Prospero the Evocation Specialist - Tabletop Day
For the last year or so I have been playing a weekly Pathfinder/D&D3.5 game. Before we started I created a little backstory for the Wizard I would be playing, Prospero. I think creating the backstory is probably the thing I enjoy most about table top gaming. With Tabletop day approaching rapidly and me having a day full of bike polo to play instead of tabletoping, I felt it might be nice to share a little behind the scenes of my current table top gaming. Fun fact, at the time I wrote this I had just finished reading The Night Circus… I named my wizard Prospero (one of the main characters in The Night Circus) but didn’t know where it came from at the time. I thought I had come up with an entirely awesome and creative name. I guess it just goes to show you that rarely is anything truly unique. I’m sure you will notice other themes in the story below. Besides having a fun backstory, I think it’s super important to have a Game Master who is really committed to more than just rolling dice, and I have the best. If you are in to role playing, follow @NathanDeno on twitter…he is a scholar and a gentleman…and a nerd just like me!
It was a cold and rainy night when the cloaked figure placed the closed, wicker basket holding a sleeping baby on the steps of the College of Magic in the city of Greyhawk. Later, the servant girl who found Prospero would comment that she found it odd that a child would be abandoned on the steps of the college rather than at one of the many temples of the city, though as normal, no one paid her any mind. There was much debate over what to do with the child. The college was not in the habit of taking in strays, especially in a time when such abandoning were commonplace. The current state of things in the city had certainly placed many good families beyond their means, and a new mouth to feed could mean the difference between an entire family surviving, or passing into the night.
(Yes, Prospero looks like Snake Plisskin)
It wasn’t until Ashlyn Caspiar, an apprentice from the Flanness, came forward and offered to take charge of the child that the matter was put to rest. Many felt the child should be taken to the temples and given into servitude, but always a devout follower of Zodal, Ashlyn couldn’t abide this and vowed to raise the child as her own with all the compassion of the child’s birth mother. She gave the boy the name Prospero.
Growing up in the city of Greyhawk presented many unique opportunities to a young boy. Prospero found trouble occasionally, but never strayed far from the college and his mother’s loving embrace. Still, an apprentice herself, Ashlyn’s studies frequently cast her eyes towards her studies. She did her best to teach him well, but boys will be boys. When he was just 11 years of age Prospero had taken up with a group of servant children that lived in the college. Being of, lesser stock, they lead him into some more risky situations. Eventually he became their leader and often lead raids on some of the other groups of children in the well-to –do part of the city where the college lay. After being chased away by the gaurds and threatened by his mother, Prospero took to sneaking away from the college and visiting the other districts of the city. Play fighting lead to real fighting, which lead to other more nefarious deeds. Events reached a crescendo when Prospero’s friends convinced him to sneak into the marketplace under light of a full moon to try to steal a necklace they overheard a stall vendor describing to a customer as “magic”.
Prospero lead the charge through the marketplace, slinking from shadow to shadow until he reached the storied shop. The city guards patrolled the marketplace regularly, but Prospero had become adept at sneaking through the city. However, sneaky he may have been, he wasn’t as sneaky as the young owl that the shop owner had trained to guard his wares. Prospero didn’t even notice the small bird perched on the awning of the stall when he reached his hand under the blanketed table to search for his hearts desire. In a flash the bird swooped from its perch, digging a sharp, albeit small, talon into the soft flesh of the childs face, tearing his eye from its socket and leaving a deep, bleeding gash down the left side of the boys face.
The commotion brought the guards in a flash. Prospero was taken to a doctor and eventually came to. Oddly enough the owl refused to leave the boys side. Each time the guards went to remove the owl from the room; it would clack its beak menacingly. Knowing the damage the small bird could inflict, the guards thought wiser and eventually left the bird alone. Eventually one of nurses recognized Prospero as being from the college. Ashyln was fetched from her chambers in the middle of the night. Had it not been for the nurses recognition of the boy, the doctors might not have been able to save him. Prospero’s mother had the guards carry the boy hurriedly to the college where the mages summoned the healers of Pelor to soothe the boys wound. The owl never left the boys side. The next day Ashlyn re-opened the wound with a smack across the face when the boy came to and claimed to have been “under a spell”. Her watchful eye would no longer be enough… it was time to try something new. The boy was taken to the masters of the college and it was eventually decided he was to become an apprentice himself. After much discussion and attempted dissuasion from his mother, Prospero chose to focus his studies on the school of Evocation. He wanted to be able to fight and wield his magic as a weapon to one day aid him in his quest to discover who it was that had abandoned him…and avenge his lost childhood.
Ashlyn’s heart was broken by the anger of her son. She had tried so hard to instill the values of Zodal upon the boy, and she felt she had failed. It wasn’t until Prospero met his first love, an elven woman named Daisha, that his heart began to soften. Daisha helped to sooth Prospero’s rage and thirst for revenge. His new love’s compassion shined as a beacon upon the blackness of the young wizards heart. His mother’s teachings about Zodal began to take on a new meaning. By the age of 25 Prospero had abandoned his quest for revenge in pursuit of higher learning and compassion.
Then an evil minded Necromancer named Gygax went on a rampage in the college, releasing a group of undead on the apprentices in training. Gygax had grown angry with the masters and sought to take their power for his own. The attack came in the night and before any alarms had been raised, both Daisha and Ashlyn had been slaughtered in their sleep. The revolt was quickly put down, but not before many had died. Prospero, who was on business for Lord Bigby, would not find out until his return to the college several days later. He was heartbroken.
Prospero knew now, more than ever, what his purpose was. He was not to seek revenge, but to continue his mother’s wishes, by trying to show compassion and love to as many as he could. His only way to combat the events of that fateful night was to try to eliminate that rage and anger he once felt, like Gygax, from the world. He pleaded with Lord Bigby to send him forth into the world to pursue his noble quest. It wasn’t until 5 years later, upon his 30th birthday, the Bigby finally obliged him. Prospero, now older and wiser, gathered his meager belongings, and the owl that never left his side, now called Luna…and set forth on his journey.