Tonight I wanted to look at two folk heroes that we can use in any game. Both were fundamentally just artwork I created* and their story, objectives and potential were inspired by the art. Both heroes are well known by their peers and enemies alike but chose to live a simply life instead of ruling or conquering – despite having the potential to do so. I think there is something truly noble in that and wanted the inspiration for today to really send a message that heroes are also born from nothing and don’t have to aspire to be the loudest or brightest in the room.
Folk Heroes – Randall Hensley
Randall was recruited into a mercenary company from a very young age. He learnt that to fight for his life and his meals whilst serving with his brothers when in the service to a king, a madman but powerful. As the renown of the company grew to greater heights so did his passion to improve his skill sets and so he searched for forgotten blades of Ikshar. These blades were forged by master smiths of their time and then blessed by the priests of a falling deity.
As such no ordinary warrior could wield them but Randall trained harder so that one day when he found them he would be worthy. When his boss, the company leader, brought him into the tent and provided him a map to the powerful blades Randall rushed off to find that they were guarded by a feeble old man. Seeing the pain and suffering that he was enduring Randall came to understand that the blades carried a curse. You would be unbeatable, unable to be bested by the blades of mortal men but… you would watch everyone and everything you lived or cared for die and wither away to nothing.
He swore and oath to ensure that no one would take these blades for greed or power. And the priest so convinced by his change of heart gave them to him. Over the next decade he did not grow old but he watched his family, the mercenary company slowly die one by one. He began to seek out death and eventually, he got his wish. He faked his own death and fled for a distant land to find peace where no one seeking the blades power could find them.
Randall now resides as a merchant selling bags, rope and other general goods to adventurers and who ever is in need. Content to live his life and to not take anything for granted. The blades curse still holds him tightly but he has only had to draw them once. To protect the village from an Orc slavers raid.
Folk Heroes – Anne Rivers
Not blessed by magical blades, a deity, spirit or Fae, Anne has spent her life sticking up for the small people. An orphan by any other name is still an orphan, however Anne rose above her sad start to become a guardian for all. Abandoned as her parents had no need for a seventh daughter she grew up with a woman who was just kind enough to feed and clothe her but not kind enough to love her. She learnt that a family isn’t just who you were born to, who you were raised by but who you chose to keep close and value above all else.
She started to look out for the other orphans and street urchins when she was little. In fact this trend continued well past her teens where she became more of a mother and leader figure to a rather well known street gang. This gang however didn’t rob, hustle or attack others but they carried messages and did odd jobs for the community. Something that Anne enforced with an iron fist. Soon Anne became well respected by the merchants and city folk in her district but others began to take note.
Now in each story there has to be some villain somewhere and ours lies with the city guard. Corrupt as they were numerous it was hard to sneeze in the city without the guard trying to extort money out of you. In fact the city guard tried that numerous times with Anne and her gang but she resisted heavily. When the Guard started to move in and try the same tricks with the people in her district they quickly found out why she rules the streets.
Several skirmishes and small fights later and the guard tried to take her out by force. The battle was bloody and the casualties many but Anne invoked the right of single combat with the captain of the guard. The stakes were high but Anne watched as the guard began to beat and riot through the shops even as she had invoked the right and her desire for justice was unquenchable. In a clutch moment, using the uneven terrain of the streets she lunged on the far better equipped captain and slew him. Her first kill.
The towns folk rallied to her and pushed back the guard. In fact that day the guard came to know that her little family of street gang members were not just urchins and messengers but they could in fact hold their own in a street fight. Their streets their rules.
The guard did not return to the district again and with Anne at the lead the other district soon stood up against the corruption. Anne’s name is still whispered when ever there is any unrest, the city folk believing that she will rally and rise up against any injustice and tyranny that threaten her extended family.
Thanks for dropping by tonight and reading about the ideas on these two folk heroes. Not all heroes wear capes, as the saying goes, and in this instance they also dont call themselves heroes. But they serve the people and fight for what’s right when they need to. So don’t forget this when you look to your next adventure and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe