Drunk-Cursed Bard: Drihn Foolmaker

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Here is my newest PC, a Dwarven bard who gained his powers through an interesting curse that has caused him to reform his life. He has an unending thirst for ale, but cannot taste it. When he drinks, people around him are affected (his powers).

The following background post is from the Sundered Hall adventuring company, which has periodic team strategy meetings. This is an LFR character.



===

Balek Orefinder runs the usual meeting, full of energy and purpose.
His fist slams the table as he reviews recent events, drow troop
movements, rumors of the location of gems made of pure elements, and
changes in Eartheart politics.

Finally, as the meeting comes to a close, he looks about. "I thought
there would be a new arrival to introduce. Hmmm. Perhaps he decided
not to come. A shame."

At those words the torches flicker and go out, leaving just the
torches in the hallway outside. A massive dwarven shadow stretches
into the room and across the wall opposite the entrance. And then, the
torches in the room flicker back to life. Standing in the doorway is a
somewhat short dwarf, merrily grinning at everyone's confusion.

The dwarf holds a sizable mug of ale in his left hand, from which he
has just drunk heartily. The dwarf has no visible weapons, but is
wearing tarnished chain mail. On his back he bears a small dirty
backpack with a sizable cask strapped atop.

"I know what yer thinking. What matter of loser be this that would
make a fool of ye? Heh. Truth is, I'm a friend, though it may not seem
like it from time to time. No doubt, we'll come to terms, though there
may be a good bit of the swearin' and the pushin' maybe even a blow or
two... build's teamwork, I be sure."

He walks to the table from which Balek has been holding the meeting.

"Me name is Drihn. Drihn Foolmaker. One of those Clan names that ye
don't get to pick, but everyone agrees ye should keep." He snorts.

"I've been asked to lead a squad or two. That's right. I said lead. I
didn't ask fer it and neither did ye, but it be the way of things. It
might help if I tell ye how we got here. That way, there won't be too
much confusion and we can get on with the part where ya say ye don't
want me leading and then we have a battle or two and ye learn to
listen. All easier if ye get why I be here, spilling blood and ale for
the Sundered Hall."

Drihn looks about in jest. "This is the right group, right?" No one
laughs.

Balek looks mortified. Clearly, this is not how he expected the
introduction to proceed.

He snorts in some air. "Heh. Very well. Here goes."

"It all started when I dumped the body into the dark ditch."

Gasps are heard and Drom starts to push forward. Drihn's hand goes up.
"Now, wait a minute. I be a changed dwarf. This is ancient history."

Drihn continues. "The body said, "Uhghhhhh," which, see, it weren't
s'posed to. "Unexpected," I said. So, I rolled the body back out.

The old crone lay still, you see. I shrugged, then started to roll her
back inta the ditch. A single bloodshot - and I be meaning, bloodshot
- eye flew open, gazing right at me... right into my soul.

"You..." she rasped, "you will pay for your treachery!" So, I said,
"Come now, I never broke our bargain," which was true. I would have
been laughing at her, 'cept there be something about that intense
one-eyed gaze and her voice that made me shiver.

She replied with a rasping whisper so full of malice I took a step
back. "I curse you, dwarf, I curse you!" Then she ceased moving or
wheezing, her eye frozen open. I look around. I looked the same and no
witnesses, so I shrugged and started rolling her back into the ditch."

Some more gasps from around the room. Drom mutters, "This better be
getting somewhere!"

Drihn continues. "Her rasping breath startled me, sending me back
sprawling into the dirt. I paused, considering my dagger... then ran.

Back at the tavern, I cursed the old woman back. It wasn't my fault
she was such a sap. But she had shaken me. I ordered ale after ale
until I put down an empty and saw a table filled with empties. I can
drink, ye see, but this was beyond normal. I called fer another drink,
and that's when I looked around. Me jaw dropped.

Half the tavern was on the ground or slumped over tables, passed out.
A few moved slowly, reeling. The barmaid, she was locking lips with
some farmer, the lucky, an elder couple was laughing as they went
through the till, and a member of the local militia was watering the
tavern's only plant... and not with an approved water source.

I watched fer a bit. Me unaffected, these wackos drunk as all get out.
I sampled the ale... it tasted watery, but it made me thirsty. So I
took a sip." Back at the table, Drihn drinks a bit more. There is
something to his tale that is compelling, despite the roughness in the
telling.

"As I finished the ale, the militia man dropped to the ground. One
more ale and they were all down... 'cept for the barmaid... she was a
vomiting something fierce... indeed.

From town to town, I confirmed my curse. Ale had lost its aroma and
flavor, not to mention its effect, but all near me seemed affected. I
made a load of coin that way, though I lost it just as sure.

Then, one day, I ended up in a crowded bar. Of all things, I ended up
elbow to elbow with a paladin. Somehow, I told him everything, and he,
quite merry, forgave me. Though he did it drunk, there was something
about it that was good, honest... that ye could look up to. So, when
he stumbled out the door and the toughs in the corner picked their
coats off the rack... I found myself following them out.

They were laying into the paladin but good. Inches from death, I'm
sure, blades stuck in him everywhere and the coin already in the
toughs' drunken hands. Out of nowhere, I start singing. Singing, fer
cryin' out loud! And as I sing, the paladin stands up, his wounds
closing. Then I drink from me mug, like a reflex, you see, and I yell
at one of the toughs about his mother... and he just stands there,
dumbfounded. The paladin grabs the imbecile's blade and before ye know
it they were apprehended and the paladin is thanking me. Ye'll never
guess what I did.

I puked. That's right. For the first time in months, I threw up all I
had had with more force than a wizard's bolt of power. Made quite a
mess, really.

And that's how I started making the revelation."

Drihn looks around, still seeing confusion. "I've got to help people.
That's the only way out of the curse. I've been given the power to
hurt, and to heal. If be making the right choices, my curse ebbs and
my life becomes normal. It took me a long time to learn to trust
others. Still not that good at it, mind ye, but I've found a voice
with which to lead others, even if it be a bellow; to heal, with a
drinking song; to find an opening in battle, perhaps when the enemy's
pants fall; to give a wounded companion some space to retreat, when
their opponent is suddenly inebriated.

Anyway, that's me story. That's how I came to be here. I'm sure I'm
not half as smart as yer warlords and most certainly not as wise or
strong as yer clerics, but I've got a knack for the right move at the
right time... and I carry a large cask of ale. Now you may be a
wonderin' why I came here. Why come to the aid of the Sundered Hall, a
tale I heard in a tavern leagues from here?"

Drihn steps back and clears his throat. A surprisingly delicate song
comes forth. It is a song everyone knows, a mournful ode to what has
happened. The kind of song that makes one feel old, for it has been
heard across the years at so many special occasions and carries with
it so many memories. And then the song changes and it is a song no one
has heard. It is a song of starting over and turning over a new leaf,
the kind that can make you feel young again and wish to take up an
instrument... as if one's whole life is still ahead, waiting to be lived.

And when Drihn ceases singing his mug is empty. Silent at last, he
takes a seat.
===

Teos Abadia
Drihn Foolmaker, Dwarven Bard of the Sundered Hall

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Read it. Loved it.

*raises glass to you* Here's to well spun tales about bards.
Thanks! This has been a joy to play so far.

Teos

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).