Think of the Sand Vipers as a ruthless cartel trading in drugs and people, and looking to expand their underhanded operations. Their target? Ba Sing Se, the City of Walls and Secrets. Naturally, encroaching into new turf within the city means stirring up trouble, and Zia, as the leader of the Sand Vipers, has her sights on taking down the competition and taking over the city's underworld. She'll need her loyal team of badasses for this ambitious undertaking.
Benek (M, advanced combative waterbender)
Age: mid to late 20s
Heritage: 100% Northern Water Tribe
Affiliation: Groupless (Zia's Guard/Grunt/Aangverse)
Appearance: Blue eyes, dark hair. Average for WT heritage. Should have a build that reflects roughly 5yrs of working primarily as a fighter.
Personality: Smart ass. Cocky. He has an underlying quietness at times, due to his past, but he's as quick to bark as he is to bite.
Relations: Familiar with other members of the group, but his personal opinions of them can be up to the player. Either has no living blood relatives, or none worth going home to.
Background: Benek was one of the many Northern Water Tribe benders to head south after the end of the Hundred Year War. Having set off with either parents or older siblings, at some point before leaving the Earth Kingdom, they perish. After some time on his own, Benek is "saved" by another group and, although he's alive, he's more used and abused than a part of the team. In 102 he ends up in Ba Sing Se with them.
One thing leads to another and he eventually ends up with the Sand Vipers - rescued from his prior situation by Zia, herself. As the only waterbender of any note, he's been proving himself highly valuable as the years go on. He's not quite inner circle yet, but the respect is developing.
Junren (M, expert earthbender)
Heritage: 100% Earth Kingdom
Affiliation: Groupless (Zia's Enforcer/Aangverse)
Appearance: Big and brawny (think the Boulder) Other physical attributes up to the player.
Personality: Give no bullshit, take no bullshit.
Relations: Familiar with other members of the group, but his personal opinions of them can be up to the player.
Background: Junren grew up an orphan on the edges of society - mostly the slums of Ba Sing Se. His size, in addition to a proficiency in earth bending, put him in the position of being the protector/older brother figure to the other children in similar situations. He's also usually the one that's approached with "odd jobs" and the like in exchange for food. Eventually, this leads to regular work with some of the city's small gangs.
He bounces around in a similar manner for most of his life, always doing what needs to be done in order to survive. When there's excess, though, he always remembers his roots and takes food to whatever strays he can find. But, in early 102, with wanted posters hanging on notice boards, having that kind of routine doesn't end well for him. It's only a stroke of luck that the bounty hunter who captures him happens to have a weakness for drink, drugs, and women, and they end up stopping at the Golden Poppy before the prize of turning him over can be collected. It's a different turn of fortune that the proprietor happens to be in for the night - and Zia doesn't have much preference for bounty hunters...
Shiori (explosives expert/nonbender)
Heritage: 100% Earth Kingdom
Affiliation: Groupless (Zia's Gang Newbie/Aangverse)
Personality: Obsessive. Neurotic.
Relations: Whoever/whatever you'd like. They would be familiar with the bigger names in the group, but their opinions of them are up to the player.
Background: No one really knows at what point/from where Shiori came, only that they did. Their history/motives can pretty much be whatever as long as it leads them down the path they're currently on - developing and leading the manufacturing of different explosives for the Sand Vipers.
Baojia (M, warrior/former mercenary/nonbender)
Age: late 30s
Heritage: 100% Si Wong
Affiliation: Groupless (Zia's Recruiter/Enforcer/Aangverse)
Appearance: Avg desert native/up to player
Personality: Loyal, intelligent. Anger issues.
Relations: Highly familiar with other members of the group.
Background: Baojia was traded off from his original tribe as a small boy in exchange for supplies and, for many years to follow, he only narrowly survives becoming a continuous part of that human trade. He's a teenager before he actually gets to settle in one place for an extended period of time, and uses that opportunity to focus on whatever skills he can develop for himself. eventually this leads him to becoming a fighter for hire - a lucrative business toward the end of the war. He does what he has to for whoever he has to do it for - and he's good at it for that matter. But there is one moral objection that he has to face from time to time, and that's making sure he stops others from being sold off the way he was.
When the war comes to an end, he finds himself back in the Si Wong on a self imposed mission to break up as many slave caravans as he can. This eventually leads him to Zia, who is one of the few who can convince the rest of her tribe to take on those who have been freed. In this, he begins his path toward constantly supplying her with people. When they leave the desert, he continues to do so and becomes a curator of anyone she might find useful to her cause.