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Zacks: The Early Years

Wayne has written the character history below for his Red Hand of Doom character, a druid from the Forest of Amtar:

Zacks’ father was a ranger and his mother a cook, living on the outskirts of a village on the edge of the Forest of Amtar. They had very few links with outsiders, except for the selling of hides and any excess crops they had grown, and this “backwards” lifestyle led to the family being treated as outcasts by the villagers. So it was no surprise that when Zacks’ family went missing, no one in the local village batted an eyelid.

Between the ages of 4 and 10, Zacks was left to his own devices, responsible for his own upbringing. Due to his lack of education and grasp of the common language, he was seen as an even greater outcast than the rest of the family and shunned by the villagers on the rare occasions they spotted him. His distrust and fear of the locals eventually made him retreat to the only place he felt safe, back to his and his father’s second home, the forest.

*Omission about how Zacks survived this time*

As Zacks matured, one of the elder Wild Elves placed him in the care of an underling human druid by the name of Validus Hawk, whose job was to educate Zacks in ways his father would have found appropriate. He was also forbidden to tell Zacks why this help had been offered and where it had come from. The Wild Elf knew that it could bring harm to Zacks if they were ever linked together, as they had always feared the disappearance of Zacks’ father may have been down to this fate.

By getting to know Zacks gradually, Validus was able to befriend the boy and they became good friends and companions. Validus also trained Zacks in druidic ways. Although he feared that Zacks’ feral upbringing would always prevent his integration into human society, he knew he could train Zacks to be strong enough to join a group of travelling adventurers. This would mean Zacks could eventually, with adventuring experience behind him, become a great ally to the Wild Elf.

Step by step, Validus taught Zacks how to hunt, as well as the skills he would need to keep both himself and an animal companion healthy, eventually showing him how to use the power of the forest and nature to assist in his fight. While Validus and Zacks were studying other animals’ hunting techniques, Zacks became fascinated with wolves and especially the cunning they used in hunting their prey. It was then that Zacks first met his faithful friend and animal companion Sasay, a lone female wolf who had been rejected by her pack.

Eventually they reached the point where Validus knew Zacks could advance no further in this part of the world, although it was far too dangerous to take him to the front line where the Wild Elves were still fighting the gnolls. The other option was to allow the now 17-year-old boy to set out on his own path by joining a group of steadfast adventurers.

Validus put in a lot of effort getting Zacks to trust the townspeople, teaching him basic Common and other skills he would need to interact with them. One such training session is where Zacks will meet his soon-to-be teachers and adventuring companions.

*Roll on Party Intro and Adventuring History for the 5 Levels worth of XP*

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