Following from Branma’s arc and exit from the party, the next character to join the cavalcade was the Aerenali Elf Beastmaster, Tanar’ri. Notable that her name isn’t typical. I actually looked up an Elven dictionary;
Tanar’ri – ‘Outcast/Cast Out’,
Arael – ‘Heart’,
Mor – ‘Darkness’, which I would hope makes it obvious that’s not her real name. This was core to the character, and her outlook, coming to the party with a very different dynamic to Branma. Linked here is not the first episode of the campaign, but it is Tanar’ri’s first episode:
Episode 22 of D&D 5E – Eberron: Heirs Of Destiny: https://senstaku.podbean.com/e/eberron-heirs-of-destiny-22/
A lot of the inspiration for Tanar’ri came out of spite. I was researching potential future characters, and the general consensus is that Ranger is an awful class, but if you must pick it, definitely choose the Hunter subclass, Beastmaster is a trap. So I knew I wanted a Beastmaster. “Pick a wolf, or badger. Nothing else.” they said. So I chose a frog. Then came the weapon. Again: “Arrows are the only sane option.” Melee it is. I found a model of Xena’s chakram online, and upscaled it, making it closer to Tira’s Ring Blade, which informed the combat style and some of the personality. Tanar’ri also has elements of Vex’ahlia of Critical Role, Susan from El Goonish Shive, and Aviendha from the Wheel Of Time series.
“Come Sail Away” by Styx
Tanar’ri’s life began full of hope and potential, like most children. She would follow in her father’s footsteps by training in the temples of Shae Mordai, even having aspirations of maybe becoming a Priest of Transition, which is a big deal in Aerenal culture.
“Institutionalized” by Suicidal Tendencies
Despite having an inroad by having family directly involved, Tanar’ri struggled with the religious and magical teachings of the temple. It was suggested by a relative (as these things go), one of the Undying, that she might be better suited to a more militaristic role. This song speaks to her frustrations.
“Bad Company” by Bad Company
Tanar’ri’s combat preferences and personality meant she was often alone from a regular group. It was on one of these excursions that she encountered a traveller, a human who had made his way onto Aerenal. Seeing the lack of care and consideration taken toward the land and the creatures within, Tanar’ri struck first, killing the traveller without asking his purpose or intent.
“I Stand Alone” by Godsmack
As it turns out, the needless and premature ending of life is not a particularly great thing among the Aerenali, especially those within Shae Mordai. In an argument, Tanar’ri ended up killing her uncle (maybe not a direct uncle, but that saves on all the great-greats needed), the Undying who took her into the military. She was sentenced to death before intervention from her father, where the sentence was changed to exile. Annoyed at the hypocrisy and the establishment, Tanar’ri abandoned her old name in favour of claiming some honour of the near-mocking condemnation given to her.
“My Demons” by Starset
Over the course of her exile, Tanar’ri lived in the jungles of Aerenal, surviving off the land. She had a few encounters with a Giant Frog, that curiously did not end in death on either side. Tanar’ri was ambushed by a jungle cat and nearly killed when the frog intervened, saving her, but taking near-fatal wounds in payment. Tanar’ri used all her knowledge of self-care and outdoor living to save the frog, taking him for a companion, and bestowing him a name in deference to their shared history: Kery’sha (Kery – ‘Foe’, Sha – ‘Friend’). A lot of the choice of this song comes from the chorus:
“Take me high and I’ll sing
Oh you make everything okay
We are one in the same
Oh you take all of the pain away”
“Renegade” by Styx
This song is a reference to the day or two before Tanar’ri joins the main story. At this point, it’s been 8 years or so since her exile, and foolishly Tanar’ri gets too close to the walls of the city in a hunt. She is cornered by guards and captured, due to her standing ground to allow Kery’sha to hopefully escape. This leads to her taking a deal with Olarue, another Undying, but one of the Court, to protect and accompany a group of travellers from Sharn, the regular party.
“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by The Animals
This is a little on me as a player, but during Tanar’ri’s introduction I was recovering from the flu, so she came off a little harsher than I had intended. I had meant for Tanar’ri to have difficulty in translating, given that her use of Common hadn’t been needed for over 100 years. It came off a lot more arrogant than I meant, but these are the things you have to roll with as a roleplayer.
“My Way” by Limp Bizkit
Due to that initial friction, Tanar’ri started off on the back foot with the party, but no-one more than Edwin, the “half-elf” cleric. Tanar’ri’s military background certainly didn’t help with the conflict.
“Idiots Are Taking Over” by NOFX
This song is for Tanar’ri’s view of the party. In her eyes, they have no idea what they’re doing, refuse to listen to common sense, and are oblivious to danger that should be obvious. The worst part is, she has to accompany them if she is to fulfill her part of the bargain with Olarue.
“You’re Going Down” by Sick Puppies
Edwin and Tanar’ri are in a constant state of conflict with each other, refusing to give an inch to the other, which as a player is great, but in-character is one of the more frustrating things to experience. I think Tanar’ri would constantly be reassessing the value of Olarue’s influence to see if the deal is worth upholding.
“Hunt You Down” by Saliva
I mentioned “one of” my favourite moments in Silence’s playlist breakdown, Tanar’ri provides the other. On a raft trip down-river, Edwin casts Tounges on Tanar’ri, forcing linguistic understanding on her despite her difficulties and honestly, attitude. In revenge, and a critical point of frustration, Tanar’ri ties Edwin up in his sleep and threatens his life, challenging him to underestimate her again, before releasing him. Edwin responds with Banishment, and threatening Kery’sha. The party fights amongst itself until told to cut it out by the hired captain of the raft. Edwin and Tanar’ri reach a temporary truce, but Tanar’ri’s personal resolve has hardened from the experience. Time will tell how this plays out.
“Asshole” by Dennis Leary
I’m positive this is for the party’s opinion of Tanar’ri. Plus, it’s a fun choice to add. “I’m an asshole, and proud of it.”