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Hillfolk

You were born far away from civilization, in a region where game might not have been plentiful but was not so rare that you could not gather food. Simply living from day to day was a constant struggle. There were lean times, and whether your group was a family of homesteaders or a clan of many villages, times would come when you failed to kill— or sometimes even find—your prey, but you were tempered by your hunger, and it made you tougher, more ferocious, and more determined to win the next time you faced your prey. When the hunt went well, food was plentiful, and you honored the spirits of the animals that died in celebration around the evening fire. You never lost sight of the fact that the animal was sacrificed so you could live, and you always maintained a healthy respect, and even love for the animal, using every part that you could.

You and your people were not alone in the wilderness. Rivals lived within miles of you and often tried to hunt the same prey, seeking to take what would sustain you and your kin in a harsh existence, or what you deemed should have been yours by birth. This would lead to raiding and feuds, sometimes with an unspoken agreement that the goal behind hostilities was not to kill one another, but to take (or take back) what you had managed to acquire. It sometimes turned lethal and anger brewed, but more often than not it was a game you played. On occasion the elders from both sides would broker a peace and you would briefly come together for feasting, celebrations, and for the young adults to find their mates.

What caused you to leave your people? For some hillfolk, it is simply wanderlust; the desire to see what lies away from the cold hills and lake country, the forested mountain valleys, or the wide rolling prairie plateaus in which they live. Maybe you wanted to see the gold and splendors you had only heard whispers of. In other cases, it was something more serious, such as armies from so-called civilized lands invading your territory and killing your people. To get revenge, you needed to follow them back to their cities where you would be forced to learn the ways of civilization so you could fit in and survive while you flushed your enemy out into the open.

Along the way, people would appreciate you for your toughness and martial prowess. People who are much weaker than you could think of ways to use you for their own ends and compensate you somewhat fairly. Competent hillfolk also make competent mercenaries, bodyguards, trackers, or even thieves, and in little time you were drawn into numerous conflicts and affairs that you had no real stake in. But you took the work, because work meant gold, and gold meant survival in a foreign place that could be deadly and wicked to you. In little time, the power brokers and the nobles noticed you for your efforts, and they offered more jobs with higher pay.

By now, you have learned to live in society or near it, but you often return to the wilderness. It might be the same wilderness where you grew up, or it might be strange wilderness far away, that is much hotter or colder, with animals unlike those you hunted early in life. Even so, your hunting skills have not dulled, and your ability to survive off the land is as strong as it ever has been. Sometimes people hire you to guide them on long journeys, which you are happy to oblige since it takes you through places where you feel more at peace.

Proficiencies

Skills Athletics, Stealth
Tools: Artisan’s tools, Smith’s tools
Equipment: Backpack, bedroll, waterskin, traveler’s clothes or animal hide garments, soft boots

Feature: Infamy

Any time you spend more than a few days in an area, you tend to attract the curiosity and attention of the local people. Despite the attention, you are often not looked upon favorably. While many wish to exploit you for your strength, many simply fear you, and if you take on a job for someone who is less than well-liked, many come to resent and fear you. Despite this, you can use your infamy to your advantage.

Because you have a reputation for brutality, you can settle some confrontations without resorting to violence simply by intimidating your potential foes.

Suggested Characteristics

Some call you melancholy. Your silent yet baleful glare is more intimidating than any words you might utter, yet when you do speak, you choose your words carefully to maximize the importance of what you have to say. Despite the fact that you are from the wilderness, you are not simple, nor are you simply spoken. You are perfectly capable of carrying on a regular conversations and negotiation with civilized folk… assuming that you desire to, which is often not the case.

Despite this, you are also someone of great mirth and spirit.

You delight in the joys of drink, celebration, and meeting those you might wish to know romantically. You are skeptical of those you don’t know, but once someone has won your friendship, you are as loyal as anyone alive.

d8 Personality Trait
1 City dwellers think I’m simple. Their mistake. But I know I can’t trust them.
2 It’s not the number of foes who stand against me, but the number of bodies I’ll leave dead on the field.
3 Drink deep from the cup of life, for we only live once and we’ll never be back this way again.
4 Challenge me and it will be the last mistake you make.
5 Cities are filled with false magnificence, for the towers, halls, and buildings cannot compare to the majesty of the mountains, trees, and rivers.
6 I fear no man, nor beast, nor monster, for the worst they can do is kill me, and death is not a thing to be feared.
7 Gods are powerful, but they care not for the concerns of men.
8 Nothing is better than seeing your enemies slain on the field of battle.
d6 Ideal
1 Authority: I don’t trust your authority, but I’ll accept it so long as you’re honorable. Cross me and you’re no better than a beggar.
2 Determination: You might die trying, but you didn’t lose if you never gave up.
3 Love: Unlock my heart and I shall put you above all others in this life.
4 Reputation: Why should I care what others think of me so long as I live as I wish?
5 Clan: The clan are my people. I might have left them, but I shall always honor them, and I’ll return to them and fight for them should the day come that I’m needed.
6 Friendship: I have little use for most people, but if you prove to me your worthy, I’ll fight and die by your side.
d6 Bond
1 I serve only those I pledge my loyalty to, and that is not an easy thing to earn.
2 I feel closer to the animals I hunt and derive sustenance from than I am to other people.
3 I ran afoul of an honorless mercenary from another land. Our paths will cross again, and one of us will not walk away.
4 During a raid on another clan, I accidentally killed a brave young man who was protecting his family. I have taken them on as my responsibility.
5 I could move on and earn more gold, but there are downtrodden here I must protect.
6 I am here to avenge the death of a clan mate.
d6 Flaw
1 People dislike the smell of me.
2 I am quick to anger, and I need little encouragement to fight.
3 People who group together in the filth of cities disgust me.
4 If you care not for my words, you’ll care less for my blade.
5 Give me roasted meat on the bone and I care not what you think of my decorum.
6 I steal from the wealthy, but I don’t bother being stealthy about it.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

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

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