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by Rick LaRue

Here's a PC I made up a while ago, but never had a chance to play. He's the one of the few characters I've made using the Player's Options rules for AD&D, so if he seems a little odd in his abilities, that's why. I wanted a Swashbuckler-Rogue rather than a Thief-Rogue and PO:S&P gave me an interesting way to do that (even if I don't normally use those rules). Anyone with strong objections to PO:S&P or AD&D in general should feel free to make him a plain old thief with a different set of weapons.

Beltharin "The Black Sabre of Mirros (Male Elf Swashbuckler Rogue, 1st lvl)

Alignment: Chaotic Good
Move: 12
AC: 4
THAC0: 20
Hit Points: 6

Strength: 13 (14/12)
Intelligence: 15 (14/16)
Dexterity: 17 (15/19)
Wisdom: 12 (13/11)
Constitution: 11 (11/11)
Charisma: 16 (14/18)

Proficiencies: Fencing Weapons (Tight Group), Sabre (Specialisation), Style Specialisation (Two Weapon Fighting Style), Appraising -9, Dancing -11, Disguise -6, Etiquette -13, Gaming -8, Jumping -13, Tightrope Walking -10 and Tumbling -12.

Languages: Callarii Elven, Common
Armour: None
Weapons: Sabre and Main Gauche
Equipment: Fine clothes, fancy cloak, expensive boots, 72 gp.
Age: 120
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 125 lbs
Hair/Eyes: Long light blond hair; pale blue eyes; slightly tanned, very light complexion and fine features.

Racial Abilities:
Infravision 60'
Resistance to Sleep and Charm 90%
Dagger Bonus +1 to hit

Class Abilities:
Followers at 10th level
Weapon Specialisation
Thief Abilities:
Pick Pockets 30%
Open Locks 15%
Find/Remove Traps 15%
Move Silently 40%
Hide in Shadows 20%
Climb Walls 75%
Detect Noise 20%
Bribe 30%
Escape Bonds 20%


Powerful Enemy (The Iron Ring)

Sabre Med / Slash / Avg 1d6+1 / 1d8+1 d8 5 lbs.
Main Gauche Sm/ P/S / Fast 1d4 / 1d3 d6 2 lbs.


Beltharin is the second son of an elven horse breeder from Rifllian. He is more than half a century younger than his brother, with whom he has never seen eye to eye. His brother, Velcerin was always the serious one, the one who took an interest in their father's business, and the one who received the majority of their father's affection. Since bitterness is not an elven trait, Beltharin found other things to interest him. From early in his life, he took an interest in the finer things in life, which to him included revelry, women, and fencing. Before reaching adult hood, he had trained to become an excellent swordsman and ladies' man.

His greatest problem was his laziness and lack of a sense of responsibility. Since everything had been provided for him, he saw no reason to choose a career, and since elves are virtually immortal, he felt most things could wait until tomorrow..., or the next day. This drove his excessively responsible brother mad. Many an argument erupted between the two over this subject. Several years after reaching elven adulthood, Beltharin grew bored of his home town and decided to attend the new college in the capital of Karameikos, then called Specularum but recently renamed Mirros. His family approved, believing he was finally starting to act properly. His college career lasted less than a year. It was not that he was a poor student, or that he did not find the studies interesting. It was because he found the extracurricular activities much more interesting. His love of revelry quickly brought him into contact with the seamier side of Mirros.

Many fall into ruin when they choose this life style, but Beltharin flourished. It was here that he could put his natural talents to best use. His easy manner and quick wit soon made him a popular figure, especially with the ladies. It was during this time that he met and was befriended by Altik. Altik was a human in his late thirties and frequented the same establishments as Beltharin. They took to each other like brothers, inseparable. Together they cut a swath of debauchery across Mirros. They enjoyed carousing and wenching, but did it with style. They acted as gentlemen at all times, which made them even more popular with their friends. They drank, fought, and caroused together for several years, during which time Altik taught Beltharin all the necessary skills for a gentleman rogue.

One afternoon, Altik met up with Beltharin in his apartment. Altik, oddly serious, pressed Beltharin to meet him at midnight in an especially dingy tavern in an equally dingy part of town. When Beltharin asked what was going on, Altik declined to answer, made him swear not to be late and left without another word. Beltharin was concerned at first, but soon decided that his friend had run afoul of some woman's husband and wanted his support in the coming confrontation. Realising he was late for a rendezvous, he put it out of his mind. The night passed quickly for him, dinner, drinks and gambling. As the evening grew old, his attention turned to romance, as it did many nights. Some time later he remembered he had promised to meet Altik. It was half past one, where had the night gone? Well, he would be a little late, but he'd get there. Prying himself out of the embrace of an extremely affectionate bar maid, he went to meet his friend.

He reached the tavern in little time, to find a crowd gathered around the entrance to a nearby alley. Always curious, he asked what was amiss. One of the spectators informed him that some poor fool had gotten himself killed. Blood and death held no interest for Beltharin, so he turned to go inside just as the night watch was carrying the body away. They had draped the corpse with a sheet that did not quite cover the whole body. Unable to deny his morbid curiosity, Beltharin looked at the poor man's face. In that instant, his life changed. The body belonged to Altik, his throat had been cut. Beltharin cried out, and reached for his friend, but the night watch restrained him. Since he obviously knew the deceased, the guard escorted him to the garrison for questioning. He told the watch commander all he knew, which was nothing, and they released him. Beltharin stumbled home, numb and heartbroken. His best friend was dead. Murdered by an unknown assailant. What was worse, was that if he had kept his promise and been on time, his friend might still be alive. All he could hear in his mind was his brother's voice saying over and over "When are you going to stop being so irresponsible?"

Beltharin returned home and collapsed into exhaustion. Normally, elves have no need for sleep, several hours of quiet meditation was as restful as normal sleep, but Beltharin had learned to enjoy true sleep and the dreams he often had. That night, his sleep was troubled by horrible dreams of personal failure and guilt. He awoke, soaked and screaming, a dark dream quickly fading from his mind. He had dreamed of Altik asking him why he had been late. He found himself stammering lame excuses that his dead friend ignored. The dream ended with Altik climbing into his own grave. In the dream, Beltharin began to cover his friend with dirt. Just before Altik was completely covered, the dream became more vivid than reality. The last thing Altik said was "Do not let my death be in vain. Seek justice so I may rest." It was just before dawn and Beltharin knew he would get no more sleep. He climbed from his bed feeling weak and tired. His nightmare had been right he thought. Allowing Altik to go to his grave without an explanation was wrong. It was up to him to find the answers. He washed and dressed quickly, and proceeded to his friend's home. He hoped that there might be some clue as to what happened amongst his things. When he arrived, he found the door ajar. Altik never left without preparing an elaborate set of locks designed to keep out the unwanted. Someone had expertly circumvented all of them. Beyond, the small apartment was a shambles. Someone had been here before him. Wading through the debris, the elf felt as if he had reached a dead end. Suddenly, he remembered Altik's secret hiding space. Altik had confided in him on one drunken eve. Beneath the dresser was a false floor panel. The dresser had been overturned, but the compartment was undisturbed. He pried it open with his dagger and found only one item inside. A rolled piece of parchment encircled by an iron ring.

He quickly read the parchment. It was a message from a merchant named Norlo Peltis to a contact with in the Iron Ring. He was asking for a meeting to discuss arrangements for smuggling a valuable item out of Karameikos, to an unnamed buyer. It was singed by the merchant. How did Altik come into possession of such a thing? This had to have been what the killers had been after. First at the tavern and then again when they searched his friend's room. At least now he knew why his friend had been killed, but what was he going to do about it.

He stuffed the message inside his vest and quietly left. He walked aimlessly for several blocks before he realised he had grown a tail. Two figures were following him. They were good, he'd give them that, but not so good that he did not see them. He had played this game many times before. A pang of sorrow struck him when he remembered that it had been Altik who taught it to him. The trick was to act as if you hadn't discovered the tail. Then, lead them in a path designed to not only lose them, but to place you in a position to tail them back to whoever had sent them. Working in the day light was difficult, but not impossible. All went well right up to the point were he began to follow them. After loosing him, they kept to the main streets apparently returning home. After about ten blocks, they turned down an alley that was a common short cut between two main streets. He waited, giving them time to exit the alley on the other side and then continued his pursuit. Half way down the alley, he knew he had made a very big mistake. These two were better than he thought, and now he was stuck between them.

It was early enough in the day where the streets were still mostly empty, so no help would come from passers-by. The larger one drew his blade as he approached. He told Beltharin to hand "it" over, being careful not to specify what, since he really didn't know what he was after. Beltharin responded with a lightning quick draw of his sabre and main-gauche. All the rage and guilt inside him burst free and he exploded into action. The larger thug dropped before he knew what had happened. The second tried to run but Beltharin's elven speed outmatched him. He did not intend to harm this one, preferring to get some answers, but the clumsy thug impaled himself on the elf's sabre while attempting to attack. He quickly searched the bodies and found that each bore the mark of two manacles linked by a chain and carried an iron ring attached to their belts marking them as Reavers of the Iron Ring Guild. He took the rings and added them to his growing pile of evidence. There was no turning back now, the Iron Ring would soon be after him.

The Iron Ring may not know immediately who killed their men but his friendship with Altik was no secret and it wouldn't take anyone long to figure out the connection. Once the Iron Ring figured it out, the merchant would know also, and both groups would be after him. Beltharin knew he needed time to come up with a plan, but nowhere would be safe for long. He returned to his apartment and gathered up his belongings. No use leaving them for the Ring's thugs to steal or destroy. He knew an inn keeper who rented private rooms with no questions asked. The man owed Beltharin a favour and it was time to collect. He spent several hours going over it in his head. As long as the Ring and the merchant were working together he would not survive long. He needed to somehow destroy their working relationship, or better yet pit them against one another. That was when the idea came to him.

The first part of the plan involved sending a message to the merchant, Norlo Peltis. It explained that Beltharin had the parchment and was willing to turn it over in exchange for his life. It instructed the merchant to proceed to a specific location at 10:00 PM sharp, where he would receive instructions on what to do next. In all, the merchant would have to make three stops before reaching the actual meeting place. Each stop would provide instructions on what to do next. Meanwhile, the elf would send another message, this one anonymous, to the Watch Commander telling him that a theft would occur at 10:30 PM tonight. The theft was to be performed by an agent of the Iron Ring. The location would be a merchant's home. A merchant named Norlo Peltis. The elf would then send another anonymous message, this one to a known agent of the Iron Ring explaining that Norlo Peltis would be meeting with the Watch Commander at 10:45 PM this very night. With the messages sent, the clues planted and all other preparations made, all Beltharin could do was wait until darkness so the fun could begin.

At 9:30 PM, the elf proceeded to Peltis' home and hid in the shadows of a nearby alley. He waited until the merchant left and sprang into action. He deftly climbed the wall that surrounded the merchants home. Crouching at the base of the wall he listened to hear if he had been discovered. The route he had sent the merchant on was planned to give him thirty minutes before he had to actually meet Peltis himself. He had cased the merchant's home earlier today and discovered as much about his defences as possible. Peltis kept two guard dogs, who were lazy and over fed. The elf easily approached the sleeping canines and administered a harmless sleep poison that would keep them unconscious for hours. His next chore was getting inside unnoticed. The house was dark, a good sign. The lock on the back door was no match for the elf's skill and opened smoothly. Things were going well, but the clock was ticking. He had no more than twenty minutes to find the item mentioned in the note and get out. Any longer and he would be late for his meeting.

Experience told him to start up stairs. People tended to keep important things close to them, so he would start with the master bedroom. His luck was holding. He found a safe behind a valuable tapestry. This was the part he always hated. If the safe was trapped by normal means, he could find it and disarm it. If magic had been used, he could be in deep trouble. It had taken all of his remaining funds but he bought a special potion just for such an occasion. Drinking the potion would allow him to perceive magic in all its forms. Downing the potion in one gulp, the elf became light headed for a moment as the magic began to work. His money had been well spent. The door to the safe glowed with the unmistakable signs of magic. A fire trap spell to be precise. Powerful magic, but not impervious to mundane attempts to disarm. He had never tried to do this alone before, and his hands began to sweat. One wrong move and it would all be over. His heart raced as he began his work. It was going well but taking too long. Just moments before he could complete his task, the door to the bedroom opened. The distraction cost him his concentration, setting off the deadly trap. He dove out of the way, but the blast still struck him. Pain shot through his arm and he rolled to put out his burning clothing. The man in the doorway was not so lucky. He was caught squarely by the blast, killing him instantly. Damn his luck, it wasn't supposed to happen this way.

The dead man turned out to be an old servant, but since nothing could be done for him, Beltharin returned to work, covering his nose and mouth to block the stench of burnt flesh. There were no more traps on the safe and it opened easily. Inside was the item he sought, which he grabbed and shoved into his pouch, along with the rest of the safe's contents. Before he left, he took one of the iron rings he had taken from the this morning's encounter and placed it as inconspicuously as possible, but where it could not be missed. He only had a few moments to reach the meeting spot. He would have to do without stealth, speed was of the essence. He bolted across the yard and over the fence. As he raced down the road, the city watch turned the corner lead by the Watch Commander. He dove into an alley and hid amongst the shadows and garbage. He had no choice but to wait until they passed.

It seemed like an eternity before they were out of sight. He knew that Peltis was waiting for him even now. He would have to sprint the whole way to even hope to catch him. Luckily the merchant was still there when he arrived. He had stopped several blocks away and tried to catch his breath and cover his wounded arm. It must have worked because the merchant didn't seem to notice. The rotund little man demanded the message. Beltharin, playing it cool, demanded assurances that he would be free to go and not be harmed. The merchant offhandedly agreed and snatched the parchment away. He examined it in the glow of a street lamp and nodded his chubby head in satisfaction. He looked at Beltharin with a dark smile on his face, thanked him for returning his belongings and apologised for not being able to keep his end of the bargain. Two brutes stepped out of the shadows. Damn him for being a fool, he was so worried about being on time, he had forgotten to check out the area first. How ironic, being late had cost Altik his life, and now being on time may cost him his own.

Peltis turned to leave, bidding the elf farewell. The two brutes moved in. They were untrained with their weapons, but more than made up for it in size and strength. He drew his weapons and pain laced through his wounded arm. Two large healthy thugs against one wounded elven rogue. The odds weren't very fair he thought, but he'd try to go easy on them.

The thugs knew nothing of teamwork and attacked separately. Beltharin's first sabre attack was parried and his wounded arm interfered with his dagger so it missed also. He dodged his foe's attacks and readied himself for a continued battle. The elf danced around his foes inflicting small wounds but receiving none in return. At last, he forced one of the foes to give him an opening. The ogre-like man fell to the elf's flashing blades. His last opponent circled for position. Fear started to seep into the man's heart. Beltharin allowed the brute the initiative to take his measure. The man was clumsy and unskilled. Probably some poor dock worker Peltis had paid to act as muscle. The elf disliked killing and hoped to scare his foe off. Beltharin attacked like a whirlwind. When it was over, the man was bleeding from a deep leg wound and no longer had possession of his sword. He turned and limped off into the night.

Beltharin could hear the Night Watch Patrol approaching, and could not afford to be caught. He slipped into the shadows and made his way back to the merchant's home. He returned just in time to see Peltis leading the Watch Commander into his house. Hopefully, to anyone else watching, it would seem as though the two were meeting in secret to discuss something important. In reality, the commander would tell Peltis of the anonymous note detailing an Iron Ring plot to rob him. Once inside, they would find the empty safe and the iron ring he had planted. If all went as planned, Peltis would believe that the Iron Ring had betrayed him and stolen the very object he wished to have them smuggle for him. In addition, if the Iron Ring agent had taken his own message seriously, and was indeed watching the house as Beltharin planned, he would return to his superiors and report on Peltis' meeting with the Watch Commander. Fearing discovery, the Iron Ring would severe all connections with Peltis, and seek retribution, adding fuel to Peltis' growing beliefs of betrayal.

Beltharin laid low for several days, but heard no news to indicate his plan had failed. As he had hoped, pitting the two groups against each other took the focus off himself and allowed him to "fade into the crowd" as it were. Less than a week later, rumours flew about the death of a wealthy merchant. It seemed that Norlo Peltis had died of a heart attack in his sleep. Unwilling to profit from these events, Beltharin returned the stolen item to it's rightful owner. He took the rest of the items he removed from the safe and pawned them for a sizeable amount of gold. He used part of the money to pay for a decent burial for Altik and gave the rest to the family of the servant who had been killed in the fire trap explosion.

This all happened several months ago and although Beltharin has had several run ins with the Iron Ring since that time, it does not seem as though they ever learned of his involvement. In any case, they have yet to take an active interest in him again.

The death of his friend changed the elf. He did not lose his love of life, drink and women, but changed in a more important way. It had taken the death of his friend to show him, that being responsible and believing in something did not interfere with one's enjoyment of life, but were a natural part of it. He decided that instead of just complaining about what was wrong in the world, that he would do what he could to change it, even if it was only a little at a time.

Today, Beltharin, is secretly known as the "Black Sabre," a mysterious rogue who fights for justice and honour. He enjoys a close relationship with his older brother and has never once broken his word or been late for a meeting.