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High Plains Drifter

Your people hail from the wide-open prairies, plains, and steppes. With nothing larger than small villages dotting an otherwise bleak landscape, they thrive in an otherwise inhospitable world. One of your first memories was when you were given a pony and taught how to ride. In time, you outgrew the pony and claimed a warhorse, and it was from its back that you saw the world. In fact, aside from sleeping, there was little that you did that was not from your horse’s back. You relied on your horse to provide you with food, drink, transportation, and virtually every other thing needed in the harsh climate. Your horse was everything to you, but you did not keep it in the same way they do in the so-called civilized lands. You allowed your horse to roam, but because of the loving bond between you, it would come to you, much like a dog, when you whistled for it. Such was the way of the horse riders of the plains.

In all likelihood, it was war that drove you from the lands of your home. The plains and the steppes are harsh regions, where the temperatures are miserably hot during the summers, yet winters start early, end late, and are as cold as some of the coldest regions of the world. There are numerous clans of horse riders from the area, and cooperation between them was extremely rare. Most of the time there was a state of war between most of the clans, and their leaders plotted against one another as though they were fighting over the mightiest kingdoms of the mainland. You know how to fight from your horse’s back, and you knew how to fire a bow while controlling your mount with your legs. Your sense of balance was honed by years of constant training.

Civilization was strange to you at first—the notion that people would stay in one place in permanent structures that are surrounded by walls made of earth. The horses are restrained and trapped in cages instead of being allowed to run free. This is a world that makes no sense to you, and the larger the city, the more impossible it all seems to you.

Nevertheless, this is the world you live in now, and you have re-learned the things you thought you knew as a child.

Proficiencies

Skills Animal Handling, Survival
Tools: Artisan’s tools, and healer’s kit
Equipment: Backpack, bedroll, winter blanket, iron pot, heavy war horse, longsword, longbow, and a military saddle.

Feature: Sleep in the Saddle

You do everything from your horse. You fight, you hunt, you eat, and you can sleep. While you are traveling overland, you can take a short or long rest while mounted on your horse. The horse will continue to either travel straight in the direction you have already been riding or follow a trail (at your discretion). It will only stop if it encounters an enemy while traveling, or a natural barrier along your intended path, such as a river or a rockslide. When the horse’s path is blocked, it alerts you by waking you, and if you do not resume your sleep within a matter of minutes, you lose the benefits granted by the rest. Your horse can continue doing this for 1d4 days before stopping from exhaustion.

Suggested Characteristics

Perhaps because of your bond with your horse, city people find you a bit strange. It might be the fact that you tend to relate everything back to your horse, including the fact that you feel the need to get its approval of any potential romantic partners before starting a relationship. You occasionally joke publicly about how you intend to set all the horses free from their inhumane confinement in the stables. Other riders from the plains understand your point of view, but every civilized person you’ve ever spoken with finds your attachment to your horse unusual.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I can tell if you are virtuous or not based on how my horse reacts to you.
2 There are no riches greater than a healthy horse and the wide-open plains.
3 Making war is one of the main reasons we live. I ride into battle without fear.
4 I don’t trust folk from the city. I tolerate them because I must.
5 I have never smelled anything so foul as when I visited my first city.
6 I will not steal from you, but if you have something I need, I will battle you for it.
7 I never delighted in anything so much as when I came upon the cities.
8 I do not grow loud or angry when you cross me. I simply ride you down and kill you.
d6 Ideal
1

Trustworthy: If I tell you something, I mean it, and I will follow through to the best of my ability.

2 Adventure: Life is the ultimate adventure. I can’t wait to see what is over the next hill.
3 Compassion: How we treat the least of us is a statement about our worth as a person.
4 Growth: Being alive means changing based on our experiences.
5 Pleasure: There is no point to living if you cannot experience the pleasures life offers.
6 Loyalty: If I call you friend, I will be by your side until one of us has fallen.
d6 Bond
1 I am dedicated to my warlord. I may not be by his side, but I act in his interest.
2 I am not so close to any human being as I am to my horse, and this is how it should be.
3 I ran afoul of a dirty barbarian from another land. One of us will end up dead by the other’s hand.
4 During my time with the clan, I killed a villager with a family. I must atone for my offense.
5 I had a spouse, but she was murdered by another clan’s riders. I will see them dead by my hand before I die.
6 I owe a favor to the local lord’s heir, and I will see it paid before moving on.
d6 Flaw
1 I smell of horses, dirt, and smoke.
2 I promise only that I will make your death swift.
3 I do not value the lives of people who defile themselves by living in cities.
4 I have no need for social graces. It is your problem if I offend you.
5 We see a dog. You see a valued pet and companion. I see dinner.
6 I am not so optimistic as to think we will live long lives.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Battlemasters & Berserkers © 2021, Legendary Games; Author Darrin Drader.

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