This quarter at the school where I teach, I’m participating in a Dungeons & Dragons “class,” where the students and I are creating adventurers and embarking on quests using the Dungeons & Dragons rule-set (5th edition).
If you don’t know Dungeons & Dragons, it is a role-playing game where the players use their imagination to succeed in encounters with various creatures, some friendly and some not. It involves a lot of dice-rolling to determine the success of certain actions, but it also involves a lot of conversation about what to do next, since the game doesn’t necessarily tell you what you should do at any given moment. The educational goals of the class are for the students to develop their communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, as well as practice their writing and storytelling skills.
It’s that latter goal I’d like to discuss now. One of the ways the students are supposed to be working on their writing skills is by putting together an introduction to the adventurers they’ve created. Thus far, I’ve been less than successful in getting them to actually do that, and so I thought I’d write one for the character I created to provide them with a model of what I’m looking for.
And so, without further adieu, I’d like to introduce you to Wrenn Timbers.
Standing three feet, ten inches tall, weighing in at thirty-six pounds, and having dark, wispy hair and neatly kept beard, Wrenn Timbers is a rock gnome who grew up in a small community on the coast of the Shining Sea. As a young gnome, Wrenn had a natural talent for acrobatics and performance, charming friends and family during community festivals and fairs.
When Wrenn was in his adolescent years, an elvish entertainer, the famous Peren the Bard, visited Wrenn’s village during a tour of the seacoast. Peren put on a wonderful performance, playing songs on his lute, telling tales of greater Faerûn, and demonstrating his mastery of the Weave through magical tunes and inspiring songs. Young Wrenn was captivated, and that evening, after a serious discussion with Wrenn’s father, the elf agreed to take on Wrenn as an apprentice, and the next day, the young gnome left his family and community behind to discover the magic hidden in the music of the bards.
Years have passed, and Wrenn has risen from an apprentice to a first-level bard. He is a gifted storyteller, instrumentalist, and singer, and his songs inspire his allies to dig deep within themselves to discover their strength when they need it most.
Peren has taught him the beginning elements of arcane magic, which allows Wrenn to pluck directly at the strands of the Weave to create magical effects. For example, Wrenn has memorized the simple spell, True Strike, to gain insight into his target’s defenses and then use that insight to gain advantage on his next attack. He has also memorized Vicious Mockery, which plays on his gift of words to unleash a string of insults laced with subtle enchantments and deal acute psychic damage to his opponents.
But more than a simple conjurer, Wrenn has also learned a few slightly more complex spells, giving him the ability to Cure Wounds for his allies, Detect Magic whenever it’s present, and sing a discordant barrage of Dissonant Whispers that wrack his opponents with terrible pain and send them running. Wrenn can also evoke a Thunderwave that sweeps out from him in a 15-foot cube, emitting a thunderous boom and slamming everything in its range.
Of course, as a rock gnome, he has the special cunning that is unique to his race, which helps him defend against any magical spells that attempt to attack his intelligence, wisdom, or charisma. He also has the special knowledge that every rock gnome learns as a child, giving him twice as much proficiency as anyone else when it comes to the history of magical items, alchemical objects, and technical devices. And as a rock gnome, he is a master tinker, capable of using his artisan’s tools to construct tiny clockwork devices that can serve as distractions in battle, expendable explorers of mysterious places, or miniature flamethrowers capable of lighting a candle, torch, or campfire.
When it comes to a more traditional style of fighting, Wrenn has a master’s finesse with his rapier, his dagger, and his throwing darts. He might be a little fighter, but when he cuts, he cuts deep and quick.
As an individual, the thing that most stands out about Wrenn is that he always gives credit when it is due. He is not shy about letting his compatriots know that he believes in them, and he is always supportive and complimentary of their efforts. He feels that the best thing he can possibly do in any situation is to use his magic and skills to aid and inspire his allies. Unfortunately, he is also charmed by bright and shiny stones, and he sometimes struggles to make the right decision when gems are involved.
Wrenn Timbers is still a young gnome and he’s just getting started on his way to mastering the way of the bard. His immediate goal is to become a jack-of-all-trades, which means he becomes slightly proficient in every skill in the game. He’s also learning a special Song of Rest, a soothing song that has the magical ability to revitalize any wounded allies during a short rest.
In the long-term, he’s beginning to think about participating in one of the Bard Colleges, which is a loose association of bards who gather periodically to share their learning and preserve their traditions. There is the College of Lore, whose alumni know something about most things and whose loyalty lies in the pursuit of beauty and truth, power and authority be damned. His other option is the College of Valor, whose alumni gather in mead halls to sing the songs of the mighty and inspire others, as well as themselves, to reach the same heights.
Regardless of his path, Wrenn stands, lute in hand and rapier by his side, ready for adventure.