N S T I W
Tiefling bard, haunted by a different kind of dark past.
Tiefling Female, bard level 1
STR 10, CON 16, INT 14, DEX 10, WIS 10, CHA 18, Fort 13, Reflex 13, Will 15, HP 28, Surges 10/day, AC TBD
Racial Features: Low-light vision, Infernal Wrath, Blood Hunt, Resist Fire 5 + level/2, fluent in Common and Deep Speech
Class Features: Bardic Training, Majestic Word, Multiclass Versatility, Skill Versatility, Song of Rest, Virtue of Valor
Trained Skills: Arcana, Dungeoneering, History, Intimidate, Streetwise
At-Will Powers: Guiding Strike, War Song Strike
Encounter 1: Shout of Triumph
Daily 1: Slayer’s Song
Feat 1: Improved Majestic Word
Rituals Known: Traveler’s Chant, Make Whole
“I wasn’t raised by biological parents, but I certainly had a family.”
Harmony grew up in a traveling troupe called the Ivory Tours (to rhyme with Hours), having been left outside the sideshow’s tent at a very young age. During the show, she was billed as “the Cambion Cub” and expected to snarl and lunge at anyone who got too close to the bars of her cage. After hours and between venues, she was a relatively good-natured child and flourished under the kindness shown to her by Aberan the showmaster, his crew, and the other acts and exhibits. She wasn’t ever allowed to help the roustabouts set and strike tents, lest her persona be spoiled as a fake, but she would often join in with the chants they sang to make the work or the travel go faster.
“Aberan was always good to me. But now it feels like he was good to me because he was afraid of me. Like he thought I really was a Cambion Cub, and he needed to keep me placated or I would bite him.”
On the road to Elm Ridge, the Ivory Tours were assaulted by a raiding party of duergar. Aberan literally grabbed Harmony and threw her off the wagon at them, telling her to frighten them off. Harmony was only eleven years old, and although she threw everything she had into roaring and charging at them, this audience was much more jaded than the average showgoers. Harmony got a good scare, though – as a roustabout named Visk started loudly cursing Aberan’s name. Visk had been unwilling to let Harmony face the duergar alone, and neither of them had realized that Aberan was only ever planning for her to be a distraction to facilitate the rest of the troupe’s escape.
Harmony and Visk were bound and divested of everything but their boots, and two of the duergar raiders marched them underground to their new lives as slaves. Much later, Harmony would approximate that she lived underground for about four and a half years.
“It was like a pressure plate in front of a door. Right before I would have completely given in to despair, something went off inside my soul.”
Visk was only a slave for two years. Then a mining cave-in crushed his legs, and he was no longer fit to work – which meant he became a sacrifice on the duergar’s Asmodean altar. Harmony felt sad about Visk’s fate, and a little happy that she’d no longer have to look at a reminder of Aberan’s betrayal, and a little guilty about feeling a little happy. Eventually the last two faded away and she was merely sad.
Before, she had found it painful to hear Visk singing the roustabout chants as he was led off to work each day. But now the silence was more painful, and Harmony began to sing them herself. She was surprised to find that they not only lightened her heart and her load, but those of the other slaves nearby. The other slaves, in turn, began to treat her more as though they trusted her, and occasionally as though they cared about her.
One evening, the duergar slave driver beat Harmony senseless and gave no explanation, and from then on there were always two drivers with whichever detail Harmony was placed in. Bits and pieces of whispered gossip finally revealed to her that the duergar had become afraid of her, because of how popular she was. The duergar feared that she would lead the other slaves in rebellion, so they had drastically demonstrated their mastery over her body.
Harmony hadn’t planned to lead a rebellion, but that was only because the idea had never occurred to her as a possibility. Now she was inspired to sing a new song. She quietly instructed her comrades to let their hope fade for now, but to be watchful for the chance to rekindle it.
It took several months of patience on the slaves’ part, and several more were killed or sacrificed during the wait. But eventually the duergar reverted to only sending a single slave driver with Harmony’s work detail. It took even more patience on their part to not press the relative advantage right away, but they still needed to get stronger and make a reasonable plan. Then one day Harmony began to sing her new song. The slaves overwhelmed the driver, and what noises he did make were drowned out by the ringing of picks on stone. The slaves then hoisted the driver’s lifeless body between two of them while a third cracked his whip on occasion. They marched out a tunnel to the surface, acting like they were being driven, and they were never challenged. Only once they were outside did they drop the slave driver’s body and break their chains with their picks. Then they made their way through a woods until they reached a road – the high road which led to Eburneum.
The escaped slaves ended up somewhat imprisoned for their troubles, in the Eburneum barracks while the nobility of nearby towns were asked to confirm they hadn’t lost anyone. Once their story was vetted, then their cuffs were sawed off and they were free to make their own way, assuming they knew which way that was. One of the guards suggested to Harmony that she take her tale to the city’s bardic college, and they knew at once she had the talents needed to be a full-fledged Bard. After a little negotiating and a lot of creativity they agreed to train her in exchange for a post-graduate apprenticeship: effectively, they would lend her the money for her tuition and room and board, and then they would collect 90% of whatever revenue she earned as a performer until the loan was repaid.
Harmony did most of her apprenticeship work accompanying regiments on patrol from Eburneum to outlying communities. She has a real knack for making a long march seem less arduous.
While she ultimately emerged from her harrowing victorious, Harmony did not emerge unscathed. She is terribly uncomfortable underground, even in just a large cellar. Large stone buildings that have few or no windows can also set her off, especially at night.
In addition, having spent so many years suffering under unreasonable taskmasters means she has very little actual skill in Diplomacy. If anything, she’s more likely to draw on her childhood as the Cambion Cub and go the way of Intimidation.