I am about to be heading out to my FLGS (Favorite Local Gaming Store) for my Sunday D&D 3.5 game. We have been playing every other Sunday for about 5 months now and I have been known to write extended character back stories on occasion. Here is some of my current character's back story.
Being the youngest son of a noble family( 5 siblings, 2 older brothers, 3 older sisters). Zin left home after his eldest brother inherited to avoid a political marriage and avoid his family's constant disparagement over Zin's study of magic. During his travels he found that he had equal skill with a sword and understands that there are enemies that cannot be defeated with only magic or only steel. Zin prefers expensive clothes and has refined tastes when he is allowed to indulge them but these have been tempered by his travels and adventures. Zin also loves long swords and magical wands and will go out of his way to collect them. Often relying on wands or first in battle, before using memorized spells, he will use his sword if pressed or the opportunity presents itself.
(After handing this to my GM he said my character still needed a reason to be there, either he is running from something or running to something. So I then fleshed out the political marriage idea and added the bounty. So now he has a real reason to run)
Zin’s running away from his political arranged marriage has further reaching implications then just an upset bride to be. In Zin’s homeland there is a constant competition between the noble houses sometimes leading to minor skirmishes and at its worst a rash of kidnappings and assassinations. During the last “house cleaning” a number of minor noble houses were all but destroyed or absorbed by some of the larger older houses. During one of these skirmishes one of the royals, a prince fourth in the in the line of succession, was killed by “accident” prompting the King to intervene.
The 10 most powerful houses were selected to give up one son and one daughter to the guardianship of the Royal family to be used at their discretion. Either wed in an arranged marriage to foreign powers, wed to secure a peace between two houses, to become agents of the crown such as diplomats, commanders of the military, ladies in waiting to the queen or kept within the palace to insure the continued peace on tranquility of the kingdom. All the houses complied and many of the lesser noble houses offered up their children as well to be fostered by the crown. That was 5 years ago. Now one may find members of noble houses throughout the military and in the Kings service. The camaraderie bred by working in the king’s service has been reflected by the noble houses, many of the current heirs know each other from their time serving the crown and there has not been an incident breaking the Kings peace in 4 years.
But one problem remains, Zin was offered up and selected to be married to a foreign princess of his country’s greatest rival, she was not in direct line for the throne being the niece of the foreign king but still a princess. A treaty, concerning ample trade concessions and a much contested border, was drawn based on this marriage. Three days before Zin’s bride was supposed to arrive he slipped away during the wedding preparations, injuring two royal guards in the process. He evaded capture twice more escaping from the city and the kingdom.
His bride, which he has never seen, arrived and was presented to the King. The King embarrassed offered another in Zin’s place but this was a terrible insult to the Foreign King and his family. The princess was not to be given way to just anyone who happened by. The Princess would be married to Zin or not at all. For three days diplomats from both sides argued while Zin went un-captured. In disgust both Kings walked away from the bargaining table. Zin’s favorite family member, his grandmother, is known as the Dragon Dowager. She is a skilled diplomat, savvy merchant, and often a trusted advisor to the crown. She alone won concessions from the two kings. The death mark would not be placed on Zin by either King and the treaty would be shelved and left unsigned. Upon Zin’s capture and return, the wedding would go on and the treaty signed.
Currently Zin is branded a traitor to the crown at home and criminal-at-large in the foreign kingdom bounty is at 21,000 gold alive ( 3x level x1000gp) and one third for his body or unequivocal proof of his death.( level x 1000gp) Smaller rewards are often granted for information of his whereabouts. Zin is sure that there are others after his death, which would allow another to wed the foreign princess. There nobles in both kingdoms who first, wish to punish him for his insult and second, to keep the treaty from ever happening. They have ample money to do so. Zin’s evasions have been more luck then skill to this point. Every time there is a border dispute, skirmish or some sort of trade issue Zin’s name is brought up and the search is reestablished.
Note: This is part of the character history I handed to the GM so some of it is purposely vague to allow him room to incorporate it into his campaign.