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- Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:06 pm
- Location: Where shadows dwell...
First Name: Grum
Last Name: Grognazdiak
Race: Shield Dwarf
Age: 88 years
Height: 4 feet 2 inches / 1.27 meters
Weight: 151 pounds / 68.5 kilos
Eyes: Slate gray
Hair Style: Tangled mess of thick coils, entwined and matted
Beard Style: Braided to a five-point with iron bands
General Health: Malformed physique but of stout constitution
Deity: Abbathor the Trove Lord, Wyrm of Avarice
Initial Alignment: Neutral
Profession: Contract burglar, vagabond peddler, occasional courier of confidential wares and information
Base Class & Proposed Development: Rogue+Wizard >> Shadowdancer+Arcane Trickster
Habits/Hobbies: Skulking and brooding; plotting and scheming; slumming and scrapping
Languages: Dwarven, Thieves' Cant, Common, Gnomish, Halfling, Terran, *Arcane, *Assassins' Cant, *Undercommon, *Draconic, *Orc
Weapon of Choice: Hatchet
Thieves Guild: Unaffiliated free operative
Background Feat: Appraiser
Wizard School: Illusion
Familiar: Rat named Hemlock
Modus Operandi: Rob from the rich and give unto Grum
Of diminutive stature among even his own folk, the dwarf before you appears oddly misshapen. Limbs seem gnarled, awkwardly contorted, and a slight hunch grows at his right shoulder. His posture shifts frequently, from slumped back to stooped forward, as though difficult to find a comfortable stance. He walks with a slight limp, though no more a hindrance than his squat legs already impose.
Arcane sigils ring the rim of his hood. A tangled mess of black locks peers from beneath, accompanied by glint of pale gray eyes; a deep scar rakes down one clouded orb. Thickset brows render the dwarf a grim countenance. His dour expression makes him appear surly and tenacious. Beneath flattened nose, his bare upper lip turns inward, intensifying the perpetual scowl. Like most of his bloodline, the dwarf’s beard is uniquely groomed, fashioned into five braids bound with iron bands, two of which are crafted in a semblance of jester-like skulls.
The dwarf stands clad in weathered jerkin stitched with ridged seams. Frayed threads drift from his rough-knit, patchwork shirt. As minimal armor at best, a trio of carapace-like sections of hardened leather protect his most vulnerable points: pauldron at left shoulder, vambrace at right forearm, codpiece at groin, all three pieces buckled in place and lashed together through metal rings so as to each influence movement of the others. A soft thrum of energy surrounds the dwarf, hinting that armor pieces are not his only defense.
Unlike many other adventurers along the Sword Coast, Grum refrains from presenting the image of a walking arsenal. He bears but a simple hatchet and pair of daggers. The axe head glistens with a keen edge, its ebony haft carved with dwarvish runes. The daggers remain sheathed at his back; twin hilts jut over his shoulder, each inset with jet and onyx.
Cinching taut the many swaths of his garb while also supporting the heavy pack at his back, a complex network of straps crisscrosses the dwarf’s stunted frame, each leather band inlaid with silver glyphs, the overall harness secured by a hinged metal clasp wrought unto the likeness of a grinning ogre. An assortment of odd devices appears strapped, latched, hooked, tucked, and otherwise stowed to this overly full pack. Among the many trappings are a grappling hook, pitons, a coil of rope appearing more like wire than twined fiber, a spyglass, several stubs of blue chalk, a spike trap, and an ornate case of lock picks inscribed with the letters “GG”.
Around either wrist clasps a thick leather bracer embossed with geometric patterns that interlock about a single emblem: as though centered in an angular oculus, inset upon a diamond of polished blue stone, a luminous eye gazes forth, symbol of the wizard School of Illusion. Much like daggers made easily accessible for a skirmish, several bone-tipped wands are strategically sheathed about his person. A soft glow emits from the array of potion vials slotted around his wide belt, and a pair of beady red eyes occasionally flickers from ‘neath the many folds of his garb. Slung toward the bottom of his pack sways a large ironbound tome, its weathered cover marked by a lone cryptic sigil.
Grum’s gruff exterior perfectly aligns with his sullen demeanor. Somber and morose, he sustains a fell disposition and is oft observed skulking about, muttering unpleasantries and kicking up dust as he glowers at passersby. He despises children and song alike, and tends to be as irreverent as he is glum. Grum plods forward as a hopeless malcontent - even when Abbathor’s good fortune shines in his favor, he remains unsatisfied and disgruntled. This cynical outlook makes it difficult to keep company, though he does endeavor to maintain a network of contacts from the criminal element. With such antisocial tendencies, Grum prefers to operate from the background; he thus relies on stealth rather than prowess, and cunning rather than bravura.
Like most of his bloodline, Grum is driven by a boundless zeal for coin. Greed is his creed and avarice his faith. He covets all that shines, be it gold or gems, and cares not for how such wealth is acquired, whether by lawful means or other. Despite such reckless goldlust, Grum considers himself above pickpocketing, and instead aspires – in his mind, at least – to more ambitious forms of larceny such as extortion, smuggling, and assassination. In reality, he subsists as but a lowly scavenger and hawker of lost trifles. Yet he remains undismayed in his quest for notoriety and spends much of his free time contriving grand capers far too overcomplicated to ever be set in motion.
Whether due to his decrepit upbringing or simply a racial trait, Grum is possessed of a ruthless guile. He harbors a somewhat skewed self-image, seeing himself as a notorious thief, so deftly clever that he evades the eye of the law. Often, after much imbibing of ale while fraternizing with the more seedy types that lurk in dark tavern corners, Grum will prod strangers to inquire whether they have heard of his name. Truth be told, any such rumors have been propagated by his lips alone, though to his credit, the dwarf once relieved a portly cleric of a month's worth of tithings after plying the fool with lotus-steeped mead. While guilty to date of mere petty larcenies, Grum yearns for the respect of fellow miscreants. Such longing for infamy may very well one day lead to unwise decisions.
Grum was born unto squalor amidst the back-alley slums of Waterdeep. A malformed runt, the infant dwarf was sold into service of the Nightclaw Cabal, a syndicate of black marketeers splintered off the Xanathar Thieves’ Guild. Like so many other mercantile factions of ill repute, the Nightclaws operated from within the sewer system entwined deep below the City of Splendors. And thus, for the price of three iron ingots, Grum was made to become a tunnel-runner. His masters set him racing through the vast network of subterranean passages, transporting illicit goods not so easily borne along the bright boulevards above.
Impaired by squat frame and short gait, Grum proved to be a woefully slow courier. But what he lacked in physical speed he made up for with deftness of touch and sharpness of mind. The masters eventually relented on the daily lashings once they realized Grum’s true skill: The dwarf was a natural scavenger. Complemented by darkvision, his innate stonecunning lent him a knack for finding trinkets that drifted down from above.
Like a bottom feeder in darkest depths, he scoured sumps and culverts for lost baubles and was particularly adept at delving for the rare molds used to concoct Nightclaw poisons; Grum learned those formulas well. The dwarf might have amassed a small fortune were he not oppressed into relinquishing all that he found. The masters administered extreme punishment upon all who dared withhold goods or information; the Nightclaws were well known to torture and maim runners merely for breaking the wax seal on the parcels they bore.
As the years ticked by, Grum found that life as a runner was rife with lethal threats. Easy enough to avoid giant rats and the like – the real danger came from rival gangs who claimed sectors of the sprawling sewers. Each guild patrolled well beyond their own territory, ever in search for a skirmish to exterminate the competition. Shadow Thieves held the tunnels below the South Ward; Plague Rats’ turf spanned passages beneath the Dock Ward and Mistshore; Savants of the Dark Tide controlled the deepest levels; and the chutes and shafts below the Castle Ward were prowled by the Unseen, an elusive cartel composed of cutthroats and illusionists. It was this latter group that would lead to Grum’s liberation.
The incident occurred during a run through the Crimson Strait, a particularly dangerous route that forced runners through the turf of each major faction. Having just shot past Deadman’s Knuckle, barely avoiding a Plague Rats death squad, Grum paused to check his bearings. He was deep within. Out of shadow emerged a thin scarecrow of a man, dagger in either hand and murder in his eye. The harlequin tattoo identified him as a lieutenant of the Unseen. “Our master will be having that book back, you runt of a drek,” hissed his assailant. Grum clasped an arm around the satchel at his side and took a step back. The lieutenant sized him up as an easy mark...and advanced on stilted legs. “Not so fast, stringman - now how ya be knowin what parcel I be runnin?” The dwarf narrowed his gaze to any icy squint. Sold out, or infiltrated, came the fleeting thought. Grum feigned left, rolled between the man’s legs, and hamstrung him with a hatchet as he came up at the other’s backside. The scarecrow man howled in anguish. Grum raced into darkness, shrieks of pain slowly receding behind.
Many leagues later, slumped against stone to regain his breath, his gaze scanning warily side to side, the dwarf reached into his satchel. The punishment was agonizing death for those runners who fell to temptation and absconded with the parcels they were charged to deliver. Merely examining the contents was cause for dismemberment. Grum drew in a breath as he broke the masters’ seal and peeled back folds of black velvet. Within lay a leather-bound tome emblazoned with a blue eye, marking it a wizardly spellbook from the School of Illusion. A wicked grin crossed Grum’s face, for at that moment the tome was worth more to him than gold: at last a weapon to empower his intellect. He uttered a curse upon his overlords and in that instant turned renegade.
Now a runner in every sense, Grum stayed to the lesser-traveled passages, for the Nightclaws would no doubt send cabal enforcers to recover their merchandise and squelch his life. At Cutter’s Junction he retrieved a cache of one thousand coin from where he’d hid it behind a false wall. Fighting down panic, he steeled his resolve and gained the south outfall just past midnight. Moonlight streamed through the iron grille. The dwarf picked the lock with minimal effort, eased out under starry sky, and shuddered at being outside the sewers for the first time since his infancy. With a stalwart grunt, he shook off the disorientation and glared hard at the road ahead. It would be a long and treacherous journey to reach the asylum of Baldur’s Gate.
• Gain infamy among fellow miscreants along the Sword Coast.
• Amass a trove of riches even Abbathor would envy.
• Scribe a complete tome of all known spells of illusion. GOAL ACHIEVED
• Find and apprentice under a Master Illusionist.
• Form network connection with other vagabond merchants.
• Remain on the run from cabal agents who seek revenge.
*EDIT: Updated with new language.