Archlords of the Realms
A lowly peon
N Half-Orc [HPG8] Barbarian ∞ of His Master(s)
Abilities: Str (so he can be a good porter without slowing the party down), Sta, Agy, Spt, Int, Cha
Skills: Diplomacy (to be obsequious), Listen (to receive orders), Sense Motive (necessary to best assess a master’s wishes), Survival (to provide for masters while traveling). I originally planned to give him peon Craft/Profession skills, but expert mining, woodcutting, and construction aren’t much use to an adventuring party, and the point of peons is that they aren’t skilled.
Feats: Emulate Another (human Diplomacy/Gather Information/Knowledge (nobility and royalty) class skills) [APG36] (rationale too complicated to explain here), Endurance, Improved Darkvision [APG38], Low-Light Vision Development (easier to keep night watch when you don’t need a fire) [APG39], Wakeful Nature [APG41] (less sleep, more work!)
Gear: Axe, hammer, pick, flint and steel, skin lodge [HPG119], resting beds [APG98] (to prepare campsites), sack, spade or shovel, torches, whetstone, peasant’s outfit
Background (Horde): Born on September 30th in one of the orc internment camps after the Second War, Jarl was treated cruelly by his human overseers throughout his formative years. When Thrall led the clans to freedom, Jarl was happy to serve orc masters. He had not the drive to complete qualifying trials to become a warrior or shaman (particularly “Lazy Peons”), but his fervent loyalty and well used muscles make him tougher than the average peon. Still, he has an exceptionally low self-esteem, considering him beneath any true heroes.
Background (Alliance): Born in the orc internment camps after the Second War, Jarl was treated kindly by his human overseers throughout his formative years. When Thrall led the clans to freedom, Jarl stayed loyal to his human masters.
Background (Independent): As one of the above, plus his master(s) later became independent. Alternatively, his camp was sacked by independents, and he tagged along out of gratitude.
Description: A scrawny, pathetic-looking orc who always keeps his back meekly hunched. He obsequiously follows orders from anyone except enemies of his master(s).
Necessities: There isn’t too much reason for a peon to go adventuring (and it wouldn’t be as nifty to play an ex-peon). It would help if there were at least one orc or human in the party who would take along a peon to do menial work (such as setting up camp). In the case of an Alliance campaign, it would need to be a pretty open-minded party (not under Garithos’s command, for instance).
Comments: Barbarian is the most appropriate PC class, as it gives him speed, light armor, and illiteracy to fit his role as a laborer. Of course, his focus is hardly on the usual barbarian talents, as reflected in his ability scores, skills, and feats. He might be especially welcome in parties where his masters give him luggage because they want to stay at a light load.
Alternatives: I stayed away from multiclassing because nothing much fit, and it would cause Jarl to become literate unless traits [Unearthed Arcana] were used. I also thought I’d use Emulate Another to make him be really scrawny, but I’d prefer the carrying capacity of Medium size.
Development: If Jarl were loyal to an individual master, it might not be pretty if something happened to her.