News Archive | 5/21/2010
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Tell Us Your Backstory! Winners

We asked you to tell us your Players Handbook 3 character's backstory in 500 words or less and earn your character instant fame. The top three winners based on design quality and creativity won an autographed copy of Players Handbook 3—and we wanted to further recognize their work by sharing their backstories below.

Our thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to our three winners!

Joe H., Las Vegas, NV

Malsan was always kind of a screw-up. Although endowed with the same mental and physical grace as his elven brothers and sisters, he could never quite get it together. His accidents caused so many problems that the clan elders declared his manhood ceremony at age 23, seven years early, just to get him out of the city. They figured that he would be the death of himself in any case, so this way they avoided him taking anyone else with him.

Malsan wandered, morose, knowing that he would never again return to the city of his birth, because he would never prove himself worthy out in the world. On the brink of starvation, Malsan stumbled across Hundaru city, where he crawled into a bottle for over 2 years.

His favorite (cheap) liquor was made by a group of halfling monks of the goddess Avandra, who maintained a small monastery on the south end of town, so he took to living nearby, doing menial labor for the monks in exchange for bottles of wine. One monk in particular, Bokken, took note of the young elf and observed him for a time before finally approaching. The halfling inquired as to the nature of the cloud that hung so heavily on Malsan. As Malsan shared his distress, the small monk began to laugh. It seems that in order to protect his supply of alcohol, Malsan had taken much more care in his work for the monks than he had ever shown before. In fact, he had not caused an accident in the entire time he had worked for the monastery.

The monk recognized potential in the young elf and began slowly to teach Malsan in the monk's martial methods and the lessons of Avandra, goddess of change. Like most of the others, Malsan's fighting style evolved out of his own personality and background. He would bob and weave like a drunken man, placing blows that looked almost accidental, but proved very effective.

Malsan's proficiency progressed to the point that the head monk has decided that his skills will be better served hired out for the benefit of the monastery as a whole. Malsan is dreading his first assignment, afraid beyond all measure of screwing up his first real responsibility in years. Until he proves himself, he has only his faith in Avandra that he has truly changed for the better.

Robert B., Walton, KY

I remember being born...

I remember hearing an odd buzzing noise. The smell of the noxious fire was all around. I was so heavy and stiff, I could hardly move. I opened my eyes and could see only a dim haze, punctuated by small points of light.

I suppose it's easier to remember something the second time around...

My senses quickly adjusted. The buzzing noise became voices, some chanting, others involved in a discussion. The fumes mellowed into a pleasant incense. My eyes took in the candles surrounding me, then the torches on the walls, and finally the figures of priests, reciting their prayers. I began to stretch my muscles, then I sat up.

Tomb is a revenant brought back to guard a lord's remote keep from the dragon the foolish lord had offended. Having been a powerful hero in his previous life, the "tomb warrior", as he was called, took to the guards training easily.

Treated as an outsider, Tomb was forced to guard the keep by a powerful ritual cast to keep him bound to the keeps grounds. He passed 30 years as a keep guard with few attacks by orcs and goblins disrupting his daily duties.

Finally the dragon came, disguised as a bard among a troupe of minstrels. The dragon killed Tomb and revealed himself, then he proceeded to destroy the keep and all its inhabitants. Tomb's soul hovered above the massacre, trapped by the ritual, or perhaps, simple the whim of the Gods.

As he hung there, helpless, a three-eyed raven spirit appeared before him and shared it's wisdom. It told Tomb that he needed to strengthen his body with his mind, and use them as one weapon. Perhaps then, he would find his true fate.

After the strange bird left, Tomb found himself drawn back to his body. He awoke to life for the third time, but this was different. There was no breath in him and he found there would be no hunger or thirst. He quickly learned that the ritual still bound him to the grounds, so he sought shelter among the ruins.

He began training, as the raven had instructed him. He also spent a great deal of time reading what books he could find that had survived the destruction.

And he dreamed.

He dreamed of a woman with long brown hair and dark skin. Someone he knew, but couldn't remember. He saw her almost every night, watching her live her life.

He spent 50 years this way, slowly watching the forest reclaim the ruined keep, until finally he felt the ritual loosen and expire.

Now he roams the land as a battlemind. A harmony of body and mind forged into a deadly weapon. He searches the countryside, seeking a dragon and his dark-skinned lady. But he always makes time to stop and listen to the wisdom of the ravens.

Cody, Columbus, OH

As the pale morning light broke through the canopy above, the stillness of the forest was shattered by a pair of travelers. The larger of the two, a young blonde twenty-some looking man, clad in silvered plate mail, stooped down for a drink from a nearby stream. 'That water is tainted' he heard a voice in his mind say. 'Oh really? And how know you this, Grail?' he replied out loud. The smaller figure, a raven-haired teenage girl cloaked in a grey shawl moved forward and gestured upstream. About 30 yards up in the center of the brook lay the rotting corpse of a stag. 'Trace, I doubt anyone would ever hire you for your attentiveness' the man heard, again not aloud, as he staggered back from the water.

Grail continued to float onward, propelled by a small, translucent disk of purple energy. As she passed the stream, she saw the paladin walking off in the direction of the stag, wineskin in hand; and she saw for a moment a younger man, trampling through a glade very similar to this one. She had been naive then, inexperienced. A true scholar would never have... She stopped herself mid thought. No need to let her emotions run wild. It would be unprofessional and worse, dangerous. And yet she couldn't help but think back to that day, nearly ten years ago when her life had changed so suddenly...

It was a brisk morning, on the cusp of her seventh birthday. She and Trace (a lifelong friend and the closest thing she had to a brother) were, as usual, skipping the morning chores to make their own fantasy. Usually these endeavors took them to the edge of town, but today they were going even further. After a brief hike, the two reached the mouth of a newly discovered burrow. Peering inside, they could see a very small glimmer of light. Grail, the braver of the two, walked in immediately, leaving the sheepish Trace to guard the entrance.

Exploring further, she came into a solemn tomb. Atop an altar in the center lay a small, golden box, a single ray of light shining from inside it. Grail crept closer, fingers trembling as she touched the lid. She flinched, but nothing happened. More ambitiously now, she lifted open the box, and in that moment she heard and saw things, terrible and awesome abominations, before the box closed with a flash. She awoke a week later, unable to speak, yet possessing the ability to manipulate things with but a thought. Years of schooling would give her the word to describe her gift: psionic, yet it would not lift the curse to bring back her voice. It would not bring back her parents, killed by her as she lashed out at the phantasms that plagued her daily. But maybe, just maybe, this cleric in Aventhor would know how to help... She shook herself back to reality as Trace returned, sopping wet and cursing about sprites. Maybe...

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