Once of another name that he will no longer mention, Thumper comes from the village of Trader’s Peak, a community of dwarves and gnomes that once straddled the world of men and mines, trading dwarven crafts to whoever would climb to the top of the plateau on Dragonspire peak they called home. The founding of Dawngate changed that, however, as the mages who created it rearranged the landscape to provide Dawngate an impenetrable 6,000 foot cliff overseeing the Sun Fields. Trader’s Peak became Trader’s bottom-of-the-road-to-Dawngate, and the once independent community became a wretched hovel, surviving on cheap tourism based on ‘the real mountain dwellers’ and wrestling for the nepotistic grants of positions protecting the western road up to the city from all-but-extinct cave bears and mountain lions.
The main source of community entertainment in this hellhole was getting drunk and making small-scale trouble for the Dawngate authorities, with the most ridiculous pranks becoming infamous in the villages only inn and tavern, where Thumper spent most of his evenings, along with the rest of those not fortunate enough to have jostled for a ‘job’ protecting caravans up the ‘dangerous’ road to Dawngate. So it was not entirely surprisingly for a Dwarf to return to sobriety one morning halfway up Dawngate’s 6,000 foot cliff, naked but for a shoulder satchel, with a vague memory of a mission to disrupt the city leader’s annual feast of the Exemplars, held in the palace built in to the western face.
The prank went off very well. Thumper hurled himself into a window in a foyer, streaked past surprised guests, and replaced a bottle of centuries-old elven wine with a bottle of Trader’s Peak moonshine from his satchel before hurling himself right back out of the window. They never even saw it coming.
12 hours later, halfway down, any fool, including a dwarven fool on a cliffside, could see that something was wrong. Sounds of battle came from above, and black hordes poured into his village below. As he descended further, he was dissuaded by orcish arrows bouncing off the rocks below him. Left with little choice, he climbed sideways for miles until reaching a Dragonspire ridge and making his way north through the mountains, a trip that took 10 days, hounded by orcish patrols the whole way.
By the time he stumbled into the camp of an organizing Drakeheim army, wearing only ice, blood, and a satchel, he was granted the name ‘Thumper’ by a company bard, for the dull sound of his frozen feet as he trudged into the commandeered quarters of the battalion commander, and so was born within the battalion the legend of the Dwarf that outran an orcish army. His birds-eye view reports of orcish company movements were valuable enough for the commander to sponsor the replacement of his blackened extremities at a local temple before he marched off with his battalion, to the utter annihilation of himself, his men, and the newborn stories.
Lost in the shuffle of a continent in turmoil, Thumper worked as an escort and courier, one of the few willing to run through the Dragonspires during the war, a job that frequently required running for days without sleep. Though some of those he escorted were unable to keep up the pace required to make the trip, every message was delivered.
Having taken the job as an excuse to try and see what had become of his village, he was never able to get close enough until after the war. It was only then that half-charred records revealed the unlikelihood that any of his village had escaped. His theft of the wine had sent constables raining into the village, where they were shaking down everyone to find out who the troublemaker was, and most of his friends at the inn were arrested and taken to the small Sun Field military outpost for harassing. The village, and even moreso the outpost, were both wiped from the earth. While many could normally have made for the hills, and one or two conceivably escaped, such would have been unlikely under the eyes of the rulers’ constables.
With the war done, Thumper finds himself more or less unemployed and without an inn to wile away the evenings. He never did drink the wine.