Armor: [only when ready for combat]
Weapons: [only when ready for combat]
> Anuator’s Shield
> Eye of Kampfer
Source: Find Familiar spell
Typical Form: Tabby [cat]
Benefits: Deliver Touch Spells; 100 yard range telepathic communication
Native > Firbolg (giant), male, 7’7″, 370#, age: 40 (of 500), right handed, [short spikey] red hair (full beard), green left eye/strange orange lizard right eye, sun-tanned [normally pale pink] skin, Move = 30′
– Powerful Build (carrying capacity = 360#; push/drag/lift = 720#)
– Scars: Faint marks where magical backpack cut into and burned flesh, missing left pinky, scarring around left eye socket, scars of flame (and no hair) on most of his back
Normal accouterments: Appears as a scholar – a map case, a couple of scroll tubes, only a dagger for a weapon, and an eye patch over right eye. A small pouch is hung off the belt on the back (contains a bunch of caltrops) and a [waterproof] satchel slung over left shoulder (with spell book). Laced sandals, cotton posing pouch, long linen tunic, light cape and a cap. Shield is under the cape and makes him look like a hunchback.
Disguise > [using Disguise Self] Human, male, 5’8”, 145#, age: 35, [short] blonde hair (with goatee), blue eyes, [olive] dusky skinned – very scruffy, pock marked face.
Personality: Despite noble birth, i do not place myself above others. We all have the same blood.
Ideal: Noble Obligation – It is my duty to protect and care for the people beneath me.
Bond: My loyalty to my sovereign is unwavering
Flaw: Quick to anger – too often hear veiled threats and insults.
Code: Neutral Good alignment
> General prohibition on learning any spells whose primary function is to cause damage.
Background & History
Reason for adventuring: Clan destroyed by invading humanoids.
Background: Noble (primary) / Artisan (partial)
Kampfer’s Early Years
Kampfer was the son of Urajet and Nasia. He grew up in a vast forest of massive trees on the edge of a high mountain valley, inhabited by spirits of stone and water. He was part of a larger family, the names of which he mostly forgets due to the trauma he has suffered. The Ordning of the giants was just becoming a prevalent part of his education when his life was disrupted forever – he remembers it, the moots of wild revelry and those of somber discussion. There were at least a hundred active members of the Ordning of giants in his area – mostly the high hills. His parents were not the normal reclusive Firbolgs, but rather lived in the low valley meadows and watched over the lands the bordered the giants and humans. They were a nobility of sort among the Ordning – druids of no small power and there to settle the differences between the natural rights of the beast and plant to live with the giants, elves, and human (through their druids). Kampfer was tutored to follow in his parents path. He was trained to speak with the beasts and plants, to treat them with respect and revere them.
Bringing Together Others (Story for: Personality)
Giant children can be as cruel as human. On a visit to the Moot of the Stone giants, he observed 3 children poking a stick at a tiny (by their standard) creature – making fun of it and its “human stink”. He admonished the children publicly, and they said it was only going to die and was not worth the time. He took the poor creature – a pregnant lab, into his protection. It gave birth to what would become large, strong pups and he and he made the three children and himself take the puppies and raise them right. He took the runt of the group, exclaiming that because he had so much to give, he would take the one with the least. The children all became fast friends, and his small dog, “Yello” became a loyal companion.
The Horde and War
When he was 16 (very young for his kind) a terrible violence came to his homeland. His people were caught between a massive hobgoblin host (the stench of which had not besmirched the lands in untold eons) and its enemies of humans and elves. Like a swarm of locusts, both sides poured over and through his people’s lands. Trees burned, blood flowed in the streams, and violence shattered his world. He even saw giant kin turn and run, sacrificing others to cover their own passage to hiding. It was horrific – and scarred him forever. His extended clan was caught in between a shifting battle, moving right over their hills and valley. He and his young friends made a stand, but it was for not. The fires caused the others to be overcome, and Kampfer staggered free of the smoke at the last minute.
The end of his World
He used everything his parents had taught him about bird and beast, flower and plant. He used a hive of bees to chase away pursuers, he climbed high in the rocks, he bribed elk to run him to safety. It was all for naught though, as both his parents were slain – by which side he never knew, only that his home was ransacked and his parents run down defending the shrine on the banks of a sacred stream. His belief in the primacy of nature that his parents had was broken forever – though it would remain a core reverence in his life. He took what was supplied he could and found survivors. They decided to try and petition the humans to assist them. The representative went to them under a flag of truce, and never returned.
Always Helping Others (Story for: Ideal)
Fleeing the non stop war, he left the lands of his people and journeyed southeast, to the lands of dwarven clan. They had also been decimated by the war – the Orrish host had run like water through their warrens, and marks of blood and fire covered the walls. There were few left, but he stayed and helped heal those he could with his incomplete knowledge his parents had left him. He found those that had fled – younglings sent to safety – and guided them back from the surface world to the once again safe warrens of their people. Sifting through the remains, he found enough supplies to continue his journey. He then left for the lands of humans. He found them in turmoil – as usual – but he managed to work as a laborer and find a peace in a caravanserai on the outskirts of a large city.
A New Family
He tried to discover where the war had come from, and the humans were as puzzled as he was. There was much speculation and few real answers. He began to pay close attention to the folk passing through, until he managed to come upon a sage. The human was a wizard, and rumored to be both knowledgeable and wise. Kampfer followed him as he passed into the city with his retinue – as part of hired baggage handlers. The wizard was a guarded man, but was also, strangely, a family man as well. His abode was a small manse, being built under the direction of his wife – also a wizard. He felt embarrassed and self conscious, but went each day to watch the family. Part of him deeply felt as if his answers lied with these folk – a family like the one he lost. There was much activity. His swiftly growing stature made him ideal as a laborer, and he was hired on the construction crew. It appeared both of the wizards (Amanda and Will) were employed by the local powers to assist in the war against the hobgoblin horde. While the construction was going on, the daughter (Seeli) of the couple had the run of the place when she was not in studies. Kampfer saved her from death when a part of a wall collapsed – it crushed her leg, though Kampfer prevented her certain death. It was later discovered to be some sort of evil agent – a shadowed figure that caused it. Kampfer revealed his true nature and heritage when alone with the couple in an act of trust as they sought to repay him. After hearing his story, they took it upon themselves to train him. He agreed – the power they could provide would be of great benefit in his people’s fight against such things as the war which had torn them apart. For years he studied day and night, every last moment of the day. The love of nature never left him. The one strange item from the dwarven citadel he had taken was a strange haversack that had much more space inside than the outside appeared to have. Seemingly made of canvas, he kept in it seeds, dirt, plants he would sprout and water sacks. He would take these on his forays and replant areas burnt by the fire of war. His adoptive parents would fight at the request of the local powers off and on, with others of their ilk. Finally, after years, Kampfer was brought into the battle. Kampfer used his powers mostly as a scout – he disliked and disavowed powers whose sole purpose was harm. He learned to summon a fetch that could add to his ability to watch and scout, making him valuable in other ways. It had long ago turned against the orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins… but they bred swiftly and were an orgy of death and violence. Soon they grew desperate, and began to turn to truly dark powers even they had little control over. At the age of 19, he had reconnected with the Ordning, bridged a gap between his people and the humans, and had an adopted family and even a sister – he had rebuilt his life and gained power to use as a wizard against the enemies of peace. One last time he went forth with his adoptive mother and a host of humans, halflings, and elves. He had grown weary though of watching and feeling his familiars die – and so he avowed to learn to use the bow and add what he could to the defense of his lands that way.
Breaking the Horde
The dark powers the Orrish horde had summoned in desperation were formidable indeed. A host of beings from beyond the boundaries of madness. The battle was massive, hundreds of thousands involved. Vortices of magic and divine power raged across the field, city walls were broken, limbs torn and scattered to the four winds. Kampfer once again sought solace in the midst of battle from the earth and creatures in it. He found a place to safeguard his adoptive mother while the storm passed overhead. Leaving her unconscious, he stormed the horde from behind using his meagre powers and sensing he could little more than sacrifice himself so that others might succeed where he could not. Among a group of wizards and priests he fought against their shamans and war leaders, was cursed and flung from the battlefield through a yawning portal. When it met with the strange dimensional artifact from the dwarves he wore, there was a massive explosion that tore through the leaders of the hobgoblins – obliterating their best general. Kampfer vanished from the battlefield, and fell for what seems like days. The magical rucksack was nothing more than pieces, and left a permanent scar where the straps cut into his flesh. He was cast upon a strange shore where the stars and sky were unfamiliar. He wandered in a daze for an unknown time – seeing no one.
A Strange New World
Eventually he regained his composure. The grass and beasts looked near to his own world, but so much was different. He drew upon his powers taught to him by his parents and the grass and insects responded. Hurt near to death from the exploding magical backpack, he was covered and sheltered. He rested, and let his body try and heal. He drank water that fell with the rain, and ate nettles and tubers – hoping he would not die. They barely nourished his body, and he began to fear he may die as the sun passed overhead. Delirious and weak, he began to talk to his parents who were not there, then his adoptive parents, then friends and as memories grew more dim, to no one in particular. And a strange voice among the beasts answered his questions.
A Voice Answers
This voice was a voice he did not recognized, but it answered back. Then it at least gave him focus, despite what it told him about this alien place he found himself in. It answered questions about beasts, plants, and what he might find if he wandered farther away. It was comforting to have another presence, despite the alienness of no face to put to the voice. Then it began to tell of things he did not ask for. And soon it was relentlessly whispering all through the night. Gone was knowledge seeker in him. As the promises of power grew, his kindness and gentleness faded, replaced by lust and desire. The voice gave him strength but he felt himself getting weaker inside. He felt he had to leave or he would succumb to its fell desires, and so he left the cave that had become his refuge, terrified of himself. Once free, he found his thoughts his own again – though just as he drifted off to sleep, he could hear the whisperings… perhaps the voice had taken permanent hold in his mind. He was stronger under the sun, with the wind blowing through his hair.
He felt the need once again to connect with other folk, not only beast and plant. And so, he followed what the voice warned of – the evidence of civilization. Kampfer was mentally and physically withdrawn – he worked to overcome this. He lived among the open vistas of the world he was cast upon – not in caves. He met only natural things in the meantime, and no cities or warring bands. He found trees and hills, and place like he was raised as a child. He sought to re-arm himself with the tools of his craft, to protect himself better against the evil that the voice had whispered about. He made simple tools, and rebuilt his accouterments. He inscribed the spell knowledge he remembered onto bark, and built his own spell book. It took a great deal of time to find a new focus and to regain his spell casting powers without the trappings of civilization. As he grew closer and closer to civilization, the whisperings grew louder once again.
A Pact in the Dark
One night, under the full moon, he was alone except the voice in the darkness. The voice would speak to him, and offer powers without the careful study of his previous life. He had struggled greatly with only primitive resources to rebuild his spell casting powers and knew it would not be enough to survive in this new harsh place, with no friends. He soon found himself listening intently to the voice in the dark – as though it were a comforting friend. It taught him rituals in strange languages, irregular shapes to draw, and where to find mind-altering flora to expand his perceptions. Each cycle of the full moon, more and more otherworldly knowledge and perceptions would be gained. The voice protected him – it drove away humanoids and evil beast and powers that could have disrupted the cycle. After a year of slow encouragement he finally enacted the ritual the voice in the dark had prepared him for. It opened his mind in ways he did not anticipate. A dark power gripped hold of him. He called upon his own powers, to resist the call to violence and power. Afraid of himself, of the catspaw he might become, he hid himself away. He forswore his wizard’s powers and the ones offered by the voice. Another year passed as he and the voice struggled for dominance in his head. He learned there were others in this world, though few and best avoided. The voice was one of several powers struggling for a hold on the living here. He finally struck a bargain when the voice realized he was not going to be his puppet.
Giving the Dark Voice Power
Kampfer would allow the voice to experience life through him, he learned to let his voice speak with his tongue as he persuaded or deceived, and it relished the experience. He fought in the struggles of these people he came across, as a power for hire. He managed to rebuild his wizard powers after long study, his focus, and spellbook. This made him even more desirable in conflicts and his name and prestige grew. He could feel a struggle with his dark “master” and him approaching though, knowing further strange and evil acts would be required. And so, he sought the solace of the field and company of the simple creatures every so often – to keep himself balanced. His powers kept growing. He avoided making friendships, preferring to stay a mercenary for hire and avoid complicated relationships. His constant communing with the powers of nature opened vistas of additional power – his perceptions augmented by his wizard and warlock abilities made it an almost inevitable result of the acceptance and embrace of all things natural he had.
Finding his way in Orlec
He used his powers to communicate with the people he found in the fields and on the roads. He found himself on the Kingdom of Pascil. It was fairly new, and its king spent many a season warring with either his own nobles or outside forces. He initially joined a troupe of actors – who marveled at his size and used him as a proper in their stories. He was content to learn the lay of the land as a stagehand and prop, learning to speak the language fluently. Using the myriad traveling opportunities and his abilities, he slowly accumulated enough materials to rebuild his career as a magus. It was here that he made a name for himself as a mercenary magus.
Desert campaign of Solas Freel
Following forbidden knowledge hidden until adventurers brought it back from a journey to the Astral Plane and sold it to him, the priest Deltor, follower of light, was corrupted. He opened a gateway to a black gulf and a horde of demons spewed forth. The temple was overrun in the city of Jardlan of the border kingdom of Pascil and they spilled out into the city. Sir Solas Freel, protector of the city, slew his friend – the possessed priest – himself. He summoned a war band and chased the demons out of the city. It took months to hunt all of them down inside the city and nearby. Most fled to the wastes 20 miles away – where they agitated the tribes of the steppe. All that was left were the weaker demons, thankfully, but there were many. Solas Freel hired mercenaries and got levies to run the remainder down in a year long campaign to keep the peace and deal with the demon presence. Kampfer served as a bodyguard to one of Solas’s lieutenants named Krill. Krill was called “the golden hunter” for the spear he used which glowed so strongly it banished even magical darkness. It had a thirst for evil. Kampfer used his magics to track one of the three worst demons down – a nasty piece of work they only knew as Redbone. Redbone loved to eat all the meat off his victims, leaving behind a bloodied bone. Krill and his hunters cornered the beast after a month long pursuit, and half the crew of 9 were killed, and Krill barely limped away before it was all done.
Battle for Keplers Canyon
Few remember the battle on the north edges of the kingdom, not because so many died, but because of a strange fog that literally robbed people of their memories. What is known is that for weeks marauding bands of humanoids took their toll on farmsteads and small villages. Mercenaries were sent out multiple times, only to come back beaten and tore up. A small levie of 30 was drawn up and the remaining mercenaries of around the same number were put under the command of Lareth, priest Medjha the preserver, son of Sir Bandlin Graelfortrh – a knight from the eastern city of Meket in the kingdom. Lareth’s name and reputation were not enough to win the day. A further draw of a dozen crossbowmen were added, as Lareth promised to end the blight on trade and life. The forces were obliterated. In a few cases, a lone shuffling corpse wandering the countryside were all that was seen of the band except for the half dozen that escaped. It took weeks to sort out the details, but it appears that a pitched battle was fought in Keplers Canyon – where Lareth thought he had trapped his enemy. The survivors remember nothing of the main battle, and only a few remember Lareth’s last stand (or who it was against) as he used his voice of command to get the mercenaries to stay and defend him rather than run. A howling wind was part of it – rumors say it stripped the flesh from bone. When it was all done, Kampfer and 4 others were beating their mounts, fleeing for their lives and had to sacrifice them to their pursuers to appease their bloodlust they felt breathing on their necks in order that they might live. They were found alone, each of the five, wandering the area. Nothing was ever heard of again from the strange force that had gone on a prolonged, murderous rampage. Lareth was found stripped of his skin (still in his armor), and his name was given credit for defeating the “fiends of Keplers Canyon”.
Necromancer of Haightrivas (hey-tra-vis)
The southern grasslands bordering the steppe are home to many a free city, such as Haightrivas. These cities are home to travelers from other worlds, how seek to do research in peace, and live a more libertarian existence. Frayward Blackcowl was no exception. Long had he sought dark, necromantic powers and was known as a necromancer of power – even a defender of his city when the massive purple worm came from the hills and laid waste to the free cities myriad villages and settlements nearby. Animating fallen guardsmen to attack the great worm triggered some sort of change in him… it is even rumored that he used an artifact he had little knowledge of during the battle. Regardless, both the worm and the remnant of the army turned against the living. Frayward himself at first fled the battlefield and left the citizenry to deal with the animations. Fortunately the dead are not as clever as the living, especially without the necromancer to guide them. The trail of bodies lead to an old hill fort nearby, a place of refuge for travelers from storms, but now the hiding place of the necromancer. For months it was laid seige to, with the dead and living fighting each other. Frayward must have delved deep and found the undiscovered treasure vault of the ancient fort, for he was able to bribe at least half the mercenaries and turn the table – ambushing and defeating Lady Bathelie – protector of Haightrivas. Closing the sack the city, as his main forces of mixed animations and mercenaries were engaged, while Frayward was attacked himself. His elite mercenary bodyguard was deceived and distracted with magics by three magic users (one of which was Matthew Prisor the Evoker of Skansville – which had hired Kampfer to guard his back in the attempt) while the knight Sir Derek Anslard charged in and slew the necromancer himself. Protected by his sword “Spellguard”, he pushed aside the magics of the necromancer and smashed his skull. No worse end could be imagined though, after the forces of the necromancer surrounded as they were about to take the city. They were disarmed and decimated in front of the city’s populace. It is said that Sira Howaird, governor of the lands around the city, lost all trust that day. Some say his protector Lady Olivia Bathelie was murdered others say that she left his side because of it… but she was not heard of thereafter. Rumors abound that the council was replaced by sycophants and evil schemers; Regardless many changes were made. Although the lands are prosperous, the reputation has diminished and strange rumors abound.
The Witch of Torren Spring
Torren Spring is a small hamlet (one of 4 in the Barony of Melch) about 12 miles north of Haightrivas, back in the Kingdom of Pascil. Strange rumors had been coming from it and trade avoiding it when the Baron of Melch asked the king for aid. Half his dozen guards had been sent to investigate and were never heard from again. The king sent Sir Hughford Lane, who in turn gathered a small force of which Kampfer was hired on to guard. The village was deserted, and they began to cast about, trying to track the villagers. They were tracked to Torren’s Vale – an old vale with the ruins of a tower in it from the long dead adventuring mage – Torren was the original mayor and land owner of the area. His enemies had long ago rought him low and buried him. A dried creek bed lead to a strange sight. An old woman – a magical hag – playing with the children of the village while their parents looked on from cages. Some had obviously had parts eaten… later it was determined by their own children. The hag Vrunila was enraged and order the villagers to attack. Along with her minions – beasts of the forest – the battle was joined. Sir Hugford was an accomplished swordsman, but had not the heart to murder in bulk, the people he was sworn to protect. Defending him, Kampfer saw him torn limb from limb ultimately, and at least grievously wounding the hag, before he died. The hag used her magics to start the camp ablaze. The children and parents still under the hags mesmerism continued to attack… while Kampfer and three others followed the hag back up the creekbed. They cornered her at the place of a small pool. The fight grew physical and violent. Kampfer was knocked near unconscious, flung a dozen feat into the brush and landed next to a skeleton covered in grass and scrub (growing through it). Staring at its hand, that had scratched a word onto a rock with its last breath that lay hidden for an untold amount of time. Desperate and not thinking, Kampfer rose and staggered – making a lunge for the hag and shouted the word. The hag bit down upon his hand, severing his left pinky. Then, covered by sand and loose rocks, an object rose up violently in the air. It struck the hag, knocking her sideways right onto the shaking spear of the terrified page Morgan, squire of sir Hughford. A shield rose up to hover about the area of Kampfer, while he staggered, looking for his bearings. Up from the ground came the slow flow of water, somehow stopped and diverted by the shield. The hag scream “”I am Vrunila and i will not be defeated!” as she clawed her way off the impalement. However, it slowed her down too much, and the remaining veterans were able to carve her to pieces. The water flowed down the creek 300 feet, picking up volume and filling the bed. It put out the fires that started, and spared the lives of some of the remaining villagers. Afterward, half the living children had to be put down – a half dozen in all. They were mentally broke, and with a taste for human flesh. Over time, the others would drift away from the village, and become ravening ghouls – a few still a plague on the local area. A whole generation or two of the village was lost. Morgan gained his knighthood from the ordeal, while Kampfer and the other mercenaries were but a footnote in the telling. Kampfer would eventually discover that the shield was the wizard Torren’s bodyguard’s. His best friend Anuator – there were mentions of it in the annals of the village and barony. No one knew what happened to him after Torren’s death.. But he was obviously hunted down at the same time, and his body forgotten about a hundred years ago. The shield settled and covered the spring source – causing it to disperse instead of fill the bed – perhaps due to its latent protective magics. Anuator’s Shield is the name Kampfer gives it. It seems to have no other powers, but a will to defend the one attuned to it. It polished up nicely, and the predations of time seem to have no effect on it. Kampfer returns to the spring over and over again – it is a place of solitude and peace for him. It is where, under the light of the full moon, the powers of the magical initiative became revealed to him.
The Hellstone Club
At each city, within each contract he sought out sages and those from other places that seems to end up on this plane in order to find a way to get back home. A network of sages he built up with is own efforts – correspondence and travel, sharing some knowledge in order to enter into discourse. All his money was spent on this, getting the finest minds in the small kingdom together to see if he could find a way to safely return home. This small network began to think of itself as a club after a couple years – the “Hellstone Club”. Each shop of a member would have an image carved upon a brick in its facade that looked like a piece of brimstone from the pits of hell (in actuality it was just poor art). This was hidden amongst other carvings and only members knew what to look for as they, or their assistants traveled from one place to another. The Hellstone Club then began as an informal sort of guild – a membership of only 7 in 6 cities and towns. And so it developes, at the encouragement of Kampfer and now the members see the benefits and have become to add their own money to it – and swear protection for each other’s person and businesses.
Siege of Bardot
Bardot was a small village near the river Belltran, north of the city of Jardlan and part of the lands of the newly titled baron of Belltran – about 5 villages, and a church/small keep at its heart for the baron Sir Jediah Walden. Bardot became the site of a siege when desert marauders swept north, pursuing a band of adventurers who had stolen a relic from their shrine. Kampfer just happened to be in Bardot, traveling through and hoping to see the famous Juggling Troupe of BArdot at the spring festival there. The baron was not ready for a siege, and his men were green compared to the veterans of the marauders. It took several days before the adventurers – Plakes Pikes – confessed to the theft. Even then, they would not give up the relic. Kampfer refused to fight thereafter, and gathered the children of the village in the town square, helping the weak and innocent as he could. He meditated fervently upon the serenity of Torren’s Spring, trying to keep his anger down and let the townsfolk and adventurers sort it out. He was rewarded with the power to call forth Good Berries each day instead of each long rest… but the spirit of Torren’s Spring made it known that it was only in defense of the innocent. And so each day the berries would be coaxed from the huckleberry bush in front of the Sacred Grove of the Wind, to provide sustenance to the innocents of Bardot. The gods of the elements was “working through” Kampfer, and took the credit for the bounty that he called forth each day – though he was hailed as a devout and faithful follower of nature and the elements. After another week, he grew weary and weak – the lack of rest and forced bounty was taking it out of him – and he sought to end the stalemate. Using all his powers, he snuck into the strung out mercenaries encampment and stole the relic – a stone lizard statuette with massive ruby eyes. Easily a small fortune. He snuck into the enclosure of the desert marauders and left it next to one of their fires, where the glinting rubies would be noticed. The desert nomads believed it had returned to them on its own – a sign of their favor! The celebration was so great that Kampfer could not return to the town until evening, finding a hiding spot to get some sleep in for a few hours (exhausted, he slept until morning). The marauders decamped and left in the morning, and the adventures had, in the meantime, taken credit for returning the relic (what else were they going to do at that point?) and were gifted with a considerable sum. They were leaving town as Kampfer was returning, and he only found out what had happened afterward and decided to not let bring the truth to light – for adventurers and mercenaries might not be too popular right about then if the truth that they did not “give up their ill gotten gains for the good of the town” were made known.
Searching for a Decent Lord (Story for: Bond)
Having enough of the life of a listless mercenary, he sought to use his reputation to gain hold as a bannerman for the king of Pascil. Although not known by name, he had been involved in so many struggles over the last 6 years that the king’s captain of the guard gave him an audience. Seeing that he could be a worthy ally was not difficult to convince him of – his air of nobility, many accomplishments, and his own persuasive skills ensured that he would be given the in he needed. He was at first sent as a herald into several difficult situations. He represented the interests of the kingdom well, and was given a minor title and some business opportunities. He was not comfortable with some of the dealings he was privy to, but he had given his word to best present his king and did. After a year, he was given the opportunity for a permanent position in the city of Meritan.
Feg-Sloogh and the Otherworldly Slavers
Kampfer was sent to the city of Meritan as a herald and attendant to the king’s direct faction, serving Sir Hugh Duvre. For several months, the job was the easy one that Kampfer had hoped it would be, until greed and strange circumstance intervened. It seems greed became pervasive on the city council. Indentured debts began to rise and tensions between local sna the kingsmen grew. The council members began to leave beyond their normally extravagant means and strange rumors circulated. Sir Hugh Duvre sent three details into the city to assess what was going on. Kampfer felt obliged to volunteer – the voice inside driving to volunteer even to lead the most difficult of the groups. Kampfer lead the most stealthy. They discovered a strange trade being run after 3 weeks of going underground. Apparently the council were buying up debts, and had passes several minor laws into increase those debts. Those indebted would go to work – supposedly in mines – to work off their debt. They would come back with scars and in a physical and mental state of duress… some would leave the city completely, others never spoke about it. Kampfer and his crew infiltrated their way after another few weeks. It turns out the mines don’t exist and the reality was far more disturbing. Strange creatures had some to the city and set up shop as a type of slavers. As best as could be determined, in the chaos afterward, they would secure a “slave” with a magical bonding ring and arm them. Then, when wizards, priests and warlocks wanted to summon aid, they would be called to them using powerful magics tied to the bracelet. Those summoned would fight until they died for the summoner – commanded by the magic. Once dead, the magic returned them to the pens of their masters. And so, over and over until the “debt” was worked off. Then, these creatures would use powerful magics to make the target forget, beleive they had been working in a mine, and return their goods and release them back to the city with the scars they had earned. For whatever reason, word (Sir Hugh Duvre literally said a “little bird told him” where Kampfer was) reached his lord and Sir Hugh gathered a band of the town watch, the city guard, and any man he could deputize in a raid on the warehouse where it was going on. There were implications that members of the city council were involved, but nothing could be proven. The entire “organization” was run as a business cover by a creature named Feg Sloogh, and the otherworldly creatures that were running it sacrificed their minions and set fire to the pens to escape… Kampfer only barely escaped with scars from losing his eye in battle somewhere, and burn scars on his back from the fire. Only a single man survived with his memories intact (he was about to be ‘wiped’ when the attack happened), and the rest of his mind had little to recommend it so details were hazy at best. He did remember the ordeal of Kampfer though. After returning from a “mission”, Kampfer had lost an eye – and by all accounts it should not have been possible, but a piece of him had not come back after death. The hideous troglodyte-like create of Feg Sloogh commanded his minions to hold steady one creature that had gone mad… a creature said to have been from some infernal plane (Pandemonium). They pried the eye from the creature and it was somehow grafted by magic to Kampfer, permanently altering his looks. Perhaps he would never have known were it not for Sir Hugh slaying Feg Sloogh – though it is surmised that the slaying did nothing more than returning him to the otherworldly place that he came from. The glamor on Kampfer’s eye may have lasted all his days, but when Feg Sloogh was killed, it was dispelled and its true nature revealed. Even Sir Hugh had trouble looking Kampfer dead on – the eye was terrible to behold. But it functioned just as his eye was supposed to and never has given him any trouble since.
Civil War of Meritan
Suspicions grew over time, of council members acting inappropriately. Two factions of the city of Meritan plunged it into civil war. The faction of Sir Hugh Duvre lead a people’s army against the governor and council which had overtaxed the populace and left little to defend them from the marauders of the steppe that were preying on the caravans and fields. The civil war lasted over 4 months and at least 10,000 were killed. At first, the civil war was a war of factions in the streets. Then the council got desperate ann enjoined the smugglers and thieves of the city. Soon, civilians were turning on each other and the city burned. Trade crashed, fortunes fell, and the population fled. Sir Hugh turned to desperate tactics himself and the honor of Kampfer was stained with the lives of innocents. Sir Hugh Duvre was captured – Kampfer was part of his retinue – and hung and quartered for his crimes. The people were brutally suppressed just before a force of the king’s arrived to take matters into his hands. Some of the council were jailed – but it was a token effort to keep a peace that would put the city back on track to paying taxes and farming the local areas. Kampfer escaped from the dungeons of the council in the confusion afterward as the city was plunged into violence during one of the uprisings a month later. He thinks it may have been helped by Sir Hugh’s squire Timothy d’Frey – who had eluded the council’s agents. He left the city with next to nothing (sword and shield, tunic and sandals), and wandered north disguised as a freshly made mercenary mostly.
Accordance with the Dark Voice
He sought solace in loneliness and avoided contact for many moons. In remote hills, his loneliness turns to despair, and madness entered his dreams. His eye would twitch, focussing in and out, in and out. A flood of horrific visions of fire, blood, betrayal, and tears kept coming to him. He knew if he left, his visions would certainly find him. But the madness had almost completely taken ahold of him. The eye, the voice in the dark, his own conscience… his spirit was torn into pieces time and time again. He felt his sanity sliding, and in his despair, to stave permanent madness, he sought the voice in the dark. And it answered. It asked for blood, simple blood, not even innocent blood. Kampfer could not do it, though the voice kept urging him. The voice told him where to look and Kampfer decided that it was a test. If he went to the place the voice had told him, and did what the voice told him, he would kill himself. If not, he would simply wander out into the wastes and let madness take hold for good. He went, under the half moon light, to a place near a road along the steppe – where peddlers and carpetbaggers sometimes go to trade with their equivalents of the nomads. There he saw a fire and and form, and he approached in the night. He dropped all his gear, and garbed himself using magics to appear as a nomad, approaching the figure. It turned out to be a wretched man, who had captured a 3 year old to be sold as a novelty slave to the nomads. This wretch, Kampfer had no problem slaying. He released the young girl, returning to his true shape as the magics wore off. Despite warning her, she was terrified. Kampfer chased her in the right direction, wishing her well over her own cries, and hoped that she would be found and cared for. He and the dark voice had come to an accordance. The sacrifices were to be only the vile, the wretched… the evil.
Madness of the Edge of the Steppe
He drifted quietly along the edges of the steppe, through Ari’s Caravanserai, Bleak Sands Inn, Billworth’s Trading Post and even the haunted Edge Fort – slowly accumulating enough goods to bring him back to magical strength again. In the Edge Fort, he witnessed spirits of fire dancing on the wind. Perhaps it was madness brought on by the foreign eye and/or the dark voice that had taken him down the path of a warlock, but the whisperings he heard and sites he saw near drove him near to madness again. He blocked out the voice, and kept his hands clean of blood. He spent days warning peddlers and travelers to stay away – crazed on the trade road. On the edge of the steppe, mingling with the nomads, he heard rumors the Edge Fort was just one of three haunted forts – one buried by sand in the Shifting Waste and the other buried on a landslide in the Striped Steppe. He went seeking the ruins, perhaps seeking out a means to take him back home to his own place and time… but he felt compelled. He put aside everything and became a seeker. Privation, starvation, meditation… he became well known even among the steppe peoples in the area and avoided as some sort of holy man. Seeking the cursed places, the steppe folk felt he too was cursed, and avoided him. One night he became delirious. He followed whispers on the wind, seeking the ghost haunted lost forts and came face to face with something… a power and presence he could not explain. Only he could see it with his eye, and it drove him mad. For weeks he wandered, lost and confused. He only survived because of his power to speak to plant and beast to find water. From that point on, he saw things – things he could not explain, out of the corner of his eyes. If he focussed just right, his vision would slip the normal realm it was trapped in and slide into the nightmare place wherever the creature that provided his eye was from. Strange things would happen – rumbles in the earth, sounds, flicking lights – all harmless but disconcerting. And every so often, horrible things would happen when that gulf between world would yawn open – swarms of birds, rats, and insects would come down upon the area around him… biting, scratching, gnawing on everything around him, except him. It was in these places that he lost a slice of his sanity. Rarer still he could feel some other great sentience staring back at him, and the dread would creep over him like none other he had ever felt. An alienness filled his head and thoughts came unbidden – thoughts and visions of his future, the future of this realm, and the places around him. He gave up on pursuing his answers in the lonely places and returned to the peoples of the world he was in. The visions of madness had seemed to have driven the dark voice away.
A new life in Midlan Vale
He traveled with peddlers and soldiers, actors and pilgrims, just reconnecting with the people. He eventually reached the Midlan Vale – nominally a place known for its poets, writers and entertainers. Here he stayed, and tried to set up a new life. Forswearing the powers he had worked so hard on, he begged, persuaded, and ingratiated himself into an apprenticeship over the years. His strange appearance and foreign speech offered him few opportunities, but he eventually found a place among the alchemist’s guild of Midlan Vale. Midlan Vale was seen as a place of crafting where few exceeded it in the kingdom and so business was good and plentiful. Kampfer sought to bring his love of things natural to the alchemy guild, and stayed away (though still did the requisite study) of things magical and dangerous. He eventually became a journeyman and went to work for the alchemists guild supplying explorers and travelers with novelty items and non magical protections – smoke sticks, blazing lights, things that scare and are ultimately harmless. Gases, greases, and minor chemical effects were the stuff of his craft. Entertainers, circus, and bards even sought out his shop. He never made much real money, as he focused on the more theatrical, less harmful aspects of his craft. It took years for him to perfect it, and the inevitable descent into madness followed. As much as he avoided power, it found him. He constructed a powerful set of formulae for the spell Tashas Hideous Laughter. Time passed, and in that time the city had taken a more conservative bent and such folk were welcome less and less. There was rumors of a rebellion, of warfare far away to the north, and that Midlan Vale would become a new center for crafting. The emphasis on trade and business over people, on ale and wine over story, it put Kampfer into a negative place and soon he turned to drink as more and more sought him out to make items of war. The drink ruined his new life – hiding his true nature and making him good only for a novelty – lifting heavy things and moving them. He lost his business and fortune, and his reputation.
Flawed Conscience (Story for: Flaw)
He is seeking a better lord or cause to serve, though still believes in the cause of the king of Pascil. Kampfer has become argumentative, and hostile in his anger over what happened. Now he drinks and fights too much, his status forgotten and his dreams a faded memory. His looks are tarnished as is the only object of value – his shield. He carries it and the beaten sword, seemingly a bedraggled mercenary of massive stature. The voice in his head urges him on to violence and he is hard pressed to control it… perhaps even thinking he may not want to any more. One night after a drunken debauch, he was chased from a town on a stolen horse.
Hitting Rock Bottom
He awoke to find himself soiled, beaten with his own shield (likely left for it was attuned to him alone) and left for dead at Ranth’s Head (a near abandoned village near the boundary marker) on the edge of the kingdom. His spell book was torn into pieces and scattered around him, along with his sword, bent and hammered. A face was staring back up at him – the face of a large, strange cat with a obvious disapproving glare. The cat has killed a mouse for him to eat, a single drop of blood runs from its nose 6 inches away from Kampfers eyes when he opens them. As best as he could figure, drunk, he had finally cast the spell of finding a familiar (maybe because now he knew what it was like to endlessly die and be reborn)… and then passed out, throwing up on the pages. Bootless and with shit stained clothes, Kampfer decides that this is as low as he is willing to let things get. Even his own familiar wont speak to him, though it scratches a name of “Aloicious” in the dirt. He collects what he can, and takes off on foot… with his cat a safe distance away from the sewage plant smell he has cloaked himself in. His struggles with the inner voice, the “Black Master” faded to the background – for now it seemed the power was content to leave him bee to pursue his own goals. Like an exorcism, he felt his future clear of influence outside his own will. It was in this time that he began to realize the additional powers of the shield he carried. It would drown out the dark voice in his head, and he began to become more charitable – giving shelter and sharing food with the travelers on the road.
Getting out of the Oldening
He knew some of the dialects of the Striped Steppe and was determined to escape the lands where his quests had failed. Left with nothing, no prospects, a failed reputation, and uninspired leaders he wandered south. Into the Steppes and beyond. He sought the ancient Oldman Pass. Twice he tried to make the trek across the open steppe and twice turned back. The nomads were easily avoided, but the weather, the dryness, and his mental health prevented him each time. He returned to a mercenary way of life – spear and shield being his foot in the door, but his magics being the power he made his money on after he proved himself. He kept moving west. He returned to the small kingdom/free city state of Ghunfar, and sought the protection of Ghunfan Reach which cuts the steppe in half and reaches half way across to the Lands Beyond the Long Shadows and the fabled city of Montvin – crossroads of the heartlands of lands he has only heard of in conversation. He was able to keep little more than his clothes he wore, his spellbook, and his shield and spear – all his silver, gold, and trappings of a successful mercenary were left behind in an effort to get across the steppe by smugglers. His group almost made it to the free city of Cheril, but were ambushed by nomads from the steppe in sight of the mountains. A dozen people, over half, were cut down or taken slave by the nomads. Kampfer managed to make it to the hills using misdirection and hiding his footprints by talking to the steppe grass. Him and only 2 others had the constitution to make it to Cheril. There are several trails to the city, but bandits wait on most. At Cheril he was disarmed and forced to work in the stables. The “charity of Cheril” as they call it took hold of him – food and board but an a exorbitant trade. Many find themselves working for a year before being able to leave. And so, after a few months, word comes of stirrings in Montvin. The prosperous and stable city was said to be going through upheaval.
The Path to Montvin
Kampfer once again sets out to escape his situation, this time in the dark of night. He liberates his kept goods, and makes his way south, following the hills that separate the kingdoms of Verlusk and Korgia. All rumors say Montvin is brewing with activity and war between the kingdoms for control of this critical city is imminent. Factions within Montvin are fighting – not outright civil war yet, but Kampfer has seen it before and knows how close it is as he hears the excited talk of people. A rebellion was formed and its leader, Jack Vi’Medj, was exiled by the factions in control. Kampfer has seen plenty of agitators before, and despite right or wrong now just sees the carnage it wreaks on the populace and hopes he can fight for peace. In Montvin, there is dozens of bands looking for those of his trade. He puts on a demonstration and is hired by a band calling themselves “The Wrax”. Their captain, Poltesh, is a massive human, and has tribal tattoos like those of the nomads of the steppe Kampfer had crossed. The Wrax is employed by an unknown party (unknown to Kampfer anyway) and sent on a mission. This mission seems to coincide with a few other mercenary groups, as several leave the Temple District at the same time. Rumors say the priesthood has taken some control of the council, mayor and political parties… perhaps they all kneel to them now.
A Change of Heart
Marching to an estate on the edge of town, The Wrax attack the manor house. They are seeking Turreel Nagadeen – mother, daughter and agitator, who speaks against the rising priesthood of the “Unified Temples of Montvin”. The Wrax seem to follow protocol at first, but when a small show of force is displayed, an assault is immediate. The guards are brutally cut down, without mercy and ignoring their surrender. Servants are killed as they make their way in, and the members of the troop are invited to “pick clean” the carcass of the Nagadeen family – the priests have given their blessing! Kampfer wonders at his ill luck, and does his best to remain unnoticed and away from the carnage. After a couple hours of conflict, Tureel is finally brought out of her wrecked villa, before the commander of The Wrax. He proceeds to rape her, at which time another band enters the foray. Those wounded and raped servants rouse at the sight of them, and grab board and rocks. They attack their attackers and the band attempts to free Tureel. Tureel’s husband is killed before her eyes but before aught else can befall her family, Kampfer makes a critical decision – to switch his allegiance to the one the common folk are banding with. Kampfer attacks using every trick, misdirection, illusion, portent and conjuration he can – aiding the band of commoners siding with Jack Vi’Medj. Tearing his Wrax tabard off, he shields the common folk with illusions, walks into the baggage train of The Wrax and calls down a swarm of ravens, convinces the horses in the stables to stampede The Wrax, and together they drive The Wrax off, killing nearly half their number. Jacks band continues on their way, fleeing the city. Kampfer is caught by Telf, called “red rain” in the Wrax and right hand man to Poltesh. Beaten by the large axe of Telf, he is about to deliver the death blow when companions drive him off – with the help of the released kennels of the estate that Kampfer summons to his aid using the mind-voice of the dark power residing in him! Telf swears that the last thing Kampfer and his friends will see before they die is his and Poltesh’s smiling faces glaring down at them. Kampfer at least manages to make off with a couple of decent riding horses as he leaves.
Following Jack Vi’Medj
Kampfer makes a critical decision to follow the group that the commoners banded with. Driven out by the government on Montvin, and perhaps with some allies in the priesthood, Jack and his friends are on the run and go south. Not wanting to make the same mistake as before, Kampfer travels in the path of the group, watching what they do for 3 months. He loses them a few times, its obvious they are trying to avoid attention. At one point, bounty hunters in the employ of Jack’s enemies hire him to assist them in catching him – Kampfer poses as a shaman from the steppe. He travels with an arm (a sub-contracted set of mercenaries) of The Wrax that he had no contact with – lead by a Lt. named Faro (a human from Montvin). They agree to pay for a set of formulae for his alchemal occult powers to enhance the spell Grease – a dangerous formulation that covers greater area and makes it flammable. Kampfer sabotages the bounty hunters efforts from the inside, however. Jack and his band keep going south, into the lands of the Skraelings. Their general good nature holds true, and they persist in their efforts to help. It becomes clearer and clearer that some sort of evil cult, a combined priesthood, is the target of Jack’s efforts. And that group is behind the bounty hunters he travels with. Kampfer helps as much as he can, trying to unravel the cultist mystery and get closer to Jack’s group.
At last he is privy to a direct attempt to take down Jack’s group. Kampfer easily switches sides ahead of time and joins with Jack to take on the cultists.
Adventuring Companions 8/2017
Jack Vi’Medj (Arabus)
– Human Ranger (Morgan)
Pahr Erukrasha- Half Ogre Barbarian (Spencer)
– Human Cleric of Life (Corey)
Kampfer – Firbolg Wizard 2/Warlock 2 (Kelly Berger)
Aerik – Human Eldritch Knight (Earl Clark)
Sabrina – Human Cleric (Alanna)
Questioning Jack’s Band
It turns out Jack’s companions actually have little in the way to bind them to Jack’s cause – just the man himself. And, their reasons for wanting Montvin crushed are misguided at best. Montvin has close social controls and seems that, once all information from the characters was teased out by Kampfer, not exactly the picture of oppression from the government they once thought. It seems that there is a criminal element in the city, and that they may be responsible for the majority of what the group considered “evil”. And for the people vanishing who choose to leave. The group hatches a plan to not raise an army and see hundreds killed but maybe surgically strike the evil that might be the problem.
Adventuring Companions 9/2017
Jack Vi’Medj (Arabus)
Kampfer – Firbolg Wizard 2/Warlock 2 (Kelly Berger)
Aerik – Human Eldritch Knight (Earl Clark)
Adokul Forgedawn – Teifling cleric of light/fire (Neel Dey)