Dragonknights: Into the Birthright Frontier
Daman the half-orc was born of an orcish mother, Kiwi, and a human father, Branson, tricked into conceiving a child by her alchemy. Kiwi lived in the woods, secluded, after her tribe was broken up at the hands of human patrols interested in settling the area, until one day a handsome highwayman stumbled upon her hut. Imagine Branson’s surprise to find that a beautiful maiden lived in the woods, and was totally cool with him stopping by every few weeks or so for a tryst, before returning to his own wife and children in a nearby town. It didn’t take long for Daman to be conceived – the father insisted it remain a secret, and the mother was fine with that, horrified at how far the deception had gone, and nervous about having to maintain the trickery, but thrilled at the prospect of continuing her tribe’s bloodline in any way she could.
However, as Daman grew, it soon became clear that all wasn’t normal with him, and the father had his suspicions. One night, as he was making a regular visit to drop off supplies to aid in Daman’s rearing, he confronted Kiwi about the large hooked nose, and the greenish-pale hue of his son’s skin, and was terribly conflicted. ‘What have I done?’ he asked himself, and beholden as he was to the fantasy double life that he had lived, his sense of duty re-emerged, and he told Kiwi that he would never return, and that if she knew what was best for her and her ill-begotten son, she should leave the region immediately. Kiwi, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before her hut was discovered and burned to the ground, decided that night to leave, with 5-yr old Daman in tow.
Life wasn’t easy for the two of them. To earn a living, they travelled from town to town with a rickety caravan, rooting the surrounds for extracts and components, and selling potions to address the local need for increased sexual vigor, among other formulae. It was tough, because of the high distrust of orcs in the region, and so the two of them had to employ their deception to even make a sale (after all, who would buy anything from an orc witch-lady?). Nope, it wasn’t a good idea to stay in one town for more than a night or two, before it became rather cumbersome to continually imbibe potions that obscured their true form (I envision an episode of Fawlty Towers occurring every time they enter a new town). Hence they were always on the move. Luckily, Daman was a quick study, and had an uncanny knack for remembering details and specific techniques.
(I’m thinking at this point that perhaps another wandering character in the party may have come into their employ, or became a partner to help them, maybe as a frontman for their fledgling business. Any takers?).
On their many travels, Daman grew an innate appreciation for the endless bounty that nature provided, and soon learned to commune with the many animals that surrounded them. They became his friends, absent the community that he was deprived of through his nomadic life. As his alchemy abilities developed, he showed his mother the various ways that these animals could be summoned at his whim, by utilizing various extracts to attract the beasts, and capturing a portion of their essence so that the magical link could be renewed at a later time. As such, he developed what one could almost call “relationships” with these animals, summoning them whenever he was lonely, or on occasion in times of dire need. In return, he vowed to respect the whims of the wild, live a life of minimum environmental impact, and to avail himself to it’s causes whenever and wherever needed.
Fast forward – Daman takes over the business as his heroic mother finally succumbs to a feverish case of orc-boils, exhausted from a life of continual self-sacrifice, and Daman honours her memory with a tattoo (visuals to be imagined later), observing that the memory of her brings him some small luck. Daman builds relationships with the more criminally resourceful people in the region to keep the business afloat, not through a desire for evil, but as a matter of survival (potential past story hooks here – he’s likely had small dealings with many people in the region). All the while, he maintains a distaste for authority and the misery it can bring to the underclass, and often can be seen helping out the less privileged townsfolk, at times revealing his true nature to them and causing them to halt their preconceived notions of what it means to be a half-orc. But Daman has no illusions about how most people view his kind, and while he relishes the chance to prove them wrong on a case-by-case basis, he generally knows how the interactions will go:
“Hello sir, might I point out that your gout foot appears to be slowing you down? Perhaps a … “
“Deal with a half-breed? My gout foot can still pack a whollop upon your arse, stand aside!”
Growing tired of having to constantly win customers over, and never being particularly good at the sales side of the business, Daman as a late adolescent becomes a contractor of sorts, periodically being employed by both local leaders and guilds for his talents, often times to lead expeditions into the wild (or rather, to protect it from their presence), to brew potions that would aid in their objectives, or to “fetch 10 eye of newts” for local businessmen who have golden exclamation points above their heads.
Those that he deals with often remark at how honorable Daman conducts his business, despite the hard knocks continually coming his way. However, he is careful to only take on work that aligns with his ethos. After all, he doesn’t need an income – he could leave at any time, and return to the wild with no problem. Only his desire to make life easier for those that have been cast aside by society spurns him to continue this sort of work.
It’s as if he always has something to prove, and wants only to be thought of as an equal. But deep down he knows this: he can only have his own true interests at heart, because the gods know no one is looking out for him.
In combat, throws fiery bombs, summons the wild beast friends of his childhood to his side, and drinks potions that self-buff, enlarging himself, allowing him to communicate with others, or altering his appearance as he has been required to do so many times in the past. In his down time, he is constantly experimenting with new combinations of extracts and infusions, driven by his amazement at what nature makes available to those that are keen enough to see.