I had the most awesome thing happen to me a couple days ago- I got an email from this site from a female player asking if we had slots available. We talked over the last couple days, and I built several potential PCs for her, and this one is my favorite. I wanted to share it, because I think it’s so cool. I’ve also been working on some Iconic Characters ala Paizo and 3.X D&D, and I think I’m going to do an ongoing series of those as well.
When my new player emailed me originally, she sent a draft idea for character background. What I got from that idea was that she wanted her character to have a tragic background, a mother still alive, her father a villain, and a fox animal companion. She wanted the character to be combat-effective as well as have a scholarly bent that could be played as well. I took these core elements and ran with them, and this is what I came up with.
Janeva Arbor, Fey Pact Hexblade 3
The small town of Graygulch is nestled on a minor trade road that crosses through the steep, rocky hills north of the Whitefang Mountains between Silverdale in Lyonesse and Caer Rydecan in lawless Dalriada. Graygulch is a settlement of frontier justice, where those in power have near-impunity to do what they will, where the overlords of House Sylgrid have imposed the rule of the kingdom of Orkenay with a heavy hand.
Janeva Arbor was born in Graygulch. Janeva’s mother is Alianne, eladrin Madam of Scarlet House, as upscale a brother as can be found outside a major city, and famous to traders and travelers throughout northern Brittanis. Alianne thought herself honored when a passing nobleman of House Sylgrid came to her parlor and petitioned a night with the Madam; though uncommon, such a thing was not unheard of, and the beautiful eladrin woman agreed. When the doors were closed, however, the nobleman assaulted Alianne brutally, slashing her lovely face with a razor and beating her nearly to death. Though her security staff tried to rescue her, they were slain by the nobleman’s knights waiting in the parlor below. He then dropped a single copper piece in her blood on the floor and left. His name was Alessander Sylgrid.
Alianne barely survived, and only the healing ministrations of a traveling cleric of Liriel managed to keep her from the grasp of the goddess of death. By the time Alianne’s body began to heal—though her face would be forever disfigured by Sylgrid’s blade—it was obvious that the sadistic nobleman had left Alianne with another reminder of that night, for Alianne was pregnant with the vile Alessander’s child.
Several months later, a beautiful half-elven girl was born, and Alianne named the child Janeva, using the traditional name for bastard children born in the region. Her name means “light of hope”, and thus Janeva Arbor came into the world.
Janeva grew up at Scarlet House, working for her mother first in the kitchens and then later serving food and drink, but Alianne was intent that the horror that befell her would never touch her daughter, so Janeva never knew what had befallen her mother on the night of her conception, nor who her father was. Alianne spent her profits from Scarlet House to educate her daughter, and Janeva’s thirst for knowledge grew to the point that eventually Alianne became known not only as the Madam of a famous brothel, but also the keeper of a great library and an influential citizen. Eventually, Alianne’s influence was such that she was elected Mayor of Graygulch, and the town prospered.
After being fascinated by an archery contest during a harvest faire, Janeva broadened her studies to the physical realm, too. She learned the ways of the forest and the wilds of the area, and is to this day accompanied by a startlingly-intelligent fox named Voss. She studied with the hunters, travelers and mercenaries who passed through Graygulch and became quite skilled with weapons, stealth and stalking—she stopped working at Scarlet House and took a position with the militia instead.
Then three years ago, everything changed.
Lord Kentrid was exiled from the Kingdom of Albion for attempting to lead a rebellion against King Aric Ambrosius, and led a group of his followers north to carve a new kingdom from the wilderness, forming the nation of Orkenay. One of the noble families that allied themselves with Kentrid were the Sylgrids, and they traveled north with their exiled lord. Thus, Alessander Sylgrid walked back through the doors of Scarlet House, this time with troops at his back, claiming the trade town for the new kingdom of Orkenay and naming himself Warden of Graygulch. The townspeople attempted to resist, but stood no chance against the trained and hardened soldiers of Orkenay. Janeva was young, and did not know the history between Sylgrid and Alianne, but eventually got the story out of her mother. Her young rage burned hot, but she knew that she had no chance alone against the soldiers of Orkenay, so she turned her mind to forming a plan that would free her hometown and avenge her mother without getting herself killed in the process. It took her nearly a year, and during that time Sylgrid’s crushing grip on Graygulch only tightened. Finally, Janeva could stand no more, and she set out to put her plan into motion.
Despite her skills gained with the militia, Janeva knew she had neither experience nor power enough to conquer Sylgrid on her own. Her studies of ancient elven and eladrin lore and legend, however, gave her knowledge of beings who could, beings who answered the call of the fey blood coursing through Janeva’s veins.
Thus, on the night of the full moon, Janeva wandered into the deepest parts of the forest near Greygulch, and prepared a ritual summoning for the fey entity who would aid her vengeance. At the peak of her summoning for the archfey, a titanic white stag came padding silently through the forest towards her, branches swerving away from its luminous silver hide. It nodded its head towards her in recognition, and she followed it into the heart of the ancient wood. The white stag led Janeva to an ancient fey altar in the oldest part of the forest, where its form twisted and resolved into that of a tall and mighty eladrin man, with a form carved of wood, vine and bramble, with shining sapphires for eyes.
The being named himself as Eochaid (EE-oh-CAYD), ancient fey spirit of bright magic and dark prophecy. The Eochaid spoke to Janeva, and told her of himself—as a spirit of vengeance and splendor, the Eochaid occasionally answered the supplication of those with fey blood who knew the proper ritual and ceremony. Janeva had summoned him, and he sensed in her a great need for power she did not have to achieve a vengeance that would be impossible without his power to assist her. Eochaid made the desperate Janeva an offer—power to strike back against Sylgrid and his followers in exchange for ten years’ service to the fey. Janeva would get her vengeance, and afterwards she would be the voice, hands and eyes of Eochaid in the mortal realm
Janeva agreed, sealing her pact with Eochaid in a rite as old as the cosmos. She walked from the heart of the forest straight to the manor Allesander Sylgrid was occupying, barely outside the borders of Greygulch. She used the fey magic of Eochaid’s blessing to conjure a shadowy glamour about herself and slipped past Sylgrid’s guards and into the manor, then used the glamour to appear as a common whore. Using Sylgrid’s own misogyny against him, she slipped into his bedchamber and locked the door behind her…
The folk of Greygulch still speak in whispers of that night. They say that a shining, beautiful fey maiden brought terrible retribution down on sadistic Alessander Sylgrid and the cruel soldiers he brought with him. Her eyes shone with the might of the Feywild, and she spoke with an echoing voice that haunts the dreams of the few who survived. The stories say she summoned a blade made of purest glacial ice, blue-white and dripping frigid water that froze as it hit the ground. She maimed the vicious Sylgrid and used fey magic to put a terror into his heart that lives to this very day—but she did not kill him. She left him cut and terrified, the wounds of her icy blade frozen and blackened by frostbite. The Frozen Maiden ensured that Sylgrid lived on in disgrace and that he would never harm another woman ever again.
The Maiden threw wide the doors of Alessander’s chambers and stalked the halls of the manor now known as Frost Hall. The fey maiden brought frigid justice down upon the soldiers of Sylgrid who had persecuted the region for so long. The radiant fey woman’s magics turned the soldiers against one another, fey glamor confusing their minds, and they struck one another down at her command. Her fey blade sliced and slashed and sent both Alessander Sylgrid and the few remaining soldier left alive running for the distant lands of Orkenay as fast as their legs would carry them.
When the dawn came, Frost Hall lay empty, melting puddles of ice mixing with the blood shed the night before. The former mayor of Greygulch, Alianne, took up residence in Frost Hall and lives there to this very day.
The lovely fey avenger, they say, melted along with the sunrise and was never seen again. Likewise, no member of house Sylgrid has ever come back to Greygulch, and Alessander lives in exile somewhere in the north.
Her vengeance completed, Janeva felt the power of Eochaid call her southward. She said her goodbyes and helped her mother move into the newly-named Frost Hall, and followed the urging in her blood, implanted by her pact with the mighty archfey. She wandered to Redwall Castle, seat of the King of Lyonesse, and there followed the soft, whispering voice of Eochaid until she encountered a powerful knight named Sir Cedric Tremayne. Eochaid told her that this human would be vital to his plans in days to come, and Janeva entered Tremayne’s service, using her new fey magic and lore gained by years of study to gain a position as a scholar and guard for Tremayne’s adventures.
Less than a year later, The King of Lyonesse and his heir were slaughtered brutally. The young Prince Connor was suddenly thrust into the Crown, and became King Connor. It was suspected that King Kentrid of Orkenay ordered the assassinations, and many believe this to be truth because the forces of Orkenay invaded Lyonesse and occupied the town of Riverbend.
King Connor immediately set out to secure his father’s vassals, Tremayne first among them. He offered Tremayne lands in the south of Lyonesse and Connor’s own cousin as a bride, tying Tremayne to the royal family as securely as he could. Janeva was one of the first to swear the oath to Lord Tremayne when he was given the lands of Barradin’s Hold as his own, and she accompanied Tremayne when he cleaned out the castle and lands that had been given to him. To this day she and her fox companion Voss remain trusted bannermen to House Tremayne.
Janeva Arbor, level 3
Choose Animal Minion: Animal Master Minion (Cat)
Half-Elf Power Selection: Dilettante
Background: Recent Life – Explorer of the Ancient (+2 to History)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 13, Dex 16, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 16.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 11, Dex 16, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 14.
AC: 17 Fort: 13 Reflex: 14 Will: 15
HP: 35 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 8
History +9, Streetwise +9, Arcana +7, Bluff +9, Stealth +8
Acrobatics +3, Diplomacy +6, Dungeoneering +2, Endurance +1, Heal +2, Insight +4, Intimidate +4, Nature +2, Perception +2, Religion +2, Thievery +3, Athletics
Level 1: Light Blade Expertise
Level 2: Warrior of the Wild
Dilettante: Dark Beckoning
Level 1 Hexblade Daily Power: Mists of Madness
Level 2 Hexblade Utility Power: Ethereal Stride
Cat, Blade of Winter’s Mourning, Chainmail, Adventurer’s Kit, Bloodcurse Rod +1