The Forbidden Lands now lies before the brave as the Red Mist lifts, and an Elf and his companions have taken up the challenge.
Tengrail the Redsword:
A fallen Elf, so ancient that his early memories have faded into half-remembered legends barely distinguishable from fabricated myths and folktales. His past glories and terrible failures are now only dimly recalled, his thoughts of the past consumed by his love for his fabled Red Sword, lost long ago along with his pride and his honour.
In an attempt to find some purpose in life, to restore that lost pride and honour, and reclaim – in his mind at least – his place amongst his own kind, Tengrail has chosen to walk the Forbidden Lands with the mortal folk: to learn their way of life; to divine what purpose drives them; to better understand their place in the world; and through that understanding help him re-discover his.
Sadly, Tengrail never understood that the purpose in life for those who come from a more base origin than the elvish kind is oh-so often snarlingly self-serving. As such Tengrail has picked up some base drives himself.
Avarice, for one.
And suddenly Tengrail has found himself scrabbling for coins, grasping for fine equipment and trinkets, whilst dreaming of treasure. But what did he expect, walking the world and drawing an education on the purpose of life with these new companions?
Firstly, there’s Gormer the Goblin:
Sneaky, untrustworthy and thieving, Gormer fulfils all the stereotypes that those who blithely cry “bloody Goblins!” hold dear. The acquisition of other peoples’ goods and money drives the Goblin to commit crime after crime, endeavours enthusiastically encouraged by his new Elven companion. Tengrail, older by aons than his Goblin friend, fears that Gormer’s inexperience and foolishness will get them into trouble: the Goblin is certainly the weak link in their little triumvirate. But perhaps Tengrail can mentor the creature, teach him and encourage him to greater feats and exploits.
And then there’s Isembold the Halfling:
The third member of their little band shrouds his greed in the veneer of respectability, but Isembold the Peddlar is as equally devoted to the acquisition of other peoples’ goods and money as Gormer – it’s just his methods that differ! Crafting dodgy deals and ripping people off are his tools, but his merciless pursuit of money is also quick to spot any chance to make some quick coin, even at a terrible cost to others (Isembold was all in favour of re-selling some captured slaves straight back into slavery, if the price was right!).
But there is a redeeming quality, some glimmer of honour left deep inside Tengrail: his loyalty to those he has chosen to call “friend”. The baser instincts of these primitive races haven’t yet totally obscured the Elf Tengrail once was. He couldn’t quite bring himself to sell the slaves, even though the promise of earthly gold was terrible in its temptation. And he cannot see his friends suffer at his hand, either directly or by his omission of action: Tengrail’s past holds enough betrayal and enough victims lie dead for his failings, as the Elf sees it.
He won’t let his companions down any more, there will be no more betrayal of their trust in him…
As a player I really enjoyed the chance to randomly roll up my Forbidden Lands character, using Fria Ligan’s “Legends & Adventurers” supplement for the game.
It’s been years since my group had played a game where you fully rely on the roll of the dice to pull your character together, and we had agreed that we could re-roll one roll if the player really didn’t like the result (well, I say “we agreed” – I think it was more that I suggested it and then, with my very first roll, invoked the suggestion! In my defence though, I didn’t think playing an Alderlander Human was very exciting – or at least really not what I was looking for – and I didn’t re-roll any other rolls!).
But the characters Tengrail, Gormer and Isembold all emerged from that random system. It offers some background as the you go through the stages and the result of your rolls builds your attribute scores and gives you your starting skills.
The first game was a one-shot before Matthew started the campaign proper, and these characters were thus supposedly disposable: we were entirely at liberty to roll up new ones for the campaign itself. But we didn’t. After that first session we had all fallen in love with our characters, and had no intention of swapping them for another random punt with the character generation system!
At the time of writing we have played two sessions so far, and you can follow our adventures on our AP Podcast, Ravenland Tales (as well as our other AP ‘casts of Fria Ligan games – although we had started with Symbaroum before Jarnringen joined forces with the Free League guys!).