Hello everyone! We've had a long and bumpy road to get here, but I would like to thank our most dedicated players who have stuck by The Next Generation in the past 10 months, and I'd like to announce that applications are OPEN again! We're reaching the end of a long storyline and some fresh blood would fit in wonderfully.
Experimenting with a secondary sheet, also as a way to flesh out Dinnin lore. And, since I didn't see anyone else rocking the dorfs, I also get to flesh out some dorf lore >:3.
More is definitely to come, but I wanted to get this down since it's been bubbling in my head.
Race, Age, Time in the Caravan: Dwarf, 237 years old, caravaneer for some 70-odd years.
Standing at a squat and broad 4'6", with the powerful muscles and roughened hands of a craftsdwarf, complete with heavy toolbelt and numerous of their own crafts dotting their appearance. Gadri normally dons a padded turban with space left free for a carefully braided black beard which fits well with their swarthy skin and short-cropped hair. In the forge, they don a thick forging gown and sturdy boots, trading them for finer robes and looser headware when not in the forge, along with heavy kohl around their eyes. Additionally, Gadri is never seen without a pair of gloves, thick for forging or thin for general purpose.
Many of the intricacies of Dinnin-dwarvish appearance can easily be missed by those who are not used to the desert-dwelling branch of the race, from how they braid their facial hair to the precise location of jewllery and clothing folds. To those in the know, the braiding of their beard and the cut and manufacture of their clothes tell that Gadri is a tetra- a 'third gender' that Dinnin-dwarves recognise, believing some to be closer to the stone that formed the race than others. Additionally, they are clearly not only a craftsman, but one of the rare scriptsmiths, a unique and rare dwarven trade- as evidenced by the words intricately woven across much of their jewellery.
History: Gadri is a dwarf. A rather dwarfish sort of dwarf, although one tinged by their Dinnin faith and life experiences on the road. They abstain from intoxicants (other than coffee and nutmeg, both of which are rare to encounter on the road,) dedicate themselves to their craft, and are generally rather taciturn and stoic, but despite this, they've travelled with the caravan and had a long enough life to be a valuable source of information.
Their story begins in one of the holds of the Great Clans that litter the deserts, the overwhelming majority of whom had settled close to or within mountainous territory, in order to minimise the effects of the ancient Covenant made between the Dinnin and their God. The dwarves who lived in these territories were slowly incorporated into the Clans, being neither strictly Dinnin, nor exactly Kaffin, much as the Ainok are.
It was here, as part of Clan Abzan, that Gadri was born. Apprenticed as a smith at a young age, they grew up in the hold, working with steel and flames, directing the kaffin that laboured under the watchful gaze of their betters, and being brought up in all the ways a true dwarf was supposed to behave. Their skill with smithing earned them the attention of a scriptsmith (what other dwarves would consider 'runesmithing,' although using the Dinnin script rather than an indiginous dwarvish one, lending it certain unique attributes.) This was no small thing- becoming a scriptsmith takes a significant portion of a dwarves young life- lasting almost a century, including several decades of their dwarvish adolescence.
Hard, delicate and precise toil forged a dwarf meticulous over details and extremely proficient in their craft, but alas, Gadri was not destined to bring honour to their clan and forge great crafts for the emir. Instead, fate took a different path. As so often happens with the delicate web of politics that make up the Holds, skullduggery and backstabbing reared its ugly head up, and as the mess settled, Gadri's hammer was stained with the blood of a fellow Abzan.
Kinslaying, regardless of reason, is a dire crime within the Holds, and although their skill as a scriptsmith was enough to save their life, Gadri could no longer stay in the holds. The back of their right hand was marked with a heavy brand and they were cast out of the hold.
Personality: Try to think of how it ties into their history, and into the next section:
Motivation: An exile from their people, Gadri has no real home to turn to. For them, the almost seventy years they've spent within the caravan makes it as good as their home. One day, perhaps, they would like to wash the blood from their hands and return to their homeland... But until that day comes, they serve as the caravan's premiere smith and metalworker.
Skills, Strengths and Weaknesses, and Tools:
Like all dwarves, Gadri is unusually magically resistant- both to the hostile effects of magic cast upon them, and for the purposes of channeling magic themselves. Dwarves are not immune from magical effects- a fireball still scorches them and some can indeed channel arcane power, but dwarves as a whole have instead developed their own system of bending the immaterial to their will- Scriptsmithing. Known by several other names- runesmithing, glyphcrafting, and so on and so forth, the core of scriptsmithing is the same. With strike of hammer and bloom of flame, dwarves can imbue items, thereafter elevated to 'artifacts' with potent magical power. Each scriptsmith goes through decades of their life training in scriptsmithing- from days as a journeyman apprentice, writing and reciting the words, to a proficient student, capable of wielding the hammer themselves, to finally a fully qualified smith, each hammerblow pulling from sources beyond to fill their crafts with power.
By now, Gadri is a more than competent scriptsmith, capable of forging great artifacts for others, should they have the time and ingredients to do so. The very finest of scriptsmith crafts are made from the legendary 'starmetal,' believed to be leftover fragments of (the) God(s) themselves. In its raw form, starmetal is fantastically magically unstable, throwing out wayward energies that sicken and even kill those handling it unprotected- but the dwarves, with their natural resistances, are able to forge and refine it, creating artifacts with a beautiful damascene finish. Fantastically rare, Gadri has only three precious artifacts made from this stuff- their hammer, chisel, and a single ring, each one with its script woven with their own hands.
Scriptsmithing's potential, in the hands of a master smith, is almost unlimited. So long as one knows the words with which to express their intent, a scriptsmith can create anything from wondrous automata to staves capable of stopping a rampaging oliphaunt dead in its tracks. Alas, such a thing requires a dwarf far more ancient and far more competent than Gadri, whose crafts, while still potent, are greatly limited by not only their resources but also their age. One simply does not become a master scriptsmith in a century or two.
What They Most Want:
If They Had a DnD Alignment, It Would Be:
Do They Follow Their Heart or Their Mind?:
Most Like The Animal: That is, which animal they are most like- not which one they like the most.
Favorite Time of Day:
How They Dress:
What Gods/Spirits/Whatevers They Worship (If Any): No, M., Jesus isn't an option
Race, Age, Time in the Caravan: Malleck belongs to the Ainok- a race of humanoid canines indigenous to Alywne's savannahs and deserts, with significant variety between individual specimens. A quick way to irritate almost all of them is to mistake them for Gnolls, their bitter enemies. He's young for most races, at 20, but reached maturity five years prior, and has been travelling with the caravan for three years.
Appearance: Malleck has dusty fur, blotched with natural camouflage in hues that range from sandy khakis to deep blacks, with a noticeable cross pattern that stretches from his muzzle to his nose, the crossbar reaching to the ends of his brows. He has a shaggy plume of hair that's been braided and tied with baubles and other accessories in an attempt to tame it, and bright amber eyes with black sclera. He stands at around 5'5", a normal height for Ainoks, with the typical tight-wound muscle. His fur serves double duty to both cool him in warm environments and warm him in cool ones, meaning he usually eschews more clothing than a simple tunic, covered in straps and bags to help him carry anything he needs on the road.
History & Personality: The Ainok are a semi-nomadic people who live as a periphery ally of the desert's great Dinnin kingdoms. Travelling throughout the dry seasons, Ainok clans, usually made from extended family units settle into temporary pastoral settlements during the wet season to reap the benefits of nature's sudden flourishing. A true-blood Ainok through and through, Malleck has grown up with this cycle- from his time as a pup on his mother's back to an adult of fifteen, expected to be able to hunt and provide for his family.
But, Malleck always sought out more than this. He was born under the light of Otota the dancing star, his paws always itched during the wet season, eager to be on the road again, eating up the dusty miles. He bid farewell to his family when he was sixteen, departing alongside a merchant caravan returning from trade with one of the Great Clans deeper into the desert. Although he had had brief interactions with outsiders before- the Ainok are no strangers to traders, caravaners, hunters and even the occasional hostile band, this was the first time he had been truly exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking, and he loved it.
He drank in the diversity and the uniqueness, adding their tales sand stories to his own mind, and whenever he could take the opportunity to tell them and retell them at the fire, enhancing his own tales as he did so. It is one thing to have a firm grasp of a single method of storytelling- quite another to begin to understand the universal traits that sapient species use in their myths and legends, and to weave them together.
Soon after the caravan arrived in settled lands however, one of the guards informed him that there was an even better option out there. The Pilgrim's Caravan was, coincidentally, in the same city they were, and with thanks to his previous travelling companions, he joined up, bringing with him his stories, while being always eager to learn more.
Motivation: Malleck is a classic example of someone filled with wanderlust, and travels both out of a desire to see the world and to imitate the passage the Dancing Star of Otota makes across the skies. He knows not when his wandering will end, or if it even will at all, but is more than happy to stick with the Pilgrim's Caravan for as long as it stops his feet from itching.
Skills, Strengths and Weaknesses, and Tools: As an open and gleeful follower of Otota, Malleck is expected to be able to bring cheer wherever he wanders. to this end, he has immersed himself in the entertaining arts- music, singing, storytelling and dance. He can work his magic with only a willing audience, but any instrument is obviously a boon. A not-insignificant part of his memory is dedicated to the countless tales he's heard and repeated across his pilgrimage, but for all this knowledge, he is undoubtably rather 'book dumb.' Coming from an oral culture, Malleck can neither read nor write, and he has neither inclination nor patience to dedicate himself to learning how to do so. He also cannot swim and easily and violently becomes motion sick, preferring to walk if at all possible over sitting in a caravan or boat.
As with most long time travellers, Malleck can defend himself- after all, he comes from a community of hunters and herdsmen, frequently in conflict, but fighting against other sapients always sat wrong with him. It felt wrong- dirty, almost undivine in a way, and so instead he much prefers to laugh off an insult than to take a swing. For self-defence, he prefers anything that can extend his reach, distance between himself and his foe- be that a spear, stave or simply a sufficiently long and durable stick. When it comes to magic, Malleck's powers are extremely limited- he is neither a shaman nor wizard- although he practices the Ainok's typical astronomical fortune-telling and can produce a few minor illusions, mend a broken rope or help seal a small cut, anything greater than this is beyond his abilities.
What They Most Want: They'll figure it out at some point!
If They Had a D&D Alignment, It Would Be: Chaotic Good
Three Likes: The sound of laughter, a well-cooked meal, a new story to learn.
Three Dislikes: Gnolls, betraying his trust, being unable to see the stars at night.
Do They Follow Their Heart or Their Mind?: Heart! Part of the job, honestly.
Worst Fear: Forgetting
Favourite Color: All of them!
Most Like The Animal: 'Dog' would be pretty stereotypical, but also wrong. Malleck's more like a songbird of some kind.
Favourite Time of Day: Deepest night- where the stars shine the clearest, and the fire seems that much brighter.
How They Dress: As minimally as possible so other peoples aren't offended. He has fur for a reason.
Favourite Season: The dry season! What do you mean most places don't count a 'wet' and 'dry' season?
What Gods/Spirits/Whatever They Worship (If Any): The Ainoks of the savannah worship the stars- which come into view so brightly and clearly each night when the sun sets. They believe that these stars are each Gods in their own right, and that those born under the light and influence of various celestial bodies are favoured or disfavoured by these Gods. Born under the light of the so-called 'Dancing Star,' otherwise known as the Goddess Otota. Being both an incredibly bright star, and one that appears to be the most mobile in the night sky Otota holds a special place within the Ainok pantheon as the Goddess of gaiety, enjoyment, fertility, pleasure, and so on and so forth. Malleck considers himself a staunch follower of Otota's light, and it is under her auspex that he travels.
Ainok do not traditionally use last names, as by and large they stay within small familial groups, and even during interactions between groups, misunderstandings are easily avoided. 'Freepaw' is a rough translation of the Ainok term for a wanderer who has willingly left their family, distinguishing Malleck from a banished and disgraced Ainok.