Thursday, September 05, 2013

Return to Mar Tesaro: Band of Misfits

As I said a few weeks ago, the D&D campaign will be finishing up this month. We have our final session next week, after which I have much more I want to write about the game. However, I think a good prelude to that discussion would be to talk about the actual movers and shakers in the game, the player characters.

In a previous entry to this series, I mentioned that my players decided to take up arms with the Boland Brotherhood, a secret rebellion plotting to overthrow the Queen. They wanted to be lieutenants, not leaders, SEAL team 6 instead of the Security Council. D&D games work much better if the players aren't spending the entirety of their time politicking, so this brooked no arguments from me. The characters had a purpose, and I had a vehicle for sending them into adventure.

So, who was this cast of adventurers?
(Read the rest below the fold)

Glabrous Emerald-Eye
Glabrous Silverbeard was a dwarf cleric, head of the church of Moradin in Mar Tesaro. He only recently acquired this position. His older brother, Deragor Silverbeard, then All-Son of Moradin, felt the "call" of Fiore and abandoned the church to settle at the foot of the mountain and worship Fiore. He even became the leader of the Circle.  After Deragor left, Glabrous was elected to the position of All-Son. During this time, he never stopped trying to bring his brethren out of the cult-like Circle.

On one visit, while arguing with his brother about his worship of Fiore, assassins sent by the Queen struck. Although they were there for Deragor, Glabrous wouldn't act as a casual observer. Both survived, but one of the assassins destroyed Glabrous's eye. He plucked a gem from the assassin's purse, payment for his mission, and used it as a false eye to replace the one lost. Now Glabrous Emerald-Eye, he joined the Brotherhood to return the favor to the Queen.

Traster Dewshining

Traster is an eladrin swordmage, a powerful arcanist and a skilled combatant. He is also a prince, heir to Alessia's throne. Although she had no children of her own, the Queen used to have family surround her in the Citadel. For reasons unknown to Traster, his aunt the Queen decided one day to purge her family. Traster was spared this fate, spirited away to the Arcane College to be raised by the mages there. When he was old enough to show a talent for magic, he was trained in the arcane arts. It wasn't until he came of age that a trusted mentor in the College revealed his true identity to him. The proof lay in the enchanted tattoo on his back, a design worn only by eladrin royalty.

Traster eventually joined up with the Brotherhood to avenge the death of his parents and take his rightful place as the ruler of the eladrin people.

Marcus "The Hawk" Solvarin

The last human king of the Triumvirate was Thomas Valthrune. When his kingdom fell, his son Denrick was hidden away. Marcus grew up alongside Denrick, as the two were raised practically as brothers by a foster father, the king's former Huntsman. Trained in the art of combat and warfare, they swore to restore what was taken from Denrick, venturing out into the world try their hand as mercenaries. Denrick fell in love with the daughter of a city magistrate, Briann. When she became pregnant, her father would not stand for it and ordered Denrick killed. Denrick and Marcus fled, but Denrick was killed.

Marcus fled as far south as Pinestaff, where he was taken in by druids of Mielikki. The druids, ancient guardians of the border between this world and the Feywild, trained him in the ways of wild magic.* Years later, Marcus left the druids to return to his family. He discovered that Briann had fled her father, hiding with Marcus's family in their small village. On top of that, she had given birth to a son she named Thomas, in honor of Denrick.

Thus, Marcus set off into the world to finish his vendetta against the Queen and to eventually give young Thomas his birthright, the throne of the human kingdom. Taking only the moniker of "The Hawk," he harrassed the Queen's interests all over Mar Tesaro. This paved the way for his entry into the Brotherhood.


Zeus is a warforged barbarian who doesn't know himself. He had been part of an army of warforged brought to Mar Tesaro during the era of the Triumvirate for one of the many wars of that time. When Zeus was struck down in that war, he was buried in the debris of the forest. Over the years, a tree grew up from beneath, and eventually through, him. When a lightning bolt struck the tree, Zeus was jolted back to life with no memory of who he was, where he came from, or why he was created.

Zeus wandered the land in confusion, eventually finding his way to the capital. There, he was recruited by a guild to participate in the tournament. Zeus was a crowd-pleaser, as he was not only a formidable warrior but was also unique, even in a city as cosmopolitan as Fol Thron.

The Queen often meddled in the results of the tournament, showing favor to politically connected teams and individuals. Zeus was recruited into the Brotherhood after victory was snatched from his team in such an incident.

The Order of the Thorn is the Queen's elite guard. Soldiers in the guard wear helmets which completely cloud their minds, while the Commanders wear different helmets allowing them to control the soldiers telepathically. This is done so that the soldiers follow any orders with brutal efficiency, never questioning, never hesitating. With no memories of their tasks, the Queen is guaranteed secrecy and loyalty, while the soldiers can live peacefully and without regret. What happens, though, if one of the Commanders questioned orders?

Ronin was a Commander in the Order of the Thorn, a soldier to the core. The Queen always suspected that some of her family had escaped her purge, but she had never been able to verify. When rumors reached her that someone claiming to be the heir to her throne was on the island, she could not pass up the chance to resolve unfinished business. Ronin was dispatched with his squad to find the rumored heir. Ronin's squad returned to the capital without him, no memory of where they'd been, how the mission was completed, or why Ronin wasn't with them.

Due to carelessness on Traster's part, Ronin had indeed discovered the hidden prince's true identity and location. The full weight of Ronin's actions finally settled on his conscience, and he refused to serve the Queen any longer. Instead, he sent his squad away and placed himself in the service of the one who should sit on Alessia's throne, vowing on his life to see Traster ascend to power and defend him from harm. When Traster joined with the Brotherhood, there was no question that Ronin came with him.
* - Ronin's player left the game partway through the campaign. However, Ronin continued to be an important part of the story as it unfolded, albeit as an NPC, so I saw no reason not to include him in this list.

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