In the keep, out on the border between civilization and the wilderness, players can sometimes feel like they’re hulled up in the last bastion of safety, afraid to set foot outside the strong, tall walls of the keep itself. With the swamps to the east, and the caves to the north, nothing but forest in between, planning forays to the more interesting locals the Borderkeep has to offer can be a daunting task for any set of player characters.
With that in mind, you’re going to want to add a character to your repertoire of NPC’s that can offer assistance to the party, without overshadowing their abilities. To this end, I give you Bramble, the gnomish druid!
Bramble is a young gnome, and a newcomer at the Borderkeep. Having set up shop a few miles outside the city walls, Bramble makes a living selling rare herbs and ingredients, freshly harvested from the surrounding area. He knows that the journey to his hut can be perilous for the majority of the citizens in the keep, so he makes the trip himself every seven days or so.
Bramble grew up in a small gnomish settlement far to the south of the keep. As is common among the gnomish people, Bramble developed a love of nature very early on. Less common, though, was the strength of his love and the curiosity that came with it. Bramble began spending a great deal of his time in the forests of his homeland, the time between visits to his family growing larger as time went on. Eventually, he encountered a mysterious man named Vosh, who seemed older than any Bramble had ever met before, and yet showed no visible signs of the ravages of time. Vosh took Bramble as apprentice, teaching him the secret language of the druids, showing him how to call on nature’s might to aid him in the lonely stretches between settlements. Vosh moved on, suggesting that Bramble find a needful place to call his own.
Bramble’s training focused more on how to go unnoticed when he needs to, rather than how to physically confront problems with brute strength. In addition to gathering his herbs and ingredients, Bramble maintains a trade relationship with the lizardmen that inhabit the eastern swamps. He also keeps a watch on travelers riding south along the Borderkeep trade routs, though never where anyone can see him. Bramble spends the vast majority of his time in the form of a great stag to avoid detection.
When you need your PC’s to have access to intel about the surrounding area, or even if they just get in over their heads before you’re ready to introduce a life or death situation, Bramble makes a great deus ex silva, so to speak. As for stats, consider his two highest to be wisdom and dexterity. Bramble is around level three, with any animal form around medium size that you need him to have for your game. His knowledge of the area around the Borderkeep is unrivaled, with the possible exception of the lizardman shaman that lives in the swamps, or a gnoll ranger who lives to the north. Assume that Bramble can cast an first or second level spell.
I focused more on story line this time than giving a direct stat block. Leave me some feedback about which you like better, this, or the actual printable character sheet, and thanks for reading!
As always, don’t fall for the kobold pit trap!