This is a follow-up to Background For My Upcoming Campaign. Where the first article gives background for the setting, this one gives more personal background to the characters involved. My group is about to start a new campaign. Since we aren’t able to get together very often anymore, I’ve decided to start everyone out at level five.
I’ve placed quite a few adventure hooks in this description. Some are blatant while others are quite subtle and won’t become obvious until reinforced later by followup clues.
I just emailed this to everyone today for our game on Saturday
You grew up in Red Bluff, a small village near the road between White Eagle and Roland, nestled in the foothills of the Red Iron Mountains and close enough to the Gnarly Forest to have an ample supply of ready lumber. Red Bluff was primarily a ranch that bred and trained riding horses. There were a few other businesses: an inn, a blacksmith, a few shops, even a couple outlaying farms. Everything necessary to make Red Bluff a self-sufficient community.
A Staging Area for Adventurers
Because of its proximity to the Gnarly Forest, Red Bluff also served as a staging area for adventurers heading to the dungeon deep within the forest. A particularly successful group of adventurers, calling themselves Kevin’s Crusaders, frequented the village and reveled in telling tales of their exploits late into the night. You and your friends hung on their every word and dreamed of becoming powerful adventurers yourselves one day.
The last story they told was of them discovering a crypt that contained extraordinary jewelry and tomes written in a language that none of them had seen before. They took these items to White Eagle to try to uncover some background behind them but no one there had any information about these items or of the crypt.
The adventurers told you one night that they were leaving in the morning to return to the crypt to see if they could discover anything else. That is the last anyone has ever seen of them.
A few days later, you and a number of your friends were out working at the Oldfield’s farm. You returned home that evening to find the village utterly destroyed. All the residents were gone, presumably slaughtered and carried off, and the structures were burned to the ground. Everything of value was looted and what wasn’t taken was shredded.
There were about two dozen of you working either at the Oldfield’s or one of the other two farms that day. Some left immediately to escape the horror in front of them. Some, yourself included, stuck around to search for remains, sift through the debris for anything that escaped the destruction, and to round up any horses that may have gotten away.
No remains were found and nothing was recovered from the debris. However, you were fortunate indeed where the horses were concerened. A number of horses had escaped the invaders and looked no worse for the experience. There were enough in fact that each of you were able to keep one for yourselves and still have a few left over. These extras were sold in White Eagle with the money then split amongst you.
Horses are extremely valuable as they are difficult to raise in such a harsh environment. They are so expensive that the lack of a horse stops many a would-be adventurer from following that path.
Now having a horse and a little money in your pocket, not to mention suddenly having become homeless, you find yourself at an inn talking to your friends about the future and the possibility of becoming adventurers yourselves.
You make a pact to each become an apprentice in your newly-chosen crafts for one year to receive some basic training and then meet back at the inn to plan your adventures.
It has been exactly one year to the day and you find yourself at the Angry Goblin Inn in White Eagle, reminiscing over your youth and discussing your previous year’s training.
You were talking about Kevin’s Crusaders and their exploits when Emily, the waitress, interrupted you. She said that she had overheard you and that she knew of Kevin’s Crusaders too. She used to live in a Brighton, a village on the coast halfway between Wild Wood and the Gnarly Forest. Kevin’s Crusaders apparently stayed there from time to time as well. She always wondered why they stopped coming by and what had happened to them.
You get the impression that Emily had more than a passing interest in them. It appears that there was probably some sort of romantic interest between her and one of those adventurers.
Before you can ask, Emily’s boss yells at her to quit lollygagging and get back to work!
Getting back to your plans, it comes up that the local alchemist has just finished a new batch of healing potions that he is selling for a good price. It is suggested that it would be wise to stock up on as many of those as you all can manage.
Also, one of your group who has been apprenticing for a local cleric has some wonderful news. The past year’s apprenticeship involved a trip to Last Hope and back to escort the cleric’s daughter Prudence. On the way back, the party was attacked by a large band of Ogres. The patrol accompanying your party was more than adequate to deal with them but because of their numbers, a few slipped past and started away with Prudence and her lady in waiting. You friend, although merely an apprentice, ran after the escaping Ogres and engaged them, keeping them occupied until the patrol could arrive and take over.
This act of bravery certainly saved the two women. Out of gratitude, the cleric gave your friend three scrolls of Raise Dead. These are quite costly and time-consuming to create. This is a treasure that few groups of starting adventurers could even dream of having with them!
You all soon discover that in your merriment the ale seems to have gone to your heads. Perhaps this isn’t the best time to firm up your plans. You agree to return the following evening when your heads are clearer.
The next day finds you once again at the Angry Goblin. Your head still hurts a bit from the night before but a few sips of ale seems to have helped that.
As you wave to your friends who are just coming in the door, you overhear Daphne, the new waitress, telling a patron “Hadn’t you heard? They found Emily dead in an alleyway this morning. She still had her purse with her with over 50 silver in it so they figure it wasn’t a robbery. Probably an old boyfriend if you ask me.”