Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Innate Magic People Part 6

This week's artist is Sandara, whose art has been inspiring my D&D games since before I was running them!
In Ahneria, nearly everyone can cast a little bit of magic, but some people can cast full-on spells. I decided it would be fun to detail out a set of NPCs based on the first level spells. As I said in the previous article, these are people who are somewhat common, but might have gained notoriety or fame based on their abilities.

This is the sixth in this series, and the first of the fifth level spells. These spells are so powerful, that not only will these people influence the world, but the world will bite back. Their stories are tales of epic heroism, tragedy, or legend. Thus, we'll be reducing the number of NPCs but increasing the description of them.

Yonnael Pendown
Spell: Animate Objects (PHB pg. 213)
Since Yonnael Pendown reached adulthood, he wasn't a normal man. He appeared to be a tall, somewhat gangly human, but wherever he went, objects around him sprang to life, ready to do his bidding. He was confused by their demands for his orders, and asked the local priest for help. Unfortunately, the priest had no way to stop this strange condition. The townsfolk were hesitant to accept a person with such powers, since even their personal possessions would leap up and ask for an order when Yonnael came near.

People Yonnael had known his entire life suddenly turned their backs on him. The priest asked him to leave town, perhaps living at the abandoned castle on the nearby mountain. Yonnael went, leaving his life behind to live in a dusty old tower. The longer he stayed there, the more things came to life, and they brought him food and fresh water so he would not perish. He longs for his life in a small village, where everything was normal. However, he has been away from other humans too long, and his servants attack anyone who approaches the castle. He can't bear to see a reminder of the life he lost to fate.

Shima Tanaz
Spell: Antilife Shell (PHB pg. 213)
Ever since she was young, Shima Tanaz pushed away those around her. Literally. Nobody could get closer than ten feet to her, though by her teenage years the distance had grown to 30. Fortunately, her wealthy parents had the fortune to hire clockwork humanoids that could feed and attend to her, and she grew up fascinated by these mechanical manservants. In fact, she became so attuned to their presence that she became quite anti-social, preferring to work on her own clockwork creations and strange engineering projects.

As Shima grew, her nature changed. She began to resent those humans who tried to care for her, as they didn’t understand her work and were utterly unpredictable compared to her mechanical companions. She fled her home in the city of Mitigas and started a secret laboratory, engineering strange and deadly contraptions to protect herself. She has become a threat to Mitigas, and the mayor is looking for someone to fight her creatures and kill her. Shima’s parents are opposed to their daughter’s death, not the least because nobody has even been able to approach her with a sword or axe and harm her.

Bilfiz The Swift
Spell: Banishing Smite (PHB pg. 216)
In the multiplanar city of Sigil, ideas are currency, and fast communication is worthy of a huge investment. Enter Bilfiz The Swift, a gnomish courier who has seen every end of the multiverse and then some. With a tap of his nose, he jaunts off to anywhere in the multiverse for a minute at a time. Thanks to his advanced gnomish technology, he can survive anywhere from the lakes of fire to the poison swamps of the Abyss, and his time limit means he never remains captured or embattled for too long. Bilfiz has turned speedy delivery and artful escapade into an art form.

However, there are still some folks who simply don’t like his intrusions. He’s never spoken to Asmodeus directly, and Pelor only allows him halfway up Mount Celestia. This doesn’t put much of a damper on his business, though, since the lawful planes generally have their own messaging systems which Bilfiz can hand off the delivery too. And on many chaotic planes, his information and discretion have earned him access to places normally forbidden to mortals. But Bilfiz’s latest delivery is to a particular demon lord who has never once allowed a message to enter his plane: Demogorgon. Bilfiz needs someone to venture deep into the Gaping Maw and finish his delivery for him, as his reputation is on the line.

Mess with me, mess with my giant bug friends
Niva “Echofist” Sykes
Spell: Bigby's Hand (PHB pg. 218)
For many years, the city of Calirix was plagued by crime and corruption. But a few years ago, a vigilante hero emerged from the rabble, promising to bring peace back to the citizens. Her name was Niva Sykes, but she was known as Echofist, for her punches would “echo” out of her hand and strike her foes with spectacular force. Each punch would cause hideout walls to crumble, criminals to implode, and gangs to scatter. She cleaned up the streets, earning the gratitude of the city and the fear of the crime lords who ruled its underbelly.

However, since crime has gone down, the bounties on criminals haven’t been enough to pay for the damage her power does to buildings, roads, and bystanders. Not only that, but the new magistrate, Armin Hamdast, is convinced that the best solution is banning the use of magic from the city. Such an edict would majorly hamper the ability of the citizens to live their lives, and Niva wants to avoid hurting the people. But she can’t give up helping people with her powers, either. She’s looking for help finding a solution.

Eli Dusque
Spell: Circle of Power (PHB pg. 221)
Dubius von Z├┐mmern, the evil wizard who ruled Zymmer with an iron fist, was recently assassinated. So was Khalida, the Sorceress of Death, and Oshi’o the Cursed One. This rash of mysterious deaths held the entire continent captivated for some time. Who was behind these attacks? Were they altruistic? Or was it portent of some greater evil simply removing their rivals? Each of these powerful overlords was more than capable of destroying entire countries with their magic, so what happened?

Well, eventually, the hero behind their downfalls revealed himself after taking out The Dark Lord Mudario. Eli Dusque is an assassin who is nearly impervious to powerful magic, and he was immediately hailed as a hero by every ruler in the land. But that’s where things got messy. Eli hated the idea of fame, and declined alliances with any country that approached him. This could have made him a hero of the people, but it turns out he also hates associating with the commonfolk. His sense of justice was completely overshadowed by his unlikable personality. He didn’t mean to reveal himself, but now that he has it’s become difficult for him to find places to eat and stay. He’s looking for a patron who is willing to put up with an antisocial jerk.

Serenity Uraias
Spell: Cloudkill (PHB pg. 222)
They say when she was born, she wiped out the entire town. They say she was raised by some strange monster, though the tales vary from demons to liches to some sort of poison elementals. They say she will take any job, and there’s no stopping her once she sets her eyes on a target. And when she reaches that target, everyone they love will die as well. Just being targeted by her is enough to earn exile from a community. Her name is Serenity Uraias, but she is known as The Eradicator.

She wanders the land, surrounded by a greenish fog. Those who try to attack her can’t get close enough to see her, much less strike, before they perish. Her mist creeps under doors and through the cracks in windows, wiping out entire villages at a time. Her only calling card is the entire population of a village, dead from poison. Despite the enigmatic nature of her work, she has earned powerful allies in the form of nobles looking to quiet insurrections or erase protesters. The commoners have no way to strike back, at least directly. Recently, Basile Northoll, a baron of the Hills of Nazkos, was revealed to have purchased the services of The Eradicator to eliminate a village that refused to pay taxes. Now, every attack is being linked to him, and the commoners are planning a revolt before they are completely wiped out.

"I just don't understand why people keep assuming I'm evil"
Diam Tanner
Spell: Commune (PHB pg. 223)
In the Holy Land of Yamasai, the people don’t have to worry if their souls are saved. They know it. His Holiness Pope Diam Tanner gives the people the exact guidelines for acting in accordance with Yone, the God of light and justice. Born with the ability to hear the voice of the God, Pope Diam has spent his life obtaining information on the afterlife, Yone’s doctrine, and how best to serve her. Once the church heard of this miracle child, they installed him as their leader and disseminated his writings to the populous. His words have a huge influence, and he is seen as incredibly righteous after using his gift to expose corruption in the rulers of the nearby land of Setasa.

However, a small faction of countries have rejected the words of Pope Diam, and begun to fight for their own God, Ssytris, the benevolent God of life and death. At first, they simply refused to join in the ever-growing Holy Land of Yanasai, but before long violence broke out on the borders and a rebel militia had formed. Now, Pope Diam has declared war on the defectors, and to those in the Holy Land, his word is God’s word. It’s time for a crusade against the heretics!

Amadora Vinas
Spell: Commune with Nature (PHB pg. 224)
For centuries, the Thelvia Pass was well-known as a terrifying wilderness that claimed the lives of any who passed through it. Dragons, manticores, and more had all been sighted there, fighting with each other over territory and prey. This included any travelers making their way between Theldor and Anuvia. However, for the past three decades, those who brave the mountain pass have been met by an old, mute woman carrying a small lantern. Those who follow her through the stranger parts of the jungle invariably made it to the other side, and rumor of her ability and presence spread quickly. Those blessed to meet Amadora Vinas would be able to get between the two cities in a matter of days.

But all of that changed recently. A group waited and waited for Amadora, but she never arrived. The people of the cities are unsure if she finally passed on or if they had upset her in some way. And with an outbreak of sickness in Theldor, the people of Anuvia need to get medical supplies there as soon as possible. Lady Amelie of Anuvia is looking for trailblazers to lead her clerics through the pass alive, to save the lives of those in Theldor.

Calros del Goya
Spell: Cone of Cold (PHB pg. 224)
Calros del Goya grew up relatively normally, living in a tropical village on a small island. He loved his family, and was courting a girl from another clan. However, when they kissed for the first time, he drew back to discover she had been frozen solid. Ice was unheard of on the island, and poor Calros had no idea what was happening. Unfortunately, even though the ice melted, the girl had died, and his fate was sealed. The islanders learned of his crime, and they had no evidence that he hadn’t killed her on purpose. There were no wounds on her body, but the girl’s family would only be satisfied with exile. But before the islanders could put together a boat and food for the boy, he experienced a fit of rage and frustration so powerful that the entire island froze over.

The plant life and people on the island would not survive such a deep freeze, so suddenly and without precedent. Calros, not knowing what to do, tried to flee into the ocean and drown himself, only to find it froze beneath his feet, supporting him. He gathered what food he could and began to wander the ocean, leaving a path of ice in his wake. Not only that, but every island he finds invariably ends up meeting the same fate as his home. He is looking for companionship, for a way to stop his powers, and a way to return his family and friends to life. But for now, he can only cause pain, and rumors of frozen islands are beginning to spread among sailors in the area.

I wish your powers would stop getting in the way of our "us" time
Valza Woe
Spell: Conjure Elemental (PHB pg. 225)
Even for a Tiefling, Valza Woe’s appearance is quite odd. Her eyes, horns, and tail are a swirl of colors, and strange energy pulses around her. People avoid interacting with her, a common situation for tieflings, but when she is angered, she reveals how powerful she really is. Her rage brings forth creatures of pure fire, swirling air, rushing water, and surging earth to fight who- or whatever is the subject of her ire. The angrier she is, the more powerful her servants, though they seem to act in her defense even after she has calmed down. The elementals act like they are guarding her, even against her wishes.

Unfortunately, her short temper brings forth these creatures more often than she would like. And she recently got very angry while in the Royal City of Thanea, causing her summoned servants to rip the very foundations of the city to pieces. Blinded by rage, she spurred them onward, an act that was not unnoticed among the guards who attempted to subdue her. Now, she is on the run, hunted by the allies of Thanea, who fear this walking disaster will arrive on their doorstep.

Rinvis Gavorath
Spell: Conjure Volley (PHB pg. 226)
Rinvis Gavorath is the finest warrior in the undersea Triton kingdom of Nephthas, known to be a master of the trident and chivalrous to a fault. Visitors are treated to stories of him slaying a massive sea monster alone, which are no mere legends. He threw his mighty multiplying trident and destroyed the terrible beast in full view of the entire colony. Those who bore witness claim the beast was torn to shreds under the power of his assault.

But all is not well in the kingdom of Nephthas. A group of kraken-worshipers have begun to appear on the fringes of society, threatening to bring their dark master out of its slumber and destroy the entire kingdom. The people called upon Rinvis to slay the ancient monster, but he has not returned since his departure several weeks prior. Queen Orlyn Vuhrosath is looking for a group of heroes to find out what happened to the bravest warrior of Rinvis, and stop the threat of the Kraken if possible.

Maru Caldeira
Spell: Contact Other Plane (PHB pg. 226)
Since she was a child, Maru Caldeira was an avid listener. She waited patiently while others were talking, absorbing everything she heard. It wasn’t all that surprising, then, that she became somewhat of a database for information about people in the city of Telina. She wandered around, listening to everything she heard, holding it in with her remarkable memory. Her parents were quite pleased to have such an intelligent child, and would often inquire about things she had learned in her wanderings. That is, until she began to tell them things she would have no way of knowing.

She told them about Prince Ygram’s scandalous affair, about the secret murder fetish of Liliane the cobbler, about Mrs. Livett’s cannibalistic urges.  Her parents were shocked, and punished her for slandering upstanding citizens. That was when the first bout of madness began. Maru insisted that she had heard these things, being spoken about in disembodied whispers, and that she knew they were true. Her parents, not knowing what else to do, called a local cleric, but it was too late. Secrets began pouring out of her mouth, revealing the darkest shames of anyone she saw. Nobody could come near her, not without having their darkest secrets revealed. Her family needs help.

Stay back! I know magic!
Wally Honvale
Spell: Contagion (PHB pg. 227)
The country of Churith is situated next to the Churi mountains, and has long suffered attacks from the Broken Skull tribe of barbarians. These brutal warriors showed no mercy to the civilians of Churith, even going so far as to hunt them and take their scalps for sport. The common folk lived in fear of an attack, and each report of their savagery only increased their terror. This is when Wally Honvale decided to step up, putting his strange and dangerous gift to use.

Wally had the ability to spread virulent diseases, and King Rubian of Churith quickly saw the advantage in using such an ally. He ordered Wally to head into the mountains and spread sickness and disease into every member of the Broken Skull tribe. But when Wally ventured into the mountains, he saw the truth behind the attacks from the barbarous tribes: they had been forced from their homes by King Rubian, and were trying to regain lands that they once held dear. Wally disappeared into the mountains, and the attacks did not stop as expected. Nobody knows what happened to the plague-bearer, but now the barbarians have begun spreading a deadly new sickness among the population of Churith. King Rubian is desperate for help, fighting against both the tribes and this new disease that plagues his lands.

Suaki
Spell: Control Winds (XGtE pg. 152)
In the Aarakocra village of Sejo, Suaki is known as the one person in the aerie who never flies. She stays upon the earth, working as a leatherworker and creating armor for her fellow birdfolk, never taking to the skies. Many young chicks ask her about her wings, and if she was injured or afraid to fly, but none of that is true. The real reason is that the last time she tried, she created such terrible gusts from her wings that those aarakocra who were in flight were buffeted into cliffs and badly injured.

However, word has reached the flock that Ophomne, a mighty and ancient Red Dragon, has just been ousted from her lair by the great hero Choi Hyun-gi. Ophomne is heading toward the village, looking to set up a new lair in this mountainous region, and the flock has voted to leave immediately. This puts Suaki in a bind - she can’t fly with the rest of them. The flock is leaving within the day, and Suaki needs help fleeing from this terrible danger approaching.

Zinlamin
Spell: Creation (PHB pg. 229)
Zinlamin is nearly a legend, the wandering elven weapons master who summons armaments of glittering diamond before cutting down any challenger. He spent nearly three centuries simply wandering from town to town, challenging swordmasters to fights and defeating them to further his own reputation. Before long, his name was spoken in all of the arenas and fighter’s guilds in the land of Hasaem. He was said to know every fighting style, fight with weapons that appeared out of nowhere, and have senses bordering on animalistic.

After wandering for so long, Zinlamin began to take sides in local conflicts, siding with those in need or under oppression. This got him involved in several larger conflicts, until finally he was fighting alongside revolutionaries in a war. The war ended, and Zinlamin returned to his wandering. But, as power corrupts, it wasn’t long before he found himself once again fighting against the soldiers under the government’s command. War ensued again, followed by peace, followed by war. Zinlamin is finally becoming too old to get caught up in politics again, but his constant threat to the ruling power has earned him a sizable bounty which prevents him from travelling much. Even his legendary swordsmanship can be overwhelmed by masses of bounty hunters. He is seeking help fleeing the continent.

With great power comes sweet animal companions
Nastassya Novik
Spell: Danse Macabre (XGtE pg. 153)
Another village gone quiet. The scouts of Cirros reported to their queen that undead stalked the husk of the settlement, sticking around only a few days before vanishing. It’s been happening more and more often, these mysterious transformations of common civilians into hungry undead. A darkness has creeped into the land of Cirros, and Queen Kalina is gathering heroes to combat it.

The person behind this matter, revealed at great cost of life, is a young girl known as Nastassya Novik. She arrives in an area with her horde of undead minions, slaughters everyone in her sight, and moves on. Surprisingly, those who returned reported she seemed to have no great power, that the undead seemed to rise without her casting a spell or even paying attention to them. She did not cast any magic, in fact, only relying upon her teeming servants to protect herself. The mystery of her powers has caused some heroes to join up and try to understand such magics, but until this girl is dead the country of Cirros cannot sleep easily.

Bress Lightlock
Spell: Dawn (XGtE pg. 153)
Bress Lightlock was born of the God Usnia, who commands light and hope. They were granted the light of their mother, and are constantly surrounded by a nexus of searing light that destroys those who oppose them. Bress has used this gift to great benefit, wandering the Underdark and guiding surface dwellers, using their burning light to dispose of monsters that might attack them. Because of their efforts alone, the caverns below the country of Cestra Oscium have been made quite safe and passable, and the country has grown wealthy on mineral deposits found deep below.

Recently, a new threat to the Underdark has emerged: a lich, enraged at his lost love, scouring the Underdark to find the soul of his partner. Bress has been called upon to defeat this menace, but such a task might be too much even for their cleansing light. They are looking for heroes to join their righteous quest.

Tymun Bhelrigg
Spell: Destructive Wave (PHB pg. 231)
Born deep in the Ustral mountains, Tymun Bhelrigg had a normal childhood, being raised to love rocks and climbing like many dwarves. It wasn’t until he began to learn the ways of combat that his powers began to manifest. When wielding a hammer, he could strike the earth to cause an eruption of powerful energy all around himself. He was seen as blessed by Zypros, the God of Thunder, and quickly rose up the ranks to be a great warrior.

As his power grew, so too do the impact of his blasts. One fateful day, while fighting a band of orcs attacking the Bhelrigg clan stronghold, he crushed the earth so hard that an avalanche sprung forth from the mountain, burying his family and friends under a mountain of rubble. He was devastated, and swore off fighting, becoming a mountaineer instead. He spend over a century wandering the land, always followed by rumors of the mountains that he crushed in his wake while defending himself. Now, the Bhelrigg clan’s neighboring allies, Udros village, needs to be defended from the Orcish Warlord Solzi the Bone-Breaker. They want to find Tymun and bring him back to fight on their behalf, but he is nowhere to be found. They need help, and quickly.

When your hobby is bringing statues to life, it starts getting expensive to feed them
Aysha of Jowha
Spell: Dominate Person (PHB pg. 235)
Those close to King Rafi say he hasn’t been quite the same since he married Queen Aysha of Jowha. Some of it was in small ways, like picking up her mannerisms and word choice, things you would expect a married couple to do. But his stances on policy changed quite a bit as well. Negotiations with other countries became less hostile, public executions all but stopped, and he began treating his advisers better. People attributed it to the Queen’s soothing influence and practicality, after all, the king had been passing through a small town when she, a commoner, caught his eye and he immediately fell in love. The citizens feel this new change is for the better.

However, Queen Aysha’s stoic demeanor belies the daily struggle she maintains to keep King Rafi under her mental control. His brash and hateful personality is railing at her magic with every fiber of its being, threatening every type of torture when he becomes free. She appears calm and soothing, but behind her facade she is fighting a battle every second for control. Some of the King’s generals are beginning to get suspicious, and she knows she can’t keep this up forever.

Colias Pierce
Spell: Dream (PHB pg. 236)
The entire country of Skourus knows the supposed strength of Colias Pierce, a prophet said to wield magics beyond mortal comprehension and have the blessing of every benevolent God in the skies. His foes have nightmares of his terrible power, and he often forces them to submit to his authority without so much as lifting a finger. Nobody dares to oppose him, but thankfully he uses his powers for the betterment of the common people. Whenever he travels, his arrival is hailed by prophetic dreams, which always appear to those most in need of his services.

Of course, Colias is responsible for the dreams and not much else. Merely an average fighter, he preys on the fear and weakness of those he is sent to kill. He and his employer, an enigmatic organization known as the Obsidian Frost, operate a network of information that locates potential citizens in need and uses them to further his reputation. However, due to a mix-up, he reached out to a warrior being plagued by an unsleeping revenant. Now, Colias must face the powerful undead without the benefit of his prophesied “power” to aid him. He will pay a fine sum to anyone who can help him in a discreet manner.

Zora Nazim
Spell: Enervation (XGtE pg. 155)
Zora Nazim hates the cursed life she was born into. Everything around her withers and dries up, killing humanoids and plants, and even crumbling wooden structures. Her first memory was being alone in the husk of a town, surrounded by dried up corpses. She couldn't even tell who her parents were. All she could do was cry and move on to the next town, hoping someone could help her and leaving a trail of desiccated grass in her wake. Her powers nourished her, and she never realized that she didn't eat or drink like most humans.

She wandered for years, inadvertently destroying town after town. With no survivors, people began to assume a terrible drought or powerful wizard was plaguing the country. They became quite concerned, that is, until the Noble Knight Rolf Whitewood tracked down Zora from her trail of enervation. He kept his distance, but was her first friend, and gave her the name she now calls herself. Together, they began the search for a wizard that could help cure her condition while surviving the curse themselves. An undead or clockwork person would be best.

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Vimal Desai
Spell: Far Step (XGtE pg. 155)
The city where Vimal Desai grew up in, Barox, is now a bit of a tourist attraction. People come to see the insane architecture and meet the people who knew the famous artist in his youth. Vimal got his start with building odd houses by accident, they say. He was working as a normal laborer on a small house, when suddenly a portion of the house shifted five feet off-center. Part of the house collapsed, but what remained had an aesthetic quality to it that greatly pleased the owner. She insisted that the rest of the house be completed with the teleported materials in place.

Word spread, and Vimal was asked to do more work, though now as a designer rather than a laborer. He hired teams of workers to reinforce the buildings so the damage would be minimal when he applied his magic. Soon, the whole city was full of wild shapes and strange angles. Vimal has since gone on to bring his strange style to other kingdoms, but he remains popular in Barox.

Mao Xinyi
Spell: Flame Strike (PHB pg. 242)
Mao Xinyl wants to do good in the world. She has worked on many projects around the city of Usakos, focused on helping the unfortunate and promoting kindness. Her work has been wildly successful, and Usakos is an extremely peaceful city. In normal circumstance, this would make Mao popular and loved, but instead she is feared and avoided. This is due to the strange magic she wields: those who disobey her requests are doused in holy fire, often fatally. Once the city guard determined she wasn’t doing this maliciously, they couldn’t bring charges against her. However, they couldn’t dissuade her from stopping her work without risking their lives.

Mao, despite the terrible power she was born with, has tried to keep her head held high and continue her work. However, a new minister of the city, Throgest Valisson, has come forth in strong opposition to her. He speaks of her violence and brutal slavery of those who she forces to work on her causes. He refuses to meet with her personally, citing the danger to his own life, but nonetheless his words have reached the hearts of the civilians. Mao has been ostracized and pelted with trash wherever she goes. Of course, they always stop when she asks them to, but the next day they are back at it. Nobody seems to appreciate her efforts, and Mao is slowly losing hope in her city.

Next week: more fifth-level spells!

Thanks for reading!

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