Solmar the Warforged Paladin


Warforged, Paladin
Formerly played by Mark Gipe
(Character illustration created by Richard Tran - copyright 2009 (Used with permission))

The party knew very little about Solmar. He arrived just in the nick of time to help free the party from a extremely nasty trap. Summoned to help the party fight a threat known as C.O.E.P.A.S., Solmar was a full party member when he fell in combat with a powerful enemy - Glan Sarin. There are times when Heros are defined by the enemies who slew them. In Solmar's case - that is not the case. Solmar is well known for his service to the people of Whillip and the Realms in general. His generosity will always be remembered. A faithful Paladin who always did the right thing, who defended the weak, who gave to the poor, who donated his time and effort to helping the citizen's of this Realm.

Background / History
When asked about his history, Solmar once replied:

“My awakening was on what would be 17 Mavis 996 of this world. I was originally created in a world locked in warfare. From the moment of our first awakening, we are trained for the battlefield. We are then sold to factions on all sides of the conflict. Our purpose is to be destroyed in the place of men who do not possess the moral fortitude to defend their ideals themselves. We are given sentience, but almost nobody acknowledges that we possess it. Our entire race is treated as nothing more than property to be ground by the gears of war while our owners posture with the bravery of being out of range. It is only a fluke of circumstance that removed me from those environs.

During my first battle, magics were released that were so powerful that they tore at the very fabric of existence. One rift passed over the portion of the battlefield my squad was operating in, removing us from our home world and depositing us on this one. Whereas we had been fighting in a hot summer glen, we suddenly found ourselves in a frigid mountain range. I later learned that this range is called the Spine of the World. At first, of course, we did not realize that we were on an entirely different world; we naturally assumed that we had been relocated to someplace on our home world. Who would think otherwise, if it had never happened to them? We traveled south, but we were unprepared for our new situation, and quickly succumbed to the environment. I am the only one left of my squad that still functions. I eventually found my way to Waterdeep, where I met another of my kind that had also come from my home world (it seems that this world is like a magnet for portals and gateways). It was he who first taught me the concepts of self-determination; of freedom. I have spent my life since then studying the peoples around me to learn what gives purpose to life, and how to give meaning to my own.”

Solmar was created and trained by House Cannith during the final years of the Last War.  He was then sold to the nation of Thrane.  However, he did not remain in their service for very long.  During his first battle, great magical forces unleashed by both sides began to tear at the very fabric of existence, creating small rifts.  One such rift swept over Solmar’s squad and their opponents, who were never to be seen on Eberron again.

When Solmar and his Warforged comrades had finished killing the few opponents that had been swept away with them in the rift, they found themselves in a hostile, frozen, mountainous environment.  With no instructions available from any form of commander, they began trudging south, toward what they perceived to be lower terrain and a warmer climate.  However, they had been equipped for a battle on a temperate plain in summer, and not a frozen mountainside, so when they finally emerged from the foothills, there were only six Warforged still functioning.  If it had not been summer, even these six would not have survived beyond this point.

As Solmar and the other five Warforged continued to travel south, they found a land that was different from what they were accustomed to seeing.  There was plant life, but it looked strange when you actually took in the details like the shapes of the leaves or patterns of the trees’ branches.  There were animals, and although most were familiar, some weren’t.  And then there were the peoples.  Most of the races that they encountered they could identify, but not always.  And some of the races they expected to see they never did.  And absolutely nobody seemed to have the faintest clue what they were talking about when they asked for directions back to Flamekeep, Thaliost, Sigilstar, Aruldusk, or even to Thrane itself so that they could report back to their commanders.

By the time Solmar stumbled into a city called Waterdeep, he was alone.  Without their usual support wizards and sorcerers to repair them, the other five Warforged had succumbed one-by-one to the usual damages inflicted by creatures (both natural and otherwise) that plague people traveling across the land.  Solmar himself was barely able to keep moving.  Luckily for him, another Warforged named Drifter sought him out shortly after his arrival in Waterdeep.

Drifter had arrived in Faerûn a few years before, and he had heard rumors of the group of Warforged traveling south and asking strange questions.  He informed Solmar that returning to Thrane was impossible, since he was no longer in Khorvaire, or even on Eberron.  He had been removed from that world and placed here, on another world called Toril, in a land called Faerûn.  From Solmar’s description, Drifter determined that Solmar must have arrived in an area he called the Spine of the World.  He explained to Solmar that he would have to function on his own, without requiring orders from a superior.  He would have to learn to live more like the civilians he saw around him.  He would need to find some kind of employment to earn gold that he could then use to pay for repairs.  Drifter also warned Solmar to be careful as Warforged were not nearly as common in Faerûn as they were in Khorvaire.  People tend to fear unfamiliar things, and they sometimes try to destroy what they fear.  Drifter had heard the faintest of rumors that someone in Faerûn had learned of the Warforged appearing in Faerûn, had studied some specimens, had learned the secret of their construction, and had successfully built a creation forge.  However, Drifter had yet to meet a Warforged that had not come from Eberron, and even those were very few and far between.

So Solmar spent a couple of years working in the city of Waterdeep as a warehouse night watchman, a dock worker, and in various other menial labor jobs, both to earn money for the occasional repair, and also just for something to occupy his time.  He also observed the people around him, in an effort to become more like them.

One peculiarity he noticed was that religion was deeply embedded into everybody’s daily life, much more so than on Eberron.  Like all Warforged, Solmar’s training had been deliberately circumspect on the subject of religion, so this was a concept that was almost completely new to him that he decided he needed to explore if he was to ever fully understand the people around him.  It took a while for him to come to grips with the basic concepts, but he eventually came to realize that there were actually many different religious groups, each one organized around a specific philosophical outlook on the world.  Each group believed that there was an unseen entity responsible for their particular philosophy, and each group’s entity was given the rank of god.  Furthermore, individuals who were responsible for spreading the influence of a particular group’s philosophy could supposedly gain some kind of personal reward from the god.  It was also believed that consciousness continues after death (which was diametrically opposite of Solmar’s training that death simply means eternal oblivion), but only if an individual faithfully followed one of the gods.  It didn’t seem to matter which god.  Therefore, Solmar could hardly find anybody that didn’t at least profess to follow the teachings of one or more of the gods.

But which god should Solmar follow?  After visiting numerous temples, Solmar eventually decided to dedicate himself to the service of Helm, The Vigilant One.  After so many nights of watching over other people’s belongings (and sometimes over the people themselves as they slept), it just seemed appropriate.  The church’s hierarchical structure also provided a comforting sense of familiarity reminiscent of when he was part of a military force.  In addition, Solmar had formed a secret theory concerning Helm which has only grown stronger in his mind since.  Descriptions of Helm were consistently of “a large man wearing a suit of full plate armor,” but there was never any description of the man himself.  Solmar believed that Helm might actually be a construct, disguised as a man in armor.  What other creature could be more vigilant than a construct?

The temple clergy were delighted to take Solmar into Helm’s service.  A living construct embodied several of the ideals in Helm’s dogma.  They began training Solmar as a Paladin, which fit very well with his prior combat training.  However, when he should have been ready to begin casting those spells that Helm normally channels through his faithful, they found he was unable to produce even the most simple of orisons.  They eventually determined that although Solmar had fully embraced the teachings and rituals of the church, he lacked a basic faith in Helm himself.  Solmar could tell that some of his abilities flowed from a source other than his own skill, and had begun to accept the possibility of an unseen being influencing the world around him, but he still lacked the full-hearted belief and trust in his deity for which Helm could reward with divine spell casting.  So the temple clergy focused Solmar’s training on less-used and more martially focused Paladin abilities.  They also gave Solmar a sword with a power that could only be activated by an uttered prayer, in the hope that simple repetition followed by a small reward each time would gradually increase Solmar’s faith.  It has worked.

One day, the helmet was stolen from the suit of armor that served as the temple’s central altar.  Solmar was Quested with tracking down the thieves, recovering the helm, and ensuring that the desecrators were properly brought to justice.  However, the thieves had been hired by Borgan, an overly zealous cleric of Torm.  The theft and the subsequent trail left for Solmar to follow were just a ruse to lure him out of Waterdeep where he could be captured.  Once he was secured, Borgan turned the helmet over to Gwyond, a disgruntled priest of Helm (and one of Solmar’s trainers) who was still angered by her church’s activities in Maztica.  Gwyond had been trying for years to undermine Helm’s temple in Waterdeep from the inside, and had become frustrated by her lack of progress.  She hoped that stealing such an important relic from a temple that is supposed to be under constant watch would fatally demoralize its clergy.

Bogan, on the other hand, simply wanted to convert Solmar to follow Torm.  He felt that Torm was a more appropriate deity for a paladin to follow in general, and Solmar would make a fine disciple if he could just be converted.  For three months, he tried every tactic he could think of, from friendly reasoning to outright threats and even magical coercion.  But no matter what he tried, Solmar remained faithful to Helm.  Solmar was eventually able to effect his own freedom, and he promptly dragged Borgan back to Waterdeep to answer for his actions.  The clergy of Torm’s temple were deeply embarrassed when the actions of one of their clerics was brought to public attention, especially in a time when both church’s deities had ordered their followers to reconcile the rift between the churches.

The clergy in Helm’s temple were deeply pained at discovering the corruption that still existed within their ranks.  They began to assemble a posse to go after Gwyond, but Solmar asked to be allowed to finish the Quest he was originally given.  Impressed, his superiors granted his request, and Solmar returned eight months later with both the helm, and with Gwyond in tow.  For his demonstration of dedication and loyalty to the church, they had the temple smith add the everbright quality to his composite plating.  This thoroughly delighted the smith as he had been wondering for quite some time if it was actually possible to enchant Solmar’s composite plating in the same way that a suit of armor is enchanted.

Shortly after this, Solmar was sent to Whillip.  Helm’s only permanent presence in that city was a small shrine in the primary city guard barracks that was maintained by a lone cleric named GarivekWhillip had become a large enough city that Helm’s priests felt there should be a larger congregation there.  So they sent Solmar to help bring more public attention to the church of Helm and to help recruit more followers in Whillip.

Physical Description
Solmar looks like so many other Warforged that came from the creation forges of House Cannith on Eberron.  He stands 6 ft. 2 in. tall, and weighs 194 lbs.  His composite plating is made of mithral, which is somewhat unusual but not unheard of.  His only truly distinguishing feature is the equipment that he currently carries.

A question that comes to the mind of some, was once discussed by Solmar and Dynnera - In Solmar's words:
"It is neither appropriate nor factual to call Warforged genderless. Sex is anatomical, but gender is learned. While nature differentiates other races by sexes physically, it is societal norms and expectations that determine expected roles and behavior for those sexes. While Warforged are not differentiated physically, and can be considered sexless, we nevertheless gravitate toward one or the other of the behavioral groupings associated with gender. This is a phenomenon that perplexes our creators, as it happens completely independently of our training, and they cannot determine its cause. Nevertheless, I am male, and I have fought alongside both brothers and sisters."

Solmar is a Warforged Paladin. An honorable living construct, dedicated to the principles of protection, honor and truth. Hopefully, we'll learn more about Solmar as he travels with the party.

Note about the former player of this character:
Mark left our campaign on the 24th of Feb, 2013 - After nearly 10 years with the group, Mark had this to say (in his parting email): "No other RPG campaign has managed to hold my attention as long as yours has, but I feel that it is time for me to move on. Thank you and Kim for your generous hospitality." After Mark's departure from our group, Solmar was run as an NPC. One of our current players ran the character for a time. Mark's departure (along with the departure of three other players) marked the end of an era. Over the last few weeks (the end of Feb, 2013), we've seen the departure of four long time players, and our campaign is currently (as of Mar, 2013) undergoing a drastic transformation. Kim and I will miss all those players who've graced our table over the years, and hope that the new players entering our campaign will find the campaign to be just as rewarding as those who've departed.


Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail:
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