28 years later
Demitri "Bandit" JackalsPups Dog
"Old dad, with a gear here and a cog or two there...I can make it twice as useful...If only I could get some." ~Bandit
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ====== Demitri “Bandit” Jackalspup Dog, level 2 Gnome, Artificer Build: Tinkerer Artificer Birth – Among Another Race: Among Another Race (Human) Background: Birth – Among Another Race, Society – Poor, Curious Archeologist (Among Another Race (Human))
FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 11, Con 13, Dex 13, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 13.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 11, Con 13, Dex 13, Int 16, Wis 18, Cha 11.
AC: 18 Fort: 13 Reflex: 15 Will: 16 HP: 30 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 7
TRAINED SKILLS Arcana +12, Perception +10, Thievery +7, Dungeoneering +10, History +10
UNTRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics +2, Bluff +2, Diplomacy +2, Endurance +2, Heal +5, Insight +5, Intimidate +2, Nature +5, Religion +5, Stealth +4, Streetwise +2, Athletics +1
FEATS Artificer: Alchemist Level 1: Master Mixer Level 2: Crossbow Caster
POWERS Artificer at-will 1: Magic Weapon Artificer at-will 1: Static Shock Healing Infusion: Healing Infusion: Resistive Formula Artificer encounter 1: Spike Wire Artificer daily 1: Obedient Servant Artificer utility 2: Use Magic Item
ITEMS Ritual Book (2), Crossbow Bolts (40), Parchment Leather Armor +1, Bracers of the Perfect Shot (heroic tier), Alchemy Gloves (heroic tier), Distance Hand Crossbow +1 FORMULAS Tanglefoot Bag, Herbal Poultice, Clockwork Bomb, Alchemist’s Fire, Alchemist’s Spark, Dragonfire Tar, Tethercord, Blastpatch ====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======
“Demitri, dear… Come here and clean up. We will be moving on soon and Garl knows that he won’t want this forest sullied with your little toys.”
The caravan was packing up. He could see his cousins and cousins-cousins working hard trying to get the carts ready to move. Many would wave hello but most were too involved with their tasks to pay him much mind. They were going to be back on the road soon, though no one had ever told him why they had to move from their lovely, underground burrows and into the forest proper. All they had told him is they had a long way to go and not much time to do it in. For “THEY” were coming. Who They were was never explained…especially to a 5 year old.
It is aweful to be a kid sometimes, he thought to himself. My older cousins get to play with all those pulleys, and ropes, and nails, and razorwire. I want to play with those too…not pickup toys.
In the comotion of the entire clans work, noone had noticed when the birds stopped chirping and the wild animals surrounding them ran for cover. That’s why it was a complete surprise when the barriers fell. The zombies smashed their way through the razorwire traps and began to attack his extended family’s caravan. Many were taken down quickly, as anyone knows a gnome don’t run as fast as a human…especially if he’s undead and never gets tired. But, lots “slipped into the feyhide” and hopefully were safe.
He saw his mother fall to the raging beasts and she couldn’t “slip” quick enough. The disgusting creatures gnawed on her now cracked skull as they still continued toward the other living beings fighting and hiding for their survival. With his mother gone, he did the only thing a boy could do. He ran into the woods looking for a hidey-hole. He raced for cover only to run head first into one of the first zombies to get through the barriers set to protect them. It’s legs had been severed clean off yet it still moved…crawling on it’s two deadened hands. It wasted no time as Demitri stood still hoping he had gone unnoticed by the beast. But the impact, shed his protective camoflague. It grabbed and clamped it’s rotting teeth into Demitri’s arm. Pain and blood erupted from the limb. Yanking as hard as a youthful gnome could, he threw himself away from the beast. Luckily for the boy, many of the beast’s teeth had already rotted out and he was only left with few to grip with. Again, the boy bolted away from the attacker.
He managed to find a hiding spot admist an ancient pine tree. It’s limbs were spacious and grand and could keep larger creatures at bay with it’s many stiff and strong branches. The ancient’s sap covered any smell he made with a sickeningly strong, pine infusion that all except the most gifted hunters would overlook. He sat, bleeding, in that tree too afraid to move. With his gnomish ears, he could hear the screams of his family as they were found, and torn apart (or as he would later come to realize as an adult, converted to members of the zombie hoarde). As the hours droned by the noises became fewer and further between. Somewhere near that day’s midnight, the sound of the trees swaying in the wind was the only noise that could be heard.
Demitri hid up in that pine tree for a day in a half, too afraid that the legless beast would find him again. But eventually, hunger overrode the fear and he hoped he could find camp again. He wandered aimlessly for a few hours when he found the reminants of the razorwire barrier and made his way (carefully and cautiously while searching for traps the entire time) to the campsite. But, He had no problems with such things.
For once when he arrived, he was only further horrified. Every single cart was smashed to pieces. Zombie and gnomish body parts littered the area, although there was no sign of any dead beyond the simple splay of body parts.
He called for help for hours. Yet no one came. No one heard. He was alone.
The boy now had to figure out what to do. Stay here and live off of the reminants of the camp… hoping to wait for his family’s return or stay and possibly await the rampaging beasts return… or press on toward where they were moving. Needless to say, there was no real choice.
Packing up what little he could carry, he collected the reminants of the food left undamaged. While packing, he realized that he would need protection. He was unable to swing a weapon that was worth anything. But there was something else… The barrier. The barrier wasn’t completely successful however even the razorwire had managed to cut one of the undead in half making it easier to escape. So, the lad took the wire gloves or what was left of some and wrapped a large amount of wire around a tree branch to be used later as he treked along hoping to find those he loved.
He set off trudging in the direction he thought they were moving to. Four days…eight days…twelve days passed as he continued the trudge forward. He had run out of food three days prior and was now constantly crying in hunger, misery, and morning.
That’s when a different beast appeared. Stopping his wimper, he “slipped” and waited for the thing to pass by.
The beast was gnarled and frightening…almost as bad as the zombies were. But, the creature made no move forward. He stared beyond at the sandy place I had just come from. Instead of continuing on, he quickly set to work on making a fire, setting down a slab of meat on it and tossing out two blankets. He laid on one and faced the other. It wasn’t long before the food became ready and the joyous scent of delicious meat filled the air.
The stuggle against hunger was soon lost. I moved forward slowly rounding the fire to keep it in between the beast and himself. I moved in to grab the meat, hoping to scarf a piece before disappearing back into the wood.
“Grrrr… One should have better manners… what would…GrrrrOwth… mama say,” spoke the beast in a rough form of common tongue.
I was utterly speechless. My body was still in the feyhide, yet it seemed like he knew. He must be talking to himself. Another step forward.
“GrrrrOwl… Really? What are you 2..3 winters maybe?”
Without thinking, I retorted, “I’m 5 years thank you!” Too late… my mistake was made.
The beast jumped up instantly and gripped my shirt and lifted me effortlessly off the ground. I feared for my life so I kicked and screamed therby losing my concentration and reappearing from the feyhide. Eventually, the realization hit me that I was doomed. I waited for the killing blow.
Yet none came. Instead, the beast carried me to the second blanket and gently dropped me uncerimoniously onto my behind. The beast leaned over to the fire and carved off a piece of meat and handed it to me.
“They call… GRRrrrRR… me ‘Old Dog’... what do they… Grrrowl…call you boy?”
And with that, I started my new family. We wandered the lands (forever so it felt at 5 winters), finding lost people and children that we could. I used my ability to hide and to ‘slip’ often to keep the children hidden for their safety. Our ragtag group finally found a place of safety: The town at Syxxstedding. Because he was beastly yet showing compassion they gave us a place to live within the walls of the broken down and unusable Inn. This was soon called the Jacklespup Orphanage.
In Jacklespup Orphanage. I would sit and listen to Old Dog’s stories of how things used to be. He would teach. I would listen. Then, I would climb out onto our ramshackle roof and think. There was plenty of time for that…even with all my chores. So, I decided to try to invent things to help my family of “Many faces”. It was hard, but rewarding. I even managed to repair a rocking chair for my new father to at least give some comfort to him as he looked over his brood. I tried as best I could to take some of the burden off of Old Dog with my skills and knowldege but I could only do so much as a youth.
Even now, some of my brothers and sisters play pranks on me by striking me soundly in surprise for the sole purpose to watch me instinctively disappear and laugh while I do it. All the while being grateful for it… because without this, they would too be part of the zombie hoarde.
I managed to aquire a job with a local gnomish jeweler who had accidentally become trapped there when the zombie waves began to swarm around Syxxstedding. He was a kind person and was grateful for a fellow gnome to gaze upon in this human filled town. He taught me several skills with gnomish lore, jewelery, metal working, and magic-infusion mechanics. These were good times for me and my family for he even managed to shuffle me a copper or two for my assistance. But soon, for whatever reason, he was violently ‘reminded’ that we were nothing but outcasts and were to be treated as such. He told me never to come back after the second ‘memory jog’ that left him crippled for nearly a month.
Now, unable to find a job to help Old Dog and our family struggling more than ever before. I learned how to trash pick and survive when you have nothing. The locals started calling me ‘that bandit’ after I was caught trying to pick through one of the abandoned Gatetown trash piles. So, I gave myself a name as would be fitting a gnome’s recitation… bandit.
I still try to help my family through my inventions and the occasional theft. I love them as much as my original one and I will die to try to keep them all safe. Although, I do hold onto hope that one day my real family will find me and take the entire orphanage with them away from this horrid, gang and crime-filled place. I still have a bit of that wire tucked behind one of my ears at all times, cuts from it be damned, as a symbol of that hope. But until they come… I’ll keep learning… and building.