Friday, June 3, 2011

Alys Kaah

(A biography of my player character in Shaddakim's Southern Reaches game)

Alys, the Jagirdar Kaah, gnomish summoner/cavalier,would have you believe that she is a fierce warlord of the Fey Court and an ambassador of their land to these distant shores.

Don't you believe a word of it.

This much is true: she is the daughter of a noble house from faraway lands, but those lands are not of the Fey Court, and while her family has a good reputation and some land, they are only barely nobility and mostly ceremonial at that. Her mother is a sage of the court and her father runs the stables; they are, in fact, quite responsible members of the community.  Or, as Alys would put it, "Boring."

Her alignment could best be described as "Chaotic Shiny." She is impulsive and selfish in an ADHD sort of way -- not necessarily evil or cruel, but desiring the maximum payoff for the minimum amount of work, because work is dull and gets in the way. Naturally, she gravitated towards danger the way a moth is drawn to the flame. 

Perhaps madness skips generations, for it turns out that Alys was much closer in disposition and abilities to her late Great-Uncle Chom Skee than to her parents, possessing an inherent ability towards Summoning and what might be considered an unhealthy fascination towards owlbears. Her mother, seeing her child's inherent skill at magic and potential for a dangerously unhinged personality, sought to ingrain Alys with discipline at an early age by apprenticing her to a court wizard. Alys actively rebelled from the requisite study and practice, her only interest being in the books of magical beasts her mentor had lying about.

It wasn't long before she was skipping lessons with a "borrowed" grimoire, trying to summon an owlbear of her very own. Perhaps fortunately, she managed to summon an owlbear-shaped eidolon which instantly bonded with her, instead of an actual owlbear which would have instantly eaten her. Calling her new best friend Mister Boodles, she declared herself a knight and began riding about upon his back, looking for trouble and/or adventure. 

Alys' parents were skeptical at first, but upon realizing the bond she had with Mister Boodles, were relieved that there was at least someone in the world who was able to keep up with her and who could, if not protect her from harm, then at least help her get out of whatever trouble she had gotten them into.

Since the path of a wizard had been a failure, and seeing as how Alys was running about the land styling herself a knight and challenging people to combat, her father used what few favors he had in the local court and had her trained as a cavalier. This she took to instantly, as it involved wearing cool armor and waving around sharp things and charging into danger. It was not long before Alys was at least a competent warrior with the sword and lance. Mister Boodles grew in martial proficiency alongside her, and soon became a combat-trained mount capable of rending and tearing with beak and claw.

It was about this time that Alys' mother started making "why don't you marry one of these nice boys" noises, and so Alys ran away from home in search of... well, pretty much anything, as long as it wasn't boring. She soon joined up with a group of like-minded lunatics adventurers and has made quite a name for herself in the weeks since, mostly because she has paid a local bard large amounts of gold to tell amazing stories of her prowess (read: inflate her importance and make the other PCs sound like members of her entourage).

Her most recent scheme involves posing as a Jagirdar of the Fey Court, which her bard Thomin (also a gnome) says is the title given to a warlord who rules a parcel of land. She has found that the local Baron desires a larger, more stable barony, and has a son of approximately marriageable age. When the Baron asked what to call her, she said "I hope that in the future you can call me daughter." While this took the Baron somewhat aback, he has yet to nix the idea and has promised her a further discussion on this topic (presumably once he has his wits about him). At the very least, she has gained recognition of her own (fake) noble credentials within his court.

Does she think she can get away with it? Probably. It seems a decent jape of which the Fey might approve. And if not, things will certainly become very interesting, very quickly.

Why is she doing it? Not out of any desire to rule, or lust for power or wealth. She just wants to live in extreme luxury for the rest of her life without having had to work for it, while having all those boring, hard-working people kissing her ass. The Baron's son can rule; Alys' goal can be summed up as Triumph of the Lazy.

Take Lini, the Pathfinder iconic gnome character...

... and combine her with Nitrine from the webcomic Flaky Pastry.

That's basically it.

Her heraldic symbol is thus:

Argent, an Owlbear displayed Tawny, armed Or. 
If I knew who drew this I would happily give them credit.

Yes, this is on her armor. Alys is a connoisseur of bad taste, and we haven't even gotten to the leopard-skin cloak with purple trim yet.

As a point of interest, her Eidolon Mister Boodles actually looks more like this.

Bitchin' art courtesy of Michael Merissi at Owlbear Re-concept

He has wings because he can fly. Flying Gnomish Owlbear Cavalry, bitches!

For those who would like to know what it's like inside of Alys' mind (it's basically a collection of "boing" noises and explosions of color), you may read her account of an adventure here. An excerpt:
So like, we decided to go somewhere, I forget exactly, some kinda old place with lots of stones and something crazy, I dunno. It sounded boring until they mentioned near-certain death and then I was like "Yeah baby!" So we went to the place, and everyone else was lame because their horses rode on the ground. Mr. Boodles flew above them proudly and was awesome.

We were flying, and flying, and flying... and then I heard "Beg pardon, old chum, but might that be a Dyre Tyger lurking like a ruffian in the tall grass, waiting to thuggishly ambush our compatriots?" Mr. Boodles is always so formal.

"Quite so," I said in his language, because that's a secret bond we share. "Let us go forth and roust the cad forthwith. Yoiks and away! Tally-ho!" and we were all zoooooooom! and charged the sucker. I gave it a good poking with my pokey-stick (Dame Yasha insists it's a lance... silly knight) and Mr. Boodles pounced on it! Bite! Claw! Claw!

The other party members did some stuff too. 
For the more boring version of what allegedly "really" happened, go here.

In conclusion
Alys is insane, yet terrifyingly effective in combat. She's the most amusing character I've ever played, and is probably my favorite. 


  1. Nice!  Zany can be a good break.  I remember fondly a halfling character with slippers of spider climbing and a blue turban who treated any surface as "down", with Escherian results to all.

  2. Thank you for pushing beyond merely "unusual build" and into "genuinely bizarre character"; there's hope for us all yet.


The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to