The Lagerales were a clan known for being sensible dwarves, they plied their craft of beer making and didn't cause much of a fuss. They were content with their station being part of the greater body of dwarven artisans and craftsmen. Many such clans rail at not being part of the warrior circles, or the Mountain Keepers, or those who delve into the earth. They were prosperous, as their brewery and granaries were many, and their pockets were easily as deep as any clan making their living by chewing gold and gems out of the mountains.
Stout looks every inch the part of the classical dwarven warrior. He wears his sandy brown beard long and unbraided, where it spills down to his heavy belt buckle, itself forged from iron and set with semi-precious stones. He wears a full kit of scale armor with chainmail over the arms and a splint mail and leather kilt over his legs. The colors of Clan Lagerale, brown and gold, are prominently displayed through the tartan he wears wrapped around his waist and tossed over his shoulder.
Stout has a loud booming voice, and carries on with the skill of a trained actor (which he is) and an accomplished orator (which he has a natural gift for). His boisterous manner, traditional appearance as a dwarven warrior, and his generosity with coin has allowed him to do something that many other dwarves have been ostracized or otherwise punished for: stepping above his station.
It is traditional among the dwarven clans and nations along the Great Northern Mountains that a dwarf is born into their profession. Warriors are born to be warriors, and mystics are born to be mystics, and those who labor and carry on the business of business and trade are expected to be those bust souls who keep the society of the dwarves moving. It is not uncommon for young dwarves to wish to rise above their station, to become warriors, and fight the great battles, or to seek the greater mysteries of the Allfather. But their society is rigid, like stone, and those who attempt to rise above their birthrights are chastised as children. They are told the warning stories, about foolish dwarves who sought the same and were brought low.
Vongin Harlakrak was the son of a salt merchant, and desired glory over gold and attempted to become a warrior. His folly caused him to abandon his clan and family who were beset by hardship. Harlakrak returned from campaign and found his family decimated, his clan broken, and the accusation that one single hand could have prevented the tragedy. The Allfather had visited ill-fortune and bad luck upon the family for not guiding their son, and Vongin was deeply shamed and cast out of the mountains to live as an unskilled beggar in a human city.
Rov Bazaal fled the mines after a terrible battle, where he took up the arms of slain warriors and presented himself as a dwarven warrior from the area that had been blighted by Sycollax the Vengant. The dwarves trusted him at his word, and prepared to retake the Iron Carrack Keep. Bazaal was no warrior, and had no training to lead, and no blessings of the Allfather. He lead the dwarves into ruin, causing the deaths of an entire company of dwarves, and drawing the ire of the great wyrm The Vengant upon the heads of the dwarven city that had attacked it. Bazaal survived but was outed as a liar and blamed for the deaths of many dwarves. He hung himself from a tree, but the Allfather saw that he took two days to die.
Lagerale has spared no expense in his field kit. His armor is a composite make that is well suited for long term wear and travel while still offering good protection in battle. It is far from the best, and is considered light by Dwarven standards. His boots, gauntlets and belt are all of top quality make, and are in the fashion of dwarven warriors, with the Lagerale clan symbol proudly embossed in the leather, and the mountain of his birth picked out in gemstones on the buckle.
Lagerale's prize possession is his signature item, and he is very protective of it. The Tankard-Axe is among the strangest weapons to come from the forges of Mount Nibble, a Gnomish satrapy of the Toryndale Hill dwarves. The head of the weapon is a large tankard, complete with a locking lid and a heavy handle. The handle has a number of protruding spikes on in that are effective for punching through armor, but far enough apart that fingers can easily grip the handle. The handle originally mounted a curved axe-blade, but it was cumbersome to use, and given its construction, the blade eventually snapped off. The tankard-axe has a pole that screws into the bottom of the tankard and is connected to a six foot pole. This effectively makes the weapon into a glorified and somewhat ridiculous beer stein mace. Lagerale carries the weapon with pride, and when the mood strikes him, will often tie streamers or a banner to the handle.
The Half-Moon Dagger is the remnant of the broken ax blade of the tankard axe. After it was recovered, the large blade was reworked by a blacksmith and turned into a curved dagger that proved remarkable strong, mostly due to the thickness of the blade.
Stout typically keeps a variety of weapons available when on campaign, and favors ranged weapons like crossbows, spears, and his tankard-ax (exotic weapon proficiency skill to use). He is also a knife enthusiast and carries a number and variety of knives and daggers for a variety of uses.
The Lagerales are a large and prosperous clan, commanding a large swath of valuable land, where they raise and tend crops like barley, wheat, hops, and other spices and plants used to flavor their bubbling beverages. As such, there are a large number of them, as the life of a farming dwarf isn't particularly hazardous. Stout was one of many children who grew up between rows of wheat, spending years watching his father tend the grinding mills and the making of beer. It was expected that this was to be Stout's one day, as he was the eldest. But Stout had no heart for the grinding of grain and carrying water. He felt a cry in his heart to return to the mountains, to test his mettle in combat with goblins and to slay giants and ransack the hoardings of dragons.
Eventually Stout's younger brothers, Wort and Porter, bought out Stout's share of the family business, leaving it in their hands. Stout took his newfound wealth and left the clan farm to make a name for himself. He purchased fine armor and the best of adventurers upon return equipment. He was a natural speaker and storyteller, carrying himself with the elan of the bards as he spoke, and his skill with arms and armor were adequate. Stout set out upon his first campaign.
After many years, Stout became and older and wiser dwarf, learning the value of caution and the equal value of audacity. He would periodically return to the family hold, though only once was it injured and without wealth. He participated in an ill-fated mission to find a missing druid priest and his band of merry-do-wells were set upon by a juvenile black dragon. Most of the band was slain, and it was only due to the heroic stoicism of a morose and poetically minded paladin that any of them survived. His later visits saw him bringing boons to the clan, gifting them with large portions of his wealth gained by adventure, gold and gems taken from ancient holds, trophies both grisly and opulent from foes vanquished.
An Old Character
Stout Lagerale is a game character I made and ran circa 1996-7 and was a very dwarfy dwarf. He was a loudmouth braggart, always ready to drink, and fight, and was willing to give anything with the proper lady bits a good toss behind the tavern. Several times he was almost killed, but the encounter with the black dragon was the closest call. He eventually multi-classed out from a standard fighter to become a fighter/rogue and started doing a lot of sneaking, lock picking, and dagger throwing. I would have liked to have seen where he might have gone if the game had continued on, but the group had moved on. It was the mid-late 90s and our GM asked if any of us had seen this Vampire: the Masquerade game he had found.
After several entries for the Dwarven Guild, I did notice and agree that the dwarven submissions I posted where not decidedly dwarfy, sneaky dwarves and amish/puritan dwarfs are a long way from the Post-Tolkien dwarfdom that we all know. I decided to write up and share what I could remember of good ole Stout Lagerale, as I created him long before I knew about the dwarf tropes and I was proud of my goofily named warrior and his beer mug ax on a stick.
This time of year often brings the summer doldrums to the Citadel. A time of slow updates and intermittent submissions. We may have passed the worst but until the summer ends, the weather changes and school starts again we may not have the action we sometimes have.
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? Responses (5)-5
Well you certainly did a 360. A very traditional dwarf indeed, perhaps even a bit overly so. Could have done with some more depth, though I appreciate the fact that he's an old creation and even a bit of gamer history for you. If I was just starting out, and hadn't seen/read so many similar things, I would have rated it higher, well written though it was.
I read through all of this thinking 'hey, this guy is pretty cool!', and then I saw your disclaimer at the end and Gossamer's comment about it being very similar to a lot of things she had already seen :(
whellp, I'm not as well versed as others in this stuff, and this sounded fun to me, so I'll give you that extra bit of score!
While this does fit somewhat into the usual ideal of a Dwarf, it doesn't feel stereotypical to me. The stories told to keep good little Dwarves in line is a nice touch, especially since it has real life analogues. The tankard-axe is pure awesomeness. And even though this is more "real" Dwarf than some of your most recent subs, it still sticks its metaphorical tongue at Dwarven society; despite the stories and the failures of others, Stout has managed to cross the line and live the life he wants.
Even before the end, I had a feeling this was a character you had played. The offhand references to past events had that nostalgic scent to me. Sounds like fun times.
Sounds like a campaign to remember. I like this fellow quite a bit, and would love to hear other stories from that old campaign.
Just a darn good dwarf! Tankard-axe, yeah!!