Concept: A dwarven ranger, driven by wanderlust.
Description: Gram Swiftaxe is taller and more lithe than his dwarf brothers, but still has the rugged stockiness of a Mountain Dwarf. He wears the furs and unkempt beard of a person who spends their life in the wilderness. Gram has the striking feature of having pale blue eyes, evidence of his Stone Dwarf heritage.
Gram Swiftaxe, born Dargrum Gramdal, was birthed in the small Dwarven pioneer settlement of Grumstone nestled below the Odril Hills. His parents, Borli and Ingar Gramdal, were third-generation settlers whose grandfathers journeyed from their home in the Welpremond Downs to repay a debt and stayed to establish their clan.
From an early age, Gram was schooled in the arts of mining and stone-cutting by his father Borli, a stuffy and hard-nosed dwarf immersed in his craft who wished only that his son would follow in his footsteps and perhaps be a great sculptor or engineer. Gram had other ideas. He would often steal off into the caves alone to explore and fantasize about grand adventures that he would have as a great warrior and dragonslayer. As Gram got older, he would venture further into the cave with friends, or stow away on a trade caravan in search of adventure.
Borli remembered how his father Angdor Gramdal threw his life away leading an expedition deep into the Krond Heights in search of some unknown treasure – an expedition from which no one returned. Borli felt that Gram’s life would be better served in the caves of Grumstone building their young clan, instead of seeking adventure and a foolish death. For Gram, the wanderlust was insatiable.
By his 40s, Gram had become a sturdy young dwarf. His exploration, once just a game, now became a valuable resource. His adventures took him from trapping and hunting with human barbarians in the frozen northern forests to battling goblins scouts in the deep caverns of Odril. Instead of working with his father, Gram took every opportunity to travel, now providing protection for the same trade caravans he traveled with when he was younger.
The quiet of the north became boring to Gram; now 45 and still thirsting for adventure. He would now often venture into the forest by himself, usually in search for nothing but a beautiful view or new cave, all the while dreaming of the day he could descend into the Krond Heights and face the unknown evils beneath.
It was on one such trip into the northern forest that he met a human ranger named Finias Salstrom, with whom he became fast friends. Finias would teach Gram the ways of the forest. Gram found that his new found abilities came easy, and in no time began to hone his true talents of survival. As Gram’s relationship with his new mentor grew, he and his father became more distant. Upon Gram’s rite of passage as a ranger and announcement that he would be travelling to Cosolen with Finias to seek his fortune, Borli swore that he did not have a son and that Gram was not welcome in his home.
Today, Gram works as a guide in expositions for the Cosolen Military Academy when he is not exploring and mapping the cliffs and caves in the foothills of the Elenon Mountains. He can always be found with Kir, his riding dog and traveling companion.
Gram is a Dwarf of several passions and an equal amount of personalities. In human cities Gram is quiet and watchful; distrustful of, but still curious about the complexities of human society. In Dwarven cities he is more comfortable but, knowing his worldview differs from his more traditional brethren, is still restrained in his action and speech. Crowds make him especially grumpy and silent. In either circumstance, he usually finds retreat in a hip flask of strong spirits he infuses with soothing herbs.
In the untamed wilderness above and below ground, Gram’s true personality finds its way out. Most are surprised to find that he is a personable and likable fellow when not confined and smothered by the city. On expeditions, he loves to impart survival knowledge or climbing tips to any who will listen. He is always eager to take the lead in uncharted territory, reveling in the challenges faced in the wild, meeting every obstacle with a smile on his face and glint in his eye.
Unlike most dwarves, Gram’s exploits aren’t driven by the material. He’d certainly have far less sentiment toward a valuable legendary diamond than the masterwork equipment he used to find it, and both less memorable than the giant stalactite formation he discovered on the way to the mine.
Gram often spends a few minutes alone in the mornings in meditation, recounting and contemplating upon his adventures in terms of his faith in The Great Huntress. This alone satisfies his spiritual needs as far as he sees things, and is often quick to judge others who “waste time bellowing ireful songs in their gloomy mortuary-like buildings. S’pose the gods are too busy to listen to all that? I know I am.”