With my ranger, Ishmael, on the way out, it came time for me to come up with a new character for Kat's weekly Marrakesh game. Instead of my normal format, I used the "Ten Minute Background" presentation, as found from several sources online. As such, enjoy a look at Sular Etani Mahalesh--a tiefling summoner from nearby Cordoba!
In an attempt to get all the information I need to create stuff from character backgrounds without having to continually push for information, I am asking that you create backgrounds the following way:
Step 1: Write 5 background and concept elements that you feel are important to your image of the character. These can be a concept overview, a list of important life events, a physical description, a personality profile...whatever you need to get an image in your mind. 5 is just a minimum...more elements are encouraged!
1. The Man Who Lived Forever: As a tiefling, Sular is the literal embodiment of one of the djinn, the immortal spirits of the desert. Sular has lived for nearly 275 years, and has shown no signs of slowing down or stopping. He fears little, and carries an attitude of “been there, done that” towards most things.
2. The Pacts of Ancient Cordoba: Sular learned wizardry at the feet of the infamous sorcerer Al-Azif, an eladrin who dabbled in the dark arts. Sular turned his arcane training towards the arts of mental manipulation and assault, and towards summoning. However, it was rumored that Al-Azif’s magics came not from study or inborn talent, but rather through a pact he had made with a creature known only as Iog-Sotot. Further rumor states that Al-Azif’s pact with Iog-Sotot is chronicled in full, along with hundreds of lost spells, in a book known only as the Testament of Carnamagos.
3. A Merchant Dynasty, Fallen: For over 75 years, Sular and his brother, Qatar, ran a successful mercantile caravan, running from the city of High Cordoba, criss-crossing Europa, all the way to Byzantium. Occasionally stopping in Marrakesh, he is passingly familiar with the city, though is clearly not a local. Sular’s merchant empire, however, fell to the Inquisition (see point 5).
4. A Scholar and a Gentleman: Sular, while not a master of all arts, has at least some training in most basic skills. He carries a finely made Cordoban khopesh, and has been known to cross blades with enemies on occasion. He relishes new learning, and can often be found trolling libraries and other upscale areas, reading for pleasure and new learning. Sular has also spent many years refining his courtly manner, and he treats all nobility with a genteel hand.
5. The Inquisition: The crusaders of Erathis, pushing south from the northern coast of Cordoba, have put forward what they refer to as a “Grand Cleansing”. With the support of the Erathian Queen Francesca, they swept south towards High Cordoba, driving out any who did not swear fealty to Erathis. For a desert-spirit like Sular and his family, this Cleansing meant certain death. His assets were seized, his caravans were sacked, and his servants were tortured, often to death. While Sular was able to escape to the south, his parents—in a dreamlike torpor for many years—were left behind. His brother? Not even Sular knows.
Step 2: List at least two goals for the character. At least one of these goals should be one that the character has, while another should be one that you, as a player, want to see developed over the course of the game.
1. Locate the lost lore of Al-Azif.
2. Work his way up the nobility of Marrakesh, and reestablish his trade empire.
3. Evade the Inquisition, and find out if his parents—still in torpor—survived the Great Cleansing.
Step 3: List at least two secrets about your character. One is a secret the character knows, one is a secret that involves him but that he is not actually aware of yet. This will help me in creating plots that center around your character. I will also be creating a third secret which you as a player will not be aware of, so expect some surprises!
1. (Known) Sular is a member of the Three Lobed Eye—a sect of Ioun devoted to the preservation of “heretical” magics and the like. As the teachings of Al-Azif are among these, Sular takes a particular interest in the Three Lobed Eye’s work. While he himself is not particularly religious, his goals have always lined up with that of the Three Lobed Eye, and he is a respected member.
2. (Unknown) Sular’s brother survived the Inquisition, and has located the Testaments of Carnamagos! He currently has taken up with a group of desert nomads, wandering the wastes surrounding Marrakesh. Qatar has a map that, he believes, will lead to the resting place of Al-Azif’s eyes (Al-Azif was torn apart by Erathian fanatics after his death, with the fragments buried separately), which may hold the forbidden tome.
Step 4: Describe at least three people that are tied to the character. Two of them are friendly to the character, one is hostile. If you like, you can include an enemy of yours here as well, so I have an instant NPC nemesis to throw at you.
1. (Friendly) Rahman Abu al Kayeff, human Priest of Ioun. Rahman is a high ranking member of the Three Lobed Eye in Marrakesh. A vestige-pact warlock, Rahman often will debate arcane theory with Sular over a bottle of brandy or a hookah of hashish. Rahman is of a similar temperament to Sular, though he has less of an “aura of invulnerability” compared to his tiefling comrade.
2. (Helpful, but Indifferent) Nawal Salimah, half-elven Spice Trader. Nawal was affiliated with Sular’s mercantile group, when it was still active in Cordoba. Widowed of her arranged marriage at age 17, she stood to inherit her husband’s lucrative spice trade. Assuming control of it at age 23, she forged an alliance with Sular that was mutually beneficial. When Sular’s enterprise fell, due to the Inquisition, her business took a substantial hit. However, she persevered, working with other purveyors, both Narbonne and Marrakeshi.
3. (Actively Hostile) Amadis Baldomero San Marcos, human Knight-Paladin of Erathis. Amadis is an agent of the Erathi Inquisition, charged with the extermination of heretical magics. Amadis has been following and killing mages of all sorts for many years, and is quite the tracker. Amadis has sailed for Marrakesh in search of the book known as the Revelations of Glaaki, though has heard rumors of a much more dangerous tome, currently held by refugees of High Cordoba. The tome? The Testament of Carnamagos.
Step 5: Describe three memories, mannerisms, or quirks that your character has. They don't have to be elaborate, but they should provide some context and flavor.
1. Sitting at the feet of Al-Azif, questioning the master on the nature of the Elemental Chaos while eating dates and sipping coffee.
2. Fighting off caravan raiders alongside Qatar, in the early days of their shipping empire.
3. Escaping through the back alleys of High Cordoba, losing sight of his brother, and sailing for Marrakesh, when the Inquisition reached High Cordoba.