Every hero has a story. Character race describes a hero’s natural gifts and talents from early childhood, while character class describes a hero’s skills, talents, and pure fighting ability—but neither of these truly describe what the character does with his talents and gifts. That’s where character narrative comes into play.
A narrative is a description of a character’s career, position, or calling in life, a third pillar of character identity that helps you to tell the character’s story. Your choice of narrative makes your character differ- ent from other heroes who share the same race and class. If your character is a human barbarian, is he a beastmaster with a loyal animal friend? A hunter of the Dhari tribes, skilled in slaying fierce beasts? Or an ice reaver, greedy for blood and plunder? If your character is an elf wizard, is he a far-seeing sooth- sayer, a Guardian of the Nine Stones of Power, or a mysterious bearer of the Black Book?
Narrative is also one of the important determi- nants of your character’s place in the world and how NPCs react to him. A NPC can’t tell if an expert swordsman is a barbarian, fighter, ranger, rogue, or warlord just by watching him fight. In fact, those terms have little meaning to people in the world. But that same NPC can tell at a glance that a swords- man looks and acts like a nobleman, a pit fighter, a raider from the icy wastes, or a vicious street thug. Like character race, narrative is an excellent measure of what is observable about your character, and the kind of first impression he makes.
A narrative provides your character with a modest set of skill or background bonuses that reflect his unique experience and training. As your character grows in experience and the tales of his deeds begin to spread throughout Thule, he may gain other ben- efits: The high regard and friendship of NPCs who respect individuals of his station, or perquisites such as the power to pass judgment against lawbreakers in his home city, or a pirate galley and willing crew ready to join him at his beck and call. But, more importantly, your character’s narrative provides you with built-in adventure hooks and tools for devel- oping the story of your character across his or her career. Narrative provides you with friends, family, rivals, enemies, ambitions, questions, and fears— and you can count on your GM using those tools to tailor the Primeval Thule campaign to your character’s story.
Narratives at a Glance
|Atlantean Noble||Fighter, warlord, wizard||Hero from an aristocratic family|
|Bearer of the Black Book||Sorcerer, warlock, wizard||Master of a legendary artifact|
|Beastfriend||Barbarian, druid, ranger||Hero with an animal companion|
|Dhari Hunter||Barbarian, ranger, rogue||Savage-born hunter, tracker, guide|
|Free Blade||Fighter, rogue||Freebooter or mercenary|
|Golden Sea Corsair||Barbarian, rogue, warlord||Bold pirate|
|Guardian of the Nine||Cleric, druid||Enemy of the Great Old Ones|
|Ice Reaver||Barbarian, fighter||Berserk warrior from the icy north|
|Initiate of Mysteries||Cleric||Member of priestly order|
|Jungle Trade||Bard, rogue||Resourceful explorer and caravan leader|
|Katagian Pit Fighter||Fighter||Arena fighter or gladiator|
|Occult Scientist||Wizard||Scholar combining studies of magic and weird science|
|Panjandrum||Cleric, rogue||Judge, agent, or official|
|Quodethi Thief||Ranger, rogue||Member of a powerful thieves’ guild|
|Sacred Slayer||Cleric, rogue||Holy assassin|
|Soothsayer||Cleric, wizard||Seer and adviser|
|Star-Lore Adept||Warlock, wizard||Dabbler in forbidden lore|
|Tribal Outcast||Barbarian, druid, ranger||Wanderer who can’t go home|