Mim, the Halfling Barbarian
An outcast by choice, Mim never understood the subtle ways of her brethren and instead embraced the boisterous nature of a particular group of humans. She left home as a teenager, to the relief of her family, and joined these barbarians, earning a place in their circle through killing a wolf by ripping its throat out with her teeth. She turned out to be even more brutish than the rest of the tribe, however, and departed from their company only a few years later, to the relief of her new found family.
Similarly, Mim joined and abandoned groups of criminals off and on for several years, and people spoke of some of her exploits. When introducing herself to the party of adventurers, she’d say, “I’m merciless, marauding, menacing Mim! My enemies call me bitch. But only once.” Anyone who has ever met her thinks she is insane, and many call her Mad Mim.
Mim holds great disdain for those who are humble and meek, but she will still jump to the innocent’s defense, though begrudgingly at best, and chooses her victims with much more discernment than what it appears to someone witnessing her methods. She finds instant camaraderie with those who are loud, drink heavily, and don’t mind getting punched in the face, but she also appreciates those who know what they want and take it, whether by stealth or brute strength.
Denna, the Fetchling Bard
Exiled from the Shadow Plane (being a fetchling) and her throat mutilated so she couldn’t use her beautiful voice at the age of 13, Denna’s family was killed as a punishment for something they did, about which she doesn’t know the details. After the assailants cut out her voice box and dumped her in the material plane, she made her way to a nearby temple where clerics were able to heal her but were not talented enough to restore her voice.
Being a penniless orphan, she didn’t have the coin to spend to go outside of the city for a long time, playing music in taverns when she had to in order to buy food, even though she hates getting all the attention. She wandered around sleeping under the stars on rooftops or in the woods outside of town. Eventually, she made her way outside of the city, but by the time she arrived at anywhere where they’d have talented enough clerics, the wound was too old.
Desna Starsong, goddess of travelers, gamblers, and musicians, had pity for Denna and so sent one of her followers to guide Denna to a long lost artifact that allows her to speak through it for twelve hours so long as she spends an hour charging it with her own life force. Once the two recovered the artifact, the clergyman left Denna to her own devices at the closest city.
And thus we have a semi-mute bard! The way I would role-play her is that she would still try to mime out what she’s trying to say most of the time to conserve the charge in the artifact. As an introduction, for example, she would first write her name. If the person was illiterate, she would then try to doodle a cave with a bear outside of it, point at the cave, and then play the “A” note on her lute. If the person had no idea what she was trying to convey, she’d slump her shoulders in defeat and say her name through the artifact.