The Chosen Ones

Hark! But who are the fine adventurers that travel the land in search of lore and loot?
(Ed: These will be filled out as they are delivered to us. Courier services are less than reliable in the Realms, you understand.)

The Players

A professional storyteller, magician and voice actor, Michael has been leading adventurers to their death since the sixth grade.  During an attempt to become a cartoonist, Michael met three highly creative individuals, Lee, Dare and James, and knew they would be perfect cannon fodder brave souls to take part in the Chafing Armor campaign!  Izzie, of course, had to be added because she is mother of (bearded) dragons.
James Kovach lives in NE Ohio and has been playing D&D since he was 10 years old, when he got a Rex Box for Christmas. He has since played many long- and short-term campaigns with various iterations of the game. He’s honored to be a part of Chafing Armor and is having a lot of fun. He is thankful that his wife Heather and daughter Laurana (yes, she IS named after her) allow him to hole up in their office for a couple of hours every now and then to talk into his microphone and say silly D&D things.

When he’s not podcasting his poor, pretty spellscale, James does community theater, plays the occasional video game, and herds goats. He is the proprietor of Haulin' Goats, wherein they clear unwanted vegetation. Not a bad way to make a living, even if it is only during the warm months.
Lee Brokas exists in a country time forgot. Or at least it feels that way to him sometimes. Australia, contrary to popular belief, is actually habitable by human beings, so long as you wear enclosed shoes at all times, have a volcanologist's silver suit for the summertime and don't mind living in the 1950's.

He started playing D&D in his late teens, in the dreaded 3rd edition years, and has been in love with it ever since. He's been both player and DM, and enjoys both but rarely gets to be a player much anymore. Chafing Armor is a chance to play a fun campaign, with a group of great people and without all the stress of running a campaign.

Outside of D&D, Lee likes to play videogames and watch Netflix, and has a keen interest in sociology and social justice. He also has a cat.
[content forthcoming]
[content forthcoming]

The Characters

Played by James

My father told me that, after four daughters in a row, he prayed for a son.

Mortimer Shallus, a goat farmer, wasn't much to truck with the gods, but he took to his knees at the temple of the goddess of luck, in their farming community outside of the city, in hopes that he might finally sire himself an heir. And as luck would have it, he finally did.

Sort of.

My name is Penton Shallus, and I am the fifth - and only male - child of Mortimer Shallus and Emilia Ravenwood. I was born just after the worst storm our region had seen in fifty years, and the sun broke through the silver clouds to shine on my wailing face. And shine it did, because it was revealed that someone in the family line had a touch of dragon blood, for I had been blessed (which is how I choose to see it) with a sheen of scales akin to dragonkind. Mother had heard rumors of such from her family, and the proof showed on my newborn skin.

After the initial shock, the family took the anomaly as a sign that I was destined for great things. Father said that, whenever I started crying as a baby, Mother would whisper something to me in a language he could not understand, and I would quiet immediately. I assume that she spoke to me in draconic, though Father was never able to confirm that.

My four older sisters attended me in varying degrees, from being a pretend child of their own to having something to gum their teeth on. Onelia, the oldest, immediately took charge of my upbringing, assuming I would one day be a fierce warrior and protector of the community. My mother, who took long in recovering from birthing her fifth (and somewhat unexpected) child, was only too happy to let the girls do as much of the legwork as she dared. Being daughters of their mother, they were all quite capable, at least, as much as their ages would allow. Mother recovered eventually enough to get back to selling the various and quality goat-based wares our farm produced to the community at large, thus keeping her away for extended periods and making her daughters all the more important in my upbringing.

Onelia was, in many ways, my adoptive mother, as it was to some degree with the other girls as well. She took on much responsibility for her relative age in caring for her siblings, and handled it graciously and competently. We all sensed a... longing in our mother, something in her thoughts that kept pulling at her. Perhaps it was her adventurous past, about which she hardly ever spoke, other than as a warning to 'never make the same mistake she did'. In later years, I found myself wondering how a woman like her - from a noble family and of some spectacular, if mysterious, past - wound up becoming the wife of a goat farmer. I suppose my father wondered that on occasion as well.

Thus it was of little surprise, though still deeply hurtful, that she never returned from one of her outings to the city to deliver goods to be sold at some of the finer shops. A courier delivered payment and papers from the haul to our home, but no word from our mother since. Maybe she was waylaid; maybe she died somewhere between home and city; or maybe she finally gave in to that quiet call she sometimes heard but never spoke of. The children took the news with shock, but none of us cried. Onelia was our rock, and she kept strong on our behalf. I was eleven years old.

And while father was obviously heartbroken, it seemed a small part of him knew the day would come. Onelia was old enough to make the deliveries into town, and had done it often enough to know the business. Father was also well enough off to be able to hire a guard when the deliveries were to be run, so there was less chance of someone trying to take advantage of a young woman with goods and funds on her. Onelia could throw a good punch, but swords and arrows were another matter.

While Onelia had grand plans for my being raised a warrior and local hero, it seemed fate had something else to say about it. I wasn't very strong for my age, and being raised by four girls had made me into what some might consider to be a softie. I spent a great deal of time talking, bartering, working with locals to get good deals on supplies and getting our animals tended by the best. I managed to talk my way into and out of a great many things.

My linguistic skills were good for the farm, and the goats thrived. After a few years, the flock had grown enough to the point of needing to hire on extra hands to keep pace. The farm slowly became more of a business than a homestead. And while my father was an excellent hand at herding and farming, he was not so great with numbers. As such, Onelia, over time, became the de facto head of the business, keeping ledgers, hiring and firing, ordering and selling. Dualla and Tricia, my second- and third-oldest sisters, were married and moved to homes of their own.

Father, while still toiling away at a meager pace for his age, began to edge toward something he would consider to be 'retirement', which was only working about ten or twelve hours a day instead of sixteen. He had hopes of passing the farm and business to me at first. I shared father's penchant (or lack thereof) for numbers, however, and Onelia was proving to be a fine businesswoman. Truth be told, although I was always on hand and happy to do what needed to be done to keep the farm and family thriving, my heart just wasn't in it.

It became more evident over time that I would grow to be a handsome man, which drew attention to me from the most interesting places. Once I walked along the river into a wooded glen, where a faerie nymph nearly accosted me. She smiled and said, "I see the dragon gods have smiled upon you. Let me do as well!" The nymph, whose name I could only make out as Thillissia, then kissed my forehead and I felt a change in me, as if a bit of her presence had flowed into me.

"You will to magics!" she said. "Find it and learn!" Before she let me go, she bade me promise that I would return to her on occasion to tell her of my exploits. I plan to keep that promise.

And it was true, a well of magic I barely understood awoke within me. I would wake up at night with colored balls of light floating around my head, and other such things. I came to realize that this power was something I needed to learn to control, and I told Father as much.

"I understand, son," he'd told me. "You need to go where your destiny takes you." I could tell he was thinking of my mother when he said that, and I reassured him.

"I'm not leaving the family, father," I said. "Just making it bigger. The gods will see to that."

After a moment of thought, father smiled at the thought. "Seems that fortune never gives you what you want, but it always seems to give you what you need." He put a hand on my shoulder and said, "I know you'll do well, son- for us and for the world."

I smiled brightly and tried to sound... priestly. "If fortune wills it, so it shall be."

And with that, I bid my family farewell and set out for the city, and for a teacher that would put me in touch with my burgeoning magics.

As part of my studies, I found myself to me more and more curious about my draconic nature. I studied dragons, the draconic deities, their natures, and what it means to have dragon blood within. My magical studies as a sorcerer seemed to intertwine with my dragon aspect, so that one grew with the other. Colored lights that I would cantrip would take the form of tiny dragons flying in circles. I took to the draconic language as if it were not something to learn, but something I had forgotten and needed to recall. I was fluent in mere months.

In my studies, I came to realize that wealth was a construct based upon imitating a dragon's hoarding of wealth, and it was something of which I felt I was not worthy. Besides, I was able to obtain what I needed through words and actions and magic, so money seemed irrelevant to me. Better the dragons have it than I – they find it more comfortable to sleep on.

So I meditated on this idea while also meditating upon the aspects of the dragon gods. As I concentrated, a voice which I now suspect may have been an aspect of Bahamut, the great platinum dragon of legend, whispered that, were I to remain true to my belief that wealth was no boundary to my success and survival, that I would be blessed with certain protections to help me along the way. So I gave away the last of my meager coinage, got myself a stout staff and a plain robe, and went into the world a complete man.

Well, almost complete. The end of my training involved calling a companion to me. While one might think I thought of dragons as I meditated, for some reason my mother pervaded my thoughts instead. And so, and the end of my ritual, there stood a raven, looking me in the eye and letting out a curious squawk. Thus, we traveled.
Played by Lee

I’m not one for a lot of talkin’. In fact I’ve found that the less I open my mouth, the better for everyone. But I’m feelin’ talkative this night. Must be the mead.

So I’ll give you what you want. I’ll tell you my “backstory”.

I was born some 25 winters ago, in a small tribal camp in the Eldeen Reaches. The tribe numbered about 20 adults and about 30 young ones of various ages. A child a year was common in the tribe, however my parents were different. They only had one. My mother Tha’alina was the tribal herbalist, but I have no idea about my father. Very soon after my birth, he disappeared. No-one in the tribe would talk about him, includin’ my mother. To this day I still don’t know why. The only thing she would say is that she had been “touched by chaos”. She would repeat those three words again, when I asked why I had no siblings like the others in the tribe.

Raisin’ a son without a father was hard on my mother, and as I got older I faced a lot of taunts and jibes about bein’ ‘soft’ and a ‘mama’s boy’ among other things. However, Tha’alina was always determined to support her son, and raise him to be a strong member of the tribe. She instilled in me a sense of honor and responsibility, and taught me that above all, bein’ kind is the best way to move through life. She schooled me in herbalism, although I never really learned much past the names and features of the herbs, mushrooms and grasses she would teach me. Their application never interested me much, I was more interested in the plants themselves.

At 6 years old, I discovered an affinity with animals, and nature in general. I often predicted rain with greater accuracy than some of the elders, a skill I learned to hide quickly, as the elders did not like to be shown up by a mere whelp. I also was able to guide Tha’alina to the best spots for the plants she requested, especially in the years where her usual foragin’ grounds did not provide all she needed. Animals seemed less afraid of me than the others of my tribe, and I was able to feed deer and other skittish creatures by hand. I knew that somehow nature was where my callin’ was to be.

As I approached my 12th year, it became obvious I was not like the others of the tribe. My peers would engage in fast paced games and feats of agility, growin’ to be lithe and slender like the rest of the tribe. But I was not good at the games. I found myself unable to keep up with their play, and the older I got the less agile I seemed to become.

And the larger I became.

My 13th year, I was allowed to enter the tribal games. The tribes from all across the Reaches would meet in the center, puttin’ aside rivalries, to engage in games of skill and endurance. It was a way to build alliances, and trade tribe members in truce arrangements. But for the young ones, it was all about the competition. Sprint races, trackin’ games, huntin’ and fishin’ competitions. I wasn’t interested in competin’; the games didn’t interest me. However, someone from another tribe, a man by the name of Linboch, invoked his right of challenge, and pointed me out. Linboch challenged me to a game of my choice, and I was not allowed to decline the challenge, as my entire tribe’s reputation would be tarnished if I did so. I wasn’t good at any of the games on offer, until I heard a voice ring in my head, clear as a bell.

“I choose to wrestle!” came out of my mouth before I knew what I was sayin’. The whole gathered crowd cheered and a circle formed around the two of us. We grappled, and Linboch had my measure pretty quickly. He was strong, and I found myself eatin’ the grass many times. Yet there was always the voice in my head, tellin’ me I could take him. I just had to reach deep within myself and find the power that lay within.

I don’t remember much of what happened afterward, it all happened too fast. But I do remember utterin’ a deep bellowin’ roar from what seemed like my very soul, and then nothin’. I was told later that durin’ the tussle, I had slipped from Linboch’s grip and stood, pickin’ him up and slammin’ him down into the ground with a force great enough to break his legs and one of his arms. I was tackled by the strongest of the competitors and restrained until one of them took his club and slammed it into my temple, knockin’ me out.

I woke up that same night with my mother sittin’ nearby, strokin’ and washin’ my fevered and stingin’ brow. She was cryin’ and mutterin’ under her breath those same words from earlier “Touched by chaos”. I asked her again what it meant, and in a moment brought on by what I think may have been relief, she only said “I hope you never find out, Osokai.” To this day, I still don’t know what those three words mean.

My tribe left the tribal games that year champions. We had four new tribe members, and before we left, I was given a gift of braided cord from a girl from another tribe, somethin’ I learned later was a promise of love. Tha’alina smiled when I showed it to her, and weaved it into my now quite long hair durin’ the journey back to the camp, along with another braid indicatin’ my victory over Linboch. I still have those braids, although I have moved them to my beard.

It was my 16th Summer when the tribe was attacked by Orcs. It was that day that I felt somethin’ within me slip and that same power deep within now spread throughout every part of my body. And as the Orcs pillaged their way through the camp, my Shifter blood boiled and my claws emerged from my fingers. I fought hard, but I was not yet in full control of my new form, and I quickly found myself overpowered and thrown into a cage, separated from the rest of my tribe.

The Orcs took over the camp, and every night I was beaten and whipped until I agreed to fight another member of my tribe for the amusement of the Orc Warlord. Man or woman, elder or child, it didn’t matter. I had to fight. Every week or two, I would best a tribe mate, and they would be taken away. We never saw them again. The children hurt the most. Innocence lost for the cheap thrills of those filthy greenskins.

As our numbers dwindled, I learned the ones taken away were tortured and killed for more amusement. I overheard an Orc talkin’ in crude Common tongue to my mother, cacklin’ about how she would face me the followin’ night in the arena. It was then that I heard the same voice from the games. It urged me to action, and so incensed by the bloodlust and cruelty of the Orcs that I heeded the voice and planned a breakout.

I say planned. There wasn’t much plannin’ to it. The Orcs guardin’ my cage were stupid, even by Orc standards, and had presumed I was a broken man. As they entered my cage to drag me to the arena to be whipped, they were not expectin’ my attack, and seconds later both of them fell with broken necks. I freed what little of my tribe were left, and they vanished into the night. My mother quickly kissed my cheek before she disappeared into the night. I never saw her again.

But I wasn’t done with the Orc filth.

I crept through the camp, stealthily takin’ out Orcs where I could find them. The Orcs had set up their camp inside my home territory, and because of that they were at a disadvantage. I worked my way through the camp searchin’ for the Warlord. But I could not find him. Dawn approached rapidly, and the Orcs would soon find the empty cage, and the bodies of their brethren. I knew I couldn’t stay, so I gathered up what little supplies I could stuff into a pack and headed out into the forest, where I knew I could lose any pursuers.

Things were slow and tough the first few months. But as the days passed, I grew more confident in my ability to survive the Wilds. I would hunt and gather pelts in the woods and plains of the Reaches, always ensurin’ I gave my respects to the land for the sacrifice it made daily to support me. I would sell the pelts in local villages and towns, and soon enough I went from “Stranger” to “Ranger” and I suppose that’s what I became. Two years ago, I heard a rumour about an Orc Warband from the Reaches had been spotted in these lands. It’s a long shot, but I’m here to find out if it’s the same Warband that captured and tortured me and my tribe. My tribe may be gone, but my rage is not. And I swear upon the Traveler himself, that I will have that Warlord’s heart in my hand before my days are ended.

So that’s why I’m here. I don’t care about gold or wealth. Hell, I don’t care much about this Princess, or whatever. I only joined the army to get information. My aim is to see that Warlord dead. Everythin’ else is a distraction at best.
Played by Dare

[content forthcoming]
Played by Izzie

[content forthcoming]