5E Backstory for Tempest Cleric - Thoughts?

Ganymede81

Visitor
Here is the backstory for my 5e High Elven Tempest Cleric. Would y'all mind giving me some feedback? Is the story coherent? Is it interesting? Would you, as a DM, be able to draw interesting adventure hooks from it?

***

Physical Description

To many, Fulmea Kireen is an unassuming and reserved high elven woman. She stands at just under 5’6” but often looks shorter due to her wilting posture, a habit picked up from her many hours spent hunched over a musty tome. Her unkempt, jaw-length black hair either hangs loosely around her face or is drawn back into a bun. She has a slight, upturned nose upon which rest a pair of wire framed spectacles. Her skin is the warm white of a pearl while her eyes are a brilliant indigo.

As unassuming as she might seem, Fulmea always travels heavily armed and armored. Her signature weapon is a heavily modified elven polehammer; dotted amongst its reinforced length are a row of magnets and a tangle of coiled copper wire, modifications designed to allow the flow of electrical energy. Likewise modified is her chainmail, a silvered suit of elven chain run through with copper wiring that leads down to her steel-lined boots. Around her neck hangs the holy symbol of Kord in his Thunderbreak aspect, a blue disc with a circle of eight white lightning bolts spreading outward. In moments of doubt, apprehension, or fear, she can be seen tugging at that holy amulet.

Supporting that heavy load of copper and steel is the impressive and well-toned physique of a woman that has endured long days of running and calisthenics. Her frame is lean and taut, possessing enough might to whirl her polehammer in deadly arcs. As per her religious doctrine, Fulmea takes her physical training seriously and is always finding ways to exercise while on the road. She is known to leap to a low-hanging branch and slip into a series of impromptu pull ups, sometimes even in the middle of a conversation.

Personality

Fulmea’s personality can best be described as a healthy mix of introversion with sporadic dashes of courage. Owing largely to her life as an academic and researcher, she is a bookish and withdrawn person. She does not handle crowds well, is apprehensive around strangers, and is quick to imagine threats hiding in the shadows. Fulmea would much rather spend an evening reading a treatise on arcane formulae or tinkering with her equipment than she would at a lavish banquet.

On the other hand, Fulmea’s newly found religious conviction and physical health have filled her with a slowly growing resolve. In moments of doubt and fear, she is able to find renewed courage by holding her holy symbol close; while she might hesitate under adversity, she knows that Kord is watching every move she makes. Likewise, she is more than willing to stand up against a perceived wrong when it cuts against her beliefs. Unfortunately, with her long history of dealing with bullies and overbearing professors, she can be overly quick to assume that someone is a tormentor or tyrant.

When she isn’t adventuring or exercising, Fulmea enjoys sharpening her training as a researcher and scholar. She always has a textbook or two wedged into her overflowing backpack and she can often be seen scribbling her observations into a journal. While her own arcane talents are minimal, Fulmea loves to pour over wizard’s tomes and absorb other bits of arcana. In fact, she still carries around a page from her old spell book: a heavily footnoted and wrinkled scroll of mending, the only spell she was ever able to teach herself. Additionally, her tinker’s tools can always be heard rattling around in a satchel on her belt; she loves tinkering with mechanical devices and is proud to admit she fashioned her holy symbol herself.

History

Fulmea was once a promising new student at an Elven wizard’s academy. Not only was she a voracious reader, but she picked up her lessons quickly and impressed her new professors with her diligence. Unfortunately, her hard work did not translate into a mastery of magic. While she quickly digested the arcane study material, she was only able to reproduce the most mundane of magical incantations with her fumbling gestures. Her peers routinely teased her for her lack of ability, and her no-nonsense professors were always harder on her, convinced that one with such potential would benefit from a little goading. By the end of the school year, Fulmea’s peers were receiving their wands while she was on the verge of being expelled.

One professor at the academy, recognizing her talents as a researcher and taking pity on her, offered to keep her on as an assistant. Fulmea, mortified at the thought of returning home a failure, snapped at the opportunity. As his assistant, she poured through reams of notes, spell books, and treatises. She also aided the professor with his magical experiments: spell components were categorized, magic circles were painstakingly traced, and arcane apparatuses were built and mended. Her more menial duties included serving meals and acting as a messenger. Despite the fact that she enjoyed the opportunity to continue honing her expertise, she loathed he fact that it was a constant reminder of her failure at wizardry. Fulmea longed for something more meaningful.

A month later, her trajectory in life would be forever altered. After a long day of researching electrical energy, she retreated to the academy’s roof. There, convinced that she could store the power of lightning in a battery, she set up a mechanical device with a long aerial pointed toward the sky. She waited as the sky darkened and the clouds roared. With a flash, a blue-white crackle of lightning shot through the aerial, arced through the air, and smashed Fulmea into the tiled roof. Before she could gather her wits, she felt herself lifted into the air, a fist locked around her throat. She hung in the grasp of an elf of mighty proportions, with skin like brushed steel and muscles that looked to be carved of granite. His eyes were pools of molten sapphire and danced with electricity. The being spoke, his voice a thunderclap, “You!? You’re a weakling, a whelp, a coward! How dare you presume to call upon me?”

Fulmea’s head swirled with fear and panic as she felt the great being’s fingers tighten further. Her hands clasped around his wrist and, with one great heave, planted her feet against his chest and kicked with all of her might. The force was just enough to slip from his grasp and she clattered backward against the tiles. The being took a step forward, rainwater hissing and boiling around his feet, and smiled, “I might have use for you yet!”

The last of her strength gone, Fulmea peered up at the hulking elf, her voice barely a whisper, “What… what are you?” The being stopped mid stride and answered, “What am I? I am the breaker of shackles.” He lifted one hand; it shimmered with a corona of sparks. “I am the bane of tyrants.” He lifted his other hand, small bolts crashing between the fingers, “I am the Thunderbreak!” At that moment, the force of another stroke of lightning flung her into the air and over the edge of the roof.

She awoke to rain tapping against her face and the scent of scorched hair invading her nostrils. Unsure of what had happened but convinced it was more than a hallucination, she threw open the academy doors. Fulmea raced to the library, ignoring the barbs of other students about her soaked and disheveled state. She skipped by the usual shelves dealing with arcana, went straight for the religion section, slapped down a big book titled “Compendium of the Deities,” and dove in. She rifled through page after page looking for any reference to the Thunderbreak she could. Her finger paused over an entry for a deity of freedom, might, and courage: the god Kord. She wedged the tome under her arm, returned to her chamber to pack her belongings, and said goodbye to the academy.

Since that day, Fulmea has focused on living up to the virtues of Kord. While she continued her studies in science and the arcane, she devoted just as much time to religious study and even more to physical training. She spent many days training in full chainmail armor, and many nights underlining notable passages in her religious text. Now, with her burgeoning confidence and newfound strength, Fulmea seeks to find her place in the world as a cleric of Kord.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

Overall, I like it. The only thing I had a bit of a double-take was the conflicting "bookish academic" and "healthy, strong fitness guru". I'd play down one of those or modify it. Maybe going the whole "tried to do the bookish thing, long hours of studying, etc. needed for the mastery of magic...but was constantly being pulled by an abundance of energy, needing to get outside to go for a quick jog, a few pull-ups and push-ups, or mimicking the fighter drills of the guardsman that she could see out the window of her dorm room window". Something that would equate "bookish intent" with "drawn to physical action". This would fit in well with her almost getting expelled.

But other than that...sounds good to me. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Warpiglet

The pig to end all wars
I like every bit of it except for the spectacles! Seems anachronistic to me...otherwise fun character I could see with my mind's eye. I am playing a soon to be fifth level tempest cleric...an albino fanatical street preacher....good times!
 
I think bookish athlete is ok (I know a marathon runner physicist alpha bookworm), but the physical abilities you describe would go counter to a stooped posture. Hiding behind her bangs, yes. Preferring to do exercise mid conversation...ok but not necessarily swinging on a tree, maybe bicep curls...apart from that go!

Would the electricity conducting material not also fry her though without a perma-spell in place to mitigate?
 

Ganymede81

Visitor
Hiya!

Overall, I like it. The only thing I had a bit of a double-take was the conflicting "bookish academic" and "healthy, strong fitness guru". I'd play down one of those or modify it. Maybe going the whole "tried to do the bookish thing, long hours of studying, etc. needed for the mastery of magic...but was constantly being pulled by an abundance of energy, needing to get outside to go for a quick jog, a few pull-ups and push-ups, or mimicking the fighter drills of the guardsman that she could see out the window of her dorm room window".

I like the idea of her looking outside the window to see soldiers/guardselves/mercenaries training... it has a little bit of a Divergent feel to it, but the story is already quite young-adult-fiction in style.

The main thing I was trying to elicit with this story was that Fulmea had a dualistic, almost clashing nature. To illustrate, her Ideal is, "A sharp mind must exist in tandem with a strong body and a kind heart." That's why she has a 14+ in strength, wisdom, AND intelligence, and is proficient in arcana, tinker's tools, religion, AND athletics.
 

Ganymede81

Visitor
Would the electricity conducting material not also fry her though without a perma-spell in place to mitigate?
I put a lampshade on it by either assuming her armor works like a jury-rigged Faraday suit (the electricity goes around her, not through her), or it merely acts as a conduit for electricity as a manifestation of Kord's spiritual power.

Overall, it is just an ad hoc explanation for why baddies get shocked when they hit her, why her hammer strikes are accompanied by thunderclaps, and why she can harness an inordinate amount of thunder and lightning themed magic.
 

Eltab

Explorer
If she's exercising constantly while wearing metal armor, she's going to develop Athlete Body quickly, not be stuck with Scholar Body. Have her only hunch over when she's reading. If you ever do art for her, go for an Olympic track & field contestant.

I like her "Ben Franklin" scene, but ...
Not so much the portrayal of Kord. He should not be insulting his potential champion, he should challenge her: "You are wasting precious time here, you already learned what was needful. Now grow into what you can become !" as he twists an arm behind her back, heading for a Full Nelson. (She kicks him in a kneecap to get loose from his grip.) Kord loves a good fight, he's not into destroying the weak just because he can.
Sometimes, when she does something clever with electricity or lands a mighty blow (a crit?), she can hear His laughter in the background / distance, applauding her and encouraging her to keep at it.
 

Ganymede81

Visitor
If she's exercising constantly while wearing metal armor, she's going to develop Athlete Body quickly, not be stuck with Scholar Body. Have her only hunch over when she's reading. If you ever do art for her, go for an Olympic track & field contestant.
What I was hoping to portray was that her posture/demeanor was more a product of her introversion and awkwardness. When I imagined a wilting posture, I imagined a wallflower stooped on the far side of a room.

Tweaking that sentence could be helpful though, as it only references her bookishness.

I like her "Ben Franklin" scene, but ...
Not so much the portrayal of Kord. He should not be insulting his potential champion, he should challenge her: "You are wasting precious time here, you already learned what was needful. Now grow into what you can become !" as he twists an arm behind her back, heading for a Full Nelson. (She kicks him in a kneecap to get loose from his grip.) Kord loves a good fight, he's not into destroying the weak just because he can.
Sometimes, when she does something clever with electricity or lands a mighty blow (a crit?), she can hear His laughter in the background / distance, applauding her and encouraging her to keep at it.
Regarding that scene, I took inspiration from this passage about Kord I found online.

"Bastards

Many tales are told of Kord's dalliances with humans, elves, and even giants, and the sons and daughters born from such unions. When his children reach the age of 17, if Kord finds them worthy, he appears before them and gives them some great task involving fighting. Some few, if they pass their father's tests, may be considered "demigods" in his eyes and gain special powers. If his children do not enter their father's clergy, do not become fighters, or are otherwise considered to be cowards in their father's eyes, Kord may show up in person to kill them. "
 

Eltab

Explorer
"Bastards

Many tales are told of Kord's dalliances with humans, elves, and even giants, and the sons and daughters born from such unions. When his children reach the age of 17, if Kord finds them worthy, he appears before them and gives them some great task involving fighting. Some few, if they pass their father's tests, may be considered "demigods" in his eyes and gain special powers. If his children do not enter their father's clergy, do not become fighters, or are otherwise considered to be cowards in their father's eyes, Kord may show up in person to kill them. "
I had never seen that before.

Kord still offers the challenge and allows his child to react, only later might he try to kill his child. You wound up combining two scenes into one.
Since this particular individual is destined to be a Hero(ine) - by virtue of being a PC - Kord won't show up with an "I already know you are a failure" attitude. He'll show up all "Show me what you've got!"

I wonder how Kord would react if she had turned into a Bard instead: help allies do better and mess up the enemy, but not via powerhouse blows?

Praise is due you for your efforts. I've never written that much into a character's background before playing it.
Keep up the good work !
 

Ganymede81

Visitor
I like to imagine Kord was genuinely surprised to see some scrawny academic when he was expecting to see someone mighty enough to mess with lightning, and was then equally surprised to see that academic actually had some chutzpah in her. Either that or he was just trying to provoke her into action.

Thanks for the compliment. I try to write a little story for all of my characters aside for one-offs and tutorials. It is really not much more than an extension of writing the Personality/Bonds/Ideals/Flaws (and, in this case, a challenge to make a tempest cleric that isn't Thor).
 

Fimbria

Visitor
By the way, now that you've written several pages of material on this character and built up an emotional bond with her, are you certain that your DM is running a non-fatal campaign? Because it would really suck if your character died five minutes into the first session.
 

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