The Gang formed some forty years ago, when Ai and Nimble, travelling westwards, got in the same coach as Ben and Hook. The fighter, mage and thief in close contact, all unaffiliated with divinities, formed a Critical Mass, and before Ben or Ai got a chance to drag their respective companions away, a divinity popped in, calling dibs on the "newformed adventurer group". Predictably, after that, they found themselves constantly in danger, having to cooperate in order to survive, fighting their way through a hostile world, etc, etc...
Oh well, you get used to anything in time.
Nowadays, the Gang has settled in the Adventurer business, making a modest profit on various quests. However, their respective families - children, grandchildren and so on - feel that people their age shouldn't be roughing it on the roads, and so try their best to keep the gang in a nursing home most of the time. Of course, being able to escape imprisonment IS part of the adventurer's job description...
Additional functions: Bargaining, Troublefinding
Joining the gang as a teenager (after growing up in the notorious slum quarters of
Sha Dardam, a big city in the Southeastern Lands), Nimble has spent almost all his life
in the Gang, and all of it in more or less dangerous situations.
As a consequence, he tends to keep his wits about him, even when things look grim.
Nimble is a pickpocket of seldom seen ability. He also is
exceptionally good at getting the Gang out of trouble - a talent he has had to develop since
he keeps getting them INTO it so often (usually by other people finding their pocket content
has been mysteriously transferred to him).
The Gang's at times contested leader, Nimble is the one bargaining over rewards offered for quests, something he's pretty good at.
"Hey, if you want highway robbery, you might as well turn to a pro..."
Additional functions: Dwarven Interpreter, Lockpicker, Military Strategy, Carrier of heavy objects, Bargainer.
It takes more than the loss of a nose, eye, hand or leg to stop Hook, Dwarven Warrior. Especially when Dwarves are the finest makers of prosthetics available.
(OK, so those bloody Elven Animists can regenerate peoples lost limbs, where's the fun in THAT?)
The clever placement of various cogs and springs in Hook's prosthetics allows the shorttempered fighter to handle a two-handed axe, and run at moderate speed (often at the same time).
After spending fifty years in the Dwarwen Army (the usual term), there is little Hook doesn't know about tactics, weapons, armour, or, when it comes to that, about curses, swearing or general foul language.
While having a small amount of fame after playing a role in a particularly fierce battle, Hook doesn't like being sung about, nor bards in general.
"I've killed several werewolves, raiders by the dozen, orcs by the hundreds... and ONE time I try to ride this STUPID piece of @#¤%-ing burger-meat... @#¤% bards and their DAMNED alliterations... "
Additional functions: Magic-user-in-training, Voice of Reason, Epic Narrative.
Originally sent to bring the Gang back to their nursery home, Ciria has joined up with them temporarily in exchange for them coming along willingly once they've finished their current outing.
Her reason for being out on the roads is the boredom she felt at home. Interestingly enough, after closer questioning she admits being taught basic swordsmanship by her father, Kevin the village
smith who, when she was a child, also told her a great deal of exciting stories about the adventures of "Er...Whatsisname, um - Nivek, yeah, yes thats it, Nivek the Adventurer". Her half-elven mother
taught her to read and write, an unusual ability in small inconspicious villages way out in the country.
"Oh", says Ciria, "she had a small library actually, tucked away in a chest. Strange symbols - I guess they were knitting patters or something."
(After hearing this particular piece of information, Nimble went to bed early, complaining about a migrain.)
Function: Hand-to-hand fighter and priest
Additional functions: Navigator, interpreter for human languages, knowledge of history and religion.
Seeing how Divinities manipulate adventurers into performing tasks for them anyway, having someone along who can talk to them is a good idea, if only so you can complain. Ai fills that position, being able to communicate with the spirit world's inhabitants. This ability has earned him the position of Navigator, since often, divinities will "coincidentally" pass by, hinting that in a certain direction, enterprising people MIGHT find some kind of work. (If noone shows up, Ai tends to chose a direction at random, trusting that Ben's sense of Magic, Nimble's sense of Trouble or Hook's sense of Alcohol will lead them to any nearby sources of employment anyway.)
Ai comes from the East, and is proficient in several fighting techniques used there and elsewhere. He has honed his reflexes to the point where shaking hands with him is oficially a Stupid Thing To Do.
However, Ai prefers more peaceful solutions, especially in later years, as his joints has started to ache a bit.
As a priest, Ai may ask for blessings and such from the Gang's divine patron, Nhu. This Divinity uses His powers sparingly, though, and gets annoyed if contacted too often. Curiously, Ai worships another Divinity, which ought to have resulted in the Gang having Ai's Divinity for patron, but this entity hasn't intervened, apparantly giving assent to Nhu's use of the Gang. Possibly this is the otherworldly equivalent of borrowing the lawnmower.
Benjamin "Ben" Elyandarin
Function: Magic User
Additional functions: Elven Interpreter, plot device, all-round weird guy.
When the Gang first formed, Ben was the one who led the others through their first ordeals. He made a competent, if at times a bit cryptic, leader, and a skilled magic user.
However, there is balance in magic, and a mind shaping magic is itself shaped in return. Having to calculate 11-dimensional magical effects in your head would be a strain on any mortal mind,
and it's usual for magic users to develop some rather strange quirks as their minds are attuned to the universal powers. As the years passed, Ben became progressively more cryptic, and developed a weird sense of humor.
After a mishap in a magical storm, the once aloof wizard has begun talking to his staff - which, it would seem, has quite an attidude - and goes around permanently in a state of cheerful confusion, often forgetting his spells.
However, he is still a formidable wizard - after all, the problem is his very attunement to magic. While he may not get EVERY spell correct, whatever he does manage usually leaves an impression.
Ben has taken upon himself to teach Ciria in the ways of magic, and seems to be doing a decent job.
Occupation:Barkeep at the "Troll's Bridge", the favourite resting spot of the gang.
A 500-pound Troll in what translates as the late 'teens, Stony is barkeep in and owner of
the "Troll's Bridge", an inn mainly catering to the more shady elements of society -
Heroes, Adventurers, and the people dealing with them. He makes a mint out of enterprising ideas
such as the "Mysterious Stranger Fee" and only has one problem; by a strange twist of fate,
Stony has had his inn demolished EVERY SINGLE TIME the Gang has dropped by.
Reacting at first with confusion and fury, he has now come to terms with the situation -
the Assurance, a great deal of money paid to Stony each visit by the Gang, pays for
the rebuilding of the Troll's Bridge, leaving the barkeep to experiment with different decors
and designs, and never having to actually clean the place...
While his apron doesn't actually conceal any genitalia (Troll physiology is a fascinating subject, best studied on an empty stomach), Stony wears it because it confuses Heroes - whose
natural reaction upon spotting him would otherwise be to charge forward and get their
heads smashed in - long enough for him to explain that:
"This is the TROLL's Bridge, buster, and I'm the troll. DEAL with it. Now, what do you want to drink? NO, there is no actual bridge"
Zaphaster Badwill the Unholy, Scourge of the Night.
Will, for short.
Occupation: Evil Dreadlord, necromancer, champion of the dark divinities.
Having been raised from birth to fight the bitter struggle between Good and Evil - and on the side destined to lose, at that - amid rotting animated corpses, by teachers for which sadism is actually part of the job description, and with frightening skeletons as his only friends... Will tries, nevertheless, to look on the bright side of life. At least things won't get worse. Not that much. Oh sure, there's his brother, prophesized to kill him in, ah, a few years from now, but hey, that's what family's FOR, right?
All in all, he feels he needs a vacation, some time to think things through a bit, and so when the Gang was in the vicinity, he hired them to find a replacement for him while he's away.
Will may not have the zeal his teachers sought, but he is a skilled necromancer and has pioneered a number of innovative techniques. He is currently experimenting - quite successfully - in the field of raising the dead WITHOUT their previous personalities becoming horribly twisted in the process, "because, you know, for once I'd like to actually have a normal conversation with someone. Anyone, really. Anything."