Dwarf, Warden Build: Wild Warden Guardian Might: Wildblood
FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 17, Con 16, Dex 10, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 17, Con 14, Dex 10, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
AC: 17 Fort: 14 Reflex: 11 Will: 14 HP: 38 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 9
TRAINED SKILLS Nature +8, Perception +8, Endurance +9, Athletics +7
UNTRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics -1, Arcana, Bluff -1, Diplomacy -1, Dungeoneering +5, Heal +3, History, Insight +3, Intimidate -1, Religion, Stealth -1, Streetwise -1, Thievery -1
FEATS Level 1: Toughness
POWERS Warden at-will 1: Earth Shield Strike Warden at-will 1: Strength of Stone Warden encounter 1: Wildblood Frenzy Warden daily 1: Form of the Fearsome Ram
ITEMS Hide Armor, Craghammer, Rope, hempen (50 ft.), Backpack (empty), Bedroll, Climber’s Kit, Flask (empty), Light Shield, Throwing hammer
Ror was the name given him by his father. At least that is what the Elders of the MountainHeart clan told him in the earliest days of his memory. His father had been a hunter. One of the few, stout dwarves who haunted the lower halls and far reaches of the clan’s tunnels for creatures that were a threat to those within. Fel beasts from the bowels of the earth, night-dwelling foragers intent on living on others, and beasts too freightening for a young dwarf to learn the truth of. His father was known to him only through the stories, for he had perished along with his entire hunting party when Ror was but an infant. His mother had died shortly during his birth to a highly unusual disease that turned her skin to stone, even as he emerged into the world. She also was revered in the Elder’s stories, but not as an individual so much as a spirit-like concept. It was legend among dwarves that those whose skin took on the form of Mother Earth were destined for greatness.
So it was that Ror found himself with no family, no relatives, and few to speak with as he wandered, toiled and discovered on his own. No one to speak with as he noticed his skin shift into hard, course gravel like pocks as he reached his middling years. That secret he kept to himself. His lack of family pressed him farther and farther into the tunnels and caverns beneath the great mountains. His was a solitary life, and so the condition he kept to himself. When his skin ached and his steps echoed, he would delve deep and hide away from the rest of the clan. As all dwarves are wont to do, he continually explored the earth’s bounty. He found veins of shining metals, smooth stones compressed into single rocks, and always he wandered on, his hammer in hand exploring the secrets locked in the rock that was his home.
It was during a particularly bad bout of skin irritation that he wandered far from familiar tunnels and found himself air that blew chill through a gap in a wall. That bitterly cold air smelled of plants, top earth, and other scents he could not identify. Many dwarves spent their entire lives in the earth. Others trade and travel amongst those who reside on the surface. Ror’s clan tended to the isolationist theory and traded within their ranks and labored for the gain of them all. That moist chill penetrated his dark thoughts as a spike of steel would pierce through flesh. His keen sense of wanderlust was thrust forth just as strongly. In a few swipes of his hammer, he tore through the thin pile of rubble and stepped out into a world lighted by punctate stars, their light bright to his eyes. A cold wind blew up the steep slope, carrying crystalline snow in its grasp, and cut through the rags he wore making his rough skin. Ror took a deep breath of the bracing night air and stopped instantly at a sound from above him on the slope. Small rocks tumbled down, fighting the wind, and he thought for a moment that the side of the mountain was going to slide down and bury him alive on his first outing. No such thing happened though. As the pebbles slid to a skittering stop around him and the dust cleared, he noticed a powerful ram high above. It stood, a gray form against the gray rock, its head held high, its nostrils flaring and its powerful hind hoof slamming down on the ground every few seconds. Ror thought he had disturbed the beast by emerging into its territory, but it never glanced his way. Instead it stared down the slope, the occasional slam of its hoof sending more small rocks tumbling downhill. A deep growl, sounding like a great gout of air emerging from the bowels of the earth came from that direction. Again the hoof slammed down against the rock. In response, a dark blotch appeared against the side of the mountain, its gaze directed at the ram. The ram stared back, its flaring nostrils and repeated kicking the only motion on its body.
What happened next was a blur, both in his mind and to his eyes. The dark blotch became a streak of muscle and dark fur. A great hunting cat shot across the space, flowing over the rocks like it was part of the harsh wind. Ror stood transfixed as the beast moved. The ram, far from afraid, stood its ground and as the cat got closer, it reared up onto its haunches, muscles flexing. That sight tore Ror from his immobile state, sent him to the ram’s aid. The cat dodged the ram’s horn driven thrust, swiping as it passed, only glancing the beasts flank. Blood streamed from the slits in the ram’s side, but it only rotated and once again faced the cat, ready to defend itself. Ror scrambled up the rocky slope, sliding and scraping as often as landing on his own two feet. A gutteral shout emerged from his throat as he bloodied his knees and continued to scramble up. He threw his rock sledge at the beast, hoping to scare it. The great cat turned then, perhaps the shout had drawn its eye, or perhaps it saw an easier meal in the stout, but not terribly smart dwarf bumbling his way up the mountainside. Whatever the cause, the ram took its cue and lurched forward, dense horns leading and slammed into the beast. The momentum was so powerful that the cat flew from the mountainside as though born upon wings and vanished. Ror reached a level with the ram, twenty or so paces away and stopped. Perhaps, said his slow brain, the ram was going to send him flying from this high perch. The ram only stood, its breath steaming and streaming away in the wind. It was as still as a statue, its eyes glued to the dwarf. Ror slid the hammer he held in his hand into his tattered belt and began to slowly back down the hill. It never occured to him how he had regained the tool. The cold was penetrating his stubborn skull and the adrenalin was wearing off, he knew because he started to shiver. He turned to stumble back down the slick rocks to the dark and relative warmth of the tunnel from which he had emerged. A skittering sound, like rocks or hoofs, made him turn, but all he could recall about that moment in time was a huge mass taking him square in the chest.
Disoriented and confused, Ror awoke to the sound of flowing water and the whisper of wind. No cold bit at his face. His body ached only a little. He was alone, but lay on a bed of boughs woven into a mat that smelled sharply. He picked at the plant, uncertain about what it was. “It covers yer stink.” The voice made him start.
He turned and standing there was a short dwarf of slight build. Her hair and skin matched the brown of the earth all around the small overhang that he was lying under. She was wrinkled and appeared old, but her voice was strong. That was his first introduction to the teacher he called Ma. Ma taught him about the world, about how everything was linked together and all life stood in defiance of darkness and chaos. She also taught him to bathe by promptly picking him up and throwing him in the frigid water just outside the meager shelter.
It was a few years later when Ma told him that he had to move on. He had a greater understanding of the world, though he was not a fast learner. He had come into strengths of his own and had abilities that Ma had trained in him, without his even knowing she was doing so. It was not a friendly fare-the-well, as she was much the same as he, for one morning after broaching the subject of his moving on, she was gone. There was no sign of her passing, nor even her existence in that small grove under the lip of granite that he called home for that time. Only the paths he had worn into the loam of the forest. Following her example, he donned his newly crafted hide armor, picked up the hammer she had somehow acquired during his stay, strapped on his small leather coated shield and backpack and headed downhill. He had no idea where to wander or why he didn’t return to the home in the mountain, but he didn’t think about it for long either. He could feel darkness and evil on the land somewhere out there. That was his goal. To find what caused the stress in Mother Earth and remove it as you would remove a tick from your skin.
So it was that he was lying alongside the road, his meal of nearly raw squirrel and roots still plastered to his scraggly beard (it was just filling in and he was proud of that loamy beard, even if it did look like lichen grew within the tangled strands!), when the adventurers first came into view.