I’m getting back into D&D, hopefully, and I’m starting with Jeribon, a gnomish rogue. In the best traditions of the Internet, I’ve just stolen this image (from http://wow.blizzgame.ru/gallery/hazlow-mudshuggle-by-matt-cavotta/ ) until I can figure out one for myself.
Jeribon was a young gnome at the time of the Sundering (ten or so years old). His earliest memories are of escaping the chaos and destruction by fleeing westward. He has vague, nostalgia-tinted memories of bona fide gnomish communities, rather than the scattered and diffuse enclaves that exist now. A lot of his memories are sepia and warm and, he knows, probably idealized.
Jeribon was the youngest of three children. The middle child Amya (aged 35, or “teenaged” for gnomes) did not survive the passage to the west; her absence is a chasm between Jeribon and his oldest sibling, and was a millstone for his parents while they lived. The eldest, Bero, had just attained gnomish adulthood (40 years) and had been about to embark on his own independent life when the Sundering hit. Jeribon’s parents were middle-aged (about 150) at the time.
After some time wandering as tinkers through the west, Jeribon’s family ended up in Ironkeep, joining the small gnomish enclave there and offering their tinkering and inventing skills to the diverse population. Jeribon’s mother eventually secured a place with a minor noble and the family settled on the noble’s land a short distance from Ironkeep. On reaching maturity (40 years or so old), Jeribon undertook the usual gnomish rumspinga, flitting from enclave to enclave to learn gnomish culture in the diaspora. During this time he picked up his scar and lost his earlobe, but he doesn’t talk about it.
A couple of years later he returned to the noble’s estate and settled in as part-time tinker and part-time archivist. He and the noble shared a minor obsession with the written or printed word, and both enjoyed amassing a store of “wisdom” both obscure and trivial. Bero, feeling constrained, eventually went off on adventures and he lost track of him. Both Jeribon’s parents passed away a half-century or so after the Sundering – somewhat sooner than the usual gnomish lifespan. Though they had found peace and a semblance of joy in the diaspora, the loss of the gnomish homelands had diminished their spirits and they simply didn’t hold onto life with as much gusto.
Jeribon remained at the estate through several more generations. He spent most of his time squirreled away in the family’s library (ever-increasing, if at a slow rate), serving as archivist, librarian, and sometimes-tutor. Quick to dispense what knowledge he has (whether you asked for it or not), Jeribon was generally regarded more with amusement than respect, but since his role as tutor was informal and backed by no actual power, he was remembered fondly by the various scions of the noble family.
Alas for them, the family fortune declined with time. Almost imperceptibly, the noble line found itself shunted aside as the Iron Confederacy stabilized, recovered, and expanded. Their rough-hewn ideals fit less naturally into a maturing polity. Eventually, the line dwindled to a single female heir. When her parents died, she was foisted off on a fosterage and the lands confiscated by ruthless, but entirely legal, means. Jeribon found himself on the streets. He had enough means to live comfortably, but his beloved library (which, after all, wasn’t actually his) was broken up and sold piecemeal.
Unimpressed by the niceties of the legalistic maneuvering, Jeribon made off with his two favorite volumes – one, a history of the kingdoms before the Sundering and the other, a compilation of swashbuckling fairy tales. Although he probably could have found a comfortable similar posting, he found himself repelled by the thought of settling back into a nice conventional life. He’s seen the powerful make the rules to their favor and break them without a moment’s hesitation, and he’s decided he’s going to be a free agent from now on. And if along the way, he can liberate some of the ill-gotten gain from the powerful and shameless, that’s all to the better.