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Arik of the Hundred Eyes - Traitor and Nightmare.by Oeystein H. Lund
Official information :
Arik - Celestial, sphere of Entropy, imprisoned for unspecified crimes heinous enough to get him locked away from the multiverse for eternity. Banished to a prison dimension, he seeks ways to return to the multiverse. (B3, WotI)
Arik uses giant rubies the size of a large man's fist as his eyes - the Hundred Eyes in his tile. These are detachable at will, and functions as conduits for the Immortal's power. This conduit functions across dimensions, and allows Arik to wield Immortal-level power in a location without being actually present.
His clerics customarily wear blood-red robes with hoods hiding their faces, decorated with a hundred eyes - with plate mail underneath. All carry shields with his symbol - a single large red eye.
Kobolds and orcs are attracted to his service, and he has some influence over minor undead like skeletons.
And that's it.
My suggestion :
Game statistics : Celestial, Sphere of Entropy, 18th level Immortal. AC -6, hp 280, HD 32 ; Mv 150(50), #AT 3; D 3d6+6 (punch) AM 60 %; Save IM18. AL C; Str 24, Int 45, Wis 15, Dex 28, Con 30, Cha 26. Powers : Leech, Control Undead, Fighter options, Weapon Mastery. (If the Adding More Powers option is used : Extra Attacks, Howl.) Weapon: Ruby Sword of Arik (from B3) - currently unavailable.
I feel that Arik should have high int, but low wis simply because he was stupid enough to break the prime rule of larceny : Thou Shalt Not Get Caught. His relatively high level is given since he managed - from the dimensional prison, no less - to keep the Karameikan Three at bay.
The issue at hand is to decide what exactly Arik is. Obviously, he is an Entropic Immortal. But is he a demon ? Personally, I consider it doubtful - the style of power seems too different. Demons are about grey hopelessness, grim destruction, decadence and corruption. While there isn't much to go on in B3, he seems to be more interested in intelligent corruption than the bestial image the demonic entropics present.
The idea that he is diabolic (i.e. a devil) makes a certain sort of sense, in that the devils are said to derive more pleasure from tricking the clever, turning the tables on those who fancies themselves to be smart. But the flamboyant flair for grand-scale destruction that seems present in B3 seems to be 'more' than any devil would do. Above all, the Devil works in devious ways.
Filling a valley with orcs and undead, surrounding a palace in a ruby-red forcefield, and turning every man, woman and child in it to stone could be called many things, but subtle isn't one of them.
What was he as a mortal ? Given the large number of eyes his Immortal form uses, it's easy to suggest that he was a beholder or beholderkin.
It's very much against my sense of consistency in the fantasy setting to say that any lifeform with a visual cortex designed along human lines, i.e. basic stereovision - two eyes, would be able to integrate the input from a hundred eyes into a consistent image. While one could say that the Eyes always travelled in pairs, it would very much go against what B3 has to say on the subject. A beholder or beholderkin are the only non- insectoid creature(s) that I can think of with multiple independent eyes.
One could say that the ascension to Immortal would affect one's perception and power of concentration in profound and non-intuitive ways, and you'd be right. But I personally feel that there has to be some limit to the Laws of magic - that magic can't explain everything away. So I came to the conclusion that he'd need to be a kind of creature used to handle independent visual information and act on it - again, independent of what any other eyes are seeing at the time.
What are the eyes really ? Given that the Eye in Haven (B3) seems to operate rather independently, and uses a lot of power where Arik himself is cut off from wielding it - one could begin to suspect that they are in fact semi-autonomous entities. In any case, they have to be fairly magical, and capable of gathering power for themselves and crossing planar barriers on their own.
How's the priesthood doing, now that their god is unavailable ? Well, obviously, Commune isn't going to work all that well, but the cleric in B3 does have spells, and must be getting them from somewhere. This suggests that Arik created an Artifact to provide spells for his clerics if he was unable to himself. On the other hand, the cleric in question was level 3 only - it may be that his priesthood is limited to level 1 spells - the spells that comes from a cleric's faith and not from the deity's power.
This is actually from AD&D, and is not an aspect of D&D - but spells of level 1-2 are gained from the cleric's own faith, while to gain spells of progressively higher levels requires more direct contact with the Deity or one of his/her representatives.
Artifact creation requires one to give up permanent power, and as a Celestial, Arik doesn't have enough power to spend. This issue can be sidestepped by borrowing from the Arik == Arioch idea - Arik was an Empyreal or Eternal before being imprisoned, and he's been either exposed to the depower artifact of the Immortal's lunar city, or his long imprisonment has sapped his might somewhat.
(By the way: when Elric of Melnibone attacked and killed Xiombarg the Duke of Swords and Jagreen Lern the sorcerer of Pan Tang at the final battle in Stormbringer - he did so at the behest of Law. As the reincarnation of the Eternal Champion he was ever sworn to fight chaos. No matter that Arioch the king of swords was his lord. But - it was not Arioch who was to blame, it was not Arioch who led the final battle, it was not Arioch who lost to Donblas the Justice Maker - it was Chardros the Reaper. If anyone should be embarrassed over that little fiasco it should be Thanatos, the Chardros-analogue. Come to think of it - if you choose to use the Arik-as-Arioch interpretation - that might be WHY Thanatos would like to keep Arik away. He doesn't want anyone who knows how badly he blew that one to come around and remind him. It's a good idea though, but for reasons of copyright alone I don't think we can use it. Be a terrible thing to have TSR get sued by Moorcock and Chaosium over this AGAIN, wouldn't it ?)
What exactly is the prison ?
Going by the Gold box immortal set, it's probably a trispace - a plane with only three dimensions, lacking the fourth and fifth necessary for magic to function. In all probability it was made into a prison by establishing a gate to it, removing all astral contact points, forcing Arik to enter the gate, and then closing it behind him. Without any Astral contact points, the plane is effectively cut off from the rest of the multiverse - nothing from the outside can open a gate to a plane that doesn't exist from the Astral point of view, and Arik can't do anything from the inside because mortal magic depends on the presence of a fourth dimension, while Immortal magics draw on the fifth - and sometimes even higher dimensions.
Anyone got any specific comments on this ? One could imprison him in a Baaka, since they are five-dimensional critters actually able to confine an Immortal - but I like the plane idea a lot better. If nothing else it fits a lot better with the module info.
How did the Eye get out then ? Umm, search me. I'd guess that the Eyes are an alternate power source for Arik - that they generate power in some fashion, and siphoning off this power he was able to fabricate a gate-like spell for a single eye. Once out there it proceeded to do a lot of nasty stuff to the population of a valley in Karameikos, presumably to raise the power necessary to free Arik.
Possibly the Eyes aren't really eyes at all, but the spell-generation artifacts created by Arik while he still was Empyreal/Eternal and kept to provide a way back out... On the other hand, B3 strongly implies that the Eyes are with him in the prison plane.
(After B3 the PCs in my campaign took to calling him Arik of the 99 Eyes. And lately, it's become Arik of the 98 Eyes. The wizard-lord Pontus Dragunov has been wistfully considering the possibility of eventually calling him Arik the Blind ;) )
What was the nature of his crimes ?
At a guess, he made a deal with Nightmare creatures like the Brain eaters or malfera, to cleanse the world of Mystara of life, so that they could colonise it - or possibly assisted them in such an attempt. Just a thought, but what would a Nightmare Undead be like ?
The One Law of the Immortals is that : Thou Shalt Leave The Prime Plane Alone.
In all probability, Arik violated this rule, as well as the Golden Rule of larceny ;) Given the involvement of the Traldar Three in B3, one could be tempted to say that they were involved in finding out about his activities, or in apprehending him after. But this could be stretching the material a bit thin.