Epitaph for a Misguided Hero

We played another game of Epitaph by Marc Hobbs this week, this time with all new players and in a fictional fantasy setting.


Grathar is a dwarf living her entire life underground, among the caves and underground lakes of the under dark. She relishes the tranquility of living below ground and the seriousness of her people as they mine the gems that power magical spells and devices in our world. When the gems are emptied of their magical power, they turn into colorful dust. She wants more than anything to have the frivolous jesters of the Academia banished because they besmirch and slander our ways with their jokes and their profligate tossing of the colorful gem powders.

Grathar (she/her)

Born 12th year of Austin Hjorth II — Died 75th year of Austin Hjorth III

Overhead shot of group of people sitting around a table covered in dishes while a warm glowing light shines from the right.
Epitaph cover courtesy of Less Than Three Games.


Born: 12th year of Lord Austin Hjorth II in Crystome

Age 20

Festival accident that leaves her uncle Folum injured.

  • Snapshot: Marching jesters throwing colored dust, causing people and animals to turn to run, a pair of dwarfs in their path, the older dwarf (Folum) wrapping a protective arm around the younger (Grathar).
  • Reflection: Recognizes that her feelings then were too easy, too simple.

Age 23

A family trip to underground hot springs when her father plays the didgeridoo and teachers Grathar love of music.

  • Snapshot: Grathar sits rapt watching her father play a didgeridoo beside the hot springs, cementing her love of music and her appreciation for the solemnity of the underdark.
  • Reflection: Feels how this moment put her on an arduous path toward an abstract principle rather than the concrete people who make it meaningful.

Age 127

Cinteele Hjorth recalls the solemn protests at Academia Jesteria

  • Remembrance: Cinteele recalls how the dwarves marched so quietly in soft-soled shoes while waving their signs: “It’s not funny.” Grathar was never intentionally funny, but often inspired us to laugh a lot, especially in the student scripts the following semester. Praxus’ script won third place that year.

Age 202

Failed negotiation with an emissary from the surface world.

  • Scene: Larry the halfling questions Grathar about whether she could ever accept the sincerity of other people when they practice the traditions, but Grathar insists all must carry the same sincerity in their heart as she does.
  • Reflection: Grathar regrets not having gotten to know Larry better. She wonders what might have been if they had become friends and what the halfling might have done later in life.

Age 224

Barivar’s banishment.

  • Snapshot: Grathar looking on as Barivar is carted away, banished by Lord Austin Hjorth II, weighing in her hand the festival powder she will use to rescue and release him.
  • Reflection: Mostly she feels fondness for her adopted son, whom she loves so ferociously. But that nostalgia is tempered by her indignation she felt at the child being abandoned by those spiteful royals. Her whole life turned on this moment.

Age 224

Dedicating Barivar to the old ways at the Amethyst Springs, not long after adopting him from banishment.

  • Snapshot: Grathar holds the toddler Barivar in the dark at precisely the right moment to feel the silence and comforting weight of the dark, hums the resonant tone, and moves as the space beckons.
  • Reflection: Grathar feels her responsibility for Barivar replaced the responsibility she had previously felt to this point for the solemn and sombre traditions.

Age 341

Moments before her death with her friend Praxus at the Pearl Grotto.

  • Snapshot: Praxus throwing powder as they dance between the stalagmites, colorful dust turning the water multicolored, Grathar laughing and enjoying herself immensely.
  • Reflection: Proud to be and feel so free, so unlike where she had started.

Died: 75th year of Lord Austin Hjorth III in the Pearl Grotto

Grathar chokes when too much festival powder gets into her lungs while playing with her friend, Praxus, the Master Jester.


  • Praxus, devastated when Grathar dies because of their play, begins a new performance tradition where the jesters walk in silence in their softest shoes. The guffaws of audience usually break the silence thanks to the jester’s antics.
  • Barivar must conduct the traditional funeral rites for his beloved adoptive father. Afterward, he uses his tenuous royal connection to help spread Grathar’s ideals more widely.
  • Lord Austin Hjorth III, in his official capacity at the funeral, jovially recalls her bothersome youth and the grace and kindness she developed in her mellower, older years. He says all will miss the solid gentleness that had come to characterize her life.
  • Roknet Bellsod, Head of the Student Script Department and a good friend of Praxus, dedicates a trophy of a bronzed soft-shoe in Grathar’s name in the main hall trophy cabinet at the Academia Jesteria. Whenever people walk by and create enough vibrations, a bell springs out and rings loud.