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Stories of Mortals and Immortalsby Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 19
An extensive view on churches and cults in Mystara
[Image: Assembly of the Immortals]
The purpose of this article is to give more depth to the Immortals and the religions of Mystara, and to the mortals who follow them. Even if the original D&D edition had two boxed sets dedicated to Immortals (the “Gold Box” Immortal set1 and the “Wrath of the Immortals” boxed set) and a fundamental fan work (The “Codex Immortalis” by Marco Dalmonte2), the matter is so vast that it was just outlined more than detailed. The two canon sets had more than 100 pages each on Immortals, artifacts, rules and planes and the Codex Immortalis has about 400 pages on Immortals, artefacts and pantheons, but all this material is focused on the descriptions of single Immortals and their powers, rules, domains, artefacts, paths to Immortality, other planes and dimensions, Immortal organizations, religions and pantheons.
This article will focus on the mortals of Mystara who are, in most cases, the ones who act on the material world on behalf of the Immortals, trying to do their will.
As it would be impossible to examine the actions of the many women and men who serve the many Immortals of Mystara in a few pages, this article will show just some of them in a moment of their lives, hopefully providing inspiration for Dungeon Masters who have to imagine the actions and agendas of the Immortals and their servants on Mystara.
Not all the Immortals mentioned in canon products are present in this list but the ideas presented below could easily be used in gameplay for any Immortal the DM may wish to use.
[Sidebar] Numbers of faithfuls, clerics and paladins by nation.
In the Real World the percentage of the population who consider religion important varies greatly nation by nation, from almost 100% (Ethiopia) to 16% (Estonia). There is also great variation in polls about people who declare they do not believe in any god or follow any religion, with percentages from 1% to 30% and over. Maybe more indicative is the percentage of people actually attending churches, which varies from 87% (Nigeria) to 8% (Russia). In a fantasy world with existing Immortals, it is probable that a true atheist would be rare, but there will still be a relevant number of people who do not care much about religion and Immortals. Given the number of Immortals in Mystara, religion will also be quite divided, and there will also be a small number of people secretly following Entropic, anti-social Immortals.
To provide DMs possible guidance to calculate the number of followers an Immortal may have, see the examples below:
1 - Very religious nations with a dominant, monotheistic Church (such as Ylaruam, Hule or Rockhome), for each 100,000 inhabitants
Clerics of the main Immortal
1% of the population
Paladins or dedicated warriors
1% of the population
People who declare themselves faithfuls
80% of the population
People who attend Church
70% of the population
True faithfuls (including clerics and paladins)
40% of the population
Clerics of other Immortals, druids
0,3% of the population
Paladins or warriors of other Immortals
0,2% of the population
People who attend other churches (including previous two)
10% of the population
People who actively plot against the dominating faith
2% of the population
People who do not care and avoid religion
8% of the population
Notes: Glantri before the events of “Wrath of the Immortals” (WotI) should be in this category, considering Rad the dominant religion. In this case, the number of people who declare themselves faithful could be higher, but church attendance and the numbers of true faithful much lower.
The category ‘People who actively plot against the dominating faith’ should include followers of Entropic Immortals (which could include intelligent undead) in Law-dominated countries but followers of Law in Chaos-dominated countries, or simply the faithful of an Immortal which is a bitter enemy of the main one. The 10% of people who follow other Immortals should instead be more neutral toward the main one, unless actively persecuted by the dominating faith.
In Rockhome the numbers of followers of the main church should be lower due to the presence of gnomes following Garal, but also the presence of followers of other Immortals could be significantly lower than in human nations.
A nation such as Narvaez should fit into this category with Ixion as the main Church, Vanya as the other Church and only 2% of the population belonging to other cults.
2 - Medium religious nations with a dominant, polytheistic Church (such as Thyatis), for each 100,000 inhabitants
% of the nation’s population
number per 100,000 inhabitants
Clerics of the main Church
1% of the population
Paladins or dedicated warriors
1% of the population
People who declare themselves faithfuls
70% of the population
People who attend Church for mere convenience
60% of the population
True faithfuls who actually believe
30% of the population
Clerics of other Immortals, druids
0,3% of the population,
Paladins or warriors of other Immortals
0,2% of the population
People who attend other churches
20% of the population
People who actively plot against the dominating faith
2% of the population
People who do not care and avoid religion
8% of the population
Notes: Alfheim and the Five Shires could fit into this category, even if the Elven and Halfling gods are more a loosely allied group of Immortals than a true Church.
Karameikos is a particular case as it has two dominant churches, the Church of Karameikos and the Church of Traladara. The first get 30% of those “who declare themselves faithful” above and the latter the 70%, according to the ethnic composition of the nation.
Any nation with a distinct pantheon of multiple Immortals, such as the Northern Reaches, should fit into this category.
3 - Less religious nations with various faiths (such as Alphatia), for each 100,000 inhabitants
% of the nation’s population
number per 100,000 inhabitants
Notes: In these nations attendance of churches and interest for religion should be lower but also competition and proselytism may be high among the existing churches. There could be relevant regional variation, for example Bettelyn is supposed to be a highly religious Alphatian kingdom with an established main church.
In all kinds of nations I have supposed that those who are really ready to spend time, resources or even risk their lives to the benefit of the Immortals are never more than 30% of the population, as this seems to me a realistic approach. However that does not mean that this relative minority will not be able to greatly influence a nation, for example leading it to war, especially in time of crisis and/or if the war is convenient to the dominant powers.
A nation such as Darokin could fit in this category or in the previous one, or be a middle way between the two, depending on how dominant the DM wishes the Church of Darokin to be.
[Sidebar] Church growth ladder.
We can imagine that each nation of Mystara may have from one to multiple organized churches in its territory. Some will be almost monotheistic, militant and dominating the nation, such as Bozdogan in Hule, while others will be polytheistic and relatively tolerant of other faiths, such as the Church of Thyatis. Here I will try to outline the basic formation steps of the churches of single immortals to provide a blueprint for DMs:
1- Prophet: In the nation, the church consist of a single cleric who is trying to proselytize among the population or a specific group. The prophet may have a distinct resource or advantage, such as a powerful magical item, a rediscovered holy site or even an artefact. In rare cases the prophet could be a very powerful mortal, a candidate for Immortality or even an exalted envoy of the Immortal or the avatar of the Immortal her/himself, sent for a specific purpose. This case is appropriate for Immortals who are outlawed in the nation, or for some reason do not have a base of followers already present. Normally, considering the number of Immortals in Mystara, each single nation may have 1d20 such prophets for every 100,000 inhabitants.
2 - Cult: In the nation, the church consists of a cult of a few people, typically a powerful cleric, some acolytes and some lay followers and supporters. The members could be as few as a dozen to several hundred, maybe scattered in different cities. All what was written above is valid, and the Cult is the natural development of the Prophet, if the latter is not hindered or stopped before she/he can build a Cult. The Cult may not yet have a physical church in the nation, and meet only in secret locations or in the private houses of members. Being new and eager to grow, cults are often very militant and proselytizing, and could be determined to defy established churches, political and economical powers. Each single nation may have 1d10 such cults for every 100,000 inhabitants.
3 - Small Church: The Church consist of hundreds to thousand followers in the nation, even if the percentage of the total population following it is still below 10%. The Church will now have at least one physical building, if not more, but the location may be secret if it is outlawed or still has bad relations with the government. But if the church has been accepted, it may even have some representatives in the government, at least at a city or town level. The Church may be scattered in different towns and cities but should have one main sacred location, possibly with a famous cleric, a prophet, a sacred object or building or some divine manifestation. Each single nation may have 1d3 such small churches for every 100,000 inhabitants.
4 - Medium Church: The Church has thousands of followers in the nation and it is quite important, even if the percentage following it is still below 40% of the total population. The Church probably has more than one important location and personalities in the nation and has voice in the central and local government. Probably the Church has at least one powerful cleric in the nation and several medium clerics. Each single nation may have 1d4 such churches.
5 - Majority Church: The Church has the majority of followers in the nation, i. e. above 50%, even if many of them may declare faithfulness for social convenience but are not really active in worshipping. The nation could be a major world center for the Immortal, possibly the major world center. The nation should host at least one of the most important buildings or sites of that Immortal, store a major artifact, and maybe more than one, and be the home of several powerful clerics of the Immortal. If the nation is the major world center of that Immortal, the residing cleric could be the most important cleric of that Immortal in Mystara. Each single nation may have only one such church.
Note, however, that nothing in canon Mystara leads me to think that Immortals have world spanning organizations. Therefore even if it is possible that the most important cleric of Ixion lives in Thyatis, he will not necessarily have authority over the Church of Ixion in Darokin and Narvaez, unless the DM wishes so. On the other hand, a specialized Immortal, such as Alphaks, may have a centralized organization directly controlled from Alphaks’ Volcano. Still the Immortal probably will have other, non-human followers in other continents of Mystara or even in other planes who may not even know that Alphaks’ Volcano exists. See also the article about the Church of Alphaks by Hausman Santos in this issue of Threshold.
A “typical” nation of Mystara, if such a concept can be used in a setting so diverse, should have a Majority Church or some Medium Churches (which could be gathered in one unique organization such as the Church of Karameikos), several Small Churches and many cults and prophets, depending on its size. Marco Dalmonte’s Codex Immortalis, the most complete list of Mystara’s Immortals, lists 163 of them. Probably only the biggest nations, such as Alphatia or Thyatis, may have at least a prophet for each one of them, yet even smaller nations could easily have the presence of 70-80 Immortals, i.e. represented by at least one cleric or follower.
A special captain (Ahmanni)
Adair was just a trader, he still thought of himself this way even now, with his own armed ship sailing the seas from Thyatis to Sind. There was nothing special about him, a Darokinian captain like many others, trying to save his cargo and his men day by day, and making a good profit if the winds and the markets were good. Except for the Whale Bone he kept under his clothes. Few knew about it among the crew and friends. The Bone was roughly shaped like a female figurine, but with hardly any detail. But with it, he could go anywhere in the territories of the Turtle clan, and ask anything. And all the Turtle people knew him by now as the Waverider. Since the day when Lady Ahmanni saved him from drowning, Adair has been her agent in the fight against the Tiger clans. He supplied weapons, he moved spies, he saved slaves. Anything. Because no one knew, but Adair’s life was now pledged to the Turtle Lady.
The Envoy (Al-Kalim)
Most of the inhabitants of the Known World did not even know the place existed, or had heard of it only in legends. But the Prophet has been there and now he has guided his faithful Ghufran to that place too. The people of Arypt were not much different from the people of Ylaruam, in language, appearance and customs. At least some of them. In Arypt there were many people, from lizardmen to black men to rakasta, and many languages and customs. But Ghufran was optimistic about his mission. He was making good progress with the chiefs and their ships were good. Once, he was a bad man. No, he was an evil man. But this was his atonement. He would soon lead a fleet to the north, providing the Emir much needed allies against the infidel Thyatians.
The Blind Man (Alphaks)
It was incredible that she survived the Wrath of the Roaring Demon. The witch just could not stay dead. But Mesram was about to remedy that. He begged for bread and coins on the streets of Jafiria, these days. Most people ignored him. Some looked at him curiously, wondering if he was too stupid or too poor to find a magical cure for blindness, or if he was just faking it. A very few stopped to give him some money, and on very rare occasions, even offering advice about his condition. But Mesram knew he could never regain his sight in this world. But it did not matter. He was here to study the Palace and find a way to gain access to it undetected. Once inside, he would use the Rod during the Shadow time, and call forth the Sleepers under the earth. Then he would find the witch and this time both she, her cursed empire and her cursed people would stay dead!
The Little Girl (Alphatia)
“So, it’s a little girl who can draw pictures” the Thyatian captain said.
“Not just pictures - the sergeant replied, nervously - they move if you look at them for a while. They say her pictures can give harmony and peace. People says she is an avatar of The Lady”.
“By people I suppose you mean the Alphatian subjects and by Lady I suppose you mean their namesake immortal. So this girl is really a tool of the rebels, and we should arrest her”.
“Sir, maybe this is not very wise. The Alphatians really love her, I mean”, the sergeant replied feebly.
“They must learn we are the ones who rule now” the captain replied curtly.
The sergeant tried to say something, but he knew he could never persuade the man to listen. Many of his men were going to die today. If the Immortals were merciful, maybe the captain too.
The Thief (Asterius)
Llyr had the Papers in his hands, he had removed all the traps and retraced his steps back to the garden wall. He had succeeded! Now his family’s caravan would be able to reach the mythical kingdoms beyond the Adri Varma fearing no attacks, and quite some richness would shift from the most important family of the city to them. It was exhilarating. He was careless. He saw the crossbow first, the smiling captain holding it, then he heard the snap. He had no time to think he was going to die. The bolt hit him squarely in the chest. Llyr fell over the wall, to the outside.
The captain called the other guards and exited the gate. Alive or dead, he would take the thief and bring him to the magistrate, to prove how inviolable the great Merchant House he was proud to guard actually was. When he reached the street however there was no trace of the thief. The captain watched the cobblestones, befuddled and incredulous.
Llyr was a couple of streets away, kissing his steel moon medallion which stopped the dart. The Moon Prince clearly was amused by him, and Llyr knew he should use this favor to the most gain of his House.
The Mannequin (Atruaghin and Atzanteotl)
Among the peasants of Almarron the stories said they were once citizens of proud and strong empires, destroyed long ago by humanoid invasions. Now they were mostly subjects of the Espan lords and knights. They had named him Miguel, but he preferred his original name now, Mitzinn. He was a priest now and he no longer feared any lord or knight. Since when Lord Atruatzin appeared to him he had become a symbol of hope for his people.
But now he was pursuing something else, a man descended from the ancient Oltecs like himself, a son of the people who was becoming powerful and famous. But Lord Atruatzin had sent a dream to him, with a warning about the dangers of this man, who had chosen to serve a dark Immortal, the sworn enemy of his patron. The man was going around, village by village, from Guadalante to Saragòn to Cimarròn, saying he had found a powerful artefact. Some said it was the Mannequin, the famed statue of Ixion. Mitzinn had not much love for the sun god, once the patron of his people, but whom had clearly sided with the Espan invaders many years ago. Yet the omen sent by Lord Atruatzin suggested this man should not have any artefact. He had finally tracked him down in a tiny village north of Paso Dorado. He was apparently arranging for a guide to the north, claiming he could persuade the Gosluk goblins to side with his cause with the power of the artefact. He had already found men desperate, gullible or avid enough to help him.
But he had not accounted for Mitzinn and his patron in his perfect plan.
Mograh (Bagni Gullimaw)
For too long a time trolls were contained or even defeated by humans. This was because they were stupid and did not exploit their strength and their powers as they should have. Mograh knew this now, since her patron had lead her to drink the water and she had given the water to drink to others. Now they were less stupid too. Now they understood they should always bring water with them to extinguish the humans’ nasty fires. Now they were ready to take all the Trollheim hills back.
The Black Morningstar (Bartziluth)
Atrukh was a runt, as a whelp, and only his mother, who was a powerful shaman, had saved him from death. She knew he had a destiny, even if Atrukh realized this only recently, as her mother was killed by humans long ago. Atrukh was not sure why he had received such gifts, but he surely knew how to put them to good use. He came out of the cave in the Mengul mountains, to where thousands of bugbears, chiefs, warriors and women, had gathered.. Hobgoblins, thouls and goblins were also present in large numbers. All wanted to see Bartziluth reborn. When Atrukh came out wearing the Shining Armour and raising the Black Morningstar, the astonished silence was soon followed by a huge roar. Atrukh smiled. He would soon lead the army south, and raze to the ground the castles of the damned knights.
Since she had departed Thothia to travel with her adventuring companions through the Isle of Dawn and Alphatia, Akhuna had learned much about the world beyond the prairies where she grew up. She had paid homage to Bastet since she was a pup, but she could not say she ever was a very religious rakasta. So finding the Claw in Arypt had been a real surprise. And hearing the voice telling her to travel to Southern Brun, even more so. Somehow, the goddess chose her. She did not know why, but she was willing to follow the dreams. Her companions had accepted it. She was not sure if they were just in awe of an Immortal leading them, or they just hoped for some great reward. But they were sailing to Brun.
[Image: Human praying to Bastet]
The Prophetess (Bemarris)
It was unheard of, a priestess of the Dragonslayer calling for peace and even alliance with the Kingdom of Dragons. Most clerics indeed had refused the whole idea. They had come to the gathering, nevertheless, because they wanted to see the upstart priestess ashamed and defeated. But she dared to call for a Trial by Arms with the High Priest. He had accepted gravely, just because he was sure to win, and thought this was just a way for their Lord to tell them something. When he fell and was unable to regain his feet, he could not believe it. He thought she was some trick of one of the dragon gods, but then he heard the voice. All heard, clearly.
“Once Norwold was besieged by dragons and we fought them and contained their immense strength. But now they are not invading us. The invaders are the followers of Vanya and the Church of Idris, and we cannot resist them without allies. You will follow her, as I command”.
The High Priest looked at the Prophetess and bowed to her, and all did the same.
The Merchant (Benekander)
“What’s so special about this man?”, Gwin asked his friend in the dark street.
“He says men and women should be free and equal, and many other things. He blames the Immortals rise to power for accidents and ambition, and they do not deserve worship”, Yuri said enthusiastically.
“So?”, Gwin replied with much less interest, “the Immortals and the big merchants are still our masters here and what can we do about that?”.
“Just listen, and you will understand!”, Gwin said, leading his friend inside the house.
The Thief (Brissard and Talitha)
She wrapped the silk scarf around his neck, coming closer and closer. Her perfume was not too strong, but he found it intoxicating nevertheless.
“I just need the jewel”, she said in a whisper, “you know I never ask for riches or power or anything else. But this jewel has a magic I desire, and you can obtain it for me. It is not so great a price to pay for all that I have done for you”. She smiled and he nodded sheepishly, completely enthralled. Soon the wizard was on his way to get the jewel.
Once alone, the thief opened her small altar with the magical statues of her patrons. The plan was coming into motion and soon she would be ready to strike.
The Sage (Coberham)
Bjorn thought the halfling was a bit mad, even if the other halfling and his human companions said he was a sort of powerful, wise wizard. They had been travelling in western Norwold for weeks, exploring old caves and forgotten ruins, often containing nasty inhabitants, and to Bjorn, it seemed all this effort had accomplished nothing.
Now they had reached a sort of altar, deep inside a cave, driven away some damned rust monster which ruined Bjorn’s best sword and the halfling was getting all excited.
There was a strange black cup and from it came even stranger black flames which emanated cold and not heat. Maybe the halfling was a sort of wizard, Bjorn thought.
The Song (Cochere)
No one had ever heard such music before in that city, or maybe in the world. When the strange bird-like creature had come inside the inn, half the patrons had risen, weapons in hands, while the other half just stared in amazement. Lara was a wizard and was confident that she could resist charms and illusion, but the song seemed nothing of the sort. It just quietened everybody, and in the meantime narrated a story. A story about a people in danger and an evil warmonger chief who wanted to steal their secrets to use against innocent people. Lara really lost the details, but when the bird creature came to them she only had to look once at her companions to see they were eager to help her.
The Little Man (Cretia)
Otto had always been good at his job. He was a legend on the western border, famed because he had captured so many heretics against the Light of Rad and Ethengarian spies. But this little man was driving him crazy. He apparently had only a stick and was dressed in yellow, with a funny, floppy hat. Yet he always managed to disappear into thin air and shame he and his men.
He could not permit this anymore. The moment before Otto was thinking this, and a moment later he was hanging upside down, he did not know how.
“Big wizard is catch now”, the grinning little man said in front of him. Otto immediately began to move his hands. Then the stick hit him.
The Priestess (Danel)
The dream had been clear. The sign had been clear. The proofs have been irrefutable. The priestess has called all the most important clerics of the cities, and they were all now in front of her. “Our Lord has spoken”, she said in clear voice. “the Viper and his followers have lied to us and betrayed us. We will rise against them, in every city, tomorrow”.
The priests and priestesses stayed silent. Some were surprised. Some were outraged. Some were distressed and some were terrified. But they would all obey her and their Lord.
The Huntress (Diulanna)
She was following the man for weeks through the great plains of Brun. He was always surrounded by his people, but she was good at not being seen, and she moved only at night. Eventually she had a good shot, when he was preaching by the fire, telling his men he would have led them to glory the day after, destroying and pillaging the homes of their enemies. The arrow flew and the man did not have the time to finish his word. A great roar went up in the camp, after, but she was already gone.
[Image: Diulanna as the Huntress]
The Mother (Djaea)
The druidess had just given birth and had her baby girl in her arms. When she walked among the people, all went silent because no one was expecting to see her standing so soon. She went straight to the man who was speaking and he bowed his head slightly, but did not back down.
“We have to surrender or we will be slaughtered”, he said.
“The Mother will protect us”, the druidess said unflinchingly.
The man was trying to be respectful but obviously he found it painfully difficult to do so. “They have more men and better weapons, we cannot resist and I do not see how all the power of the druids could stop them”.
“You do not see”, she nodded with a smile, then she ignored him and went to the last tents, looking at the lightly forested hills beyond them. The enemy came out of the woods just in that moment. The druidess closed her eyes. The sparse trees rose, moving like rabid animals, slashing and grasping at the enemy warriors. Her people were stunned as the enemy was, at first, but soon they fired all their arrows as fast as they could. The enemy rapidly panicked and fled, leaving many dead and wounded behind. The druidess caressed her baby, and she made a little gurgle. The wails of birth had stopped a while ago, and she seemed happy now.
The Deceit (Eyrindul)
The Hulean commander was deep into the Unconverted Lands, as the Holy Men called them. The damn Sendaryan forest was the name his soldiers used, and with fear. The Church of Bozdogan had tried to establish full control on this land for centuries without much success, despite what they said to the people. Even the humanoid Janizary did not like to be here in this part of the woods. The south was firmly in their hands, but this region was another matter entirely.
The commander spoke again with his guide, Hashum. The scouts had been with him for twenty years and he was a good friend. He was the only survivor of a group who had found a city of the reclusive Daendur elves and now the commander was ready to strike at them, gaining a great victory and great favor with the Master himself!
A few hours later he was tied to a tree and all his men were dead or dying. The elves were killing the fleeing survivors one by one. The commander had tears of outrage and despair in his eyes as he looked at his friend Hashum. He could not believe his eyes.
“Why have you betrayed me? We were friends! You lived in my house and ate my bread! You married my sister!”, the commander wanted to scream, but his voice came out broken.
Hashum changed appearance in front of his eyes. The middle aged man became a young elf, suddenly.
“I am a Daendur. I mixed with humans to gain your trust and lead your army here, so that my people could teach your Master a lesson”, he said calmly.
The commander shook his head in desperate denial, but Hashum, or whatever his real name was, just came nearer with a dagger in his hand. “This is our forest. You are just an invader”, were the last words the commander ever heard.
The Play (Frey and Freyja)
“What do you mean with ‘defeated’? I understand all your men have come back”, the Fort Commander said. The sergeant gulped nervously.
“Without boots, shields and weapons, sir” he replied.
“And how did you manage to lose all this equipment and retain your lives?” the Commander asked, with a tone which indicated clearly he considered the latter less worthy than the former.
“There was a boy and a girl who offered to stage a play for us”, the sergeant replied, gulping more loudly.
The commander just stared at him. “A play?”
“Yes sir and somehow we fell asleep during it which was very strange because the play was quite good...” the sergeant’s voice trailed off when he saw the look on the face of his superior.
[Image: Frey and Freyja]
The Machine (Garal)
The old gnome was busy. Knish was his grandniece and she was really bored instead. The old chap had been working on the “Great Earthshaker” since he was her age. And his father, and his grandfather. And Knish’s own father. All wasted gnomish lives lost on equipment of a remote past which would never work again. Knish was pondering if she should go away with an excuse or just go, when she heard the noise. Her grandfather said something about blessed Garal. And then the Machine rose.
The Spy (Halav, Petra and Zirchev)
Anton had no more energy left to use. He knew he was doomed. The hobgoblins were near and he would never be able to reach Nova Svoga alive. He was enraged that the Huleans could win more than for the prospect of dying. Now only the direct intervention of the Three could save his life. So when the warrior, the priestess and the lupin appeared and saved him, just when he laid on the ground waiting for a hobgoblin sword, he was quite sure they were actually them, in the flesh. He rose to his knees and prayed.
“What you are doing man? - the priestess said - I’m all for devotion but the city sent us to find you and it seems we arrived just in time. More humanoids could be coming, let’s go!”.
“We are known as the Three Rascals by the way, famous adventurers”, the lupin said.
Anton just got to his feet and ran after them.
The Shadow (Hel)
Gurk lay dying and he knew it. The humans were too many and too strong and he could not win, even if he fought fiercely and savagely as usual. He tried to rise but could not. He did not feel pain anymore, and understood this was not a good sign. The Shadow came near him and he could not see what kind of creature it was. “I cannot save your damaged body, but I can reincarnate you”. Gurk raised his hand toward the Shadow.
The Griffon Rider (Ilsundal)
The elf released her magical darts, hitting the wyvern and his rider squarely. The man fell from the sky and his reptilian mount shrieked in agony and flew away. The elf looked around and saw that her companions were doing just as well. The battle had been won. Now that the Sylvan Realm was free again and elves were returning from all corners of Brun, their ancient enemies would soon face defeat.
The Two Priests (Ixion)
Julio had spoken at length with this captured cleric to decide if he was a heretic as he appeared. Certainly his people, while claiming descent from the ancient Oltecs, mythical ancient inhabitants of the Coast, appeared quite uncivilized to Julio. Finally, he had decided to ask counsel of his Immortal patron and received a simple answer: “He is faithful as you are, follow him!”.
Julio could not ignore the command. “Where will you lead me?” he asked the strange priest.
“To ancient secrets that will change your and my world”, the man just replied.
The Studious (Ka)
This strange world was incredible for him. The sun was strange and the phenomenon the natives called “night” was terrifying. No floating continent of his world could create such a darkness. Yet he had to admit, this strange world was the opposite of his own. There was no other explanation but this. Now he had to try to speak with these natives. He tried different languages.
“The lizardman is speaking some strange language”, one of the men said.
“Is he casting magic?” another asked, worried.
“Apparently not”, the mage of the group said “but I may have a useful spell to interrogate him”.
The Forge (Kagyar)
The dwarf was working frantically. The enemies of his people were coming fast and to finish the engine was the only realistic hope of survival they had. He took the oil and poured it into the automaton. The construct started to creak almost inaudibly, then it rose. The dark creatures arrived in the great room, but now the dwarf and his creation were ready to meet them.
The Time Traveller (Khoronus)
With the greatest caution, almost not daring to breath, the woman entered the house in the dark of the night. She waited, crouched down and not moving at all, until her eyes could see something. The baby was sleeping peacefully. The book was, almost forgotten, here as predicted. She rose and took it, making as little noise as possible. And in the same way she exited the house. Shedid not dare to stop, but continued until she was far away from the block. Only then she opened the portal and went away. The High Priestess smiled seeing her with the book. She checked it carefully and sighed in relief.
“It is it. Good work. The boy will not read it and he will not get the idea to become a time traveller”, the High Priestess said. “The tragedy has been avoided?” she asked hopefully.
“For now”, the priestess replied, “we will have to check the new timeline”.
The ships (Korotiku)
The voyage had been incredibly long. The ocean seemed endless. They had found many small islands, but few animals and so little water. Sedi knew some were saying behind his back he was mad, he was leading them to death and they should sacrifice him to the Lord of the Sea. But every night Sedi prayed to the Spider and he said he had a place for them. And finally one morning they found the place. All were silent and incredulous when Sedi set foot on the beach and the great spiders came. For a while, they feared the spiders would attack. But then they made way for Sedi, as if welcoming him to the new land.
The old woman (Koryis)
The Duke had executed her son because, the Duke said, he was a traitor. The people had accepted this, at first. But then the old woman stood, day after day, in the main square, and spoke to people. The guards arrested her several times, but she always returned to the square eventually. After a while, more women came. They were mothers and grandmothers of people the Duke had killed. He had them arrested, but they always returned, and more came. Finally the Duke came to the square himself with a squad of crossbowmen, and he threatened to fire if the women did not leave. But the old woman did not move, and he ordered his men to fire. And this ended with the Duke shot by one of his own guards. The woman, however, told the people not to kill him. He was imprisoned in a fine room of the Palace. From the window, he could see the square.
The Guide (Loki)
The man had guided the Knights of the Law through the hills perfectly, helping them avoid dangers and monsters. So when the ambush came they were surprised, but did not suspect him. They had used magic to question him and the people who recommended him before. But they were deceived and defeated, and the man laughed as they lay on the ground, showing them the symbol of his god.
The First (Malinois)
The Negotiator (Masauwu)
The Bridge (Mealiden)
The elves were tired and wounded. The group was now almost sure they were all doomed. They could almost hear the humanoids closing on them. The leader looked at the young cleric. He was tired too and the leader thought he had little magic left. But then the young elf rose with a strange light in his eyes. “We must go east now. My patron has a bridge waiting for us”.
The Stowaway (Mrikitat)
He was caught on the ship and the captain was about to toss him into the sea, but he pleaded to his best ability, saying he had done it for his children, and they just put him to work. He had no children. Yet. Now that he was in this new city, he would soon get some new ones, and rebuild the community which was destroyed in the previous place.
The Chief (Ninfangle)
The Game (Noumena)
The Girl in the Night (Nyx)
Many had seen her dancing in the night. She often appeared near houses where a malady was killing someone. Some said the girl could save the sick, but others said people disappeared after meeting her, and were never seen again. Ludwig was still walking the streets in the night, his little girl wrapped in his arms, because he had nothing to lose. Suddenly, the girl appeared, black of hair, eyes and dress, but her skin pale white. She stopped dancing to look at Ludwig, saying nothing.
“Please Lady, save my daughter”, he said.
The girl spoke softly. “Will you leave everything you know behind?”
“Yes”, Ludwig answered.
The girl smiled, getting near and touching his hand. “Come, you will not know sickness and fear in your new life”.
The Old Man (Odin - Thor)
The man arrived in the village and was given food and water. The people had little and they were worried they would soon have even less, as a powerful band of brigands was about to reach them. The elders were trying to persuade a young warrior to offer a tribute, while he insisted the village should fight back. The old man rose and pounded his stick on the wooden floor, making a dull noise that quieted everyone. Then he traced a rune in the air, and the shape became a bright form in the air, the rune of Thunder, and it moved until it rested on the arm of the warrior. “You will fight back and you will win, tomorrow”, the old man said.
The Moving Trees (Ordana)
The boy and the girl were walking in the forest, and it was getting dark. They were afraid, but they had no choice. The legend said the trees were alive and could help good people, if proper respect was shown to them and gifts brought. So they had come, with the silver leaves, and they put them on the big rocks, just as the story said. Nothing happened and night was coming, so they were on the edge of panic, thinking all was for nothing. But then a big tree moved near them, and two wooden eyes opened on its trunk. “What have you come for?”, the tree asked in a slow and deep voice. The boy and the girl looked at each other, then she started to tell everything. The tree listened, and more of them slowly moved around the clearing.
The Wizard (Palartarkan)
The man had climbed the mountain. He used some magic to do so, but it was still slow and painful to reach the top. But he had found the flying castle, as the book said. He approached it cautiously, but the bird-like creatures still stopped him before he was near, surrounding him with sharp lances. “I am here on order of my patron, to learn from your wisdom”, the wizard said. One of the faenare came forward to speak to him.
The Tribe (Pflarr- Ranivorus)
The tribe had won. Their enemies had been defeated and most of them captured. The shaman personally took down their totem and gathered the prisoner to see it.
“Your god failed you. I will tell you about a better god, one who wants the gnolls powerful and strong, not brigands and scavengers. Listen to me, and my patron will lead you to a new life!”
Some seemed a bit interested, but most hardly paid attention. The shaman was not disappointed. She had time, and she would persuade them.
The Cleric (Protius)
Akrus had always kept his faith in the Old Man of the Sea, and served him faithfully. But his patron was a mysterious and unpredictable god. He knew that. He always did. So when the ship sank and the waves closed around him, Akrus accepted his fate with just a small amount of regret and disappointment in his heart. He prayed for forgiveness as the water drowned him.
But he did not die. He awoke in a wonderful place under the sea, and he was breathing water. Merrow floated around him and one smiled at him. “Welcome to Undersea”, he said. Akrus understood and smiled. His god had plans for him.
The Wizard (Rad - Rafiel)
Unauthorized magic was prohibited where he was born, but he had studied it anyway since the stranger, long ago, gave him the book. It was just too fascinating and full of possibilities to ignore it. Eventually the priests had discovered and hunted him, so he was now deep under the earth, in a dangerous, dark and unknown place. He heard voices, and he could not help but wonder if he was going mad. But finally he saw a light ahead, and he followed it. The cavern was full of bright crystals. He knew he had arrived where he was meant to, since the day he received that book.
The Juggler (Rathanos)
She was popular in the city, and crowds gathered to see her dance with fire. She made some money this way, and he was also often invited to private parties at nobles’ mansions. But it was just a cover to her. In the evenings and nights, she met with the other faithful of the Sacred Fire. Their number was growing, slowly but steadily, and soon she would obtain the Fire Ruby, and the city would fall to the Lord of Fire.
The Student (Razud)
He had learned something from the book but he knew it was not enough. He could cast a few minor spells, hardly enough to be considered as an apprentice by any wizard. Besides that, in his home town there was only one wizard, who already had apprentices, and he did not care to teach him. So he had travelled far to the biggest city he knew, and asked around a thousand times until he found the small temple. It was quite unassuming and the door was bolted. The boy was about to leave, disappointed, when a middle aged woman came near him. “Do not worry boy, my patron told me you were coming”, she said smiling.
She had prayed. She had not much more to do in the bowels of the ship. But she was afraid no Immortal was taking notice of her. She was angry, and afraid, but she was chained and could do nothing to free herself. She prayed, hoped, slept, suffered hunger and thirst. But one day, at dawn, there was a great commotion above, noises and screams. She could not see much in the dim light, until the hatch was swung open, and the light of the coming day blinded her. Then someone hacked at her chain, severing it. She tried to look up in the light too bright. There was a boy in front of her dressed like a pirate. “My patron heard you”, he said.
The Captain (Sinbad)
The pursuers were very near now. The ballistae of their ships were firing, and had missed their sails only by mere inches. Saalia was not afraid, even if her men and women were. She ordered them to sail right into the rocks, and watched the wheelwoman, Eria. She nodded, confident, and for a brief instant Saalia saw she was clutching the sail symbol around her neck, a twin to the one Saalia was wearing. She did the same, then looked to the rocks.
She laughed as the waves sprinkled her with salted drops. Eria avoided the rocks perfectly while the ship behind them had to turn completely to avoid them. They would never catch them. Saaria and her crew now had the treasure and were getting away with it.
The Scribe (Ssu-Ma)
The woman was surrounded by people who spoke respectfully to her, in hushed tones. She wrote continuously on rice paper and passed the papers on to someone, who thanked her profusely. Anton looked at his guide perplexed. “What’s with the scribe?”, he asked.
“She is blessed by Ganetra”, the man replied, “she always writes the right answer to any question.”
“Any question?” said Anton, thinking about what he wanted to know so badly.
The Frogfolk (Stodos)
(The Judge) Tarastia
The Farms (Terra)
The witch had cursed the fields, the people said, and they could bear no fruits. The Duke was furious, but threatening or whipping his tenants had no effect. His fields were bare, while the fields of the churches and other noble families were flourishing more than ever. He considered seizing some of them, but he understood such an action would not have been very practical, or wise. He had to find the witch and kill her, there was no alternative. So he was overjoyed when the servants announced that an important knight was bringing her to him.
The knight entered the hall with the priestess, who was unbounded and defiant as usual. “What this means?” the Duke asked.
“It means the Council of Nobles has voted to destitute you”, the knight answered. The Duke called for his guards, but none moved to help him.
[Image: Terra with Faunus]
The Darkness (Thanatos)
The room was in total darkness. The lieutenant of the guards wondered how that was possible. It was late afternoon outside and no blinds could keep all light out. He was suspecting magic and about to call the cleric, but then he saw that, strangely enough, the blinds had been carefully sealed with black wax. “What in the Abyss...” he was about to say, opening the blinds. The words died in his mouth as he looked at the scene. All the clerics and acolytes of the church were here, murdered and dismembered. The lieutenant felt sick, and had to run outside.
[Image: Thanatos leading fiends]
The Refugees (Usamigaras)
The group was tattered and tired and not particularly hopeful, as they feared enemies were not very far, and in front of them they saw only open sea. Also a girl was leading them, because she had a dream. In their desperate time, it seemed a good idea to flee as far away as possible. But now, where could they go? Then the ship appeared on the far horizon. They had never seen anything bigger than a canoe in their life, so it seemed a magical appearance to them. They remained still in awed silence until the ship was much nearer, then a small boat came from it, and they saw it was full of hin like them. They cheered loudly for the girl and their saviors.
The Flower (Valerias)
It was a dull meeting in the Senate and he was supposed to agree to everything the Speaker proposed, so he was extremely bored. Soon it would come his time to speak, but he was supposed to pass on it as agreed. Then a valet came, bringing a yellow flower to him. The man took the flower and its scent made him remember what his mistress had requested to him. The Speaker asked if he wanted to say something, and he said yes.
The Warrior (Vanya)
The sieging army was coming in waves and the town was about to fall. Already an elderly man was coming to the wall with a white flag. Then the girl came. She was so young, yet she fought more bravely than any of the demoralized defenders who were ready to give up. She surprised several of the attackers with her speed, momentarily forcing them to retreat some steps. She obviously could not win the battle alone, but then the attackers rushed her, thinking she could be dispatched easily. But the defenders came in force to her aid, and the attackers were thrown down the walls.
The Duel (Wogar - Yagrai)
The wolf rider and the black shaman were fighting in the field, and a huge crowd of their tribes was watching. The wolf rider charged and the shaman disappeared into a shadow. But the warrior turned quickly, throwing his spear just where the shaman was reappearing. The shaft entered into his belly, and the shaman fell into his own blood. The wolf rider dismounted and got near to finish him, and the shaman seemed already near death. But then, with a movement which looked like a spasm, he touched the wolf rider. The goblin dessicated like a mummified corpse in mere instants, among the gasps of the crowd. The wolf barked in rage and jumped to bite the shaman, but he hit him with a black dart, and the animal fell to the ground too, near his former master. The hobgoblin shaman pulled the shaft out of his stomach with hardly a groan, and the wound healed itself. The gathered tribes began to chant the name of Yagrai.
The Castle (Zalaj)
The general was sure the victory was already in his hands, and he could not believe his eyes when a flying castle appeared in the skies. He was quite sure his army had nothing of the sort, so he could not doubt the castle was here to aid the enemy. He sent wizards, clerics and griffon riders against it, but it was all useless. Soon the general had to order a quick retreat to save as many of his army as possible. He could not imagine how the enemy had obtained the help of giants.
The Fire Eater (Zugzul)
The man was good with a torch, and he always gathered a large crowd around him. Many left money and many did not, because they were too poor, or because they were street kids. The man was not really interested in money, but he was very interested in charming the kids. He meant no harm to them at all, quite the opposite. He wanted to recruit them to the faith in his patron, and give them power over fire. The children loved this. So many already had come to him and learned they could be much more than beggars and thieves.
Hans Thoma (1839–1924), December, via Wikimedia commons
[Image: Terra with Faunus]
Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and Frans Snyders (1579–1657), Ceres and Pan via Wikimedia commons
[Image: Thanatos leading fiends]
Death on the Pale Horse, engraving by Gustave Doré via Wikimedia commons
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905), The Birth of Venus, Musée d'Orsay , France via Wikimedia commons
Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506), Trionfo della virtù,
Louvre Museum, Paris, France via Wikimedia commons
1Available in pdf format at the Dungeon Masters Guild http://www.dmsguild.com/product/17166/DD-Immortals-Set-BECMI-ed-Basic?it=1