The Skull & the Eye Character Profile: Jurek Tchotchke

By Jeremy Hunter

The third son and first surviving of Ludmilla Tchotchke, an orc junk peddler, Jurek hails from the Komes Islands. Island hopping and moving port to port, him and his mother ended up in the city of Krolevi where he eagerly helped his mother sell her wares. While Jurek never knew his father, he had lofty ideals of the traveling dentist and his kindness. At the age of six, his mother grew heavy with child from a half-elf foreigner. His little sister did not look like him or his mother. Upon the newborn’s first birthday, she was named Olya.

Jurek Tchotchke, art by anipii
Jurek and Olya, cooking a meal on the beaches of the Komes Islands.

During his fourteenth year, Ludmilla fell ill with pox. Even with the family’s savings, passage to the mainland, where temples could provide aide, was beyond their reach. Jurek turned to the gangs of Krolevi to earn the money needed, his size and strength an asset. Despite being able to provide his mother travel to get help from the Clerics of Metzik, him and his sister fell upon hard times, being forced into the slums.

Seeing Olya‘s aptitude for magic, Jurek would do anything to provide her the opportunity to attend the Svhellheimr, Academy of Wizardry. Jurek sold himself into ten years of bondage as an oarsman. His contract was traded and upon several ships he served until a particular abusive overseer whipped Jurek bloody. This ignited something in Jurek resulting in the overseer’s death by the bare hands of the half-orc. To prevent an outright mutiny, he handed himself over to the captain, ready to face his punishment. Instead of death, Jurek was given a “mark of reliability,” a tattoo on his arm indicating him as an apt worker.

Whip strike after whip strike could not curtail Jurek‘s rage against such a cruel task master!

However, Jurek‘s contract was traded again, whereupon he served seven more years until the ship caught fire and sank. His final overseer was ruined and forced to sell his contracted workers. Jurek was bought once more, but this time by his sister who had returned from school and with coin in hand. With what little they had they reestablished this mother’s business and swore never to leave one another again.

Though one day, a dwarf, from a land far away, approached the siblings with an offer they could not ignore…

Jeremy’s Commentary: Jurek is a half-orc pugilistHe is a large man with a powerful body.  He is not formally trained, having learned from his experiences in the gangs of Krolevi and work as an oarsman. The pugilist works heavily with temporary hit points as a mechanic, which represents Jurek‘s tenacity and will to keep trying.  The pugilist is not mystical like the monk and since it does not rely on armor like most classes, fits Jurek quite well (DM’s note: I do not allow monks in my campaigns).  Jurek is not a dumb man, but he is easily taken advantage of.  He sees himself as a man surrounded by heroes.  He doubts himself, but will never give up on his sister.  Jurek strives to be a good man, inspired by tales of his father and the deeds of his mother.  He is unaware of what most orcs are really like and will defend his mother’s honor tirelessly.