Religious-Scholar NPCs from Around the World
by Giulio Caroletti
Have you ever needed a scholar NPC that could give clues to your PCs in religious matters? Tell them where to go to find an ancient shrine, especially dedicated to evil gods? Have you needed a famous and renowned scholar that your PCs may contact to find that information they absolutely need? Have they ever asked you "Where can I find an important religious scholar ?" and answered "Uh...eh...well, you know there is one...uh...eh...." ?
If the answer to one of the above questions is "Yes," well, here are some famous religious scholars of the Known World. The below profiles are written with AC 1010 in mind, but the story is quite detailed and it's easy to retrofit any information you please.
History: Robert Blake was born in Akesoli, son of a middle-class merchant and his wife. Robert was educated to become a merchant, but he refused this as soon as he was eighteen (989), and left home to become an adventurer. He lived for some time in Corunglain, entering the military garrison of the city and battling orcs from Thar now and then, but in the end he grew tired of this dull life and left the Republic (995), with the intent of travelling through the world, in the guise of a caravan guide. He reached Ethengar, Rockhome and Ylaruam; here he remained for some time, to study the language, and opened a small bazaar in the city of Tameronikas (999). After a couple of years, during which he studied the Namheh and other ancient religious tomes, he left for Thyatis (1001). There he has studied for some time geography and history, before leaving again for Karameikos in 1003, which he found to be not to his liking. He returned to Thyatis in 1005 and entered in contact with some religion scholars, and found finally something that really interested him. In the last years, Blake has been a fervent scholar, and has developed a good reputation in the scholarly circles, as an adventurer that is often involved in archaeological missions. His father died in AC 1007, so he has a good capital that he uses to finance his researches.
Personality: Blake is a strange man. He likes people, but has no true friends. He has many interests, but has found it too hard to follow just one of them, and has changed his activities from time to time, without finding his way. He hasn't been too worried about this, although it was strongly disapproved of by his father. He is sad about the fact that his father died without approving of his lifestyle, but now he has find something that is keeping him more busy. However, sooner or later he will probably change once again.
Appearance: Blake is tall, with black hair, kept long to the shoulders, a little wavy. He has dark eyes and a thin mouth, often smiling enigmatically. He is well built but not exceptionally strong.
Stats (OD&D, AC 1010):
Human Fighter 10
Str 9, Int 13, Wis 13, Dex 9,Cos 12, Cha 13
History: Rudolf Neuenberg is a common Hattian who has spent most of his life fighting against the Hattian way of life. He was born of a poor Hattian woman, and never met his father, who died of heart attack some months before his birth. This made him develop a fussy attention to his health and physical condition. The young boy entered the Temple of Vanya (981), but with the passing of time he became more and more weary of the closemindness of the Hattians. Hearing enthusiastic tales about the Heldannic Knights who were "forging a new nation based on real ideals in the north," Neuenberg went to Heldann and entered the Knights (988), just to discover that this land was even worse in terms of stiffness and bigotry than his own homeland. His years in the Knights ended soon (992), as he couldn't understand how they could pretend to be educated and speak of law when all they did was depredate like any other imperialistic nation had done. Very disillusioned about religion in general, and about the human race's view of life (brutal and short), Neuenberg returned to Thyatis after a long journey through the Northern Reaches and Ylaruam. His religious studies had led him to study the Inquisition and to learn much about forgotten cults and dark worship, so he became fundamental to the writing of "Dark Worship in Thyatis," a book written by Lorn and Alexander Penhaligon, two Thyatian scholars, that would be published in AC 996. During the years of his staying in Thyatis he also wrote a succesful book, "How to become stupid," subtitled "About the stupidity of Hattians in general, and of Heldannic Knights in particular," for which he was prosecuted in absentia and sentenced to death in Heldann, and for which he earned the hate of most of Hattias. After a couple of murder attempts, he decided to leave Thyatis, as he had enough of it. After having spent some time in Traladara, still collecting information on religion in general and especially on evil cults, Rudolf settled down in the Five Shires (AC 995), as he appreciated much their easy-going way of life. He has bought a house near Shireton and lives there, but sometimes he leaves to perform some research, especially in Darokin. He has married a much younger Thyatian woman, Marzia DeAngelis (born 983) in 1004, and they have a two year old son. He has refused to return to Thyatis for the Wrath of the Immortals War, saying that "there was no reason to join Glantri against Alphatia, and, disagreeing with this military intervention, I will remain here and watch." He has published some philosophical essays. In these, Neuenberg stated that a man should free himself of the common morality, and develop one for his own, no matter how wrong it can seem to the rest of the society and to other persons, at least until this moralism is his own, and not one he has borrowed from external sources.
Personality: Neuenberg is an uncompromising man who dislikes every tyranny, from the Empire of Thyatis, to Alphatia, to the masked plutocracy of Darokin. He is intrinsically anarchical, but hates violence. He likes the hin, but he also likes humans, although he thinks that most of them are ignorant, and thus they fail to see the right side of things. He respects religious men, but doesn't actively worship any Immortal, and doesn't likes some organized religions that would impose their limited view on things on others (so he especially dislikes the Kin and the Heldannic Knights, not counting the Storm Soldiers). He is a good speaker, likes an occasional bottle of wine (he is very resistant to alcohol), and has a very developed sense of humour. He is obsessive about his own health and physical condition, keeping himself always well-trained, because he is afraid he will die of a heart-attack like his father.
Appearance: Medium height, well built, with light brown moustaches and brown hair, although he has lost much on his front, and it begins to show hints of gray, and with deep blue eyes, Neuenberg is a beautiful man that seems almost ten years younger, and this without potions of longevity, although he has bought one and is pondering whether to use it, and when.
Stats (OD&D AC 1010):
Human Fighter 10
Str 16, Int 12, Wis 13, Dex 13, Cos 14, Cha 14
Alignment: Chaotic Good
History: Allan Clarke was born in Akorros, son of a poor fisherman and his wife. The young boy entered the Army when he was only 13. After some years his superiors noticed his intelligence and sent him to be trained as a diplomat in the Darokin Diplomatic Corps (981). While receiving a good education, Clarke understood that his real inclination was toward religious studies, although not as a cleric...in AC 992 he left the Corps and began to study the connection between popular folklore and religion, and became increasingly interested in the Way of Elves, and in the faerie world studying, collecting, through long and dangerous voyages through the Known World and Norwold, many tales of the wee folk, ancient popular rituals and tales. He has written several books, among which the most recognized by the scholarly community is "Breakdown", in which he deals with the origin of meks and the possible implications of meks with weird long-dead cults. In AC 1004 he re-joined the DDC, to help his nation during the difficult times of the war against the Master, but then he was mostly involved with the elves' problems after the shadow elves' invasion. He has since spent most of his time travelling from Wendar to Darokin, trying to help Doriath's claims to Alfheim and working for the benefit of the elves. This attention toward the elves is not too liked by the DDC, who would prefer him to think more about Darokin's own pressing problems.
Personality: Allan Clarke is a scholar, but now he is very worried by the shadow elves' presence on the surface. Among the many tales he has collected and studied, he has paid a lot of interest to the tales regarding the shadow elves, but even he considered them a distant and legendary threat. He is a merry man when he doesn't let problems overshadow his life. He likes drinking and spending time in company, is lazy when something doesn't interest him too much but is very precise and efficient when he decides to perform some task. Clarke is also a very good singer.
Appearance: Allan is a tall man, although a little overweight. He has black hair, but he is beginning to bald, and beard, the latter showing some hints of grey. He has an overall sad look, a little embarassed, in his green eyes, and has a small nose that emphasizes his merry face.
Stats (OD&D, AC 1010):
Human Fighter 7
Str 11, Int 16, Wis 12, Dex 9, Cos 13, Cha 11
Alignment: Neutral Good
Copyright (c) 2001, Giulio Caroletti. Used by permission. All rights reserved.