Rise of the Drow at JeffCon

Here are some details for the Rise of the Drow campaign being run at JeffCon 2022.

JeffCon is the last MACE and it is being run to honor the memory of Jeff Smith, who passed last year. Jeff was the organizer, brains, and soul of the MACE gaming conventions throughout the Carolinas. He was truly an asset to the gaming community and will be sorely missed. Thank you Jeff for all you’ve done for us over the years.

Sign up for the games at JeffCon is through the OGRe platform at: https://ogre.justusproductions.com/index.php/jeffcon. Sign-ups begin

This game is a Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition campaign adventure that will be run in five sessions throughout the weekend of JeffCon (November 11th to 13th). The gaming schedule is tentative and has not been approved or finalized. I have asked for Friday afternoon and evening, Saturday morning and afternoon, and Sunday morning sessions, each lasting approximately four hours.

It is quite likely that your character will level at least once or twice per session, so either come with a first level character already created, or I can provide a pre-generated one for you to use.

BEGINNERS ARE WELCOME, though some familiarity with Role Playing Games (tabletop or on-line) is preferred. You will be expected to level up your skills as you level up your character. If you want to bring your child with you so they can play too, please do. You know your child’s abilities and whether they can be engaged at the tabletop for hours at a time. I love kids, and I want to encourage the next generation to play, so I will try to work with you to provide them with an enjoyable time.

About Me

My name is Simon Kingaby, I’ve been playing D&D on-and-off for approximately 40 years. I love this game. I am very happy with fifth edition. I believe that D&D is a game based on interactive story-telling (role-playing) where the DM and the Players negotiate the story that the characters are living through. This is more than just dice rolling and combat. It is a tale of villains, heroes, adventure, intrigue, challenges, triumphs, friendship, fun, and, in the end, a good time should be had by all. Please come prepared to play: that is, be prepared to live the life of your character, have fun, be silly, go a little outside your comfort zone, and enjoy yourself.

Rise of the Drow


Tonight, a ceremony of light is taking place on the surface.
Meanwhile, a world away in the city of spiders, a drow matron solidifies a pact with soul-consuming entities who require great sacrifices in trade for unimaginable power. Drow eyes turn to the surface.
This adventure and setting, take characters across the surface and into the depths of the world. Adventurers will meet unique denizens, battle horrors of the Underworld, explore epic locations, and fight to stop the rise of the drow.


Rise of the Drow: Campaign Primer $0.99 – Please, if you can, purchase this primer for a brief overview of the Campaign and the Underworld Races.

Rise of the Drow: Underworld Races and Classes – If you wish to play as one of the Underworld Races, this book will be very helpful.

Occult Secrets of the Underworld – For even more options in the Underworld.

Character Creation

Please create a free account on DnD Beyond and create your character in the Rise of the Drow campaign shared here:

By creating a character in that campaign, you will have access to all the sourcebooks (in DnDBeyond that is) and you will have a vast array of alternatives to choose between.

Race: You may create a 1st level character of the following races:

Overworld Standard Races:

  • Human (Very common)
  • Dwarf (Common)
  • Elf (Rare)
  • Gnome (Rare)
  • Halfling (Rare)
  • Half-elf (Very Rare)
  • Half-orc (Very Rare)

Overworld non-standard Races:

These are much less common and will be an oddity in the communities and towns that the characters visit. However, pretty much anything goes, within reason. We will be exploring the Underworld, so keep that in mind.

Underworld Races:

  • Ahooling
  • Colliatur
  • Dødelig
  • Draaki
  • Drow
  • Funglet
  • Gitwerc
  • Hoyrall
  • Kraidyl
  • Svirfneblin
  • Vestraadi
  • Zwerc

Characters may be created using the standard rules or the Character Options rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Ability Scores: Ability scores can be generated using the standard array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) or by using the Customizing Ability Scores methods (sometimes called the point-buy method).

Feats: We will not be using Feats

Alignment: Characters can be Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic but are usually Good or Neutral. A Lawful Evil character might be OK as long as it is not a jerk about it. Same goes for Neutral Evil. Characters cannot be Chaotic Evil. Normally, I would say that characters cannot be Chaotic Evil. However, since we’re heading into the Underworld where evil things lurk, many of the Underworld Races are Chaotic Evil. Drow society, in particular, is highly functional, despite most of its denizens being Chaotic Evil. The trick is to figure out, “As a Chaotic Evil character, how can I balance coexisting with a party with being chaotic and evil.”

Hit Points: You may begin the adventure with your maximum hit points at first level. Subsequent levels can be rolled or take the average. So a cleric with d8 hit dice would be at 8 plus their CON modifier at first level. At second level, they can either roll or take the average of 1 through 8 (rounded up) which would be 5 plus their CON modifier.

Money: Players can start with an appropriate amount of equipment or gold, depending on their class, but not both equipment and gold. Players who choose equipment have a balance of 10gp pocket money to begin the adventure.

Equipment: See money above. If you choose gold, then you will need to purchase the appropriate equipment. Characters may have a small number of portable personal possessions that are suited to their character’s background. For example, I might have a small statue of an elephant that was carved by my grandfather. First level characters do not have magic items.

Background and Backstory: There are a ton of backgrounds to choose from, or you can write your own. Please do keep in mind that we are adventuring in a place where the predominant race is Human and all other races are minorities, as explained in the Campaign Primer (see link above). Non-standard races are even more rare, possibly even unique in this region. Please do feel free to incorporate the information in this post and/or the information in the Campaign Primer to integrate your character more fully into the story. I will read each background and will keep them in mind while running the campaign.

Session 0: And They Met in a Bar…

Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/Murfreesboro-Board-Games-Meetup

DnD Beyond Campaign: https://ddb.ac/campaigns/join/2038241466181279

How cliche is that?  But it worked, and the party assembled to take down some bandits on the South road.  With the rogue’s serving as killing machines, the party was victorious, though the cleric did have to heal some of the adventurers who thought of themselves as pincushions.

Character XP Treasure
Ildon 75
Fenvalur 75
Telfid 75
Olive 75
Sytarii 75 Potion of Healing
Taban 75
Keeley 75
Brawn 75

Let’s meet the motley crew:

In counter-clockwise order from my right, I introduce:


Human (variant) Bard.
Ildon claims to be a World Renowned Actor. Exiled from his troupe for certain unnamed indiscretions, he is now a traveling performer, and, judging by his performance of Ildon Defeats the Dragon this evening, is quite good at it.

  • Bonus:  Advantage on Performance Skill Rolls
  • Bonus:  Earnings at one level higher when performing in a tavern


Aasimar Warlock.
Fenvalur grew up as an outsider.  His only childhood friend was a Tiefling named ______________.  They got up to all sorts of mischief.  Fenvalur learned magic quickly and early, finding he had a knack for using Mage Hand to cause, or get out of, trouble.  As soon as they reached the age of independence they set out on a bold adventure.  [What happened next?  Where is the friend now?  How did they separate? – DM]

  • Bonus:  Advantage on Persuasion Skill checks
  • Bonus:  Mage Hand, Range: 60 feet, Capacity: 25#


Human (v) War Cleric.
As an acolyte for Tempus, Telfid was charged with performing battlefield rites for the dead and dying, occasionally having to grant mercy when healing was not an option.  Telfid developed an affinity for battle.  Eventually, he was commanded by Tempus to go out into the world and protect the recently fallen in battle from physical or verbal desecration.  “Take their boots, gold, or [whatever…] but harm them no more and speak no ill to the spirits as they pass beyond the vale of death.” Telfid figured being in the battles gave him the best chance to follow this command. So far it works! Also, his order believes special heroes that prove worthy in battle will be called upon for THE FINAL GREAT QUEST at the end of time.  He plans to be in that party…

  • Bonus:  Bless for 1d4+1 (2-5)
  • Bonus:  Ceremony, Funeral Rite – Touch 1d4 Corpses, Use once per day without using a Spell Slot


Wood-elf Druid.
After a marauding gang of Goblins tore through her village, slaughtering many, including her parents and siblings, Olive was severely wounded but survived.   [Does she have a scar?  A gimpy leg?  Any lasting effects?  – DM]  A wandering minstrel took pity on the poor orphaned elf and took her in, only to trade her to a circus when times got tough.  At the circus, Olive was enslaved.  Whipped and beaten when the circus performers felt like she wasn’t working hard enough, she grew to resent them and especially their harsh treatment of their animals. Trained on the trapeze, she was constantly berated for not meeting the trapeze master’s exacting requirements.
Determined to escape and desiring to help the animals, she developed an empathic relationship with some of them that sometimes felt like she could talk to them.  Eventually, she seized an opportunity to escape, releasing the animals and encouraging them to attack their captors, she ran away in the chaos and headed for the forests where she nurtured her relationship with nature for many years before venturing back into the cities of men.

  • Bonus:  Preferred Enemy – Goblins, Advantage on to Hit, +1 Damage
  • Bonus:  Advantage on Acrobatics Skill checks


Human (v) Rogue.
Born a noble in De’Arnise Hold (less than half a day’s travel to the east of Athkatla), Sytarii was rendered homeless when a small army of Hobgoblins, led by an especially nasty pair of mountain Trolls (Grubcruncher and Meathook), invaded the town and razed the Keep.
Now out in the wide world seeking his fortune, Sytarii is not above petty crime to further his ends and delights in swindling the highbrows.  One day, he hopes to defeat the trolls and take back his home.

  • Bonus:  Preferred Enemy – Hobgoblins, Advantage on to Hit, +1 Damage
  • Bonus:  Advantage on Deception Skill checks


Human (v) Paladin.
Taban is a bit of a mystery, not just to others, but to himself as well.  Son of the Earl of Sandwichburger[?] from somewhere just north of Greenest.  He’s looking for someone but has no inkling of who that might be.  He is certain that he will know when he has found the person he is looking for though.

  • Bonus:  Advantage on Perception Skill checks
  • Bonus:  Advantage on Insight Skill checks


Wood-elf Rogue.
Keeley’s mission is simple, find her lost sister.  Along the way, she is up for adventure and larceny to finance her pursuit of her sister’s kidnappers.  Arriving in Red Larch on a tip from a guy who knew a guy who slept with a whore who talked too much but might have known something, she is following the trail of a delegation from Mirabar who passed through Beliard.

  • Bonus:  Advantage on Sleight of Hand Skill checks
  • Bonus:  Advantage on Investigation Skill checks


Hill-dwarf Forge Cleric.
As a forge-sworn cleric of [Who?], Brawn is on a pilgrimage to find magical artifacts of interest to his order [Which is?].  He seeks to gain magical [and political?] power.

The Story So Far… 2014-10-04

The adventurers stealthily approached the dragon cultists camp. Using the talk grass for cover they circled the entire camp, a little taken aback at the scope of the sight before them.
Their investigation showed them the location of the prisoners from Greenest, and a solitary prisoner tied to a post in the east end of the camp. They also identified the well guarded tents of the leaders of the camp and a cave, also guarded, at the back of the camp.
Needing a closer look, they finally decided to march in as if they owned the place. A plot that worked until they tried to burn a tent near the leader’s guarded tent with Vokul’s fiery breath. A chase ensued and the adventurers were captured. Langdedrosa, recognizing Anna from his challenge in Greenest, mocked her mercilessly for coming after him and for getting caught. The two adventurers we’re tied to posts next to Leosin. A fortuitous, if awkward, predicament. In the darkness, Anna used the dagger in her boot to cut them free. This time, they were more stealthy and they we’re able to sneak out of camp and back to Greenest without event. In the town, Governor Nighthall was glad to see them returned, but sad that they weren’t able to bring any of the missing captives with them. Nevertheless, he paid them handsomely for the information they brought.
The adventurers took the opportunity to rest in town and help with cleanup, earning good favor with the townsfolk, the Governor, and Leosin.

Introducing Lt. Vokul Korshim

As 1st Lieutenant in the King’s Dragoons, Vokul Korshim was widely accepted as a great and honorable fighter. This could be attributed to his Brass ancestry as a Dragonborn, as well as being a soldier since the age of 8. Because of this, combat has shaped him into the six foot tall 285 pound fighter that he is today. His fellow Dragonborn have followed him into battle countless times and he has always emerged victorious. This made Vokul think that he could not be bested in combat, which turned out to be a fatal mistake for him and his soldiers.

A simple mission is always a great thing isn’t it?  That’s what Vokul thought when they were sent to destroy a bandit camp that had been raiding the town of Mirilav. These bandits had been reported to have been raiding the town week after week, but never taking anything.  “Interesting,” Vokul thought, “usually these bandits would take anything that isn’t nailed down. No matter.  My Dragoons and I will bring them to justice, whether it be in shackles or by the edge of a sword.”

Once he arrived at Mirilav with the rest of the Dragoons, Vokul had sent some troops to scout the surrounding area while he spoke to the Mayor. The Mayor was in shock as was the rest of the town, why hadn’t these bandits taken anything? The bandits would burst in the town, with mysterious black robed figures behind them.  These figures had no other features other than a red circle on their back, with a line drawn down the middle. They would order the bandits to grab the townspeople, and would examine them almost as if they were looking for someone. “I have no idea what language they spoke but,” said the Mayor as he was interrupted by one of Vokul’s soldiers bursting through the door to the Mayors room. “They have captured most of our forces Vokul!” the Dragonborn said, while clutching his side, which was devoid of scales. “What happened to you? Why are you clutching your side?” Vokul asked. Before the soldier could answer, he was engulfed in a bright flash of red and fell to the ground, but as a human. Standing behind him were the robed men, one of them holding an orb that had sucked the draconic essence out of the Dragonborn soldier.  Angered, Vokul charged forth, hacked the figure in two, and proceeded to slaughter the remaining enemies.  One of the bandits sneaked behind him however, and drove a poisoned dagger into his side. Vokul began to stagger, and then fell, unconscious.

* * *

Vokul awoke in a forest glade, naked, bleeding and feeling terrible.  Struggling, he tried to remember what had happened.  The details were slow to come back, and to his horror, he did not remember much more than scattered imagery of an orb, a flash of red light, his friend falling before him, blood, anger, and then, pain.

After heading East for several slow and painful hours, by his reckoning, Vokul came upon a village.  Laughing at his nakedness, the layabouts looked on as a kindly old woman brought him a pair of trousers to put on.  She then led him back to her humble, thatch-roofed cottage, where she inquired as to what had troubled him such that he came here in this manner.   He explained as best he could, but he just could not remember anything.  As he rambled on, the old woman puttered about the kitchen, boiling water on the pot-bellied stove, adding a variety of herbs and spices to make a tea.  With a fancy flourish, she laid a cup and saucer before him and said, “Drink up dear.  Here, let me take a look at that wound…  It looks like you’ve seen the sharp end of a sword a lot, some sort of fighter are ye?”  Puttering around again, she assembled something in a bowl that smelled horrible.  Vokul hoped he wouldn’t have to eat it.  “Here dear, let me put this poultice on your wound, it will help to draw out the poisons and rot that are in there.  As she applied the foul mixture to his wound, she said kindly, “There’s a cot in the back for ye to rest upon.  Take a nap to let this medicine work its magic.  I’ll be back shortly.”  Then she picked up a basket and went out the front door.

Vokul stood up, and immediately regretted it.  His head was swimming and his side was hurting.  He tottered on wobbly legs into the back room and just about fell into the cot.  Within moments, he was sound asleep.

* * *

Vokul dreamed.  Of meadows and sunrise, of maidens and kisses.  Then a giant figure in black robes, a red circle for a face, smashed his dreams to smithereens.  It conjured an orb into its hands that seemed to be sucking the whole universe into endless darkness.  Red flashes of lightning pierced the darkness.  The sky turned blood red and poured into the orb.  Then he started falling, and falling, and falling…

With a start, he awoke to the old woman’s touch.  “Ah, the great beast awakes,” she smiled.  “You had me worried there for a few days, but you took the gruel well enough, even though you would not rouse.” “A few days?  How long have I been asleep?”

“Nigh on a 10-day, I should think,” she replied.  “I found you some clothes, some armor and a sword while you slept.  I think they’ll more-or-less fit ya. Ye bein’ a large fellow an all.  I imagine you’ll be wantin’ those before you leave.”

For some reason, Vokul found himself dressing, suiting up, and strapping on the sword belt; then sitting in the old woman’s kitchen and eating a feast fit for a king, thanking the old woman then departing toward the west, hoping to find out who and what he was and what had happened to him.  After a few days journey, he came upon the town of Greenest, where he took a room at the Inn on the Green.

Backstory – Berrian the Genasi (formerly Eladrin) Mage

Berrian story begins like so many of our stories with his father. Authron was a powerful sorcerer and a well-respected adventurer, who – after saving many a village and many a fair damsel in his younger years – settled into a life of teaching.  Near the end of his career as an adventurer of fortune, Authron defeated a powerful summoner and, when rummaging through the spoils, found amongst the summoner’s possessions what he assumed to be a fairly normal storm in a bottle.
After thorough study of the artifact, he found that the storm inside the bottle was sentient and beginning to learn. He found that it had no memories and a childlike personality. For a short time, he kept it as a familiar. The storm soon proved to be burdensome. The old wizard cursed the storm and trapped it inside the physical form of an eladrin baby. He thought this would be a fitting way to instruct and train the young elemental. In the early years, when the elemental was first learning language it began to refer to the old wizard as “father” and the wizard saw no need to correct it. Thus, the elemental grew to think of itself as a young eladrin and the sorcerer’s son and apprentice.
As such, the young eladrin found himself adept and easily able to out pace his peers. His classmates tended to claim it was nepotism because he was the son of an elder and an adventuring sorcerer. Berrian felt his father was too busy with his pupils to find time for his son. Authron showed little approval for any of his pupils, and did not make an exception for the fooled elemental.
The child grows and becomes a man. His classmates, despite being far less skilled and of obviously limited power in comparison to the elemental, still venture out into the world to seek their own fortunes. Still, the old sorcerer forbids the elemental to do the same. He uses his position as Berrian’s adopted father to pin him down as a journeymen in limbo. The son sees this as an act of protection. He endures for a time, but as the next batch of apprentices begins to take on their own adventure and as Berrian is called into consultation on the adventures of his erstwhile classmates, but never allowed to make adventures of his own, he devises eventually to set out on his own.
Basically he is a runaway and a mercenary sorcerer for a time. He goes where the wind blows him and ends up in Harkenwold.

When he arrives, he is immediately aware of something being wrong. He finds out quickly that the Iron Circle that runs everything only took over recently and that they took control while the majority of the Keep’s army was busy elsewhere. The impetuous young Berrian saw this as his chance to overthrow the Iron Circle. He would infiltrate this small band of poorly organized miscreants, assassinate their way-turned leader, Nazin Redthorn, and {depending on the disposition of the remaining thugs} he would either lead them himself to right the wrongs they had done {if they were just mislead} or else flee in the chaos of their mourning should they actually look up to the evil boss.
He joined the Iron Circle at a time when they were in some need of extra guards because there were but few remaining in the Keep. At the time of his joining he told them more or less the truth as he knew it. That he had run away from his father after the father had shielded him to forcefully from the world; that he had traveled many months and many many miles from home to seek his fortunes; that he had lived this time on his craft; and that he would join the Circle in search of money, power and respect.

He omitted that he intended the money to come more in rewards than wages, that the power would come at the Circle’s expense, and that he intended to be respected as a champion and enforcer of the law. These three things he omitted for his own safety, and it’s a good thing that he did.

The Circle accepted him quickly and with little if any ritual. He took up residence and earned little notoriety, but was well liked by those who worked with him. He kept his mouth shut and his eyes and ears open, biding time until he could assassinate Redthorn. He found out soon enough that the leader was in hiding, deep within the Keep and would not emerge for any reason until his trusted lieutenants returned from their current tour. They had been sent out with detailed strategical orders to divide and destroy the scattered remains of the HarkenWold’s armies before they could be regrouped and led back against the castle keep.

Now Berrian faced a catch 22. No matter how he tries he will not be able to get at the leader for some months until the current campaign is ended and the lieutenants return with their men. But at that time, the castle will again be overflowing with regular Circle scum and if he is found out he could be in real danger. The confidence his early successes inspired begins to wain, but Berrian decides to bide his time and wait. And his patience is rewarded.
Eventually, an adventurer is found trying to infiltrate the Circle. The adventurer is questioned but will not reveal his true identity or his intentions. He is imprisoned in the keep dungeons. Soon thereafter there is an attack in force on the castle keep. Berrian springs on this as his best chance. He heads for the dungeon and tells the guards there that all available archers are needed at the west wall [somewhere where archers won’t be helpful, but it would sound like they would] and that he will remain to guard the prisoner (being of no use as an archer himself). The guards go. Berrian stays and releases the prisoner, explains that he wishes to help and joins our merry band of adventurers in their travels.

Backstory – Kerigor the Minotaur Cleric

All minotaurs have a deeply held respect for Baphomet, the Horned King.  He represents raw, bestial power – the fury and savagery of a predator at the moment of the kill.    Many succumb to their dark impulses.  Some, rise above it, their conscience is more developed and through discipline, prayer, or both, they control their inner beast.  Spurned by most civil societies for their terrible appearance, they usually live in distant conclaves, or wander the land in search of adventure.

Thus I found myself in Fallcrest, a wanderer, seeker of adventure.  The Paladin’s order found me first, removing my hooded cloak to reveal the ugly beast hiding there.  They were this close to killing me when an angel appeared, a messenger from the great and mighty Bahamut himself.  The messenger said, “We expect great things from this one.  Lay up your swords and let him live.  Teach him of the Great Master and look past his visage to the strength within.”

I stood up, shaking off my attackers, who fell back, awestruck.  They escorted me to the temple where their Captain told the story.  The elders took me in, training me as they would any acolyte.  I sparred with the Paladins, often 2 at a time.  By size, and strength and ferocity, I was their equal in the practice yard.  But, always, I would struggle with the bloodlust that lay beneath the surface.

I showed some talent with the healing arts, so the miesters helped me focus on channeling those powers.  I am truly blessed by Bahamut to be able to swing my hammer at the foe and lay my hands upon my allies.

A few years ago, I met Sir Oakley.  He immediately recognized my strength and at arms, and soon came to appreciate my other talents as we fought in battle after battle.  He has a hunger, some need in his soul that has yet to be fulfilled.  He searches for something, I know not what.  But he has allowed me to go with him and work for him, developing my power as a warrior and my talent as a cleric.  Last year, I was named a Templar in the Order.  One of many, I know, but a proud distinction nonetheless.

Now, a group of adventurers – none less than the Defenders of Harkenwold and Slayers of Shadowmire, has found their way into Sir Oakley’s plans.  He has asked me to accompany them and keep them well.  Which I shall do, or die trying!

Backstory – Alphazar the Wilden Druid/Shaman

Deep in the Forest, at the Council of the 4 Winds, there is much debate.  Finally, after listening to all the arguments, Jolindarel, the Eldest, rises on withered limbs.  As he reaches his full height of 9’, the whispered shushes ripple down the length of the table rock.  Tattered burgundy leaves hang here and there in the branches that stem from his head and body.  In the winter of his life, his great girth showing his great age, the Eldest speaks in the old tongue, a sound not unlike the whispering winds rustling through the tree tops.  “My fellow councilors, we are faced with challenges throughout the Great Woods and we have much higher priorities than this rogue Wizard in our forest.  Even now we amass an army of tree folk to combat the Burners in the Eastern Wildwood.  To the South, the Leafless are ever expanding their cities and towns and bringing demons, death, and destruction with them.  There, many tree folk die to feed their need for wood and coke.  To the North, the ice demons are also expanding their range bringing winter too soon for the saplings to grow properly.  Much must be done.  Much will be done.  Though, to this matter of the Wizard, Lorameer has made a good argument.  The Wizard is a killer and is working dark magic in the forest, which must not be tolerated.  We cannot spare the strength to deal with him ourselves.  We shall send out some of the older saplings to recruit help from the Leafless.  We may hope that some of these will see the evil this Wizard represents and wish to destroy it.  We may hope.  Oleafshank, Mahindarel, send two of your saplings to the cities of the Leafless that lie to the north and to the west.  The Wizard must be dealt with before the moon turns, and, hopefully, before his dabblings in dark magic cause any further harm to the Forest.”

Backstory – Orin the Mul Fighter

Humans and dwarves have their differences.  Humans are considered to be agile while a strong mental flexibility coupled with a great stature. Dwarves a widely known for their physical resilience and strong endurance.  The two races are common to be seen amongst each other but it is rare for them to come together and bear a child. These children hold the strong qualities of both dwarf and human. They are called Muls. When Orin Frostbane was born, his dwarven father could think of no other name. In dwarven, Or means gem and in means dwarf or people.  Orin’s father and mother couldn’t have been happier to have had a healthy son.

In the small farm village or Mirabor, Orin was one of few boys in his town.  Although his town had many dwarves and humans, he was the only one of his kind. His father would always tell him “Son your mother and I know you are special but always remember that a man is made a man by the actions he takes not what he is. Do not judge a man for what he is. Judge him for who he is.” Orin always remembered that.  Everyone in the town treated Orin as if he was no different and Orin loved growing up there.

The neighboring city ofRaamwas a very large city widely known for its gladiatorial combat and its large merchant district. Of course, with any large city, there are underground gangs and slavery was not uncommon. One of the gangs was led by Elf named Gensal. Gensal was a noble in the community who “sponsored” many young men in the arenas but secretly he was the leader of a slave ring to train men to become gladiators. A band of orcs and goblins did his bidding to train these men into becoming the best of the best. Gensal made his fortunes on winning and for those that didn’t, they were punished within an inch of their lives if not killed.    Balagos

Gensal had many informants around the continent to deliver him news of potential candidates for the arenas. One of his spies and slave leaders, a drow named Balagos, informed him that he had discovered that there was a Mul in one of the neighboring cities. Gensal knew how strong and powerful Muls could become so he sent the order for Balagos and his men to raid the city and capture the Mul.

On a foggy autumn night when Orin was only 11, Balagos and his men snuck into the town ofMiraborinto the Frostbane’s household.  Orin awoke to pandemonium in the house as his father and mother fight valiantly to defend there son but they were no match. Orin was taken with his mother and father laying face down on the floor, looking as if they would never return to see the light of day.

From that point it was a life of training and torture for Orin. Balagos knew that when Muls are pushed to their limit they are able to find something deep down that can brush off any affect that is on them. But Orin was special. After being tortured for so long, his body became able to brush off an affect on him and also found out how to regain some vitality every time he was hit. Balagos was thrilled with this, knowing that he was perfect for gladiatorial combat. Orin was trained hard everyday for years in the art of fighting. Axes, sword, hammers, and practically every weapon they could since each arena battle was based on a different weapon.

Orin was kept with 4 other slaves in a small cell together. He became friends with a Halfling named Nebin. Nebin was a nimble thief who was captured to fight the dagger and crossbow battles. Although neither had yet to fight in an actual battle, they knew they must escape as soon as possible. They had seen others attempt to escape only to be killed in the act of fleeing. Their plan had to be perfect and with Nebin’s quickness and Orin’s strength together they knew they would one day be free.

At the age of 17, Orin was sent to his first battle. This was the first time Orin actually met the man he was “fighting for”. Gensal looked as elegant as any noble, dressed in the finest, but once in the shadows Gensal’s true nature was shown. He grabbed Orin by the hide armor he was dressed and said “If you lose, you die.” From there he went back to his seats in the arena and Orin was sent to the gate to prepare for battle. This battle was a 4 man brawl involving hammers. Orin was very confident in his ability with a particular large mace, the mordenkrad. He came out swinging with all his might and immediately knocked one foe face to the ground. Orin was so overwhelmed with excitement he raised his arms in victory forgetting that there were still 2 other combatants. His glory was soon overcome by pain as his back was struck by 2 morningstars from a human. This knocked the breath completely out of Orin and was completely dazed from the surprise attack. Orin remembered his training, and snapped out of the daze immediately. As he turned to the human, he sees the last combatant, a large Orc heavily equipped with in plate mail swinging a large maul towards his face. He dodged the attack and the orc’s follow through struck the human strait in the face completely knocking him off of his feet. Orin looked at the human to see he was no more. The crowd raged loudly as the Orin and the orc stared each other down. The orc swung again this time with two follow up blows all aimed at Orin’s head. The orc was slow, highly encumbered by the plate armor. Orin could see his blows coming but how could he hit him through the armor? “I know I’m short but it makes it easier to take out the knees. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Nebin had told Orin a few days back. Orin saw the opening in the orcs wide swinging attacks and took the lunging swing at his right knee. The orc crippled to the ground, screaming in pain. The crowd chanted and the orchestrator yelled “FINISH HIM!” Orin did what he must and slammed the mordenkrad into the orcs chest. Orin had won his first battle.

Orin was overjoyed that he had won his battle but his happiness did not last long once he returned to his quarters. “You should have won quicker and not gotten hit. You will be punished for your inadequacies” yelled Balagos.  He was promptly whipped and beaten.

Over the next few years, Orin fought 4 more battles, all with different weapons. After each he was promptly beaten for negligence. Nebin and Orin had finally figured out the perfect escape plan. One of the guards always fell asleep on his watch right beside their cell. Nebin had found a way to sneak a dagger back to their cell. Orin reached out and grabbed the guard by the head and slammed him to the ground and Nebin promptly slit his throat. They grabbed the keys and hurried to the battleground where the only exit to the quarters was. Orin grabbed his favored weapons and they ran to the gate. Orin lifted the gate and they slid under. They were free. Orin fled towards the forest when he suddenly realized that Nebin was not beside him. He turned around to see Nebin being held in the air by his throat by Balagos. Orin started to charge back towards them but he was too late. Balagos stabbed Nebin through the temple. Orin saw the guards behind Balagos getting ready to come after him. He knew that trying to save Nebin was a lost cause and Nebin would want him to be free. And with that, Orin ran faster than he ever had before, far beyond the woods and into the depths of the mountains. He had escaped the guards.

Orin hid for a few weeks in the dark caves on the mountains. He wanted to go home to see his family so badly but needed to lay low for a while before he could get back to them. Once he felt he was safe, Orin came back to his home of Mirabor. As he approached to the village, he dropped to his knees. Every house and all the land had been burned to the ground. The smell of burning flesh still lingered in the air even though it was apparent that it had been burned days before. With nothing left of his home, Orin left. He now felt more alone than ever. All that he had ever known was gone and there was only one thing Orin knew how to do well. Fight. He travelled for months taking on bounty hunter jobs and security jobs to pay the bills. He continued to travel from town to town not really knowing but he was looking for but knowing whatever he did he had to be the best. “Judge a man for what he does, not what he is” Orin remembered his father telling him as a boy. Orin knew he was destined for greatness and would not give up until he found his purpose.

For now, his purpose was obtaining a boar for a bet he had made to a bar keep who said he could not do such. He headed into the woods and ran into a changeling who was looking for food. Orin offered the changeling some of the boar if he could help him find one. With that, the two set off into the woods to find the tastiest boar they could. And the adventure begins…

Backstory – Kriv the Dragonborn Paladin

Kriv was born into the rights of a paladin. Born in theTempleofTempusin the small city ofMordue, it was always known he’d be constructed as a divine instrument of war. He was taught from day one that war and battle are a force of nature and is necessary in to shape civilization. It was not only the driving force of his being; they trained him to hold nothing back and to let his rage be the source of his power.

His sister, Sora, was a priestess in the temple and Kriv was sworn to protect her. Although she was very strong herself, he learned special training in order to always be able to guard her from harm. Kriv knew that in order to protect her to the best of his being he must train himself to react quickly and always be able to be there for her at a moments notice.

Sora and Kriv were separated from their parents at a very young age. Having their parents both being battle sworn themselves, they were sent into wars across the land to show their dominance in the art of battle. Kriv and Sora were both raised directly in the temple along with many other that were orphaned by the nature of their god. The orphans were from all races and ages, teaching Sora and Kriv that neither age nor race made one better than the other, only power could show who is the strongest.

Kriv and Sora did not get sent into war until they were 22. A contract for 2 years of many of their strongest warriors and casters was developed for the temple. Although they did not have much experience in the actual war setting, by staying together they were able to be a extremely strong slaughtering force in battle. Standing side by side, Kriv would cleave with his axe as Sora beat them with her Mace while casting spells to keep each other strong. For 2 years the war waged with Kriv and Sora working in and out of the battles to achieve victory.

One day deep in the source of the battle, Kriv and Sora fought strongly to press forward. They were doing fine until a wizard named Demzor took site of Kriv. Demzor casted a spell on Kriv that immobilized him. As Kriv watched, Sora was surrounded as one orc from behind cut her head strait off. Filled with rage, Kriv broke free of the spell and charged the orc and was able to take him out in one clean blow. He rushed as far as he could towards the wizard but could not reach him before he teleported away.

With the battle now over and the contract done, Kriv returned to the temple. He did not morn his sister’s death, instead he used it to make himself stronger. He knew he had done his best to protect her but his best was not enough. After a week back at the temple, he announced that he would be leaving the temple to learn from the experience of battle. War and battle still fueled him and compelled him to worship Tempus but he felt that the he had learned all that he could at the temple and wanted to fight for himself instead of some contracted hire. The head priest wanted him to stay and teach the others but even he knew that Kriv was destined for better things. The priest told Kriv that he understood and Kriv set off for his search for battle.

After a few weeks of travel without fighting, Kriv was getting desperate. Rage and battle were in his veins, he must fight. He decided to look for mercenary jobs not for money but solely for the chance to battle again. As he searched around Fallcrest, he heard reports of theIron Circle’s nefarious activities of Harkenwold being ambushed nightly by goblins and he immediately got excited. He headed strait towards the town in hope that he could finally get himself involved in the action again. After a long journey of boredom, Kriv found exactly what he was looking for.

Backstory – Timmels the Pixie Vampire

I was very young, age 27, when I was turned.  As it happened, I was visiting my cousins in Strongfeather when the Orcs attacked.  Ransacking everything, they killed or captured us all.  The lucky ones died that day.  For the rest, the Orcs held us while the vampire fed.  Some of us died then.  I did not, instead, the vampire left me to become like him.  Cursed this way, he left me when he and his band of Orcs went off to plunder the riches of the Feywild.

I have since found out that the vampire’s name is Kraken.  The Raven Queen sent him into the Fey with one mission:  to destroy some Pixies as revenge for some slight she had suffered at the hands of Lord Corellon.

When the vampire left me, I returned home to Rodrick Hollow.  But as my features changed and the thirst consumed me, my family and friends shunned me.  I struggled against the shadow for 7 years before the sadness and distrust it brought consumed me.  As I was no longer full of whimsy, play, care, laughter and wonder, the Pixies of Rodrick Hollow exiled me.

When I left the village forever, I became a despondent wanderer for years.  After witnessing more of the brutality and savagery of an orc warband, I found purpose.  I now quest for Kraken and the Orcs that destroyed my life.  It’s been 12 years since I was exiled.  Today, I am following a large band of orcs, led by one of the soldiers responsible for the devastation at Strongfeather — Hardtoof.   He is a cruel, vicious warlord now. I have followed them from Winterhaven to the lowlands southeast of Fallcrest, picking off the stragglers and wanderers as I am able.  In the past two days they got very excited and set up camp in a farmhouse after killing the farmer and his family.  Now they are hiding, preparing to ambush some unsuspecting travellers.   I cannot stop them all, but if this turns into a fight, I should be able to bring down one or two of them without drawing much attention.  If the battle goes well, I may even be able to slay Hardtoof, exacting vengeance for that dark day in Strongfeather.