Vondal Steelfist

"Be not afraid, unworthy scourge! Death shall be the last gift you receive in this world!"


For folk as long-lived as dwarves, Von’s past wounds are still fresh and bleeding, but even from a human’s perspective what this exiled knight has endured could not heal in a lifetime. Vondal was born under auspicious signs that the clans of Janderhoff have long recognized as the presages of the most elite and honorable warriors of their race. Practically before he could walk, Von’s proud parents offered him to the Demonback Legion. Before long their newest inductee would learn that the Legion’s reputation as the greatest phalanx-formation warriors of Varisia, and perhaps all of Golarion, was well deserved.

To balance their renown as fearsome fighters, all members of the Demonback Legion gladly serve the community with the knowledge that being an idle warrior is tantamount to being no warrior at all. With this well in mind at the age of twenty, Vondal was apprenticed to a prominent blacksmith of Janderhoff and, in the process, reunited with a younger sibling he had almost forgotten. His brother’s easy gossip was the only link Von had to the ‘normal’ life he’d given up for the constant discipline and endurance training that seemed to occupy his every waking hour.

Nineteen years later both Vondal and his brother achieved the status of journeyman, and agreed that their final works before being recognized as masters of their craft would involve a friendly competition as well. No matter which masterpiece was proclaimed superior, they would always be brothers. But when Von’s work, the armor he wears to this day, was nearly complete, a series of events began that would rob the young warrior of everything he’d attained.

Both Vondal and his sibling were kidnapped and tortured for the many secret techniques their trade had drilled into them. Each knew that giving up a single one could easily be considered an act of treason. Neither let a word slip for days, but Vondal’s brother perished before he could betray any of their master’s secrets. After six days of constant agony, and not a minute of sleep, his dearest friend’s death weighed so heavily on him that Von’s tongue betrayed him in the midst of fevered dreams. The dwarven warrior would much rather have died there like his brother, but it was not to be.

Practically still broken and bleeding, he confessed to betraying his craft. He recovered quickly, but as soon as he was well enough to travel, he did. He left Janderhoff and the life that was no longer his to live, trudging north to the Shoanti who he’d heard had taken in more than one disgraced wretch like him. Years later he was struck by a wanderlust very uncharacteristic of those of his deeply-rooted race, and took the river south. Magnimar held no peace for him, nor work for coin. Someone pointed up the coast towards Sandpoint, claiming the festivities soon to be held there would surely draw someone who had need of his skills. It was all Vondal needed to set out again.

Some general things to know about Von:

  • His clan name, and his brother’s entire name, aren’t things he’ll give away without a very good reason. The former because it’s traditional in dealing with non-dwarves, and the latter out of respect for the dead.
  • Von has severe Honorable Death Syndrome, but he’s not suicidal. Despite being disgraced, he knows he can do more good in the long term even if he is disgraced and never avenges his brother’s murder.
  • He doesn’t know who to hunt for, precisely. A fever that would have killed a normal human twice over has affected his memories and perceptions of that fateful day. All he knows is that he’ll know him when he sees him.
  • Finally, as mentioned above, Von’s current armor is his not-quite-finished masterpiece which, if he absolves himself in the eyes of the blacksmiths’ guild of Janderhoff, will guarantee his status as a master. He won’t take it off. His shield was his brother’s masterpiece, and is never far from reach. He is still unsure of whether to finish it or leave it as it is.

Vondal Steelfist

Rise of the Runelords - [GoodOmens] MParker546 xelksa