Male eladrin wizard
For a long time you knew nothing of who your parents were. You would later discover that your mother was one of the exotic ‘painted ladies’ of Greyhawk. You were sold into slavery as a newborn and soon sold on to the orcs of the Dreadlands, a large desolate expanse west of the Stonehome Mountains. Your earliest memories are of the slave camp you grew up in. The slaves were a mix of races but all had been put to the same task; weapon manufacture for orc war machine. You were never a strong or physically gifted child and life was hard. Fortunately you were smart, in fact you possessed well above average intelligence. You had taught yourself to read both common and orcish at an early age and found you also had a natural ability with maths. You were soon trusted with keeping records and log books which, if nothing else, kept you out of the physical hardships of the foundry and forge. However, beatings and whippings were all too frequent and life would have been completely unbearable were it not for Megan.
Megan was a sandy haired human child of a similar age to you. She was born into slavery so, like you, the slave pens and smithy fumes was all she had ever known. Megan was always a bundle of energy and in her youth was certainly very wild, almost feral. In many ways she was the total opposite to you but as the saying goes ‘opposites attract’ and she became a sole mate. Before long the pair of you were inseparable. The bond had grown to love by your mid teens and you were married in a small ceremony amongst the slave pens. In the wider world it would seem scandalous to be married so young but life is often short as an orc slave so no time is lost.
And so that was your life. Not ideal but the life of a slave was all you knew. You had a good job, as slaves go, and you were with the woman that you loved. You were happy. And then, almost out of the blue, everything changed.
Rumors had started to circulate around the camp about an attack from another orc clan. Battle between orc clans is not good news for slaves. Attacking orcs, if successful, tend to let off steam and generally have a lot of ‘fun’ with captured slaves. Most slaves are slaughtered, if they are lucky. Your owner, the Clawed Foot Clan, was by far the largest in the region and usually the ones doing the attacking. However, news had been filtering down of a large band of orcs coming down from the North lead by a huge brute known as Tusk. It was being said that Tusk was not a true orc but had ogre blood in his veins. Whatever the truth, Tusk had so far swept through the northern Dreadlands defeating everything in his path and the Clawed Foot Clan was supposedly next. The attack happened on a bitterly cold and cloudless night. You saw little of the battle itself; your overriding memory was just one of hysteria and mass confusion. The only slave keeping her head, it seemed, was Megan. She had stolen a few blankets and orc rations and had come back for you. ‘Come on! We’re leaving. We have to try and get out in the chaos before we’re slaughtered’. And so, dragging you bodily out of the slave pens, you make your escape in a terrifying scramble through dead bodies burning buildings. Fortunately most of the attacking orcs were ignoring random slaves at this point and you were able to slink away into the night.
You had set off Westward, for want of a better direction, and you don’t know how long wandered for. You hid by day and staggered onward by night. It was a journey of thirst and starvation. Without Megan you know you would have perish out there in the Dreadlands. By the end, however, even her great constitution was failing. You were both delirious and seriously malnourished. You have vague memories of scrambling up rocks and loose scree (the eastern foothills of the Stonehome Mountains you would later discover) and you think you may have even traveled underground at some point. The end came in a featureless cavern deep underground. You held Megan’s hand and together you waited the coming of the final darkness.
Megan always maintained that you were saved by pure luck. Found by a friendly dwarf who carried you to some underground temple, healed you, then sent you on your way. But, for all Megan’s fabulous qualities, she was never the sharpest tool in the box or interested in her more spiritual side. Your rescue was divine intervention of the highest order. Luck and coincidence had nothing to do with it.
You had woken in a brightly lit room of gold and silver. The walls were covered in relief carvings. They depicted celestial beings being freed from bondage and servitude much as you had recently been freed from the ocrish slave pits. You knew immediately and instinctively that you been re-born in a place of godliness. The dwarven priest, if that was what he was, called himself simply the Caretaker. When asked about the wonders around you he tells you that the place was built by the Githyanki and is known as the Temple Between. He has spent many years restoring the temple and now the Githyanki have delivered you to him. Many of the wall carvings seemed to contain rituals and spells.
With your help the Caretaker finally manages to decipher one of the rituals. The Caretaker names it the ritual of the Divine Link. The ritual sends the caster into a trance which fills the caster with a sense of displacement and euphoria. On waking the caster is often filled with previously unknown arcane knowledge.
The Caretaker leads you, blindfold, out into the sunshine, thin but feeling healthier now than you can ever remember. You embrace you’re new found brother and vow that together you will revive the worship of the long forgotten Githyanki.
You travel westward again but this time down the mountainside until, after a few days, you arrive at the first true city you have ever seen, the city of Overlook.
Freedom, it turned out, was a scary thing. Nobody was holding a whip over you anymore but gone was the predictable routine of life. All of a sudden you were expected to make your own decisions. You were now free do whatever you wanted and the options left you both bewildered and debilitated. Megan found a job as an extra sword for the town guard under a young officer call Arun, who would later rise to command the whole city guard. You had a tougher time acclimatising. You were intelligent and literate but had no other skills or profession. You spent some time trying to find other followers of the Githyanki with no success. It would seem that this religion is long dead. In the end, however, it was your love of reading that set you on your path.
Overlook boasts a number of public libraries. You always assumed that magic was a closely guarded secret held by a select few and taught to society’s elite in crusty towers. You were shocked to find a whole section of one library containing books on basic spell casting. The only restriction to the world of the arcane, it seemed, was ones ability to understand what was written. Your sharp mind lapped up everything it could find and you soon reached the limit of what a public library can teach you. If you were going to take this further you would need travel west into the Elsir Vale and join the Brindol Academy.
Another factor in your desire to visit Brindol was that you had found nothing about the Githyanki. You had fully expected to find a temple and other worshipers in Overlook. You were surprised to find that no only were there no shrines or temples, nobody had even heard of them. Perhaps answers could be found in Brindol.
Megan was not too pleased with the idea of moving away from Overlook to live in a new city. She had a good position in the city guard and had many friends in the watch. More importantly, for Megan, you would be moving away from the Stonehome Mountains. You had both naturally built quite a hatred of orcs and slavery. In Megan’s case this mainly took the form of wanting to rid the world of all orcs. One at a time if needs be. Her and a few of her city watch friends would often volunteer to fill temporary posts on Bordrin’s Watch on the Dreadland boarder simply to do a bit of ‘orc bashing’. She would also spend weekends venturing a short way into the Stonehome Mountains in the hope of finding the odd stray orc. Orcs were very rarely found this side of Bordrin’s Watch but they were certainly more common here than in the centre of Elsir Vale. You argued that, should you learn to become a fully-fledged wizard, the pair of you would become quite a potent force. Her steel with your spell casting would fell many more orcs that steel alone. And so, reluctantly, she agrees and you both pack up and leave for Brindol.
You loved Brindol. The Academy was a mecca for arcane learning and you quickly mastered the wizarding arts. In Overlook you had been a bit a recluse with no friends other than those you knew through Megan. In Brindol you made the first real friends of your own. A rather earnest dragonborn warrior called Harad, a dwarf called Zeugma, also recently arrived from Overlook to study theology, and a dwarvern alchemist called Adronsius. And it was Adronsius who became your first convert.
You had always prayed daily to the Githyanki ever since they had saved you in the Stonehome Mountains and often used the Divine Link ritual. Your devotion was really starting to pay dividends. Rarely would you leave a trance without the answer to some puzzling question from your studies. You would often talk about the Githyanki to Adronsius and many of the other students and once you taught them the ritual they were instant converts. Perhaps here, amongst arcane community, you had found the seed that could restore the Githyanki religion?
Megan, however, did not settle quite as well. As in Overlook she had no problem getting a job with the city guard. But the region was too ‘safe’ for Megan and that led to boredom. She left the guard and joined a loose unit of scouts and rangers lead by Alys. This group did wide ranging patrols into the surrounding countryside and sometimes had to handle small groups of hobgoblins and other foul creatures. It meant extended periods away from home outside the city walls and, as good as ‘hobgoblin bashing’ was, they were not orcs.
You hated the orcs too but it was not the thing that really fired you up. Unlike Megan who had been born to captivity, you had been sold. How could anyone knowingly sell another human being into that? The slave trade was the real evil. The orcs were a blight that should certainly be stamped out but it was not something that you and even a hundred Megans could hope to achieve. Kill the right slave traders, however, and the whole industry could fall.
The story of your past had particularly affected your friend the charismatic dragonborn Harad. He had recently been dubbed a full paladin of Bahamut and was eager to start ridding the world of evil. He suggested that you track down the slavers by piecing together your own history. You knew from the stories of older slaves that most had been bought in the islands off the Sword Coast. It would certainly be a good place to start. Harad, you and Megan would go with Zeugma joining you once his studies were complete. It was all very exciting, finally a chance to do something, to make a difference. But Megan wasn’t happy.
Megan was keen to get back to Overlook. You were now a true wizard and the pair of you should return to Overlook and Bordrin’s Watch to exact vengeance on all the green-skinned f***ers. She’d already left everything behind in Overlook and come with you to Brindol. Now here was yet another plan this time taking you even further away from where you needed to be. “You can’t go. It’s not right or fair. If you go you do so without me.”
You and Megan had grown more distant while in Brindol. You had engrossed yourself in studies and the stimulating company or other ‘enlightened’ individuals. She had spent more and more time out of the city with the scouts and rangers. But you still enjoyed each others company when she was home and you never really argued, until now. Both of you were resolutely convinced that yours was the right thing to do, the correct way to go. You’d known Megan all your life. She was your sole mate, the one person alive who could really understand you and what you’d both been through. And you left her on a blustery autumn morning to harsh words and accusations. Not a day goes by where you don’t think of Megan.
And so your adventuring life started with you and Harad, the dragonborn Paladin, traveling west and south out of the Elsir Vale toward the coast; a two man mission to up-root the Dreadland slave trade. Your adventures during this period are a story for another time. In short, you travelled across the Dune Sea and came into conflict with the pirates of the Sword Coast. Eventually your investigations brought you to the great city of Greyhawk, a sprawling metropolis of contradictions. On the one hand Greyhawk is a centre of wealth, religion and enlightenment. But Greyhawk also has a very dark underbelly. It is home to many deeply entwined organizations from the merely criminal to the truly diabolical. One such practice was a flourishing slave trade abducting children from the slums and other shady sections of the city. You did not find your mother but you almost certainly were yourself abducted from red light district of Greyhawk.
Here, at the very end of your journey, the trail goes cold. You manage to find and question a number of individuals involved but the ring leaders prove much more elusive. Time passes and Harad starts doing some jobs for a high priest of Bahamut. Mostly involving rooting out Gruumish cultists and tracking down members of the Shadow Guild (the assassins’ guild). Sometimes you would help out but another feature of Greyhawk had grabbed your attention. Greyhawk is ancient. Some of it’s institutions, both religious and arcane, can track their history back millennia. Surely, at last, you can find out about the Githyanki.
Even with all the ancient texts at you disposal, you can only find scant information about the Githyanki or the ‘Celestial Gith’. It would seem that the Githyanki were indeed worshiped throughout the northern regions which include the Elsir Vale. Now, however, all that remain are a few circles of standing stones. Some have claimed that there are still some Githyanki temples hidden deep in the mountains.
The earliest records of the Elsir Vale talk about the reign of Acererak the demi-lich. Said to a have been an apprentice of Vecna himself, Acererak ruled a huge and terrible undead empire. Some believe that Acererak’s final resting place is somewhere in the Elsir vale. One of Acererak’s legacies is that the Elsir Vale is described as having ‘weak pan-dimensional integrity’. In layman’s terms this means that Acererak’s reign weakened the boundaries between the planes of existence. The plains include the Prime Material (your plane of existence), Astral Sea (plane of the Gods), Shadowfell, Felwild and Prime Elemental plane. The boundary between these planes is thin in the Elsir Vale.
The period after the fall of Acererak is somewhat of a dark age. It is in this period that the worship of the Githyanki flourished. However there is little mention of the Githyanki during the following reign of Giants and certainly nothing but ruins are mentioned in later Dwarven records or the more recent records from the Restilian Kingdom.
You manage to find the following about the Githyanki themselves. They are first referred to as the Celestial Gith. The Gith were in fact slaves of some other godly entity but were able to liberate themselves. The Gith then split into two groups known as the Githzeria and Githyanki. It is thought that Acererak’s weakening of dimensional boundaries allowed the worship of the Githyanki to flourish and perhaps the Githyanki had a hand in Acererak’s downfall. This is all speculation however.
Meanwhile, Harad had finally tracked down one of the Shadow Guild members who had been evading him for weeks. Harad was being supplied, from his Bahamut contact, lists of possible assassination victims. Harad had started building a profile of the types of victim the assassin targeted in the hope of anticipating the next attack. His finding, however, disturbed Harad. The assassin took no job that involved women or children. He was selecting only those jobs where the victim was thought to have committed some heinous crime, particularly rape and murder, but had never been arrested.
Harad had been given a tip off that the assassin would be making an attempt in an abandoned warehouse. The victim had links to the slave trade and so certainly fit the right profile. However the whole thing was a setup, a trap for both Harad and the assassin. Harad, the assassin (an elf called Duderino), and yourself are forced to join up and fight your way out. This actually marks the start of an unlikely yet strong friendship between the Paladin and assassin.
The city is soon hit by some shocking news. One of the King’s young nephews has been murdered in his bed. A description of the killer is posted around the city and it matches Duderino exactly. You know Duderino is innocent as the time of the murder occurred shortly after the fight in the warehouse and the assassin was with you. Despite protests from Harad, Duderino flees to the countryside while you and Harad stay in Greyhawk and keep an eye on the situation. A very large ransom is offered for Duderino which attracts some well known bounty hunters. Foremost of whom is Gilgathorn, an elf mercenary who simply bristles with weapons. Gilgathorn tracks Duderino down a few miles outside the city and he is arrested and put on trial. Harad steps forward to testify but his alibi is completely ignored. Duderino is sentenced to death.
Harad, outraged at the injustice, forms a plan. Harad is confident that Duderino can get himself out of Greyhawk Castle dungeon. So he makes some arrangements with contacts in the Sword Coast to have a boat ready off the coast for a fast get away. He then sends a message to Duderino and you both settle in to wait.
Sure enough, Duderino escapes, but not without pursuers. The three of you get involved in a mad chase through the forests surrounding Greyhawk Castle that ends on a spit of land on the very edge of the cliff tops. Gilgathorn, who was visiting Greyhawk Castle at the time of the escape, is the first to catch up with you. He doesn’t know that you plan to jump off the cliff to be picked up by a ship. He thinks he has you cornered and is content just to stop you from escaping until the castle guard turn up. Unfortunately you can’t just jump onto the ocean. You have to wait a few minutes for the ship’s launch to get into position. In the meantime Gilgathorn takes pot shots at you from a overhanging branch with his two handheld crossbows. The castle dogs and some of the advance guard also arrive and start to attack.
Things go very well for a while. Duderino manages to splinter the branch Gilgathorn is sitting on with a well thrown dagger. The branch snaps and he fails to jump to safety in time. He falls off the cliff hitting his head on more tree branches, leaving one side of his face a bloody pulp. The dogs are quickly dispatched and the guards are easily dealt with. But more are coming, a lot more. Finally the launch is ready. Duderino and you jump into the waters and are collected by the sailors. And that’s when disaster strikes. Harad is still wearing his full plate armor. If he jumped he would plummet to the bottom of the sea. He manages to get some of it off and is on the cliff edge taking the last bits off when he is grabbed from behind. He breaks free a few times but it is not long before his is overwhelmed and he is dragged away from the edge of the cliff. Harad is returned to Greyhawk Castle in chains.