A Hitchhicker's Guide to the Planes
A man of dubious morally quality whose unabashed hatred of the most powerful wizard in Toril sent him on an adventure across the planes.
A fighter with a greatsword from Shadowdale. He eschews heavier armor as loud and bulky, instead wearing little more than a chain shirt.
“I grew up in Shadowdale. My dad ran a potion shop. I swept the floors for most of my childhood, and, around twelve, I started working at the counter. Right near the Old Skull. Most of the people who came were just looking for anything from a good night’s sleep to a cure for the common cold. Normal people looking for some better living through alchemy. I would see these people wander in and I got so good at guessing what they were looking for. That dock worker with a limp, he sprained his ankle and is looking for a heal. That farmer with an angry scowl, he’s looking for some thunderstones to scare away wolves when they attack his sheep.
“With most customers, these normal people who walked in with their normal problems, I had a handle on them. I knew what they were looking for and could help them out real well. I could tell them what we had in the store that would solve their issues.
“Sometimes though, there’d be adventurers.
“These people they’d walked in. They went everywhere in parties of three to six sometimes as large as eight. They had this sort of uniform of mismatched equipment that they found on their adventurers that were always dirty with unknown contaminants. There’d be a man in a turban with jet black armor fitted for a woman and mittens standing next to a guy wearing a cloak covered in eyes and pink slippers. Both with a bright green stain that seemed to glow in the dark and start on one and end on the other. They’d ask for potions of fireball and get angry when I’d tell them we didn’t stock them because they’re moderately useless.
“Every time I saw these people it would solidify in my mind a little bit more that that was the life for me.
“When my dad died, my mother went back to Waterdeep to live with her family. I stayed in Shadowdale. I took the money that my dad had left me and bought myself a greatsword, beginning my adventuring career. The early days were mostly spent drinking in the Old Skull Inn looking for a party that would take me on. I went on two or three adventurers with a few different parties before I got in with the first real group in my adventuring career. I didn’t know it then, but they were Harpers.
“Harpers are a group of minstrels. They are singers, jugglers, musicians and the like who went about doing the work of Elminster. I grew up hearing the tales of the ‘Sage of Shadowdale’, listening to the stories of his deeds that he did across the Dales and the Realms. They made him out to be this otherworldly paragon standing for all that is good and just about adventurers everywhere.
“I know him. I met him. He’s a condescending, cross dressing prick.”
“We went on this one adventure. We were to go into a dungeon and grab some scrolls and bring them back. I don’t know what the scrolls were about. I didn’t really care. They weren’t magically or overtly dangerous. They weren’t very big and there weren’t very many of them. What they said didn’t matter, so I didn’t pay attention when they told us. The thing about the job was that the area was just lousy with Zhentarim. They wanted the scrolls too. They were looking for the dungeon but didn’t quite know where it was. We did. We had the edge.
“Our plan was the obvious one. We go there quietly. We crawl through the dungeon and grab the scrolls quickly. We leave without the Zhentarim knowing. We did a good job on the first too. It took us about a day in the woods dodging patrols to find the place, only saw one group of Zhentarim who were none the wiser to our presence after they had passed us. We camped the night near the place. We blazed through the dungeon in a few hours with the scrolls in tow and we were on our way. We decided to get a move on immediately, hoping that we wouldn’t meet anymore Zhents that we couldn’t hide from.
“We stumbled upon a big camp of them that wasn’t there the day before not an hour into our journey. We were lucky they were sitting down to their morning black mass to Bane otherwise they would have noticed us. We snuck around but we ran into one of their patrols when we passed the camp and started putting some distance between us and them.
“There were ten of them and four of us. We lost the wizard. Dead and gone when an arrow went through his throat and four more went through his chest. The rogue disappeared into the woods when the fight started going downhill for us. I never saw that bastard again. I think he made it. At the end it was just me, the ranger, an arcane pin cushion, eight dead Zhents, and two breathing ones.
“The living ones were an issue. They saw us. They knew we had the scrolls and the rogue loudly let slip where we were going during the fray. The fucker said my name a hundred times while he was moving to flank with me, the same name on the sign outside my family’s potion shop. It wouldn’t take the Zhents long to find me and maybe even my family in Waterdeep. Those two had to go. There wasn’t time to chat about it. I killed them then grabbed the wizards body and any loose change they had on them. Then we left.
“The ranger would not shut up about what I had done. He was some lawful good asshole who didn’t think it was right to slit the throats of two guys who were in no position to do anything other than moan and bleed. I calmly explained to him that those guys knew who we were, where we were going, and they and their friends would have hunted us down and killed us if they were left alive. He called me stone hearted and desensitized. I called him naïve. We stopped talking.”
“We made it back to Shadowdale. Me and the ranger buried the wizard. We talked to our guy, told himwhat happened, and set up a meeting at the Old Skull Inn to turn in the scrolls and get paid. They rented a private room. We walk in and there’s just one guy who we had never seen before.
“An old man, white beard down to his belt buckle, bald head, red robe, a giant pipe, slowly blowing smoke rings. It was the only time I ever met Elminster. Since then I’ve been to countless planes, I’ve met angels, demons, slaad, inevitables, tieflings, aasimars, kings, princes, beggars, warlocks, paladins, horrible creatures of every race and creed, but I have never met someone quite as big of a douche as Elminster Aumar.