Today I have something a little different. My wonderful SO, whom also drew the doodle of my character above, and I were talking about making up backstory for our Dungeons and Dragons characters. So, I thought it would be fun to write a quick little introduction for my character. Up until this point he only had a few traits. A Tiefling, bard, with some magic spells, and a pet donkey named Brad. In true pantser style, I wrote the whole thing in under an hour without any further planning. Since I have yet to show any writing, I thought it would be fun to share. It is pretty random and silly but that’s kind of what our group dynamic is.
Frett the Bard and Brad the Donkey
Hi, my name’s Frett and I’m a bard. I travel from village to village playing shows, and trying to become the best musician this world has ever known! That may be a little over-ambitious but Brad’s always told me if I want to be a star I should aim for the stars. Oh, that’s right, Brad is my companion, my manager, and my mentor. He’s also a donkey. According to him, he was once a famous Oscar-winning actor, whatever that means, in some other universe before being reincarnated into this world.
My story begins several years ago in a small village near an active volcano, not the safest place for a village, I know. The village and the mountain it was on were known across the land for its concentration of extremely rare minerals and precious metals. It was especially lucrative for our village, being mosty Tieflings, we could stand the heat where no other species could. So for generations our village mined and sold the finest materials on this side of the Bearavo River.
I’d always expected to become a miner myself at some point, as was expected of my family lineage. However, one thing set me apart from the others in the village. I loved music. Now, I’m not saying the rest of them didn’t enjoy music, but for me it was something special. When I was younger a traveler came through the village looking to trade for some precious metals. He was a salesman but also a novice bard. It was the first time I’d ever seen a musical instrument. It had a large wooden body, larger than even my own at the time, and several tightly wound strings. The sounds it made were like the voices of the celestials. Not that I’d ever actually met a celestial.
My parents saw my interest and to their later dismay, convinced the man to part with his instrument and teach me how to play it in exchange for a discount in the materials he needed. As if blessed by the deities themselves, I was absolutely terrible at it. However, that did not discourage me one bit, for I practiced everyday. In the mornings and in the evenings, the sound of my song could be heard throughout the village. Eventually, I became quite adept at playing songs and creating them. My lute became a part of myself. While they suffered quite a bit in the early years, the villagers came to quite enjoy my music.
Sadly, I eventually came of age where I needed to start working in the mines. It was grueling work but I did learn quite a bit. While music didn’t come as naturally to me, I did have a knack for certain spells. Including healing and some low level fire and ice spells that were fairly useful in the depths of the mines. However, music was still my first love and it broke my heart to not be able to play as much as I once had.
Before heading to work one day, I decided I would not go without my beloved instrument any longer. So, I took it with me into the mines and began to play whenever I had a few moments to spare. During our breaks the other miners would gather around as I sung songs of far away lands and heroes of old. At the time I believed it was the closest I’d ever get to fame, and honestly, may have been okay with that. The happiness and energy I was bringing to my fellow miners and what they were feeding back to me was something I’d longed for. Then one day the foreman showed up.
What sort of awful things could have happened to make a man so bitter as to despise the joy of others. “If you ever bring that thing back into these mines, I’ll have you removed from them permanently.” The other miners turned away and went back to work. Not that I truly blame them, the mines were the only way to make a living in this village and no one wanted to risk losing that.
“Hey Kid,” a voice called out to me. “You’ve got talent, and it’s wasted down here in these mines.” My eyes wandered the cavern but the other miners had all disappeared into the tunnels. “Over here,” he called out. A short gray donkey, packed with supplies and a small wagon appeared in the light of the fire.
“Did you just speak?” It was the first time I’d ever spoken with an animal and I was quite confused.
“I did,” he responded. “That thing in your arms belongs in a mineshaft as much as you do.”
“Meaning… Not at all?” I asked.
He nodded his head and sniffed loudly. “That’s right. Get outta here, go share your gift with the world.”
Somehow the words of that donkey telling me to follow my dreams sparked something deep inside of my heart. If this wasn’t a sign of bigger things to come I don’t know what is. “You’re right, mister donkey.”
“Call me, Brad.”
“You’re right, Brad. I’m going to become a musician and bring my songs to the world.” I turned back and looked at him. “You should come with me.”
He tilted his head. “It’s been a while since I’ve been in show business but it sounds a lot better than spending the rest of my life hauling ore to the surface.”
I grinned and unhooked the wagon from his back. “Let’s go,” I said, removing my helmet and tossing it to the ground.
“So, Brad and I left the village with what little possessions we had and set off on the journey to become famous. That’s how we ended up here. “
The girl sitting across from me at the table sipped her drink nodded slowly. “Thanks for the backstory but all I asked was why there is a donkey in the tavern…”
Look at that, I can write a thousand words in an hour! Are they good words? I don’t know, but it’s a start. Thanks for reading!