Articles By Author - Robert Fairbanks

The Cailleac Bheur (or the Blue Hag)

The elder witch of the winds and winters leans on a twisted, bird-headed staff. A monstrous, emaciated fey, it wanders mountain heights and craggy highland moors, reveling in the appetites and agonies of frost and famine. The Blue Hag’s gaunt yet towering frame is draped in rough, woolen shawls and tattered plaids. Its frostbitten skin is the frozen blue of drowned men under the ice, and its single, milky eye glares balefully through a tangle...

Khazzak Vagabond: A Background

Khazzak Vagabond A nomad among wanderers, an outsider among exiles, yours is a storm-touched tale. The open sky and wind-brushed tundra were blanket and bed to you, the thunder of hoof beats, a lullaby. To you, “civilization” was wind-snapped yurts and healthy herds; words like city meant tents and wagons and carnivals, leather and wheels and rope. Among the mixed tribes, horse clans, and khanates that form the Khazzaki nation, anyone who...

Lumeran River Scout: A Background

Lumeran River Scout Some of the “pirates” approach folkloric status (those with necks as still unstretched, at any rate), local legends along the many meandering miles of the great Lumera River (see Midgard Expanded for more on this region). Headsman Uhlzhar One-Arm, Yllinia the River Witch, Beornath the Blue Bowman, and others, but whether famous or foul, flamboyant or fearsome, to you they were all prey. Let the nomads and the...

Dragoncoil Guide: A Background

Dragoncoil Guide Like petrified waves of broken bone, the wind-scoured crags of the Dragoncoil Mountains undulate through the Eastern Dragon Empire. Looming like cyclopean gods, these jagged, snow-capped peaks dominate nearly every horizon of this vast, alpine region. Mezar, Betik, and sacred Kalpostan all lie nestled within the harsh embrace of these timeless mountains. From those high, cold peaks and fertile, glacial valleys, you have come,...

Capleon Speculator: A Background

Capleon Speculator (“Salt and Spice Banker”) It is called the City of Peace and aptly so, for they say that in Capleon even murder is done with courtesy and grace. (See also Midgard Expanded: The Travels of Lucano Volpe, or So It Begins.) On the outside, it’s a bustling, port-city of drovers and teamsters, of tradesman, wholesalers, and ship captains. Its crowded streets teem with braying pack animals, teetering wagon trains, travelers,...

Draconian Academe: A Background

Draconian Academe It is a citadel of robes and scrolls, of science and magic and murmuring bells. A draconian metropolis, bristling with spired academies and domed observatories. Whispering libraries, clinking laboratories, and muttering menageries rise at every turn. The city of Betik has for centuries stood as the arcane heart and intellectual jewel of the Eastern Dragon Empire. This sprawling capital of the “Province of the Book” is a...

Wastelander: A Background

Wastelander From the Pillars of Uxloon to the fields of Verrayne, from Flensing Gulch to the Silk Thicket, you have wandered countless leagues of the Western Wastes. You know its seasons, its savagery, and even some of its secrets all too well. Warped, decaying energies and dark memories of the trials of survival in that alien desolation linger, sometimes still displaying their influence on mind, body, and soul. The term “wastelander” refers to...

Triolan Highwayman: A Background

Triolan Highwayman The Triolan corsairs are renowned throughout Midgard for their flamboyant ferocity and near monopoly on organized shipping and piracy throughout the (northern) Middle Sea. But the sea lanes and merchant armadas are not the only means to move goods and services to and from the rich trade centers of the great peninsula. Eager merchants still foolishly brave back roads and “shortcuts” to hurry their goods to Tolmezo, Melana, and...

Pilgrim of Mavros: A Background

He is master of storms, blood, and strife. But he is also god of honor, protection, and rebirth. Mavros, the God of Valera and the Seven Cities—his masks and various incarnations are revered and worshiped throughout Midgard. You are his word. Epiphany and spiritual fervor compel you to attempt one of the greatest tests of devotion available to your faith. You have made the pilgrimage to the Seat of Mavros, deep in the Wasted West. Few would...

Mharoti Master Chef: A Background

Food, an essential—and delicious—component of life. Those that can work its magic are highly valued in any culture. Fine victuals are cherished in politics, business, and religion throughout Midgard, and you aspired to no less than the exceptional and the exotic. You were destined for more than lording over a three-star Trioloan restaurant or cooking aboard a luxury Siwali sandship. Draconic fine dining was your calling, nothing less would...

Ghatazi Runaway: A Background

Ghatazi: a word synonymous with misery in every spoken language of the Southlands. The Ghatazi salt pits lie sizzling in the bleached wastelands of the Crescent Desert’s northern rim. Enclosed on all sides by thousands of miles of blistering rock and searing white sand, it is a hostile, unforgiving place plagued by swarms of biting flies, bone-scouring salt storms, and a diabolic malevolence that seems to permeate the region. At...

Makurian Caravan Guard: A Background

Like many that hail from the desert city-states, you learned to read the language of the Lotus and Tamasheq Trails before you could even read the simplest Nurian scroll. Before you knew how to lace your own sandals, you knew the flicker of a camel’s ear that told of approaching riders and which of the desert falcon’s cries warned of impending sandstorms and which meant water or game was nearby. To this day, you can spot gnoll sign,...

Bourgundian Parfumier: A Background

Not all (dramatic) changes to one’s lifestyle, calling, or ambitions are a result of social or financial decline. Some are simply decided upon. Regardless of your motivation or incentive for change, you have accepted that a comfortable life of research, science and business is—at least for now—a part of your past. As befits a native of Shining Bourgund, you are educated and ambitious. You spent your youth apprenticed among the...

Gambler: A Background

Blackleg or handicapper, punter, card-sharp or dicer, all far from flattering titles to be sure. Titles said to be born of avarice or desperation, addiction or recklessness. Many of those saddled with such colorful, yet shady depictions, might call them unfair or inaccurate. But to make one’s living by speculation, confidences, or games of chance is rarely considered an “honorable profession” in any culture. Even the astronomically few who do...

Smuggler: A Fifth Edition Background

Knife blades and harness buckles smeared with black soot; muffled oar-locks and a moonless, midnight-rendezvous, torchlights on the moors and signal lights beyond the breakers . . . Throughout the ages and across civilizations, there has and will always arise the inevitable desire, demand, even desperate need, for those things regulated or forbidden. These desires and demands, in turn, frequently spell opportunity to an entrepreneurial few....

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