One of the things a player can do in T & T, or indeed any fantasy role-playing game, is to construct a detailed back story for one’s characters. I usually do this if the character is one that I really like and think I will keep for a while, but with me it’s all in my mind. So, if someone was to ask me about Flaming Cherry, the woman who never loses a one on one fight, I could tell them how she became an adventurer with a trollish bodyguard, and how in her very first adventure she found a magic lamp with a genie bound inside it, and the wish she made when freeing the ifrit. Or, I could tell you about Neth McCrom, a human adventurer who gained a magical gem that turned him into a were-badger. The stories of my characters usually develop out of things that happen in their first adventure, but you can be a lot more creative than I am, and come up with a whole biography before you ever start to play. Roy Cram, a talented writer and solo designer, is a member of Trollhalla’s Elite, and he is currently playing in my Khazangame. You can follow that adventure at http://khazangame.wordpress.com if you’re interested. Meanwhile, take a look and see how far you could go in giving your characters some back story. When you know this much about a character, it really helps your roleplaying. In fact, all of the players in the current khazangame went out of their way to provide origins and history for their characters, but Wulf is the champion and most detailed.
–Ken St. Andre
The Tale Of Wulf The Wayfarer
Thank you for giving me this moment of your valuable time. I have a few things that I feel I need to tell you about if you and I are going into a situation of hazard together. I hope this little tale of my life so far will give you the information you need to make any necessary decision about this adventure.
I was born 26 summers ago in the Carassia family of the Canalupu clan of the Wolf Totem people of the Werwald. This huge ancient forest lies in the cold mountainous regions far north of here. Our clan was strong and we seldom quarreled with the neighboring tribes. Like them we lived mainly by hunting and fishing. My family raised me to be a skilled hunter and fisherman, though my abilities in this regard have since suffered from lack of use.
For those of you not familiar with the werefolk who dwell in this region, the Wolf Clan has a reputation of being werewolves. This is not exactly true. We are wolfmen, a different sort of creature. When a male child is born in the family of the Wolf clans, their shaman goes on a spirit journey and finds the spirit of a wolf and puts It into the child. When we grow older we are taught to call on that spirit to lend us its strength, ferocity, quickness, and toughness. But, unlike the werewolves, we do not give ourselves entirely over to the wolf form for it is almost impossible for us to then return to our human form again. We ‘go wolf’ and remain a wolf, giving up our humanity. Werewolves can change from human to wolf and back again without a problem. We must keep our wolfman form. While in this form we keep some measure of control over what we do, and can return to our human selves once we have done what needed to be done. I seldom call on my wolf for help, but it is always there, ready to come out in my time of need. When I borrow its powers I must yield up some of my control. Thus if I should ‘go wolf’ while you are near me you must not try to hinder me in any way. It is best for you to keep away and not attempt to interact with me at all. My wolfman may see you as just another foe, and he can be very dangerous and aggressive under such circumstances. Once all my foes are killed or have fled the scene, only then can I regain full control, put the wolf back in the cage, and return to my human form again. Again, until I am able to do this, it will not be safe to approach or interact with me.
In my 14th year there began a series of short dry summers and long cold winters. In the Summer storms brought fires which destroyed large areas of the Werwald. Much of the game on which we depended for a living went south to seek greener pastures. The Werfolf grew hungry and competition for the remaining game became intense and ugly. Then, in my 16th Summer when I was to become an adult member of the clan and be mated with a wife, the other neighboring tribes attacked our clan in force. The men of my family and I were out hunting when they fell upon our village. They killed the men and took all our women, including my mother and my bride-to-be. We were greatly outnumbered, too much so to have any hope of rescue or revenge. In fact we soon found ourselves the hunted prey of large hunting parties determined to exterminate our clan. We were forced to flee for our lives, and on the hard journey to escape we lost over half our remaining members. Giving us no chance to stop or rest our enemies drove us relentlessly south. That bitter year I learned to fight and run for my life, to sleep with one eye open, and to be always alert for another attack or ambush. I earned my fighting spurs! But, one by one, I lost my uncles, my brother, and finally, my last companion, my father. Some were slain; the rest simply doffed their clothes and armor and ‘went wolf’, shucking off their humanity to disappear forever into the green wilderness of the vast forest. So then, last human member of my clan, I resolved to remain human as long as possible, and I fled south as Winter came and left the Werwald behind.
Winter came hard again in that 17th year of my life, and one freezing night I dragged my ragged starving and exhausted body into the stable of a small village Inn. I calmed the animals by filling their mangers with straw and hay, and I ate some of the coarse grain there intended for them. Then I covered myself with hay and, still shivering from the cold, fell into an exhausted sleep.
I was rudely awakened that morning when an old grizzled one-eyed Uruk jerked me out of my ‘bed’ and commenced to belabor me with a stick. Though he was a good deal bigger than me, I was no stranger to battle and I turned savagely on him, and gave him tit for tat. The fight began to get ugly and I was preparing to call forth my wolf when a large fat old greybearded man with a peg leg entered the stable and yelled at us to stop. To my surprise the Uruk obeyed him. I held back the beast in me, and waited to see what this new fellow would do. He asked Grrtch (which was the Uruk’s name) what the %$#@ was going on, and the Uruk snarled that he had caught the $%&*# (meaning me) sleeping in the stable hiding under the hay, and he was trying to remove me when I attacked him. Old Grigger, who was the one legged man, looked us both over, and then laughed. “Looks to me like you were trying to beat him and he was giving you a good run for your effort!” he said. Then he asked, “Who are you,young fellow, and where are you from?”
“I am Wulf, a wayfarer, the last of my clan. I fled the enemies who sought to kill me and was driven to seek shelter here by the weather and by hunger. I meant no harm and intended no mischief. I will work if you want, to pay any debt I might owe you.”
“Damn, boy!” exclaimed Grigger. “Look, Gritch. He already fed the animals. Good heavens, come inside, both of you. It’s freezing out here!” And he lead us inside the warm Inn. Grrtch followed me muttering curses in Urukish under his breath. Bur Grigger sat me by the kitchen fire, and gave me a big bowl of hot porridge. To this day I have never been more thankful for any meal. He made me tell my tale, and then had his wife, Maude, find me some warm clothes, and he put me to work.
No one was ever happier to be adopted than I was at that time. And work I did, doing everything I was asked to do, and more besides. Soon I was as skilled as any member of the household in doing all the necessary tasks needed to keep the Inn going and its patrons happy.
Then one night a brawl broke out, and Grrtch who was the bouncer as well as the bartender, and Grigger, were having a hard time with the half dozen persons engaged in the battle. At that point I threw myself into the fray evening the odds and getting Grrtch out of a bad situation too. After that the grouchy old Uruk began to teach me how to fight dirty (he was a master at it) and how to do all the things a bartender and waiter and bouncer had to know and do. I also learned how to speak and swear in Uruk. Soon I was as good or better at brawling than even Grrtch though he would never admit it.
In slow times I was taught the rudiments of reading and writing, and Grigger also began to impart to me all his considerable knowledge of soldiery, and the use of all kinds of weapons and armor. The old veteran loved to tell me stories (which were also valuable lessons) of his days as a soldier and an adventurer. I made real progress here, and Grigger gave me his old chain mail, shield, helm, and Morningstar. I was proud to wield them and worked hard to keep them in good condition. I practiced long and hard with the Morningstar which is a difficult weapon to use properly and soon became a master with it. In the winter when business was slow in the Inn, Grigger also sent me to help his aging friend who was the village’s blacksmith, from whom I also learned some useful skills while I built up some impressive muscles.
In my 20th year I fell in love with a pretty young woman from the village who worked with us in the Inn during busy times, and we were making arrangements to be married. I had never been happier. But, on the week just before our wedding, a group of ruffians came into the Inn, and started a big brawl. I and Grrtch had to give a couple of them a serious beating to put an end to their drunken meelee. We threw the lot of them out. But, in the wee hours of the morning, they returned and set fire to the Inn blocking all the lower windows and doors with a wall of flame. I smelled the smoke and managed to leap down from a second story window to safety with my armor and other gear. But Grrtch, and old Grigger and his poor wife perished in the flames. The whole Inn was consumed. I could not control my fury at that point, and my wolf escaped his bonds. The wolfman ran howling down the village street in pursuit of the arsonists who fled in terror, but in vain. I will spare you the gory details of their unhappy ends. But when I tried to return to the village in human form the next day, I was greeted with pitchforks, clubs, and a shower of rocks. I recovered my few things and fled away south, again a broken hearted fugitive in search of a life.
It is a sad fact that soldiers are almost always able to find work these days. I joined the small army of a regional Baron who was feuding with his neighbor. I distinguished myself in combat, and was soon put in charge of a company of men and other races whom I labored with no little success to turn into a crack fighting unit. It was here that I met Gronk and learned a lot about leading and conducting military operations. I worked with, and learned much from, Elves, Dwarves, and Uruks. But, alas, the Barons ran out of money, and so they paid off the soldiers and sent most of them away. My Baron kept me on, but made me the bodyguard for his family. Now the Baron’s wife was a woman of loose moral character, and I had to watch as the man who served as her guard before me was flayed alive for ‘fooling around’ with the baroness. So, when this randy young woman began to flirt with and make advances towards me, I gathered my kit together, and hit the road again, at a dead run! I would rather fight ten battles than face the wrath of a cuckholded husband.
Hungry and alone again on my way farther south I came upon a band of pilgrims whose small group of guards was battling an equally small group of brigands. My arrival and intervention put the thieves and ruffians to flight. The grateful monks who were on a pilgrimage hired me on the spot to join them and I was soon in charge of protecting them on their long journey. At night I listened to the preaching and was given further lessons in reading and writing by the kind and gentle monks whom I came to love dearly. I took them to their shrine and saw the rites there. On the way back they began to talk to me about my joining their order, and I was giving it serious thought. But, shortly before we arrived at the monastery, a larger gang of real brigands, well armed and good at their evil business, fell upon us. We were in trouble and I saw no way to save my friends except to let the wolf out again. Even with that the battle was fierce and terrible. I was badly wounded, but in the end I prevailed and saved the gentle brothers from their fate. Alas, my efforts worked to my disadvantage. The brothers were horrified at the change that I had undergone and the violence I had committed to insure their safety. They were afraid of me, and made the sign against evil towards me when I drew near. When we arrived at their stronghold, they paid me off, and bid me go away. I accepted their money with a heavy heart, and limped away south to come here. And now, here I am in the great city of Khazan, with you. You are the first group I have told my tale to before showing the beast that lurks here in my breast. Now that you all know what I am I leave it to your discretion to either accept me and allow me to accompany you on your dangerous mission or send me away. I am prepared to accept whatever you decide.
Mad Roy Cram copyright May 19, 2012