Children of Westcrown
Surly dwarven ranger, brother of Kazmik
5th level dwarven ranger with favored enemy of Human. Died trying to save the foolish halfling.
My name is Mak son of Harron blood of Kazran. I was born in Cheliax in an inn and boarding house run by my parents. My birth was in a troubled time. The god of the Cheliax had died causing much commotion in these lands. For the first four years of my life and the previous thirty years before this turmoil was a boon. My parent’s inn is in the Halikarnossos Hills south of the Longmarch Road. It stands at the end of a trail from the Longmarch across from a supply store run by my uncle Lark. The patrons of this business are dwarven explorers who search the hills for relics and gold. While the noble houses fought no one collected taxes or enforced laws. They could not spare the forces for a small outpost serving a wide flung population.
On my fifth birthday a small force rode to our outpost. My father and uncle and a few of the elder explorers spoke with them. They were from a noble house called Thrune and claimed that they now ruled. They demanded taxes. Uncle Lark asked for some time to discuss the situation. The leader of these men, an ugly hunchbacked fellow, said that there would be not discussion. Pay the taxes now or he would order the inn and store burned to the ground.
By this time some of the boarders had come out and were pulling out weapons. My mother rushed my sisters and I into our bolt hole behind the inn. As we entered the hole I heard shouts and dwarves running in all directions. As they ran they pointed to the sky.
Up there in the sky was something my father later called a demon. It was small but threw fire. Arrows bounced off its body. The commotion died down quickly. When I saw my Uncle later he had a bad cut on his face. Father told mother that they had to pay all their saved gold in taxes and fines. My Mother and sisters wept.
Every year since then that hunchback and some soldiers have come for the taxes. Father and Uncle pay him and send him on his way. These heavy taxes have made it hard for us to save more money to go home.
About twenty years after Thrune took over my brother Mik was born. He had a talent for words and rules. I was too busy with weapons to bother reading. Once he learned to read common he started to read a lot of human books. Soon he was reading something called the Codex of Taxes and Laws, left by the hunchback on one of his trips. Turns out that hunchback fellow had been keeping a few secrets from us. There were ways to reduce the tax burden. First among those was service to the government.
So Mik and I volunteered for tax reducing service at the nearest station on the Longmarch road. The hunchback, Lord Jacksloan, put us to work hunting down human brigands and tax evaders. It was hard and dangerous work but we learned a lot. The most important thing we learned is that Thrune brooked no dissent.
The last service we took was against some infamous brigands who killed a dwarven family on the Longmarch. I tracked them down and we killed them all. As was allowed under the rules of service, good old Mik and that Codex, we checked their camp and bodies for things we were entitled to loot. Among their papers we found a holy book for a god named Abadar. Further investigation showed that these people were not brigands but worshippers of this Abadar who were trying to overthrow the house of Thrune. There was no proof of their alleged misdeeds We returned to Lord Jacksloan and got our voucher upon submitting proof of our work. Then we went home.
Mik read the book of Abadar and converted to his worship. We traveled to Westcrown and saw that the worship of this Asmodeus was the root cause of all these troubles. That house Thrune and its devil worship was the greatest ill of the land. In two years here we have seen people disappear and no one wishes to even speak of it. It is as if they had never existed. It makes the relative freedom of the hinterlands look exciting. We cannot be the only ones who chafe under the rule of Thrune.
We search now for like minded beings to assist us.
The wisdom of Uncle Lark
A wooden fort isn’t any kind of fort at all. If the enemy can burn your fort you might as well save the gold and make it out of straw.
Fool an enemy once and they will think you lucky. Fool them twice and they will think you clever. Fool them three times and they will always doubt themselves.
Use a camp one night and you should be safe. Use a camp a second night and the enemy will cut your throat.
When fighting many opponents put your back to something solid. Otherwise the next solid thing you feel will be a blade.
A dwarf should always have a longbow. If you can shoot an enemy from 500 feet away then it does not matter how long your legs are.
Dwarven backs are strong so carry more rations than you need. One day when everyone else runs out of food you will be glad you carried the extra weight.
Drink good ale. Your stomach will thank you. If you can only find poor ale then drink good liquor. If you can find neither good liquor or beer then find a new town.
One goblin is fun. Two goblins are a work out. Three goblins should be turned into two goblins as quickly as possible. Four goblins is a scouting party. Get help.
An Orc is no good. Half an Orc is better. If you are starting out with half an Orc then split him into his human and Orc halves. The human half is the head.
If you want a decent burial then get killed in the summer.
If you want to show a someone that your intentions are serious then bury your axe in his face. Have another weapon at hand because if you don’t kill him then you are not likely to get that axe back very quickly. Unless he wants to show you he is serious too.
Do not mess with dead things except to make sure they really are dead.
Never use a weapon smarter than you. It never end well for you.
Don’t love gold more than your own life. Soon you will have no gold and no life.
The folk lore of Kazmak
Don’t count your gold before it is mined.
Salt stops devils but not demons.
Surrounding your camp with rope keeps out snakes and bears.
Drunk to sleep a track you will not keep. Drunk to lunch you can track on a hunch.
If a track disappears look for a tree. If you seen tree look in the sky. If the sky is clear watch for a blade because the sonofabitch is invisible and possibly flying too.
Wolves love liver jerky, they will take any jerky, on no account feed them jerky you took from orcs. They will bite your hand to get the taste out of their mouths.
Human men are exceptionally stupid. Put a pretty woman on the other side of a camp and the guards on your side will soon disappear.
Always remember that humans can’t see in the dark. Do not forget that orcs can see in the dark. Screwed that up once and got an axe in my face for my trouble.
Talking to an enemy usually does not resolve situations. You have to show them you are serious.
Do not stand in the firelight if someone shoots arrows at your camp.