Maltara, God of Disease

Other Titles: Brother Bloat, the Lord of the Flies, Pestilent King
Alignment: LE
Weapon: Callused Fists

Major Domains: Disease, Recovery, Constitution
Minor Domains:Weeding out the weak, Anatomy, Carrion
Totem Animal/Warform:  Great Lizard/Monitor Lizards (The Warform is composed of Stone, Wind, Lightning and gems)

Holy Symbol: A bloated, pustule covered tongue with a rusted nail piercing it.

Favored Appearances: Maltara tends to walk the world rarely, and when he does it is an ill tiding among many of the peoples of Kasan. Were he travels, disease and death follow, and many do not survive his presence. Those who do describe a particularly horrifying form. His hair is falling out in great patches on his head, leaving the rest of it a patchwork of short dark hair and scabs. His wide, flat face is covered in rashes and blisters, his bloodshot eyes bulge from his head,  his teeth are rotten and his breath fetid. The skin on his arms and legs split, oozing a viscus type of ichor that slides down and drips from his fingers and lingers in his footprints. coughs punctuate his sentences and  breaths, spreading his captured diseases. His body, no matter the outward signs that it should be on deaths door, is fit and strong. His callused fists are hard as bone and the arms are muscular enough to do significant damage with them. His legs easily gobble up the land in long, powerful strides and grant him surprising agility for a person in his condition.

both forms have the same basic appearance, though he walks the world as a human in his female form and as a halfling in his male. In both forms his preferred garment is that of the robe of his priesthood, a brilliant green and bone. When trying to pass undetected, he walks with the hood up and quietly, though his coughing breaks through. When embodying a plague to walk the lands, he walks with the cowl down, his brilliant yellow eyes betraying his diseased Nature.

Personality: Despite all his appearances and the suppositions many have about him, Maltara is a jovial being. He enjoys talking the finer points of the merits of civilization, the best methods of recovery from illness, and how best to stave off an early grave. Pleasant and charming though he is, he is relentless in his pursuit of a better and stronger world, as he sees it. He desires to infect the world with all the plagues that he can create and foster, so that only the strong survive to worship him.  He is ruthless to those he feels are weak, however, and feels no pity or mercy when they die or fail, doing his best to expedite it whenever possible. He does this, as one would expect, through a series of diseases, set up in an order that tests every possible angle of weakness and vulnerability. Those who approach him and survive this ordeal become his most chosen servants. Those who do not are discarded, dying a miserable and terrible death.

Teachings: The body is the door to the soul, and the soul must be strong in order to prevail in this terrible world. You cannot expect the world to be kind to you, so you must be unkind to it back. Maltara is both the god of diseases and the god of recovery from disease, so it is in his ultimate control over who lives and dies from his disease. Most times, however, he will leave it up to your body to determine your fate, and if you were young, old, or infirm, it is extremely likely that you will perish. This is done to make the world a stronger place, one where disease is all pervasive but everyone is strong enough to fight it off.

Abode: Maltara lives in the Deep Fens, on the border with the Accursed territory of the Iron Marches. His army of hearty soldiers and strong, disease ridden veterans are the front line in the battles against the Accursed. Maltara takes a very specific pride knowing that, many times, it is simply him and his hand picked warriors standing between the Accursed and the complete annihilation of the Paltonarchs.

Clergy: The Clerics of Maltara tend to the ill and dying, watching over them when their families will or cannot. Though their god may not assist the diseased, he has no problem with his clerics taking his recovery aspect of his portfolio to heart. What does not kill one, only makes them stronger. Many of his clerics are immune to the plagues that wash over the land, having been exposed to them many times over, though they also tend to breath out the very corruption they seek to save in others. As carriers and healers, they function ans the perfect vessel of paradox as their master. Most Churches of Maltara are located well outside of the towns and cities they serve, keeping their deathly services far from the population at large.

Knightly Orders: The Contagion Legion is a strong and powerful warrior cult centered on the Malataran principle of hearty constitution and infection. The order seeks out orphans and trains them riggorusly in the ways of a strong body, and then when they are strong and fit enough, they expose them to the myriad of contagions that they harbor.  Those we are weak either die or are exiled, and In their weakened condition, many of even those who survive to be exiled perish. Those strong enough are welcomed into the legion and are sent on missions vital to the god of Blight.

Clerical Attire/colors: The Clerics of Maltara prefer to wear the colors of their god, a simple and vile green color that evokes illness and bile. These clothes are often trimmed in a bone and cream color  around the wrists and cowl, along with parallel stripes running down the center of the chest. Additionally, at the highest of ranks, they will pierce their tongue with a shortened nail to show their dedication to the god. Many die, but those who live are the most vaunted of priests.

Followers: Most of Maltaras followers are priests, able to hold disease at bay or even be completely immune to it.  There are a few barbarian tribes and warrior cultures who worship disease, but they are few and far between.

Driim, Accursed of the Moon

Other Titles:  Moonglow, Tidemaker, Wisperer, The Great Mischief

Alignment: NE

Weapon: Hook Swords (Kamesh and Vesheth, the two moons)

Major Domains: The Moon, Tricks, Curses

Minor Domains:  Tides, Secrets, Riddles

Totem Animal/ Warform: Owl

Holy Symbol:  A white medallion, with a single cresting wave in the center.

Favored Appearances: Driim is a solitary man,  not prone to visiting the material world. However, when he decides to visit, it is generally to wander quietly, escaping the chaos of the Iron Marches.

In his male form, he is round and smooth, a hairless and harmless man. His face is round, with even rounder features. his bulging eyes are creamy white, as if blind, though he seems to see just fine regardless of the light quantity or quality. His cheeks are prominent and round and has a bulbous, pockmarked nose.  His chin is swallowed up in his neck, the rolls of fat nearly obscuring it.  He wears a meticulously cleaned large, single piece hooded robe, a light nearly white blue. His hood is pulled over his head, his arms crossed within its enormous sleeves and the waist tied under his bulging belly with a white dyed rope.  He speaks in riddles and puzzles, as though he knows a great deal more than he lets on.  When pressed, he may speak succinctly, but it is never his preferred form and is almost always caustic.

His female form is only slightly less offensive, though this time it pulls in the opposite direction. Still clothed in the blue-white robe, She is hairless and emaciated, bony arms jutting out at sharp angles, with a skeletal face and the same milky white eyes, this time sunk deep into her eye sockets. Her nose is long and also pockmarked, and an angular chin cuts her face sharply off. When she speaks, her fetid breath wafts out, lending all of her speech a final, deathly air.

Personality: Driim is dry and boring, though he loves to deceive people into making a fool out of themselves, calling his mischief simple tricks. Those who are deceived by them are obviously to easily duped. He speaks in riddles and obfuscation, tying his sentences into knots for other to unravel. When crossed and tricked himself, he easily and causally tosses dreadful curses at those who have wronged him, bringing ruin and suffering onto them and their family. He cares not about the collateral damage that he commits, finding it simply the justice that they have brought onto themselves. At his very best, he is secretive and closed. At his worst, he is a devastating deliverer of undeserved curses and unearned misfortune

Teachings: Driim teaches that the world is a dark and terrifying place, and that even in the light of day, there are those who are betrayers and turncoats around every corner. Fool them, make them look like what they truly are. Curse them so that their deeds will reap the repercussions that they so rightly deserve, and keep your secrets dear, for only that which you tell no one is truly safe.

While this seems to embrace a certain state of paranoia, there is an underlying current in the teachings that make it known that these people should be exposed, and that they should, at any chance, be forced into admitting their faults. The moons are always around and know the absolute truths. What they know, Driim knows. Swearing to the Moons is still held to be the most binding of oaths, even though he is an accursed.

Abode: Driim lives in the White Sanctuary, a castle made of marble and alabaster deep within the Accursed territory in the iron marches. Here, his legion of slaves cleans the corrosion of the plane from his walls, scouring away at them night and day. His dedication to maintaining his colors even here is fanatical, even though her rarely entertains visitors.

Cultists: The Cultists of Driim are dour, sour folk who are known to spew curses and diatribes against those who have wronged them. They stick to the edges of society, seldom forming into groups, afraid to reveal their secrets to anyone, even each other. They do like to commit little tricks to flummox the towns and cities they live in, and some towns are said to be moon cursed if they experience to many of these ill fortunes. a Coven of Moon Cultists will conspire to bring down the leader of their town or city, citing him as a false leader and aspiring to replace him with one of their own. They keep well to the shadows, however, secreting their allegiance and their ultimate goal.

Clerical Attire/colors: Simple blue-white robes and clothes are preferred, though they are not required. Some prefer to wear a simple moon disk, but many times they will have the holy symbol on the reverse of an expected and well revered church in the area, as well, defacing and desecrating the symbol.

Followers: Thieves and Wizards, along with Warlocks and barristers all can gravitate towards the worship of Driim. Sometimes, political leaders will fall in with the worship of Driim if only to stay in power and not be supplanted, though it is  inevitably only a matter of time. 

Condaral, God of the Skies

Other Titles: Lightwielder, Skyking, Prince of Clouds

Alignment: CG

Weapon: Longbow (Revelation)

Major Domains: Sky, Air, Ice

Minor Domains:  Sun, Light, Daytime, Breezes

Totem Animal and Warform:  Gold Eagle

Holy Symbol: Two icicles, the left smaller by half then the right.

Favored Appearances: Conadral is a small, hawklike person in both of his favored aspects, and prefers to blend in rather than be noticed. His male form is of average height, around 5’8″, and of an average build. His eyes are a fierce ice blue and set within an a fairly feminine and angled face. His brow is high, as is his cheekbones, but his aquiline nose is his most prominent feature. He keeps his blond hair close cut and is clean shaven at all times. He will generally take the form of a human, but is equally known to be found in elven form.

His favored Female form is that of a human almost exclusively, and looks very similar to the male form, except for the slightly more feminine form and features. The same close cut blond hair, the same ice blue eyes and the same nose. Though many gods forms could be construed as family members, Conadrals forms are as close to twins as it gets. Both forms carry longbows and are excellent shots and hunters as well.

Personality: Conadral lives and breathes for freedom and justice, though he sees much more value in the less combative ways of achieving those goals than his brother Takannas.  Instead of violently opposing those who he views as oppressing others, he seeks to educate and elevate those who are being oppressed – a different side of the same coin. He enjoys nothing more than the freedom to do whatever whim strikes him, be it fly the skies, bed a beautiful person, or teach the peasants on a barons farm to read.  However, he strives continuously not to step on other peoples freedoms when exercising his own. He values even the most loathsome persons right to do what they want as long as others aren’t harmed int eh process. To many, Conadral is the patient and wise god, one who’s council is sought on many occasions and highly regarded.

For all his values, however, he is a terrifying fighter, a warrior and consummate fighter who has taken the field thousands of times against the demon armies of the Accursed.  When all else fails, violence is a completely acceptable answer and it can, and should, be pursued to its fullest end once evoked.

Teachings: The god of the Skies teaches to be open and willing to receive both knowledge and wisdom from all sources, and to be part of the solution when problems arise.. Be a leader in your community and world, break down the barriers between people and create freedom and openness for all. Each day, each cycle, is an opportunity to go out and make a difference in the lives of those around you. Be mindful, however, of their freedoms, and do not overstep your bounds. Offer to help, but take a step back when your help is not needed. Be the person who all can turn to for advice, but tread that knife edge carefully, do not become vainglorious and self-assured. Be humble when leading, and look deeply at the consequences before acting.

Abode: Conadral lives in the Flying Citadel, a simple fortress of ice and wind on an enormous cloud. He can guide it where he is needed most, and his army of flying warriors can descend into a battle to take the fight to the enemy from above. Said to have a hundred spires each with a hundred rooms, it is thought by some to have been created from cloudstuff solidified by elven mages on Kasan and then transported somehow to the Iron Marches for him to live in and wage war from.

Clergy: Clerics of Conadral tend to be a semi-wandering lot, though they will sometimes stay for six or seven years in a single location before moving on. They attempt to inspire and educate the many people that they come across, and when they find somewhere that direly needs their attention, they will set up a permanent abode and live with that community until there is such a time as they feel they no longer rely on him. At that time, he will recruit a young and promising apprentice and move on, leaving the apprentice that had shown up in town with to tend the flock until he, too, feels the call of other lands.

Knightly Orders: One of the great organizations on Kasan, the Blue Knights of Conadral are both feared and revered. They accept only volunteers to their esteemed company, and many are rejected for lack of skill, intelligence and compassion. While they were originally founded to protect sacred sights to the God of the Skies, they have transformed into a powerful fighting force.  While they do live, study and train in high peaks and great open plains, they are approachable by any to plead their cause. those causes that are found to be the most worthy and beyond reproach by the High Marshall of the abbey are rewarded with a company of Blue Knights, each supposedly worth more than a hundred other warriors on the fields.

Clerical Attire/colors: Conadrals colors are cream and brilliant blue, and his priests wear little other than a tunic and britches made of the brightest blues, trimmed and rimmed with cream. Many of the highest clerics wear brilliant white caps of various complexity and ornateness to show their status and stature within the church.

Followers: As with the four other elemental gods, Condaral has a broad appeal to mages, warriors and priests. He is also the patron of many craftsmen and merchants for his self-reliance, and to a strong number of peasants and commoners due to his specific teachings.

Xe, Accursed of Ferocity

Other Titles: The Wild King, Unnameable, Scourge of Civilization

Alignment: CE

Weapon: Claws

Major Domains: FerocitySavagery, Feral Animals

Minor Domains:  Erosion, Natural Calamities, Cannibalism

Totem Animal: Hyena (The warform is composed of Wind, Lightning and clouds)

Holy Symbol: A simple, left-curving bone Claw or Fang, sometimes with a background of deep green.

Favored Appearances: Xe is a wild and unkempt creation, and both his forms display that lack of regard for personal hygiene and his inability to care for himself in any way. His male for is that of a ragged and tattered elven man, Long past the point of deprivation. He wears old, tattered leggings, stained with blood and dirt. Shirtless, his skin is drawn tight across his rib cage, creating a horrid, nearly starved look. his black, greasy hair reaches well past his shoulder blades, and hang loose, creating a disgusting mane. The skin around his face is tight, creating an almost skull like effect, with his eyes are sunk deep in his head, his lips pulled back to show yellow, rotten teeth. Thankfully, he chooses an elven form, as his facial hair is light and sparse but coarse. The only sign of even the barest hint of intelligence beyond his breeches are the articulated metal gauntlets that end in great bone claws in place of his amputated final digits on his fingers.

His female form is of the same gaunt stature and taken care of in the same neglectful manner, though generally takes the form of a female human instead of elven, for reasons known only to Him. Her hair is more flat, lying along her back as if it has just stormed, and a vivid brown. Her eyes are a fiery green, where his are only pools of darkness. She too, is gaunt, with features marred by the singular lack of any signs of health. Its as if Xe stayed a single night, death would come in the night from starvation.

Personality: Xe is the wildness and the ruthlessness of nature, combined with the uncaring and violent destruction of storms all wrapped into one package. He is almost completely alien, even to the other Paltonarchs and Accursed. Many wonder if Xe even has intelligence, though those who know him are keenly aware that even if it is not intelligence, its the vicious cunning of a predator.  He is wild and quick to anger, though swift also to forget and let those who wronged him moments before approach. He holds no grudges, and does not despair when those around him perish or fail.  He is the uncaring claws and fangs of the universe, and he loves it.

Teachings: Xe does not teach through priests and doctrine, but by example. He hunts only enough to barely satisfy his hungers, but he will kill those he finds dangerous or who confront him. He tolerates other predators within his same space, but only as long as they respect his boundaries. Those who are strong, in times of need, take what they can from the week, but not simply because they can, but to survive.  There is also strong reverence for the ferocious, untamed and wild beasts of all types, as they are the most free creatures in the universe. They live only to eat, to kill and to pass on their legacy; and that is what Xe Stands for.

Abode: Xe lives in no man made, or god made, structure. He wanders the bleak and desolate places of the Iron Marches, sleeping in caves and under the cover of trees. A simple and violent entity, his existence is one constantly on the edge of annihilation, staving it off one day at a time.

Cultits: The Cult of Xe is one that has no internal structure or strata; there are simply equals among the wilderness of existence. Those few who follow him ask him for guidance in the hunt, to find enough to eat to stave off death for but a single day. Living squalid lives in caves, caverns and ruins, these cultist are a scourge on any society they live near, killing and eating whatever is vulnerable.

Clerical Attire/colors: The natural colors of golden grass, dark, rotting vegitation and the black clouds and earth are the colors of Xe. 

Followers: Few Follow Xe, though many are warriors and rogues. Rangers of a particularly vile bent may also worship him. Few Dwarves connect with the lord of savage wilderness, though many feral spirits and fey do.

Man, I love RPGs, and 5th edition D&D is exactly what I want from an RPG, but didn’t know how to say it. Its got imbalance, it has player and DM Authority, it has nostalgic wonderous items, and it has tables and tables of stuff. If I don’t want to make a decision on something, there exists a table, I am sure, that can make the decision for me, and If I’ve made a decision on something, it seems that there is nothing stopping me from being the 100% authority on the subject, either.  I absolutely love 5th edition.

I’ve written about my steadily growing love affair with 5th edition before, but I know it now: This one is perfect for me. This is the edition that I thought we were going to get when D&D 3.0 was announced, and though its taken almost 15 years to show up and a huge disaster in between, I am happy its here.

D&D 5 has brought back a number of the staples that I enjoyed about the 2e that I didn’t even know I had missed. And imbalanced balancing one that, though I understood what it meant, I thought it needed to be sacrificed at the alter of perfect balance. See, when I started playing RPGs, I was drawn to the myriad of choices that existed in the world I was going to play in, and I could be any one of them. Death Priest, Bladesinger, Beastmaster. There were a hundred supplements with a hundred more options lurking around every corner. And each one, I would look at and take in on its merits as it represented the concept it was putting forward. Was the Bladesinger swift, deadly and vicious? Was the Sage smart and old, with unknowable depths of information? Was the Urban Ranger really Batman? The disparity between useful additions and worthless ones were a combination of being unfaithful to the concept and being unable to contribute to the parties goals. In 2e, though, this didn’t always mean combat, though there were plenty of rules for making sure that every, to a degree, could fight. There were obviously stronger options if you were a combat-character, but there was such a concept as a non-combat character. This idea of a character being exactly what they were supposed to be, instead of what the game wanted you to be, was something that I’d not grasped onto. When I lost the majority of those options in 3.0/3.5, I was not disappointed. A character could do whatever they wanted outside of combat, within the DM’s discretion, what they did in combat, when their life was on the line, was what really needed arbitration.

Now, coming back, I feel that I better appreciate the inherent imbalance in the classes. A great wizard is an immensely powerful and world shaping force, and should reflect that. A fighter, someone who places value and importance on his abilities to chop down his foes will probably be at a disadvantage when facing a person capable of tearing the very fabric of the world apart and bending it to his will. With all the balance and changes in the D&D game throughout 3rd and 4th edition, one character overshadowing the others has never ceased. The problem inherent in an RPG is that the system is there to represent as believable a world in which there are dragons, giants and elves. A world that fantastic and out of sync with ours is destined to have imbalance. For me, If I want a fair and balanced Fantasy game, I can go online and play a videogame. If I want to immerse myself in a fantasy world with my friends and create a story that will last in our memories for a very long time, I am going to pick up an RPG.

There is plenty of truth to the oft-mentioned statement that life isn’t fair. Its true. Neither should an RPG. That, my good friend, is for the DM to decide. The world is created and built upon the DM’s thoughts an ideas, but it should also be tempered by the concepts that the characters have for themselves as well. in 3.5/4 this was bound by the rulebook. There were rules for almost every conceivable thing you could do, and many of them were lengthy and detailed to ensure authenticity. This has been dropped in 5e. Many times all that is given is a vague but descriptive notation of what could happen, setting up the DM to be able to make ad-hoc rulings based on what the surroundings are. While this was always the case, it is easier to comprehend and adapt to when there are no specific rules governing what should happen, and it works both ways.

When a character attempts to run over and plow someone over, they simply say so. Instead of it being labeled (a Bull Rush) and driven by a set of rules based on target and initiator stats, modifiers and bonuses, it is instead a simple thought process by the DM based on the description of what the player wants to do. I have found that, unlike another game by the same company, the concept of restrictions breeding creativity does not hold weight in a fast-paced RPG. Instead, restrictions breed complacency and limit new concepts to within the bounds of the already established rule sets. In the heat of the moment, it is much harder to take a step back and think on the spot than it is to fall into the comfortable embrace of the written rules.

That same comfortable embrace of the rules is what brought us the era of identical magic items. Amulets of Strength with raising bonuses. Swords with abilities and powers that progressed in a formula. Items that have specific uses spelled out specifically in their texts, giving no flavor or style to the item. Each of the items is a specific cost and slated for a specific level and works only in a specific manner. 5e, however, culled tons and tons of magic items, trimming them down to some of the most recognizable throwbacks to 2nd. Gone are the stat boosters and all their iterations. Gone are the custom weapons and their strange mathematical formula to determine how awesome your weapon is. Instead, they have a pretty vague breakdown of the approximate level that the items are appropriate for and a general value of rarity. Common and Uncommon items are appropriate for all levels with Rare items for levels 5+, Very rare for levels 12+ and Legendary items for levels higher than 17. It also specifically calls out that the DM can do whatever he damn well pleases, and if you want to give that Staff of Power to a level 1 character, feel free.

While I enjoyed my time with 3.5, and 4e was a good rebound RPG, I am really in love with the feel and style and the nostalgia of playing the same game I used to play in my high school years, just with a little bit more experience, polish and shine. With only the three Core books, I am ready and willing to play for years on end, writing stories and creating games that my friends and I can enjoy and tell again and again.

I don’t think I’ve had this much fun DMing and RPG in years.

Evalrun, God of Earth

Other Titles:  Goldhoarder, The Merchant Lord, Stern King

Alignment:  LE

Weapon: Halberd (Earthbreaker)

Major Domains: Earth, Trade, Caves, Wealth

Minor Domains:  Night, Guilds, Bribery, Poison

Totem Animal: Scorpion

Holy Symbol: A dark purple mountain with three peaks

Favored Appearances: Evalrun is the god of the earth, and favors dwarven and orcish forms. He considers both races to be his chosen, and though they often fight, he sees nothing wrong with it.  His male form is that of a robust, dark, and taciturn dwarf. Broad and flat of feature, he is unexceptional in size and stature. His hair is black as night and curled tight on his head, and his rough beard drapes down to his chest, braided and adorned with golden trinkets. His skin is dark brown,  and his eyes are black. He does not speak often, but when he does it is a low and rumbling sound from deep within his chest.

The Female form is generally an Orc, who’s prowess and strength is obvious. She is large, even for a female Orc, towering almost 7′ tall and boasting a muscular, broad physique.  Her skin, too, is brown, though of a warmer, more woody hue. Her features are round, with high cheeks, a large pair of canines, and a prominent chin. Her hair is gray, tied up in a topknot as is the custom. She talks in nearly the same rumbling base as her male form, commanding all those around to listen and hear her opinion.

Warform: The Father of Earth’s warform is that of a scorpion of onyx and basalt, hard and impossible to break. His pincers are edged with obsidian, his stinger tipped with diamond to pierce even the strongest of armors, yet dripping with a venom that can dissolve flesh and eat through steel. Between each edge and plate of stone chitin are wedged hundreds of gemstones, glittering with opulence as he moves and securing his only weakness withe the strength of the earth itself.

Personality: While Takannas, the most vocal and outwardly strong of the four original gods, is currently in charge of the war effort against the Accursed and is therefore in de-facto charge of them, Evalrun yearns for the day that he will rule the gods. He is the long game, slow and plodding, with deliberate, strong, forceful action. He seeks the complete submission of the gods to his will, but is unable to attempt a coup, for fear of loosing all he has to the accursed. Other gods are wary of his dominating, powerful personality, but none can deny his wealth and power. He holds, within his fastness in the Bloody Mountain, infinite riches, but also the greatest desire of yours that you can think of. He often uses this as a powerful bargaining chip, and when the war with the accursed comes to an end, many gods will have to make hard, difficult decisions.

Teachings: Evalrun teaches a very slow, deliberate, grinding form of living and progressing in life. Nothing comes easy, and nothing comes quickly, and instead you must work long and hard to achieve your goals. This is especially true with the accumulation of wealth, which Evalrun deems in the highest regard. He favors and blesses long schemes with little risk and commensurate, yet predictable returns. he also teaches the earths superiority over all things. without it, there would be none of the others. What would Fire burn? What would water be contained in? What would air stand above? Earth, and the earth priests, and those who worship Evalrun are the true inheritors of power and the true, rightful rulers of the earth. All others are pretenders who should be slain. After a long, destabilizing, risk-free campaign against their powers, of course

Abode: The Bloody Mountain is a vast mountain of black saphires stretching thousands of feet into the sky of the Iron Marches. Within lives Evalrun, and its halls overflow with treasure of all kinds. Here the Justice Hall of the Gods stands, Kelbrech, where each and every one can state their accusations, hear their accusers, and beg for lenience, even though none is ever given. Here is where the Paltonarchs swore their undying vengeance against the Accursed, vowing to hunt each and every one to the ends of the universe.

Clergy: The Clergy of Evalrun are often bankers and judges, doling out unfettered, maximum penalties and storing others money. They teach that wealth is the way to power, and power lets you influence and change the world. War, though undesirable and unprofitable, can lead to sudden change when needed, but the slower, more methodical ways of achieving power are almost always prefered.

Knightly Orders: The Obscurim are a circle of mages and sorcerers dedicated to the magic of earth and darkness. They worship Evalrun as the god of both, though they are less interested in wealth and slow moving plans than he is. These battlemages take to the field to destroy and crush the enemies of their patrons and their own causes. Some, and by far the less numerous, are simple mercenaries who offer their services and skills to those who can afford them and their great power. By far the largest sect, however, are those that offer their services that they see alignment with, but at a price. While their reasons for aligning with any given cause are shrouded in secrecy, they are well known, and their price, though high, almost always guarantees victory and is just as often paid.

Clerical Attire/colors:The basic clerics of the god of earth wear simple black robes trimmed in deep purple. As a cleric attains wealth and status, however, he adds to that rings, earings, brooches and other conspicuous signs of wealth to show both power and rank. The greatest priests sometimes wear enough jewelry and gems to buy small countries.

Followers: Evalrun tends to attract dwarves who admire his thrift, and orcs who admire his lust for power. Rogues and Mages are attracted to the god of night, with the power to obscure, confuse and completely hide one that is greatly desired.

Rashban, Accursed of Rivers

Other Titles: The Endless Rage, Queen of Floods,  Drowner

Alignment: LN

Weapon: Harpoon (Piercer)and Hooked Net

Major Domains: Rivers, Speed, Determination

Minor Domains:  Floods, Drowning, Swimming

Totem Animal: Crocodile

Holy Symbol: A Black river splitting a gold mountain in two.

Favored Appearances: Rashban is an aloof and detached woman, but easily the greatest fighter that the Accursed have at their call. Once a god of water, she is now the perfect foil to the Fire Families war gods. As such, she is nearly always armed and armored when encountered in either form,  and is of strong build and powerful frame.

In her Female form, she is of average height, never topping 5″10″ and of a physique that suggests working for her living all her life. Her curly blue-black hair flows down to her shoulders and seems to pile up on them in pools. Her eyes are crystal blue, almost white, set in a round, expressive face.  Frown lines are nestled deep in her cheeks and her face seems to rest as a simple scowl. what little joy that there is in life, she seems to never encounter it. She wears supple and light leather armor, dyed a deep and shimmering cerulean blue. When she knows that she will be in battle, she wears a leather helm that covers her entire face, eyes and all, using her other senses and her abilities as an Accursed to fight.

Her form as a man is only slightly different, favoring that of a Dragonborn over all others. Massive, scaled and deep blue, he is often mistaken for the spawn of a blue dragon, though nothing could be farther from the truth. He wears no armor and no shirt, simply a pair of trousers dyed pitch black. his face is stoic and unknowable, able to hide even the most obvious of thoughts within his scaled and myterious face. His eyes are dark, almost black, with no whites or pupils, simply orbs of darkness set in his angular, sharpened skull.  He is covered in nautical tatoos and scars, showing his attachment to the rivers and seas

Warform:  The Warform of the Accursed of Rivers is a Crocodile, massive and covered in scales of Ice and salt. The teeth are massive and made of ice as well, but contained within the scales is a rushing river of churning water. Little escapes the jaws of this massive fighter once engaged, and though the form is bulky, it is surprisingly agile with impressive speed when needed.

Personality: Rashban is a stern, dour woman who has few friends and less confidants. A member of the water family, she tends to be truthful, honest and direct, and sees little value in deceit and duplicity. She laughs little, and sees the world through the grim lenses of the absolute truth, as it is to her. What she believes once, she will believe almost indefinitly, and it takes many arguments to convince her otherwise. She is a strong companion, however, and will commit to any action asked with the full and strong belief that she can, and will, accomplish the task. She believes that she will die in battle on the Iron Marches, slain at the hands of one of the Fire Gods, but she believes that when, not if, that happens, it will be at the turning point of the war, when she alone accomplishes whatever mission is critical and vital to the victory of the Accursed.

Teachings: Rashban is a stern, unbending woman,  and what she values in herself and others is the inability to change, the suborn dedication born of knowing ones correctness and place in he world.  She also takes a stern view on those who go out of their way to try and change their place in the world seeing it as a violation of the natural state of things and the proper balance of the universe. Hold the course, stay the line, and don’t break. Never second guess yourself, and know that what you set out to do can always be accomplished.

Abode: The Drowned Stronghold sits at the bottom of a river of mercury in the darkest recesses of the Accursed held area of the iron marches. Magical barriers keep the mercury out, while the fortress itself is filled with brakish, dark water. Few people walk these halls, but those who do are the grim and dire guardians and companions of the Accursed of Rivers.

Cultists: Those who are drawn to the cult of Rashban tend to be those obsessed with the rivers and the fate that she holds over those who traverse them. They call themselves the Floodbringers, and they see themselves as a very important part of cycle of all things. They wander up and down rivers, scouting out places that are especially vulnerable to flooding, and pray there for the power and mystery of their god to wash away the town and all its terrible inhabitants.

Clerical Attire/colors: The colors of the Accursed of Rivers are simple river colors, with grays and blues of all colors in favor. They tend to wear flowing robes with wide, voluminous sleeves and hoods. the colors tend to be sown in a swirling pattern, and sometimes even are patchworks of other colors all strapped together.

Followers: Rashban tends to gather followers who live within her rivers; Ferrymen, fishermen, and travelers, but also attracts runners, athletes and conservative philosophers.

Gestril, God of Storms

Other Titles: The Shattered one, King of Clouds, The Champion, Bringer of Doom

Alignment: CG

Weapon: Spear (Tempests Cry)

Major Domains: Lightning, Storms, Thunder, Tranquility

Minor Domains:  Rain, Wind, Aggression, Primal Fury

Totem Animal: Rhino: The Rhino symbolizes the violent nature of nature, everything that Gestril espouses and embodies

Holy Symbol: A single, open eye with a lightning bolt bisecting it

Favored Appearances: Gestril favors neither sex nor race when appearing on the prime, and has come to the aid of many. Oftentimes, he appears as a member of the race of those he has come to assist, and of the opposite sex, though he looks almost the same except for the small details of his race.

In male form his is large, broad shouldered and wide of girth, though not fat. He has a sharp, angular face, with wild, jet black hair. He has lost an eye, or effects as much, and wears an eye patch over it, sewn with rubies to give the impression of an eye even on his patch. The remaining eye is wild and bright blue, betraying his inner storm.  His arms and legs are toned and scarred from constant combat, and its visible that he is competent with a weapon.

His female form is similar, though less stout and more fit, as if she’s trained her entire life. her hair is long, wild and black as well, though unlike his, is not bound in a ponytail, but a leather diadem set with ice blue sapphires. Her features are broad, and wide, while his are tight and angular, though they both have only a single eye and scars to show both their temperament and their experience.

Warform: The Subtlety and power of a storm is embodied in the warform of Gestril, that of a rhinoceros. Strong, Powerful and leading the charge, this beast is composed of storm clouds and lightning bolts. Gestril may be the most powerful warrior in the Pantheon, and all who oppose him know it. His form underscores that, a horn of solid and complete Ice, and eyes of churning rage. Even though almost all of the gods and accursed take enormous forms for their warforms, Gestril is an exception even to them, towering over many of the warforms of others and powerful enough to never be attacked head on.

Personality: Gestril represents the best and worst in nature all at once. He is unforgiving and capricious as a summer storm, but he also does what is in the best interest of all, even though it may be terrifying and dangerous. Gestril is also the most brazen fighter of all the pantheon, having fought numerous duels with the Gods of War, having come out on top each time. He attributes this to the primal fury and natural skill in his person, citing that no training in the world can overcome the power of natural abilities. He is wild, strong and bombastic, and extremely opinionated. To contrast, however, he also is peaceful when unprovoked, content to wait out life and combat in idle time contemplating and listening. Once aroused to combat, he is implacable, but leave him alone and he is as dangerous as a child.

Teachings: The teachings of the Storm Lord center on a single theme: respect. Though we may not all share the same beliefs and goals, a lot can be said about simply respecting the people in the rest of the world. However, in extreme contrast, they also teach very little forgiveness: Those who break the respect granted to them are forever remembered as betrayers and the lost.  There is little room in the heart for those who have proven themselves unworthy. As a Nature Aspect, he also teaches reverence and respect of nature, though in his case it is almost universally the weather. Storms, both of violent lightning and strong rain, show the Storm Gods displeasure and his wrath. What little there is to be done other than hunker down and prove your strength against the might and rage of the storms.

Abode: Gestril lives in the Tower of Reverberations, a massive tower in the center of the Marches that stretches into the sky and touches the clouds above, Though he does not train an army, per se, his followers live and reside in at the foot of the tower, constantly in the eye of an enormous storm.

Clergy: The Followers of the storm are strong, self-willed people who lead the societies they are in through deeds and words both. They strive to set an example to all the people who encounter them as unforgiving of treachery and lenient to the natural forces of man. While weakness is to be expected, complete submission to it is not. Self Reliance, strength in the face of adversity and the willingness to admit that not everything is within your power are the basic tenants of the church of Gestril. The natural way of things is unpredictable and terrifying. One can only stand against that nature for so long before they become either weak, insane. There is a path between being overrun, and losing it completely, and the Stormlords of Gestril are here to guide.

Knightly Orders: The Scions of Thunder are a small, loosely organized group of dedicated servants of Gestril, Lightning Mages who seek a greater oneness with the sound and energy of the storm. Deemed insane by many more logical people, the Scions seek out the roughest and most powerful storms to bask in the revelations they bring. Dedicated to seeking the knowledge of the universe within the dark hearts and calm eyes of the storm, they are gaining every stronger and more powerful understanding of the natural weapons of lightning and thunder, harnessing them for their own strength and power.

Clerical Attire/colors: Gestrils priests wear dark gray and ice blue when they are not in combat, wielding the spear and shield of their patron. Almost all of their robes and clothes alike are the same storm-gray with a hem and trim of the cold, clear blue. Emblazoned on their back is the eye of Gestril, the sigil of their lord and the master of storms.  

Followers: Rogues, Warriors and wizards all follow the Path of storms, with some local druids and priests following the Lord of Lightning as well.

 

Spoiler alert! Someone dies!

We left off last week with finding a dwarf dangling from the ceiling, with a not-so-happy outlook on how to get him down. Surprisingly, it’s a lot easier than we expected. We get down to the gallery, and when nothing comes around, Haltz and I hoist Carric onto our shoulders, where he can reach the manacles of the dwarf. He begins working on them, with Ronin keeping watch, but then – We hear buzzing! It’s a whole swarm of those flying demon things with bows.

Two pop up from one shaft and fire at us, while three pop up from the other and do the same. Haltz is hit twice, Ronin and Carric are hit once, and my armor deflects another arrow. At about the same instant, Carric jumps onto the dwarf’s back, which frees Haltz to throw his last dart, although he misses his target. A fraction of a second later I cast Fog Cloud, concealing Haltz, Carric, and I from the creatures’ bows.

Ronin wastes no time, running across the room and making a flying punch into one of the creatures. His fist lands, crushing the creature, and then Ronin faces another problem – The demons were above a shaft, that was backed against a wall. This, however, turns out to not be a problem at all, as Ronin easily bounces off the wall and to the side of the shaft.

Haltz and I both move to the edge of the fog cloud while Carric works on unlocking the manacles. Out of darts, Haltz pulls the arrows from himself and begins throwing them, while I sling a Ray of Frost. We’re greeted by some more arrows, hitting both Ronin and Haltz, but they are too small to do significant damage.

Carric feels something poking him in the side as he manages to undo one of the manacles, which leads to him and the dwarf hanging from one of the dwarf’s arms.

I move to assist Ronin, who is still fighting his two creatures. My glaive is much more effective than my spell, and I cleave one of the creatures in half. Ronin, not to be outdone, kicks one creature hard enough to completely shatter it, and punches the other one to the same results. The last creature vanishes, so I drop the Fog spell, giving Carric more visibility to pick the final lock on the manacle. He also sees another one of the creatures coming out of the dwarf, who has now woken up and is shouting because there is a person on top of him and he is in great pain.

I cast Sleep, putting the dwarf, the creature, and Haltz to sleep. Thankfully, Carric is an elf and immune to such effects, so he dispatches the creature as Ronin wakes Haltz. I assist with Carric, who proceeds to pull out the hooks holding the Dwarf’s chest-portal open. This wakes the dwarf, but he is remarkably lucid, and after we explain what we’re doing he stops fighting us.

Once the pillar heals him to the point where he’s not dieing, he tells us who he is – Demiphus, the Captain of the Guard. He came in after losing a few villagers, and recounts the tale of losing a few people to the natural hazards before he was captured.

At the same time, Haltz and Ronin explore the two galleries below us, with my owl following them. One of them is a rubble-filled semi-collapsed, with a shaft that leads into the water table. The other, I lose my owl to a frog-man with a sling. It is obvious which one we need to go down, so we take a short rest. I regain some of my spell capabilities, and we give Demiphus directions to where Stacia is staying, after giving him what first aid we could.

We decide to all drop into the next gallery at the same time, which is a good thing. There are four frogmen, and also one of the ape creatures – Standing next to another pillar, this one with a small boy attached to it. The ape charges Haltz, a frogman charges Ronin, and one charges me, while the other two stand back with slings. Carric and Haltz are hit with the slings, and Ronin is hit with the creature’s spear, although he dodges its angry-looking bite. I cast Shield, blocking my attacker’s hits, but Haltz is slammed by the ape creature and falls unconscious.

Carric shoots one of the creatures, significantly harming it but not killing it, and Ronin hits the creature attacking him, also doing significant damage but not killing it. Seeing a large threat, I attack the ape creature, managing to kill it with my glaive.

One of the slingers manages to knock Carric out, leaving Ronin and myself to deal with the four frog creatures. We both fail to do anything with our attacks, but the creatures hit both of us with their spears, and Ronin is hit with a sling. Angry, he retaliates by killing both of the creatures next to us.

I move forward to the slingers, engaging them so they can’t simply pelt us at range. Ronin tries to help Carric as I attack one of the creatures, and while I hit, Carric is still bleeding out – And there is also the pressing matter of the two frogs. They both attack me, one doing heavy damage to me.

I fall back, moving away from Carric and Ronin, trying to buy some time as they, hopefully, go after me. One stays in combat with Ronin as the other comes over to me. Ronin manages to beat the third frog creature to death, but my adversary manages to get in a good hit, dropping me as well.

At this time, Carric miraculously wakes up, just in time to see two things – One, another ape creature attempting to pull itself from the young boy’s chest portal, and two – Ronin being dropped by the last frog creature. It notices him and moves towards him.

Carric’s first bow shot misses, but his second one lands, killing the frog. He easily dispatches the ape creature, then tends as much as he can to Ronin and I. Haltz is, unfortunately, beyond any help that we can provide.

While Ronin and I wake up, Carric tends to the boy, removing the hooks from him and removing the manacles as well. He consoles the boy, telling him we are going home “Soon.”

I wake up a little before Ronin does, resting for a little before re-summoning my owl. Ronin rests, helping Carric with the boy. Once my owl is re-summoned I send him down to the gallery below us, finding that it is empty – And the only shaft leading from it leads into water. We pause to make a cairn for Haltz, honoring our brave friend.

We carry the boy, whose name is Balric, to where Stacia and the now-clothed Demiphus are waiting. We decide that, as all of us are rather rough for wear, we should wait and take a long rest before returning to the surface. I spend that time using Mending on the plate armor we had to beat up beforehand, turning it into a useful set of equipment.

When we head up, I form a plan – Make a sling from the rubble and other items we have. Send two people up, and pull the others up. I go up first, and double check outside the entrance – There are several guards outside, who are overjoyed to see us – And to hear of the survivors. With their help, it is easy to pull up everyone, and we make our way first to their base camp and then into town.

We decide that, as Haltz had pledged his portion of the gold we found to Stacia, we would honor that. Ronin split his money between an orphanage he had pledged to help, and helping Balric and his family. I match his support of Balric, bringing it up equal to what Stacia recieved, and offer some to Demiphus – Who, being a humble man, refuses. We inform the guard of all the exits we found, and they are glad to hear of them – And send some parties out to find their other ends.

We still have to travel back to Parminium to report to the Obsidian Vault that our job is complete, and to collect our payment. But for now, we rest in town, enjoying not being in a mine.

As we are in the town, among my inspection of the dead demonologist’s spellbook, I find it has a false back – And inside is a purple gem. Detect Magic fails to produce any useful results, almost as if it doesn’t exist, and my jeweler’s knowledge tells me two things. One: This gem is one that, even in my extensive work, I have never seen. And two: The way it is cut is impossible. It is a puzzle that I definitely intend to work out.

Adremach, Accursed of Defense

Other Titles: The Iron Duke, The Bastards Son, Blackheart, Ironfist

Alignment:  LE

Weapon: mace and Shield (Censure and Bulwark)

Major Domains: Cold, Defense, Iron

Minor Domains:  Callousness, Fortifications, Grim Resolve

Totem Animal: Bison: The Bison is enduring, durable and strong. It weathers the cold and stands its ground. As such, it is the perfect animal for the defense-minded Adremach

Holy Symbol: A lone, steel gray tower on a field of black. The Steel Tower is a representation of Adremaches fortress on the Iron Marches as well as the concept of Individual defense.

Favored Appearances:  Adremach is an Accursed who either locks himself away in his tower or who is campaigning in the Godswar. As such, he visits the prime little and individuals less. He has thus developed almost no real disguises, and when walking the prime he appears nearly identical to that of his Iron Marches form. He is large, bulky and imposing, well over 6′ tall and wearing iron armor. His skin is gray-black and his eys are completely black orbs. His hair, while also gray, is a much lighter tone, long and straight. He wears the Iron Diadem, studded with seven rubies and seven diamonds, at all points in time, and carried Censure and Bulwark with him as well.

His female form is almost exactly the same, strong, stocky and ready for battle. The only difference is that her eyes, instead of being solid black, are solid white.

Warform: Adremachs War Form of a bison is formidable and strong, and fittingly made nearly completely of solid ice akin to a massive glacier.  His mane is shaggy snow drifts, and his Hooves and horns are broad, great icicles, sharpened and hardened in battles over eons.  

Personality: Adremach is Staunch and resolute, determined that he is invincible in war and unconquerable in his great tower. He is a great defensive tactician, able to lay siege to the unconquerable and to defend the smallest fragment of ground with the barest of troops.  He knows and embraces his military genius, and has taken it upon himself to lead the Council of Equals, the Accursed Rulership. Though supposedly each of the four members can be voted onto or off of the council, and none are of greater power than any other, Adremach’s unbroken tenure when all others have been replaced at least once, and his familial bond to Ferosh have lead others to defer slightly to his will, and that is the way he likes it. He leads from the center, and while he would never retreat once a battle is engaged, he would do everything within his power to ensure that any confrontation, be it combat or in any other form, takes place at a time and location of his choosing.

Teachings: Adremachs followers are hard-bitten veterans that have followed his teachings, if not him, for a very long time. He speaks to an inviolable defense, a strong response to any offense, and a the necessity of making the hard decisions that will end some lives and save others. Primarily a war god, he is the diametric opposite of the War Gods of the Paltonarchs. They espouse honorable combat, aggression, and strength of will. Adremach teaches stout walls, strong arms, and an indomitable position will win the day. He is also the god of Cold and Iron, espousing their uses and encouraging their existence. He sees winter not as a time to hole up and keep warm, but a time to set out and prepare for the next season of war, surprising his foes, taking their land and fortifying while they hide inside their hovels.

Abode: The Iron Tower stands  at the center of the front lines of the Accursed domains on the iron marches. A Magically constructed tower exactly 30 stories tall and 100 feet, both across and deep.  It is a massive structure that exudes indestructibility.  Many times have the forces of the Paltonarchs reached the Iron Tower, and each time, they have been rebuffed, defeated by the Duke of Cold and his followers, dedicated defenders all.

Cultists: Thankfully, the cultists of Adremach tend to isolate themselves from one another, though there are some that will band together, building fortresses on stolen land and defending their claim through all forms of trials and tribulations. Many, though, are the often callous and cold-hearted officers in the ranks of the nations militaries that achieve their goals with no consequence to the cost. They show their predilection to running, organizing and defending structures and fortifications, however, and are some of the best defensive minds that Kasan ever sees.

Clerical Attire/colors: Unsurprisingly, the colors of Aldremach are grays and blacks.  in Ritual and in life, his followers lean towards wearing the dark and bitter colors of their master. Thankfully, these are also the colors of the commoners, and many times this has been seen as a not to their humble beginnings, though it could be nothing farther from the truth. The followers of Adremach, though they blend in well with the rest of the world, have a hard time fending for themselves. The ritual clothing is a black felt mask and a hooded, solid robe of dark grey.  Those who flaunt his worship and have dedicated themselves to the worship of the Iron Duke wear the iron grays, which is not uncommon, but also embroider or emblazon the Iron Tower on their armor and clothing.

Followers: Warriors, almost exclusively, with a touch of Nobility and those individuals who gravitate towards an extremely strong will to live