Posted - 22 Mar 2019 : 23:41:16
I wasn't sure where the best place to put this would be. I play a Sun Elf wizard of Silverymoon in a long-running game. He started off with a fairly generic backstory, but after delving more into the lore of the elves and also reading The Last Mythal series, I decided to develop his House and family history more. Herein is the history of House Sylairaque, a noble Sun Elf house with a storied history.
I would love comments and questions to flesh out and/or correct discrepancies/fill in holes.
This is my character (Kethamil's) starting backstory (the game is set in 1372 DR):
"Kethamil was born in Silverymoon on Flamerule 13, 1226 DR, to a Sun Elf couple who had moved there from Evermeet during a bout of wanderlust and decided to stay.
His father, Valandil, was a wizard who had joined the Spellguard upon a few years living in Silverymoon, and his mother, Ruasar, was an artist and musician. When Kethamil was a boy, his father gave him the option of whether he wanted to learn wizardry -- he didn't want to force it on his son like it had been forced onto him in Evermeet. To his delight, the young Kethamil responded with unbridled enthusiasm and spent the next several years learning the basics with his father.
Eventually, his father secured a teaching job at the Lady's College in Silverymoon, and Kethamil enrolled, learning more under his father and the other teachers. His mother instilled a love for the arts and music within him, and though he never went very far with formal artistic or musical training, he always takes time out for a good concert or art show, occasionally blowing out a few timid tunes on his flute in private so no one can hear how bad he is.
Over the years, Kethamil has grown into a respectable wizard in his own right. When his first wanderlust struck, he journeyed with a caravan traveling through Silverymoon to Athkatla. He provided them with magical defense from bandits and creatures along the road, parted ways with them in Athkatla where he spent a few months learning about the culture and the rest of the world. He eventually found his way back to Silverymoon via Cormyr, Cormanthor and across Anauroch with a traveling group of mercenaries. Several of the group perished during the trip across Anauroch, during which Kethamil learned much about his personal limits, magically, physically and spiritually.
When he came back, though, things were not good. His father had gone missing a few weeks before his return while on a routine patrol with a detachment of Knights in Silver. No sign of any of that group has been found, and theories abound, such as being abducted by the Arcane Brotherhood or Church of Bane, or being killed and eaten by magical beasts, or becoming hopelessly lost in the High Forest. His mother has been very depressed since then, and Kethamil has thrown himself into his studies and craft in the hopes of eventually following in his father's footsteps as a member of the Spellguard and possibly discovering what happened to him.
During this time, he has tried proving himself multiple times by taking up with adventuring groups or mercenary groups trying to help Silverymoon and the Silver Marches in general. His most recent exploit came when a group he was with answered a call to investigate problems going on in Sundabar. The group discovered that Zhentarim agents were attempting to gain access to the Everfire to make magical weapons for Zhentil Keep. The group foiled the plot, thanks in no small part to Kethamil's magical skills, though in the final battle the rest of his group perished. Kethamil managed to duel the Zhentarim's wizard leader into submission, but not before suffering some nasty curses and magical wounds.
After he recovered, he returned to Silverymoon with a sense of purpose -- protect the homeland he loved from those who would destroy it or tyrannize it, no matter what the cost. Now he felt more sure than ever of his desire to someday join the Spellguard, now for personal reasons, not just following in his father's footsteps."
Now here's the stuff about his House I've come up with:
House Crest: A blue-winged pixie with a raven in one hand and a dove in the other, a semicircle of six six-pointed silver stars over his head.
House Colors: Blue and silver (argent)
House motto: Galad Uireb ("Light Unending")
House Sylairaque Overview
**History of House Sylairaque, as told to Kethamil by his parents; omissions/distortions possible. How much Kethamil actually knows at any given time obviously subject to Knowledge checks or DM fiat; family would have tried to teach him most of this in his youth, and they would at least keep a chronicle/genealogy of the family somewhere.**
The family is known for producing talented mages, and the vast majority of the family's patriarch's have been wizards, though a few have been clerics or paladins (usually of Corellon).
The House began in Aryvaandar, founded by a powerful mage named Ansravar, who became a high mage and participated in the Crown Wars. Eventually, patriarch Telhilion resisted and spoke out against the eventual corruption of the kingdom (unaware yet the it was due to daemonfey involvement), and eventually cut ties with the kingdom before the Fifth Crown War, suing for mercy from the Elven Court in exchange for their renunciation of the Vyshaantar Empire.
At Telhilion's request, the House later was involved in establishing Siluvanede as a "do-over" of Aryvandaar without Vyshaan's influence. The House was somewhat prominent in Siluvaneden politics. Eventually, before the onset of the Seven Citadels' War, patriarch Caelemar broke ties with the kingdom due to its corruption, and at the onset of the war, bid his family flee to Evermeet while he stayed behind to fight with other Siluvaneden defectors in Earlann. He perished in one of the war's final battles against a fellow archmage of Siluvanede.
A few generations later, one Sylairaque patriarch, Almarael, a paladin and champion of Corellon Larethian, brought the House back to Faerun to join the efforts in Cormanthyr around ~ -200. The House stayed in Myth Drannor until it's fall, in which the entire House except for one middle son, his wife and only child were decimated, after which the survivors decided to relocate back to Evermeet, where they have officially remained.
The house lost much of its influence since its near-destruction in the Weeping War, though current patriarch Corihar, an archmage, has been obsessed with regaining influence in Evermeet at least; though he, like most of his most recent forebears, dismisses the thought of going back to Faerun. He resents his son Valandil and wife Ruasar's leaving, but is convinced the family will return once what he sees as their youthful wanderlust is over.
~~~ indicates a significant break in which either nothing particularly interesting or important happened and the family prospered, and/or not enough details are available to piece together a coherent narrative.
-12,100 ish: Ansravar born in Aryvandaar.
-11,800: Ansravar fights in First Crown War, becomes a high mage of Aryvandaar, founds House Sylairaque.
-11,400: Death of Ansravar.
-9,200: House Sylairaque allied with Vyshaan, continues participation in Crown Wars.
-9,200: Sylairaque Patriarch Telhilion convinces his House to abandon the Aryvandaaran cause, disavowing allegiance to Vyshaantar, bids for and receives mercy for his House from the Elven Court. House Sylairaque formally detaches from Aryvandaar, does not participate in Fifth Crown War.
House is involved in establishment of Siluvanede.
-4,500: Sylairaque Patriarch Caelemar, an archmage of Siluvanede, intuiting the onset of the Seven Citadels' War, defects from Siluvenade in disgust of the kingdom's Aryvandaar-esque power plays and bids his family flee to Evermeet. He however stays behind and joins other Siluvaneden defectors in Earlann and fights against Siluvenade in the Seven Citadels' War. He is slain in one of the final battles in a spell duel with a high mage of Siluvenade (both are killed in the process). Family remains in Evermeet.
-250: Sylairaque Patriarch Almarael, a paladin and Champion of Corellon Larethian, decides to lead family back to Faerun from Evermeet to participate in the efforts happening in Cormanthyr.
271: Death of Almarael by natural causes. Lives to see the founding of Myth Drannor, in which his wizard daughter, the abjurer Tialea, aids in the erecting of the mythal. Family remains in Myth Drannor.
714: Sylairaque Patriarch Talethil, archmage and son of Tialea, grandson of Almarael, perishes, along with 99% of the entire rest of House Sylairaque, in the Weeping War. Middle son Gaelean (age 200), along with his wife and son, Calruil (age 14 at the time), are the sole survivors of House Sylairaque. They flee Myth Drannor's destruction, relinquishing much of the House's relics and holdings in the process, and in grief return to Evermeet, where they remained.
870: Corihar born to Calruil in Evermeet.
920: Death of Gaelean.
1050: Corihar marries Amahel Baelara.
1080: Birth of Valandil to Corihar and Amahel.
1083: Birth of Nyralya to Corihar and Amahel.
1085: Birth of Solviel to Corihar and Amahel.
1200: Valandil weds Ruasar Drevarean; Calruil dies.
1210: Ruasar and Valandil move to Faerun.
1226: Kethamil born in Silverymoon.
1229: Elethar born to Solviel and Clafiryel.
1231: Throvanna born to Solviel and Clafiryel.
1235: Nyralya takes to service of her god after death of her husband ? in a magic accident in which Corihar was involved. No children.
1236-1348: Peaceful. Children raised, taught, etc.
1349: Amahel embarks to Faerun to aid Sun Elves in The Retreat from Cormanthor after receiving a vision from Sehanine. Falling out with Corihar over this.
1350: Amahel visits Ruasar and Valandil in Silvery moon, meets Kethamil. Is later that year murdered by a drow while helping escort sun elves to Evermeet. The assassin escapes; body returned to Evermeet.
1351: Nyralya falls out with Corihar over not leaving Evermeet to seek justice for Amahel. Departs for Faerun herself to seek her killer.
1362: Kethamil begins his adventuring career, returning home frequently, but keeping around the Silver Marches mostly.
1368: Nyralya meets and marries human druid of Eldath, Arund, on the Sword Coast. He joins her in her quest.
1369: Elethar departs for Evereska.
1370: Nothing more is heard from Nyralya or Arund after this.
1370: Kethamil embarks on his major travel around Faerun, journeying with a caravan to Athkatla, spending a bit of time there, then returning via Cormyr, Cormanthor and Anauroch. Many acquaintances on both trips perish.
1371: Kethamil returns to Silverymoon to find father is missing. Joins a group which foils a Zhentarim plot in Sundabar. All but he are killed, and he spends time recovering from the ordeal.
1372: Beginning of current shenanigans.
Known modern family members:
Age: 502. Born 900. Archmage, father of Valandil, Solviel and Nyralya. Hoping to learn high magic and quietly resentful that he hasn't been chosen yet. Stern, solemn, proud. Has never left Evermeet. Was against Valandil leaving to adventure, but Valandil convinced him by saying he was interested in trying to recover lost family relics. Disdains lesser races. Aspires to High Mage. Racist, isolationist.
Apparently wasn't always so steely. Got more bitter and exclusionary after wife was murdered by a drow assassin while she was trying to help elves from fallen Cormanthyr travel to Evermeet in the Retreat (an excursion Corihar did not approve of and which they had a falling out over before she left).
Consumed by grief over Amahel's death, he has become isolationist and believes the family is abandoning him by going on their excursions to the mainland. Stubbornly refuses to leave Evermeet despite family proddings.
A private man not given to emotional outbursts, it's obvious to everyone involved that Valandil's decision to emigrate to Faerun wounded Corihar deeply, and it is suggested the Valandil's actions were the catalyst for more of his family's "abandonment."
Deceased. Lived 908-1350. Priestess of Sehanine Moonbow, mother of Valandil, Solviel and Nyralya. Met Kethamil once briefly when she visited them in Silverymoon prior to her self-appointed mission to aid The Retreat. Wife of Corihar. Killed somewhere in Faerun in 1350 by a drow assassin while helping sun elves leave from Cormanthor for Evermeet.
She embarked on her quest in late 1349 after receiving a vision from Sehanine that she needed to help. Until then, she had been content to stay in Evermeet and live a quiet dignified life with Corihar. She tried to get him to come with him but he was convinced it was a bad idea, and they had a falling-out over it.
She is buried in the family estate beneath Corihar's Tower in Leuthilspar, and it is said that he visits her grave every day.
Age: 292. Born 1080. Wizard, born in Evermeet to Corihar and Amahel. Married to Ruasar. Spellguard of Silverymoon, Harper. Status and whereabouts unknown. Was compassionate and caring to Kethamil but also an exacting teacher. Rejects father's isolationist policies. Believes in the dream of Silverymoon as the "Myth Drannor of the North."
Apparently had a falling out with his father, Corihar, and brother, Solviel and sister-in-law Clarifyel over his decision to emigrate to Faerun with his wife, Ruasar. He argued with his father that the best way to reestablish the Sylairaque name was not by hiding in comfort in Leuthilspar currying favor with the nobility in Leuthilspar, but by returning to Faerun to aid in elven efforts there.
Valandil and Ruasar left for Faerun in 1210, wandering the land and adventuring for about 5 years before deciding to settle in Silverymoon to have their family and focus their efforts in Silverymoon and environs. Within that first couple years, Valandil was accepted as a teacher at the Lady's College, and soon after accepted into the Spellguard.
Corihar still apparently believes Valandil and co. will return to Evermeet once what he sees as their youthful rebellion is over, despite the evidence seeming to indicate otherwise.
Age: 289. Born 1083. Artist and musician. Training as a bard (perhaps a spell singer?). Follower of Hanali Celanil. Mother of Kethamil and wife of Valandil. Free-spirited. Depressed since Valandil's disappearance.
It was rumored that Corihar wasn't especially pleased with Valandil's choice of bride, since Corihar hoped to offer his son's hand in marriage to the heiress of a more important family. But Ruasar won him over with her great beauty, charm, elegance and prodigious talent at strings and singing. Corihar somewhat blames her for changing Valandil's demeanor to be too free-spirited and somewhat wonders if it was her influence that convinced Valandil to move to Faerun.
Age: 285. Younger sister of Valandil. She was the more rebellious of her siblings, Valandil and Solviel. She was married at first to a promising mage named Sethien, a student of Corihar's. They were happy for a few years, until Sethien died in a magic accident while trying to make a new spell to win more favor with Corihar.
After that, Nyralya took the vows as a priestess of Elebrin Liothiel, and her nature-heavy views clashed a bit with the family's focus on arcana, and Corihar all but disowned her after she married a human druid follower of Eldath in 1368.
She idolized mother, and, in 1351, a year after Amahel's murder, left Evermeet to search Faerun to find her drow killer. One of the (among other) reasons Corihar was against Valandil and Ruasar's leaving Evermeet.
Supposedly Nyralya pleaded with her father to come with her to help bring Amahel's killer to justice, but in his grief and hopelessness he decided to stay, apparently disgusting her.
Nothing has been heard from her by the family since 1370.
Age: 290. Younger brother of Valandil. Cloistered cleric of Labelas Enoreth in Evermeet. Shares father's views on most things. Rather disinterested in getting involved in Faerunian affairs.
Content to live a quiet life of luxury and modest importance with his wife. Thinks the family's misfortunes would be nullified if they would all stop getting crazy ideas in their heads to leave Evermeet.
Age: 293. Wife of Solviel. Marriage arranged between Corihar and Clafiryel's parents, it's been a good match since Clafiryel and Solviel share many interests and beliefs if perhaps not passion. Rumor has it she carried a flame for Valandil, but he loved Ruasar, whom also was a good friend of Clafiryel's.
She is a transmuter of some skill but prefers to put her powers and knowledge to use creating objects of beauty, particularly jewelry and musical instruments (though she herself doesn't have much musical skill).
Apparently she has been a little sad since Ruasar left with Valandil, since they had been almost inseparable companions since youth and many of Ruasar's favorite instruments had been hand-crafted by Clafiryel.
Age: 143. Son of Solviel and Clafiryel. Bladesinger who currently resides in Evereska, interested in battling the elves' enemies, particularly drow. Has never met his cousin Kethamil.
Apparently disagrees with his parents' and grandfather's passive views toward Faerunian affairs, apparently trying to mold himself in the image of their ancestor Almarael.
Daughter of Solviel and Clafiryel, sister of Elethar. She is a musician of some skill as well as a budding talent with illusions. So far she simply enjoys a life of beauty and luxury in Evermeet, following her mother's example of using her powers and talents to create beauty. Was apparently hurt and confused at her brother's leavetaking for Faerun.
Younger brother of Ruasar's, uncle of Kethamil. Ranger/scout, elven hound companion, free-spirited explorer. Had met Kethamil a couple times. Follower of Rillifane. Peripatetic wanderer, loner.
Age: 44. Now-husband of Nyralya, Arund is apparently a druidic follower of Eldath whom Nyralya met somewhere on the Sword Coast. They were married in 1368. He joined her in her quest to find Amahel's killer. Nothing has been heard from him or her since 1370.
Known (But how much, and how much is true?) ancestors:
Founder of House Sylairaque not long before the start of the First Crown War. Mighty mage, fought in Crown Wars. Believed in the superiority of Sun Elves as Corellon's chosen, obsessed with keeping race pure. Fervently believed the other elf races "needed" Sun Elf guidance. Modern family have mixed opinions of him. All respect his recorded prowess as a mage but his legacy as a Crown Wars supporter and Aryvandaaran expansionist is something most modern Sylairaques try to distance themselves from. Corihar's veneration of him makes some (including his son Valandil) uncomfortable.
Sylairaque Patriarch who, before the onset of the Fifth Crown War during the Elven Court's condemnation of the Vyshaantar Empire, sued for mercy for his House and received it, in exchange for Sylairaque's renunciation of any loyalty to the Vyshaan. Telhilion extricates House Sylairaque from the Vyshaan Empire and keeps it out of the war, though he loses a lot of clout within the Empire as a result. At his behest before he dies, the family takes part in establishing Siluvenade as the idea of a more peaceful "do-over" and way of atoning for Aryvandaar's crimes.
Sylairaque Patriarch who resisted and spoke out against the corruption of Siluvanede, which eventually caused the family to flee their holdings in advance of the Seven Citadels' War and emigrate to Evermeet. At the last moment, Caelemar reportedly decided to send his family onward, himself staying behind to join other Siluvaneden defectors in Sharrven. He reportedly perished in the fighting against Siluvenade. Many modern Sylairaques point to Caelemar more than Ansravar as the embodiment of Sylairaque ideals. Valandil admired him enough that he had a copy of his portrait (the original of which hangs in Corihar's tower in Evermeet) commissioned for his and Ruasar's Silverymoon home.
Paladin and Champion of Corellon Larethian who led the family back to Faerun from Evermeet to Cormanthyr around -200 DR. They remained in Cormanthyr until its fall. (Almarael is said to have taken part in campaigns against the drow and demons between -200 DR and Myth Drannor's founding, after which he died of old age). One of the only patriarchs who wasn't a wizard. Died of natural causes, got to see the founding of Myth Drannor at which his daughter, who had become a mage, aided in erecting the mythal.
One of the few Matriarchs of the family, Tialea, son of Almarael, inherited her father's dream of and love for Cormanthyr and she was one of the mages who lent her power toward the erecting of the mythal establishing Myth Drannor. She and her father were active in Cormanthyran affairs and both took part in the destruction of the temple of Moander in 171. She also later taught magic at the school in Myth Drannor.
Grandson of Almarael, son of Tialea, prominent mage and active in Myth Drannor politics. Perished at a venerable age in the Weeping War, along with his oldest and youngest son, his wife, and their families.
Son of Talethil, grandfather of Corihar. Survivor of the Weeping War. Saddened by the deaths of most of his family (including his father the patriarch and both his older brothers), he abandoned Faerun and left for Evermeet. Kethamil disagrees with his decision and thinks if he were in the same situation he'd have stayed.
Edited by - Cosmar on 23 Mar 2019 00:52:00
Forgotten Realms Designer
Posted - 01 Jun 2019 : 23:26:43
| Thanks Eric! :D
In addition to plot hooks, Kethamil's backstory/family tree offers my DM potential PC ideas from his family tree in the event other characters leave/die. lol
Edited by - Cosmar on 01 Jun 2019 23:27:21
Posted - 08 Nov 2020 : 02:10:23
| Seeker Cosmar,
I agree with Erik. That is a fantastic backstory! If I could recommend making and utilizing a psyche profile as a yellow brick road for RP when things increase in their storyline complexity. On the rare chance I play, I use one, and I create ones for my NPC's and my players use them as well. It really helps with keeping things straight and getting into the role of your character. Only a suggestion of course! :)