Quinn: The Pawn
Unlike other half-elves in the city Pal Ador, Quinn had a relatively easy youth. His parents were both members of the upper class of society -- his human father was a rich and powerful merchant and his elven mother was a respected noble. His parents kept Quinn isolated from the violent skirmishes of the streets, but they watched with fascination the subtle political maneuvering that took place in the courts.
Quinn witnessed the Machiavellian schemes that his parents involved themselves in. His early childhood was warped through a lens of deceit, lies, and manipulation -- both of his parents treated Quinn like a pawn and he soon learned the only person that he could trust was himself. The only individual who Quinn considered a friend was a kindly old court minstrel who did not involve himself in any of the behind-the-scenes plotting. Quinn spent more and more time with the bard, learning a variety of instruments and stories, and he discovered that he had a remarkable talent. Quinn treated the bard better than most at the court, but he was still cruel and demanding with the old man.
One day, Quinn's parents told him that he was going to be sent to a distant city to further his education. He soon discovered, however, that that he was considered "insurance" for one of his father's shady business deals. Quinn refused, stating his teacher was training him to be a bard. His parents relented for a few weeks until the old bard died under mysterious circumstances. They made their demands again, and this time he had had enough. Quinn slipped out of the lavish wealth of his manor home and hid among the squalor and violence of the streets.
Quinn: The Informant
For several years, Quinn lived in the back alleys and seedy warrens of Pal Ador. His once soft frame hardened from his harsh existence. The only way that he could live was by using skills that he learned from the old minstrel -- he sang and played his beaten fiddle on street corners, begging for the odd copper. His haughty and cruel nature helped him to survive on the uncaring streets.
Over time, Quinn became a familiar figure in numerous taverns and seedy inns. He kept his eyes and ears open, occasionally selling information to a small group of clientele. His status as a "mere bard" allowed him to blend into the background when no one was paying attention. He listened in on countless conversations, and his cunning wit and charisma drew out more information from many drunken mouths.
Once, after a particularly fine performance, Quinn was rubbing elbows with various criminals and thugs. His smooth smile suddenly creased with alarm when he felt the tip of sharp blade pressing into his back. Quinn was forced into a back room and found himself confronted by a dark clad and deadly looking figure. The knife wielder revealed himself as Mezriss, a member of the mysterious and deadly group of assassins called the Scars. He told Quinn that the Scars had been watching him for awhile and wanted him to join their operation. Quinn's initial reaction was to say no, but the enormous bag of gold and gems that Mezriss tossed in front of his feet quickly reversed his decision.
Quinn: The Spy
Quinn worked full time for the Scars, but he never revealed to anyone his true status. He still moved easily between the various social strata of Pal Ador and found his way into the royal courts. Although he had killed on behalf of the Scars, his usual role was to gather information about a target or act as a distraction while the assassination took place.
Unfortunately, Quinn's informants failed to notify him of a plot by a coalition of upper class Pal Adoran citizens, who hired a stranger to deal with the increasing power of the Scars. This stranger, a dwarf named Jesrug, quickly began cleaning up the town, disrupting the Scars faster than anyone could have imagined.
Quinn tried to find out as much as he could about Jesrug. While another member of the Scars infiltrated the house disguised as a servant, Quinn bribed, threatened, and extorted information out of anyone that he thought might know something about the dwarf investigator. Just before the final dockside battle between the Scars and Jesrug, Quinn received information hinting that the humble dwarf was more than he appeared. Apparently, Jesrug (or figures that looked just like him) had been seen in cities far and wide. On more than few occasions, he had even been "killed," only to reappear again under a different name in a different city. By this time, the Scars were making their way to the docks, planning to catch the dwarf alone, based on a tip by their sorcerer, Zola.
Quinn arrived at the docks too late to help his fellow assassins, and he watched the dwarf spring a trap. Several members of the Scars were killed or captured by the Royal Guard and the mysterious dwarf, but Quinn slipped into the water and eluded capture
About the Author
Eric Cagle is the Administrative Assistant to the R&D Department at Wizards of the Coast. Don't let the title fool you -- he's also a regular gamer. Eric has edited several different projects for R&D and co-designed a D&D sourcebook due in 2002, and he has playtested for several products a month. He's also currently working on the Star Wars Roleplaying Game and takes a perverse delight in playing the bad guy whenever possible.