Thursday, November 10, 2011

Heroes of the Feywild: Build Your Story

In my review of Heroes of the Feywild I mentioned that the final chapter of the book contains a choose-your-own-adventure style background generator, which can be used in place of an existing background.  Curious about how this process would actually play out, I decided to utilize it for a Protector Druid that I'm creating.  I'm not sure if I'll actually use this character in-game, but I am planning on running some playtests of the new builds, and I figure now's as good a time as any to give this backstory generator a try as well!  After making the basic choices presented in the book, I wrote up a more fleshed out story based on that.  Here's what I came up with. 

Overview of Choices

  • Foster Parents (kind) > Peasants (Elf) (Heal or Nature)
  • Shinaelestra > Studied Wilderness (Acrobatics, Endurance, Nature) > passed Wis check
  • Discovery > True Identity
  • Murkendraw > Found Murkroot Trade Moot (Goblin, Intimidate, Stealth) >Failed Int check, Goblins turned on you and sold you to slavery
  • Captured
  • Harrowhame > Enslaved (Dungeoneering or Nature) > passed Con check, escaped tunnels into Brokenstone Vale
  • Brokenstone Vale >Traded Goods, bartering with civilized lycanthropes (Bluff or Insight) > passed Wis check, Acclaimed (civilized location, activity, skill without making check)
  • Sent to Mithrendain > Broke into Citadel Arcanum (Bluff, Stealth, Thievery) > autopass from acclaimed
  • Maze of Fathaghn (chosen from Acclaimed) > Dealt with Dryad Queen (Diplomacy or Insight) > Passed Cha check (rolled 17), Made Powerful Ally (go to any location)
  • Fey Crossing Hamlet > Cross Into World
  • Trained skills chosen from backstory: Nature (Druid makes you anyways), Endurance, Insight, Stealth, and Goblin as a language.

    Once upon a time there was a young elven girl named Keyleth, who grew up with only the vaguest memories of her parents. Her foster parents, Theren and Adrie Celedor, were from a neighboring village, and had told her that during a Gnoll raid her parents were driven into the wild to make what living they could, constantly being harried by the ever-growing Gnoll population. They gave Keyleth up to the Celedors, who had relatives in the Feywild whom they were going to stay with to escape the Gnolls more or less permanently. It was Keyleth's best chance to lead as normal a life as possible.

    Unfortunately, the Celedors had no idea that life in Shinaelestra would be so tough. They worked as farmhands on one of the local vineyards, at least when the city wasn't under attack by the fomorians. Thanks to the city walls and the tireless efforts of Calenon Thray's rangers, it was at least a safer existence than Keyleth left behind. As she grew older she took to exploring the wilderness outside of the city during her free time, both in the Feywild and in the mortal realm after the nightly worldfall. She became adept at identifying plants, and eventually got hired to collect rare herbs for a wealthy ritualist/apothecary.

    One night while wandering a familiar path in the mortal world Keyleth happened upon an old half-elven traveler. She stopped to chat, and the old man's eyes lit up when Keyleth told him her name, as some long-lost memory resurfaced. He had lived in the village where she was born, and he informed her that her parents had been influential Druids in the Circle of Shelter, and that their true mission had been to confront Decius Derakh, a powerful necromancer who was responsible for mobilizing the Gnolls (to distract people from his dark business, it was rumored). With heavy hearts her foster parents confirmed the traveler's story, for they knew that she would now want to discover what fate befell her birth parents.

    After discussing the matter with her employer, Keyleth decided that her best lead was to travel to the Murkendraw and seek out the Murkroot Trade Moot. Their illicit wares were known to make it outside of the Feywild to the mortal world, and a powerful necromancer would have benefited greatly from such a resource. She spent several years on the outskirts of the Murkendraw seeking out the Moot, and eventually it paid off (sort of). A naïve newcomer is an easy target, and Keyleth was not cautious enough. Goblin traders took advantage of her inexperience and captured her. She was soon sold to King Bronnor and worked as a slave in the tunnels of Harrowhame. She toiled for months, but eventually she learned the tunnels well enough to make an escape, only to emerge in the lycanthrope-infested Brokenstone Vale.

    She was much more cautious now, and soon earned the respect of some of the more civilized lycanthropes. She collected herbs throughout the Vale and sold them to a werebear witch doctor. She soon became a welcome guest of their tribe, and after ensuring that she could trust them she explained her situation to the tribal elders. After much deliberating, they advised her against going back to the Moot. Perhaps she would have better luck in Mithrendain, as the Citadel Arcanum has some of the most extensive records around. It was worth a shot, anyways.

    After being denied entry into the Citadel, Keyleth wandered Mithrendain for weeks trying to come up with a solution. Though she kept trying to rationalize against it, in the end there was only one option: she would have to break in. She spent the next week and a half planning it, and then it was time. The records were not as heavily guarded as other portions of the Citadel, and she had enough time to not only find the relevant books, but give them a fairly thorough reading as well. She learned that about a decade after she was born Decius had entered the Feywild through a crossing in the Murkendraw and made his way to the Maze of Fathaghn. There he had planned on taking a branch from the Mother Tree to use in a dark ritual, but he had underestimated the Dryad Queen and was defeated. Details were scant, but it was the best lead she'd yet uncovered. Unfortunately, the guards soon discovered her. The Watchers of the Night were impressed with her skill, and did not detain her long. They saw that she meant no harm, and she was given a light sentence of 1 year's banishment from Mithrendain. No matter, as Keyleth had another destination in mind anyways.

    As she got closer to the Maze Keyleth began to hear soft voices whispering to her, and in a strange way they were actually comforting. The boundary between the mortal realm and the Feywild was thin here, and the Primal Spirits had a strong influence. Despite her goal, she lingered in this place and listened to what the air, the earth, and the water had to say. She soon found herself capable of producing minor magical effects as she became more attuned to the spirits. She first learned to call upon the spirits of the air, and once she mastered this the breeze whispered that it was time to go on. The vegetation grew more densely as she neared the edge of the Maze, and the forest more quiet. For all the dangers of that place she found herself able to pass through unmolested, though she could sense the presence of many eyes watching her the entire way. Time ceased to mean anything, and after many hours (or days, or weeks even?) she stopped in a clearing with a small spring-fed pool. Stooped beside the pool collecting water in a large pitcher was the most magnificent dryad she had ever laid eyes on. The air seemed to pulse with her power, and Keyleth became very frightened. As the Dryad Queen turned around she fixed her gaze onto Keyleth, studying the Elf for what felt like an eternity. When the queen finally spoke it was as if the air had come alive as an orchestra, and yet looking back Keyleth could not recall the exact sound of that music, for such is the Dryad Queen's magic.

    Their words were brief, and the queen was sympathetic. Druids from many circles had warned her ahead of time of Decius' plans, and he did not get very far into the Maze before she had found him. Though he considered himself powerful, he was as nothing compared to a great Queen of Faerie. She stripped him of much of his power, opened up a portal into the mortal world, and tossed him through. She gave Keyleth a general description of where she had banished him to, which Fey Crossing would get her there safely, and then conjured up a small wooden box. Within this box sat a tiny fire spirit that burned without need of fuel or air. In the smoke that emanated from the box was the image of a face; the face of Decius Derakh. At their parting the Dryad Queen cautioned Keyleth not to pursue him so single-mindedly, but that eventually they would meet. In the meantime though, there was other work to be done. Keyleth's ties to the mortal realm and its spirits were strong, and the queen advised her to seek out members of the Circle of Shelter. Not only would they help her to realize her potential, but if anyone had news of her parents, it was them. The queen then waved her hand, and Keyleth was transported to a small Fey Crossing Hamlet. After gathering what supplies she could in town, she crossed over into the mortal world, into strange lands where she'd never been.

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