Bob is a lofty 4’ 10” and a respectable 160 pounds. Unusually for a dwarf, his beard is regularly trimmed and styled. Sometimes he even shaves completely, if only for a few hours. His clothes are flashy and expensive, but not quite gaudy. Some have said he looks very similar to his second cousin Varric, but with a better beard.
I can’t resist helping an underdog
I love talking my way out of trouble
I hate bards
Equality – rigid social structures exist to be broken
If someone earns my trust, I will do anything to aid them
I have a gambling problem. Well, more of a cheating problem
My version of the truth is very flexible
Bob Bobsson was born Bob, as was his father before him and his father before him. Bob is the traditional name for men in his family and their lineage of Bob Bobssons and Roberta Bobsdottirs can be traced back millennia to when dwarves first dug themselves free from the stone.
Some naïve individuals have, on occasion, questioned the utility, even the logic of this tradition. How the hell do members of the family know who is referring to whom? The family members will then enlighten the enquirer, informing the curious that of course a Bob knows which family member is being discussed – how could you confuse Bob with Bob!?
Furthermore, the entire system is indicative of the rich and detailed tapestry of tradition, ritual and folklore that make up dwarven culture. You ignorant racist.
Bob is a fourth-born son. Unlike his brother Bob who will one day lead the family as first-born son, or his other brother, Bob, who will handle business affairs so elder Bob can concentrate on other things, or Bob who will take a warrior’s path and protect the family and investments, Bob is essentially a spare. The low birth-rates of dwarves are well-documented (Elminster et al, Candlekeep Press) and once families reach 3 sons, they tend to stop the messy business of procreation so they can spend more time on the important stuff – making money, mining, crafting and drinking.
So in a world of first, second and third sons, Bob is an anomaly. Admittedly his existence is very handy for the family – should Bob die in a freak cave-in, Bob would be available to step up and take his place. Not that a cave-in would ever happen in a dwarf mine – certainly not – but you get the point.
Although he is useful for the family, Bob’s utility is based solely on his existence. He doesn’t actually need to do anything, he just needs to be alive to fulfill his purpose, such as it is. Indeed, dwarven culture has a myriad of options and roles for first, second and third-born sons, but when it comes to a fourth-born son, they’re fresh out of ideas.
With dwarven society being as rigid and structured as it is, this problem has haunted Bob all his life. He couldn’t possibly assist with the politicking, manoeuvring and alliances of the family; that’s first-born work. Who would discuss an alliance with a fourth son? How insulting! Likewise business is out – no family would send their fourth-born to negotiate if they were actually serious about making a deal. And no one would take orders from a fourth-born son when it comes to security.
So as he grew older, Bob began to turn to the twin refuges of idle nobility the world over: drinking and gambling. It turns out he’s rather good at both of those things, particularly gambling. And he’s even better at that when he cheats . . .
This of course led to problems eventually and the donors of Bob’s gambling fund began to realise that he wins far, far more than he should do. His family suggested that he spend a bit of time on the surface while things blow over. 25-30 years should be fine. Although he communicates regularly with the extended network of friends and family members across Talabriga to send and receive word from the family, it is beginning to dawn on Bob that he really isn’t suited to the rigid structure of traditional dwarven society. Perhaps it’s time for him to find another path more suited to fourth-born son.
More recently Bob has been trading for one of the minor merchant princes of Talabriga to gain access to some of the more interesting gaming venues.