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D&D Character Background: Ivynic Dwarril, the Trickster Cleric

Ivyn began his misspent youth as a simple thief raiding miscellaneous wagon convoys with his his twin sister after fleeing an orphanage (didn’t care much for the clergy after that.) As a forest Gnome, he’d entertain his thief pals by casting minor illusions around the camp. Making the food look better, turning the 3 of diamonds into the ace of spades, turning water into wine etc. He would speak to the animals in the forest, and take what he needed from the land and the people wandering through it. It was a simple life, and it certainly beat the orphanage. Life was good for awhile.

His sister (Yvinic or Yvin) served as the guide for the gang. She really took to the forest, and learned the landscape easily. One day, they hear about a large shipment of valuables in a fairly remote part of the area. The road is very well guarded, so the thieves try a back route through some dangerous cliffs. One member of the gang falls to his death in a ravine in the process. The gang is badly shaken but his sister leads the group through the deadly and barren mountains and they make it to the ambush point… But something is wrong! The locals had reached their tolerance on the raids from the gang, and hired mercenaries to lie in wait for them. At the moment of the convoy’s arrival, the group springs from cover, and is mercilessly attacked by the hired killers.

Ivyn is okay with a light crossbow, but not much else. He and his sister are both badly wounded, but their small size and illusion magic allows them to escape, driven back into the deadly cliffs. Their wounds are severe, and navigating the maze-like cliffs is very slow going. Away from the forest, there are no herbs that they can apply, no roots to eat, no water to drink, and their rations dwindle. Gnomes can’t carry very much, even when rested and healed. Eventually through a combination of starvation, blood loss, and dehydration, delirium begins to set in.

One night Ivyn awakens to find than Yvin has succumbed to her wounds and the harsh landscape, passing silently in the night. Now he has no idea where he is, and no idea where to go. Over the next several days, he begins hallucinating more and more. Sometimes his sister (left for dead days ago) appears and walks with him. He sees sumptuous feasts spread out on nearby rocks, and crystal brooks flowing around his ankles. He begins to fill the hallucinations with his own magic, casting spells of illusion to create the smell of the feast, or to give the imagined water a cooling sensation, or to hear Yvin’s voice. Reality and illusion begin to blur together.

Ivyn wakes up one day, and knows he’s on his last legs. It’s been a week since he’s eaten. His bleeding stopped days ago, but he has no nourishment and no real rest. He can barely even stand. His sister appears to him again, but today she speaks with a changed voice. It’s a vision from the goddess of illusion and lies: Leira. She asks for his devotion and offers his salvation. He swears fealty to her, and she vanishes into a mist leaving a silver mask emblazoned with her symbol behind.

Ivyn is momentarily awe-struck, but soon wonders if he should have asked for something specific. He doesn’t feel any different even when carrying Leira’s strange mask. He is still dying. The delirium becomes more powerful. He sees another imagined feast.. but it seems so different this time.. He approaches and realizes: the food has become real. He stuffs himself, and falls into a deep sleep.

Days pass, and the feast begins to rot. But something has changed in Ivyn.

Lost in the cliffs, he is repeatedly brought to the point of starvation, only restored by a new force of will which renders his hallucinations as reality. Over time, he begins to realize his new power more and more. Soon he can focus his mind’s lies, and create food and water at will. He learns that the barriers between illusion and reality, life and death, lies and truth are nonexistent. He finds that if he injures himself, he can will the wounds to be false, and change reality to accept the lie. When attacked by animals and monsters, he can hallucinate hellish flames so real that they burn. Reality bends to Leira’s lies. After many years, his sister’s form lead him out of the endless cliffs and back to the forests that he loved in his youth.

After decades in the wilderness, Ivyn began to return to society, forever changed. The petty crimes he committed nearly a century ago are now long forgotten. He still speaks to his sister, who speaks back to him across the astral planes through either magic or madness. He views illusion and lies as the root of all of power, and every spell he casts is an extension of his honed and sacred hallucinations discovered in the cliffs. Through sheer will they become as real as anything else. Wounds are closed. Foes are smited. His lies suffuse his reality.

Ivyn does not seek to harm anyone. His mission is to serve his mistress and understand the power she has given him, to be ready for the day he is called in her service. To seek and understand the holy lies that his mistress creates, and to peer through the imagined barriers that separate the plains. Some say that Leira is a dead god, destroyed by the death god Cyric untold centuries ago, but Ivyn knows this is just Leira’s greatest lie yet.

Since then, he has held odd jobs, preferring small towns to large cities. After being alone for so many years, crowds make him somewhat anxious. He is currently residing in the remote town of Phandalin. The newly opened mine, a fable in Ivyn’s boyhood, has brought many tradespeople, and many strange and wondrous enchantments have flooded the local market. There is also plenty of work for a healer. Ivyn’s illusions are as good as a healing word to the adventurers, and they pay just as well for them. He works hard, practicing the sacred lies the Leira gave him. He also makes himself useful as a guide among the cliffs and mountains that he knows so well.

In Phandalin, he has worked with Sildar and the order of the gauntlet several times as an agent for hire, and they accept Ivyn’s reliability regardless of his strangeness, unaware of his god and his crucible among the cliffs. Other party members may have worked with him, but he keeps to himself. Even when he does talk of his adventures, they are often filled with exaggerations and fabrications. Nobody is really certain where he comes from, or who he worships. They know him as a powerful and eccentric cleric, who talks to himself frequently, and occasionally dons a strange silver mask bearing an unknowable expression. Still, he is good company and a reliable companion, utterly resourceful even when magic is useless.

The news of the Werewolves fascinates Ivyn and has drawn his attention. Demons who live in plain sight, lying to the world that they are actually human. What secrets are held in their twisted forms, and what lies are at the heart of this corruption? He’s along for a bit of coin as well, but truly Ivyn sees it as a sign from his mistress. What truths awaits him in the west, and what is his god trying to tell him?