About Aurica Firehand
Though the heritage of dwarves is from the earth, the red dwarves have taken well to surface life and to the woods, the open air, the running brook through the forest, and Aurica Firehand especially so. As soon as she could walk, she was off climbing rocks, trees, and anything else that promised to offer her a good view of what lay over the next hill, beyond the next valley.
Taught the ways of the wood by her father and mother, who worked as furriers and hunters, Aurica was encouraged in her desire to explore the uncharted woods. Her parents had little love for the ever-expanding industrialization of Tarsus, and through Aurica's childhood they continued to move-- pushing on deeper into more pristine woods, always trying to stay ahead of the newest lumber town or mining camp. Though they traded with society for essentials, they encouraged self-sufficiency in Aurica as much as they could... and neglected her education in many of the things some might take as necessary for a civilized person. As a result, Aurica is somewhat under-educated about the world-- she reads with some difficulty, can only do very basic sums, and has little comprehension of world culture, politics, or science. She is not stupid, but she is ignorant when outside her sphere.
Still, in nature, she is at home, and competent. She knows how to hunt, track, skin her kills, make a camp, survive cold weather and hot, find clean water, map wild lands... She spent much of her youth making solo treks into Breck's woods, with her parents' full encouragement. On one such exploration, when she was still in the dwarven equivalent of her teen years, led her to scale a high cliff face... where she found a nest or gargantuan proportions. In the nest were three eggs so big she could barely get her arms around one.
Thrilled beyond words at her discovery, Aurica painstakingly fashioned a harness out of her climbing rope and lowered one of the eggs back to ground level. She took it home, eager to show off her find-- only to be roundly scolded by her parents for stealing the young of a creature for no better purpose than her own pride. To hunt and to use was worthy, but to take simply to take was irresponsible. The egg could not be returned now that it had her scent on it, and likely the bird within would die, now.
Chastened, Aurica promised she would do whatever it took to raise the bird. She sought out a falconer of her parents' acquaintance and apprenticed under him for two months, during which time she kept the egg near her body as much as possible to keep it incubated. When the rocling hatched, Aurica handfed it raw, ground meat softened in warm milk... and began the serious undertaking of trying to raise a bird that would ultimately outgrow her.
The roc, which she named Austru, was a hard creature to handle. The tasks instinctive from mother bird to baby bird were almost impossible for a young dwarf-woman to carry out-- how was she to teach him flying, hunting, and other such things? Feeling responsible now for the bird, Aurica prayed often to Ferrenus, the Lady of Air, for the wisdom and insight to raise one of her special children... and Ferrenus answered, giving Aurica the ability to cast a few basic magics that would help her keep up with the bird, calm him when he was upset, and heal his injuries.
Austru is still not fully grown, but he is an impressive creature all the same: the size of a man now, taller than Aurica at his full height. As he grows, so grows his appetites, his needs, and the money it takes to maintain him. Though Aurica hunts for meat to feed him, there are still costs associated with a bird so large, and dangers, too-- as farmers justifiably tend to worry about a creature that looks like it would like to carry off whole goats or cattle. Aurica has decided she needs a combination of both money, and unsettled lands-- places where Austru can hunt and spread his wings without fear of a farmer's arrow or a guardsman's gun.... but places where she can make coin as well, to pay for things like barding and animal-training tools.
It's a hard combination to find, for where there is money, there are usually people. But... an expedition needing a scout... why, that's just the thing.
Aurica is honest to the point of bluntness, stubborn, and rather naive. She has a vague ingrained distrust of big organizations and authority, brought on by overhearing too many dark mutterings from her parents about cities and city folk. The intricacies of social situations can easily confuse her-- she expects people to say what they mean, and mean what they say, and is accordingly an easy mark for the deceitful. The advanced science of guns and aetheric generators and all the rest of it might as well be magic to her, for her parents avoided such things and she's only seen them in action since coming to the Big City to join the expedition.
While she definitely leans towards the 'good' side of the moral spectrum, and disapproves instinctively of the cruelty that sentient creatures can be capable of, Aurica has the moral pragmatism of someone whose life has been shaped by exposure to nature. Nature can be beautiful, and it can also be brutal. If you come across someone in the woods who's in a bad spot because they didn't plan or prepare well enough, well... you can help them, sure-- up to the extent where it won't hurt your own chances for survival. Sometimes the world is kill-or-be-killed.
She prides herself on not needing help from others, which she sees as weakness. She's determined to earn her keep and her pay. She is simultaneously confident about her ability to get by in the wild, but insecure about being thought of as 'stupid' by more cultured people, which is likely to only increase as she becomes fully aware of how much she doesn't know about the rest of the world. Aurica's innate curiosity about new places extends, in measure, to new people as well, but will run up against her slightly-awkward attempts at socialization.
Aurica stands four feet tall and is on the rangy side for a dwarf, not that most non-dwarves would notice this. She has tanned, weathered skin, red-brown hair, and brown eyes... all the coloring of an autumn leaf. She is dressed in sensible browns and dull greens, usually-- heavy boots, sturdy breeches, and a loose woolen tunic which she wears over her well-made armor, to hide any flash of reflective light that might give her away in the woods. A quiver of arrows is slung at one hip and her bow is never too far from her hand. A pack stuffed near to bulging carries more gear than most humans would bother with, but then, Aurica's been told they'll have to make do out in this strange new land, and has accordingly tried to pack EVERYTHING she might possibly need.
+1 lamellar (steel) armor
mwk composite longbow (+2 Str)
silver light mace
-regular arrows 100/100
-cold iron arrows 50/50
-durable arrows 10/10
Scrolls - stored in watertight scroll box
Other Gear animal call, blanket, block and tackle, canteen, cards, charcoal stick, clay, cold weather outfit, crowbar, earplugs, fishhook, flint and steel, grappling hook, hammock, hip flask, hot weather outfit, iron spike (2), magnet, mapmaker's kit, masterwork artisan's tools, masterwork backpack, mirror, powder (5), saddlebags, saw, scroll box, sewing needle, shovel, signal whistle, silk rope (50 ft.), soap, string or twine, tent, large, thread (50 ft.), torch, trail rations (10), vial, waterproof bag, weapon cord, whet bone, wrist sheath (spring-loaded; holds dagger), 6.5 sp, 9 cp (-187.5 GP has alread been deducted towards a wand)
Animal Companion (animal companion (roc named Austru)) (Ex) If no current companion, summon nature's ally spells last 1 min/level but only 1 at a time.
Animal Companion Link (Ex) You have a link with your Animal Companion.
Animal Focus (3 minutes/day) (Su) As a swift action, gain bonuses from emulated animal(s). If no companion, +1 slots.
Antitoxin If you drink a vial of antitoxin, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poison for 1 hour.
Neutralize Poison (M): Add +2 on your caster level check to neutralize poison on a target creature. Antitoxin has no effect when you cast the spell on an object.
Armor Expert -1 Armor check penalty.
Child of Nature (Knowledge [nature]) +2 Survival to find food and water, +1 Knowledge (Nature), and one of these is a class skill.
Cold weather outfit +5 Fort save vs. cold weather.
Craftsman +2 on Craft/Profession checks related to metal/stone.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Defensive Training +4 Gain a dodge bonus to AC vs monsters of the Giant subtype.
Earplugs +2 save vs. hearing effects, -5 hearing-based Perception.
Grounded +2 trait bonus on balance-related Acrobatics checks.
Hatred +1 Gain a racial bonus to attacks vs Goblinoids/Orcs.
Hot weather outfit +2 Fort vs. Hot Weather (does not stack with Survival skill's bonuses)
Hunter Tactics (Ex) Animal companion also gains the bonus teamwork feats, but doesn't need to meet pre-reqs.
Lookout Not surprised if adj ally with same feat isn't surprised. Extra actions if both are aware.
Mapmaker's kit +2 Circumstance for Survival to avoid becoming lost.
Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Precise Shot You don't get -4 to hit when shooting or throwing into melee.
Share Spells with Companion (Ex) Can cast spells with a target of "you" on animal companion, as touch spells.
Steel Soul Hardy's save vs. spells and spell-like abilities becomes +4
Stonecunning +2 +2 bonus to Perception vs. unusual stonework. Free check within 10 feet.
Track +1 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.
Unlearned (Knowledge [nature]) You cannot attempt untrained checks with knowledge skills other than the one selected.
Weapon cord Attached weapon can be recovered as a swift action.
Wild Empathy +3 (Ex) Improve the attitude of an animal, as if using Diplomacy.
Austru, a roc:
N Medium animal
Init +5; Senses low-light vision; Perception +9
AC 22, touch 15, flat-footed 17 (+5 Dex, +7 natural)
hp 15 (-3)
Fort +2, Ref +8, Will +2
Defensive Abilities evasion
Speed 20 ft., fly 80 ft. (average)
Melee bite +7 (1d6+1), 2 talons +7 (1d4+1)
Str 13, Dex 20, Con 9, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 11
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 18
Feats Lookout[APG], Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Finesse
Tricks Air Support, Attack, Attack, Attack Any Target, Bombard, Deliver, Down, Hunt, Stay, Watch
Skills Acrobatics +5 (+1 to jump), Perception +9, Stealth +9
SQ air support, animal focus, attack any target, bombard, deliver, down, hunt, stay, watch
Air Support [Trick] An animal trained in air support knows the attack, bombard, and deliver tricks.
Animal Focus (Su) As a swift action, gain bonuses from emulated animal(s).
Attack Any Target [Trick] The animal will attack any creature on command.
Bombard [Trick] Drops item on designated point or opponent.
Deliver [Trick] Delivers item to indicated point or person.
Down [Trick] The animal will break off combat on command.
Evasion (Ex) No damage on successful reflex save.
Flight (80 feet, Average) You can fly!
Hunt [Trick] Hunts or forages for food to bring to handler.
Lookout Not surprised if adj ally with same feat isn't surprised. Extra actions if both are aware.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Stay [Trick] The animal will stay where it is.
Watch [Trick] Stands watch over designated area.