About Brother Tomlin
Updates for 6th Lv: +1 Rank to: Stealth, Acrobatics, Bluff, Escape Artist, Perception, Know Local, Sense Motive, Disguise and Alchemy; added Ninja Trick Darkvision, gained +1 Ki Point, gained class skills Light Steps (full mv in difficult terrain) and No Trace+2
Appearance: Standing just over 3’ tall and weighing a lithe 60 pounds, Tomlin is wiry but quite athletic. A usually messy mop of sandy brown hair accompanies eyes of a similar color. Clothing tends to the simple yet practical, but when on missions he wears all black, loose-fitting clothing and his silver holy symbol. In disposition he is a study in contrasts. Among friends and family, he maintains the façade of his younger days: a friendly, hard-working yet distracted and daydreamy type who is content with a good song and a better ale. His comrades in The Friends know the man he has become: a focus and deadly serious killer who will stop at nothing to ensure that the Mageocracy is protected and their will carried out.
Background: Born into a Halfling farming family on the edges of Gumlat, Tomlin Tumtin seemed destined for a tranquil, rural life had two forces not made their presence felt in his life at a young, impressionable age. The first of these was a treasured family legend. As Pappy Leflin told it, long ago horrible beast-men poured out on the nearby woods, terrorizing the town folk. It was only the sacrifice of a loyal priest that these vile creatures were put down. While this tale is well-known in Gumlat and beyond, Pappy always emphasized the sacrificial nature of the priest’s act, and her (perhaps apocryphal) ties to the ruling forces in Coran. “Without good folk willin’ to lay down thar lives for the betterment o’ all, where’d we be?”, he’d ask rhetorically. The second, more personal event that shaped Tomlin’s life was a bandit attack on the farmstead as a late adolescent. The brigands began to burn and pillage the place, but widespread loss of civilian life was thwarted when a band of the Mageocracy’s soldiers arrived, luckily on the heels of the bandits for days. Despite the trauma of seeing Pappy Leflin run through by a longspear, Tomlin tried his best to protect the farm when the attack began, but was knocked prone by a brigand’s flail as he hustled his two younger sisters into a barn. The brigand standing over him, ready to cave in his skull, would have been the last of Tomlin had 3 arrows from a Mageocracy archer not killed the brigand outright. The attack was thus thwarted, but the damage had been done: the farm was ruined. With sorrow, but full of hope, the family packed up its few remaining belongings and headed to Coran in hopes of a new beginning.
Life was initially hard in Coran, with the family having little in the way of money or city-applicable skills. Tomlin’s mother (Hela) and younger sisters (Tessa and Tori) took jobs as waitresses in local taverns. Meanwhile Tomlin’s father (Veln) opened an alchemical supply business. The family had long found practical alchemy to be of aid on a farmstead, and decided to try to extend the business to the city. Tomlin settled in for a time learning from his father and assisting where he could. Despite these efforts the family was forced to live in an undesirable part of town and struggled to make ends meet. In fact, the family almost lost the meager storefront they had selling tindertwigs and the like, but were saved when an appeal by Veln to the Mageocracy allowed them to hold off tax collectors for a few months. Tomlin (who both witnessed and assisted in his father’s plea, and saw the results) was deeply impressed by the government’s willingness to help, and indeed the business grew shortly thereafter to the point of sustainment and modest profit.
Unbeknownst to Tomlin, he was also watched by elements of the Mageocracy as he attended his father’s hearing. Agile and charismatic in his own right, Tomlin appealed to those who may be interested in recruiting a certain sort. Tomlin was also unaware that he was observed with keen interest by the same people when he nearly got into a barfight with a burly half-orc over the legitimacy and benevolence of the Mageocracy. Their homework done, Tomlin was approached one day after working at the shop by a man in a dark hood who stated he represented a group called the Friends of the Tower. Intrigued when the man said they shared his sympathies and would like his help, Tomlin agreed to meet the stranger in a room at a nearby Inn. The stranger stated that the Friends of the Tower (or just “The Friends”) is a secret organization dedicated to upholding the law and the benevolent rule of the Mageocracy. The stranger lamented the fact that so many don’t seem to understand the importance of the Mageocracy for keeping out barbarians, bandits and worse. And after all, doesn’t the need to protect the life the people mean sacrificing everything? Of course, this may mean using tactics that seem extreme to some, but the Mageocracy knows what is best for the people. This argument hit fertile ground for Tomlin, with Pappy Leflin’s words and his own near-death at the burned farm vivid in his mind. Seeing the light in the young man’s eyes, the stranger made is recruitment pitch: join The Friends and be trained to defend the people by arms and ability by the Tower itself. Tomlin needed little time to agree and sign the prepared contract the stranger presented. He never really even saw the fine print.
After telling his family he had been hired for simple livery duty on the Tower grounds (a ploy he thought up himself as encouraged by his recruiter), Tomlin began his grueling training to join The Friends. If asked today, he would be hard pressed to say which was more brutal, the physical or mental aspect of the rigorous, exacting and unforgiving education he experienced at the hands of Jori Banest, the Chief of Instruction for the Friends of the Tower. But Tomlin would be quick to add that the brutality of the training was necessary, to focus one’s self to become the weapon the Mageocracy needed to maintain peace and order. Here Tomlin learned keeping peace and order meant tasks that might seem evil or vile are really needed for the greater good. Likewise, he was trained to understand that the enemies of the good and righteous order of the Mageocracy are everywhere. Many so-called “innocents” are in their ranks as well. Most of all, Tomlin learned that the Mageocracy is led by brilliant men and women, who’s far-reaching insights go beyond what he himself could comprehend. Therefore, utter obedience to the will of the Mageocracy is the only way to ensure the long-term survival of the government that protects the masses and his family with them. Following the completion of training, he earned the honorific “brother”, which Friends of the Tower call each other in confidence.
During his training, and up to the present day, Tomlin has essentially been leading a double life. To his family and friends in the city, he has a good but busy (with odd hours too, sometimes) job working as a servant on the Tower of Heavens grounds. This, along with helping his aging and at times forgetful father in the alchemy shop and drinks at local bars with friends, takes up virtually all of his time not spent sleeping. None have any idea what he is truly up to: serving as a full-fledged member of the Friends of the Tower, a shadowy group few have ever heard of let alone know what they are about. The Friends, usually working in small teams, take on covert, messy tasks that the Mageocracy wants solved but also want to keep their distance from. All are rogue-mystics, trained by Jori Banest who is originally from a far off land) in the way of ninjitsu. Orders are not questioned; they are simply executed.
Citing the wages from his “servant” job, Tomlin found a small, non-descript place of his own near (but not right next to) his family in Coran. There he keeps a small shrine to Abadar, the God of Civilization (he sees the Mageocracy as the manifestation of Abadar’s will on this plane) and a poison-making/alchemy lab of his own. Despite hiding a large part of his life from his family, he remains close and devoted to his family. Similarly, he has maintained a number of close relationships in the city that serve as both friends and (unwittingly) as sources of information regarding goings-on in the city. These include Astomaugus, a bartender at the Leaping Lion, the most popular bar in Tomlin’s area of Coren, Epot, a senior sergeant in the city watch and Lorlock, a beggar by trade who is not above trading stories for a meal or some copper.