This is part of the ongoing narrative of our D&D campaign, which is graciously being run by Proud Lion, a fantastic comic shop in Cheltenham. Their RPG Encounters nights are a lot of fun, and give me some entertaining material to work with.
[Before reading, please be aware that there may be spoilers ahead for the D&D campaign books. Equally, our stories are fluid, so things may not follow the books too directly]
Level Up Interlude & Background:
It’s a little change of pace for this post, as our group is changing up the campaign to coincide with the release of the Tales of the Yawning Portal, a book that our DM has been evidently been very excited for.
So we will be likely be leaving the Sword Coast, and the charming town of Phlan, to hunt in pastures new. this also turned out to be a great place for our party to level up, and I took the opportunity to fill out a little more of the backstory of my character, Burian Roundtree, and his twisted brother, Kalashnikov Rowntree.
In case anyone is interested, here is the current character sheet for Burian, who has taken the path of the Druidic Circle of the Moon, so that he can be at one with the animals of the world.
But if you don’t fancy reading the backstory in that format, I’ll include the sections here as well.
The Clan Roundtree Brewery (Allies and Organisations)
The Roundtree Clan has lived in their enchanted grove for centuries, tending the crops that grow naturally around the beer barrel trees featured in their labels. A deeply peaceful family, they are both protectors and gardeners of their Grove, and send crates of Roundtree ale to foster friendship in the outside world.
By virtue of a strange charm laid upon the forest before even they lived there, the Grove can only be found by one who truly needs refuge and peace, and to whom malicious acts are impossible. Pilgrims have arrived through the years, to be greeted by a heady, hoppy aroma secreted by the barrel trees. The trees offer spigot-like branches, from which any person or animal may drink, and this sap has become a staple of the Roundtree Brewery Ale.
When the dwarves who would become the Roundtrees arrived, they established their home within the Grove’s forest, weaving branches together to save from cutting down trees, and the Brewery was created. Those who find the Grove may stay as long as they like, oftentimes joining the Grove’s cultivators, and may leave whenever they like. But if they leave, they may only re-enter the grove if they still fit its criteria, and some have been known never to return.
It has become tradition in the Roundtree Clan that on a dwarf’s 50th birthday, they are sent into the outside world to find the next ingredient they can cultivate within the grove. In this way the grove has grown to hold a vastly diverse ecosystem, and the Roundtree Ale uses key ingredients to produce a taste not found anywhere else.
Burian and his twin brother Kolesh left on this journey together, but a great tragedy rent them apart in the opening stages of their adventure. Kolesh was grievously wounded in an encounter with a rogue Aboleth, after it controlled his mind and forced him to attack his twin. Burian was only able to incapacitate his twin through suffocation, but while Kolesh was falling unconscious the Aboleth departed, its entertainment fulfilled.
Burian nursed his brother back to health, but an irreconcilable grudge separated the brothers forever more. Kolesh left shortly after he could walk, and his life diverted down a much darker path. Burian, broken with guilt and sorrow for the loss of his twin, tried to return to the Grove, but his family was denied to him, through the sorcery protecting it.
One hundred years have passed, and Burian has become custodian of the forest that holds and hides his home, returning to the Druidic ways of his clan.
He seeks to atone for his actions, and has watched his twin, now going by Kalashnikov Rowntree, set up a foul, toxin-spewing brewery in the valley around their home. All efforts to reconnect have been rebuffed by Kalashnikov, but a truce between them has been formed so they can hunt for their ingredients together again, but now in deep competition.
Forms bonds with animals easily, people less so, after isolation in the forest.
Dedicates himself to the search for a sustainable source of great flavour for his family brewery, while trying to reconcile with his brother.
Seeks to live at one with nature, and promote this lifestyle to any that he meets.
Believes that animal life is just as important as other lifeforms, but aberrations should be destroyed.
Brother to the disgraced Kalashnikov Rowntree, who left to spend time with the Duergar, then returned to set up a rival brewery in the vale around the family home. There are rumours of disappearances relating to his brewery.
After living with animals for decades, he can act without thinking about consequences, especially when any animals or people he has bonded with are in danger.