Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: Heroes of the Empire Era

   Characters in the Empire Era listed below that include stats list their status as of 1,958 a.w., the default starting time frame of the Empire Era campaign.

Wormi (alias Wormie)   Wormi would not gain the honorific “Vellsoth” until much later after freeing Octzoron Andos from Quirak’s mind control decades later, so for most of this period he is simply known as Wormie the rogue, and a damned good one, or so he claims. His legend speaks of, among other things: becoming an avatar of the god of mischief (known by many names, including Wishupar) and wielding the legendary Broken Sword, a short sword that, when mended, contained the power to seal the rifts of the Abyss which chaos sought to open to invade the world once more under Xarion’s command; slaying or defeating multiple demon lords through clever tactics and trickery (Yeenoghu, Orcus, Demogorgon and Kostchie among others); slaying many great and evil wizards in this era (Macabath, Quirak and more), joining and then later taking control of the legendary Black Lotus thieves guild of Octzel, and countless other excursions and adventures. He is the possessor of the post powerful weapon known (though functionally the Broken Sword only releases such power when faced with equally potent chaos magic) and has a variety of useful magical tricks at his disposal, including a talking goat he steals from the Silver Fox pirate queen during his adventure on Porondor Isle.  In the Empire Era Wormie is still a devil-may-care mercenary rogue who has earned a nebulous reputation as a trickster hero and savior, but who has yet to become virtually deified and/or demonized as he will be in later ages.
Plot Seed: Wormie has been adventuring in Hyrkania for a couple years now and is currently active in 1,958 in the Hyrkanian port of Kymir, a city that is suffering under the conflict between three evil secret cults that are wrestling for control of the city. He has taken up a temporary position as an agent of the duke, in the service of Commander of the Watch Varimoth, to help quell the rising threat of these agencies. Wormie and Varimoth both need reliable foreign agents to help them , as they’ve already discovered that the city watch is corrupted by the various cults. See the “City of Kymir” for more details.

Swords & Wizardry Stats for Wormie the Thief: wood elf male age 68, Level 4/5 magic-user/thief; AL neutral; Str 10, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 17, Wis 9, Cha 12; Save 12 (10 vs. magic), HP 20; AC 14 (+1 Leather), mysterious magic shortsword (+5 broken sword; 1D6+5 damage; double damage vs. demons), ring of invisibility, cloak of feather fall. 
Thief Abilities: climb walls 89, delicate tasks 35, hear sound 4 in 6, hide 45, move silently 50, open locks 30; Backstab X3
Spellbook: all 1st level spells; 2nd Level: Darkness 15’, Invisibility, Knock, Mirror Image, Phantasmal Force, Stinking Cloud, Web, Wizard Lock 
Spell Slots: 3+1 1st level, 2+1 2nd level
Special: Wormie was chosen to be the Avatar of Hermes though he doesn’t know it at this time.

Gilrad Hyradson
   Gilrad, like other members of the company of mercenary adventurers he joins, ends up on the path of the avatar to stop Xarion and the invasion of the chaos armies of the Abyss with his allies Wormie, Phyxillus, Bard, Selen, Ookai, Garkonimus, Wiziz, Gimmel and Tulwar. Gilrad was a simple northman who came from the remote Steppelands beyond even the Dragonmounts where the Dragon Queen herself ruled. In his first few years in Hyrkania he befriends and earns the respect of many a soldier in the land, as well as his own company of adventurers, rescues the lady Phyxillus and later becomes one of her protectors as she follows her own destiny to stop Xarion, and ultimately falls in love with her. They marry and later inherit the empire from her foster father, a controversial event in itself, though during their short rule they do right by all standards. They eventually sire one son, who himself fails to live up to his parents’ aspirations and proves to be the first in a long string of lame duck emperors leading to the collapse of the empire by the War of Strife era a century later.  Gilrad was also the avatar of death, and was sent by the Nameless One to the god’s own tomb, to wrest control of his artifact weapon, Ryshelka (the greatsword “Ruby Death) from the corporeal remains of his Aspect from the War of the Gods era.

Phyxillus Usyllyses
   The adopted daughter of the Emperor, Phyxillus was a child of two royal lineages essentially, but destined for greatness by virtue of her actions in uniting a loose band of mercenary adventurers and Hyrkanian soldiers in to a meaningful force to seek out the means of stopping the vile Pharaoh Xarion in Galonia from shattering the Middle Kingdoms with his army of darkness. Phyxillus was charismatic and beautiful as well as a competent fighter; orcish soldiers in the service of Xarion’s apprentice Velvithron Sitor sought to kidnap her for ransom, though they ultimately intended to slay her, for Xarion knew in his visions she was a threat to him, and he was right. Phyxillus assumed the role of the avatar of Elisin, though in later years she passed her duty on to other elven women, and much later on in life would seek to reunite the shattered empire of Hyrkania; during the Empire Era she is a young, ambitious and skilled diplomat, mage and warrior serving her empire in the field of battle and earning the respect of her peers for such efforts. She might come in to contact with other adventurers with whom she would seek aid prior to the time at which she is kidnapped by Sitor’s cronies, or later on when seeking out assistance in various diplomatic or military efforts after the Dark War; during the war, she was instrumental in aiding the distribution of troops and resources when not traveling with Gilrad and Wormie to seek out Warenis’s lost staff.

Wiziz or Warez Burghest, alias Warenis, Champion of Order
   Going by various names of similar origin, the legendary Warenis Barghest is the true champion of order, the counter-part to the immortal ever-reincarnating Xauraun Vestillios (alias Xarion), and the one who, when united with his Staff of Wizardry, is able to counter Xarion’s own magic in the Empire Era, after which he apparently banished Xarion into oblivion, not to be seen again until the events that precipitated the War of Strife. Warenis, like Xarion, has nothing but vague dreams and hints of his own destiny and history over many lifetimes until reunited with the artifact (his staff) that aids him in remembering his many lifetimes of action and power. After Warenis defeated Xarion at the dig site of the Pyramid of Vestillios in Galonia he disappeared for a time, but eventually returned to the mortal plane after he had engaged in much soul-searching in other dimensions. For much of the remainder of the Empire Era, Warenis served his kin well, until he was at last brought down by age around 2,000 and laid to rest in Baloric Manor, near the Loroden Hills of Octzel. A century later his reincarnation would once again be escorted to find his sacred staff, allowing him to once again aid in combating the forces of chaos.
   Unlike Xarion, Warenis is much more peaceful and seeks to respect the natural order of the world. He has a “live and let live” approach to the universe, though he will aid those who seek to right wrongs, offering knowledge and direction on their courses of action. Though he might be the most powerful mortal in the world, he has never shown it save when dealing with Xarion, and Warenis seems to have accepted his lot as the immortal, reincarnating agent of order.

   This enigmatic warrior and minstrel went only by a nom de plume as to his own talents, though he was a known warrior and knight of the Emerald Order. He was assigned to protect Phyxillus during her adventures, though he eventually perished while protecting her near the city of Arkadin against an assault by dark elves and orcs seeking revenge for Xarion’s apparent destruction after the Dark War. It was never established as to what his real name or history was. Much later, during the War of Strife, he would return as a revenant to aid a new generation of heroes.

Ookai Greatgut
   Ookai was a deposed warlord (or so he said) and a terribly fat, gluttonous orc who might even have had some mixed ogreish heritage. He was a real card, and served as lackey and henchman to Wormi, Gilrad and their adventuring company for a time. He eventually returned to Mitra’s Forest and established a small tribal dominion for himself in the Chaos Mountains.

Selene Fairborn
   Selene was a dark-haired elf of mixed sylvan and silver heritage, and possibly a heretical member of house Shillnavillin, though this was never proven or demonstrated (that was recorded). She was one of the avatars chosen to opposed Xarion, and was believed to be the embodiment of the moon goddess Selene.

Emperor Anander Usyllyses
   As discussed elsewhere, Usyllyses was regarded as the last great and fair emperor of Hyrkania, succeeded only by his daughter, who married the foreign warrior Gilrad, causing great controversy at the time. He is at theapex of his rule in this era, a figure of power who will ultimately serve to unite the lands of the Middle Kingdoms against the tide of darkness that is ready to burst forth from distant Galonia.

Castor Grannen
   Castor Grannen was an ashtarth elf and servant of Sherzhade, though not yet in the Empire Era. During this period he is a young man of bearly thirty years (a child by elvish standards) who has begun the long hard road of study in the college of magic. He belongs to house Grannen, a loyalist house of Dahik, but fled as a youth with other ashtarth rebelling against the ashtarth villainies after the fall of lady Eremaska’s rule; he sought refuge with the Guild of Wizardry in Hyrkan’ien, where he has been ever since. He eventually befriends and becomes a close advisor to Gilrad in later years.

Saralys Nathylien
   Saralys was a wood elf who had settled in Hyrkanian lands, marrying a beautiful Hyrkanian woman named Etria, with whom he had two half-elf children. Saralys was devastated when the Dark War erupted and a horde of orcs slaughtered every man, woman and child in Nairainis, the castle in which his family lived, while he was serving as  a conscript in the Hyrkanian army, sent to defend the city of Arkadin against that exact horde. He grew cold and bitter and spent many years as a mercenary hunting orcs and other monsters in vengeance before he at last settled down and in later years met the woman Margda dann Malik (though he may have met others before her, having been fairly obsessed with mortal women).

Artemis Brightlore
   A bardic dedicate to Selene and Phonatas, Artemis was a young (90ish) musician and adventurer during the Empire Era, and known for having many youthful adventurers. Being a half elf, he was rarely content to settle in either human or elvish society (and his half elven silver kin found him too human for their tastes) though he did later get invited to join the order of the Protectorate, which he served well for many years.

The Dragon Prince Garkonimus
   Garkonimus, who was known simply as Gar, was a whelp when first encountered by Wormi and company in their adventures, but he was prompty taken in and raised as a member of their mercenary crew. Gar came to identify with humans, and as he matured in to a young dragon he developed a keen sense of protection for the frail mortals that surrounded him. He was instrumental in 1,980 and beyond during the rise of the Dragon Queen’s great war-flights and in opposing the destructive predilections of his own father, Drakonomus Smygaunis. Gar later learned he was son to the Dragon Queen herself, earning him the title of prince.

Dihralk Nephu (as a young fighter elf of about 55 years age in 1,960)
   Dihralk was born in to this era and served in various capacities during this time, but got his young career going in the service of  the dark elf queen of Dahik, Eremaska, whom he served as general to during the brief but tense conflict with the surface world, and then later fled after she lost the war and was deposed to avoid his own slaughter. He was subsequently caught by the northern clans of Plagistron and forced to fight as an arena warrior for several years before he escaped to the surface world. He would avoid returning to Dahik for another century, where memories ran long and his execution order was in place, bounty hunters on his tail.

Zigmund the Mishrag minotaur
   Zigmund was a dedicated priest of the subterranean minotaur cults that followed the teachings of the great Three (Amasyr and his sons, Ogron and Seth), whom he tried to teach to other beastkin and minotaurs, converting them away from the more destructive faiths of Wolfon, Baragnagor and Kathack. He was a friend and ally to many, including Wormi, whom he once saved the life of.

Nekronimus Damniskovus
   This elder dragon of purple hue preferred traveling in the human guise of a wizened old mage. He befriended or aided many adventurers in this era, including Wormi and the avatars who stopped the incursion of the Abyss around 1,980. He was an exile from the court of the Dragon Queen, a failed suitor who she grew tired of long ago, and so he was cast out on pain of death.

Galtarus Karan
   The founder of the city after his own name, Galtarus Karan was believed by many to be an extraplanar being who came to Lingusia with benevolent intentions, though in fact he was one of a fractious handful of surviving prehunates who had avoided detection by the gods for thousands of years. Unknown to many, Karan had been trapped in a form of suspended animation within his ancient fortress, deep in the Great Plains near the Sunk of Tarsus for millennia when he was awakened by tomb robbers and scholars looking for lost treasure and lore. He subsequently founded the academy of Karan, and which grew in to a city as it was along a favored overland trade route. In time, Karan became its own power and was recognized as such.
   Galtarus is perhaps one of the only prehunates to retain some semblance of a soul, or at least a sense of ethical propriety. He maintains a fondness for humanity and other mortals (even elves are mere mortals in the eyes of the prehunates) and while he find the gods vile, power-mad beings he does not fault them for their destruction of his own people; he regards the other surviving prehunates as little better than common criminals.

Hodon Systalien
   Hodon was a priest-wizard in the service of the lord of knowledge, Nistur, and said by some to have been an avatar of the god of knowledge; he is known to carry the sacred Staff of Nistur, though he would lend it out on occasion to other agents of the god when needed. Hodon was ageless even by elvish standards and was already regarded as venerable even in the Empire Era; he may have been the first immortal avatar, predating all other known or living avatars. He as a recent new member of the council of Twelve in the Empire Era.

Gimmel Goblinsmiter and Tulwar Ashkarvon
   This curious duo grew to be friends. Gimmel is a classic dour iron dwarf and avowed enemy of all goblins; Tulwar is a rough, lean orcish warrior who nonetheless was disenchanted with the dedication to anarchy of his people and sought more out of life. Somehow, these two have worked together as allies and became fairly notorious for such in their time. Both were known allies and henchmen to Wormi and Gilrad.

Duke Ruoso Gonn Aleric
   Ruoso was a prominent patriot and supporter of the Octzellan throne, and an well-known soldier and explorer in the Empire Era. He funded and led many expeditions in the the deep jungles of Amech, the isles of Karaktu and the Northern Wilderness in search of lost treasures and secrets. His greatest find was uncovering a Fountain of Youth in the Chigros lands of Amech, where he and his close allies Halshaggin and Sid drank deeply and so preserved their lives for an unusually long period of time (a century later the duke still looked approximately 50 years of age, though he was known to be nearly two hundred!)

Lord Daramon Gonn Sid
   Sid was a son of Palomar, but his dedication to scholarly pursuits kept him from becoming the duke of the province. He sought out many mysteries and was a premiere historian and antiquarian in this era, and often joined forces with duke Aleric in the search for hidden mysteries, including the fabled Fountain of Youth in Amech.

   The orcish warlord Halshaggin was an anomaly; his mercenary company of monstrous kin (mostly orcs, ogres, goblins and some bugbears and hobgoblins) were sworn to the service of Octzel when the Dark War erupted. He remained a loyalist to the crown and slew any member of his company that tried to defect on religious principles or even a taste of the power of chaos. Halshaggin was a consummate businessman and mercenary; he would likely have switched sides had sufficient money been offered, but such as never the case. For this reason, his mercenary band was among the few that were orcish yet fought against the dark tide. In later years his crew worked for many institutions and powers, but it became a matter of honor to never take up arms against Octzel and its king as Halshaggin was honorably knighted. He was a close friend and ally of both Lord Sid and Duke Aleric, and also aided them on their expedition to find the Fountain of Youth (from which he also drank); he lived well in to the 2200’s, it is said, before perishing after a wild night with an especially amorous ogress and too much drink.

Next: Villains in the Empire Era!

All text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved

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