I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in high school. Say what you will, it’s a great creative outlet and does an amazing job at getting my creative mind working. When i’m playing i’m more creative and i write more. I’m also more confident in my writing after a game than i am before a game.
My favorite part of playing was always character and world building. I never played in a pre-made world because i preferred building my world from scratch, from the ground up. The first world i ever created was in sixth grade. I took flipped through a dictionary and stopped on a random word.
That word was THUD. So the mythic Kingdom of Thuderik was born. I honestly don’t remember a lot about that world, i do remember that it was governed by five wizards that made up the council and a sixth wizard existed that had stolen the great library and created the West Annex. The West Annex was the repository of all wisdom and knowledge in the entire kingdom. In a fun twist, the physical description of the Annex was based entirely on the home of the Gummi Bears from the old Disney show.
The first story i wrote for that world involved a young prince who was the last of his line, after all the others died tragically, who sought out the Annex so that he could use it’s knowledge to become a worthy ruler for his people. He quested not for glory or power, he quested to be a better person so he could help the people around him. .
Yes, power and glory naturally came, but that wasn’t the goal.
From that point forward, every game i ever ran was based in that kingdom, even if i didn’t call it that. Eventually, as is the case for kingdoms and worlds, that kingdom fell and a new one took it’s place.
An earlier blog i wrote gives the backstory of that new world. The story i’m about to share takes place on that new world.
I never played D&D to kill things, i played D&D for the role play portion of the game. I love creating new characters and getting into their heads. That’s why, in the game i’m currently playing, as soon as i got used to fifth edition, i made a new character, to serve as a back up.
As a player i ALWAYS had at least one back up character ready to go at any time. The first character I played in fifth edition is named Horus Blackroot. His character history is steeped in the mythology of my world and my past creations. If he passed though, i wanted to take a different direction. I wanted to break out of that history and create something wholly new. Thus Ugnatius Folly was born, Ug to his friends.
So I wrote a pretty lengthy character History that I thought i’d share here. I have some things i need to finish first, but once they are done, i’m going to take the world i wrote about earlier, and the history of Horus, and this history and put them together into something new.
Someday, the story of Ugnatius Folly and Horus Blackroots search for the Mad Dwarf will be told. But for now, this is was exists. I hope you like it, and i hope i get to play it someday.
Ugnatius Folley is a 145-year-old Mountain Dwarf, born in a small mining village deep inside the fabled Empty Mountains. His home was in one of many smaller towns, each nestled inside the mountain range that contributed to a much larger Dwarven Kingdom.
The range was not always called the Empty Mountains. Legends say, it had been the richest deposit of gold and fine gems on the entire Upper Half, and the bards sing still sing songs that say the mountains reflected gold sunlight back into the skies. Armies from across the world would come and wage massive wars outside, while the Dwarfs inside tried to fight them off. The cost of keeping the invaders away and creating a standing army was more than the kingdom wanted to spend, not more than they could afford, because they could afford rather a lot, but more then they wanted to spend. So almost a thousand years ago, Good King Gristlethorn, First, Last, and Only of his name, decided that the best way to keep people out, would be to change the name.
Thus, was born the Empty mountains.
No one was more surprised than King Gristlethorn when it actually worked. The invaders assumed they must have gone poor, and being hoarders by nature, very little gold seeped out into the world to prove them wrong. In the thousand years since the name change the mountain had been invaded less than two dozen times, and most of those were by accident thinking they were at a different range.
The Empty Mountains shut themselves off from the outside world with a blanket of perceived poverty and obscurity. Just the way they liked it.
It is well known that the Dwarfs are not the most imaginative lot. The main city of the Empty Mountains was known as Maintown, because it was the Main Town. Most of the Gold came from Goldtown and the Silver from Silvertown. The town that Ugnatius was born in sat on top of a once prosperous Emerald mine called “Greenrock Town”. It was called Greenrock Town, because Emeraldtown was already taken. Greenock Town It sat near the boarders of Redrock Town and was chief rivals with the stuck-up braggarts in Diamondtown, though no one in Diamondtown knew it.
Greenrock Town was well past it’s prime. While the town had never really hustled, it at least used to have a thriving bustle. It had One small shop that doubled as a post office, a town hall, a school for the children, and a constable station with three cells in the back room, one used for storage for school books and dried goods. They also had a small Inn with stables that housed the donkeys they used to help pull their carts.
The stable was also home to a strange breed of cat with silvery fur that glittered in the light and long feelers for whiskers. The breed seemed to only exist in Greenrock Town and were known as Deadgoat Cats (named after the inn, which was named after a dead goat). For a time, scholars from all over the world used to visit the inn to study these sublime looking felines, but the guards eventually got tired of it and started telling everyone at the gate the cats were dead.
In fact, the closest entrance to the mountain near Greenrock Town was called the Dead DeadGoat Cat Gate, because it had a sign on it that said, “The Deadgoat cats are dead, go away.”
The Dead Goat Inn also had a small bar and meeting area attached to it that served as the town hall and, unless you were fond of mining, the sole place of entertainment in the entire mess of a town. It was where people met, ate dinner, held their weddings, birthdays and any other gathering.
Greenrock Town was the definition of small town, and that was how most of the inhabitants liked it, and as far as they were concerned, if you don’t like it you could get the hell out. And if you didn’t want to get the Hell out, they were more than happy to show you the way out.
The town itself was a tribute to Dwarven ingenuity.
The locals built their residences into every nook, cranny and crag that the industrious lot could find. As long as they could find a place to pound in some guide bolts, and one flattish surface that could act as wall, ceiling or floor, they built their homes. If it there was a rock in the middle of the floor, they flattened it and called it a table. Some Hung off the sides of cliffs over the darkness of the depths below, dangling ready to fall through the world. Others were no larger than the average Dwarf, just enough space to crawl in and sleep with a pick axe or shovel in hand.
Really, who could ask for more?
The larger the house, the more secure the build and the older the family was. As generations went by the home grew and they added gravity defying additions, carved into the very walls, that stretched into the darkness creating rooms for wives, mother in laws, step-children and concubines.
While the Folly’s were one of the oldest family’s in the Greenrock, sadly, they were not among the richest. Once they had been a powerhouse, perhaps the most influential family only to the Bumbletoe’s, but then, a few hundred years ago or so, the town fell on a rush of bad luck.
The Emerald mines had pretty much dried up and families were moving away by the score. Ugnatius’s great great grandfather, Horatio Ugnatius Folly, had foreseen the towns misfortunes and in an attempt to turn things around made several bad investments that lead to the eventual bankrupting of not only him, but half the town.
Horatio’s plan actually made sense, which should have been the first clue they were heading towards disaster. He felt that they needed to slow down on the current mining operations so that they could stretch out their production, and begin investing money into finding new, more lucrative mines that had a greater staying power. After careful studding, he found several points throughout the mountain that he thought would yield the greatest rewards. He spent his entire life and fortune exploring those spots one by one.
Sadly, ambition and intelligence did not always go hand in hand. He hadn’t studied well as a child and made several glaring errors in his calculations causing every single one of his explorations to be just slightly off the mark. Not that anyone knew that. They just all knew that he was wrong. He died broke, his family huddled together in what amounted to a broom closet. With his last breath, he was still convinced that at least one of his spots would someday yield wealth and save the town.
His mines came to be known as Folly’s Folly.
By the time Ugnatius came around, his family name had been spoiled beyond repair The people had left the town behind to die. Less than a dozen families remained to run a mine that once held thousands, and those that remained were mostly dissidents who had been driven out of the other towns and wanted to be left alone. It had been almost a hundred years since the last Emerald had been brought before the king, and that one was barely the size of a broken walnut.
The town was almost dead, and honestly most of the people in the capital city of Maintown thought the town had already died.
Still they carried on, with that signature stalwart Dwarven never give up attitude.
Ugnatius was number eight of twelve children and grew up hearing his father tell stories of his great great grandfather and partial name Sake, Horatio Ugnatius Folly. Ugnatius’s brother was Horatio Folly the Fourth, his father the Third, his father the second and so on and so forth.
Horatio Folly the Third was cursed with a well spring of Daughters. He only had two sons, and as hard as tried, his charming wife would not let him name any of his sister Horatio Folly the Fifth and so on. Instead when Ugnatius was born, after much broken pottery they settled on Ugnatius, Horatio Folly’s middle name.
By the time Ugnatius was old enough to throw a pick axe on his own, he knew his great great grandfather’s story forward and back and was ready to enter the mines and vindicate the legacy of his name. He had spent years studying his Great Great Grandfathers notes and found the error in his calculations and was sure each one of the mines was close to yielding precious green gold.
So, on his 25th Birthday Ugnatius’s father brought him down into the depths of the mine handed him a pick axe and introduced him To Yugworth Bumbletoes, the mines new foreman.
Ugnatius knew Yugworth well, the two were the same age and went through schooling together. Being that Yugworth came from a much richer family he was entered the mine in a position of leadership, while Ugnatius was a lowly pick axe swinger.
Yug, as his friend liked to call him (Friend because he truly only had one and he didn’t even like him that much), grew up listening to Ugnatius blather on about his family and Folly’s Folly. It was a joke, but a good natured one. Everyone got along with Ug, and he got along with everyone. This irritated Yugworth to no end. As soon as he heard that Ugnatius was entering the mine, he hatched a plan to put the hopeful starry-eyed dwarf in his place.
His plan was to give the dwarf exactly what he wanted. A chance to redeem his family name.
Yugworth lead him into the deepest parts crevice of the mine. They were so deep, they were so deep they could feel the heat from the core on the back of their heads. They climbed down knotted ropes, and crawled along ledges barely two feet wide. They walked across long stony bridges that reached through the darkness.
It took over an hour to reach their destination.
It was a small wooden platform, tied to the side of the mountain. Barely bigger than a single dwarf. It had two buckets on it, when tied to a rope that went up into the darkness that would bring him water, and the other for him to relieve himself in (unless he wanted to just go off the side of the world. The platform was held to the side of the mountain by a series of ropes and wooden planks. Another brilliant example of dwarven engineering.
Still though, nothing about it looked or felt safe. It even swayed slightly from side to side from the breeze below. Yugworth climbed on it, jumped up and down a few times to make sure it would hold, then he took a piece of chalk out of his pocket, and made a big X on the wall. With a smile, he pointed at the wall and exclaimed….
And Dig Ugnatius did. For 63 years and eight pick axes, he stuck that wall and dug deeper and deeper creating a mighty tunnel around him. Each day he climbed down the rope ladder and crawled across the tumbling bridged. Each day he feared for his life more times than he cared to admit.
Slowly, as the rest of the mine continued to dry up, the rest of the workers moved closer and closer to him. The rope became a ramshackle elevator and the bridges were given guide ropes. Planks were used to extend the walk ways and even a house or two sprung up so people wouldn’t have to walk as far. The residence jokingly called it Dirt Town because that was all they ever found.
He had dug his hole so long that someone had painted his name over it, Ugnatius Folly, and they all joked that he should make it his new home. The tunnel was wide now, and two Dwarfs could walk side by side. Still though, he kept digging. He would dig forever if he had to.
Finally, a week and a half after his eighty-eight birthday, still very young for a long lived dwarf, He cracked his pick axe against the wall and heard a rumble. The whole wall began to shake. His hands began to quake with the wall. He knew something important was about to happen. He pulled back the Pick Axe, and threw it against the wall one last time!
Much to his surprise, instead of just a crack, or a hole, the entire end of the cavern fell away reveling a cave! As soon as his light hit the cave it came to life with a beautiful green glow! He had found it, he had found the emerald vein his great grandfather had died looking for! A tear sprung to his eye as he walked into the cavern. Sitting in the middle on the floor, he picked up the biggest emerald anyone had ever seen in their life. It took both hands to lift it and he was still barely able to!
With tears in his eyes he stumbled from the cavern, calling for someone, anyone to come help him. As the other Dwarfs came out of their own cracks and crevices they began to cheer. The people in Greenrock town knew something was happening, even before Ugnatius came rolling the rock into town in a wheel barrow, his grin almost as bright as the rock. The noise proceeded him. The cheers of his fellow dwarf. There was enough Emerald in that cave…. He had saved the town.
His father beamed at him with pride.
The commotion drew attention of course. Yugworth Bumbletoes and some of the other dignitaries gathered around, congratulating the boy and glad handing him. Yugworth was quick to point out that it had been his idea to have the boy start digging in that spot in the first place. Quickly the tide shifted and they commented on Yugworths forethought and planning. And on how he may get a promotion out of the whole thing. Within minutes they turned their back on the Ugnatius, wheeling his emerald with them.
“What about me?” Ugnatius called out to them.
Yugworth looked back with a sneer and looked the dirty miner up and down. He laughed to himself as walked over to the wall, pulled out a piece of white chalk and made a giant x.
“Dig.” He spat the word at Ugnatius feet as the other people around began to laugh.
Yugworth got three steps in before Ugnatius charged at him and tried to split his head open with the pick axe. Yug, moved at just the right time or he would have been killed. It took three men to pull Ugnatius down.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Ugnatius Panted. “I got a little carried away.”
One of the men took the pick axe away from him and another called for the guards. They loosened up their grip just long enough for Ugnatius to pull away again and charge at Yugworth knocking him to the floor so hard he came out of his shoes. Ugnatius began to scream at the top of his lungs as he picked one up and beat his foreman bloody with his own shoe.
When the guards finally dragged him off, very little of Bubletoes nose still existed and he had lost one eye. Also at some point Ugnatius managed to bite off one of Yugworths pinky finger and spit it into the dirt.
Yugworth only ever got one strike in, but it was a good one. One hand came up and scratched at Ugnatius face, leaving four long scars that started in his forehead, split his eyebrows, continued down his cheeks before finally coming to rest somewhere in the darkness of his shiny auburn beard.
Even as they dragged him away, Ugnatius still kept trying to get back to his former classmate, 63 years of frustration begging to come out. Finally, one of the guards struck him with the hilt of an axe, knocking him unconscious. The last thing he saw before he went out was the sight of his mother hanging her head in shame, and his father jumping up and down cheering him on.
When he opened his eyes, he was alone in the cell in the back of the shop next to a pile of school books. Yugworth screamed for blood and tried to get Ugnatius executed, but the local magister felt that at the end of the day Ug was a good kid, who was handed a rough lot. He figured if he had been made fun of for eighty-eight years, he might have tried to beat someone with their own shoe as well.
Still, the law is the law and you can’t go around beating people with shoes, so he was given twelve years. Twelve years to sit in the cell by himself. It wasn’t all bad though. He had managed to become rather a folk hero around town. The town was slowly growing rich again and the people that mattered knew who was to thank. People came and talked to him, and he got along rather nicely with the innkeeper’s daughter who brought him food every so often.
They didn’t even bother to lock the cell most of the time. He had brought in a bed and some books, it was rather lovely. It was almost like he was on vacation. He read, worked on his education, but each year, as he got closer and closer to that twelve-year mark, it got harder and harder to deal with. That thought of going back to that hole and starting over again.
That big white X was an itch in the back of his head that he just couldn’t scratch.
He was fairly certain he was going to end up beating someone with a shoe again, only this time the results wouldn’t turn out in his favor. Nine years into his sentence though, he got a reprieve in the form of a cell mate. At first the new comer was quiet, kept to himself. It was a large half orc that everyone called Ugly. They didn’t call him Ugly because he was, really, he was rather handsome. Thick dark hair, greyish skin, deep thoughtful brown eyes. High cheek bones and a chiseled jaw.
They called him Ugly because that was his name. It was given to him by his mother, by human standards he may have been handsome, but by Orc standards? Not so much. Unable to stand the look of him, his mother, whom was an Orc Warlord of some minor fame having after several successful raids in the Dark Sands, sold him to an obscure monastery for a Dead goat, some cooking oil and a broken axe.
Both parties felt they got the better side of the deal.
The two quickly became friends, sitting alone in their cells talking back and forth. Ug and Ugly, it’s like they were meant to be. It was during this time that Ugly began to slowly introduce the Dwarf to the order of Xoas, an order dedicated to spreading and promoting peace throughout the realms.
The Order was started long ago by a venerable pit fighter known only as Xoas. The historians believed that this is not his true name, but whatever his true name is, it has been lost to the sands of time. The story though says that Xoas tired of fighting for the game of others, and decided to fight his own fight. To wage his own war, a war for peace. Legend says that Xoas left the pits and travelled the world building the fundamental tenants of the Xoaist order.
The Xoaist order is an order of Anarchists by nature. They believe that government is the ultimate enemy of peace. They don’t move against any government overtly, but they do work to subvert the people through violent enlightenment and peaceful chaos. They believe that true peace can only be achieved by the masses. Power corrupts, and no power corrupts more than power over others.
Long ago Xoas learned that the road to peace is paved with Chaos and Violence, the only way to truly reach peace, is through Chaos and Violence. Chaos to Peace, Peach Through Violence. The mantra of the Xoaist Order. They will shed as much blood as necessary and take as many sacrifices as needed to reach peace. He understood that the road to peace is never ending, but a journey without end was still worth walking.
Violence is serious business, and is a grim responsibility that the true Xoaist takes pleasure in spreading. Not all violence needs lead to death, but a dead man can no longer object. The Xoaist has a conscious and strong moral center. Violence can still be sport though if the end goal is strong, the Xoaist is the first to throw punches after a long hard night of Drinking.
Chaos though, the road Chaos is lighter hearted in nature. The Xoaist will not go into a town and kill the leader who has done nothing wrong to liberate the people. They will though go into a town and circulate rumors of impurity with farm animals on that leader’s behalf to destabilize his power and move the power back into the hands of the people.
If that leader though has proven wicked, the Xoasit has no qualms about placing their holy object between said leaders head again and again until said leader’s brains have been reduced to a strawberry mush.
Every Xoaist Monk is equal as they don’t believe in ranks. While it is true that some Monks words carry more weight than others, especially the words of the teachers, but every teacher is a student and every student is a teacher. The order stands shoulder to shoulder as equals, all with the same say.
The main weapon of the Xoasit is their fists and body. Still though, each Xoaist carry the holy weapons and the holy garb passed down from the great Xoas.
The holy weapons of the Xoaist are twofold. The main weapon is the three-sided flat Mace of Steel branded with the holy X on the business side. The Mace was the weapon Xoas used as a pit fighter and the first instrument when he started to spread peace throughout the world.
The second holy weapon is the simple Dart. A beggar’s game found in any place where travelers gather to break bread and consume alcohol. It’s used to remind the Xoaist that while it’s charge can be grim, one must always take the time to enjoy the simpler things. It is also said that the impetus for the movement sprung from a long night of drinking and throwing Darts.
Hence the large amounts of alcohol consumed in the temples revelries.
A good life is a peaceful life.
Chaos to Peace, Peach Through Violence
At the ten-year mark, with still two years in his sentence left, Ugnatius Folly left his home and family behind. In the middle of the night he walked out of the cell that had become his home and travelled to the other side of the world with his new-found brother Ugly to join the Monasterial Order of the Brotherhood of Xoas.
Ugnatius spent the next fifty years of his life learning the ways of peace through violence before starting out on his pilgrimage. The order is small. The chance of toppling any governments or any real change was slim, but it was with great glee that Ugnatius dedicated himself to becoming a sliver in the thumb of evil and injustice.
It was almost a full month before anyone in Greenrock Town realized he was gone. He has yet to return to his home, but he still sends stories of his travels and what he can back to his mother, even though unbeknownst to him his family is now the wealthiest family in all the Empty Mountains and have taken up residence in Maintown itself.
To this day no guard has been sent to force him to return to finish his sentence, instead they sing songs about his exploits and toast him in his absence. Maybe someday he will return, but for now he has his Quest, his Quest for Peace.
Chaos to Peace.
Peach through Violence.