Garlon is a Tortle druid for my brother Timmy’s D&D campaign, The Rise of Tiamat. I played part one of this campaign, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, as a different character with a different group of players, though my brother was the DM of that group as well.
My previous character was a brain damaged, halfling barbarian who thought he was a dwarf. He charged in at every opportunity, completely disregarded his own safety, and swung at things with a big axe. Fun times.
My biggest problem with the character was not the character himself, but the barbarian class’ lack of flexibility. This time around, I wanted to play a class that was more versatile, and that meant a spellcaster.
The full spellcasting classes in 5th edition are the Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard. I dismissed the Bard, Sorcerer, and Warlock almost immediately; I felt the number of spells they can know at any one time was too limited. I tried several Cleric builds, but was frustrated by their lack of battlefield control options. I liked the Druid’s spell list, but couldn’t wrap my head around the armor restrictions (proficient with medium armor but won’t wear metal armor…wait, what?), so I decided on the Wizard.
This wasn’t the best fit for the group, which at the time consisted of a Ranger, Fighter, and Sorcerer, meaning that what we really needed was a healer or thief to round out the party. But everyone seemed okay with it, so I rolled a wizard that I was mostly happy with.
A few weeks before our first campaign session, the Tomb of Annihilation adventure was released, and with it, The Tortle Package. I bought the package (all proceeds go to charity, after all), and read up on the race, and definitely wanted to play one. Mechanically, it solved the druid’s armor conundrum for me (Tortle druids don’t wear metal armor because they can’t wear armor, period, not because of some mystical vow against such), and thematically, it opened up background and motivational choices that I had been struggling to develop with my wizard.
And Garlon was born (or, rather, hatched). I wrote his backstory (see below), found a turtle miniature online and painted him, and showed up to my first session excited and ready to go.
So without further ado, here is Garlon’s Backstory:
Garlon hatched at fort Ahoyhoy on the island known as the Snout of Omgar, to loving parents. The first to hatch of a clutch of seven, he never strayed from that path, always the first to try new things, the first to break the rules, and the first to get in over his head.
His parents died when he was still very young, but not before filling his head with countless stories of excitement and adventure, as well as teaching him how to survive once he set out into the world. At the age of ten, he left Ahoyhoy and set out to do just that.
Garlon loved to explore, to discover new creatures, to feel the thrill of danger, and to experience all of the wonders of the wild and untamed lands of Chult and beyond. He felt at peace when surrounded by nature, in any of its forms, and equally so in a bustling city with all the sights and smells inherent to it. He never stayed put for long, always eager to get to his next big adventure.
During his travels, he encountered a charismatic fighter by the name of Knight Captain Darvin Durinbold, a ranking member of the Knights of the Unicorn. The two bonded immediately. Darvin saw in Garlon a fiery young lad with boundless potential in need of encouragement, guidance, and protection, and Garlon was impressed by the conviction, laughter, and purpose with which Darvin lived his life, as well as the endless tales of his experiences he often shared.
The two traveled together for several years, until Garlon was fifteen. Encouraged by Darvin to dig deeper into the druidic heritage he had inherited from his mother, he set off alone into the wilds to find a local Circle to learn from.
He spent the next several years seeking these answers, protecting forests, sacred springs, and other natural wonders from threats facing them. And while he did indeed have a connection to the natural lands that he could not deny, his drive for adventure and excitement never left him.
A short time before his twentieth birthday, he encountered a white unicorn in a glade he had been sleeping in, and took it as a sign from Lurue to go to the Knights and take his place among them. He returned to Baldur's Gate, swore his oath before the proud eyes of Darvin and the rest of the Knights of the Unicorn, and then set out to find a quest worthy of initiating him into the order as a full fledged knight.