WHFRP 3rd Edition Character Backstories:
Adel Tolzen, Reiklander Agitator:
You are an orphan who grew up in the care of an eccentric old codger called Aldous Randulf Mourn; apparently he was an old acquaintance of your grandfather Leo Tolzen, best known for a series of treatise he had written during his days as a dilatant at the University of Altdorf entitled Faith and Politics and Why the Two Shant Meet, which was a well written and in your opinion, fairly logical look into the mess that giving the churches of Sigmar and Ulric an Electoral Vote has proven to be, citing, very smartly, various examples throughout the disaster that was the Time of Three Emperors. Needless to say the theologians and witch hunters didn’t think so highly of the work and it was banned within a month of publication. Apparently he and his younger brother Lazarus were from a minor noble family from southern Reikland but he was never one for talking about his relations. What his families former station meant to you was that despite your common birth you received a very well rounded and thorough education, learning to read, write, and do arithmetic from an early age, and later going on to study some history (though somewhat tainted by “Uncle” Aldous’s renditions of what might have “really” happened), and most importantly you were taught the basics of economics, politics, and law which would prove to be the very subjects you would go on to make your career from.
When Uncle Aldous passed away last year his entire estate, which in all fairness was on the meager side, was taken by the Von Jungfreud family in order to pay off significant debts he owed to local moneylenders as well as a hefty sum in back taxes Uncle Aldous refused to pay due to the criminal nature of the institution of taxation. Despite the Graf having the lawful right to collect recompense for back taxes and for him to order a sum of the estate go toward the repayment of loans, you took this as the high and mighty aristocracy squelching the rights of the lesser folk (utterly ignoring the fact that Uncle Aldous was an aristocrat, albeit a very minor one, himself).
After the estate was sold and you were evicted, you decided that enough was enough and it was high time someone made a stand against the oppression of the lower class, against the corruption inherit in the church, and most of all against unfair taxation. To this end you have drafted pamphlets in opposition of innumerable taxes, laws, and the societal structure of the Empire as a whole, going so far as to promote the idea of giving the common folk a voice in government, an idea that got you stabbed on two separate occasions, and one of those times it was by a commoner who thought you needed to be “put back in you place”.
Most recently you have led the crusade against the newest tax to be levied on the people of Reikland, the so-called “Feather Tax” which states that a man must pay a number of shillings annually for the length of feather worn in his cap. This of course is the most gross example of the aristocracy abusing their power imaginable and it was your new calling to get the “Feather Tax” repealed. In the end your vehemence, though impressive, managed to start a fist fight between a burgher and a rat catcher, and ended up with you locked in the stocks for four days with a 20 shilling fine for your release. Which of course wasn’t half as bad as the 4 weeks you spent in jail last Sigmarzeit for tax evasion, or the time you got purposely got caught stealing a nobles purse only to dump it out on the Marketstrasse simply to prove the average noble carries with him more coins than any twelve good honest common folk see in a years’ time, though admittedly worse than the time during last Sonnstill day when you painted in large bold, red letters “The Feather Tax is Foul” upon the façade of the excise office doors. After all that only cost you 10 shillings. This time however the cost of the fine alone took you down to your last few pfennigs.
During your most recent visit to the stocks you met a very grim looking fellow with kind eyes who had been looking for you. This Valdrid Jaeger told you of your father’s fate at some battle on the northern edge of the province of Ostermark not much longer than a year ago, and gave you a silver ring engraved with your mother’s name Ludmilla as proof of his story. What Valdrid clearly expected to be ill news was for you one of the most heartwarming moments of your life. For years you had assumed your father Otto had died while serving in the army but really all these years you realized you hadn’t been alone at all and he was out there thinking of you, and wishing he could come home to you. So after an almost reflexive response regarding the way the aristocracy paves their way on the backs of the common folk who lay down their lives in senseless war, you came to your senses, you and Valdrid had a few drinks, you sincerely thanked the man for traveling all this way to bring word and you parted ways presumably not to see each other again.
Soon after you and Valdrid parted ways the realization that this last passionate protest and the fees associated with it has left you more or less destitute. Perhaps it might be time to find some work that pays better than inciting the masses against the dominant paradigm for a while…