WotBS New Campaign Planning... Integrating Backstories [probably spoilers]

emeraldbeacon

Explorer
So I recently finished the WotBS campaign path (Hi @Tormyr !), and now I've decided to run the campaign for some other players! I'm working on integrating the different characters' stories into the setting background, but I'm having some trouble with a few of them. What I have so far... [EDITED WITH CURRENT CREW]

One player requested to step out of his comfort zone and play something beyond a fighter, so I talked him into becoming a Hexblade Warlock. He wanted to be a Dragonborn, and chose several lightning-based effects, so I asked him if he would let me choose his patron... he was excited about the idea, so he'll be tied to the spirit of Avilona itself.

I also have a Drow Twilight Cleric. After some discussion, we decided he would have grown up in a Droalesti temple in the caverns near the Gatepass border... and that his sister would have met Rhuarc when he was a child, been appalled at his tale of the brutality of the Shahalesti, and set off with him to do something about it. She'd take the place of either Quillathe Nailo or Yvonnel Machuel, in the narrative.

A Wood Elf Rogue has joined, with a history among the Taranesti refugees of the massacre of Phorros Irrendra. She's actually a member of nobility there, a lost daughter who technically represents the last of the noble line. She's hiding her actual lineage, though definitely has the haughty demeanor of someone who should be in charge of everything (think Princess Leia right after her Death Star rescue).

Next is a Dwarf Barbarian who's coming to terms with some unusual (and not entirely welcome) magical powers. Having fled his family (a nephew of Dashgoban himself) in Dassen, he took up work with the Gate Pass city guard, and joins the heroes heading south both to seek asylum himself, and serve those who seem to be trying to do the good deed of delivering the military intel to Seaquen.

A rather violent Halfling Monk has joined the group, also seeking to aid those in need (and crack some skulls in the process). Hailing originally from Sindaire, he had a prior relationship with Jorina Waryeye (now reskinned as a Halfling), before she joined Clan Mellorn. Lately, though, his fury has drawn the attention of a mighty draconic patron (Khor-el-Jiese / Time), leading him to the Path of the Dragon Soul.

Lastly, a new Ranger has joined the party, a Gnome Ranger Drakewarden. He doesn't have much story behind him quite yet, beyond his Drake partner whom seems to have a knack for getting him wherever he NEEDS to be (if not where he wants to).

Anyone have any ideas?
 
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Salicus

Explorer
So I recently finished the WotBS campaign path (Hi @Tormyr !), and now I've decided to run the campaign for some other players! I'm working on integrating the different characters' stories into the setting background, but I'm having some trouble with a few of them. What I have so far...

A half-elf ranger has agreed to be a survivor of the attack on Innenotdar, 40 years prior. He was a child at the time, so he wouldn't quite have understood what was going on. I'm still debating on whether his parents & sibling would have escaped to the south or been trapped in the fire.

A half-orc ranger has elected to have some ties to the Taranesti refugees within the Gatepass slums. He's younger, and as such, would not have had first-hand experience of the burning forest.

One player requested to step out of his comfort zone and play something beyond a fighter, so I talked him into becoming a Hexblade Warlock. He wanted to be a Dragonborn, and chose several lightning-based effects, so I asked him if he would let me choose his patron... he was excited about the idea, so he'll be tied to the spirit of Avilona itself.

I also have a Drow Twilight Cleric. After some discussion, we decided he would have grown up in a Droalesti temple in the caverns near the Gatepass border... and that his sister would have met Rhuarc when he was a child, been appalled at his tale of the brutality of the Shahalesti, and set off with him to do something about it. She'd take the place of either Quillathe Nailo or Yvonnel Machuel, in the narrative.

The last two characters are a bit trickier. There's a gnome artificer that I've been struggling to tie in; right now, the best I have is that he tried to join Clan Millorn, but was rejected.

Lastly, I have a half-orc (kensei?) monk that probably grew up near the border of Dassan and Ostalin. I'm thinking that woud put him in Steppengard's lands, and be a good reason for soldier father that went MIA... he also wants an older half-sibling, probably from a prior marriage, whose identity could be ANYTHING... but I'm not sure where to go from there. (Maybe his full-human older sister is Caela, Pilus' assistant from chapter 5?)

Anyone have any ideas?
I also like the Idea of giving your players a good place in the world.

For your Ideas I can tell you the following:
For your half-elf Ranger I have the same backstory for a Elven Monk that fled to the monastery after the genocide in Innenotdar. I had him take the living blade and he from himself got a close connection to the Seela and everything involving the Forest. If your player can roleplay, its pretty easy to implement that backstory, also in later encounters with the Shahalesti after they find out.

The Half-Orc is a bit tricky. Because most elves probably wont like him, since they think that Coaltongue, who also has orcblood in him, set their Forest aflame. Dont know what exactly you thought of as ties to him. But I think there also could be some Taranesti refugees from the northern forest where the Echoed Soul book takes place. Maybe rather have him have ties with those people, and have them give him a first glance of the echoed soul religion.

The Warlock has a tough time getting to know his patron I guess. But you would have to put in visions some time and have him maybe have some kind of weird moment and feeling when meeting leska for the first time. Other than that I cant rly think of anything.

For the drow cleric you could do that I suppose. Dont really got any better idea because I do not really know about the position of drows in the Campaign Saga.

About the artificer, I think you can give him ties with some gnomes you meet in the campaign but Clan Millorn is probably the most interesting. If you want it really awkward you can make Jorrina an old love interest of his :D. I dont like the idea of beeing rejected tbh but knowing them and maybe not beeing a friend of stealing/robbing(which is why their ways parted back in the day) is a more interesting thing.

For the monk, having him trying to get into the footsteps of his father who maybe even was a commander for one of the nobles is a good idea I think. Maybe have him be recognized by someone when he drops his name or something. Also important is for him to always have some earth under his feet :D. Dassen has a strong military tradition I feel like and having him roleplay that could be interesting. About the sibling I am not sure tbh, I feel like killing your sister could be a real mental burden on someone and could drift the whole thing way towards depression for him, if he roleplays it that way. There are a lot of NPCs that could get bound to the player. Maybe you could even think of something like his sibling beeing the wife of haddin and mother of crystin. Could also be a great reason for him to be in GatePass. But in the end it depends where u want to have him ties to the story. You could also have his Sibling be one of the leaders of the Resistance or maybe even one that was sent to the monastery where he wants to find him/her(you could make his sibling the last surviving member then as well).

Well I hope you can take something from those ideas and I wish you good fortune for your upcoming campaign =)
 

DarkRevenant

Villager
The last two characters are a bit trickier. There's a gnome artificer that I've been struggling to tie in; right now, the best I have is that he tried to join Clan Millorn, but was rejected.
Erdan Menash could make for a good connection, both having a shared love of making things. It could be a master-apprentice relationship? Maybe you could make Menash himself be a gnome, so as to add some kind of family connection?
 

emeraldbeacon

Explorer
Plans so far (UPDATED)...

HALF-ELF GLOOMSTALKER RANGER: Current plan is that he'll meet what's left of his mother in the fire forest (she's actually tiefling, so she may be able to endure the Indomitable Fire template better than the elves, and could conceivably survive the chapter). Father and sibling possibly escaped to the south, having settled somewhere in Dassan (perhaps in one of the villages en route to Seaquen).

HALF-ORC BEASTMASTER RANGER: The son of an orc citizen of Gatepass and a Taranesti refugee, possibly from Ycengled Phuurst. Not sure how to really make his story pop, though...

DRAGONBORN HEXBLADE WARLOCK: Will have dream-visions to communicate with his patron, Avilona, the Stormchaser Eagle. Its goal has ever been to reach out to those with some spark of power, to ultimately free them from their ages-long torment.

DROW TWILIGHT CLERIC: Sister is one of the assassins who killed Coaltongue, and has taken on an almost motherly (or big-sisterly) role towards Rhuarc.

GNOME BATTLE SMITH ARTIFICER: He was once romantically involved with Jorrina Waryeye, but they grew apart over time. Probably knows Erdan Minash, and previously tried (unsuccessfully) to join Clan Millorn. While he likely never interacted with Jorrina at the time, she might have quietly blocked his application out of discomfort.

HALF-ORC KENSEI MONK: Father is one of Steppengard's fallen soldiers (someone might remark on how much the character looks like his father). Mother still maintains a small shop in a town in southwest Dassan. Sister is indeed Caela, who MIGHT be redeemable if the party indeed
 
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emeraldbeacon

Explorer
Thinking about my party's Warlock, with Avilonna (the Stormbringer Eagle) as a patron... I'm trying to think of themes for cryptic dream-visions I could impose upon the player. In the exceedingly brief time I've worked with them, I've still noticed that they have a tendency to only look at surface details of things, so I believe I can be pretty blatant, in terms of symbology, and it still might not get noticed, as long as the dreams remain in private chat. But some thoughts... I'd appreciate anything else people are willing to share.

Eagles/Flying: Obviously, any symbology featuring an (avian) raptor can be relevant. It could be a literal bird, or an emblem on a flag or shield. It could be feathers, or talons. Being airborne could be another allegorical connection to their patron.

Storms/Wind: As the Stormbringer, it makes sense that almost any imagery related to inclement weather would work. Lightning/thunder and wind are most obvious, but I think I can get away with some rain, snow, hail, or similar, as long as the water doesn't become the primary focus.

Heartbeat: This is where I need to tread lightly. I think I could use anything rhythmic to homage Avilonna's status throughout the campaign. A steady drumbeat, hammers in a forge, armies marching, a synchronized dance, a horse's gait, a window shutter swinging free in the wind... but I need to avoid the actual idea of a HEARTBEAT, lest it become too obvious.

Blood: Likewise, I think I can use imagery that evokes blood, as long as I use it sparingly. Literal blood from a wound, a figure wrapped in long strips of red linen, red wine spilling from a glass. Not much can evoke the image of blood without being literal, of course.
 


Tormyr

Adventurer
Thinking about my party's Warlock, with Avilonna (the Stormbringer Eagle) as a patron... I'm trying to think of themes for cryptic dream-visions I could impose upon the player. In the exceedingly brief time I've worked with them, I've still noticed that they have a tendency to only look at surface details of things, so I believe I can be pretty blatant, in terms of symbology, and it still might not get noticed, as long as the dreams remain in private chat. But some thoughts... I'd appreciate anything else people are willing to share.

Eagles/Flying: Obviously, any symbology featuring an (avian) raptor can be relevant. It could be a literal bird, or an emblem on a flag or shield. It could be feathers, or talons. Being airborne could be another allegorical connection to their patron.

Storms/Wind: As the Stormbringer, it makes sense that almost any imagery related to inclement weather would work. Lightning/thunder and wind are most obvious, but I think I can get away with some rain, snow, hail, or similar, as long as the water doesn't become the primary focus.

Heartbeat: This is where I need to tread lightly. I think I could use anything rhythmic to homage Avilonna's status throughout the campaign. A steady drumbeat, hammers in a forge, armies marching, a synchronized dance, a horse's gait, a window shutter swinging free in the wind... but I need to avoid the actual idea of a HEARTBEAT, lest it become too obvious.

Blood: Likewise, I think I can use imagery that evokes blood, as long as I use it sparingly. Literal blood from a wound, a figure wrapped in long strips of red linen, red wine spilling from a glass. Not much can evoke the image of blood without being literal, of course.
I think having the character floating over landscape will take care of the flying without making the eagle obvious. Given the content of adventures 3, 5, and 6, storms might be explained away as warnings of what is occurring vs references to Avilona. I think silence in adventure 5 would be interesting.

For the heartbeat, maybe find something in each adventure that produces a rhythmic sound? From there, you can have imagery of something flowing outward where appropriate. Wine in Dassen. Fire in Innenotdar. Blood in Ycengled.
 

Bill T.

Explorer
Your Gnomish Ranger makes me think of Rivereye Badgerface. Maybe he could have assisted with Rivereye's escape from Ragos? He wouldn't necessarily have been directly involved -- could have been running interference, pre-positioning supplies, or ready to take over leading the way over the alternate route.

There were also a few gnomes in Innenotdar, at least in the 3.5 version. Maybe weave that in?

Yet another alternative is to associate the gnome with Jorrina (and un-re-skin her in the process) and figure out a different hook for the halfling monk -- although I have less idea of what you might do for a halfling than for a gnome. Hook him up with the refugees from the temple of echoed souls, maybe.
 

emeraldbeacon

Explorer
The Drakewarden is able to consistently change the summoned drake to different colors, and thus different elements. Do you think there's any place in that mechanic, to imply a Biomancy origin? Perhaps an escaped or stolen experiment in combining various draconic bloodlines with the ability to magically shift between them? The Drakewarden might find some clues to his partner's origins in Chapter 5, then, and it might be able to help navigate the Tempest later on...

Thoughts?
 

Fuzzybear

Villager
I was going to do something somewhat similar with a PC in our campaign. One of my PCs wanted to be one of a clone set, so I'm redesigning and renaming Paradim Dogwood as a combination Necromancer / Biomancer that was experimenting on his staff. The PC is an experiment gone wrong when he died on a mission, only to come back to with many others similar to himself being expelled from biomantic containers. I think your idea sounds reasonable and interesting to me.
 

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