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Character backgrounds

by Troy Terrell

Here are a couple from my own recently started Mystaran campaign.

Makedon Tolarev - male human fighter
The older of two brothers born to a Thyatian father and Traladaran mother in Specularum. Father ran a tavern near the docks and was assisted by mother who handled the fiscal side of the business. He was constantly exposed to the rough & tumble life of sailors on shore leave. Even as a young lad, Makedon had quick reflexes and a good arm. He took every opportunity to pick up pointers in various styles of swordplay from the varied tavern patrons. His natural combat skills were put to good use as he had to occasionally get his little brother out of a few tight spots among the seedy alleys around the port.

Kalestin Tolarev - male human rogue
The younger of two brothers born to a Thyatian father and Traladaran mother in Specularum. Like his older brother, Kalestin spent a great deal of time with the tavern's multi-national patrons. Unlike his brother, he preferred to observe from the shadows, possessing a knack for stealth and eavesdropping. It didn't take long for him to discover that some of the little titbits of information he overhead were worth money; and soon he was contributing to the family income brokering information across the docks.

Despite the two years between them, Makedon and Kalestin decided to be 'sheared' at the same time. Having spent a great deal of their youth watching the comings and goings of ships from many distant lands carrying goods of wondrous variety, they decided to investigate the possibility of starting their own import/export business. So, they signed on to a Minrothad merchant vessel heading to the Isle of Dawn, earning their passage by working with the crew.

Now, with a mixture of wide-eyed curiosity and youthful confidence, the brothers Tolarev are in West Portage ready to explore their options at the crossroads of two mighty empires....

Astra Dar'yah - female human rogue
Life in an often disputed border city has never been easy. Twice in Astra's young life, her home (along with her parents' business) has been destroyed by the armies of Thyatis and Alphatia. Events like this are common to the city of Helskir, at the northern tip of the Isle of Dawn. Most adult residents have lived under both empires at some point in their lives, with some having seen more than one change in 'ownership.' This also means that few people there are particularly loyal to either empire and just try to make their livings as best they can.

Having watched her parents rebuild their small boat and tackle repair shop -- twice -- Astra wanted no part of this 'deadened life' as she called it. She has no intention of just allowing others to run over her. Not that Helskir is a boring place to live. It is, after all, a fairly busy port city with strong trade in various types of fishing and the many businesses that support such industry. Vessels from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away frequent Helskir's port. The problem is that both Thyatis and Alphatia want the taxes that such industry generates, so they frequently fight over it -- with all the people whose work results in those taxes being trampled over by the conquering armies. Heck, for the last several take-overs, they haven't even bothered changing the local ruler, Lord Eruul Zaar.

With the most recent Alphatian occupation, Lord Zaar finally expressed his disgust with the situation and declared Helskir's independence, from BOTH Thyatis and Alphatia. While Astra viewed this as the right thing to do, she also found it frankly stupid to try. This was the final straw for the young woman. The axe is going to fall on Helskir and Lord Zaar soon, and she would just as soon not be there when it happens.

She tried to convince her parents to leave, but they are leery of trying to restart their business in a town that already has established proprietors in the same profession. At least in Helskir, they have their regular customers which keep them well fed and mostly comfortable. So, with their 'concerned' blessing, she set out on her own, headed south to find out what adventure might be found elsewhere on the Isle ... or maybe, beyond....

Gralim LeGris - male human paladin
When he was barely three, he was brought to the main temple in the city of Corunglain, at the far northern border of Darokin. A caravan returning through the Broken Lands from Glantri found a wrecked and ransacked wagon just off the trail, with the little boy hiding under the debris. It was assumed that orcs had attacked and captured (and likely later killed) his parents. There were no obvious clues about where he came from or where he was going, so he is not even sure where he was actually born. The church took you in and raised you, as they often did. There are about twenty orphans being raised by the church at any given time.

Until he learns otherwise (unlikely, in his eyes), Corunglain is his home. Due to the city's militaristic culture, the primary deity at the temple is also rather militant theologically. There are other deities that figure strongly into Corunglain's citizens' faith, but the city's location and history lead most people to revere Halav. Through the temple's training, he has learned the arts of combat as well as devotion to the church's cause.

Now, he is on the Isle of Dawn, several hundred miles from home, because the church believes that if he is to truly grow to be a champion of good, he must successfully defeat evil in all of its forms. A few months, or even years, travelling the world should prove most enlightening for him. Further, one of the priests at the temple revealed to him that when he was brought to them, he knew a few words in both Thyatian and Alphatian. The priest also used a mirror to show him what appeared to be a tattoo of a small flame on the back of his head just at the hair line. The priest explained this is possibly associated with a group of people in Glantri, called the Flaemish, who once claimed to have been 'abandoned and betrayed brothers of the Alphatians.' Now, going to Glantri to investigate would this would be suicide (as ALL religion is illegal there), so Gralim is hoping, despite the long odds, to find some clues about his origins in these Alphatian lands....