"The pine stays green in winter... wisdom in hardship." - Norman Douglas
"Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge." - Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931), The Voice of the Master
Maester Tolbric is the Maester of House Graben as well as their current Master of the Hunt. He is teacher and caretaker of Liza, a child who lives in the Graben household and is training as his apprentice as the new kennel master. Tolbric is of average height with a stocky build that he has added some layers upon due to his long ongoing love affair with food. He has short brown hair and has grown out his beard. He prefers to wear earth tones and dark colors. His slight limp from a childhood injury involving a tumble down a flight of stairs coupled with a more recent series of injuries has been upgraded to an all out hobble, thus he has started carrying around a staff in order to help him get around easier. He personally owns two ravens he calls Ash and Ruin and a horse named Sugar, though he considers all of the Graben animals to be his personal wards. The Maester is very protective of his apprentice Liza as well as the Dowager Lady's handmaiden Branna Meadows.
Maester Tolbric is an honest man, both by choice and due to the fact that he is a pathetic liar, which has caused him some serious discomfort and misfortune in his years. It has been noted during his time in Oldtown, that his inability to tell a convincing lie nearly bordered on supernatural in magnitude. In addition to these traits, Tolbric is obsessive and tends to neglect his personal surroundings when he finds something intriguing to engage his mind with - mysteries and anomalies that contradict his knowledge being chief amongst these things. Also in this vein, his foolishness tends to manifest in his tendency to always think he is safe, regardless of the information surrounding him to the contrary. He has been forced to flee from bandits on more than one occasion for wandering into the wilderness looking for rare breeds of honey bees and black berries or wandering alone into root cellars where murderers lie in wait to stab and throw him down cliff side garbage chutes.
Tolbric Storm never knew his mother. He only knows what little his father, Ser Owen Dondarrion had told him of her, that she was from Bravos and about her singing, he would say that even the birds would grow silent when she sang so that they wouldn't miss a note. Ser Owen chose to acknowledged Tolbric as his bastard and he was raised in Blackhaven. He and his father were never particularly close and he spent most of his youth in the kitchen, kennels and constantly pestering the Maester, who had taken a shine to the endlessly curious boy that reeked of cheese and dog. When Tolbric was still rather young, he met the most astounding girl. Her name was Beony and she was kind, intelligent, witty and beautiful. She was perfect. When her family would visit Blackhaven, the two would frequently slip off together and enjoy the world, read books to each other, play with the hounds and in later years, enjoy each other in more intimate ways. They were always careful to be secretive, especially as they got older. It became clear that they were not being secret enough when Tolbric returned to the room he shared with the cook next to the kitchen, to find his father sitting on his bed waiting for him. Tolbric was informed that he and the Lady Beony would no longer so much as speak to each other, must less go sneaking off together. Tolbric agreed to do as his father said. But Tolbric was as terribly a liar in his youth as he is now. Upon their next meeting, Beony was able to pry the entire story out of him within minutes. She said she didn't care and even suggested that they run away together. Because she loved him and she had a secret, she was pregnant. So he did what any stupid boy in love would do, he agreed. They met up with their gathered supplies that night and were preparing to sneak out of the castle when they ran into Beony's cousin, Brienne. She may have been a young girl, but she was strong and fast, where Tolbric was soft and slow. Following a brief and pathetic scuffle, Brienne ended their escape plan by hurling Tolbric down a flight of stairs, breaking a few bones. She would have continued the process of breaking the rest of them except that Beony intervened and blurted out that he was the father of her child. Brienne kicked Tolbric in the face. Hard. Tolbric woke to find the Maester and his father talking over him. Upon seeing him awake, the Maester stated that he needed to go administer the tea to the young girl and left. His father said very little. He informed Tolbric that he was a terrible disappointment, but the Maester had suggested the solution of sending him off to Oldtown to train at the Citadel, that his intelligence and skills would make him a prime candidate. In this his father hoped that Tolbric might still be able to do some good and it would safely distance him from Beony and the justice her family would soon be seeking. Before he left, his father embraced him, he only ever recalled his father hugging him once before in his life. He then held Tolbric out before him, looked at him for a short time and told him that he had his mothers eyes and her gentleness. That he could never return to Blackhaven. That he was no longer his son. And to become a good man. Tolbric, with both his body and his heart bruised and broken, was sent off immediately with a group of merchants who were bound for Oldtown. It would be fifteen years before he ever discovered what had become of his childhood sweetheart. And that he had a daughter. Tolbric quickly made the Citadel his new home. He loved Oldtown, loved the Citadel. He embraced the structure and order of the place. He loved learning and teaching. He had a natural talent with healing and animals that impressed his mentors. He had many friends and rivals in the Citadel. He forged his chain and was recognized as Maester Tolbric. He passed up numerous opportunities for assignment in order to remain as long as he could, continuing to study, teach new students and forge more links for his chain. Tolbric really had no interest in ever leaving. His favorite mentor, recently raised to Archmaester and given the silver rod, felt that Tolbric possessed the skill and knowledge, but that what he needed most was experience. So he was assigned his first post, to a noble house he'd never heard of crammed into a tower called Wisenwood somewhere far away in the dreary North. And so Maester Tolbric packed his few belongings and began the journey into the North. Tolbric did not remain in Wisenwood for very long and he avoids discussing his time there. What is known is that he was injured and nearly died when he was shot by bandits while on the boat taking him to Wisenwood. He lived in Wisenwood Tower with House Wisent and acted as adviser, steward, healer and teacher. He got on well with the Lady Wisent and less so with Lord Wisent, having given him the nickname Lord Redface. He had become close with their children as well as the heir, Ayrant Wisent, who had only recently returned from exile following a pardon from Winterfell. He was renown for his love of cheese and had gained a great deal of weight surrounded by crofter wives who eagerly supplied him with his vice and gave him the nickname, the Mouster. The tales about him and his mysterious bear had originated during his time in Wisenwood.
The details become blurry where House Wisent fell. The entire household perished in an uprising. It had been assumed the Maester had died with them. Tolbric doesn't talk about happened in the fall of House Wisent. What little is known is that he reappeared a year later in the Stormlands calling himself Malthias with an eight year old daughter named Liza, two ravens named Ash & Ruin, rumors of a bear shaped shadow and newfound faith in the Old Gods.
Malthias found work in the kennels at Morrowmount. Tolbric, posing as Malthias, became the Master of the Hunt for House Graben following the death of the old Master in a tragic hunting incident that also took the life of Lord Graben. The remaining lives had been saved by the appearance of the "Lucky Bear", confirming the rumors already connecting him and the strange Northern bear. In addition to his duties as the new Master of the Hunt, "Malthias" had also began assisting the elderly Maester with his duties. When the Maester died, Tolbric and his daughter Liza were moved into the Maester quarters where he would be better able to attend to the ravens in addition to his other opportunities.
Through a series of events revolving around the wedding of Lady Graben's brother, Tolbric would discover the fate of his childhood sweetheart Beony (who turned out to be the bride) and that he had a daughter, Branna (though few are aware of this fact). He would then be involved in saving Beony's life from an assassination attempt that would result in him being murdered in a root cellar and tossed down a garbage disposal chute, down the side of a cliff and into the sea. The Gods were not done with him yet. He lived, though he was crippled and now shuffles about with a staff. Tolbric was recognized by the Maester who had been poisoning Beony, and rather than allow the man to attempt and blackmail him, Tolbric revealed the truth of his identity to everyone, including Ser Garth Hightower who had been present (most of House Graben had already figured it out at that point and were keeping it a secret - they love secrets). Ser Garth decided that no harm had been done, not oaths broken under the given circumstances and that so long as the Graben's wanted him and were willing to pay the Citadel for his services, he saw no reason Tolbric could not resume his duties as Maester and continue to serve in Morrowmount. A few ravens went back and forth between Morrowmount, the Citadel, Winterfell and his old post in Wisenwood, but they were eventually resolved between the Maester and Wisenwood, both agreeing that it was in the best interest of all parties involved for them to forget each other had ever existed and leave everyone else out of their shared past.
Maester Tolbric quickly eased back into his role as Maester for Marrowmont. He continues to oversee the responsibilities of Master of the Hunt until those tasks have been fully reassigned. The girl he claimed to be his daughter, Liza, remains with him as his apprentice, training as the new kennelmaster and eventually Master of the Hunt for House Graben. Upon discovery of Tolbric's true identity and his unparalleled talent with healing, Lady Isalaine has decided that he must accompany her and her eternally danger-prone family everywhere they go, thus the Maester does a great deal more travel than he is happy about.
Rumors & Tendencies
There are a variety of local rumors about Maester Tolbric:
- Tolbric is a terrible liar. He begins to sweat, stutter and gibbers about aromatic herbs or the like when attempting to be deceptive. He compensates with his impressive ability to sense out perfect hiding spots or his tendency to outright flee from uncomfortable social encounters.
- There are a number of rumors linking Tolbric with a strange bear that lurks within the wilderness. Hunters say that the bear had come to Tolbric's aid once when he had been attacked by a shadow cat and that it had appeared again during the wolf pack attack that had claimed the life of the old Master of the Hunt - if not for that bizarre intervention, the entire hunting party would likely have died. Others speak of having seen him with the bear during his forages into the forest to gather herbs. Tolbric gets prickly when the bear is brought up in conversation. The locals have taken to calling it the "lucky bear" and when they see it, leave it in peace and give it a wide berth.
- While he is a natural leader and coordinator in a hunt, possessing a wealth of knowledge regarding animals, nature and the land, skills handling animals and can set a broken leg or stitch a wound within seconds, Tolbric is probably the worst actual hunter this side of the Narrow Sea. He is more likely to stab himself than his target with a blade and is doing well when he remembers which end of the crossbow to point away from himself.
- Tolbric is very protective of his apprentice Liza and the Dowager Lady's lady in waiting Branna Meadows.
- Tolbric and his apprentice Liza both adhere the Old Gods.
- Tolbric is easily distracted and can become so focused on a particular task or subject that he becomes oblivious to his surroundings.
- Tolbric is extremely protective of the household animals; he remains very involved with all aspects of the dogs and horses, even though he has underlings to do such work, and is protective to the point of paranoia over the well being of the ravens.
- Tolbric has more scars than some Ironborn warriors. It's also said that he should have died on at least two occasions and managed to survive.
Intrigue & Combat
- Intrigue Defense: 12 (Awareness+Cunning+Status)
- Composure: 12 (Will Ranks x3)
- Combat Defense: 6 (Agility+Athletics+Awareness+Defensive Bonus-Armor Penalty)
- Health: 6 (Endurance Ranks x3)
- Armor: padded (1)
- Armor Rating: 1
- Armor Penalty: 0
- Dagger: Test 1, Damage 1, Keywords: Defensive+1, Offhand+1
- Light Crossbow: Test 3, Damage 3, Keywords: Long range, Reload (lesser), Slow
- Destiny Points: 3
- Maester: You are a maester of the Citadel. You are now immune to the household fortunes of your birth house, but you suffer the effects of the household fortunes of the house to which you are assigned. In addition, you may add your Cunning rank to all Knowledge and Will test results. You must have the Narrator’s permission to select this quality. Taking this quality results in the loss of any Fate qualities tied to your birth house, although you regain invested Destiny Points for lost qualities.
- Knowledge Focus (geography): Select one of the following areas of expertise—alchemy, architecture, astronomy, geography, heraldry, history and legends, magic, nature, religion, or underworld. When testing Knowledge in the chosen area(s), convert your Education bonus dice into test dice. You may select this quality multiple times. Each time, select a new area of expertise.
- Knowledge Focus (history & legend): When testing Knowledge in this chosen area of knowledge, convert your Education bonus dice into test dice.
- Knowledge Focus (nature): When testing Knowledge in this chosen area of knowledge, convert your Education bonus dice into test dice.
- Master of Ravens: You may dispatch ravens to bear your messages. The Narrator makes a secret Routine (6) Animal Handling test on your behalf (the Charm specialty applies). Success means the raven delivers the message to the appointed destination while failure means the message (and possibly the raven) goes astray. Additional degrees of success may allow you to coax some extra speed or distance out of your birds, at the Narrator’s discretion, or get a message through dangerous or difficult weather or the like.
- Beast Friend: When using Animal Handling Train or Charm, add +1D to the roll.
- Furtive: When testing Stealth to sneak, you may re-roll any 1s. In addition, you may add your Agility rank to Stealth test results when sneaking.
- Miracle Worker: Whenever you test Healing to first diagnose your patient, you gain +2B for a successful test, plus 1 bonus die for each additional degree. You may convert two bonus dice into test dice for your Healing test to treat the patient. Finally, you may add your Education rank to your Healing test results.
Drawbacks & Flaws
- Honor Bound: Whenever you test Deception, you must re-roll any die result of a 6 and take the second roll.
- Honest (Deception flaw); Disregard the lowest test die result on Deception rolls.
- Unsubtle (Thievery flaw); Disregard the lowest test die result on Thievery rolls.
- Hyper Focused: Whenever you test Awareness, you must re-roll any die result of a 6 and take the second roll.
- Clumsy (Agility flaw); Disregard the lowest test die result on Agility rolls.
- Crippled: Movement reduced by #
Possessions: 4 gold dragons, 138 silver stags, maester's chain, maester's robes, backback, journal, ink, a number of small bags & vials, flint & stone, maester's kit, dagger, light crossbow, padded armor, sturdy boots and carries various assortments of cheeses, meats, breads & sweets hidden away in numerous pockets & bags. He also has a roundsie horse named Sugar and two ravens named Ash and Ruin (he was having a bad few months when he came into possession of them). Tolbric owns an assortment of cherished books and scrolls, including the two tomes he won in the Maester's Challenge at the Torrhen's Square Tournament "Observations of the Old Faith" (a book by noted scholar Maester Ryndall, about the beliefs and traditions of the Old Religion of the North) and "Leal Armsmen of Torrhen Stark" (a book on the cohort of warriors who fought beside Torrhen Stark in the time of Aegon's Conquest, finding mention of Torrhen's Bull and his great maul of Valyrian steel).
- Continue to educate Liza and train her as his apprentice. He aims to firstly prepare her to take on the role of the kennel master as well as teaching her the mysteries of raven lore. His ultimate goal is to train her to become the next Master of the Hunt and in this vein and as a means for her to feel a connection with her late sister, he has arranged for her to start receiving training with blade and bow.
- Secrets in the roots. Tolbric has always loved nature, and has always believed plants were the worlds greatest miracle. His new faith in the Old Gods has strengthened that bond and given him to consider the greater connectivity and mystery connecting it all. He has doubled up his studies in herbalism and root lore to unlocked a deeper meaning. He has already applied some of the truths he has uncovered to his healing arts, which has escalated his skill to near legend amongst those who know him. What other secrets might he find if he continues to delve deeper. So much more to study, more to learn, more to discover! He needs more books!
- Gardens. Tolbric has four gardens. His little herb garden in his quarters and a small garden on the castle grounds that he shares with the kitchen staff. He has a garden he visits and tends to in a mountain valley, which is where many of his sightings with the bear have been reported. This is where he grows things best kept out of the hands and mouths of those who would prefer to remain non-addled or amongst the living. And he has a less known garden, inside a small cave where the bear often sleeps. Here he grows things that shun the light.
- Breeding. This project continues. The Graben hounds grow increasingly impressive, but he has a particular fondness for the northern mastiffs. He must see about arranging to get his hands on a pair to start breeding.
- Tolbric's assistant and pupil Liza is an eight year old northern girl. She is apprenticing to become Kennelmaster for House Graben.
- She has a reputation as something of a little wild child, loving to play in the outdoors and to go exploring where she oughtn't. She also loves animals, and often balks at adult authority that isn't the Maester.
- For each scene that you submit to the Narrator that is brought into play, you gain one Destiny Point. This can go above your normal allotment of Destiny Points, but these can only be spent, not burnt. Submit such scenes to the Narrator by email, please.
- You may also use Destiny Points to "buy in" a character into a scene, editing the scene so that it includes the character.
Please list three to five goals for your character. These can be goals the character has, or your goals for your character as a player. Please mark them as (Character) or (Player) as appropriate.
- Train Liza as an apprentice to become the new Kennel Master of House Graben and marry her off to a nice & exceedingly boring boy. (Character)
- New Goal Goes Here. (Character)
- Mysteries of the Old Gods; he had his experience that made him a believer, I'd like to see more in this vein (Player)
Spent: 60xp; Unspent: 50xp