D&D - Rime: Tragic Backstory

D&D - Rime: Tragic Backstory

Welcome to another D&D post, this time exploring the tragic backstory and unique physical attributes of Rime, my very first original PC for a home campaign. If you missed my first post about Rime's Character Creation process, definitely check it out first for context about adapting him from Otherworld, a Fae-centric fantasy world created by my partner and myself.


Rime's Backstory

Stolen from his Elven mother shortly after birth (DR 1344), Rime was raised by dark Half-Elves and Humans in Dambrath during Dambrath's isolationist era under rule of the Crinti. Non-Drow Elves were forbidden in the realm during that time period.

A storm mishap landed Rime's mother in the ports of Maarlith while she was in labor. Followers of Loviatar, acting in accordance with their sadomasochistic faith, took him from his mother both to punish her presence in Dambrath and to inflict suffering most effectively in exchange for her transport out of the country. (This likely was granted with no promise of safety and then performed via the Trader's Way to Delzimmer. She would have been properly tortured along the way.)

Obviously not a normal Elf---with blue-hued skin and the elemental nature of an Air Genasi---Rime was tossed between human and half-Drow masters, all members of the Church of Loviatar. Suffering is not just encouraged in this faith; it's a matter of course. Such an upbringing was deeply traumatic, but Rime had no other frame of reference, so throughout gameplay with his character, there will always be a lot to unpack there.

During his youth, Rime proved an entertaining acquisition for the Church, as he could heal from hurts far faster than humans. This of course didn't save him from scars, the most prominent of which resemble f-holes that were carved into the front of his torso. His musical voice gained him recognition for its beauty when raised in pain, so the f-hole scars were made in twisted symbolism to amplify the resonance of his voice in praise of the Maiden of Pain. He also has a large scarred branding of the symbol of Loviatar on his back. This is a barbed nine-tail whip.

Despite this horrific upbringing in Dambrath's matriarchal society, Rime was able to slowly gain a modicum of respect, to the point of getting out of Maarlith. Some thought him descended from a blessed union between The First (half-Elf priestesses of Loviatar) and an Air or Frost spirit from the Gnollwatch Mountains. These rumors aligned him with both the half-Elves and the Drow of T'lindhet, from whom the Crinti descended. Thus, depending on the company he kept, this reputation often worked to his advantage.

His more tempestuous nature was both lauded (if it caused others pain through violence or cruelty) and punished (if unleashed at figures of authority or guests). Over time, this served to shape Rime into a masochistic and icy-cruel lover the few times he was allowed the freedom of such dalliances. Closeness was often only encouraged as an exercise in perception and deception so that acts of emotional cruelty could be practiced. Emotional damage is a skill that must be honed over time, after all.

One such lover exposed Rime to the contradictory faith of Eilistraee, the Drow goddess of beauty, song, dance, freedom, moonlight, and swordplay. Rime ended the relationship cruelly after a short time, but a seed of doubt and curiosity was sowed. He'd never really considered that there were fulfilling ways of living other than the painful worship of Loviatar he was raised in. He knew he was not like everyone else, so he began to wonder if perhaps others of elemental heritage lived differently.

Enter Malachite: a Firre (celestial Eladrin/Fae) cleric of the Order of Scarlet Mummers, whose magic is fueled by devotion to the goddess Lliira, in direct opposition to Loviatar.

(General note on Firre: they are fire spirits, fighters often contracted by Lliira in wars. Their instinct is to defend and secure art/artists before going after a foe. The Order of the Scarlet Mummers specifically is a fierce group sent to avenge the murder of High Revelmistress Chlanna Asjros by followers of Loviatar.

Additional Note: Malachite was originally the Unseelie prince Rime was in love with in the Otherworld I created with my partner Saundra. He had elemental fire magic and was also musical, the proverbial black sheep in his more battle-oriented family in the dark Fae court. Adapting him into Rime's backstory was my way of honoring my partner with my first D&D character, since she passed 3 years prior to me joining this campaign.)

Following a performance, Malachite was moved by Rime's beauty and artistry/music. He assassinated Rime's handlers, valuing Rime's artistry and believing it to have its source in a goddess other than Loviatar. Such a thing was wasted on pain and suffering, in Malachite’s opinion. Rime was instantly swept up in the passionate encounter, and despite barbs and less than loving treatment, Malachite weathered Rime's temper and led him out of Dambrath (South Faerun) and eventually to Selgaunt (Inner Faerun). There, Rime was allowed true freedom for the first time, and it fueled his curiosity and creativity.

Malachite himself was renouned for his singing (Firre are often musically inclined), even though he was a more war-oriented cleric. Rime and Malachite inspired one another, reveled together, and Rime slowly found his icy defenses melting in the presence of Malachite's celestial fire and nurturing faith/belief.

During their time together, Rime rediscovered Eilistraee and had a spiritual experience when he finally decided to convert. The year was DR 1489, when Eilistraee regained her powers and finally began appearing to followers after a century of silence. Rime was one of the lucky first to feel her presence after this absence. Having this history explained to him after the fact made it even more meaningful to him. He believed the goddess herself had revealed her radiance to him near the Dancing Stone at Elventree (Cormanthor), and the experience warred with everything he was raised to believe.

Old habits die hard, however, and against Malachite's advice, Rime took a ship across the Moonsea to Melvaunt to give a final confession to the Church of Loviatar.

(This is a homebrewed ritual I created, wherein anyone willfully leaving the Church is forced to state it openly and then receive a final punishment before they are allowed to go. While I think Loviatans aren't above making slaves of defectors, the lower the rank of the one leaving, the more mild their final punishment... unless someone specific has a vendetta or knows their weaknesses. All known weaknesses will of course be exploited for maximum pain.)

Rime was expecting to bleed, of course, but he believed enduring the act would give him closure and a clean slate from which he could move forward. Aware of their presence and activities in Selgaunt, Hillsfar, and the surrounding areas (Rime and Malachite are not discreet), the Loviatans pounced at the opportunity to punish Rime for daring to leave the faith. They overpowered Malachite the moment they were able, and then they slayed him in front of Rime. This was considered the final punishment Rime had asked for, and they allowed him to go free to suffer his new existence without the one he had come to love most. The Loviatans' final promise to Rime was that if death was to come to him, it wouldn't be at their hands. After all, death gets in the way of Loviatar's Divine Way of Suffering.

Rime was cast out of the Temple (The Resting Place of the Whip), and after pleading for aid and mercy he was allowed refuge in the Hall of Laughter (a temple devoted to Lliira, the goddess Malachite served). Knowing he was responsible for Malachite's death, Rime left quickly, following the advise of a priestess to travel to Waterdeep in West Faerûn. If he really had seen Eilistraee back in Elventree, word was she had returned and appeared to many in that specific region of the Sword Coast.

His pilgrimage toward that area was how he found his way into the campgain's present company. Rime is essentially doing what he can to earn his keep as he searches for other followers of Eilistraee and a way to atone.

In this way, though he might try to abandon the faith, Rime's life is forever tied up with it. He channels his sorrow into his music, yearning to somehow capture that tiny bit of celestial fire to remind him of Malachite and keep his spirit with him somehow. His rage towards the Church of Loviatar never cools, though it's also tied up with that niggling voice in his head that whispers how beautiful his ongoing emotional torment is and how it glorifies the goddess he wants to badly to defy.

Ultimately, Rime doesn't know if his urge to kill followers of Loviatar is righteously fueled by Eilistraee/Lliira or merely proves he's still chained to Loviatar's service. He struggles with how naturally cruelty comes to him, and there is still trained euphoria in pain for him. Technically free from the Church the past two years, he has learned more about his heritage as a Genasi, which in turn has helped him tap into aspects of performance that play up his unique identity. He doesn't let people close enough to see the true depth of his grief, so he's often acting through a mask he'd gained through years of mistreatment in Dambrath. His forte is in intimidation and deception along with stealth. He has also been establishing a network of criminal contacts the past two years as he moves westward, taking his time to formulate a way of avenging Malachite’s death, if only to assuage his ongoing guilt.


Bonus: Rime's Happiest Memory

The brightest memory Rime clings to in his grief is celebrating the Summer Solstice with Malachite in Myth Drannor amongst the revelry of Hanali Celanil's followers. It was the only other time Rime has seen other Firre, since they often couple with Elves at these Summer Solstice celebrations. He was only permitted into Myth Drannor and the festivities because he was accompanied by Malachite. The symbol of Loviatar on his back makes many of positive faiths instantly suspicious of him, then and now. But this was the one time it seemed everyone looked past his obvious flaws and accepted him. It was temporary, but it continues to give him some small hope.


Rime's Unique Physical Attributes

  • Frosty Breath -- Rime's breath is typically colder than the surrounding environment, which makes H2O in the air temporarily condense into droplets of water vapor. So his breath fogs, and this is more prominent when he's in hot places. (The opposite of humans' warm breath fogging in the cold.)
  • Floating Hair -- Air Genasi sometimes have a way of always looking like wind is shifting through their hair. Rime's hair does this, but it's more noticable if he grows his hair out. At the start of the campaign, it's relatively short, but as the campaign continues, it will become more apparent.
  • Scarrification / Genasi Marks -- Rime has tiny dotted patterns of scars swirling over much of his form. From a distance, they appear to be just like normal Air Genasi marks, but they are textured scars, not just pigmentation. These were part of his unique devotion to Loviatar. Within the Church, Rime is considered a beautiful example of pain made living art.
  • F-Hole Scars & Loviatar Symbol -- The F-Hole scars are placed on the front of his torso, curving along his obliques from outer hip to groin. The Loviatar whip symbol takes up the majority of his upper back, splaying out over both his shoulder blades and his ribs. This symbol would be well-known by any cleric and may perhaps get him into interesting situations with anyone very religious. Reading the room, he'll play up the status of the mark or present himself as a victim who survived the brutal act. Whatever serves him best at the time.


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