What’s better than creative writing, character creation, and prizes? Why, all three together! Deven Rue, cartographer to the stars, ran a contest in 2018, where she asked people to submit characters to populate Kor’Treum, the world she created. I figured I would submit two characters, because the more the merrier!
In case you’re interested, Wenric is a 172-year-old halfling shopkeeper. He is a retired adventurer turned map vendor extraordinaire. Technically, he’s a multiclassed bard-wizard (level 5/level 2). The Tabaxi rogue, Leaves-in-Wind, is a rogue level 6/fighter level 1.
This was a lot of fun to write. I want to visit that shop myself, now.
As it happens, this shop will feature in a fantasy game I am running for a TTRPG newbie this weekend. Although that’s not how or why these two characters came about, it adds some depth to the worldbuilding and gives me as the storyteller a reason to care about what is essentially a generic quest start. It’s also just a fun little easter egg for myself. (Go me!) So keep your own characters that you create because you never know when you can use them as NPCs* in games you run. I hope you enjoy reading!
Wenric Loudbottle & Leaves-in-Wind
Wenric is the proprietor of All They Survey, a self-styled ‘Adventure Emporium’, famous among adventurers as the best map in all of the Kingdoms. Adventurers cherish these rare and unique maps because each represents a potential treasure trove – moreover, one that promises continuing opportunities for adventure. As a retired bard, Wenric is obsessed with stories of grand adventure. Once adventurers have bought one of his fabled maps, he promises them a hefty discount on their next purchase if they return to his shop with the story of their adventures, once they have successfully explored the location indicated on the map. Everyone who has seen Wenric listen to such tales of adventure will know that the stout halfling is a collector of stories at heart. When customers and friends ask about this, he is fond of saying, “Each map is an adventure, a story waiting to be told. And stories are the greatest treasure in life!”
Wenric was born in Solfrost, where he trained as a bard before joining a local adventuring party. But while the other party members were happy to fulfil local contracts and enjoying a quiet domestic life in their off-time, Wenric’s wanderlust urged him ever further. Eventually he bade farewell to his colleagues and set off on what he knew would be a lifetime of adventure. Wendric spent many cycles exploring the western kingdoms from Hamalyn to Odnol, until his journey drew him eastwards, first to Myos’Kah and on to Nevermyr. Along the way he joined new adventuring groups in each area, never staying too long in any one place or with any group, yet forming life-long friendships wherever he went. These would serve him well in future years, as his fame as cartographer spread and more and more of his former colleagues sent him maps as gifts, as recompense for his services and friendship – particularly of maps they deemed too dangerous, or far away, to be within their purview.
The longest Wenric spent with any single party was when he met a group of adventurers in the Painted Lands, led by a charismatic and quick-witted Tabaxi rogue named Leaves-in-Wind. The party had spent many years on the kind of small-time quests that kept many local heroes close to home. But when Leaves met Wenric, he found in the bard for the first time someone whose wanderlust matched his own. Together, the party explored the length and breadth of Kor’Treum, including Nevermyr, Baelstom, Cloudspire, Lor’Ram, Westshire, and Amyrest. Along the way, they found adventure of a different kind, too. It wasn’t long before Leaves found himself enamoured of the bard’s adventurous spirit, and Wenric of Leaves’s quick wit and heart, and they wed under the eaves of a giant sun tree in the forests of Amyrest.
Eventually, all journeys draw to a close, and the party decided to go their separate ways. However, neither Wenric and Leaves were ready to abandon the adventuring life altogether. And so the tabaxi and the halfling purchased a narrow, two-storey building in Pitch Harbour squashed between larger and better maintained buildings, and remodelled it into a shop. Here they planned to live out the rest of their lives, attracting adventurers and storytellers alike with the promise of adventure.
Despite its grand name, the shop itself is small and cramped, taking up most of the ground floor of the building. Nevertheless, it is well-appointed indoors, with a large fireplace and shelves as far as the eye can see. Wenric and Leaves share the small apartment in the upper storey, with maps and books and scrolls strewn everywhere.
In addition to the famous maps, the shop stocks an assortment of basic adventuring supplies, scrolls, and books. (Being well acquainted with adventurers, they have ensured that none of the maps are within reach of opportunists.) Wenric is a constant presence behind the counter, happily chatting to customers and loiterers alike for hours on end. Likewise Leaves can always be found in the same place – curled up in front of the blazing fire, which burns year-round. Whether Leaves appears to be engrossed in a book or fast asleep, it is a most unwise shoplifter who attempts to bamboozle his beloved. Wenric secretly yearns to go on one more expedition – at least, he thinks it’s a secret yearning. Everyone who meets the halfling can guess his secret, however, and not even Leaves would be in the least surprised if the cartographer would one day set off for his last, great adventure. Until that day, their home is a haven for travellers, adventurers, scholars and more. Welcome to the Adventure Emporium!
To quote Deven herself: “Have your players visit All They Survey in Pitch Harbor to get a map and explore the area! While you’re there, say hello to Wenric and Leaves-In-Wind!” (The People of Amyrest in Amyrest).