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Varric Tethras

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Name: Varric Tethras

Race: Dwarf

Gender: Male

Date of Birth: 10 Guardian, 2 Dragon

Occupation: Merchant Prince of House Tethras/Information Broker/Bestselling Author (no, really!)

Companion(s): N/A

At 4'8”, Varric is average height for a dwarf. The hair on his head is blonde, straight and unremarkable; he generally wears it tied at the nape of his neck. The hair on his chest is an expanse of luxurious blonde curls that has been deemed one of the wonders of the Free Marches (no, really!). His eyes are brown; his nose has been broken and bears a scar across the bridge. His right ear is pierced twice, left ear once, all of them adorned with simple gold hoops. If he doesn't shave daily, he sports a thick stubble and tends to have five o'clock shadow by lunchtime, anyway.

Clothing: Clothes are his one real indulgence, and he pays well for them. He favors tunics of wool, velvet or silk in rich shades of reds, blues or greens, with ornate gilt trim and cut to display that magnificent chest hair. Leather pants and boots, custom made for comfort, and a broad leather belt which has a number of pouches secured to the outside and an inner pocket all the way around that hides coin.

Class: Rogue
Specialization: Artificer (Master)

Weapons & Armor: The one and only (no, really & no kidding this time!) Bianca: a repeating crossbow made of oak and silverite with brass fittings. Varric has almost as many tales of how he obtained Bianca as there are people who ask him, but if pressed, he'll claim to have gotten the crossbow from a Carta boyer & Artificer named Gerav. He also keeps a steel dagger or two handy. His duster is custom made of drakeskin leather and equipped with hidden pockets inside and out for stashing traps, mines and other nasty surprises.

Languages: Common (Written and Spoken), Dwarvish (Better at writing than speaking)

Non-Combat Skills:

Master: Stealth, Traps, Contacts

Expert: Evaluation, Historical Lore (Kirkwall), Lockpicking, Performance, Writing

Intermediate: Bargaining, Coercion, Drinking, Gambling, Heraldry (Kirkwall), Investigation, Legerdemain, Research, Stamina, Streetwise

Novice: Poison Lore

Combat Skills:

Master: Crossbows, Hail of Arrows
Expert: Fallback Plan, Unarmed,
Intermediate: Elemental Mines, Single Weapon (Daggers)
Novice: Spike Trap

Varric projects an unfailing aura of easygoing calm. Almost impossible to surprise, he has a quip for nearly every occasion and can hold a conversation with damn near anybody. He is never more content than when he is kicked back with friends, drinking, playing cards and bullshitting.

The laid back demeanor hides a shrewd mind, and what he doesn't know about Kirkwall probably isn't worth knowing. One of the richest men in Kirkwall, he cares very little for the money itself, which serves the same purpose as the information that his operatives gather: allowing him to live his life as he wants and take care of the people he cares about.

While he knows just about everyone in Kirkwall outside Hightown (and knows a great deal about those in Hightown), there are very few that he considers friends. To those few, his loyalty is unswerving, and the lengths to which he will go to protect them have very few bounds.

He has a habit (endearing or annoying, depending on who you ask) of referring to those around him by nicknames, ranging from descriptive to affectionate to snarky. The only ones exempt from this practice seem to be those he likes the most and those he likes the least.

Andvar and Ilsa's baby boy was born in Kirkwall, a few years after House Tethras was exiled to the surface when Andvar was caught fixing Proving matches. The family brought its fortune and business acumen up with them and quickly allied with the Dwarven Merchants Guild. Both of his parents grieved over their exile, however, and by the time that Varric was walking, his mother was well in the grip of the alcoholism that would eventually kill her when he was only ten. His older brother Bartrand grew up bitter: hating Orzammar for destroying his family and determined to show them up by making a greater fortune than any of the noble houses below.

With no memories of a life below the surface, Varric could never understand why his parents and brother allowed thoughts of it to dominate their lives, but he was loyal to his family, deflecting their bitterness with humor and outlandish tales, even as he spent less and less time at home and more and more time in the streets of Kirkwall. Never much for brawling, he used his wits and his talent for fast talk to stay out of trouble, and learned the value of a well-aimed crossbow bolt if trouble came looking for him.

By the time he was twelve, Varric knew the City of Chains like the back of his own hand, and was a runner for the Carta: the dwarven crime ring that shared an uneasy coexistence with the Merchant's Guild. He caught the eye of Carta Artificer Gerav, who taught him the art of crafting and using traps and mines, and ultimately (according to at least one version of the tale) gifted him with Bianca, a prototype of a repeating crossbow that was deemed too expensive for mass production by the Carta. As Andvar and Bartrand pushed to advance the family in the Guild, Varric was rising through the ranks of the Carta, learning the shady side of business and developing an ever-widening net of contacts and informants that he tapped into to assist his father and brother. House Tethras grew ever richer, but it was not enough for Andvar, who again turned to shady dealings that he had little talent for and was killed by a business rival when Varric was twenty.

Bartrand took over as head of House Tethras: ambitious and ruthless, with none of the desperation that had made his father reckless, he quickly began advancing his rank in the guild, at the same time tightening the leash on his younger brother. Varric found himself straddling both worlds, useful enough to both Carta and Merchants Guild that each allowed it, neither of them realizing that he was slowly but surely building his own networks of operatives, bound to him by coin or loyalty, that would eventually render him all but untouchable.

He had the sense not to push it, using his influence primarily to aid his brother without giving in to Bartrand's more outrageous schemes, and the brothers settled into the relationship that would define their adult lives. Bartrand considered his younger brother too flippant and not sufficiently dedicated to elevating the Tethras name, and tended to ignore him unless he had use for him. Varric refused to change to suit his older brother, settling comfortably into the role of the idle wastrel and scion, and even Bartrand had no idea just how much his younger brother used his influence to aid and protect him.

At first, the Deep Roads expedition was just one of Bartrand's crazy-ass ideas to get filthy rich, but Varric slowly came around and helped recruit Hawke and her siblings to the cause. As such, he feels more than a little responsible for Bethany becoming tainted and having to join the Grey Wardens after Bartrand double crossed them and left them to die in the Deep Roads, to say nothing of Carver suffering the same fate while trying to help his sister come up with enough coin to join the expedition in the first place.

On the bright side, he and Hawke did get just as filthy rich as Bartrand had promised once they survived and made it back with their spoils. On the not-so bright side, he didn't get to kill Bartrand for the betrayal, as his older brother had vanished with the lyrium idol before they ever made it back to the surface.

These days, Varric deals with his unwanted status as the head of House Tethras, managing business with the Merchants' Guild, using intermediaries as much as possible. Most of his time is spent outside his private suite at the Hanged Man (he refuses to confirm or deny rumors that he bought the dive), writing his novels (he's currently working on a sequel to his biggest seller to date, Fifty Shades of Grey Warden), managing the information-brokering business that he considers his real work and using his influence to keep watch over Hawke, her mother and her eclectic group of friends … and keeping a healthy reward out for any word of Bartrand's whereabouts.
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Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline

Back Story Update

Varric has officially reached the point where nobody believes what he writes, even when he’s telling the truth. After the explosion in Kirkwall kicked off the mage/templar war, he utilized his unique talent at narrative to keep Divine Justinia’s Right Hand entertained long enough to let Hawke make her getaway. This eventually netted him a not-so-gentle invitation from Seeker Cassandra to tell his story to the Divine herself at the Conclave.

And we all know how that went.

After Corypheus was finally killed (again), Varric turned his attention to his battered hometown, funding reconstruction projects in Kirkwall to get the harbor and businesses back into operation. When he complained that the lack of a Viscount was hindering recovery efforts, the nobles got together and voted to give the title to him, a twist that even he would have considered too outlandish to put into a book.

He took it, but rules in his own inimitable fashion (rumors that this has caused his seneschal, Bran Cavin, to take up drinking are gross exaggerations) and continues to write (his latest book, “All This Shit Is Weird”, is an international best-seller) while remaining ready to aid Inquisitor Adaar (aka “Lucky”) and his former comrades (even Cassandra).

Skill Updates


Non-Combat Skills:

Master: Performance, Writing
Expert: Coercion, Gambling, Investigation, Legerdemain
Intermediate: Etiquette, Leadership (according to Bran, this is being generous), Diplomacy (Bran chooses not to comment)