A Bugbear Fighter (Weaponmaster), Member of the Brotherhood
Background: Former Gladiator
You fought in the Jeu de Sang for three years, learning the ways of the gladiator. You survived fight after fight, making a name for yourself in the pit. You were the top fighter in all of Caledonia, feared by opponents and public, loved by those who bet on you. You then fought in the Coliseum for four years, using your training from your father and from the Jeu de Sang to stand head and shoulders above any competition.
Prestige Class: Gladiator Champion
People need heroes. They need brave individuals to show them that adversity can be overcome no matter how tough the opposition. They need to witness battle to slake their thirst for blood, to vent their frustration and anger about their own lives. They need gladiators, for these bold warriors give them all they need and more.
You are the champion the people demand. You might have come from humble roots, having grown up a slave or a criminal, of you could be a professional who chose this dangerous life for the glory and coin. Regardless, something about you and your courage resonates with the people, and you become more than just another warrior fighting for your life in the pit. You are their hero.
Mount: Dire boar
In Caledonia, there was a myth that, in the southern forests, there was a bugbear of enormous size with the cunning and stealth of a wolf. They called him Draug the Destroyer. You called him “Father.” Your father, Draug, was the leader of a clan of bugbears that fought any pack of adventurers that came their way. However, your father never led an attack; he always protected his homeland but never sought to cause trouble (despite the legends). Your father was also your greatest teacher. He instructed you in the art of war, training you in accuracy and power. It was the hammers that you loved the most: the power, the brute strength, the sound of a blunt weight bearing down on an enemy – the sound made the day you shattered a wooden dummy was the most beautiful sound you had ever heard.
The day the slavers attacked caught you by surprise. In the middle of training, loud booms echoed over the trees, followed shortly after with explosions. As the enemies came rushing through the trees, they thought that the cannon would cause fear and devastation; they were half right. The cannons caused devastation, but the first wave of humans was mowed down by a tribe of angry bugbears. The battle raged for hours. Every time the humans were slaughtered, more of them would come trickling through the trees like a small flood. And the cannons roared. It was the cannons that took your father. He died in battle, his weapon in hand, just as he taught you.
When the dust settled and the cannons stopped, the slavers had won. From the trees came a man dressed in a top hat and a fine linen suit. He had the smirk of a conquering hero, but you could tell from his clothes, he hadn’t lifted a finger. He was the leader of the slavers, Cornelius Darkmantle. He sauntered slowly through the camp and picked out the survivors, his lackeys behind him shackling those left alive. You’re not sure what happened afterwards. Each bugbear was sent to other places. You found yourself sold to the Jeu de Sang – a gladiatorial arena in the Caledonian capital of Siron. It was an existence surrounded by death. Those you came with were slaughtered within the first week of your arrival. But not you – you did something that those who sold you never expected: you thrived. The ferocity your father taught you boiled over whenever you were made to fight. You became a rising star in Siron, bearing the moniker of your father: Tau’kun the Destroyer. Your actions caught the eye of Vasco Lioni, the man in charge of the greatest gladiatorial arena on all of Ethra: the Coliseum. Coin passed hands again, and you were taken by boat across the Sea d’Alviano, down the Silver River, down the Veritas River to the Taon capital of Riverdane.
Your title and reputation in Caledonia followed you into Taos. Facing insurmountable challenges to the roars and jeers of the crowd, you fought with a ferocity that frightened even those who were your handlers. For years you fought and slew all before you – until the day that the Emperor of Taos, Mateo di Salvestro, issued a decree of your final fight. Though you faced ten well-armed men from the Emperor’s army, you came out victorious. Thus it was decreed that Tau’kun the Destroyer, the greatest champion of the Coliseum, would gain his freedom. You were given many tokens (most you left behind as they were useless) and the Emperor issued you a free citizen.
All you could think of at the end was the thought of going home. Maybe survivors would be there…maybe your mother. With all you had been given, you began your eastern trek up the river