was staggering. With a rekindled heart for the glory days, I sent my notice to the university and began my adventuring life again.

The Future: Artemis now has a dilemma: She is caught in a balancing between two lives, and while she is maintaining both right now, it is quite unlikely that such a thing can last. In addition, the mistakes of her past have not simply faded away: Sir Elias Flint is now a respectable and powerful knight of the realm, with many contacts both legitimate and underground that he can use to accomplish his ultimate goal: His now monomaniacal fixation with hunting down Art and ensuring his revenge. While her past is far from catching up to her, it is much, much closer to catching up with her other past. Will she be there in time to prevent the ruin of her settled life? Will she choose the peace and quiet of the university over the thrill of adventuring? Or will all be for naught, another big mistake to hang on her shoulders as she continues down her path to a glory that she might not truly want?

Cloudscar Wolfcry, Minotaur Barbarian/Fighter and Calm Fury(LN)
"War is an art, and like all arts, it requires emotion. Rage, love, grief, righteousness... All are conduits for the perfect kill."

The Beast: A testament to the strength and military prowess of minotaur-kind, Cloudscar stands at a massive 7'6", and very little of him is not powerful muscle. With onyx fur, ebony hooves and horns, and maroon-colored eyes, most mistake him for a thing of evil. This notion isn't helped by his armor, a suit of dark steel and blood red plates, lined with the unmistakable fur of dire wolves. On his back, a massive axe displays a geometric design on the bronze disc in its blade: His clan's sigil. On his left, a handaxe, similarly designed and just as deadly. A powerful repeating crossbow rests holstered under that, a small contraption that mechanically extends to its full size.

Despite the dark and imposing nature of his being, Cloudscar is anything but evil. He stands for honor and justice, and to him warfare is a means to either end. A gentle and contemplative (if not stern and efficient) soul, he has a certain affinity for animals, art, and games of logic. When not considering stratagems or caring for his equipment at camp, he can be found reading, stargazing, and even playing chess. His civilian wear is simple and formal, but belying of a more subtle quality.

Cloudscar's voice is deep and thunderous, ranging from a low, contented rumble to a terrifying roar.

The Prince: My people are not what you think. Barbarians, you call them. Savages steeped in the acts of brutal combat. We are not these things. We the Wolfcry clan are proud warriors, artists in the field of battle. We are civilized and cultured, and uphold honor and justice above all else. To call us savages would be akin to calling your 'kingdom' a hut in the swamp.

But this is not why I am here. My story begins many years ago. Twelve, if I remember correctly. My eighteenth birthday, the mark of a boy progressing to a man, and when this man is the chieftain's eldest son, it is an occasion. Well-learned in our arts, our culture, and our ways of battle, I was given the weapons and armor that all Wolfcry soldiers bore. I was ready to learn more than just how to fight, how to paint, how to theorize plans of attack. I was ready to learn how to lead as my father did. And I was ready to choose a mate, a decision that I had made long before this day, though she likely did not know it. Wayaha was her name, I remember. That moment was one of great anticipation, and one that never came: My younger sister, Tsinga, stormed into the great hall and informed us that the chieftain, my father, had been slain, and that the evidence pointed solely to me. In an instant, the people were swayed against me. I did not protest. I did not object. I knew that to try and calm a stampede was to end up trampled. I simply shouldered my weapons and armor and left in voluntary exile. A last look at my intended told me that, despite the roar of the crowd, my guilt was not universally believed.

I did not kill my father. I had spoken to him, happily, only minutes before. I knew that Tsinga was ambitious. I knew she continually wanted what I had. It was my mistake to not try and stop her. It was my mistake not knowing that she would go so far. And it is a grim reality that I face every waking moment.

The Exile: Now I travel, a perceived beast in the realms of men. I exert my rage on my enemies, keeping my talents sharp and my blades sharper. I move from place to place, learning what I had never learned before, keeping the new in mind. I work as a mercenary for just causes, and lost ones. May the spirits have mercy on those who stand in my path.

The Future: Cloudscar left his clan when they needed his guidance the most, and it has since become a shadow of its former self. Her sister's twisted ideals has turned a once thriving group of noble warriors into a band of terrible sadists and savages. Will Cloudscar return to lead the clan back to its true glory? Or will he accept it as a lost cause he simply cannot fight for? And what of his old love, Wayaha? Spirits only know if she still lives.

Sir Marcus Drake, Human Paladin of Pelor and Dragonslayer(NG)
"I don't want to hurt you. That doesn't mean I can't. Stand down."

The Boy: The stereotype of a knight in shining armor is what people believe a paladin looks like. The stereotype is not what Marcus is. Boyish and mousy in appearance, he hardly looks like he can lift his own sword, much less swing it with any actual skill. His short, raven black hair is neatly kept, and only lends to the notion. His armor is a suit of silver platemail, his old and elegantly-engraved greatsword a shining example of chivalry. He is everything a paladin should be... And yet he isn't.

For a paladin and young man of the faith, Marcus is strangely reluctant on the field of battle. He only fights in defense and only kills when necessary (which it is, much to his chagrin). Despite his surprising prowess with blade and offensive holy magic, he seems much more comfortable, perhaps even favoring, healing and protection. This is changed on the off chance that something angers him, however: At that point, he becomes aggressive to the point of brashness, perhaps even savagery. Other than that, he acts much like one would expect a (proper, non-zealous) paladin to: He's courteous, kind, a defender of good, and an opponent to evil. He also carries a certain sense of innocence and cheer, though one that belies a much darker side to the boy. When not polishing his armor or muttering what one could assume to be prayers, he tends to flit from party member to party member, observing and asking about their hobbies, usually in a way that's not so much obnoxious as genuinely curious. Marcus' civilian clothes are high-quality but simple commoner's clothes, much like what you would expect a squire to wear.

Marcus' voice is mid/high-pitched and smooth, and is quite boyish like the rest of him.

The Squire: I never wanted this. This whole 'defender of the faith, chosen of Pelor, righter of wrongs and vanquisher of evil' job. I was just a farmboy before this entire mess. A farmboy with an eccentric father. Somehow he had gotten it into his mind that I would make a great champion of good. Something about how all great heroes had humble roots, farmboy being one of them. So when I became of age, no questions asked about the fact that I was perfectly content to be a father and maybe a little bit of a poet, I was packed up and sent to the nearest city's temple of Pelor for training and initiation.

I want to be perfectly clear: I hated it. The grueling training, the scripture I had to memorize, the grueling training, the lectures in discipline and right and wrong (things that I had known long before my time there)... Did I mention the grueling training? Because that was especially bad. Now don't get me wrong, I respect Pelor, he's my chosen deity and I'd do well to follow his teachings. But that's the worst part of it. It does get a bit lighter from here. For a bit, at least.

I served under a paladin as his squire, a man named Duncan. My time with him was possibly the only time that I enjoyed there. Whether cleaning his armor or just fishing by the lake after the day's drills, he was always a pleasure to talk to, and truly seemed to embody the ideals of our god. We would talk in private about how the church was using the faith for their own benefit and not the way our teachings held to be true and good. And though on the outside I raised childish counterpoints and parroted teachings, I secretly agreed with him on every count. It was with him that I felt like I actually meant something, that I was actually doing some good, that I wasn't just a confused boy forced into being the church's puppet. He was more of a father than that eccentric man back at the farm ever was. But that didn't last.

Duncan was sent off for a mission of dire importance, and never returned. My training was deemed complete, and I was given my title, my armor, and my sword, and was sent out to spread good in the name of Pelor in a hurried and discreet ceremony. Days later, I found the body of a dead paladin in a ditch by the road, pierced with an arrow that was clearly inscribed with the holy symbol of Pelor. I knew instantly who it was. I buried my father and took up his sword.

The Knight: I travel now as I was commanded to, spreading the true values of my deity. I wish I could avenge my father immediately, but I am not nearly that powerful. But one day, that will change. One day, I'll become the champion of good that he and the farmer hoped me to be. I would be the dragonslayer in those tales. And my first dragon will be the organization that killed their own kin, and my own father, just to keep a secret.

The Future: Marcus' goal is clear, and his methods are certain, but the church is much larger than any one man can face. He will need an army- and the will of a hero- to achieve his hope of accomplishing the impossible. Regardless of whether he succeeds, his maturing and acts will serve as a dire lesson: There are men who don't agree with your teachings, men who have been wronged, and they are coming.

I've got another three on the way, coming soon.