"Hello. My name is Angie Lightwalker. I am pleased to meet you. I am a cleric and worship Pelor, but I am fascinated by the Nideism faith and intend to study it while in Trudvang."
"I am in my mid-twenties and am studying the link between divinity and the Arcane. While in seminary school i developed a hypothesis that all magical arcana have their origins in the divine. I performed many experiments under laboratory conditions which seemed to bear this out, however none of the experiments yielded dispositive results. I soon came to appreciate that there were no controlled experiments capable of providing me with unassailable proof of my hypothesis. So, for the last few years I have been exploring different jurisdictions and municipalities in the hopes of finding some dispositive proof of the link between divinity and the arcane or an idea of where I might acquire or how I might construct an experiment to provide such proof."
"People tell me I'm beautiful, and I think people might treat me better than they otherwise would because of my natural aesthetics. I try not to take advantage of people, but spurning people's offers of assistance can offend people and lead to deleterious outcomes for everybody. I can be a very good friend and am always available if a friend needs help."
You see a large, hairless humanoid with mottled brown skin, blue eyes. He is 7'6", 300 lbs and is wearing light clothing, but no armor. He has jutting eyebrow ridge and a wide jaw and carries a greataxe, with a pair of handaxe on his belt. He also carries a small colored, treated wool pouch around his neck. He carries smith's tools as well to remember his roots, but he also knows how to use them.
"My name is Thokein Kalukakanu. I am into fairness and hard drink. I have traveled a bit after my checkered past with my friend Bretwin, a hill dwarf cleric of Moradin, earning my third name 'Stonestalker' as I followed a dwarf. I left so I could channel my rage into battle instead of--other options. A strange old hermit prophesied that I am destined for great things, so I must continue to do bigger and better things in an attempt to fulfill the prophecy."
As you enter the forest, you see a camp and a short man. His short stout built fools you to believe he is a dwarf until he notices you. His gleaming blue eyes shine as he welcomes you to his campfire.
"Come to join the bonfire, there is plenty of room for visitors. The name is Gobbler, but my friends call me Gob. Haven't had a drink in a while in the forest. It's hard getting ale around these parts of the land. The animals are good company, but I need some "real" company once in a while. *sigh* " [Summary: Likes good ale and women]
"I was on my way to town when I noticed that there were bandits pillaging the place. I didn't run, no I didn't. I grabbed my longbow and felled each bandit one by one as my arrows pierced them like javelins. The people were kind enough to lend me an empty shack once in a while when I come to visit them." [Summary: Brave, and Folk Hero feat.]
You inspect the halfling... He is 3 foot 5 inches with a dense weight of 60 lbs. His skin complexity is fair which is uncommon with halflings. He is wearing leather armor with arrows quivered on his rear. He wields a longbow despite his small stature and two short swords on both his hips for close combat.
An unusual sight wanders into the light of the fire. Some strange creature. Unreasonably tall. Very thin, with arms that seem just a bit too long. It wears plain clothes. But its skin is a soft gray. You can’t quite tell, but it looks like bark. Its eyes are soft and round, but there is no pupil, they glow a soft pale green.
*In a soft reedy voice, with a barely audible whir*
"Hello, I am Healer."
“I have spent years unremembered wandering the wild places. Listening to the chorus of the trees. Following the winding path of the river as it cuts through the land. I have met many strange creatures.”
“I am skilled in herblore, and the crafting of medicines. I will always work to heal the injured and sick. That is how I found a name. The people called me Healer, so Healer I became.”
“I do not know my purpose, but I think I will find it in this big wide world. Now that I have decided to look. Although, I am sure I cannot find it alone."
Somewhere on the outskirts of Waterdeep towards the end of Highsun, a traveling story teller weaves a tale from a foreign land before the patrons of the Seven Points Tavern. This day you happen to be one of these patrons, having stopped on your way to the splendid city of Waterdeep for a respite from your travels. The storyteller’s exuberance peaks your interest and you lift your head from your pint of cloudy chilled cider to listen...
Untold ages ago, Enken the god of nature and the protector of animals, gifted a seed of copper oak to a man from the West of Trudvang. He tasked the man with finding the perfect place to plant the seed, so that it would grow and provide a home to plants and animals alike. The seed was special because from it a particular type of forest grew, one in which the trees were living beings, and their wisdom was the source for innermost magic. After a long journey East, the man found a new land that reminded him of his homeland. Its rock-filled soil smelled the same. Its cold, fresh winds blew with the same power, and the mountains that towered in the west of this new land had the same beautiful lines as the mountains that he carried in his heart. In this place, he sowed the seed of copper oak.
The man named this new place Wildheart and for thousands of seasons it grew at a leisurely pace and watched the world pass by. Heroes came and heroes went, and the oldest trees in the forest became older and older, without anyone really noticing. Wars eventually came one after another, and burial cairns were raised between the mighty tree trunks. The suppressed and the religious were driven into the shadows of the forest. There, statues and temples were raised for new gods. And there, powers of dark and light were called upon. But nothing seemed to faze Wildheart. The forest watched as everything faded away to become one more of the many memories it carried.
But then came the day when Wildheart got a taste for blood. Dragon blood.
In the past, the forest had been beautiful to behold. The wanderers who walked its paths were full of wonder over the grandness of the forest, and swore by its beauty. Loneliness turned Wildheart hard, and the blood that ran down into its soil wore down its dreams, just like the ocean’s waves wear down the edges of the cliffs. With the blood came greed and hatred. With these two came evil and bitterness. One fed the other, and Wildheart grew stronger on what was brought to its borders.
Now, few dare to venture below the forest’s embracing branches. None return.
For as long as the inhabitants of the east can remember, the myth and enigma of Wildheart have grown ever stronger. Around warm fires and encompassing darkness, you can hear the story of Wildheart in most homes. No one knows its full power and secret. Some speak of buried treasure, others of ancient settlements filled with magic and trolls. But, most whisper of malicious death that devours the soul of the wanderer...
The storyteller ends his tale with a bow, the patrons of the Seven Points applaud, and he retires to a corner booth to enjoy some of the inns summer bounties.
The four of you are seated on benches around a worn communal wooden table. The patrons of the Seven Points have returned to their merriments and are releasing a steady steam of laughter into the warm air, but each of you is a traveler and have known only your own company for quite some time. The atmosphere of the tavern excites each of you and you decide to introduce yourselves to one another.
Angie has a huge smile and her eyes are open so wide they look like they may pop. She is clutching her ale with both hands and leaning over the mug as she looks around in excitement.
"I've been traveling the world in search of myths and mysteries about magic. So far I haven't really found what I'm looking for, but I've only just started traveling a couple years ago. I was just here to spend a night in a warm room with people, but that bard's story is improbably relevant to my search. If these magical trees he mentioned are non-deific sources of magic, that would disprove my hypothesis and be just the dispositive evidence I am looking for. I think I've finally got a lead"
Angie is almost bouncing with excitement. With an almost physical effort she drags her attention back from her theoretical musings and looks to the others at the table. She laughs melodically.
"I got carried away there for a moment. It's just so exciting. So, what about the rest of you?"
"My studies tend to indicate that there is usually a modicum of truth in every story. The only way to know for sure is to verify with personal experience. Multiple witnesses are preferable to increase objectivity."
Angie takes a long drink from her mug and looks at Thokein over the rim with a glint in her eyes. Then she turns that glint on the rest of the table.
A few minutes go by, then a pretty looking human barmaid in a tight fitted white blouse brings you all another round. As she places four leather cups on the table the smell of lavender and warm honey rises pleasantly towards you. The barmaid giggles as she places Thokein‘s mead in front of him and says, “ThedrinkshasbeenseentobythegentlemanbardmeLord.” She blushes, then scurries back behind the bar. You all look at Thokein, then towards the storyteller who gives you a beckoning nod.
Harharhar! Big words for a young lass like you. The name is Gobbler, been living in the forest for a while now. I've seen many trees, but never! I say never have I seen magical trees like the ones in the forest. Just a folktale that bard is spouting.
He takes a big chug of his mead. Then, he turns to Healer.
Ahh! Been wanting some mead for some time now. Came here for some good drinks and warm beds. Can't live in the forest forever. Drives a man insane, you know.
The storyteller raises an eyebrow and gestures to the large empty space in the booth around him. You get the sense that he intentionally sat in a private corner away from the rest of the patrons. You also gather that he is not the type to be at another’s beck and call, it seems he is rather used to it being the other way around.
Up close you get a better look at the storyteller. You see that he is a middle aged human with blond pleated braids, a bushy blonde brow, and a lavishingly long blonde mustache that curls and hangs down well past his chin. The light reflects off of silver beads interwoven in his pleats and the ends of his mustache. He wears a worn leather jerkin, a thick mottled brown leather belt with a large buckle, and what looks like a gorget of copper color. He exudes an air of confidence and the gleam in his clear blue eyes reveal great wisdom. He studies you for a moment, before saying “Hmm, not what I was expecting, but I think you and your friends will do.”