About Garrick Oakbeard
Init: +1, Senses: Darkvision (60') Perception: +6
Garrick was supposed to be a druid, like his father, Hamun, before him.
He was born and raised in a small settlement just on the northern edge of the Sanos forest, across the river from the foothills of the southern part of the Iron Mountains. His home was little more than a small clearing in the wood with the houses made from fallen wood and live branches, vines and leaves. His parents, he knew, were adventurers some two or more decades before he was born, who had done some services for the local gnomes in their day. He also knew, at first from the ways they wouldn't talk about their adventures or their former companions, and later from bits of tales that came out when there were new casks of ale to sample, that things did not end well for their group -- that it was only his mother's axe that got them out - and his father's magic that kept her alive in the escape.
Still, it was a good and simple life that he shared with his parents, elder sister, Vilka, and Jagdbach, his father's Dire Badger companion (though the poor thing was more grey than brown, his eyes milky with age). His little family were the only dwarves amongst some three dozen gnomes, and fewer humans than he could count on his fingers. There was something very welcoming and safe about his home -- and despite warnings from his parents, there was something welcoming about the forest, too. So much so that he wandered in one night during a full moon, drawn in by music and lights that were haunting.... He doesn't remember what happened next, exactly, only waking in his own bed, his parents that special kind of furious that comes from being worried -- and realizing two things.. First, somehow, somehow, almost a month had passed. And second, even more strange, his once-brown eyes were now a deep green, like the leaves mid-summer. He had to promise not to go into the woods alone after that.
Growing up, Garrick played mostly with the gnomish children, especially twins of about his own age, Tarinhillaran and Talrana. The human children were strange, kept to themselves, and wanted to act far too mature for only having seen a dozen and a half winters, as if they were already grown.... but, when the gnomes weren't about, he'd play with the strange weefolk from the forest, the ones that followed him home after his missing month....though he knew not to talk about them to anyone.
It was the weefolk who saved him that spring when the Ogres came across the water.
Garrick's twenty-fourth had been an especially harsh winter -- enough that his mother and sister had been stick in Janderhoff, unable to access the passes and ferries to come home, but things were starting to return to normal. (Garrick was proud that he'd cleverly talked them out of taking him, especially when they'd been trapped away from home for so long -- he'd far rather play in the woods and stay with father than be locked up underground.) Garrick's memories of the attack itself are tangled -- leaving him with a series of horrific scenes, as if it was too terrible to remember the whole thing in a single pass. It was dark when the Ogres struck, coming up out of the water without warnings, as if they were Marrow. They were tearing into homes before any alarm had been sounded, and they were easily overpowering the gnomes.
His father told him to flee to the woods, keeping close to Jagdbach, and went out to meet the ogres, his form changing into a massive bear as he did. It was the smallest of the ogres, not the largest, that met his father's challenge. The small one was malformed, one massive arm, short legs, and tusks like an Orc... and magic, like his father. He remembers the smell of singed fur and looking back to see waves of flame surrounding his father... and Jagdbach stopping, sniffing the air, and letting out a massive snarl as he threw himself on an ogre that was catching up to them while Garrick was watching the fight. As the Ogre brought down its club on the ancient beast, something snapped withing Garrick, he could feel everything change... He was filled with a rage almost beyond his comprehension, and it made the world seem to slow, somehow, filling him with strength. He could see each bite and scratch open on the ogre as Jagdbach unleashed his dying fury on the beast. Garrick's hands tightened on the hand-axe he carried, and he readied to spring on the ogre in a fruitless attempt to save his friend's life... but the wee folk came, telling him that it was too late to help, but too soon for this power. He had to follow them, they said. And so, filled with this strange strength, Garrick ran into the woods, his tiny friends directing him to a small warren where the ogres wouldn't find him... and, blessedly, almost -- almost -- far enough away that he couldn't hear the screams. The strange feeling left him, leaving him exhausted, and somehow, impossibly, he slept... but the anger he felt never quite left him.
There was little left the following morning. The ogres had been hungry. Fortunately, he was not the only survivor, and between himself, a churlish human girl of barely 20 winters and and two gnomes: his best friends, the twins Tarinhillaran and Talrana, they were able to feed themselves until help arrived.. or, specifically, his mother and sister, returning from Janderhoff. Together, the three dwarves escorted the gnomes (and human) downriver to Whistledown, before heading back to Janderhoff, to live with his mother's Clan, where it was safe. In parting, Garrick promised the twins that he would come back, and that together, they would avenge their dead friends and relatives.
Life in Janderhoff was quite different than what he knew before. No longer was Garrick taught to survive in the wilds, instead, he learned the "traditional" ways - everything from fighting to taking up the family trade of crafting weapons. Duteous, he started to learn the skills of the forge, often surprising his masters with how well he could repair items, especially given his limited skill. He found, to his surprise, that he liked working with his hands, that there was a strange peace in lifting a hammer and shaping metal to his will... And yet, filled with bitterness -- and an anger that never quite left him -- Garrick really threw himself into the study of war, learning to fight and kill his racial enemies... but especially focusing on how to slay giants... like the Ogres that took his father and Jagdbach. It was about twenty months into this training when the rage first took him -- he was ashamed, but Skorgard, the Weaponsmaster was delighted, as it proved what he'd suspected -- Garrick wasn't just a dwarven warrior, he was a battlerager -- one who had been holding back for more than a year. Skorgard laughed away Garrick's shame, telling him that he should embrace the strength it gave him, making him a better warrior than his fellows. Garrick, for the first time, started to feel at home underground, despite the lack of sun and trees.
He'd been underground for seven years before the weefolk found him, this time, bringing him gifts of fire and water. He was old enough, now, they said, that they could finally bond the gifts that were his birthright to himself and to his home. They promised Garrick that they would always know him as one of them, as they did when he wandered into the woods when he was but woods thirteen winters old. They bade him to keep safe, and to not speak of his gifts to anyone. The boy complied, but at training that day, something changed when he raged. It felt different than before, like he was being filled with life and not only strength. At the end of training, Skorgard laughed, almost as delighted as the day he called Garrick a battlerager for the first time, saying only, "That's not just anger in you, boy. It's magic... it's in your blood." Garrick's training regimen changed slightly, with Skorgard trying to teach the boy to tap into the magic giving him strength, and not just the strength itself.
Garrick's fourth decade was largely a content one, experimenting with his abilities in secret, spending more time in the Barracks than at home, earning coin at the forge doing repair work, and dating girls his mother didn't approve of (though, when he was honest with himself, that never worked because none quite compared to Talrana), until the day he turned forty-one. He was offered a position as a battlerager in the Clanguard, but he refused, remembering instead his promise to the twins, and to himself. He'd been saving his coin from working at the forge and working with the guard, and had bought himself adventuring gear. He was apprehensive of telling Skorgard of his decision, but was again surprised by older dwarf's reaction -- again, not only had he expected it, but he approved. He would have set off immediately, but held back two months for his sister's wedding, then set out, buying passage downriver to Lake Syrantula, on route to Whistledown. There, he found Tarinhillaran, now an alchemist, who had made himself a home, and even started a family, having grown beyond their promise from more than a dozen years back. Garrick was surprised at how upset he was to hear that the twins had abandoned their promise, and even more at not seeing Talrana.
That feeling changed, however, to one of anticipation and, even more, a sense of fated destiny, when Tarinhil told him that his sister had become a bard, an actress and poet, and that she was headed to the small town of Sandpoint to perform at an upcoming festival, having been invited by their fellow survivor, that strange Sczarni human girl, who had settled there after the attack. Tarinhil said he was worried about his sister, because he's heard rumours of murders, goblins and even giants in the area.
Garrick was on his way the following morning, following his heart in more ways than one.
Step 1: Write 5 things about your concept and background that you think are most essential to your character.
1) Garrick is feytouched (hence the bloodline selection and the alternate racial abilities) -- there was something (possibly the nascent blooodline) that drew him into the Sanos forest, and while he doesn't remember what happened there, it marked him. This has changed how he sees himself, which has impacted his relationships. Other than a few special individuals (and his sister), Garrick always felt a little out of place in structured dwarven society -- as if he didn't quite belong because he was meant to be part of something somehow larger... or maybe to serve as a bridge, somehow.
2) Despite this, and the influence of the gnomes and others where he was raised, Garrick still has a strong, dwarven heart - he's loyal, dedicated, and keeps his promises. (Hence, the LG alignment).
3) The combination of these two things results in Garrick seeing himself as a protector and defender of the weak; the very sort of person that he (maybe romantically) believes his father was -- and so, to him, this responsibility extends beyond just family and Clan, but to everyone in the area.
4) The loss of Garrick's father affected him -- and despite a number of uncles trying to "fill" the role, it was actually Skorgard, the weaponsmaster, that became the boy's father figure during his adolescence. It's Skorgard's who's approval and acceptance that have meant the most to him - which is why Garrick, for instance, follows Angradd (like Skorgard) and not Torag.
5) Garrick's hatred of giants and giant-kin is powerful -- to the point that he's unlikely to ever accept the surrender of any giant, and would have trouble working with any giant, even those that are generally good-aligned.
Step 2: Two goals he'd like to accomplish during the game
1) Acquire a faithful animal companion (likely via leadership), like Jagdbach was for his father.
2) Forge and wield a legendary giantslaying weapon, by combining dwarven manufacture and runes with fey magic.
Step 3: Two secrets about the character - one his knows, one he isn't aware of.
1) Garrick missed the sun and forest while in Janderhoff, but now that he's out, he feels somewhat uneasy out on the surface. He very much does associate being underground with safety, and further, he's learned that his fey gifts only work underground -- something about the way they were bound to him.
2) The fey who marked him and gave him his gifts are of the First World, and those gifts come with a price which they may collect on later.
Step 4: Three people tied to your character through blood, romance or honor. Two are friendly, one not so much.
Note: For this, I tried to keep to things that could come up and be plot-hooks (potentially) -- so there's no discussion of his mother, for example, though she's alive and back in Janderhoff.
1) Talrana - Gnomish bard and actress. Garrick is only now coming to realize that he's been carrying a torch for her since back in the day, which is probably why any of the dating he did was rather superficial.
2) Skorgard - Dwarven Fighter - Weaponsmaster of his mother's Clan, and father-figure. (Note: I was going to put his sister here, especially since she's married and could be making him an uncle, which would certainly deeply lean into his sense of responsibility, especially if something happened to her husband...)
3) Ioana Vilteshu - Human (Sczarni) - She both hated and envied the dwarf from when they were children -- at first because he was older and acted superior and then never really acknowledged that she'd aged and matured (of course, humans do that about 4 times faster, so that's likely a reason), always essentially dismissing her. What's more, her childhood was pretty miserable (especially as knew that her and her family were in that terrible little hole lying low because of what her parents had done) whereas Garrick, especially, was the well-liked son of the most respected man in that village.
Step 5: Three key memories
1) The memory of the attack which killed his father and Jagdbach, and of making his promise with the twins.
2) The memory of his first real bloodrage (and not the aborted one in the woods on the night of the attack).
3) The memory of being given his feygifts, and being told that the weefolk knew him as one of them -- that he would always be welcome, but that they would no longer visit him.
AC 18 , Touch 11 , Flat-footed 17 , CMD 16  (20  bullrush, trip)
(+5 armour, +1 dex, +2 shield) Special: +4 dodge v. giants; Uncanny Dodge
HP 23  (2HD - 12,11)
Fort: +5 [+8], Ref: +2, Will: +1 [+3]
Special: +2 to saves v. poison, spells or spell-like abilities (Hardy)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 Squares)
Special: +1 racial to hit vs. orcs and goblinoids (Hatred); +1 trait to hit and damage v. giants (Giantslayer)
Grounded (Race Trait) [Dwarves of Golarion]
Defensive Training (Ex)
Fey Magic (Ex) (Terrain: Underground) [Heroes of the Wild]
Weapon Familiarity (Ex)
Bloodline (Verdant) [UW]
Bloodrage (Su) (9 + 2 FC rounds/day -- ooooo ooooo o)
Fast Movement (Ex)
Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
Backpack, Common [ Bedroll; Waterskin (Filled); Aleskin (); Rope (Hemp/50 ft.); Mess Kit; Rations (Trail/Per Day) (x5); Soap; Grappling Hook; Traveler's Outfit (spare) ];
Belt Pouch [ Flint and Steel ];
Belt Pouch [ Sling Bullets (20) ];
Belt Pouch [ Chalk (1 Piece) (x5) ];
Coinpurse [12gp, 18sp, 14cp]
Current Load: 140.5lbs [Medium (but I'm a dwarf, so meh)]