Character Background Story: Moira

Welcome to the background story of Moira, the Half-Elf, Oracle Healer.

A great way to get a holistic idea of who your character is, beyond the character sheet, is to come up with a short background story for them.

If you're new to the concept of how RPG characters are built, there are many facets of feats and traits that can make up the skills and nuances of the character you're playing. As a Healer, my character is equipped with skills such as Heal, Knowledge (Religion), Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device. These skills make sense for Moira's purpose in being the party's magical healer.

Another handy skill I like to have on hand for my characters, especially if there is no thief in the adventuring party, is Disable Device. This skill is used to check for traps, disable traps, and unlock locks. One can set up traps as well. To add bonuses to Moira's Disable Device skill, she has the Criminal trait. This allows Disable Device to be a class skill providing an additional +3 to the +1 bonus for the trait itself. One may not typically think of a Healer having a criminal background, but since I gave Moira the Criminal trait, I had to figure out a way to weave that into the story.

Hope you enjoy it!

Born of a tryst between a Fosairian soldier and a student of the Arcana, Moira knows nothing of her heritage since she was found wandering the streets of Fosaire, in the Kingdom of Ma-Edah. A guardsman, recently off his post, caught sight of the small child of only three years, hiding behind the corner of a building in the merchant’s quarters. Even at her tiny stature, she stood out with pale skin, dark reddish-purple hair, and bright, azure-blue eyes.

The tear-soaked face silently watching passersby and with no obvious sign of a guardian around, the guardsman walked closer to the child until their eyes met. With a smile he carefully approached, hoping not to scare her away. Standing still she looked up over her right shoulder, a questioning glance into the air, then a quick nod before returning her gaze to the guardsman. He stopped in his tracks, looking past the girl and into the alley but there was no one there. They both closed in paces and Moira reached for the man to be picked up.

“Where are your parents, little one?” Searching the nearby booths and wagons, he could see no one who might be missing their child. He asked a couple of people if they noticed anyone with the girl, but no one had taken notice of her in the first place.

“I’m sorry little one, I guess it’s the orphanage for you. We should think of a name on the way, huh? You’ll end up being a 280th plain Jane if I leave it to the Lady of that house.”

As he ran through the limited female names he knew, a sudden breeze hushed past his ear. The sound of a slow exhalation was faint, but it clearly said, “mmoooiiirraaaaaa.” The guardsman with the lost child in his arms halted in place, turning to see who might have uttered such a sound. Just the bustling of people in the streets surrounded them, no one paying any specific attention to the two. The little girl giggled in his arms, bringing his attention back to the mission at hand.

He climbed the stairs to the orphanage house and rang the bell. A steward opened the door, then inquired as to what the caller wanted. Hoisting the child in his arms the guardsman cleared his throat to answer the man at the door.

“Sir, I found this child wandering the streets. Does Lady T-- have room for another?”

Eying the guardsman then the child, he stepped forward to take the girl. She giggled being held out at arm’s length when, finally, the steward asked dryly, “Does she have a name?”

“Oh, um…” With a face now pensively scrunched he searched his mind for a few seconds until it came to him, “Yes! She does, it’s Moira.” The surprise in his voice was not only apparent to himself but the guardsman was relieved to know she would be unique. At least by name. Leaning towards Moira, he put a hand on her head, gave a smile, and bid her a farewell, “May our Lady shine on you, yet ever more in darkness. Goodbye, little one.”

Toddler grew to child as they normally do, and she became attached to a small group of misfits who taught her the basics of thievery by the age of 12. At 13, she escaped life at the orphanage with a few other kids who were deemed old enough to leave. It was an odd, little family they formed but the only one Moira knew. Oftentimes she was the appointed lookout as she was uncanny at knowing when someone was approaching, even in the night.

After two months of stealing and scrounging, the leader of the group, Arlin, decided they should stake out a nearby graveyard, a temple of Pharasma. He thought robbing fresh graves might prove to be more profitable than picking pockets. For a solid week, they did late-night reconnaissance in and around the graveyard. Once, during the day there was a burial ceremony and they were careful to scope that out as well. This became their target grave.

I created this visual concept of Moira with her ceremonial robes here.

With four kids on-site the night of the robbery and two waiting ready at their exit site, Moira was tasked with sitting near the main gate, facing the temple. Sitting with her back on the interior of the perimeter wall she was able to listen to the comings and goings at the temple’s side door, which leads to the graveyard.

In the silence of the night, she waited until the planned signal went out. Waiting a minute longer she placed her hands on the earth beside herself to hoist into a stand only to be pushed down by pressure on her shoulders. Looking quickly, she saw no hands on her shoulders but it felt like hands holding her to the ground.

“This is where you belong, Moira. Don’t fight this.”

Not knowing from where the voice came, she screamed in terrified panic, twisting her body down then away from the wall. As she stood there were already priests and a few guardsmen standing in the graveyard. Two of her friends had already been apprehended. Wide-eyed, still in panicked shock Moira turned to run away but was immediately grasped by the arm.

“Where do you think you’re going, little thief?” Another guardsman sternly berated through his teeth as he walked up to Moira and her captor. She stood in place, staring angrily at the man who spoke while pulling her arm forward just to be difficult for the other. As soon as the gap between them closed to about two feet away he lowered his face to her, “In the wagon with you and off to the jails then.”

“No! Not her!” A woman, the Head Priestess of the temple called over from the grave that had been unearthed. In her brisk pace towards the trio, the black skirts of her robe shimmered gray with each forward step. It seemed to Moira brilliant and mesmerizing.

“She is coming with us. We will pardon her slight against us done here this night and train her as the oracle she is. Fate has a way, doesn’t it? When you follow one bad plan, your true path can become clear.” The Head Priestess now stood in front of Moira. She raised her right hand to the girl's face to lightly lifting her chin up to meet her own.

“It’s VERY clear to me that you have the Haunt upon you. Don’t you, child?” Her voice was calm, yet stern. Moira’s brows furrowed, and she answered in a stutter of consternation.

“I, uh. I don’t, what you’re talking about.”

“You already have the curse, child. You ARE an Oracle. Whether you want this or not, it has been chosen for you.” With curious regard, her head shifted from left tilt to right. Her eyes squinted down to the frustrated girl, “You mean you never knew of your undead familiar? Moira, you have been Haunted your entire life,” she stated in a rather derisive tone.

Then, placing her index finger on Moira’s forehead she stated, “Let us open that third eye of yours, shall we? Maybe this will help you to understand.” With a flick of power, the Head Mistress pressed her index finger down tighter and Moira’s vision became a blur of white light, suddenly blinking through various moments of her life. Some moments she could not recall by memory, making it difficult to accept as her own, yet somehow all familiar. Future recollections of moments she had yet to experience.

In these clips, these retraced steps of her life, she saw a figure beside her in every scene. A figure she had never noticed before, but with the sight given to her, currently, she felt a truth always hidden from her. She had a ghost following her, in small instances taking care of her, throughout her entire life.

Moira woke again when the sun was up, in a room strange to her but more comfortable than she ever knew. She was now living in the temple and soon to meet with the Head Priestess for her Oracle training. Her specialty would be Healing, to make up for all the loss she suffered, all the wrong choices she submitted to in spite of herself, and to begin her process of finally knowing she belonged in this world.

Feeling relaxed for the first time ever, she sat up to look out the window nearest her bed. It was a bright, green morning in spring. Remembering the ghost in her vision she smiled and asked, “Am I home now?” The window unlatched itself, opening up to a breeze flowing in with the scent of cooked bacon in the air. Laughing she leaped out of bed leaning her body over the window sill. Feeling giddy, Moira giggled at the smells of the kitchen just beneath her window. Turning her attention back inside, she surveyed the seemingly empty room.

“Thank you."