Draft of my character’s backstory for our group’s upcoming Pathfinder game. Needs a bit of tweeking still, but overall it’s good I think.
(The game is in the Pathfinder – Dungeons and Dragons “3.75” – rules, using the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. All regions, world setting, etc. (c) Wizards of the Coast).
Name: Mara Starling
Player: Amanda Davis
Region: Originally Cormanthor, now Thesk
Languages: Common, Elven, Damaran, Chondathan, Undercommon, Gnome, Orc, Auran, Dwarven, plus Lip-Reading
Physical Description: Average height (5’7”), 125lbs, tan skin, dark brown hair, turquoise eyes, slightly pointed ears. Wears loose, lightweight clothes and studded leather armor, carries a large pack with warmer clothing and a variety of miscellaneous items with her. Wields a greatsword and light crossbow in melee and ranged combat respectively; also carries a small collection of daggers and a battle aspergillum, the latter filled with holy water in case of undead. She wears a pair of smoked goggles on her forehead, putting them over her eyes in high wind and in combat with creatures that have gaze attacks. Life in Thesk has taught her well, and she is rarely without her holy symbol and at least one concealed dagger.
Personality: Mara is kind at heart, but crass in conversation. She is not usually social by choice, generally opening up only to long-term friends, though she may be friendly towards other half-elves or members of her faith. She is stubborn, often rude, loyal, and once you earn her begrudging respect it takes a truly heinous act to lose it. She has exceptional healing skills and an equally exceptional bedside manner (sadly not for the same reasons).
In short she is brash outside, with a kind inside, and those willing to brave a sharp broadsword and an equally sharp temper will find a strong and loyal, if terse, friend.
Backstory: Mara was born of an elf father, Tauren, and a human mother, Elli. The three lived in peace for a time in Cormanthor, where Elli spun colorful cloth for the local elf merchants and Mara’s father attempted to teach her languages, which went well, and arcane magic, which rather didn’t.
Sadly, this peaceful existence did not last. Many elves had moved on to Evermeet, leaving the elven city of Semberholme open to attack by the drow. Elli was killed by the invaders, and Tauren fled with Mara to Tangled Tress, a treetop town where he hoped his half-elf daughter would be more welcome. When Mara was 10, her father disappeared, fearing the possibility of outliving his own daughter as he had her mother, and she has not seen him since.
He left her with a family of half-elves, where she spent the rest of her childhood learning of the regions of Faerûn, learning Chondathan from her foster parents and picking up Auran, Undercommon and Gnomish from visiting monks and bards. She played often in the great trees*, with Rigg, her pet parrot and her father’s last gift to her, as her constant companion.
At the age of 18, she decided to take up adventuring and bid farewell to her foster parents, Lucine and Dorn. Her first adventure was into Myth Drannor, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. Just before a troll could eat the skinny half-elf for supper though, a great gust of wind whisked her away. The wind was sent by Shaundakul, a deity with a certain fondness for adventurers and wanderers, and he saw promise in the foolhardy half-elf. He plopped her, along with several other terrified but grateful newbie adventurers on the doorstep of one of his temples in Thesk.
Some stayed for a short time, others left quickly, but Mara spent several years in the temple on the edge of Ashanath, the tornado-ridden plain to the north-east of Thesk. There she learned divine magic from the clerics, and through their libraries and her travels into Thesk’s trading towns she learned many new languages; Damaran and the art of lip-reading from her official teachers, Orc from the orc soldiers-turned-farmers, and Dwarven from a group of particularly friendly smugglers who came through every spring. She was never able to properly wield arcane magic as her father had, but was able to cast a single spell send her words upon the wind, an unusual talent the clerics saw as a gift from the gods**.
At the age of 24 Mara was declared ready to join the Windride, the holy ceremony of her faith wherein Shaundakul turns his followers into a gaseous state and takes them upon the wind, returning them safely to the ground and to their normal forms at sunset. Mara was one of those put down in a new region, and she (generally) takes it better than most when put somewhere strange and new. She has spent the past two years adventuring and exploring the lands of Faerûn, doing her best to return to Thesk a week or two before Windride to see her friends and acquaintances before being borne upon the wind again to distant lands.
* Climbing/running about in an elven city = justification of “Elven Reflexes” trait
** Trait – “Two-World Magic”, here justified by arcane spellcaster parent.