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Regaddan, Half-Orc Bard
By Robert Wiese

Unwanted from birth, Regaddan has endured a tough life. His mother left him on a hillside to die soon after he was born, but he was found and raised at an orphanage by a group of priests of Fharlanghn (god of travel). The teachings of these priests had a lasting impact on the young boy, and this was the only time in his life where he really ever felt at home. At the age of eight, he was "adopted" by an orc chieftain who took momentary pity on one of his own race being raised by humans. Passed to one of the chieftain's mistresses to be raised, he suffered neglect and occasionally outright hatred from his adoptive "mother." The chieftain paid no attention to him at all, except to arrange that he be trained to fight well. He chose the greatsword and at the young age (by human standards) of 14 became one of his adoptive father's personal guards.

Yearning for Music

Regaddan was miserably unhappy and turned to music as solace. He had acquired an old mandolin from the priests upon his adoption, and he learned to play it when neglect and hatred caused him to be left alone. Other orcs laughed at him and ridiculed him, for truly he was unskilled at the mandolin and the orcs preferred chants and drum music, but they did not get rough because Regaddan was the son of the chief. He served as a chieftain's guard for a few years, but was never really happy in this role. The discipline and strict requirements did not suit him, and he was forced to guard a chieftain that he did not like. Thus, music became his friend, and he practiced singing and playing without any real idea what he was doing.

Liberation from this life came when a rival tribe of orcs attacked the chieftain's travel party. The chieftain -- his adoptive father -- was killed, along with most of the guards. Regaddan survived, hovering near death. The orcs from his own tribe who found him left him for dead on the field as punishment for allowing the chief to die. He would have perished but for a kindly but hungry bard who passed by and started to loot the remaining bodies. He found Regaddan hanging on to life, and the presence of the mandolin in his pack interested the bard enough in this strange half-orc to save him. Regaddan went to live with the bard, who was delighted to have a student who loved music so much.

The next few years brought wandering, training in the harp and pipes, singing, and the art of storytelling. Regaddan had a remarkably good voice, especially for a half-orc, and the bard trained him as best as he could. Eventually though, the bard tired of Regaddan and left him in the middle of the night.

Love and Loss

The seeds of Regaddan's childhood began to show after his mentor abandoned him. Regaddan became alternately aloof and clingy. He silently cried out for affection, but when real friendship was offered he would back off emotionally to protect himself from the loss that he knew was coming. Thus, people who might have been his friends perceived him as cold and sometimes unfriendly, and passed by. He allied himself with an adventuring party for a while, but internal conflict caused this group to break up a few months after he joined. Again, he was on his own.

The life of a bard suited him well, and when not adventuring he could be found in almost any town entertaining. Some races had trouble at first with the concept of a half-orc bard, but his talents won most audiences over and he made a reasonably good living. He was never famous, because as word spread of his abilities and fame approached, his insecurities would surface and tell him, "They cannot really like you; they will abandon you like everyone else has." So he would depart that place and wander again.

A tragic incident occurred just a year ago, when he started to make a reputation for himself in a small city. A human woman gave clear signs that she found him attractive, watching his performances night after night and talking with him afterward. As they got closer, he began to think about settling in that city, and the old voices remained curiously silent. Some derided the woman for taking up with a half-breed, but these comments were mostly in jest, or could be ignored because the people so talking were known to be bitter complainers.

It could not last. As Regaddan and the woman talked about wedding plans, he began to perceive that she was holding things back. Then she started keeping secrets and spending more time away from him than usual. To Regaddan, these signs bespoke a coming abandonment, and he withdrew emotionally. The woman, who had not been holding things back at all, or being secretive, saw the change in Regaddan and pushed him to state a reason. He would not, and his warped idea that he would always be abandoned had taken such a powerful but subtle hold that he saw her attempts to mend the relationship as exactly the opposite. Finally, he departed in the middle of the night, walking out on her before she could walk out on him. She lamented for weeks afterward, and never fully recovered. Somewhere she lives and loves him still, holding out a diminishing hope that he will return.

About the Author

Robert Wiese lives in a little cubicle at Wizards of the Coast and masterminds the downfall of Living campaign characters for the RPGA Network. When not so occupied, he plans RPGA convention presences, develops the member database, and does everything that no one else is specifically doing. When let out for a walk, he plays the harp, studies theology, and attempts to outwit himself and keep his character alive in the RPGA's Living Greyhawk campaign.

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