Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Innate Magic People Part 9

This week's artist is Astri Lohne from Norway. She's absolutely fantastic, as you'll see.
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.

These NPCs form an ongoing set of articlesThis is the ninth in this series, and the continuation of the sixth level spells. At this point, the power of these NPCs can shape the cities and countries around them. One of these people might be the reason for an entire campaign's worth of intrigue, combat, or exploration.

Seraina Kyhm
Spell: Guards and Wards (PHB pg. 246)
The name Seraina was unknown by most of the world, until one foggy night in the city of Trakura. That night, the fog was so thick that people couldn’t find their way anywhere, and they heard a strange message whispered on the wind: “This is the will of Seraina”. The fog remained the next day and the day after, and more people became hopelessly lost within it. They stayed home as long as they could, but hunger and loneliness drove them out into the foggy streets, and to their doom, wandering the hollow city, screaming for help. The cacophony drowned out all other noise, and people cursed Seraina, the only name they knew to curse.

Eventually, even the queen’s stores ran dry, and the royal throne was taken by Seraina Kyhm, a mysterious woman of ambiguous race who claimed to be the creator of the fog. She lifted the curse, and warned the citizens that it would return if they disobeyed her. Happy to eat and see the sky, the people submitted to Seraina’s rule, despite cursing her name days before. They drove the queen into hiding, effectively enforcing one of the shortest and least violent coups in the history of the world. Now, the citizens comply with their new queen’s rule, in fear she will bring back the dark days of fog and madness.

Spell: Harm (PHB pg. 249)
Wandering from city to city, the masked plague-bearer Outbreak has been the subject of unbridled fear and hatred. Those who approach him are wracked with terrible pain, making him untouchable by the guards of every city. But even worse are the hacking coughs, the festering boils, and the incurable fevers that infect every person in the city. After those who remain untainted flee their homes, the city dies an anemic death.

Those who escape from the plague tells the stories of the strange figure, calling him a monster, demigod, or something not of this world. People in other cities have begun to lay out altars, make sacrifices, and leave offerings in hopes that the strange figure would not visit their city. No one yet knows the masked figure's identity or goals, and the leadership of the country is desperately trying to find out.

Serek Azolov
Spell: Heal (PHB pg. 250)
Wizards have said that with a long enough lever, one stone can topple the world. Well, General Serek Azolov is that lever, and his Platinum Battalion is the stone. As long as they are with their leader, they cannot be harmed, and continue to fight until the entirety of their foes have fallen. They cannot be starved, and fight through the walls of the castles that oppose them. They cannot die, and they are slowly slaying all those who dare to stand against them.

This is worrying news for the king of Flabronn, Saul Sanz. His nation has stood at the pinnacle of power for centuries on the continent, and his rule was widely respected. But now General Azolov is approaching, and King Saul must find a way to stop him. The people support their king, but rumors fly about the unstoppable general and what he is like. Some say he deserves to take control, since he was blessed by the Gods. Others, the king included, simply can't trust a man who slaughters anyone in his way.

Come on, it's just a little bit of fire...
Utsumi Soma
Spell: Heroes' Feast (PHB pg. 250)
The generals of the country of Swe Shax are known for their incredible fighting ability, mighty stature, and forceful personalities. But behind them stands the true source of their power: years of the magical “Heavenly Cuisine” created by the King’s Military Chef Utsumi Soma. The meals provide those who eat them with incredible power, and years of eating them has caused some of the mightiest fighters in the world to emerge from Swe Shax. Soraya the Brutal, Tai the Destroyer, Romuli the Just, and Mountain Man Miroko, to name a few. Each of them stands as a powerful guardian to their king, and the true source of their power is a secret they keep well-guarded.

However, recently the identify of Chef Soma was obtained by a spy from the country of Tilayra. Tilayra and Swe Shax were notorious rivals, with the large lake between them being the only thing that kept them from exploding into outright war. With this information about the secret of Swe Shax’s legendary generals, a group of spies from Tilayra managed to kidnap the Chef while the king and generals were participating in a local parade. War is brewing, and the queen of Tilayra is trying to force Chef Soma to produce the Heavenly Cuisine for her own warriors.

Maazin bin Awadi
Spell: Investiture of Flame (XGtE pg. 159)
Those who travel through the Sanki sea know not to get to close to Calcona island. Situated in the center of the massive body of water, boats have been known to mysteriously catch fire there, sinking them and leaving the crew stranded. Some say there is a natural explanation for this phenomenon, others believe the God's have something they are protecting on that island. Either way, it's common practice to take a longer route, rather than risk losing cargo and lives to the fickle spirits.

The truth of Calcona island is just as fantastic as the rumors, but perhaps if sailors knew it they might do something about it. Monk master Maazin bin Awadi, the Phoenix-touched, uses the island for his meditation and training. He has notified several monasteries that any student who is able to swim from the mainland can study with him, hence his dislike of ships. His fiery power is said to come from the legendary bird of flames, the undying Phoenix. And much like the bird, Maazin refuses to die. His challenge has stood for decades, and only a chosen few have actually survived the journey.

Hijau binti Muda
Spell: Investiture of Ice (XGtE pg. 159)
Those who wander the Chabalt mountains know to never attempt to climb Parsang peak. Located at the highest point on the mountain range, the thin air and freezing temperatures would be bad enough, but the wolves that prowl its slopes make the climb simply suicide. Oddly, the wolves only attack those wearing protective gear or carrying food, making those who survive their attacks claim that the Gods do not wish for the civilized world to see whatever lies atop that mountain.

The truth of Parsang peak is much simpler. Monk master Hijau binti Muda, the Winter Wolf-touched, uses the peak as a home to practice meditation and training. She has notified several monasteries that any student who can make it to the top of the mountain without gear or food can study with her, hence why she orders her beasts to set upon those who carry provisions. Her icy power is said to come from the God of Winter Wolves, Otsoa. And much like Otsoa, Hijau controls the winds that whip around her mountain home, meaning only a chosen few have survived the journey.

Kamis bin Naazim
Spell: Investiture of Stone (XGtE pg. 159)
Those who pass through the Byahuba jungle might have caught a glimpse of the Marnau pitfall, the largest waterfall in the area. It plummets down a pit into inky darkness, coating the smooth stone walls with slick algae and water. The sides of the pit are unnaturally smooth, causing explorers to guess that they were formed by some godly or magical phenomenon. Actually venturing into the pit is nearly impossible, and those who attempt it more often than not end up falling to their deaths deep below.

The truth of Marnau pitfall has to do with the man who sits at the bottom of it. Monk master Kamis bin Naazim, the Stone Giant-touched, uses the waterfall to meditate, sitting under the torrential falls and clearing his mind of all distractions. He has notified several monasteries that any student who can scale the walls of the pit can study with him, walls which he has personally shaped to be smooth and without footholds. His ability to manipulate stone mimics that of the Stone Giants, with whom he also shares a love of art and an unnaturally long life. The algae on the walls was an unintended challenge, but Kamis has not cleared the algae, meaning only a chosen few can survive the descent.

Sayang binti Bestari
Spell: Investiture of Wind (XGtE pg. 160)
Those who come across the Savane desert may have experienced its terrible heat and howling winds, which stretch on as far as the eye can see. They carry on so far, in fact, that nobody has reached the other side of it and returned. Stories of endless dunes, howling winds, and monstrous creatures prevent anyone from getting too far. That is, if they don’t get lost among the sands in the first place. The wind causes the dunes to shift and evade any magical or mundane attempt to navigate the vast expanse.

The truth of the shifting sands of the Savane desert is that they are controlled by a single woman. Monk master Sayang binti Bestari, the Roc-touched, meditates in the center of the desert, using heat and starvation to accentuate her powers. She has notified monasteries that any student who is able to find her in the bewildering desert can study with her. Her power of the winds is said to be as powerful as the beating of a Roc’s wings, and she is rumored to even have the power of flight. And the wind of her “wings” causes the sands to ever shift, meaning only a chosen few have actually found her and learned her secrets.

Gregor Haspel
Spell: Magic Jar (PHB pg. 257)
High atop mount Acyra in the abandoned castle Cardell, a mysterious figure has been said to lurk. They called him a lich, a soul-stealer, a reaper. Those who stumbled across his lair might have learned his real name, Gregor Haspel, before they disappeared. But they all disappeared. Over the years, the castle became the source of terrible stories, and only the brave and foolish dared enter. However, none ever returned. Every one had their soul taken from them and sealed within a large gemstone suspended from the ceiling of the manor’s entry hall.

After many years, the bodies of Gregor’s victims rotted away to nothing, leaving only their spirits. These souls, ripped violently from the natural cycle, became wraiths and specters in the service of their reaper king. Thus, an undead army of epic proportions was born, and Gregor swept down into the unsuspecting city of Volsini. The guards had no way to react to the wave of undeath that overtook their gates, and within a day the city had fallen. Now, his identity revealed, the reaper Gregor plans to continue his wave of conquest across the land.

You can always tell the evil ones by the giant glowing scythes
Queen Saanvi Riyong
Spell: Mass Suggestion (PHB pg. 258)
The city of Kroisis is a perfectly happy, friendly city. Everyone works perfectly together, and nobody fights or grumbles. There are no beggars, no orphans, and there is warm food and a place to sleep for everyone. The city might well be a paradise, but those who visit always feel something is slightly off. The long-term residents seem bothered by something, always hiding their emotions or remaining silent on actions taken against them. And when outsiders try to take advantage of the city’s kindness or make off with their valuables, the citizens of the city cheerfully murder them and sing working songs as they wash the blood from the streets. Their singing is always perfectly in time.

Though it’s not the strangest part of the city, it’s also odd that nobody is allowed to see Queen Saanvi the Fair. She remains up in her tower, whispering the strange magic that keeps every citizen in perfect lock-step. Her control is exceedingly fine, and she has exact power over every commoner. But many silently resent their slavish servitude. Despite being fed and cared for, they silently rebel in their heads, unable to express themselves or fight back against the tyrant in the tower.

Palmira Agron
Spell: Move Earth (PHB pg. 263)
The Eternal Oasis is said to be the world’s best-kept secret. Home of the travelling Vulture Rider Tribe, it is a massive cornucopia of water, trees, fruit, and animals in the center of the massive Safran Desert. The Vulture Rider Tribe is careful to protect its location, as it is the source of their valuable trading stores. Without it, they would lose their livelihood and their homes. Fortunately, the chieftain of the tribe is chosen from a person born with a special gift: the power to manipulate the sands around the oasis and form a dune barrier that stops anyone from finding their location. Each generation, the high walls of the oasis are maintained by the new chieftain, and the lives of the Vulture Rider Tribe are preserved.

However, recently the barbarians of the Cregio Empire captured members of the Vulture Rider Tribe and forced them to reveal the location of the oasis. The steep dunes are impassable by the Empire’s horses, and so far they have been unable to breach the barrier in any meaningful numbers. But reinforcements are on the way, and the people of the Vulture Rider Tribe need help. More help than the young and newly-crowned Chieftainess Palmira Agron can provide.

Thomas Cellier
Spell: Mental Prison (XGtE pg. 161)
What does a king do when he has a civilian who threatens to bind those who oppose him with his mind, and nobody can stop the maniac? Well, the first thing King Garnot did was to order a Ring of Mind Shielding made. The next was to hire Thomas Cellier as his personal torturer and jailer. It's always better to turn those destructive urges towards productive measures. Before long, Thomas became the King's most feared servant. Tales of terrible prison cells made of blades and teeth made their way through the ranks of the underworld, and many criminal bosses packed up and left town. For a time, crime was down and people were ready to accept Thomas as a necessary deterrent in their society.

But the loyalty of a maniac is only as good as his reward. Soon, a large criminal syndicate reached out to Thomas, offering him great power and wealth for his services. Since crime had gone down, he had become bored in his current position, anyway. Thomas is considering the offer, but the final obstacle is King Garnot's ring. If that could be stolen, there would be nothing stopping the Blackflame syndicate from ruling as they pleased.

"Loves long walks on the beach and healing dragons"
Asuryn Lahmasath
Spell: Otiluke's Freezing Sphere (PHB pg. 263)
Things are not quiet in the far reaches of the North Marring Sea. The Triton clan of Novuos has recently ostracized the “Ice Witch”, a girl named Asuryn Lahmasath born with the ability to freeze water with a touch. Living underwater, the girl was a constant threat to those around her, and the clan council decided she had to go. The Tritons made sure she had supplies and shelter, but there was nothing that could stop the hate of abandonment that grew in her heart. She left her home and family, resentful of the clan that would so easily discard her.

Since then, a few years passed before the Novuos clan began to be plagued by disappearances. Those who ventured too close to the Arctic shore would vanish, and the edges of the ice seemed to be creeping closer every day. Rumors quickly rose again of the Ice Witch, and the clan is torn between fighting her and moving south. But how dangerous could a single little girl be…?

Carson Keroux
Spell: Otto's Irresistible Dance (PHB pg. 264)
Carson Keroux has always enjoyed the finer things in life. More than enough money, fine men and ladies, and perfect performances from the talented dance troupe that he owns and runs. Ever since he was young, Carson had the ability to make things dance, and dance well. The perfect execution of a pirouette was one of his favorite things to master, and then master it through someone else.

The Keroux Dance Extraordinaire has been travelling throughout the continent of Escar, going everywhere from Escario to Uplain. The journey has been over many hundreds of miles without rest for the dancers, and morale keeps dropping, much to Carson’s chagrin. Three nights ago, his leading couple, Jibram Bhasso and Anastasia Yurinova disappeared without so much as a trace. Carson needs to track them down and get back on the schedule, as the next city is the famous City of Enchantment, Khoma.

Jira Kholisi
Spell: Planar Ally (PHB pg. 265)
Only Jira Kholisi knows how many hours it has been since the looping time started. Her day began normally, she made breakfast for herself, washed up, and left for work at the shop. She planned on surprising her fiancé for lunch with some tasty homemade food, but that’s when everything went askew. Zamik Komani was leaving his mining shift for lunch with his betrothed as a nearby mages’ tower exploded, triggering the mine elevator to shudder and drop, killing him instantly.

Jira was horrified at the sight of her husband-to-be dying in front of her eyes. Though she had never sued magic before, she instinctively summoned Saeclum, a time elemental, to repeat this hour until she was able to save Zamik from this terrible fate. No matter what decisions she makes, she still hasn’t figured out how to save her love. At this point, she is willing to trade her life for his, if anyone can help her save her beloved.

Huran Borsh
Spell: Primordial Ward (XGtE pg. 163)
Dragons are not scared of many things, usually being the largest and most terrifying of creatures around. Those dragons who have heard of Huran Borsh do generally have a tickle of unease, especially if he is rumored to be in the area. The infamous half-orc dragon hunter has been collecting different colored dragon hides for years now, and as he has grown, so has his skill and the size of his prey.

Shivei the Calm, an ancient gold dragon that has monitored Huran’s progress, is starting to worry that Huran will be looking for ancient dragon hides and skulls for his collection. For some reason, Huran seems to not be harmed as much as normal humanoids when the dragons attacked with their breath weapons. Shivei thinks that calling a dragon council to discuss her findings on this threat is relevant, and needs to find the members of the Council of Dragons before Huran does.

For when you have to slay in every sense of the word
Bianca Rosethorn
Spell: Programmed Illusion (PHB pg. 269)
Bianca Rosethorn has a conqueror’s heart. She desires to conquer the entire continent of Rabalos, and everyone in it. This desire has fueled her passion to travel to every country, using her illusions to worm her way into the hearts and minds of everyone she encounters, recruiting them as followers. She also utilizes this ability to hide the army that she has amassed, and deceive her new targets wherever she travels.

Because of this miraculous ability, rumors of an illusory demon have been passing from town to town, but they are not necessarily inaccurate. The treatment that her troops receive under her rule is less than grand, and resources are starting to be stretched too thin. The soldiers are beginning to resemble demons in their desperation, and perhaps their appearances as well. Bianca needs her next conquest to deliver wealth, resources, and maybe even a relaxing place to rest for a while.

Davin “Nice Guy” Porteus
Spell: Scatter (XGtE pg. 164)
The Silent Tiger Gang has gotten very good at disappearing after a heist, all thanks to the new guy. Davin is really good at getting friends out of sticky situations and tight corners. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and can get transport fellow gang members in a flash. Davin knows he has to pay his dues, but he’s looking to move up ranks. As his ability is becoming more well known, he’s beginning to be scouted by rival gangs with better offers on the table.

The best offer yet has been made by the Demonriders, the top Silent Tiger rival in the city of Swoah Grary. The Demonriders’ really know how to hurt, but are extremely impressed with the Nice Guy and his teleportation skills. The Head of the Demonriders’, Elena “The Butcher” Cimino wants to offer Davin a seat at the grownup table, with some coin to sweeten the deal. Davin needs to figure out where his loyalties lie, and quickly. 

Bisatra Vawarin
Spell: Soul Cage (XGtE pg. 165)
Many elves pursue knowledge throughout their lifetimes, and Bisatra Vawarin is no exception. She collects souls in an attempt to create the most accurate historical accounts of the past that she can. Many of the souls she has collected are very knowledgeable, and some even have outlier experiences that provide insight she could not imagine before she began her studies.

But recently, a childhood rival, Luran Zumyarus, is in awe of Bisatra’s power and knowledgeable soul collection, and wants to stop her, or at least slow her down. They are trying to interfere with her soul gathering and prevent her from receiving accolades that Bisatra would like to achieve. Though inadvertently, Bisatra is setting back the pursuit of knowledge by centuries or more, and must be stopped.

Ciro Mentari
Spell: Sunbeam (PHB pg. 279)
The sun is worshiped in Oskaeca, and when Queen Ize Mentari gave birth to a son that glowed, the country rejoiced. Young prince Ciro Mentari was said to be touched by the gods, and since his birth the country has prospered greatly. There have been some neighboring countries that are jealous of Oskaeca’s wealth of good crops and fortune, and have been trying to steal The Sunlight Prince from Oskaeca.

However, every time these unknown assailants try to kidnap the prince, their burnt remains are found by the crib, with large holes through the walls. Queen Ize knows that even though her son has been blessed with great power, these would-be kidnappers must be eradicated to ensure the Prince’s safety.

The eyebrow game is strong with this one
Zoraya Twain
Spell: Tenser's Transformation (XGtE pg. 168)
Spotty memory has been a problem in Zoraya’s life for many years. When she has lost consciousness, she has woken up in places she has never been before, while sometimes things are completely destroyed around her. The most recent incident was when she was visiting marketplace to pick up some fresh produce and was rudely interrupted by a group of Twisted Spiders, a gang that runs the streets of Fastor. Zoraya doesn’t remember what happened but when she came around the thugs were on the ground dead or bleeding badly.

Zoraya is starting to think that she may be splitting while a demon takes over her body, and she wants to find someone to help control the demon. She can only imagine what would happen if the demon comes out the next time if she is with someone she cares about. 

Ross Moran
Spell: Transport via Plants (PHB pg. 283)
The city of Cobril has never been so full of nature, with animals of all stripes arriving in droves ever since Ross Moran moved there. Birds of various colors and rarity flock to rooftops, and fly through the marketplaces. Herds of deer scavenge for food in the parks and green spaces, while raccoons find treasure from trash. Ross has the unexpected ability to bring animals to the city that usually don’t live there, but it gets scarier when large beasts like elephants or tigers move through normal city streets and terrorize the town square.

This quiet man is struggling to contain the power that has people nervous about their next creature encounter. Unfortunately, if one more group of Owlbears enters the formerly peaceful city, he believes someone will finally notice who is accidentally bringing the wildlife into Colbril, and he doesn’t want any more trouble on his hands.

Kioni Messier
Spell: True Seeing (PHB pg. 284)
Kioni Messier has been seeing too much for someone her age. That’s why Kioni has commissioned a very special castle to retire to, so she can remain there in peace and quiet without any snoopers or, ethereal forbid, nosy people. The castle that is almost finished and has seemingly has no doors and no windows, but Kioni knows she will be able to get around through the many secret doors just fine.

The head guard in the country of Xustad, Sasha Alvarez, is very concerned about the state of affairs Kioni is leaving them in. Kioni is the head Demon finder in the service, and the influx of demons has been on the rise of Xustad. Sasha desperately needs Kioni to help find the demons, and to stop them from entering their usually peaceful country.

When it comes to guns, size matters
Aglakti Higalik
Spell: Wall of Ice (PHB pg. 285)
Most people would be forgiven for not recognizing the name Higalik. Most people aren’t, after all a silver dragon. The Higalik family are the foremost caretakers of silver dragon eggs, a job with plenty of dangers and fantastic pay. Using their familial ice entombment, they keeps the eggs nice and cold while the silver dragons go about their merry way. Many silver dragons love exploring the world, and the thought of settling down for even a moment is unbearable to them. Thus, Aglakti’s services have become somewhat famous among the scaled beasts.

However, word of Aglakti’s existence has slipped through the teeth of a silver dragon, and now a red dragon is aware of the location of hundreds of silver dragon eggs. His name is Szidrisan, and he dares not attack directly due to threat of retaliation from the silver dragons. But he certainly isn’t above threats and intimidation, and is plotting to try to find a black sheep among the Higalik family that will turn against them. So far, his quest has been unsuccessful, but death threats have a way of making people pliable and willing to cooperate. The family is holding out, but they’re not sure how much longer it will be until someone breaks and gives in to Szidrisan’s demands.

Lukian Ralojor
Spell: Wall of Thorns (PHB pg. 287)
Lukian Ralojor has loved the forest city of Borra Lalt for many a human lifetime. He is the main defender of the city from the impossible, like the invasion of the Dull Teeth, the orc clans of the south, or the slight misunderstanding from the brontosaurus’ from the plains in the northeast. Lukian just adjusts the thorn walls around the city and defends his home with all his power.

Most recently, an ancient green dragon has been making passes at Borra Lalt effectively terrorizing the calm people living there in peace, but Lukian knows can only raise the walls so high. He knows that if help does not come soon, he will start losing friends in the city to the dragon to become snacks.

That's all for now! Next week, we'll do the last couple sixth-level spells and do all of the the seventh-level spells. We're getting awfully close to the big stuff!

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Thanks for reading!

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