Last November, I began playing Dungeons & Dragons for the first time. I took on the mantle of Dungeon Master. It was both challenging and fun, but the entire time I was running the campaign with my friends I wanted to be playing a character. I think this is part of the reason I introduced so many NPCs into my campaign, to give me characters to act out.
Anyway, as my first campaign comes to a close, I will be handing over the DM duties to one of the players in my campaign. We’ll be switching spots, and I’m stupidly eager to actually get to play a character of my own. After seeing my friends play and creating my own NPCs, I feel I have a solid sense of how and what to build. I also realize as a first time player I ought to do something relatively simple–meaning direct and uncomplicated.
I decided to make a half-orc barbarian, Cade Talar.
This image is a commissioned work of another player’s character, but it’s the best representation I could find for how I see my character.
Cade has white hair (the sides shaved to the skin) and scruff of a beard, his skin is more grey than green, he’s less of a Hulk or Warcraft orc leaning more towards his human side as tall and slender (yet still much bigger than your average human), he has one tusk that looks a bit like a snaggle-tooth, and as a barbarian he wears very simple leather strap armor crossing over his chest. However, he does like to wear proper clothes as he carries with him traveler and common clothes. Usually, he’s draped in a deep blue cloak with a silver-lined hood.
For this upcoming campaign, the DM wanted us all to make level 5 characters. I decided to use that in order to include some aspects I wanted to have the option to use but really couldn’t as a barbarian. So, I multi-classed Cade. He’s a fourth level barbarian and first level wizard. What spells I’ve given him I refer to as my ‘Jedi tricks.’ They’re really nothing more than functional cheats for survival so I think they work well with Cade’s backstory.
Speaking of, here is what I’ve come up with for Cade Talar:
The year is 1494 DR. Cade Talar, a half-orc wanderer, arrives on the continent of Osse and its large port city of New Adtham (the DM has model this city on Discworld’s Ankh-Morpork).
While not an outcast, Cade never felt a part of his village or clan. He took to wandering to find his own path and create a family of friends. The son of a human mother (Ello Nykopp) and orc father (Zhamon Talar), Cade was raised among his father’s tribe in Faerun. However, just before his birth (1464), his father died. Cade’s mother was an Ice Hunter from the Sea of Moving Ice. Because she was Uluik, she taught Cade Dwarvish but in the Kurit dialect. Thus, Cade fluently speaks Dwarvish but with an Arctic Dwarf accent. His father was a Gray Orc originally from a clan north of Moonsea in Thar. Cade’s father’s clan was nearly wiped out by rival orc clans. Surviving members decided to move to the Evermoors of Many-Arrows, a more civilized area where they thought they could live an easier life. In Many-Arrows, Cade’s father’s clan melded into another. Cade’s father went on exploration, hunting, and raiding campaigns in the Spine of the World Mountains and Icewind Dale. During this time, he met Cade’s mother in Bryn Shander. Cade’s father brought her into his new clan because she was pregnant with Cade and expelled by her own community. Ironically, Cade’s father was killed in a battle with a rival warring orc clan leaving his wife to raise Cade alone among orcs.
It was hard for his mother, but she earned the respect of the tribe. The mother and son lived with the tribe, however Cade was always reminded he wasn’t a true orc. His mother was intelligent and gifted teaching him rudimentary magic and a love of learning. In his late teens, Cade’s mother died of illness. Feeling no further tie to the tribe, he left from the port of Luskan and no one seemed to mind (1481).
Living alone through his young adult years, Cade pondered many faiths not so much looking for something to believe in or belong to but to understand how best to fit in the world around him. He lived apart from community, although he would always lend aid while on the road or wandering through the wild. Encountering a myriad of people, he came to venerate the god Shaundakul realizing the greatest truth to be found in experiencing as much of the world as possible and helping others do so in their own way.
Spread the teachings of the Helping Hand by example. Work to promote him among traders, especially trailblazers who seek out new lands and new opportunities. Unearth and resanctify ancient shrines of Shaundakul. Ride the wind, and let it take you wherever it blows. Aid those in need, and trust in the Helping Hand. Seek out the riches of the earth and sea. Journey to distant horizons. Be the first to see the rising sun, the mountain peaks, the lush valleys. Let your footsteps fall where none have tread.
This came from traveling with a ranger of The Riders of the West Wind while working a protection job, who taught him much about the faith. He realized the deity’s philosophy was the best path for him to be fully who he was but still give back. Cade decided to leave Faerun to explore the unknown parts of the world as part of his devotion to the philosophy of Shaundakul, which is why he has arrived on the continent of Osse.
Cade believes in collective good and egoism or selfishness is morally wrong, however he hates authoritarianism or rules just for the sake of rules. He often will have to suppress his rage when presented with needless bureaucracy, mindless ritual, or unquestioned custom. He loves to have in-depth conversations and is a secret lover of literature. He has an intense dislike of insects–the weirder looking the more they freak him out and set him off. He also prefers anonymity. He’s grossly uncomfortable when the center of attention so he tries to stay away from crowds (slight agoraphobia) and keep a low profile. He follows the Path of the Totem Warrior carrying with him a small figurine of a badger, his totem animal, he carved from the bones of his one and only pet, a badger named Horace.
I’m considering role-playing Cade with a gravely Tom Waits voice and to make him kinda out-there like Waits. In fact, I decided to make a playlist of Tom Waits songs embodying Cade. Here’s the link to listen:
As a wanderer, Cade is less a brute barbarian and more of just a far, outer realms outsider. He’s seen quite a lot and been over a good portion of the known world. His time mostly kept to himself, he tend to mumble and talk to himself a lot. However, he’s very discerning with good instincts and intuition.
Hopefully, I play him well enough that he survives joining an Adventurers’ Guild in this massive new city on a remote, unexplored continent. Anywits, I think it’ll be fun…