Rise of the Runelords in the 612
To Who It Consern -
The haver of this leter go by Grimblade. He spawn of whore who folow camp, beg to join mitey Red Hammers when just boy. But he fite good, Sgt Hardwud call him Grimblade. He fite many batle and kil many fo, not die. Grimblade serv 3 year with Red Hammers, say grate fiter now, get rich by self. Grimblade no reed or rite much, ask Merris to rite leter to say he fite gud for avenchur.
Lt. Comander Merris of Red Hammers
Here’s the rest of my backstory, if you can make anything useful about it for picking skills, traits or feats – Grimblade is not going to reveal this unless under duress, for obvious reasons:
Grimblade is, indeed, the spawn of a whore. His “mother” is a “camp follower” who went from being a whore to a cook and mender for soldiers. He has long since lost track of her. She and the other whores and cooks cared for him as a child, though GB suspects she was not his actual mother. His father was, no doubt, some soldier in some army. His mother called him “raven” for his black hair but he never really had a proper name, being called “boy” and “whorespawn” and worse for much of his life. He actually dubbed himself “Grimblade” because a former commander of his once dubbed him “grimface.”
Therefore, Grimblade spent his entire childhood around military camps and constantly sought to learn to fight from the soldiers who visited the whores and other camp followers, imitating them as they practiced, sparring and shooting with them when he got older. As soon as he was old enough, he got jobs running messages and other errands in the armies, and at a young age he actually joined up with one of the armies to fight, a young sell-sword in the making. He traveled extensively and with different armies, so he would have been exposed to a variety of cultures and armies, different fighting styles and battle tactics. However, all he has known to this point is military life except for the brief interludes as he wandered in search of work. Grimblade would have a greater than normal understanding of military and battle tactics, but he has no formal education whatsoever and cannot read or write. He’s basically learned everything he knows from soldiers, whores, and in the inns and taverns that soldiers visit in towns and cities. He didn’t adopt any kind of code of honor in the process – his main thinking on fighting is that you do whatever it takes to win.
Grimblade did, indeed, last serve with the Red Hammers mercenary army. My thinking was that the Red Hammers might not be the kind of unit you just leave after serving your few years, and also that Lt. Commander Merritt doesn’t actually know how to read or write any more than Grimblade does – anyone with knowledge of these facts would question Grimblade’s letter of recommendation. Of course, that letter is going to disappear as soon as the adventure begins. Grimblade, being the cad he is, tired of the meager wages of mercenary life and being ordered around all the time, so he deserted the Red Hammers to seek fortune for himself, and so he comes to Sandpoint.