An ever-watchful guardian, Rykson Finn seeks to defend the weak and avenge the wronged.
HALFLING RANGER 4/LAST HILL OUTRIDER 2
AC 19 (T15/FF15); HP 52
Init +4; Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Fort +11, Reflex +12, Will +4
Base Atk +6; Grp +4; Speed 20
Str 14 Dex 18 Con 16 Int 14 Wis 15 Cha 10
Weapon(s): Lance, M.W. Short Sword, Sling
Armor: Studded Leather & Buckler Shield
Special Items: Amethyst Pendant, Everburning Candle
Feats: Animal Affinity, Endurance, Mounted Combat, Rapid Shot, Ride-By Attack, Track
Team Feats: Tactician, Chain Attack
Skills: Hide +6, Move Silently +6
Abilities: Animal Companion, Combat Style (Archery), Favored Enemy (Magical Beasts), Ride Bonus, Wild Empathy, Mounted Skirmish (1d6)
Languages: Common, Goblin, Halfling, Orc
Current XP: 18,734
Evil comes in many forms and wears many masks. But the heart is always true and vulnerable.
Kongo (Animal Companion/Riding Dog)
Neutral Magical Beast
AC 23 (T13/FF20); HP 45
Init +3; Listen +5, Spot +5
Fort +7, Reflex +8, Will +3
Base Atk +4; Grp +7; Speed 40
Str 17 Dex 17 Con 15 Int 3 Wis 12 Cha 6
Armor: Leather Barding
Feats: Alertness, Track, Light Armor Proficiency
Skills: Hide +2, Move Silently +4
Abilities: Trip, Low-light Vision, Scent, Link, Share Spells, Evasion, Devotion, Trained for Combat Riding
Tricks: Attack, Come, Defend, Down, Fetch, Guard, Heel, Stay, Track
“It has been two cycles since I chose to be Khalan. Life in the wild without my clutch-brothers is lonelier than I ever imagined it could be. And more dangerous. I will be long recovering from my encounter at the stream. I am on the knife’s edge, yet my senses are duller than they have ever been, otherwise those frost beetles would never have caught me unawares. I have never been so tired; without someone to keep watch during rest, I cannot truly sleep. This will be a difficult trial. I only hope I will one day meet my father again.
I miss him, and my brothers and sisters. Though it has been years since her death, I miss my mother more than I ever have before. I remember her singing to me when I was very young, years before my namingday. I can no longer remember the tune, no matter how I try. Back then I was called “Grin”, a nickname from my grand-dad, Orin, because I would never be without a smile. He told me that my smile wasn’t just one of amusement, but of knowing a joke that few others understand. Now I feel as though I will never laugh again.
My father, Orinson Ryks, is a warrior, steel hard and stoic like no other in our clan. He was once skewered by the tusk of a wild board during a cycle-long mountain trek. The outriders who were there to witness the ordeal later said that he never uttered a word of complaint. I only hope that I can live up to him. “Our strength is in each other, Finn. Never forget that,” he would often say. But now I have no clutch, no brothers. Perhaps it is time to find a new clan.”
Rykson Finn, Last Hill Outrider
Any frontier settlement should count itself lucky when an outrider clan takes root nearby. Known for their guile and cunning, halflings are the ultimate survivors, and outriders are more cunning than most. A typical outrider clan will be semi-nomadic, and consist of eight to ten extended families, most of whom perform common tasks such as cobbling or brewing. A select number are chosen as outriders, who act as clan leaders when needed, and are the hunters and protectors of the clan. Called outriders because of their talent for riding dogs, and occasionally tamed wolves, into combat. They are fearsome warriors who are well-respected by any who have witnessed them in battle.
One must be born into the outriders, and even then they must be accepted into the group, known collectively as a “clutch”. There is little shame in being rejected by the clutch, as it is a very difficult life to lead and most are simply not up to the task; death is commonplace amongst the outriders. There is no ceremony when being accepted or rejected. A halfling will typically be nominated for entry by his father, if any member objects, he states so before all members and the nominee is rejected. Outriders care little for politics, and personal motives never sway an outrider’s reasoning for rejecting a potential member. Nominees are not often rejected, due to the constant need to replenish their numbers and, when someone is rejected, there is always sound justification. There is no hierarchy among the outriders; all clutch-members have equal standing, though decisions are deferred to either the elder members or to the member with the most knowledge of the situation at-hand.
A note on halfling naming conventions: At birth, all halflings are given a nickname (sometimes several), by which they will be known until they are ready to choose a career. At this time, usually around the fifteenth birthday, they are given a full-name, often accompanied by a “Namingday” party. A halfling’s full name is much like a human’s: a familiar name, followed by a surname taken from the father’s side. Most halfings will have several nicknames as well. Clutch-members have a different naming method. When accepted into the clutch, a halfling will take his father’s familiar name as the first part of his own name, with the word “son” attached. Thus, if the father’s familiar name is “Garrett”, then the son will be known as “Garrettson”. The second part of his name will be his familiar name, which is often never used by anyone outside of the clutch, except by mothers, wives, and sisters. Humans are often frustrated by this convention, as several outrider brothers will come into town for trade and all ask to be called by the same name. Clutch members are never called by nicknames.
The Last Hill Outriders
30 years ago, the Last Hill clan arrived outside of the town of Wyvlan and decided to settle nearby. The clan would occasionally move from place to place but, until recently, always within a day’s ride of the town. They would trade with the townsfolk, offering fine pelts and furs, as well a particularly excellent variety of stout beer known as Kinglager, in return for worked goods that they cannot make for themselves. They would protect the town from beasts that wandered into the area, and would fight alongside the humans when goblinoid tribes posed a threat. The outriders were most useful during long winters when food became scare and stocks ran dry. They would hunt in every condition, and share what they had with the townsfolk, even when they didn’t have enough to feed themselves. The humans appreciated the clan during the first two decades, but over the last ten years, they began to take the halflings’ help for granted. During the winter of ‘48, one of the most brutal in living memory, the clan spared all that they could for the humans. The townsfolk offered no thanks and, in fact, demanded that the outriders supply even more. The clan decided that it was time to move on and find root somewhere to the west. This year, they left without word or notice and, as is their custom, they also left behind the Last Hill clan name. When the group finds a new home, they will take a new name and they will not look back at what once was.
Khalan, the Lone Rider
When an outrider clan leaves an area where there are still people in need of their protection, one clutch-member may volunteer to be “Khalan”, translated as lone rider. The Khalan remains behind to warn of dangers and offer what help he can to those in need. The life of a Khalan is fraught with danger. Without his clutch to watch his back, or to heal his wounds, a Khalan’s life is often as short as it lonely. It is considered to be the highest honor to volunteer for Khalan, but it is not an honor that most outriders will ever choose.
Rykson chose to stay behind when the rest of the Last Hill moved on to seek a new home. Many of the townspeople of Wyvlan give him a cold shoulder at best, resenting the outriders for seemingly abandoning the town. A few, though, remember what the outriders did for them, and treat the young Khalan with respect, if not friendship. Despite any poor treatment, Rykson will not turn away from his duty as an outrider. He is a protector, a guardian. Always.