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Rogues, Barons and Pretendersby Simone Neri from Threshold Magazine issue 8
Rogues, Barons, and Pretenders
by Simone Neri (Zendrolion), with contributions by Giampaolo Agosta (agathokles), Marco Dalmonte (DM), Matthew Fleet (Carillion), and Hervé Musseau (Andaire)
So, the King of Norwold has decreed the start of the Great Land Rush! Only the most honorable and valorous men and women will be awarded by King Ericall a dominion and the hard duty to tame the savage wilderness of Norwold… Will you be one of them?
All kinds of people are showing up in Alpha on occasion of the Spring Fair of AC 1002: famous adventurers, knightly champions, clever rogues - each one hoping to catch the eye of the king, to be granted a dominion in Norwold, and to become part of the nobility. While all sort of characters are coming from all over the Known World and the Alphatian Empire to take part in the Land Rush, a good half of them are made of non-magical people coming from the Alphatian mainland and Bellissaria - places where only spellcasters can be noblemen and where everyone else is thus banned from achieving a social rank higher than gentry.
This article presents a number of interesting NPC claimants that will be among those who will compete against one another to get a dominion from King Ericall. Individual DMs can use them to run the dominion-awards using the rules presented in ‘The Great Land Rush of Norwold’ (elsewhere in this issue), or choose among them the dominion rulers he prefers. Note that the NPCs listed herein by no means exhaust the number of claimants attending the Spring Fair - each DM might add to them PCs and NPCs from his own campaign; also remember that as many additional claimants should be non-spellcasters coming from the Alphatian mainland and Bellissaria.
Each of the following entries presents one of the NPC claimants who will try to get a dominion from King Ericall. Each entry includes information about the NPC’s background, motives and goals, family and hirelings (if any), secrets, and personality. NPC stats (including magic items) are given in BECMI D&D rules format. A good deal of these NPCs come from canon adventure modules of the CM and M lines; since the assumption behind most of those adventures is that they are set somewhere in the future after the Spring Fair (which happens in CM1), in many cases the NPCs’ levels have been lowered to the one they should have had at that time, and hat NPC’s entry). Some of their magic items have been taken away from their equipment (assuming they will earn them in the near future).
Each NPC’s most relevant possessions (mostly, magic items) are also listed. Note that many of those items are not found in the Rules Cyclopedia; their description is given in the last section of this article, “Magic Items New and Unusual”.
Use the following list to search rapidly among claimants, take a quick look at their class and level, and to give the PCs an idea of other claimants through the short description line presented here. Note that these short descriptions give an idea of how a character looks or seems like, not of what he or she really is. In the table’s Class & Level column, ‘EW’ stands for Elf Wizard and ‘Ele’ for Elementalor (new class, see the sidebar attached to to Shuren’s entry).
Class & Level
Short Description for PCs
Adik de Chevas
Learned scholar and poet from Glantri.
Ambitious and authoritative Glantrian mage.
Traveled, proud, and petite Ethengarian archer.
Absent-minded, lore-pursuing Karameikan wizard.
Masked fighting spellcaster from the Isle of Dawn.
Adventurer, explorer, and knight from Ostland.
Brogahn of the Steppes
Severe, dwarf-loving Ethengarian warrior chief.
Fascinating and trade-minded Karameikan woman.
Claransa the Seer
Scholarly and enthusiast Karameikan diviner.
Dexterous and easygoing wood elf from Minrothad.
Burly, fearsome-looking Karameikan fighter.
Wood elf adventurer from Karameikos with a vision.
Good-willed Darokinian former paladin of Koryis.
Fergus the Justifier
Valorous and just Vestlander warrior and jouster.
Geoffrey of Heldann
Fugitive priest of Frey from the Heldannic Territories.
Fierce, elf-hating mercenary captain from Hattias.
Seductive, pleasure-seeking Thyatian sorceress.
Noble warrior from Wendar in search of fame.
Deranged Darokinian inventor and tinkerer.
Crafty Ierendian corsair in search of a new home.
Swindling and thieving Karameikan exile.
Stern crime fighting cleric of Tarastia from Darokin.
Rich, independent-minded Darokinian fighter.
Powerful magic-armed adventurer from Westrourke.
Max the First
Massive Darokinian fighter with dynastic ambitions.
Stubborn but unpredictable she-knight from Karameikos.
Alien, lawful ant-like creature in search of a liege.
Renowned mighty champion and knight from Hillvale.
Shrewd and wary mage from Redstone.
Aristocratic Alphatian wizard from Randel.
Friendly, human-loving elven diplomat from Alfheim.
Wild and frolicsome wilderness ranger from Vestland.
Sandralane of Glantri
Beautiful refugee priest of Ariana from Glantri.
Ruthless mercenary commander from Ekto.
Shrewd, well-travelled master rogue from Karameikos.
Mystical elementalist of light from Vestland.
Sieger von Duwn
Powerful mage and air corsair from Hattias.
Brave and heroic Northman fighter - with a vengeance.
Trent the White
Handsome, pure-hearted former paladin from Heldann.
Weston the Tall
Proud, well-traveled wanna-be merchant from Darokin.
Winnifred of the Lake
Spirit-guided oracle of Tubak from Ethengar.
Albino priest on a quest for the Immortal Ilsundal.
Adik de Chevas
Learned scholar and poet from Glantri
Lawful 16th-level Magic-User
Str 12, Int 18, Wis 15, Dex 16, Con 14, Cha 13
Appearance: 44 years old, unattractive, short (5’3”) and quite overweight (185 lbs.); tan skin, bleach blonde hair (becoming white) worn short, short beard and mustaches, grey eyes. Favors long, warm, and comfortable but expensive-looking clothes.
Background: Adik was born in Perigon (Nouvelle Averoigne, Glantri), from an Averoignan father and a Sindhi mother, but left his homeland at an early age after studying at the Great School of Magic. Disgusted by the rampage of political intrigue which plagues his homeland, Adik left Glantri to lead the adventuring scholar’s life. A well-traveled character, Adik has accumulated a great deal of knowledge; he is an experienced scholar in the fields of arts, ethics, and politics, as well as an author of some books on those subjects and an acclaimed poet. He spends much of his time delving in his studies and traveling to meet other scholars, and visiting libraries and learning institutions. Adik has a long-standing friendship with the paladin Trent ‘the White’.
Personality: Adik is extremely intelligent, possesses an enormous culture, and is well-versed in a wide variety of topics. He is calm and thoughtful, and always ponders a situation a lot (sometimes too much) before acting. Adik is not especially combative nor fond of warlike attitudes, and relies exclusively on his magic if the need for combat arises; he is also quite stolid and lazy, favoring intellectual pursuits while leaving physical ones to his servants and fellows. Despite being a writer of love poems, one subject Adik does not have much experience with is women – he could have hard times resisting the wiles of an alluring lady.
Goals: Adik wants to put an end to his days as a wandering adventurer and scholar, and establish a base to carry on his studies, write his books, study magic, and try to enrich his knowledge of politics through the actual practice of government. He would like to make his domain a place for the study of divination magics. Adik will also get the opportunity to make his poetry and treatises known at the court of Alpha – and through it to Alphatia.
Dominion Choice: Adik will try to get a domain in an area which is well-sheltered from dangers and also not too far from a large settlement with access to international relations and trade routes.
Special Features: Adik has a preference for divination magic, but he is a generalist wizard and has accumulated a lot of spells – protection spells, force and energy spells, mind-controlling ones, illusions, transportation and movement spells, and spells which alter living and unliving matter – though few were created by himself.
Relevant Possessions: Buckle of armor AC 3, cape of protection, staff of power, wand of negation.
Source: M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, Mystaran Almanacs, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Ambitious and authoritative Glantrian mage
Chaotic 19th-level Magic-User
Str 11, Int 14, Wis 10, Dex 12, Con 14, Cha 7
Appearance: 53 years old, tall (6’) and lean (148 lbs.), light skin, with a seemingly authoritative and severe grandfatherly look; he sports a huge and thick beard and long mustaches which were once red but now have almost wholly turned white, and green, misleadingly-harmless eyes. Alak favors long tunics and surcoats in brown, red, and gold.
Background: Alestair (this is his true name) was born in a lesser noble clan in Caerdwicca, on the southern Isle of Dawn. In his youth he alternated work aboard a pirate ship with the study of magic in Ochalea and Aeria. Afterwards, he began selling his services as a mercenary wizard, working for various crime lords of Ne’er-do-well and for unscrupulous noblemen and merchants. At 30, having gathered a sizeable wealth, he entered slave trade on his own, being mostly concerned with western sea routes; this trade brought him to the court of the “Black Rajah” of Jaibul, where he lived many years, siring two sons to a local Sindhi woman, adopting the name “Alak” (a Sindhi corruption of “Alec”, short form for his name), and becoming quite close with the Rajah to the point of being further apprenticed in the arcane arts by him. After having unsuccessfully tried to win the control of Jaibul at the death of his patron, and seen the death of his family at the hand of the new “Black Rajah” as a result, he fled to Glantri, where he attended the Great School of Magic for a while and had some contacts with the local underworld and aristocracy. Never a good leader, he was unable to gather enough support to win a dominion in Glantri, so he went back to Thyatis at 44. There he performed quite well as a blackmailer, bodyguard, and assassin for some senators and noblemen, at last coming to the attention of Emperor Thincol himself, who recruited him as a special secret agent of the Imperial Guard. As a pivotal mission of his career, Alak then received the duty to become the main Thyatian pawn in Norwold. He is financed both by the throne and by some other wealthy Thyatian patrons, who have secured contracts with him in order to put their hands on Norwold’s rich resources once the region falls under the empire’s control. Alak never uses his original name Alestair, and since he used a fake name both in Glantri (Halach Duehl) and during his last years in Thyatis (Alexander Dolantius), he has managed to cover his traces well before eventual snoopers. At Ericall’s court, he pretends to be of Glantrian origin; he is indeed followed by some Glantrian wizards, who are his apprentices and henchmen, including his right-hand, the Aalbanese Harold Loye (Chaotic 7th-level Magic-User).
Personality: Alak is driven first and foremost by ambition – loyalties, friendships, ties, promises, oaths are only tools for him, to be honored as long as they contribute to further his goals, otherwise to be dropped and discarded. He is also arrogant, unpleasant, extremely selfish and cruel, and delights in crushing weaker enemies, and in seeing his opponents suffer humiliation and defeat.
Goals: Alak is backed by the Thyatian Empire and has come to Norwold to secretly spy and report to the Thyatians on the kingdom’s development; once Thyatis is ready, the empire will invade Norwold: Emperor Thincol expects Alak to betray Ericall and side with the Thyatians – who have promised him nearly half of Norwold and the kingdom’s crown for this. Thus, Alak’s goal is to establish a strong dominion and raise a powerful army to be ready to take his move against the king as soon as possible; for the latter purpose, he will likely try to win the support – through money, or by whatever means – of humanoid tribes and clans, or of local barbarian peoples (whom he however considers less submissive than humanoids to the promise of loot and riches), and get rid of anyone who stumbles in his way.
Dominion Choice: Alak will try to get a territory in the northern half of Norwold which is not too-far from one of the kingdom’s main cities, but at the same time near a pool of hireable humanoid tribes whose services he might buy and whom he could unleash against his enemies once the war begins. If possible, he will try to get a dominion not too near the other baronies - he will need to keep his humanoid army a secret for quite some time.
Special Features: Alak is fond of summoning, illusion, mind-control, and energy attack spells above all; in combat, he likes to use summoned monsters and creatures to fight in melee, all the while misleading and tricking his foes with his illusions and charms, or targeting them with deadly energy spells. His spells come from a variety of traditions – Thyatian, Alphatian, Ochalean, Sindhi, and Glantrian. Alak also benefits from the help of several spies and agents which Thyatis has sent in Norwold (all thieves, fighters, and magic-users of 9th-16th level).
Relevant Possessions: Ring of protection +4, staff of power, wand of illusion, wand of lightning bolts.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta, Tharquil’s homepage (http://www.oocities.org/Area51/Shire/7837/jdr.html; in French; not available anymore on the web).
Traveled, proud, and petite Ethengarian archer
Lawful 15th-level Fighter
Str 13, Int 9, Wis 12, Dex 18, Con 10, Cha 14
Appearance: 25 years, very short stature and delicate body (4’11” per 81 lbs.), light copperish skin tone, and an overall petite appearance; grey, almond-shaped eyes and black, half-back long, straight hair, often tied in knots, braids, and tresses. Sometimes she wears Ethengarian-style dress (in the Krondahar fashion) in green and red colors, but usually prefers wearing clothes (often masculine) in the fashions of Glantri and Darokin.
Background: Born into the Taijit tribe in Ethengar by the name of Lisai, she was still an baby when her mother Tessia was forced to flee the steppes after a rival chief had killed her husband and two other sons. Mother and daughter were found by a widower Glantrian wizard of Thyatian origins, Domitius Patrician, who welcomed the two in his house in Bramyra and married Tessia a couple of years later. Allisa, as Lisai was called by the man she considered her real father, assumed the surname of Patrician, and was raised alongside Domitius’ son from his first wife, Adrian (who was two years older than she), but her mother ensured Allisa would not forget her Ethengarian heritage, teaching her the language, the customs, and the legends of her native land. When she turned 14, she was sent by Domitius to Glantri City together with Adrian - but, while the latter attended the Great School of Magic, Allisa was not scholarly enough to become a wizard, and she preferred to take lessons in swordsmanship and archery from Erewan teachers. At 16, Tessia died revealing to Allisa on her deathbed the true story of her origins. Allisa was shocked and intrigued at the same time, and vowed to travel to Ethengar to know her homeland and avenge the father and brothers she had never known. Wishing to improve her skills first, Allisa went adventuring for some years in Glantri, Sind, Darokin, and Thyatis - her steps always followed by her adoptive father’s henchmen to ensure she did not put herself in deadly danger. During her travels, Allisa mastered the mounted archery style from former Glantrian, Darokinian, and Kerendan military officers. While in Thyatis City, she stepped on the toes of the Shadow Hand and ended up fighting in the Coliseum for a while - until freed by Domitius’ agents. Four years ago, she finally decided to head back to Ethengar to embrace her native culture and avenge her family; after some adventures in the steppes, she found and killed her family’s murderers (which happened to be relatives of Oktai Khan), and then had to fight her way out of the Taijit lands, which she did successfully. Her deeds were soon known among the other tribes, but no khan or chief could convince her to join his tribal warriors. An year ago, after much time spent adventuring in Ethengar, disappointed by the violent culture of the steppes, she went back to Bramyra, learning that meanwhile Domitius had died. Allisa had a short and passionate affair with Adrian, but when he asked her to marry him, she declined and the two parted amicably. Allisa wanted to change life again, leaving behind her both Glantri and Ethengar, and headed north without a precise destination. Eventually, Allisa heard about the incoming Spring Fair to be held in Alpha, and resolved to go there in search of new adventures. Allisa is accompanied by two retainers her adoptive brother Adrian asked the girl to bring with her for company and protection: an aging man-at-arms from Glantri City, Duccio Martini (Lawful 7th-level Fighter), and a young Caurenzan physician, Ennius Constanza (Neutral 3rd-level Thief).
Personality: Allisa is a free spirit, with a friendly and open personality, and enjoys going on adventures, riding horses and tending them, and putting her skills to the test. She is also very proud of herself, and will not miss the opportunity to make anyone who ribs or offends her (due to being short, being a woman, being Ethengarian, and so on) change his mind. During her life, Allisa has learned the value of others’ help, and she is always grateful to those who she considers good people, her friends, or who have benefited or favored her: to those, she always keeps her word, never breaks an oath, and is utterly loyal.
Goals: Allisa has come to Norwold to find new adventures and tests for herself, and will attend the Spring Fair in Alpha on a lark. She does not crave a dominion, but if the king will grant her one, she will devote herself seriously to the task or the ruler. If given opportunity, she will try to build her dominion into an idealized miniature Ethengar, with the trappings of the Ethengarian culture but deprived of its violent features.
Dominion Choice: Loving horses and horse-herding, and wishing to establish a dominion akin to the Ethengarian culture, Allisa will prefer a site with plains or grasslands as dominant terrain, but will not disdain other terrain types as long as there is enough pasturelands for some horse herds.
Special Features: Allisa uses a mix of fighting styles learned around the Known World. She has an almost uncanny level of awareness and is a true master of the bow both on foot and on horseback, being able to fire rapidly and still with cool precision. When fighting mounted, she prefers sabre and shield (discarding the lance which is too large for her stature), while on foot she favors two-weapon fighting with sabre and axe or dagger.
Relevant Possessions: Hand axe +3 returning, longbow (Ethengar bow) +3, normal sword (sabre) +2, plate mail +3, shield +2.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, Mystaran Almanacs, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Absent-minded, lore-pursuing Karameikan wizard
Neutral 16th-level Magic-User
Str 12, Int 18, Wis 17, Dex 10, Con 13, Cha 13
Appearance: 34 years old, fair skin, medium height and lean build (5’8” per 139 lbs.), black hair worn long and usually tied in a ponytail, clean shaven (but not regularly), with brown eyes. Arcadius is an unassuming man who retains his lowly origins, augmented with scholarly lack of interest for pomp. He wears worn robes, be it for travel or adventure or lab research, and even at court. He sometimes absentmindedly adds the first cloak or hood he finds, and old sturdy boots. Half-forgotten items, many of them magical, or of historical significance, or simply of passing interest, are stashed in numerous pockets, and Arcadius occasionally fishes one out, and either plunges deeply into its examination regardless of his entourage, or begins discussing the object's importance, usage, power, and other pieces of lore, often to the dismay of his unwitting audience.
Background: Olavv Tushdbov was born in rural Traladara, where the boy's prospects would not have been very bright were it not for his village elder's realization that such intelligence would best serve theoretical pursuits rather than the practical, working life of the hamlet. Thus Olavv was sent to town with a letter of recommendation, and eventually found his way to the Magicians' Guild. With a passion for history, myth and elder lore, he eventually left in order to travel the world, taking the name “Arcadius” for himself - a Thyatian name, which in rural Traladara Olavv thought would sound more authoritative and wizardly. In those days, he adventured together with Celia, Zoltan, Siegfried, and Ney (see their separate entries). Although he gleaned a lot, it also involved more danger than he anticipated, and all that travel interfered with his research. He would like to turn a new leaf in his life, settle down, set up an extensive library and lab, and limit his adventures to lore-gathering expeditions. He has recently come to Alpha with his friends, and they separated in order to ask a domain from King Ericall individually - which may just be the occasion that Arcadius was longing for.
Personality: Arcadius is perceived to be an archetypal absent-minded wizard with sole interest in his studies. He definitely is that, but he can also be aware of events surrounding him - he just typically chooses to ignore them as trivial and turn his mind to more interesting topics, tuning out the distractions. But when required he can be practical (to the limit of his abilities), tedious, dedicated, and even relentless; this happens naturally in his extensive pursuit of knowledge, but it might also be in the help of a friend. Arcadius has other quirks: he hates barking, biting, drooling dogs, and he holds that water is fine for drinking and maybe washing but not for immersing oneself into nor sailing over, and he hopes he never will have to recall where he stashed any water-breathing spell scroll.
Goals: After Arcadius arrives at Alpha, the quiet conjurer quickly quits the crowded court for the calm countryside to commence his compelling quest. The wily wizard will willingly wander by wood and wilderness and watch at once the world's widest wyrm wolds, voyaging through vast vistas and violent volcanoes and visiting valley villages, rejecting the rich riverlands and ridden roads the rival rulers will race for and ruthlessly row over. The modest magician will move through mountains and morasses to map the most marvelous monuments of mortal men and magical monsters. The sage sorcerer will scale snowbound summits and silently scry secret and sacred sites in his scaled survey for a secluded sanctuary.
Dominion Choice: Arcadius would prefer a small dominion in a remote area, where he can conduct his magical research and pore over esoteric tomes without the disturbance of court duties or lording over unruly settlers or resentful natives. He is not a hermit, though, and will look for a place that is sufficiently inhabited and not isolated, as he will need workers to have his tower built and supplied. It has not escaped his attention that the court of Alpha might give him a chance to gain access to the vast repository of Alphatian lore. Arcadius also wonders what myths, legends, histories and artifacts he can collect from the natives of Norwold: hin and elves and dwarves, Antalians, but also he marvels at what caches of knowledge can be found amid the fabled, long-living dragons.
Special Features: Arcadius's topical areas of research are history, languages, peoples, especially of the lost or hidden kind. Any clue to Nithia, the Hollow World, or Blackmoor is sure to pique his interest. Quite the numismatic, Arcadius has assembled a large collection of coins. His main interests lie in pieces from lost and forgotten nations, like that octagonal coin with hieroglyphs whose origin he is trying to puzzle out, and in non-metallic currencies - the more esoteric or magical the better. He also collects feathers and wonders if there is, or ever was, a people using feathers as currency.
Relevant Possessions: Coin of good luck, dagger +4 of alignment detection, ring of protection +3, ring of telekinesis, staff of dispelling, star of the smallfolk.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Hervé Musseau).
Masked fighting spellcaster from the Isle of Dawn
Chaotic 16th-level Cleric of Alphaks
Str 16, Int 13, Wis 18, Dex 12, Con 15, Cha 11 (5)
Appearance: 44 years old, small (5’4” tall) but very massive (he weighs 158 lbs.), sports long straight and black hair, but is otherwise completely bald; his grey eyes shimmer with mad fanaticism. Once his Dawner ancestry was recognizable on his fair-complexioned body, but now that he is suffering from the disease known as the “necromancer’s reward” (see the sidebar) his appearance does not differ much from that of an undead (hence his Charisma score of 5 indicated in brackets). In public, Arkias always wears heavy robes and clothes which hide his decaying appearance, including a full-face silver mask resembling a plain human visage.
Background: Pwyll (this was his original name) was born in a village in northern Hillvale; he lost both his parents when he was four during the last war between Thyatis and Alphatia (AC 959-962), and began wandering the countryside, sometimes welcomed in by a peasant family, sometimes bullied and beaten, soon trying to get what he needed to survive without any regard for others. His natural cunning and physical prowess allowed him to push ahead, but his harsh youth took its toll on his personality, as he began to harbor an utter hate of other human beings and became totally ruthless and uncaring about others. At 16, he had become a young but feared brigand devoted to extortion, murder, and robbery. But then something changed his life: to flee from authorities, he assumed the identity of one of his latest murders, an Alphatian named Arkias. When he rummaged through the man’s possessions, he found an unholy symbol and a small book of prayers - the man had secretly been a devotee of the Immortal Alphaks. Liking the violent and hateful content of the prayers, he began almost unwittingly to worship Alphaks, whose attention was caught by the strong hatred for life the boy harbored. The fiend began to speak to Pwyll in his dreams, and granted him divine spells, slowly transforming the young brigand into a fanatic worshipper and making him forfeit at all his old identity, to the point where he assumed the name Arkias for himself. Since then, Arkias has wandered the Isle of Dawn, alternating beween unholy quests to please his Immortal patron, secret activities to spread the cult in Hillvale and Dunadale, and service in mercenary companies to appease his bloodthirst. While he was servicing in the Scarlet Plumes, he was discovered to be a worshipper of Alphaks by the company’s captain Shariskan, who was however convinced by Arkias to adopt the Immortal fiend as his personal patron. Later, Shariskan even raised Arkias - who in the meantime had begun to spread Alphaks’ teachings to his comrades - to the rank of his personal aide de camp. When Shariskan decided to lead the Scarlet Plumes to Norwold to offer the company’s services to King Ericall, Arkias followed him after Shariskan’s promise to grant him land to establish a community of cultists of Alphaks in exchange for units of undead with which to supplement his army. Among Arkias’ personal retainers is a beautiful Ostlander-born woman raised in Helskir, Nadia Meelia (Chaotic 9th-level Cleric of Hel), owner of an infamous artifact of Entropy, the Stick of the Dead (see the box).
Personality: Arkias no longer has a personality of his own: he is fully devoted to the will of his Immortal, and dominated by an insane thirst for blood and by boundless lust - these are the only feelings which matter for him. Arkias enjoys violence and rape, and likes to have prostitutes and slaves ready to pleasure him. Due to his hatred of life, he has also developed a fanatic interest for undeath; Arkias regularly uses necromantic spells and his ultimate wish is attaining lichdom to continue to serve his patron eternally.
Goals: Alphaks plans to use Arkias’ presence in Norwold to foster violence, destruction, and war in the region. He wants his cleric to get a place under his own control where to set a base of operation for a new cell of Alphaks worshippers; this is the main reason behind Arkias’ deal with Shariskan. Once he gets his dominion, Arkias will devote himself to gather Alphaks’ cultists from abroad and to build an undead army to use when the moment comes. Until then, he will try to carry on these activities as discreetly as possible in order to avoid alerting the king’s attention - nevertheless, he will do near to nothing to develop his dominion and his unfortunate subjects will suffer under his evil rule.
Dominion Choice: Arkias will not personally take part in the Great Land Rush. He will take any land Shariskan will grant him; he really has no preference, one place or another will do as the new home of Alphaks’ cultists.
Special Features: As a cleric of Alphaks, Arkias can use the whip, the dagger, and the two-handed sword besides usual weapons allowed to clerics. Besides the powers his Immortal grants to him, Arkias suffers from a terrible magical illness called the “necromancer’s reward” (see sidebar).
Relevant Possessions: Cloak of protection +1, mace +2/+5 vs lawful creatures, plate mail +3.
Source: Tharquil’s homepage (http://www.oocities.org/Area51/Shire/7837/jdr.html) in French; not available anymore on the web.
Sidebar: The Necromancer’s Reward
Arkias suffers from an horrible magical disease called the “necromancer’s reward”, which hit his body many months ago. The disease hits those who spend many weeks in a row using necromantic spells and dabbling with fiendish powers. Basically, each time a character affected by the disease uses a spell which has something to do with the dead or the undead (speak with dead, animate dead, and so on) or which is powered by entropic energy, its level is added to a total, which is recorded and compared to the following table (the effects are cumulative):
Total Spell Levels
Charisma score drops by 1 point; the character become very pale, with a sickly complexion and dark circles around the eyes.
Charisma score drops by 1 points; skin becomes wrinkled, with small darker spots all over the body and an emaciated visage.
Charisma score drops by 2 points; the skin wrinkles even more (making bones and teeth clearly visible), bloody streaks and dark bruises appear on the character’s body; the character heals naturally at half rate.
Charisma score drops by 2 points; the character’s flesh starts to decay in some points, the skin falls to pieces exposing open bloody patches, his face becomes skull-like; natural healing stops altogether.
25 or more
Charisma score drops by 2 points; the character’s appearance becomes virtually indistinguishable from that of a fresh zombie; the character does not heal naturally anymore.
Arkias’ current score on this table is 21. The disease can only be cured by a cleric of at least 30th-level casting heal and resurrection on the character in a row. However, the disease’s course can be halted and regressed by coating the afflicted’s body with the fresh blood of living creatures - in game terms, the score on the table goes back by 2 for each Hit Die or creatures killed in the process.
Sidebar: The Stick of the Dead
This magic item is a minor artifact of Entropy created by the Immortal Hel and currently in possession of one of Arkias’ retainers, the priestess Nadia Meelia. The Stick was created decades ago by the Immortal Hel to help one of her patriarchs defend a small community of cultists on the Isle of Dawn, but was lost when its first owner and his followers were slaughtered in a battle against the Alphatians; the artifact was later found by Arkias and Nadia - the latter was then visited by Hel in her dreams and allowed to keep the Stick.
The Stick functions in combat as a staff +3 doing 2d6 base damage.
Animate dead (60’ range, animates 40 HD of undead).
Recharge cost: 1 HD of creatures must be sacrificed to make the artifact recover 1 TP.
The owner’s alignment changes to Chaotic.
The Stick resembles a long human femur bearing at each end one human skull adorned with spikes.
Adventurer, explorer, and knight from Ostland
Neutral 15th-level Fighter
Str 18, Int 9, Wis 10, Dex 15, Con 17, Cha 14
Appearance: 36 years old, very tall (6’5”), muscular and sturdy (238 lbs.), broad shoulders and large build; light tanned complexion (from his long voyages), redhead with hair worn at neck-length, beard and mustaches, blue eyes. Bardeen favors clothes in black and various shades of red, often adorned with silver or gold jewels; in battle he can be seen on horseback in full plate armor as well as charging on foot with little or no armor.
Background: Born in a small village in Dunadale, when he was three Bardeen’s parents were killed during an Ostlander raid, and he himself taken by one of the Northmen and brought to Ostland as a thrall. Some time later, thanks to his build and strength, Bardeen was noticed by Jarl Halldor of Hammersholm during a child’s brawl at a feast, and brought to his court. He spent several years there, was made a freeman by the jarl, was trained in combat, and eventually came to consider Ostland his home. Bardeen, however, had to withstand the envy and hate of the jarl’s children, in particular of Sigrid, who resented the former thrall’s physical prowess. When Bardeen was 14, Halldor died and his sons started to quarrel among themselves for his inheritance; Bardeen knew that the first thing Sigrid would have done was to get rid of him, so he was forced to leave his land and went to Westrourke. Since that time, he traveled most of the civilized countries of the world, going even as far as the Savage Coast and Bellissaria, undertaking many adventures which earned him a large fortune and his nickname of ‘Longwalker’. During his voyages he has been a raider, a seaman, an explorer, an adventurer, and at last a knight in the service of Queen Eldrethila of Theranderol. Now he has decided to earn a dominion in Norwold and put an end (at least temporarily) to his travels.
Personality: Bardeen is a hero at heart, always striving to find new adventures, enemies to defeat, battles to win, and new things to be discovered. He loves weapons and armor, women, and food, but he is also a cosmopolitan man, accustomed to being in contact with diverse cultures and ethnicities; Bardeen loves telling stories about the places he visited or the deeds he performed, but he never does so in a boastful way. Bardeen does not care much about politics, but he is a honorable man and is used to keep his word - once he will swear allegiance to Ericall, he will remain true to it as long as the king will behave loyally.
Goals: Bardeen has decided to settle down from his voyages for a time, building a home for himself to return to after his adventures, where he can store his possessions, and where he can devote himself to the study of his favorite weapon, the sword. He is not likely to settle down definitely for the life of dominion-ruler, however, and as soon as the call of adventure reaches him again, he will leave his dominion for long periods of time.
Dominion Choice: Bardeen would like to have a dominion on a coastal area, near the sea or on the banks of a large river or lake, from which he could hear news of distant lands and eventually resume his travels as soon as his wanderer’s spirit overtakes him again.
Special Features: Bardeen suffers from a phobia toward dogs and doglike creatures (such as lupins and hell hounds), caused by a traumatic encounter with dogs he had during his childhood. Moreover, during his travels he developed a knack for learning languages, and he knows a truly amazing variety of tongues, albeit at basic level. In combat he prefers fighting on foot in order to exploit the full potential of his skill with the sword; also, due to his stature, he needs very large warhorses - Blackbull, his current favourite black stallion, is indeed a fearsome sight in battle.
Relevant Possessions: 15 bolts +1, heavy crossbow +3, normal sword +4 of defending (named “Heart’s Ward”), shield +3.
Source: M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, Mystaran Almanacs.
Brogahn of the Steppes
Severe, dwarf-loving Ethengarian warrior chief
Lawful 15th-level Fighter
Str 15, Int 9, Wis 15, Dex 11, Con 16, Cha 7
Appearance: 43 years old, copper skin tone, imposing figure, very tall (6’4”) with broad shoulders and large physique (238 lbs.); Brogahn is not particularly attractive, with a scowling face, long straight black hair, and a huge black beard and mustaches, but he has two very deep, almond-shaped green eyes (unusual for an Ethengarian). He wears rich and colorful clothes in a mixed variety of fashions from Ethengar, the Northern Reaches, and Ylaruam, while in battle he dons his magical plate armor and warhammer of dwarven make.
Background: Boga (this is his original name) was born within a low-standing clan of the Yugatai tribe, in Ethengar. Trained as a horse warrior, he was considered a weirdo in his tribe, because due to his large build he never became particularly quick at firing with the bow from horseback, developing instead great skill in melee. Despite his battle deeds during the tribal wars which raged in the steppes from AC 987 on and during skirmishes with the Gostai goblins, Boga could not find proper recognition within his tribe. So he left the Khanates and went adventuring through Ylaruam, the Northern Reaches (where he seized from her master a thrall girl of Redstone origin, Caitlin, who would become Boga’s first wife some time later), and Rockhome. He earned great fame among the dwarves when he saved the life of Princess Noris, daughter of King Everast XV. Finding Rockhome to his liking, Boga learned to fight with the warhammer in the dwarven style, and even grew a large beard in dwarven fashion. In Rockhome he also befriended the dwarf Gimluk, a former adventuring companion of Moglai Khan, together with whom Boga went back to Ethengar, becoming the dwarf’s main Ethengarian fellow and artillery apprentice. Later, Boga became one of the Golden Khan’s advisors; due to his alien combat style, Boga was never allowed in the Keshak, but bested some of the steppes’ strongest warriors in melee combat and wrestling. This, the presence of still another seeming outsider (besides Gimluk and Akmad ibn Yussef), and Boga’s untimely habit of contesting other khans in front of Moglai, earned him the enmity of many high-ranking personalities of the khanates. Things escalated when a vengeful khan had Boga’s first wife, Caitlin, strangled to death. Eventually, Moglai himself withdrew his favor from him in order to satisfy his khans, and Boga was implicitly forced to leave the steppes. Upon his leave, he adopted the name his first wife had always called him in her native tongue, “Brogahn”. He decided to head north into the Heldannic Territories and Norwold, followed by his friend Grotto ‘the Tall’ (Lawful 10th-level Dwarf, a wandering Rockhome dwarf who spent some years in Ethengar with him),1 and by his clan - his second wife Gwendai (Neutral Normal Woman, a 24-year old submissive Ethengarian woman), his five children (three from the deceased Caitlin and two from Gwendai), and his two lesser brothers with their respective families. Currently his clan has settled north of the Skaufskogr Hills, while Brogahn has traveled to Alpha to answer King Ericall’s call for dominion rulers and pledge allegiance to him.
Personality: Perhaps Brogahn did like the dwarven culture so much because he shares with the rockborns so many personality traits: he is severe, glum, and taciturn, and his menacing appearance puts others in awe rather than inspiring regard. Brogahn is conscious and somewhat proud of his skills, but he knows he is far from perfect and is ready both to take advice from trusted individuals and to learn from his faults. He is also a truthful person, who can be a loyal friend and ally; he will be loyal to Ericall, unless the king shows weakness, lack of honor, or otherwise loses Brogahn’s respect. To some non-Ethengarians, Brogahn can appear rude and backward (for example due to the custom of keeping multiple wives or to take war prisoners as slaves), but this is more due to his Ethengarian upbringing than to his actual personality. Like many Ethengarians, Brogahn is wary of magic-users and does not trust at all people of Glantrian origin.
Goals: Brogahn wants to achieve fame and renown as a great warrior and leader of his own khanate; he would have preferred to obtain them in his native country, but he is eager as well to pursue his goal in the untamed lands of Norwold, trying to become a recognized leader among the region’s local nomad and settled peoples. Once established as a ruler, Brogahn will strive to build a prosperous dominion and to serve his liege loyally to the best of his skills.
Dominion Choice: Brogahn would like to set his dominion in a wilderness land, where he would be better able to test and prove his skills as a ruler and leader. If available, he will chose lands resembling his native steppes, such as grasslands or plains, or where local nomad tribes which he could befriend are known to roam. He will not be influenced by the land were his clan has currently settled - if necessary, he will lead them to a new location.
Special Features: Brogahn has mastered the use of the warhammer from the dwarves and wields it in a style unusual for a human - let alone an Ethengarian. Contrary to the Ethengarian custom, he charges into battle preferably on foot, protected by his heavy armor and shield, and only rarely fights from horseback, using the lance. Nevertheless, he is still an accomplished rider and archer. Brogahn’s magical plate mail and warhammer are both of dwarven make; his armor is a gift of King Everast XV of Rockhome, while he found the warhammer in an ancient Modrigswerg tomb in Soderfjord.
Relevant Possessions: 20 arrows +2, plate mail +4, shield +2, short bow +1, warhammer +3.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, CM2 Death’s Ride, CM3 Sabre River, M1 Into the Maelstrom, Mystaran Almanacs, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Fascinating and trade-minded Karameikan woman
Neutral 19th-level Thief
Str 10, Int 15, Wis 11, Dex 18, Con 12, Cha 18
Appearance: A 28-year old, tall (5’11”), slender (138 lbs.), beautiful woman with long, straight black hair and tanned skin, famous for her piercing green eyes, with which she dazzles and mesmerizes men and women alike. As her fortune grew, she naturally embraced wearing the finer clothes available, and is as comfortable in richly embroidered silk dress and jewelry (some magical) at court, as she is in the sturdiest, enchanted leather padding (or the filthiest rags, if she requires such a disguise) for cloak-and-dagger endeavors. Whatever her attire, she has a whole supplement of blades, tools of the trade, gems and coins, and various magical items concealed, in mundane or extra-dimensional pockets.
Background: An orphan from Specularum, Celia had to learn early on how to survive in the streets. Although Celia never found out, the King of Thieves inexplicably extended his protection over her, rather than recruit her. This access to the Kingdom of Thieves' resources helped her, although she attributed her growing success to her daring skills, quick wits, easy charm, and good luck. The young woman was nonetheless captured by the Iron Ring; there, she fell in love with fellow captive Zoltan during their dauntless escape. She has kept company with him since, although the enigmatic priest has remained mum about his affection. After many adventures together with him and other companions (Siegfried, Arcadius, and Ney - see their separate entries), Celia accompanied them to Alpha in order to ask for a dominion from King Ericall.
Personality: From her lowly origins Celia has risen high, and she has no doubt that she can achieve anything she sets herself up to. She doesn't believe she can ever fail, nor does she see the role others may have played in her successes. Life is a play, a game, in which she is the triumphant heroine. She has entered a new stage, Norwold, with a new role, aristocrat, and a new guise, guildmistress. She is thrilled and enchanted at the prospect, and wonders how this will play out and help her enrapture Zoltan.
Goals: Celia has come to Norwold with Zoltan, although she approves the decision to move and looks forward to ruling her own dominion and becoming part of Alpha's nobility. She sees the northern wilderness as a diamond in the rough, a large piece of land with plentiful resources that needs only to be connected to the trading lanes of the Thyatian and Alphatian empires to thrive and prosper. She intends to run her dominion as both a trading guild and a thieves' guild, with a vision to start her own commercial empire. She has never been a prince in the Kingdom of Thieves and thus has never learned how to operate such a network, however.
Dominion Choice: Celia will look for prime commercial real estate: a coastal domain with a good harbor and no reefs or other hazards, ice-free for as long as possible during those long winters, and near enough to the existing shipping lanes that she can convince merchant captains to make the extra leg. Inland access to the riches of Norwold, including to other settlements and dominions, would also be most useful. Whatever infrastructure doesn't yet exist but has potential she will construct with her amassed gold. One particular requirement is that her dominion be close by Zoltan's; she knows the priest will not care for the mercantile development of his demesne, and will let her handle that aspect - and of course she wants to be able to visit him often.
Special Features: When Celia locks eyes with someone, she can keep her target transfixed indefinitely and read into their soul. Celia only gets a vague impression of whether the person she puts under such scrutiny is trustworthy and amenable to her, but the longer she keeps her hold the more unnerving it becomes to the other party, as it seems that Celia is boring through their mind and ferreting their most private thoughts while they stand helpless. Many are convinced that Celia knows their darkest secrets. Also, Celia has amassed quite a fortune over the years, effectively using her Karameikan network of fences and moneychangers. She also handles the bulk of Zoltan's assets (of which she keeps what she considers a fair fee), and when she can get away with it other people's as well (generally without their knowledge).
Relevant Possessions: Bag of holding, buckle of lockpicks +15%, chameleon blade, leather armor +3 of blending, necklace of protection +3.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Hervé Musseau).
Claransa the Seer
Scholarly and enthusiast Karameikan diviner
Lawful 15th-level Magic-User
Str 13, Int 17, Wis 11, Dex 11, Con 14, Cha 11
Appearance: 36 years old, fair complexion, small height (5’4” tall) but willowy and lightly built (105 lbs.); Claransa has wavy blond hair, worn a little below shoulder-length, and clever green eyes. Claransa tries to keep her apparent age roughly at 25 years through use of magical means. She prefers wearing bright gowns in simple colors and of simple design, under her ever-present magical cloak.
Background: Born as Claransa Tyrevic in Vatresh (the Traladaran town which would become Threshold some years later), her family was the result of the union between two upper-class merchant families of Traladaran and Thyatian origins. Claransa was discovered possessing a high aptitude for arcane magic and apprenticed under one of Threshold’s local wizards for some years; after that, she studied for a long time at the Magicians’ Guild of Specularum under Grand Master Teldon, and became one of the most important teachers in the guild, specializing in divination spells - something which earned her the nickname of “the Seer”. During those years she also adventured successfully far and wide in Karameikos under Teldon’s advice, but she would rather spend her time studying or reading. However, since she always longed for traveling abroad and to see faraway places, Teldon thought to encourage her to leave Karameikos and travel north, to get some experience of the wider world in a rougher region such as Norwold (which the master had visited half a century before). Halfway between uneasy and excited, thus Claransa left for Norwold with the goal to settle and establish a personal base for her studies and for further travels. During her travel, she overcame her anxiety and discovered she loved actual travel and adventure abroad as much as she had previously only thought in her head. She then came to Alpha with the aim to ask King Ericall for a dominion.
Personality: Claransa is a bright and energetic person, always willing to find and discover new things, and often bored by repetitive, uninteresting or common duties - fact is that she never found studying and reading to be repetitive tasks! Her personality makes her often overenthusiastic about new things, but then she grows more and more indifferent about them when she has gone well into them; she is not fickle, however, because she has the patience and steadiness to pursue duties she has to, even if she does not like them anymore. Claransa is a truthful person, and can represent a loyal and steadfast friend. Also - as she did have less than the average share of romantic affairs in the past - Claransa is quite sensitive about her appearance, shy when faced with someone she likes, and thus likely to fall before the romantic attention of a handsome hero or lord.
Goals: Claransa considers her Norwold trip just something more than a “holiday” after which she will come back to Specularum. Nevertheless, she wants to establish in Norwold a base for her magical researches and for further travels; right now she hardly figures how much ruling a dominion could keep her away from those activities, and she only sees the intriguing side of it. However, she is likely to grow bored by the duties of administration, and on the long run she could get confident enough to feel the call for adventure again - so much to make her sell her dominion or put it back in the hands of the king.
Dominion Choice: Claransa will try to establish her home in one of the most civilized areas, likely a coastal area, from where she could easily start her travels and import magical tomes, components, and materials she could eventually need for her research.
Special Features: Claransa knows a wide variety of spells, but her speciality is divination - spells that detect, see through things, discover secrets, bring new knowledge, and so on; not a few among her spells also come from the tradition of Traladaran folk magic. Due to her adventuresome past, she is also a capable fighter, both with the staff and with daggers. At her arrival in Alpha, she will also have with her a lot of money - part coming from her family, part from her adventuring days.
Relevant Possessions: Two daggers +4, displacer cloak, ring of protection +1, staff of wizardry.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, CM2 Death’s Ride, CM3 Sabre River, M1 Into the Maelstrom, Poor Wizard’s Almanacs I-III, Joshuan’s Almanac, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Dexterous and easygoing wood elf from Minrothad
Neutral 10th-level Elf Lord (Attack Rank E)
Str 12, Int 12, Wis 11, Dex 18, Con 15, Cha 10
Appearance: 163 years, good-looking for human standards (average for an elf), and tall (5’5”) but slightly overweight for a wood elf (126 lbs.); straight brunette hair worn very long, and hazel eyes. Delsel likes to wear rich clothes, usually long and preciously-embroidered tunics and surcoats.
Background: Delsel was born in a wood elf clan on Alfeisle, Minrothad. Despite being raised as a proper member of the clan, he never developed a taste for the woodland life, nor for the woodworking activities of his island kin. Delsel was instead fascinated by the water elves’ love for travel, and by the rowdy character of human society. Defying his father’s wishes, Delsel did not enter Guild Verdier, finding instead his place among the ranks of Minrothad’s Mercenary Guild, first in the Home Guard, later in the Marines. There he had the opportunity to spend a lot of time on the cosmopolitan Trader’s Isle, travel the waters of the Sea of Dread, see some ports of the Known World, and undertake a number of adventures. He also met some fellow elves who, like him, had chosen to avoid traditional clan life, and were searching for their own place in the world. After many years of service, three years ago Delsel went “on vacation” - as the Minrothad wood elves call their years-long break from work - adventuring in the Sea of Dread, living for a time in Tel Akbir, and gathering around him a bunch of like-minded elves from Minrothad. During one of his most successful adventures, he and his fellows recovered an ancient elven treasure from the bottom of the Sea of Dread tracing back to the Taymoran age - among these riches Delsel found his magical golden chain mail, a powerful ancient elven relic. Then, Delsel decided to put to fruition his wealth, and to explore the coasts beyond the Known World; he chose to try to establish a new cosmopolitan home for his fellows in the northern and untamed lands of Norwold, reaching Alpha to petition King Ericall for a dominion. Delsel comes to the king’s capital together with a couple dozen retainers and former adventuring companions, a mixed group including humans and elves from a half-dozen Known World countries.
Personality: Delsel is a cosmopolitan character, who loves social interaction, carefree adventure and fun; he does not have much sympathy for the secluded life many elves live, and enjoys much more the company of other races, humans especially. Despite this, Delsel still considers himself “on vacation” and still keeps sparse contacts with his friends, patrons, and family in Minrothad - not barring a possible return home in the span of some years. Delsel also has a taste and passion for beautiful and precious things such as art, jewelry, clothings - and good-looking human girls as well.
Goals: Delsel sincerely wants to try building a home for himself and his followers in Norwold, and will strive to carry out this goal in the best way he can. However - unless the life of a standing dominion ruler takes a definitive hold on him - he will feel the need to end his “vacation” after some years, likely going back to Minrothad if a good employment opportunity arises in the Mercenary Guild’s or the government’s highest ranks. To this aim, Delsel will try to make his deeds in Norwold known in his homeland, and to create trading opportunities for his countrymen through his presence in the north. At the end, should he go back home, he will likely leave his dominion to one of his most trusted followers.2
Dominion Choice: Delsel will try to get a dominion on a coastal area, in a region which is easily reachable by the trading ships of the Minrothad Guilds. He will also try to set his dominion in a central area, one where many other human dominions are located. Delsel has no interest or attachment to the Foresthomes of Norwold, and will not try to set his dominion over one of those.
Special Features: Delsel is extremely swift in melee combat and when firing with his longbow; he does not like entering in melee unless necessary, so he prefers relying on his missile skill and arcane spells in combat. Delsel is particularly fond of human girls, whom he finds more warm and welcoming than their elven counterparts; if he happens to meet a good-looking human girl or lady, Delsel will therefore likely try to seduce her.
Relevant Possessions: Ten arrows +3, golden chain mail, longbow +2, sabre of the wereslayer.
Source: M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, Poor Wizard’s Almanacs I-III.
Burly, fearsome-looking Karameikan fighter
Chaotic 18th-level Fighter
Str 18, Int 15, Wis 13, Dex 13, Con 17, Cha 8
Appearance: Dimitri is 35-years old, a burly, stocky bulldog of a man (5’10” tall per 201 lbs.). He wears heavy armor and large shield, and wields a broadsword, to compound this image. He adorns a helmet in the image of a charging minotaur, which sports two wicked-looking, foot-long horns. Removing his helmet does not alter the overall impression, as Dimitri has a strong neck and large head with several scars, close-cropped dark brown hair, and a remorseless cast to his maroon eyes.
Background: Dimitri left his poor Traladaran family at an early age, eager to carve himself a better place in the world. Moving up from thug to sellsword to mercenary, and from goon to captain, he always has a higher position in sight. His advancements often leave a trail of corpses: whoever stands in his way had better stand aside or they are mercilessly dealt with. Dimitri is currently the unloved, but unchallenged, leader of a mercenary band, the Hissing Snakes, which he is marching north.
Personality: A strong, hard, ruthless man, he believes that the strong are meant to rule the weak. Being second best is never acceptable to Dimitri: he always strives for first place. When faced with superior opponents, he temporarily yields to them, biding his time until he can devise a way to best them. He favors superiority through might of arms, but victory by any means is still victory, and it is the others' failure if they expect a fair fight and pulled punches. He is often overlooked by his adversaries, who dismiss him as a simple brute that can be subdued, but the man is more clever than he appears, and unrelenting.
Goals: The next step in Dimitri's rise is becoming a ruler. He will have to learn new skills, but that doesn't deter him: he will study not just administration, but alliances, strategic warfare, and the whole game of thrones. His ultimate goal is to replace his lord as king. The appearance of Siegfried Sixx at Ericall's court has only slightly altered Dimitri's plans. Though he no longer cares for that old rivalry, which he settled long ago and has no wish to revisit, he has the nagging feeling that that woeful brawler might come after him with violent intent - he knows he would. So he will keep an eye on Siegfried, and if the mutt wants to bite, Dimitri intends to put him down again - and for good this time.
Dominion Choice: Naturally, Dimitri wants to poach the best dominion possible. At his arrival in Alpha, he has no idea what the best consists of, but he intends to find out. He fully expects that the other new lords will likewise want the finest location; in fact, that is probably how he will rank potential demesnes: by the size of the competition. Dimitri will welcome the challenge of contending with rivals, and will do whatever it takes to prevail.
Special Features: When upset or enraged, Dimitri may gore his opponent with his helmet, generally in a sudden, surprise assault. Although he is generally assumed to be a strong fighter who poses no threat outside of fair, hard combat, Dimitri is a sly man who tips the scales in his favor by catching his enemies unaware and by playing dirty tricks. To such end, he carries a number of items of the offensive kind, including several poison-tipped blades, though Dimitri generally tailors his strokes and shuns such last-resort tricks.
Relevant Possessions: Amulet of mind shielding, charm of proof against poison, helmet of goring, necklace of spell resistance, normal sword (broadsword) +3, pendant of unscryableness, periapt of health, plate mail +2, ring of protection +3.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Hervé Musseau).
Wood elf adventurer from Karameikos with a vision
Neutral 16th-level Elf Wizard3
Str 15, Int 13, Wis 12, Dex 16, Con 11, Cha 14
Appearance: Handsome, 250-years old Callarii wood elf with medium build (5’5” tall per 119 lbs.); fair skin, light brown shoulder-length hair, and hazel eyes. Elarianthas always sports a smiling face, a shrewd and light-hearted look, and speaks with a harmonious voice. He always wears clothing in some shade of green, and when needed he dons his magical chain mail decorated with floral patterns.
Background: Elarianthas was born in the town of Rifflian, in Karameikos, the son of an elven trader. Once he reached adulthood, Elarianthas followed his older brother Belrain’s footsteps, becoming an adventurer and spending the last century travelling and exploring the Known World and Alphatia; in the course of his travels he joined various adventuring groups, coming into contact with many races and religious faiths. During a past trip in Norwold, Elarianthas listened to a prophecy of the Crones of Crystykk regarding the rise of a powerful elven nation in the region, and since then has hoped to be the subject of such a prediction. Back in Karameikos, he founded a new clan, the Blackblade, joining some young Callarii and Vyalia followers, and persuaded them to follow him to Norwold in his bid to obtain a dominion from Ericall and fulfill his destiny. In this quest, Elarianthas is also accompanied by his father Thyandros (Neutral 9th-level Elf), who now acts as the Blackblade clanmaster.
Personality: Thanks to his travels, Elarianthas is more cosmopolitan and open to change and novelties than most of his kin. He possesses an enthralling personality, his creative mind is always on the move with new ideas, but he is also pragmatic and never lets his thoughts bring him too far away from reality. Elarianthas sympathizes with helpless or interesting creatures and individuals, and always tries to act as their patron and protector. He is also a quite self-centered person, available to listen to all opinions but in the end considering his own to be the best due to the wealth of life experiences he possesses. The elf is also quite driven by what he believes is his destiny, and he is likely to subordinate everything which does not endanger the life of an elf - like the fealty to Ericall - to his goal.
Goals: Elarianthas wants to fulfill the prophecy foretold by the Crones of Crystykk, founding in Norwold an elvish realm in which elves coming from different backgrounds and cultures (including the Norwold Foresthomes) could coexist and feel like they are part of the same clan, the Blackblade. As means of cultural unification, he plans to create a new religion (the Ancestors’ Faith) whose pantheon will include all elven Immortals, and a special natural reserve devoted to the cataloguing and study of the whole elven known magic lore (the Evergrun Project).
Dominion Choice: Elarianthas is already followed by Callarii and Vyalia elves; he will choose a domain in an area near a Shiye Foresthome, to add the contribution of another elven culture to his goal. However, in order to keep contacts as open and frequent as possible with other regions’ elven cultures, he will also try to get a domain in a coastal or easily-accessible area.
Special Features: Elarianthas is good at fighting with the sword and at firing with the shortbow, but his full martial skills become evident when he rotates his magical halberd over his head. Also, his arcane spells come from the most varied elven cultures of the Known World and beyond.
Relevant Possessions: Chain mail +4 of electricity, elven cloak, elven longsword, halberd +3/+6 vs dragonkind, ring of protection +2, short bow +3.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Marco Dalmonte).
Good-willed Darokinian former paladin of Koryis
Lawful 16th-level Fighter
Str 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Dex 14, Con 14, Cha 13
Appearance: 44 years, medium height (5’9” tall) with a stout physique (181 lbs.); hazel eyes, short brown hair - with a receding hairline - and large handlebar mustache which splits his face in half, but no beard. Ernest usually sports a broad smile and wears simple clothing while not donning his armor and weapons; his hearty laugh is well known to all who have met him.
Background: Ernest was born in a farming village in one of the borderlands of Darokin; wishing for a better future than that of the peasant, he left his home and started his career as adventurer becoming a wandering fighter. After many adventures around the republic, he began to feel the futility of adventure for itself, and began his personal search for higher moral values to live for. He found his answer in the philosophy of the Immortal Koryis, the patron of peace well appreciated in Darokin. Thus Ernest became a devout paladin of this Immortal, wandering the Known World and then coming to the Isle of Dawn to further the cause of peace. During an unfortunate quest, he was tricked into unwittingly aiding a villain to reach his goals, and as a consequence he lost his paladin powers. Thus, as a way to atone his deeds, Ernest decided to head for Norwold, settle down from his wanderings, and establish a dominion under the rule of Ericall inspired by the values of Koryis. Ernest arrived in Alpha accompanied by his squire Marcus Trebonian (Lawful 4th-level Fighter, a young warrior of Thyatian ancestry), his spiritual guide Corwyn Dioministre (Lawful 6th-level Cleric of Koryis, an aging priest of the Church of Darokin), and the charming Mallia ben Mousa (Lawful 6th-level Magic-User, a small 24-year old lady from Tameronikas, Ylaruam, who met Ernest on the Isle of Dawn and has fallen in love with him but is still not sure of the man’s feelings toward her).
Personality: Ernest is cheerful and good-natured; some people refer to him as “goody two-shoes”, and he indeed lives up the ideal of a paladin of Koryis even if he is one no more. He is usually seen doing something good - helping a maiden across a muddy spot in the road, feeding a lost puppy, or cheerfully tipping a beggar. Well-meaning and pious, Ernest has none of the “holier than thou” attitude of many paladins and clerics - quite the contrary, his past mistakes have taught him a good deal of humility. Ernest is strictly lawful and loyal, and will stay by King Ericall’s side unless he believes his liege has turned evil. Ernest likes his retainer Mallia ben Mousa and knows her feelings, but is still unsure about marrying a woman this much younger than him; he is otherwise attracted to women with an exotic look and showing martial prowess, and in this phase of his love life he could be tempted to court any such lady (one of those could be his fellow pretender Allisa Patrician).
Goals: Ernest has come to Norwold to establish a bastion of hope and peace in this cold northern land; through omens sent by the Immortal Koryis to his companion Corwyn Dioministre, he has learned that Norwold will soon need his presence to preserve peace, and he is more than eager to do his part. Ernest has also learned that a low-profile cleric of Koryis named Finnister McAlister is one of King Ericall’s personal advisors, and is looking forward to meeting him.
Dominion Choice: Ernest would like to chose a dominion in an area where he can protect an important road or trade route, or where he can act as mediator with a foreign realm; he does not fear braving the wilderness of Norwold to form his dominion.
Special Features: Ernest is quite skilled with the use of the normal sword and the lance; on the battlefield, he appears as the typical armored knight, frowning on long range weapons he considers unworthy of single combat between honorable adversaries.
Relevant Possessions: Normal sword +2/+5 vs chaotic beings (named “Peacekeeper”), plate mail +2, shield +2.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, Mystaran Almanacs, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta, Tharquil’s homepage (http://www.oocities.org/Area51/Shire/7837/jdr.html; in French; not available anymore on the web).
Fergus the Justifier
Valorous and just Vestlander warrior and jouster
Lawful 15th-level Fighter
Str 15, Int 7, Wis 12, Dex 17, Con 14, Cha 10
Appearance: 32 years old, tanned complexion due to sun exposure, large and muscular (6’2” tall per 213 lbs.); Fergus is handsome, with neck-long light brown hair, mustaches, and dark blue eyes. He likes to wear practical clothes of good manufacture and simple jewels - even if most of the time he is seen around wearing his magical plate armor fitted with a full barrel helm.
Background: Fergus Yorath is a native of Dunadale; his Dawner family belongs to the landed nobility of Dunadale and is related to the local Alphatian Lunn family, and to the region’s governor, Tastagarth. Fergus had not an ounce of talent for wizardry, was not even of average intelligence, and neither was he very pious, so even the priesthood did not suit him - all this was very disappointing for his family, who hoped he could become part of the elite of the Alphatian Empire. Being quick-handed and strong, Fergus was reared to become a good fighter, and for a time he served as a palace guard for Tastagarth, even adopting the surname Lunn for himself, but in time understood that the Alphatian Empire was not the place where he could become rich or famous. He therefore left for the Known World, travelling there for nearly ten years and visiting most of the civilized countries. For a time, he settled in Vestland and he became so fond of the Northern Reaches that he elected Vestland as his new homeland. In Vestland he became a hero, recovering a large Modrigswerg treasure and winning several tournaments. During the last tournament he won in Norrvik, he heard news of the land rush started by King Ericall in Norwold, and - being that the northern kingdom was quite like the Northern Reaches in character - he decided to travel to Alpha and have a look, with the prospect to finally settle down and try the challenge to run a dominion.
Personality: Fergus is a loyal and noble character who wishes to incarnate the ideal of the heroic warrior - he is fair, true to his word, and in Vestland has the fame to harbor a great sense of justice - hence his nickname “the Justifier”. Once he pledges his loyalty to King Ericall, he will be on his liege’s side even in the direst of circumstances. Due to his lack of sharpness, however, Fergus can be easily fooled or swayed by rumors, prejudices, and by the sly words of quick-witted agents of foreign powers.
Goals: Fergus has come to Norwold to establish his own dominion and start a new phase of his life: until now he has been a very successful wandering knight, but he is now eager to put his skills to the test in the matter of ruling. He will strive to build a prosperous dominion, putting his honor and that of his king first, then the welfare of the realm as a whole.
Dominion Choice: Fergus will choose a dominion which reminds him of the Northern Reaches - on the coast or near the sea, but with mountains at its back. Wherever his dominion happens to be, he is ready to tame the wilderness in order to carve it out.
Special Features: Fergus is a great rider and as soon as he establishes his dominion is likely to keep a stable with some precious and valuable horses. While he is very good at jousting on horseback with full armor and lance, he is as skilled with the longbow (he is also a great hunter) and - despite his large build - very swift with the sword in melee.
Relevant Possessions: 20 arrows +1, longbow +2, normal sword +3, plate mail +3, shield +2.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, CM2 Death’s Ride, CM3 Sabre River, M1 Into the Maelstrom, Mystaran Almanacs, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Geoffrey of Heldann
Fugitive priest of Frey from the Heldannic Territories
Lawful 15th-level Cleric of Frey
Str 10, Int 10, Wis 15, Dex 11, Con 17, Cha 9
Appearance: 40 years old, tall and imposing figure (6’1” tall), well-built (168 lbs.), his body bears some marks from past battles; Geoffrey has deep blue eyes, long and disheveled brown hair (now turning gray), and is clean-shaven. He usually wears his armor but when he does not he prefers plain and comfortable tunics and vests.
Background: Geoffrey was born as Guðfriðr Baldursson to a Heldanner family in the town of Grænthæð - renamed Grunturm by the Heldannic Knights - in the recently-conquered Heldann Freeholds. Faithful to his family and his people’s traditions, Guðfriðr resented the foreign Heldannic rule, and devoted himself to becoming a worthy godi of the Immortal Frey. During his youth he adventured in his native region, but found most of his good efforts thwarted by the Heldannic Knights; his constant efforts to help the sick and the poor in his country, however, brought him both a good reputation among the Heldanner commoners and a power the Hattian overlords began to fear. Thus, when his fame became widespread, he was forced to go into hiding. Thereafter, he worked to build a network of followers, mostly young priests, with the aim to stir up the population and overthrow the Heldannic rule. Despite his work, Guðfriðr discovered with disappointment that the Heldanner commoners’ will to fight the Knights was not as strong as their fear of dying. Moreover, the Eyes - the Heldannic Knights’ spies - were still trying to capture Guðfriðr’s men, and - if a rebellion did not break out - the risk for his followers to carry on underground activities in Heldann was becoming far too great. So, Guðfriðr decided to leave Heldann for Norwold, in the hope of diverting the Eyes’ attention from his followers at home and that the Kinghts’ reach would not dare follow him into Alphatia’s territories, thus allowing him to build a new life as a leader and hero in Ericall’s realm. To part with his previous life, Guðfriðr decided to assume the name “Geoffrey”, a Dawner-like variant of his name the Alphatian court will have less difficulty to spell. He comes to Alpha armed with little funds, but a lot of experience; he also brings with him a small band of rangers, fighters, and priests of Frey.
Personality: Geoffrey is a serious, intense man, ferocious and awesome to behold in combat, but capable of great tenderness and kindness in times of peace. He spends much time quietly meditating by himself, and listening for the will of the Immortal Frey. Geoffrey despises the Heldannic Knights and every power devoted to violent conquest and oppressive rule; he is confident in Ericall’s goodness and hopes that his kingdom will be very different from what he has heard of the Alphatian Empire. Geoffrey will stay true to Norwold’s people first and foremost, supporting the king unless Ericall mistreats the region’s native peoples or allies with the Heldannic Knights - an unlikely event at best. A last note regarding his name: he currently uses the name “Geoffrey of Heldann” for himself, and dislikes being called “Geoffrey of Grunturm” or “Guðfriðr of Grunturm”, as these are the names with which his Heldannic would-be captors call him.
Goals: Geoffrey hopes to win some respite from the Heldannic Knights in Norwold, in order to devote himself to build a prosperous seat for a church of Frey in the region, and to go on quests and adventures to improve the welfare of local people. Geoffrey would also like to marry and have a family, something he had always longed for but has never been able to achieve.
Dominion Choice: Having abandoned the hope of an Heldanner uprising against the Hattian conquerors, and wishing to put as much land as possible between him and the Heldannic Knights, Geoffrey will choose a domain located in the northern region of Norwold, possibly in an area of hills or wooded hills which reminds him of his homeland.
Special Features: As a priest of Frey, Geoffrey is skilled in the use of the long sword and of the dagger, and often makes use of those weapons, wielding his magical mace mostly against tougher opponents of undead. Geoffrey is quite able to call his Immortal’s divine powers to heal, cure, feed, and protect other people, and is likely to put them to use to benefit the subjects of his domain.
Relevant Possessions: Mace +3/+5 vs undead, plate mail +3, shield +3.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, CM2 Death’s Ride, CM3 Sabre River, M1 Into the Maelstrom, Poor Wizard’s Almanacs I-III, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Fierce, elf-hating mercenary captain from Hattias
Neutral 18th-level Fighter
Str 16, Int 16, Wis 9, Dex 13, Con 18, Cha 14
Appearance: 33 years old, large and muscular body with a hardy physique (6’4” tall per 214 lbs.); unpleasant appearance, with a very square face, bald head with brunette short beard and mustaches, sunken hazel eyes, weathered skin from time spent under the sun, and scars of past injuries all over the body. Hanz always dresses in military uniform, and in combat he dons a dreadful horned full helm; his favourite weapons are two magical hand axes he wields at the same time, which gives him a demonic look on the battlefield.
Background: Hanz was born on the island of Hattias, Thyatis, the lesser scion of a local noble landowner family. Still a boy, he joined a Hattian brotherhood of knights - the Order of the Black Swan - as required by his upbringing; however, Hanz’s arrogant character earned him the displeasure of the order’s leaders, and he was eventually banished from it. Then he left Hattias and entered various mercenary units, fighting alongside the Thyatian army in the Hinterlands and on the Isle of Dawn. After some time, his prowess earned him enough respect, wealth, and fame to allow him to set up his own cavalry mercenary unit, the Thundering Hoofs. During the clashes around Helskir between Thyatis and Alphatia, Hanz joined his forces with those of Shariskan - another mercenary leader on the Thyatians’ payroll (see his description below) - and the two became friends, with Hanz soon becoming Shariskan’s right arm. Some time later, after the end of their contract with Thyatis, they decided to head for Norwold to offer their mercenary services to King Ericall in exchange for a dominion.
Personality: Hanz is full of himself and does not easily tolerate anyone overshadowing him, unless that person possesses power and rank higher than his own - in fact, at the moment Hanz only respects his colleague, Shariskan and will likely disregard orders and commands coming from anyone else (including King Ericall, unless the latter proves able to keep Hanz in line). In general, Hanz is extremely disrespectful toward peoples of lesser stations, and he considers both his soldiers and his future subjects as dogs - to be sufficiently fed and ruled through fear. Hanz also feels a deep racial hatred toward non-humans and demi-humans, elves in particular - his secret favorite hobby has always been finding elves to hunt, capture, torture, or sell on the slave market. He also likes to do a lot of martial and physical exercise on a daily basis. Differently from his ally Shariskan, Hanz does not worship Alphaks, but does not despise the Immortal either - he is just uninterested in religious matters and only cares to pray to those Immortals whom he thinks could favor him in a given situation; anyway, Hanz has no love for Arkias, who he knows is a priest of Alphaks, meddles with the undead (something he does not like at all), and more importantly has Shariskan’s ear.
Goals: Hanz and Shariskan want to offer the service of their army to Ericall and get a dominion as pay. According to their plan, Shariskan will try to get a bigger slice of land, and then will cede a part of it to Hanz and another to Arkias as vassals; this means that Hanz’s domain will be close to his colleague’s. Hanz plans to use his mercenaries and dominion to increase his own and Shariskan’s power - for the moment under the banner of Ericall, but eventually on their own. He will follow Shariskan’s policy toward the king as long as it proves profitable to him; if later Shariskan will prove weak or of no more use, Hanz will not hesitate to dispose of him and of his sons, and take control of his lands and soldiers.
Dominion Choice: Hanz will not take part directly to the Great Land Rush. He will take whatever part of Shariskan’s land his friend bestows him; if available, he will try to get an area near a Foresthome, in order to practice his favourite sport against the elves.
Special Features: Hanz is quite skilled in fighting with two hand axes at the same time, both on foot and on horseback, and looks like a formidable foe in the midst of a battle. Hanz also commands the Thundering Hoofs, a unit of 200 battle-hardened heavy horsemen wholly made up of men coming from Thyatis and the Isle of Dawn.
Relevant Possessions: Brooch of protection +1, hand axe +3 of terror, hand axe +2/+4 vs elves, lance +2, plate mail +3.
Source: Tharquil’s homepage (http://www.oocities.org/Area51/Shire/7837/jdr.html) in French; not available anymore on the web.
Seductive, pleasure-seeking Thyatian sorceress
Neutral 15th-level Magic-User
Str 12, Int 17, Wis 11, Dex 9, Con 10, Cha 15
Appearance: Good-looking, 28 years old, tall (5’10”), with light tan complexion, and a curvy figure (150 lbs.); blonde bobbed hair, alluring amber eyes which add to her overall sensuous look. She likes wearing skimpy clothes - usually in combination with her magical cloak to wrap around her body, and with elegant jewelry - to distract and embarrass people around her.
Background: Isabella was the third child born into a family of lawyers and landowners in Kantrium, Thyatis; after being apprenticed to one of Kantridae’s local mages, she caused a sexual scandal which severely embarrassed her family and ruined the marriage they had planned for her. Thus Isabella ran from home at 18, travelling through the eastern Known World and alternating dirty jobs for money to adventuring. From time to time she also furthered her arcane studies under available or bribable mentors, or in universities in Tel Akbir, Tameronikas, and Newkirk. Always in need of money, a couple of times she seduced wealthy men in order to put her hands on their money (through legal methods or theft) - most of which she quickly squandered in lavish parties, costly pastimes, and various pleasures. Wanted in Thyatis for fraud, she moved to the Northern Reaches but, during an unfortunate adventure in Soderfjord, she was trapped inside a cursed ruined castle, until a group of adventurers freed her some weeks later (in this occasion she also seized the staff of Naglfari from the spirit of the ancient sorcerer who had kept her trapped). After some adventures together further north, they grew quite close and decided to head to Norwold under the leadership of Isabella herself to establish their own domain. Among her entourage is Zordak (true name Sergej Rovenscu, Chaotic 9th-level Thief), a very handsome wandering jester and rogue – who also dabbles in arcane magic – from Specularum, whom Isabella plans to employ as a spy once she has obtained a dominion.
Personality: Isabella is a pleasure-seeker whose main interest is gathering money to fulfill her physical lusts and desires; she enjoys flirting, tricking, and shocking other people, but she is also smart, rational, and cynical – fearing not to follow a course of action that others may consider wrong (such as hiring orc mercenaries as her army because they are cheaper, for example). She does not crave wealth, magic, or power per se, but only as means to achieve tranquillity and a comfortable status which would allow her to satisfy all her wishes.
Goals: Isabella wants to build a place where she can live together with her fellows, without too much to worry about and plunged into her pleasures. After becoming a dominion-ruler, however, she will develop a passion for political intrigue and for administration and finance as the means which allows her to gather money for her personal aims. She harbors no particular affection for Ericall and Norwold, and she will likely side against them should Eriadna’s scion happen to fall on the losing side of a conflict.
Dominion Choice: An area not far from civilization or existing towns, preferably on a coast, large river or lake; Isabella would rather choose a dominion in fertile plain terrain, with as few dangers as possible and far from known ones. Her first choice would be one of the small peninsulas or bays which dot the southern coast of the Great Bay.
Special Features: Isabella possess a wide array of spells learned while studying under various mentors and universities. She favors protection, transportation, and divination spells, with some added transmutation spells and self-affecting illusions; her attack spells are usually based on light, electricity or disintegration. Isabella is also quite skilled in the use of the staff, and she likes fighting in melee against lesser opponents.
Relevant Possessions: Armband of strength, broom of flying, cape of night and fire, ring of protection +1, staff of Naglfari.
Source: NPC from Simone Neri’s own campaign.
Noble warrior from Wendar in search of fame
Lawful 16th-level Fighter
Str 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Dex 11, Con 13, Cha 12
Appearance: 42 years old, light skin tone, short but sturdy (5’7” tall per 141 lbs.); he is balding on top of head, but keeps short black hair (now greying) on its sides. James has round blue eyes, a slightly upturned nose, thin lips, and is clean shaven. He favors rich clothing and jewelry which make easily known and highlight his noble heritage.
Background: James Essex is the last scion of the Essex noble family, an Anglais clan who dwelled in Glantri before the “Light of Rad” (AC 859). Defeated in the subsequent uprising against the ruling wizards, the Essex took shelter in Wendar and lived in exile in the country’s southern reaches, marrying into local human clans and soon giving up the hope of overthrowing the Glantrian magocracy. James was raised in the family mansion and trained in the warrior tradition of his ancestors, learning swordplay, jousting, and horse riding. Quite fond of the elven culture, during his youth he went adventuring with a mixed human and elven party in the Northern Wildlands, on the Adri Varma Plateau, and in the Wendarian Ranges, gaining fame and wealth from his deeds. He later married and started a family, but the prospect of inheriting the family’s sparse fortunes in Wendar did not appeal him. When his father died five years ago, James started making plans for leaving the country and setting his home in a place where the Essex could again win recognition and glory. The chance to move came the last year, when James heard news of the incoming Spring Fair at Alpha, during which King Ericall of Norwold would award dominions to worthy candidates. Leaving the family possessions in Wendar to his lesser brother Ywain, he traveled to Norwold’s capital city with his wife Morwenna (Chaotic 9th-level Thief, a 37-years old shrewd courtier from one of Wendar’s human noble clans), one son and a daughter (respectively 3 and 7 years old), his cousin Wymond (Chaotic 7th-level Fighter) with his family, and two dozens of retainers between servants and guards.
Personality: James likes to be the center of attention, be it at court, at a feast, or during combat; he enjoys ceremonies, banquets, parties, and social events, and dislikes being alone. With others, he is courteous and amiable. Despite his flexible lifestyle which has allowed him to manage his life successfully until now, he sometimes makes serious mistakes in judgment due to superficiality, and his easygoing ways give him a poor control over the members of his family and his allies. James is an honorable man and will not turn his back on the king unless there is some very good reason for that (and high personal profit could be one only if King Ericall has behaved badly or poorly toward him).
Goals: James wants to raise again the fortunes of the Essex family, building a strong dominion in the untamed region of Norwold. Determined to put aside his days as an adventurer and local hero, James will put all his efforts on the task of ruling, wielding his sword only to lead his army and hosting as soon as possible tournaments and feasts to establish alliances and ties with other Norwold lords. He does not realize, however, that the purpose requires much more skill and intelligence than bravery in battle and social grace.
Dominion Choice: Wishing to build a prosperous dominion, James will select an area which he thinks promising from the resources perspective and not excessively far from civilization; he would particularly like an area on one of the great rivers of Norwold, and near the region’s majestic mountains.
Special Features: James is a skilled knight, able to fight both with the lance and with the longsword; when fighting on foot against lesser opponents, he usually prefers to use his magical battle axe in order to maximize the damage he can do on his enemies. Besides his magical shield, in battle he usually dons his beautiful suit armor.
Relevant Possessions: Battle axe +2, dagger of the gianthunter, “Gemstone’s Bane” longsword, ring of loved ones protection, shield +1.
Source: D&D Companion Set.
Deranged Darokinian inventor and tinkerer
Neutral 15th-level Magic-User
Str 11, Int 18, Wis 11, Dex 14, Con 15, Cha 12
Appearance: 40 years old, fair-skinned, medium height (5’9” tall); Knolimer was thin and wiry as a youth, but now age has added some pounds to his frame (174 lbs. weight). He has blue eyes and shoulder-length dark-hair, beard and mustaches with a blaze of grey both on the temples and facial hair. Knolimer usually sports a knowing smile. He favors modest (almost beggarly) robes, with sleeves often rolled up above the elbows to keep them out of the way of his tinkering.
Background: Knolimer was born into a mercantile family of Favaro, Darokin, affiliated with House Pennydown. Being the third son of the family with scarce chances (and will, for that matter) to inherit the clan’s fortunes, he devoted his brilliant but disorderly intelligence to arcane studies, soon becoming fascinated by what kind of fantastic devices magic was able to power. Knolimer studied magic in various Darokinian universities, even attending the Great School of Magic in Glantri for a while, and used what he earned through adventuring and selling of his magic skill for hire to further his studies. As soon as he was able to gather sufficient funds, he set up a laboratory where he began experimenting with a bunch of new arcane inventions and ideas. His family came to consider him a weird person, whose extravagant and curious inventions were sometimes of use, but who was best left uninvited to social events. At last, Knolimer managed to convince House Pennydown to buy one of his inventions, but the thing malfunctioned, doing great damage to one of the house’s assets and most of all to the Knolin family’s reputation. Knolimer had to pack his things and leave the republic before the wrath of his family and of House Pennydown. This was about ten years ago. He then adventured for many years, having to leave on paper many interesting inventions he would have liked to create, and carrying behind him a cart half-filled with half-completed or ready-to-be-sold minor magical trinkets. During those years he amassed enough money to consider establishing a new laboratory somewhere. He chose Norwold, where King Ericall was about to grant lands to skilled candidates willing to rule a dominion, and headed there together with some adventuring companions of the previous years, like the wandering paladin Ethendril h’Caramore, Shebb Woolsey (see his own entry), and Unice Ethans (Lawful 15th-level Fighter, a Dawner swordswoman from Septentriona with an obsession for pink things); the latter then became romantically attached to him and the two plan to rule their future dominion together.
Personality: Knolimer is an odd character, a genius resembling in every way a deranged scientist completely out of the real world, a true volcano of strange, innovative but unusual ideas which make sense only in his own mind. The surprising thing is that his inventions almost always function - which has something to do with his great intelligence and his deep understanding of magic - albeit sometimes with comic or nearly-futile effects. Unfortunately, he produces so many new ideas that he often halts his work on his previous projects to devote himself to the newer ones - with the result that he leaves many of his would-be creations in a half-completed or unfinished state. When he comes out from his tinkering fury, Knolimer is a kind man, sensible to the problems of others, and a good friend in times of need.
Goals: Knolimer wants a place where he could store the bunch of magical creations he drags behind him, and set a laboratory, forge, and library for his own arcane experiments. He will attend any other duty with scarce enthusiasm, and will be disinterested by politics and court matters. Obsessed with his inventions, and quite disorganized, Knolimer will be a less than adequate dominion ruler, but will try to catch anyway his subjects’ love by sharing with them his adventuring income.
Dominion Choice: Knolimer will likely choose a place along a trade route, where it would be easier to get the materials needed to establish a keep and a fully-equipped laboratory; he is not worried by the fact that this way his dominion could be in the core of action: he plans to let his mate Unice handle all the political and military work.
Special Features: Knolimer’s specialty lies in his skill to produce seemingly-futile magical trinkets, and putting them to some use. His creations are in line with the style of those which can be found in AC11 Book of Wondrous Inventions. Alchemy, transmutation, and energy spells are those he likes most and finds more useful for his work. One of his lifelong commitments is understanding the nature of time and how to alter it. Among his most (in-)famous creations is the thyme machine, which dates back to his Darokinian times, an item able to release in a place a pleasant scent lasting for years. His current project (still mostly in his mind only) is that of building an item inside which to grow one’s clone at an accelerated rate.
Relevant Possessions: Ring of protection +3, vest of protection AC 2, wand of lightning bolts.
Source: M5 Talons of Night.
Crafty Ierendian corsair in search of a new home
Chaotic 20th-level Thief
Str 10, Int 12, Wis 11, Dex 18, Con 15, Cha 10
Appearance: 33 years old, tanned complexion, not very tall (5’6”) and lean (126 lbs.), with black hair worn short, a very thin mustache, and beady light green eyes. He usually shows a smiling and crafty expression. Longtooth usually wears clothings in black or dark red, often including a leather surcoat and a large plumed hat.
Background: The Ierendian corsair “Longtooth” is in truth Longinus Dolichodon, a master spy from the Thyatian Empire. Longinus was born in a lower class family of Port Lucinius, Thyatis. Since he was a boy, his sleight of hand and natural stealth helped him survive in the seedy dock neighborhoods of his home city, swelling the meagre wage his father (a marine in the imperial fleet) brought home. Through his father, Longinus was proud of his nation’s military power and longed for the day he would have contributed to it. However, never fit for the life of the soldier, he took another path, becoming part of the underground criminal world of Port Lucinius; he swiftly rose through its ranks, but eventually secretly sold out all his criminal colleagues to an ambitious and influential judge (whose carrier would have lifted off thanks to the capture of those criminals) in exchange for a ranking within one of the empire’s secret agent corps. First he served as an agent of the Treasury Guard, then as a member of the Speculatores, the branch of the Thyatian military specialized in reconnaissance and espionage. After a short but extremely successful career in the Speculatores, Longinus was selected as one of the Agentes in Rebus, the elite spies of the Thyatian Empire. In his new capacity, he received from his superiors an important mission concerning Norwold: he had the task of building a Thyatian spy network in that kingdom. Longinus worked hard and long to build his cover for the mission, setting up the identity of a Ierendian corsair, “Longtooth” - so-called because of a large giant sea serpent tooth he bears as a lucky charm around the neck; he even had to take to the sea for quite a time and form a true pirate crew. Then last year, Longinus received word from Thyatis to set off for Norwold and take part in the Spring Fair. He arrived in Alpha with his corsair ship, manned by a colorful crew - which includes both real pirates and Thyatian spies - with the alleged purpose to establish in Norwold a new home for his pirate colleagues and put aside his life on the seas.
Personality: As far as Thyatian agents go, Longtooth is rather evil and even more treacherous (Thyatians would say “skilled”) than the average Thyatian; he is proud of the trust Emperor Thincol has placed on him for this task, and will do anything he can to carry it out successfully, reasoning correctly that this is the chance of his life for his career in Thyatis. Despite his treacherous personality, Longtooth is utterly loyal to his Emperor and homeland, and will never betray them; however, he is not a fool nor a fanatic: he will rather flee to fight another day than die for the Empire.
Goals: Longtooth is Thyatis’ key secret agent in Norwold. A professional spy, his task is to subvert King Ericall’s rule by attracting as many noblemen as possible to the Thyatian side and hindering the others, in preparation for the time when the empire will be ready to launch a military invasion of Norwold. To this end, he will establish a dominion in Norwold and use it as a base for his covert operation. He will try to befriend most of the lords at different times, doing his best to persuade them to join Thyatis and to infiltrate the courts of all the lords loyal to Alphatia. Anyone who gets on Longtooth’s bad side is likely to be visited by a squad of master spies during a moonless night; while these agents are looking primarily for magic items, they do not rule out murder, in particular if the target has greatly angered or insulted Longtooth. While Longtooth’s operation is quite extensive, he does an excellent job of covering his tracks - if a lord catches a Thyatian spy in his mansion, he has a very difficult time linking the spy to Longtooth.
Dominion Choice: Longtooth will choose as his domain a coastal area, with as much access as possible to other dominions - and an easy way out of Norwold if things go awry; the choice of a coastal area is also consistent with his corsair cover identity.
Special Features: Longtooth is lightning swift when fighting with the sabre (or sabre and dagger - his favourite combination) and when firing with the longbow with marksman-like precision. He is a master of non-magical disguise, stealth, and infiltration, and has at his disposal conspicuous funds from the Thyatian Empire to carry out his task, as well as a number of expert spies and agents (all Thieves, plus some Fighters and Magic-Users, of level 9th-16th).
Relevant Possessions: Leather armor +3, longbow +3, normal sword (sabre) +4 (named “Sharkfang”), ring of protection +3.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, Mystaran Almanacs, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Swindling and thieving Karameikan exile
Neutral 16th-level Thief
Str 13, Int 10, Wis 15, Dex 17, Con 10, Cha 14
Appearance: 36 years old, good-looking, with light tanned skin, medium height (5’7” tall) and buxom figure (139 lbs. weight); Lucci has light blue eyes, and luxurious, straight brunette hair tied in an attractive-style long ponytail. She favors rich and costly silk garments in black and yellow, and is quite fond of jewelry, but switches to more practical clothes when adventuring or “on job”.
Background: “Lucci” was born as Lucilia Dhay in Sambay, Sind, daughter of a Sindhi merchant and of a Thyatian woman from Specularum; after her father’s death, her mother relocated to Karameikos’ capital city to be near her family, craftsmen affiliated with the Goldsmiths’ Guild. During her youth, Lucci learned jewelry crafting, became a skilled trader, and also delved into less honest activities she practiced as a member of the Kingdom of the Thieves; she also crossed swords a couple of times with the agents of the Iron Ring. After one of their major slave trade operations had been ruined by Lucci, the Iron Ring struck a secret deal with the Veiled Society to have Lucci framed for the murder of Duke Stefan’s advisor Krollan (AC 991, in truth the Veiled Society itself was behind the assassination). Lucci, seeing no hope of clearing her name, resolved to flee, but before leaving the grand duchy she managed to rob one of the Iron Ring’s masters of a large sum of money. With the Iron Ring’s agents behind her and thirsty for revenge, she had to flee from one country to another between the Known World and the Seas of Dawn, eventually managing to shake off her pursuers after some years, all the way earning a living through smuggling, swindling, and thievery. One year ago, she heard news about the Kingdom of Norwold and the incoming Spring Fair, and she headed there to try to establish a stable home. After many years of silence, Lucci - hoping that the Iron Ring had by now given up the search for her - wrote a letter to her family in Specularum giving them an update about her current whereabouts and status. Unfortunately for her, the letter was accidentally intercepted by the Iron Ring, who might still send some agent in the faraway north to dispose of Lucci and avenge the damage and insult the thief did to the organization more than ten years ago. Lucci is accompanied by her best friend Nefere (Neutral 11th-level Magic-User), a Thothian archaeologist and scholar of her homeland’s past who came to Norwold to inquire about ancient Thothian traces in the north.
Personality: Life has taught Lucci to live for the moment, to be flexible and independent. An accurate person, she always strives to get her job done with skill and precision - but she hates unnecessary violence, and her best weapons are stealth and subterfuge. In relationships, Lucci is a sociable, kind and empathetic woman - but she is also wary of others: in a group she lets other speak and stays quiet, keeping her personal opinions secret and being neither a leader nor a follower. Once she speaks, however, she is genuine and what she says is usually what she feels or thinks. Lucci would like to start a family, but she will not until she feels safe and stable enough, and until she finds a person she loves and trusts.
Goals: Lucci is tired of watching her back, and sincerely hopes that Norwold will be the right place - huge, wild, and faraway - to avoid being spotted again by the Iron Ring. In any case, the region offers plentiful places in which to hide and - in the meantime - to practice her crafts. Lucci wants to be a ruler committed to her tasks, but will also try to augment her treasury with smuggling and thievery against the most arrogant, oppressive, or rich noblemen. She considers Ericall a good man and will not betray him for personal gain - unless her personal safety or that of those she loves is at stake.
Dominion Choice: Through trading with them foreign goods, Lucci would like to get support from local native people in order to obtain help, protection, and a cheap army. She deems that the horsemen tribes who live in the steppes north of the Great Bay would be the best target of her policy, so she will try to get her dominion there, in an area controlling one of the trade trails which reach Autuasmaa from the south.
Special Features: Lucci’s specialty lies in swindling and smuggling, activities at which she’s a real expert. In combat, she tries not to kill her adversaries unless they are too dangerous, mindless, or monstrous. One of her favourite tactics is to entangle her opponents with her net (flying by surprise with her magic carpet, if possible) in order to capture them as prisoners or simply keep them out of combat.
Relevant Possessions: 12 arrows +3, flying carpet (large enough to carry 10 persons), leather armor +3, longbow +1, net (small) +2, normal sword +3, ring of protection +2.
Source: M2 Vengeance of Alphaks.
Stern crime fighting cleric of Tarastia from Darokin
Lawful 15th-level Cleric of Tarastia
Str 12, Int 9, Wis 18, Dex 9, Con 11, Cha 15 (12)
Appearance: 37 years, attractive, fair complexioned, medium height (5.5’ tall) and strong build (132 lbs.), with wavy, long light brown hair and hazel eyes. Despite her looks, Magdalena often has a distant and slightly haunted expression, as she takes many of the world's injustices onto her shoulders in an attempt to correct them. She usually has a serious manner about her as well, and these traits combined make some people slightly uneasy in her company (for such people, use the Charisma score listed above in brackets as opposed to the full score).
Background: Magdalena was born in Darokin, and had the misfortune of being orphaned at the age of seven. She was subsequently taken into care by a small convent of the Immortal Tarastia, and eventually became a cleric within that order's ranks after showing much promise at a relatively young age. She moved to Akorros at the age of 23, where she served as a local judge in matters of family dispute, and earned a reputation for being wise and fair in her decisions. During those years, she was so successful in hunting down lawbreakers that her name is still feared by certain criminal fraternities based in Darokin. However, she also began feeling dissatisfied by the way the people worshipped her patron Immortal, paying lip service to her or praying to Tarastia only in times of need. So, she left Darokin with some adventuring friends, and after some travels and adventures she eventually came to King Ericall's court in order to carve a dominion of her own in Norwold. Among Magdalena’s old adventuring comrades who followed her to Norwold are Varlius Olavich (Lawful 12th-level Fighter), a halfblood Karameikan who Magdalena plans to employ as captain of her guard, and Mylissia Leafglade (Neutral 10th-level Elf), a carefree Alfheimer wood elf who will serve as Magdalena’s court magist. Arriving much sooner than the Spring Fair during which the king will award dominions, Magdalena has already had the opportunity to meet some of those who will participate in the Land Rush.
Personality: Magdalena has a reputation for being righteous, determined to bring about justice and difficult to deceive. From her Darokinian upbringing, she has also developed a keen business sense. Magdalena is definitely truthful, a trait which enables peoples to easily recognize her goals and aims, and to strike fast friendship with like-minded people - or to make enemies of differently-disposed ones. Among the characters she met during her recent stay in Alpha are her friend Sandralane of Glantri - a cleric with whom she shares a similar outlook of life - and Longtooth, who Magdalena thinks is up to no good, even if she has no proof of this yet. Finally, soon after meeting her, important characters at Ericall’s court (likely Beriak Alanira or Madiera, at the very least) will successfully identify her as a useful and trustworthy ally in bringing civilization to Norwold.
Goals: Magdalena has come to Norwold to establish a domain which closely follows the Immortal Tarastia's tenets, in order to bring about justice and exact revenge against those who propagate evil. She also wants to build a prosperous dominion, and to this aim Magdalena will try to strike trade deals and establish trade routes with the merchant houses of Alpha.
Dominion Choice: Magdalena has spotted a couple of locations on the northern coast of the Great Bay, directly north of Alpha, which could be good places to establish her dominion (and to carry out her trading plans for it) due to their close proximity to Alpha. If none of those places turns out to be available, she will first resort to choosing any other location on the northern coast of the Great Bay, or otherwise any coastal site of the bay itself.
Special Features: Magdalena has all the abilities of a powerful matriarch of the Immortal Tarastia. Besides that, she also has a knack of sensing imminent danger, which has led to at least one assassination attempt failing miserably. Some say she is touched by the Immortal Tarastia herself in this regard.
Relevant Possessions: Boots of speed, plate mail +2, ring of protection +1, shield +1, sling +1, warhammer +2.
Source: Vaults of Pandius (Matthew Fleet).
Rich, independent-minded Darokinian fighter
Lawful 19th-level Fighter
Str 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Dex 15, Con 15, Cha 17
Appearance: 38 years old, lightly tanned skin tone, average height and build (5’9” tall per 165 lbs. weight); Maltus has black straight hair worn to the neck, mustache, and light brown eyes. He is in good shape and usually seems younger than his actual age. Maltus favors expensive and form-fitting clothes.
Background: The second son of a Magistrate of the Borderlands in Darokin, Maltus was trained as a warrior at his father’s castle. He joined the Darokinian army as a cavalry officer for a short but intense time, being stationed in some of the most dangerous posts in the Republic - Fort Nell and Fort Hobart. Then, he worked as a guard commander in caravans that crossed the Broken Lands, the Alasiyan desert, and the Great Waste. In those years he also adventured quite frequently with a group of close-knit companions, and in his spare time Maltus enjoyed Darokin City’s social life and court life at his family’s castle. He had more than one liaison with various women in those years, but never resolved to quit his life and start a family. After many years, he had amassed a large fortune which would have allowed him to buy a Magistrate position in Darokin of his own; however, Maltus did not like at all the meddlesome attitude of the Darokin government, preferring instead to settle in a quiet, remote location far away from bickering and backstabbing politicians. Therefore, he decided to head for Norwold to attend the upcoming Spring Fair in Alpha and win a dominion in that northern region. He is accompanied by some of his former adventuring Darokinian friends, who will serve as his advisors once he will have established a dominion: Guy of Brad (Lawful 11th-level Fighter, his second in command during Maltus’ time in the Army), Maryan of Halls (Neutral 10th-level Magic-User, a magician of some skill), and Jarred Nowell (Lawful 14th-level Cleric, a patriarch of the Church of Darokin who disliked all the politicking going on in the church).
Personality: Maltus has a somewhat military mind, and wants things done as he commands or plans, is a perfectionist and does not tolerate conflicts against his authority by those who must obey one possessing his rank; thanks to his leadership ability, this is not usually an issue. For his future dominion, he will then be also an efficient and caring ruler, intelligent enough to think of innovative solutions for new problems which may arise. On the other hand, his self-assurance makes him also a quite independent-minded character: he will be loyal to the king, but will demand a good degree of autonomy in the management of his fiefdom. Maltus has never thought to start a family so far, but things are likely to change once he will have stably settled in his domain.
Goals: Maltus wants to get a land which he can carve out of the wilderness as he sees fit, a place where he would rule as he pleases without having to submit to heavy external influences. To him, the young Kingdom of Norwold seemed perfect for his goal. Once settled, he will devote all his skills and time to the development of his dominion.
Dominion Choice: Maltus will chose a remote location for his dominion - one of the small wooded valleys which dot the mountainsides of Norwold’s interior will particularly appease him, especially if they include some lakes, which he loves.
Special Features: During his career, Maltus has become an expert of the Darokin fencing style (rapier and main-gauche with light armor), but later he has gradually switched to combat styles more suited for heavy armor. Anyway, even now Maltus prefers using his broadsword one-handed, while leaving his off-hand free while on foot; he uses the shield (in combination with the lance) mostly when fighting from horseback.
Relevant Possessions: Armband of absorption, “Benefactress” broadsword, boots of wall walking, plate mail +3, shield +3.
Source: CM2 Death’s Ride, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Powerful magic-armed adventurer from Westrourke
Chaotic 15th-level Fighter
Str 15, Int 11, Wis 8, Dex 13, Con 13, Cha 11
Appearance: 26 years old, brown skin, very tall (6’3”) but slender and gracefully-built (181 lbs. weight), facial features which recall his Nuari maternal lineage. Mark would have wavy black hair, but regularly shaves his head and face. His round, night-black eyes and his appearance remind those of a predator ready to strike. Mark likes to dress in combinations of contrasting colors, in particular black and white.
Background: Mark was born in the sparsely-inhabited Sveikassli Woods (north of Newkirk, in the Grand Duchy of Westrourke), the son of a native hunter and brigand, and of Simakoko, a beautiful Nuari spellcasting woman who had fled the Pearl Islands for some misdeed and had come to hide in this outlying corner of the empire. Mark’s father died fighting against the orcs of the Dust Reaches, but Simakoko was able to assume the control of his brigands behind the scenes by charming her husband’s liutenant and becoming his lover. Mark grew in the shadow of his puppeteer mother, feeling an unhealthy attachment to her and a fierce jealousy toward her lovers. After some time, the count of Viksdalen (one of the lesser dominion-rulers of Westrourke) won a series of skirmishes against Mark’s brigands; Simakoko secretly met the count, seduced him, and persuaded the man to take her and her son to his castle in exchange for the location of the band’s lair; his mother had convinced Mark that this was the only thing to do to survive. While Simakoko became the count’s concubine at Viksdalen, Mark grew at his court, learning to fight, to ride, and to behave as a courtier. When he came of age, he also went adventuring and after some years he joined the company of the young Thrainkell Firestorm, the son of the archduke of Westrourke, which earned him some renown in the north. Three years ago, Simakoko killed the count of Viksdalen during a quarrel; the archduke wanted her brought to justice, but Mark stood in defense of his mother, routing the guards who had been sent to arrest her. Thrainkell, defying his father’s orders, confronted Mark in a duel, but was badly beaten; as a consequence, Mark robbed his former friend Thrainkell of a powerful magical sword made of black steel that the two had previously found together. Mark fled with his mother first to Helskir, then to the Alphatian side of the Isle of Dawn, where he had many more adventures, selling his services as bodyguard, sellsword, and mercenary - all the while using his earnings to grant Simakoko a decent lifestyle. Then, hearing news of the incoming Spring Fair in Norwold, his mother persuaded Mark that settling there as dominion ruler would be a good opportunity, and they headed for Alpha. Mark arrives in the king’s capital together with his mother Simakoko (Chaotic 11th-level Cleric of Masauwu, a still comely Nuari woman in her fifties), a couple of her servants, and the Thyatian Sophria Nusenius (Neutral 8th-level Magic-User), former member of Thrainkell Firestorm’s group and Mark’s lover since a short time before his duel with his friend.
Personality: Mark is totally dominated by the influence of his mother, for whom he feels an attachment so strong that he will do almost anything to protect and please her. Recently, however, the presence of Sophria - who despises Simakoko’s control over the man - has augmented Mark’s internal conflict: on one side he loves Sophria and would like to emancipate himself from Simakoko, on the other he feels an irrational fear of separating from his mother. Simakoko and Sophria dislike one another, and both are in their own ways fighting a battle for the control of Mark - how this will end and for how much time Mark’s emotional stability will be preserved is still to be seen. Apart from this, Mark is quick-thinking and very much self-confident, sometimes to the point of foolishness; he could be sentimental, but sees this as a weakness - to the disappointment of Sophria.
Goals: Mark sees Norwold as a good place to settle down, gain a ranking among Norwold lords, and eventually build a family with Sophria; indeed, the story of his victorious duel against archduke Donegal’s son already earned him some popularity among the Alphatian noblemen. Unfortunately, they are not Mark’s aims which matter, but those of his mother. The malicious and scheming Simakoko actually wishes to turn the Kingdom of Norwold into a hotbed of intrigue and treachery of which she will pull the strings; she plans to use charm, seduction, false promises, illusions, and disguise to make other lords her puppets and turn them one against the other - a situation from which her son would emerge as the winner; obviously, Simakoko’s main issue is keeping control of her son against Sophria’s influence. This means that Simakoko will lead Mark to exploit to his own advantage the eventual struggle between Thyatis and Alphatia over Norwold, misleading others through treachery if necessary. While Mark knows his mother worships some sort of native Nuari Immortal, he is still not aware of the being’s entropic nature.
Dominion Choice: Simakoko will persuade Mark to choose a dominion in a central area with as much access as possible to the greater number of other dominions; any trait of the Norwold seacoast will purposely fit this description.
Special Features: Mark has gathered an amazing deal of unusual and powerful magic items, mostly found during his adventures in the the Northern Reaches, Heldannic Territories, Norwold, and the Isle of Dawn. Worthy of note is his magical black steel bastard sword, taken from the young Thrainkell Firestorm, which is also a relic of historical significance for Heldanners (see the weapon’s entry in the “Magic Items New and Unusual” section, at the end of the article). Mark is quite able at fighting with a number of weapons, including various swords and horsemen weapons, such as the lance, but he is not very skilled in ranged combat. Apart when jousting, Mark usually favors medium armor at best, as he does not like to be hindered by shields and heavier armors.
Relevant Possessions: Black steel bastard sword, mirror of enlightenment, plate barding +2, pouch of traveling, ring of magic resistance, ring of the Hunakoi, warhammer +1 returning of finding, white dragonscale armor.
Source: D&D Companion Set.
Max the First
Massive Darokinian fighter with dynastic ambitions
Chaotic 15th-level Fighter
Str 18, Int 12, Wis 13, Dex 11, Con 14, Cha 7
Appearance: 35 years old, light skin tone, very muscular, tall and massively built (6’ per 221 lbs.). Max has blue eyes under thick eyebrows and short, curly dark brown hair and mustache; his voice is deep, but unpleasant and easily-remembered by those who have heard it. When not going to combat, Max favors fashionable, pastel-colored clothes.
Background: Iulius Maxentius (this is his true name) was born in Julinius, Thyatis, into a family of master armorers who made good profits provisioning the imperial armies. Iulius learned and became skilled at his father’s craft, but longed for more action in life. When he was a boy, he was feared for his strength among his peers, and when he grew up he began selling his services as hired force and bodyguard to neighborhood bosses, innkeepers, and local traders. Later, to his father’s disappointment, he left the family business to his younger brother and enlisted in the imperial legions, serving there for ten years in various provinces, and also taking part in the early stages of the Hinterlands’ conquest. Despite his experience, Iulius was disappointed by his lack of advancement in the higher ranks of the Thyatian army, maturing the idea (somewhat right) that he was being outmatched by less-experienced peoples who knew high-placed persons, were sons or friends or noblemen, or who were well into politics. Then he left the army, and spent the next years adventuring alone and selling his services as mercenary, bodyguard, and bounty hunter to the highest bidder. Iulius was quite successful in his crafts and amassed quite a wealth, but his ambition pushed him to wish for something more. However, he was not rich enough to bribe someone to buy a nobility title in Thyatis, he did not belong to the aristocracy, neither he was he popular enough to win a senatorial election - so he had little hope to raise his social status in the Thyatian Empire. Then, Iulius heard news about the far northern Kingdom of Norwold, and correctly reasoned that this was a young and potentially rich land which could offer him more hopes to fulfill his ambitions. So, he embarked alone in his trip toward Alpha; knowing that the Alphatian King Ericall would not trust a Thyatian former army-man as his vassal, Iulius decided to pose as a Darokinian fighter under the name of “Julian Max” and to avoid bringing with him servants or henchmen who might betray his true identity or blackmail him.
Personality: Max is driven by overconfidence and ambition - he never liked to submit to individuals who, in his view, were far less skilled and capable than him. Once he loved his homeland, but with the passing of years he has realized that Thyatis was no better than other nations in unfairness and corruption; he has therefore resolved to live for himself, caring only for his own interests and not for what other people call their “loyalties”. Max is a competitive person, malicious and somewhat cruel, but his arrogance sometimes makes him daydream about future successes and lose focus on the current situation.
Goals: Max’s ambition is centered on one goal: establishing a dominion, starting a family, and begining his own dynasty - which one day, he hopes, will rule not only the Norwold region but even the whole continent of Brun! This is the reason why he attaches “the First” to his name in official or formal circumstances - he sees himself as the first of his future dynasty. With this goal in mind, Max will try to find as soon as possible a suitable mate (in the past he has had various transient affairs, none of which produced any children), to build a powerful dominion (mostly from a military point of view) and to gauge what opportunities arise in the near future: he wants to choose the best for himself, and he sees the likely conflict between the major powers over Norwold as full of opportunities for himself. Max will side with the one who makes him the best offer, regardless of his oath of fealty to the king.
Dominion Choice: Max will rather choose an accessible area than a wilderness one; a domain’s worthy capital must stand in a central area, with good fertile fields but also with few powerful rivals in the vicinity. Likely, if available, Max will choose to set his dominion in the coastal plains north of Oceansend (and not too near to the city).
Special Features: Normally, Max is a fearsome fighter, nearly unstoppable in combat and unrelentless in crushing his opponents. That is, until now. Max knows well that a dead man can father no children, and see the rise of no dynasty; so, in combat he seems a bit cowardly and unwilling to take any undue risk. Apart from this, Max is quite skilled both in foot and horseback combat; he is also an expert at intimidation, tailing marks, and jungle survival - even if it is some time since he last practiced those skills.
Relevant Possessions: “Enslaver” normal sword, heavy crossbow +2, plate mail +3, shield +4.
Source: CM1 The Test of the Warlords, M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, provisional writeup by Giampaolo Agosta.
Stubborn but unpredictable she-knight from Karameikos
Chaotic 15th-level Fighter
Str 16, Int 14, Wis 6, Dex 16, Con 15, Cha 15
Appearance: 31 years old, olive complexion, tall and with a wiry and tough build for a woman (5’11” per lbs.); she has straight, shoulder-length brown hair, and narrow grey eyes. Maximillian looks about five years older than her actual age, but people tend to find her a bit attractive, especially if they like square-jawed, manly women. She usually wears clothes in plain colors which sport some distinctive feature (an unique design, an elegant embroidery, and so on), but she is not as careful to tend to them, so they often appear crumpled or have dirty hems. On formal occasions and in battle, Maximillian wears a beautifully-carved suit armor with a fluted design, which is making her famous and starting a fashion among armorers.
Background: Maximillian Holt was the only daughter of a family of poor agricultural laborers who worked in a manor outside Specularum; her father’s family were natives of Septentriona, but had moved to Traladara in the early 9th century AC, while her mother was of full Thyatian descent. She lived her youth in poverty, but her life changed when, still a child, she stumbled by chance upon a lost ring of invisibility, which she used to find a neighbor’s lost child. The deed made her famous among the poor people living in the South End of Specularum, and Maximillian started to use her newfound ability to help people and humble evil or arrogant high-ups. During her youth, she was noted by a priest of the Church of Karameikos, who thought the girl had a great potential if only she could be directed toward a good cause. While Maximillian was enthusiast about the Church’s philosophy, the priest was soon disheartened by the girl’s fickleness and lack of will in pursuing a planned purpose. Under the sponsorship of her priestly mentor, Maximillian started an adventuring career which her superiors in the Church judged random and aimless - at one time she was even persuaded by the Cult of Halav to join their ranks before one member of the Order of the Griffon brought her on the “right” path! The latter introduced Maximillian into his knightly order, trying to strengthen her personality through tests and a friendly rivalry. Maximillian quickly became a skilled fighter and in a short time even surpassed her teacher, but her will had not taken any step forward. In the next few years, she became convinced that the order and the faith she belonged to were oppressing the Traladaran people; she suddenly left the Order of the Griffon and became a robber knight, sometimes in league with Traladaran rebels and conspirators. After having witnessed how the Traladaran families pulled the strings of what she considered the “resistance movement” against the Thyatians, only to increase their own power and wealth, she left for Darokin in disgust. There she served under many patrons and did many adventures, but came to hate the plutocracy and the ruling merchant elite for their lack of moral values. At last, she heard of the incoming Spring Fair in Norwold and decided to go there, to find at last a king and a cause worthy of her services or - at least - establish her own realm marked by righteous values.
Personality: Maximillian’s main trait is her unpredictability, which is due to a general lack of willpower. She is stubborn and tenacious in the pursuit of her aim, and has a competitive spirit which drives her in everything she does - the problem is that such an aim changes frequently, to the point that other people often think she acts in a totally random way. In fact, Maximillian is easily influenced - new ideas, opinions, suggestions, persons, cultures, philosophies, and religions can sway her from a stated course of action or from an order given to her; this does not mean she is a wimp, only that she is very changeable. As soon as the court of Alpha gets to know her, she will be known as “Mad Max” (short form for Madame Maximillian). Besides this, Maximillian - despite her chaotic alignment - is a good-willed person and will be a strong supporter of King Ericall (as long as she does not change her mind about him). Maximillian since her childhood has held a special fascination for magic items and for their powers, and will try to acquire or seize (depending on the owner and on the circumstances) an item of special interest for her.
Goals: Maximillian has realized that the modern love for money has ruined what she considers the great realms of the past (the Kingdom of Darokin, the Traladaran principalities, and the classical Thyatian Empire). She has left the Known World in search of a place where a new kingdom will be born according to values she likes - honor, courage, goodwill, strength of arms, and justice. She hopes that the new Kingdom of Norwold will be such a realm, and she is determined to become one of the kingdom’s leading noblewomen, to help King Ericall through her advice, and to establish her own dominion along the same lines.
Dominion Choice: It’s be impossible to know what sort of things might hit Maximillian’s imagination in the moment she will make her decision as to where to settle. However, given her competitive drive, she will likely choose a place in a wild and dangerous area of the realm, or near the dominion of another pretender she considers a rival.
Special Features: Maximillian is a formidable fighter, both on horse and on foot. Her mount is a huge black stallion named Blue. The weapons she likes most are the lance or sword and shield on horseback, or the two-handed use of a sword or a polearm on foot. She is also quite skilled in the use of the longbow. In battle Maximillian is relentless, and once she has resolved to enter a fight she has never been known to withdraw from it, determined to defeat her opponent or be crushed in the attempt. One of the most distinguishing features of Maximillian is her custom-made suit armor, fashioned in Newkirk, which sports a beautiful fluted design - within some time such armor design will become known as “Maximillian armor” after her.
Relevant Possessions: Five arrows +5, darkflame sword, dagger of the fool, halberd +5, ring of piercing.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Marco Dalmonte).
Alien, lawful ant-like creature in search of a liege
Lawful 18th-level Fighter
Str 18, Int 13, Wis 11, Dex 15, Con 18, Cha 8
Appearance: Ney is a 34-year old, 6’ tall furmy, an offshoot race of formians (see the box). Despite its bipedal posture, it remains very ant-like, with a body covered in protective black chitin, and a head that sports mandibles, antennae, and fly-like multi-faceted eyes. Without vocal cords, speaking is impossible, but with enough practice Ney has been able to use its mandibles to mimic a clickety approximation of human language. Ney is asexual, although as a warrior it is oftentimes addressed in the masculine gender due to local stereotypes. Ney wears at all times a tailor-made, magical plate and helmet above its chitin, and a set of four swords strapped on its back, to the exclusion of any additional clothes. Ney is quite the alien sight, even at an Alphatian court.
Background: Ney was a warrior specialist in the hidden furmy Mystaran colony, but during a hurricane was swept from its post and thrown at sea; it managed the feat of surviving both storm and sea, and was eventually rescued by a human ship - aboard which he met Arcadius, Celia, Siegfried, and Zoltan (see their separate entries). Not knowing how to find its way back to the colony, it eventually resolved that its original duty was over (the colony would promote a suitable replacement), and transferred its loyalty to its rescuers, accompanying them in their adventures through unknown lands, with strange peoples and customs that it was unprepared for. Living among them is a constant struggle for sanity, but Ney proved adaptable enough to survive this new ordeal. Once the group arrived in Norwold, Ney parted with its companions in order to personally offer its loyalty to King Ericall.
Personality: Like all its kinfolk, Ney was bred to be a loyal, obedient subject, but the loss of a clear hierarchy and chain of command has been trying. Yet Ney has been able to adjust in those challenging circumstances, proving its exceptional adaptability. Because of its nature, Ney still has a hard time grasping various concepts like money and property, prosperity and poverty, sale and trade, fame and power, sex, love, and family, lying, treachery, and treason, and many more, often causing it to make major blunders (more often than not at its own expense, but rarely even realizing it).
Goals: Ney is anxious and eager to swear fealty to a king, and finally have a clearly established, lawful overlord. The fact that it is a king, not a queen, is a bit troubling, not to mention that they are both chaotic humans, although the fact that Ericall ultimately serves an empress is a comfort. Ney wants to establish whether entering the service of the king is the right decision, but if it becomes liege to Ericall, it will be with binding faithfulness.
Dominion Choice: Ney has no preference for a dominion, and fails to fully grasp what becoming a ruler would entail besides bringing order. Whatever the king bestows will become Ney's domain, but if the king does not apportion, Ney will choose a random plot of land not too far from Alpha, one with some population, fertile lands and resources. In no case will Ney go against the king's wishes, nor against any councilor's, and it will certainly not fight other pretenders.
Special Features: Ney has specialized in a very aggressive four-handed combat, wielding a sword in each hand, making it a formidable warrior. But much to its dismay, this style does not mesh well with other, humanoid fighters, preventing formation fighting. Nor can Ney communicate easily with fellow combatants to coordinate tactics. Ney also benefits from infravision, and all-around field of view, a strong natural armor, a good resistance to poison and spells and mental attacks. Ney fears fire and water and cannot swim (nor float), and is generally hindered by its difficulty to communicate effectively, its lack of comprehension for many common sense concepts, and its unwavering sense of loyalty and duty. Having no concept of private property or personal possession, as whatever is necessary is freely available from the hive, Ney only keeps what it deems useful, and nothing else. It also takes whatever it needs without regard for its owner, although after years spent among humans it has determined that this is not always acceptable behavior, though when it is or not still baffles Ney. Whomever it associates with for a long period learns to deal with this idiosyncrasy by allowing Ney to take whatever it wants and keep the rest, which is not always such a bad proposition, as Celia knows. The only things it keeps are his armor and four swords; both Ney’s armor and swords are alien in appearance, and fashioned from an unknown, glittering, extremely hard and sharp kind of mineral. Its armor is custom-made to fit Ney’s odd shape. Ney does not keep coin or jewelry, nor does it understand money.
Relevant Possessions: Four normal swords +5, plate mail +5.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Hervé Musseau).
Monster Type: Monster (Very Rare).
Furmies are humanoid equivalents of normal ants that stand upright on their two hind legs and uses their four front limbs as arms, giving them a more humanlike demeanor. Furmies are an offshoot, less hive-minded sub-species of the formians, which breeds only individuals, each with their own personality (no drones) in order to be more adaptable in the settling of new worlds. An adult furmy is about 6’ tall.
They normally live together in “anthills” called colonies. Furmies are asexual; the queen only lays eggs that are hatched into mature furmies according to the colony's needs (the eggs need one year before they can be hatched, but can then be stored indefinitely). The first eggs laid (generally between a couple and a half-dozen) are queen eggs, while all other eggs are normal furmies.
A furmy's eyes are multi-faceted like those of a fly, granting it 60' infravision and a 360° vision - which means what, unless it is blinded, a furmy cannot be surprised. Its chitinous black carapace grants it a natural armor, while its four upper limbs allows it to wield a wide variety of weapons and shields (most warrior furmies are ambidextrous and can use a great variety of tactics with perfect dexterity); if no other choice remains, a furmy will defend itself using its mandibles. Furmies are resistant to spells and poison (getting +1 to saves against those attacks), and are immune to charm effects. Furmies can communicate empathically with each other when within 60', or telepathically when in contact through their antennae. A furmy can double its movement rate by running on it six limbs.
Furmies have a tremendous sense of loyalty toward their queen and their colony. They will typically sacrifice their lives for the greater good of the colony. This does not mean that furmies have no personality and are mechanical, instinct-driven creatures like ants, quite the contrary, just that their scale of value would appear alien to most sentient creatures. Most furmies are of Lawful alignment, and in fact eggs are normally scried for chaotic tendencies before hatching-and eggs that would bear potentially unstable individuals are destroyed mercilessly. Each furmy is born with its future decided for it in advance; the colony provides it with all it needs, including training for its position in the society. Most furmies are simple workers (farmer, craftsman, etc.), some are warriors, while some are bred for wizardry or priesthood or other important positions; thus, furmies of all classes and levels can be encountered. A furmy's life span is about 100 years; queens generally live about 500 years.
All furmies have an instinctive fear of water, and will avoid crossing seas and oceans, or even smaller water bodies - there is no known furmy sailor. They also fear fire. Because of their strange look and behaviour, furmies will generally have a hard time meshing with other races - but that is something they rarely do anyway. Due to their physiology, they cannot speak the humanoid languages without a very strong accent (generally described as chopped and clicking, but the differences are actually more fundamental). Because of their nature, furmies have a hard time grasping various concepts like money, property, poverty, trade, fame, sex, love, family, lying, treachery, treason, often causing them to get into trouble - even if they hardly realize why.
Furmies are not native to Mystara, but from another world where insect-like creatures are the dominant form of sentient beings. One colony accidentally came to Mystara long ago, and though it is very rare, some of its members can sometimes be encountered. The exact location of the Mystaran colony is a secret no furmy will reveal to any non-furmy. The furmies worship the Immortal Furmy, allegedly the only furmy to have ever reached immortality, and the founder of their society as an orderly one. Though not native to Mystara and mostly uninvolved in its politics, Furmy grants spells to Its Mystaran priests.
Terrain Type: Cavern.
Renowned mighty champion and knight from Hillvale
Lawful 20th-level Fighter
Str 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Dex 16, Con 14, Cha 10
Appearance: 43 years old, rather attractive, large, tall (6’3”) and heavily-built (223 lbs. weight), with light skin, dark grey eyes, long and silky dark brown hair (graying, but he dyes it), beard and mustache; Niles likes to wear precious clothes in elegant style, favoring white and orange as colors, even if he seldom seems at ease within them.
Background: Niles was the fourth son born in a family of the landowning gentry in the countryside of the Kingdom of Hillvale, on the Isle of Dawn; his family migrated there a couple of generations ago from the Shadow Coast, where it had its roots. Young Niles wasn’t quite bright, but showed many physical qualities, and at the age of twelve was sent to be apprenticed as a warrior under his uncle, a famous wandering fighter, in order to be able to serve one of Hillvale’s prominent noblemen. Niles spent his adolescence travelling with his uncle, learning swordsmanship, archery, horseback fighting, and many more things. When his uncle finally became a member of the king of Hillvale’s guard, he acted as his squire for a time, then entered the guard on his own right after some years, performing quite well and demonstrating a high degree of loyalty in the missions which the king entrusted to him. When the old king of Hillvale died, Niles left East Portage and traveled around the Alphatian Empire, adventuring and working as bodyguard and personal champion for a variety of wizards and magic-using noblemen. His combat prowess earned Niles great fame and ultimately a job in Sundsvall’s Imperial Guard, where he met a younger and talented Torenal. After many successful years of service, at last he had to leave the Guard due to a scandal which burst out when he had an affair with a young and aristocratic girl from the imperial court. Niles traveled back home, spending the next years adventuring and serving under various kings on the Isle of Dawn. It was a year ago that he was reached by King Ericall’s emissaries, who - having heard tales of his valor - offered him the opportunity to earn a dominion in Norwold; Niles decided that time was right, and he left the Isle of Dawn for the cold north, journeying to Alpha to meet the king. In his travels, he is accompanied by his friends, Lorian Lazarok (Lawful 10th-level Fighter, from Hillvale) and Shevrashan (Lawful 7th-level Fighter, from Greenspur), by some servants, and by his very beautiful and young wife, Helga Dygmirian (Chaotic Normal Woman) - a 25-year old half-Common Alphatian and half-Northman woman from a noble Helskirian family. Helga’s father was killed during the recent fightings between Thyatis and Alphatia around Helskir, and she was forced by her brother to marry Niles, who had fought alongside their father; Helga was indifferent toward this choice at first, but gradually developed a dislike for Niles, whom she does not love, doing everything possible to embarrass him with her flirtatious and shameless behavior.
Personality: Niles is a truthful and stern person, used to obeying orders and staying true to his patron or liege - including his soon-to-be new king; however, his lack of cleverness makes him rather rigid in his behavior. Niles is also quite serious and shy, and while he is a great ally on the battlefield, he slowly becomes boring and dull during social events. Niles is greatly attracted to his wife Helga, and despite her disrespectful behavior toward him, he tries to do all he can to please her, often with distressing results.
Goals: Niles has come to Norwold to establish a dominion and build there what he could not build in Alphatia or at home; he wants to improve his reputation with the king and the other lords, and to this aim will try to make his dominion prosperous, hire a formidable army, enlist the aid of the best retainers available, and take part in as many tournaments, jousts, and festivals around Norwold as possible. He would also like to produce an heir with Helga, who on the other hand does her best to avoid getting pregnant by him.
Dominion Choice: Niles would like to choose a domain on Norwold’s eastern coast or along the eastern coasts of the Great Bay, areas with easy access to the Alphatian mainland and to the Isle of Dawn, where his and his wife’s families still dwell.
Special Features: Niles is a very skilled combatant with a variety of weapons, as required by one who has performed for years the job of protecting powerful wizards and noblemen. On foot, he favors sword and shield style, but he is also expert at fighting with two-handed weapons like his threatening poleaxe. Niles is quite fond of shooting with the longbow, but rarely uses this weapon in combat, and mostly only in archery contests and while hunting. On horseback, he likes fighting with lance and shield and is quite unstoppable while charging. Niles always wears heavy armor in combat, most often his magical suit armor, beautifully-crafted for him by one of his last Alphatian patrons.
Relevant Possessions: Longbow of marksmanship, poleaxe +2, shield +2, “Steelbreaker” longsword, suit armor +3.
Source: D&D Companion Set.
Shrewd and wary mage from Redstone
Neutral 15th-level Magic-User
Str 8, Int 16, Wis 13, Dex 13, Con 10, Cha 10
Appearance: 27 years old, fair complexion, tall (height 6’1”) but thin and frail (137 lbs. of weight), with light red hair - worn short, with a well-trimmed beard and mustache - and grey eyes. Ossian prefers to dress inconspicuously when he does not want others to focus on him, while he wears rich clothes which make his rank clear when he wants to soar above others.
Background: Ossian von Mereklar was born in Hattias, the son of a Hattian nobleman who wished his son to become a battle mage in the Thyatian army; thus Ossian was sent to the Collegium Arcanum in Thyatis City. Following his father’s will, after completing his training Ossian enlisted in the Thyatian legions, but discovered that military life was not for him because of his frail physique and the strict rules against which he had always struggled in his own family since being a boy. A year later, Ossian caught the opportunity to desert during a mission against a humanoid tribe on the Westrourke-Dunadale border on the Isle of Dawn, when he let his companions believe he had died during the collapse of one of the orcs’ caves. Then he renounced his surname and wandered the Isle of Dawn as an adventurer and problem-solver for hire, uniting with various fellowships but never becoming part of them for very long - his nature pushed him to never stay together with the same people for too long, and to never forge permanent ties to anyone. Pretending to be a mercenary wizard from Redstone, two years ago he joined the crew of captain Sieger von Duwn on the flying ship Silver Arrow, but when the captain announced his wish to establish a dominion in Norwold, he again left his fellow crewmen with the goal to arrive at Alpha on his own and obtain his personal dominion from King Ericall.
Personality: Ossian’s character is coy and mistrustful, always wary of other’s moves and on the look to discover their true motivations; this nearly borders on paranoia, as he often tries to put himself in an advantageous position over his fellows’ eventual betrayal, and to devise various plans to defend himself. He is intolerant of rules and orders others may give him, and the only person he truly trusts is himself. He bears no particular loyalty toward King Ericall (or anyone else for that matter, including his homeland), and will obey him only as long as it is advantageous for him, and as long as the king’s control over his vassals continues to be light-handed. While Ossian has parted on friendly terms from his companions of the Silver Arrow - Sieger von Duwn, Shuren, and others - he does not feel obliged to them, and will help or collaborate with them only when it suits him.
Goals: Ossian’s only goal is to finally find a place - his dominion - where others will obey the orders he gives them, and no one will control him anymore. He knows this is his chance to give a turn on his life, and so he is determined to build a powerful and organized dominion, to bath in intrigue, and to fight harshly his opponents - in a word, to do everything that is needed to reach his goal.
Dominion Choice: Ossian will try to set his dominion on the shores of the Great Bay or at least on its vicinities, in the attempt to stay near the capital of Norwold and still not be easily reachable just in case he may have to flee.
Special Features: Ossian’s character makes him appear almost fearful in combat; when the odds are against him, he is likely to exit the fray and save himself regardless of others. In combat he favors damaging long-range spells and illusions which may keep him from being directly involved in melee; he also tries to surround himself with more powerful companions who make him feel shielded from danger.
Relevant Possessions: Dagger +3/+6 vs dragonkind, ring of protection +4, rod of aerial might, tunic of shielding, wand of fireballs.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Marco Dalmonte).
Aristocratic Alphatian wizard from Randel
Lawful Large Gold Dragon
Str 17, Int 16, Wis 15, Dex 11, Con 14, Cha 18
Appearance: In human form, Quentin appears as a 45 year old Common Alphatian, of medium height and slender build (5’10” tall per 148 lbs.); copper skinned, with long golden, silver-striped hair and short, well-trimmed beard and mustache; his eyes are hazel and slightly slanted, deep and ever-moving. He wears a heavy, white brocade tunic and always carries a crystal staff whose top is shaped like a question mark (his staff of wizardry).
Background: Quentin Jax is in truth the alternate human identity of Jaq’antixuen, a 240-years old gold dragon. He is native of Randel, in the Alphatian continent, but started to haunt the Wyrmsteeth Range of Norwold about a century ago, becoming a leading personality of Windreach and of the Parliament of Dragons. When the Alphatians came again westward in AC 985 in another attempt at colonizing Norwold, the dragons of Windreach feared this would provoke another great war between the humans and the other dragons of the Wyrmsteeth Range, most of whom obeyed the authority of Mors Rufus, the red dragon ruler of the region. So, in order to avert this risk and keep peace in the area, they secretly sent Jaq’antixuen to Ericall’s court with the duty to infiltrate the Norwoldese nobility, gain the favor of the king, and eventually inducing him to keep the humans’ settlements out of the dragon’s sacred mountains. Thanks to his polymorphing powers, Jaq’antixuen thus assumed the identity of Quentin Jax, a rich Alphatian wizard coming from Randel’s countryside.
Personality: Jaq’antixuen is utterly loyal to the cause of the Dragon Nation represented by the Parliament of Dragons in Windreach. He, like his kin, feels invested by the Great One with the duty to keep at bay the risk of another full-scale war between humans and dragons – and if fulfilling this task means practicing some necessary deceit against humans or different-minded dragons, so be it. Jaq’antixuen is particularly wary of the powerful human magic-users who attend Ericall’s court (who might discover his true identity), and of the Wyrmsteeth dragons who regularly threaten peace indulging in raids and forays against the human lands.
Goals: As Quentin, Jaq’antixuen will try to persuade Ericall to grant him a dominion; he will make large use of gifts to the king and to other would-be noblemen and influential persons if necessary, through the riches supplied to him by Windreach. Once in place as dominion ruler, Quentin will continue using the wealth of his dominion to keep the king’s favor, and at the same time he will make fake shows of power against the dragons (with the compliance of Windreach’s leaders) in order to become Ericall’s front-man in Alpha’s dealings with the dragons. Quentin’s ultimate goal is to have the king publicly (and in written form, if manageable) agree to keep the humans’ expansion out of the dragon-dominated areas and to punish any trespasser. Once this goal has been secured, Quentin may even quit his identity as a nobleman with some excuse or explanation. If Quentin’s true identity becomes known, he is likely to silence the discoverer through bribe or blackmail first, resorting to harsher methods if no other way proves sufficient.
Dominion Choice: Quentin needs a dominion rich in natural resources, preferably in precious ores. He has already thrown his eye on the area south of Leeha, where the Ransarn River passes through the Giants’ Mountains – a place rich in gold deposits – and will make any effort to try to win it.
Special Features: The physical ability scores (Str, Dex, and Con) listed above refer to Jaq’antixuen’s human form. As a large gold dragon, he can speak, cast magic-user spells, and polymorph into animal shape – often assuming that of a bird of some type. In battle, Quentin makes large use of his magic staff, both in melee and to cast spells.
Relevant Possessions: Amulet of protection from crystal balls and ESP, ring of protection +5, staff of wizardry.
Source: Mystaran Almanacs (Marco Dalmonte).