Professional PCs: About My Character (Part 2)
So we have examined how I started looking at a character concept back in Part One.
So, I know my PC for the new Reign of Winter campaign I’m playing in is going to be Krokar, a ½-orc CN inquisitor of Gorum. That’s a mechanical description, though. It tells me WHAT Krokar is, but not WHO Krokar is. And I like my mechanics and my story to work together in an RPG. So before I make any more game rule decisions, I want a backstory, and a through line.
Half orcs are often fodder for some pretty horrific ideas in RPGs, and it took me all of a hot second to decide I didn’t want any of them. I’m shooting for someone who is CN, so for my own definition that means they are driven much more by goals and guidelines than rules and systems, and are neither primarily driven by a willingness to sacrifice themselves for others, nor a willingness to specifically plan success that call for harm to others.
And worships war.
Now, to build a background I like that has that character a a destination.
So my first call is that I want Krokar to have had a stable and happy childhood, with both parents involved… because I want to explore what the world looks like to a half orc with a more normal sense of normal. I decide he is of one orc and one human parentage (as opposed to being the child of two half orcs, which might be the direction I went if I was going to have him grow up in Averaka, the Golarion town of half-orcs).
Because I normally see it done the other way, I decide his mother was an orc, and his father human. I put them in Katapesh, because half rocs are common there and because I always see half-orcs portrayed as Nordic or Germanic, and I like the idea of one with different cultural roots. I don’t worry about the fact I plan to use a greatsword perhaps not tying well to that culture, because that’s a divine mandate.
So, I see his mother as a traveling mercenary, and his father as a caravan master. They worked together, grew to respect each other, then fell in love and married. Krokar remembers early years living in a wagon as happy times. Then his parents decided to be part of a Great Venture to create a new town, in part of the Mana Wastes thought to be safe enough for the attempt.
Krokar grew up there, aware that dangers lurked, but he was safe behind mud brick walls.
Krokar was too young to know the cause of the war. And it was a small war. Gebbites attacking Nex, or mercenaries attacking Alkenstar. His home, which he never knew the name of, wasn’t even the goal of the war. It was just a secure place for one side to plan from, and then because a legitimate target for the other side. His parents, his friends, his entire home were killed and destroyed just as his physical childhood ended. His mental childhood died with them.
The forces that took his town had no interest in killing children if they didn’t need to, and he was sent to Katapesh in a refugee caravan. There were, they told him, rules to war.
He didn’t believe them.
Krokar’s parents had prepared for their potential demise, given they had a child and had opted for a high-risk venture. When he arrived in the huge city, he might have been sold into slavery, or taken up to be trained as a gladiator. He was already showing his orc heritage, and was broad, and tall, and strong, with great tusks jutting up from his lower jaw. But some woman he had never met, claiming to be a friend of his parents, arrived to pluck him from the refugees, and said he was to be given an education. What, the woman asked, did he wish to know about?
War, replied Krokar.
He was sent to Absalom, where every god has at least a small church, and trained in the ways of war. The church of Gorum there focused on Siege as their primary aspect of war, but taught a little of all the ways of war. He took to combat well. He took to tactics better. A warrior is one person. A war is won by many. Krokar remembered his mother as a mighty warrior, but she had been killed by a group of lesser warriors who worked together to destroy his home. Lesser creatures could work together to destroy greater ones. It was a lesson he would not forget.
He learned that a fight is any conflict where one creature seeks to harm another, for any reason, but a war was a political tool designed to achieve a greater goal. He also learned that Gorum grew out of the conflicts between humans and orcs. A suit of armor, not even a living being, Krokar decided Gorum had invented war.
Krokar hated war, and was now trained to carry it out.
Krokar knelt in the Siege House of Gorum in Absalom, and prayed. He swore to dedicate his entire life to one war, one political goal. To find a group of lesser creatures he could work with, and a tactic he could implement, to achieve a single goal otherwise beyond his reach.
Krokar would kill Gorum, and thus kill War.
Krokar stood an inquisitor, empowered by Gorum himself to carry out a war against his own god.
Okay, no I know where Krokar came from, and have a much stronger idea of who he is. I also have a through line, an idea that motivates him to adventure, to work with others, and generally be a good PC. In Part Three, I’ll investigate how to build this idea with the rulebooks I have access to for this game.
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