Game Master Diaries #4.5: My Characters Continued
After a couple weeks of negligence due to preparing my other campaign for a long-awaited session (and also general laziness), Game Master Diaries are back! I am doing the rest of my characters this week, so I’ll be sticking them together into two posts with two per post, that way we can get on with something new next week. In this post we get to meet Jebediah Crushbone, the half-orc rogue, and Craig Craghammer, the dwarf wizard.
One of my players requested to be “the villain,” and since it would be a bit of a headache to have one player be actively opposing the party, I opted to interpret his request as a desire to be a less-than-savory character. Thus, Jebediah Crushbone came to be. While it may seem a little cliche to have a half-orc rogue, I wanted to explore the character concept of an underworld heavy who is trying to go straight. With this in mind, I gave Jeb the more physical rogue-type skills, and a decent number of disadvantages related to his unsavory past and work experience. He is no longer part of the thieves’ guild, but he has contacts there still, which I represented by creating a contact NPC named Slick Jimmy to whom he can go for information about happenings in the underworld. I also gave him some fairly exceptional knife skills, deciding that knives were his signature weapon of choice since they are versatile: small enough to hide, but big enough to hurt, good for close combat, but also throw-able for more distant targets.
Another of my players wanted to be a wizard. We teased him about not having a big enough beard, so naturally I decided to double down on bearded tropes and make him a dwarf wizard. In my experience, dwarves are not the first choice for magic users. Most systems don’t give them any particular bonuses to magic-related traits, so they usually end up as fighters, or possibly paladins and clerics of Thor or some other Norse-like deity. Rarely, if ever, do dwarves end up as book-taught mages, so I figured it would be a fun avenue to explore. I gave Craig a few fun disadvantages that helped to explain why he chose to pursue a career that most dwarves avoid. I also gave him mining-related skills, so he always has a fall back if the wizard thing doesn’t work out. He may be eccentric, but he’s also practical. I chose to buy most of his spells from the Earth college, since it would be the element with which he had the most experience. This led to him getting almost all the spells in that college, but I stopped short of summoning volcanoes. You have to draw the line somewhere.
Enough about the nuts and bolts. Time for the character sketches.
Jebediah Crushbone grew up on the streets of Al Azar. He never knew his mother, but his father was an old human drunk who spent more time in prison than not. Jeb learned from an early age how to use the strength and stature granted by his orc blood to his advantage, and as he became more socially aware, he was able to capitalize on society’s assumptions about his race as well. He figured if people were going to stereotype him, he might as well lean into the role and make the most of it. This led to him getting a job as an enforcer for one of the kingpins of the local thieves’ guild. He was good at his job, and he enjoyed using his skills to their full potential. One day he was sent to rough-up an old orc merchant named Gorthak who had refused an offer from the guild. Jeb severely underestimated the old orc and found himself disarmed and prone, completely at the merchant’s mercy. Gorthak gave him a choice: go to prison, or go straight. He said that he saw himself in Jeb and he wanted to help him if he was willing to accept it. He challenged Jeb to reject the stigma society had placed on him, to overcome it and prove that he was better than the role he had been given. Jeb accepted the old merchant’s offer, and took a job with International Protection League, a new group that hired adventurers to help the Order of Saint Alphonsus in their quest to protect and better the lives of others. The work with IPL leaves plenty of time for freelancing on the side, and old habits die hard, but Jeb really is trying to walk the straight and narrow. He just takes a few detours now and then…
Craig Craghammer is the son of Gregg and Helga Craighammer, owners of Craighammer Mining, primary supplier of quarried stone, precious metals, and gems to the markets of Al Azar and the Southern city-states. Ever since he was a boy, Craig has been trained on the finer points of mining so that he can take over the family business when Gregg retires. One day, however, a mysterious old man came to visit and left behind a musty old tome, seemingly by accident. The old man had been offering his services to Gregg and Helga as a terramancer, and the tome he left behind was full of spells pertaining to earth magic. Young Craig was enthralled with the idea of magic, and he began to study the book every chance he got. When he mastered a few of the spells, he showed his father how useful they could be in the mine, and Gregg reconsidered his stance on magic. He hired the old wizard to help in the mines and teach his arcane knowledge to Craig. When he had learned all that the terramancer could teach him, Craig set out to learn more magic as part of his quest to master every element. To pay the bills during this endeavor, he took a job with International Protection League, so he wouldn’t be a drain on the family’s resources. Full of drive and a natural curiosity, coupled with a knack for the arcane arts, Craig will not be satisfied until he knows all that magic can teach him.
So that’s it for Jebediah and Craig. What do you guys think? What directions would you take these characters? What tropes would you like to play off of or subvert? Stay tuned for Friday’s installment, which introduces our final two PCs: Dmitri Hillseeker and Stanley Upton.