Our adventure begins near Omer the Elvan capital, on the island of Keryth. (For scale this island is approximately 100 miles across.)
You are recruits who are just on the verge of completing basic training; however, you are members of the 5th section, a group generally expected to fail the exam. You will be meeting Aias the captain of the king’s guard, your commanding officer, and the executor of your final exam. He is well known to have failed almost every single recruit who was given him as an executor. You all have many difficult tasks ahead.
The central continent of Amn, bottom left on map, has 7 major cities on it, Naso is the capital and is ruled by Nylora the queen. The entire continent is ruled almost single handedly by that one family. So for the noble background I’d recomend something along the lines of the family of a mid level bureaucrat in Nazarius to avoid any early plot conflicts, but feel free to be whoever you feel like.
As for the woods everything east of Helvius on Amn would qualify as deep woods, though there isn’t really anywhere that is totally unexplored in this world, the population is simply to high. As such with a relatively explored world you can expect that any normal beast CR 3 or lower you automatically have seen before.
Yes your attacks while in bear form would activate the martial arts skill granting the die change (if you want it) or the BA attack. You must make a character that is level 5, and just deal with it for 2 games till level 6. I should warn you though that multiclassing at such a low level is probably not optimal, you wont get the Ability score points at level 4, magical attacks at level 6, and would fall behind in the max CR for your wild shape. If you still want to do it I would recommend only 1 level of monk for the defense and BA attack, and dump the rest in druid, but it’s not all about being optimal, so feel free to be whatever.
Ok, I was going to explain all this on Saturday, but here’s the basic structure of things. The army of the elves is led by King Gormon. The military is then divided into four regiments each led by a general; each regiment contains four battalions; which in turn contain four companies.
The regiments each have a defined role in the military, the first is tasked with the defense of Omer the capital, the second Renou, and the third Lucroy; the three main Elvan cities. The forth regiment is their navy, comprised of both air ships and sailing ships.
The King’s Guard is the first company of the first battalion of the first regiment, and is captained by Captain Aias. Under him are four lieutenants each in charge of their section. Each section then has four squads with a sergeant in charge of each. You guys are not members of any of this, at least yet.
The recruits for the King’s Guard come mostly from the main army. Applying requires that each applicant pass a very challenging physical and mental exam simply to get in. The trainees then go through 2 months of training focusing almost exclusively on team work. This emphasis is because the King’s guard accepts or fails applicants as a group and then, after being accepted, never separates the group.
This year there were 72 applicants, thus they were organized into four sections of four squads and one section of three (yours). Only five of these squads have made it to the final exam; one from each section, as the training involved pitting the squads in each section against each other in challenges. The final exam then tests the remaining squads: to find those truly worthy. The final has an expected fail rate of about 75%, thus they expect only four to eight recruits each year. Your squad will be the last ones to take the exam this year.
I said most, not all. Most are from the military, but if you can pass the application exam which you all have, you can try out for the King’s Guard, the elves that end up in the fifth section are often not from the military, hence the disrespect. If any of you want to take the soldier background you are welcome to choose what regiment/division etc. you came from.
The King’s Guard is considered the best of the best. It’s primary purpose is not only to protect the King, but also to carry out missions directly in his name. While on one of these missions a sergent in the King’s Guard would hold rank over ordinary Captains and Colonals as they are acting as a hand of the King. The captain of the guard sits on the counsel with the King, his four Generals, and the Archons (elected representatives of each city). The counsel of nine are the primary advisors to the King. As for why you each want in is up to you.