07 October 2007

The Uruqua I

Now that I've managed to get the Anari out of the way, I figured it's time to handle the Uruqua, aka "The Powers of Dark".

I'm going to deal with these folks a little differently. The Anari were grouped by the Power with which each is associated. I did it this way for two reasons: to maintain the thematic "flow" of each section, and because I was covering ALL of them. I'm going to do the Uruqua alphabetically instead, for one reason: I'm NOT covering all of them.

Why not cover all of them? Simple. There are a lot more of them than there are of the Anari, and because most Player Characters are Good, there isn't any need to go over every last servant, avatar and minion of the Dark. So the only ones I'm going to cover are those who either have a major following upon Anuru (e.g., Bardan, the Lord of the Uruks), or who figure large in the pantheons of some of the major monster groups (e.g., Achamkriss, the Lord of Wyrms). To this end, I've included the name of the religion under the "church" notation. Also, running through them alphabetically will help when it's time to assemble all of this stuff in a single volume.

To keep things simple, I figured I'd cover them three at a time, working from A to Z. Here's the first batch. Enjoy!

* * * * *

Eldest and Wisest, Father of Wyrms
(Greater Servant of Bardan)

Perhaps the most fearsome of all of the Minions of the Dark, Achamkriss was the first Servant chosen by Bardan from among the creations that spring forth under his hand. Appearing as a wyrm of immense age and unimaginable size, Achamkriss is the acknowledge master of all of the Dragons of Anuru. While the Good Dragons no longer heed his dictates or pay him homage, they respect him as the foremost of their race.

Achamkriss has the ability to shift between Chromatic Wyrm types as a free action, gaining all of their protections and abilities, while still retaining his own immense powers and vast spellcasting abilities. Because of his wisdom, intellect and tact, Bardan often employs Achamkriss as his envoy to the other powers. He does this for two reasons: Achamkriss is a skilled negotiator; and as the most powerful of Bardan’s Servants, he is the one most likely to survive an outburst of wrath from one of the other Uruqua.

While the location of Achamkriss’ lair is unknown, it is rumoured that he is served at all times by a coterie of the most ancient and powerful Chromatic Wyrms in existence; and that when one of these is slain or passes into the Twilight, the next most powerful candidate immediately knows, and must report to and abase himself before Achamkriss before the next moonrise. It is also said that female Chromatic Wyrms of clutching years seek Achamkriss out as mate, in order to ensure themselves of mighty offspring. It is not known how often Achamkriss favours such petitioners with his attention.

True Dragons may serve as Clerics of Achamkriss, but he despises half-blooded dragons, and will destroy such aberrations wherever he can find them. Clerics of Achamkriss gain +2 HP per die, +2 damage per breath weapon die, and +1 per Age Category on all charisma-based checks with respect to all dragons (even good ones).

Alignment: Lawful Evil
Sphere(s): Dragons, sorcerers

Sigil: A silhouetted dragon, rearing
Preferred hues: Black
Preferred weapon: Claws, Spells

Worshippers’ alignment: Any evil
Domains: Destruction, Domination, Evil, Magic, Trickery
Church: Minor; "The Elder Claw" (only True Dragons may be clerics)

* * * * *

The Traveler, The River Guide, The Ghost-Mistress of the Planes
(Greater Servant of Tvalt)

Foremost among the Servants of the Master of the Long Halls, Allarkin is both feared and revered. As the patron of the incorporeal undead, she is worshipped (or at least respected) by the wraiths, specters and ghosts of Anuru; and as the patron of planar travel, she is admired by wizards, sorcerers, and all those who would walk the Æther, and sail the River of Stars between the outer planes and Anuru.

Allarkin is generally pictured as a wispy, insubstantial human female, with empty eyes in a beautiful, hooded face, and a horrifyingly skeletal body wrapped in a long, tattered cloak formed out of the stuff of the universe. She is never without her silver greatsword, which she calls “The Oar of Eternity”, although this is not a weapon, and she never uses it as such; instead, it is the focus of her power to travel anywhere in the multiverse in the space of a single breath. She always knows where the sword is, and on the few occasions when it has been stolen from her, the thief has been quickly apprehended, and has suffered an appalling death at the hands of her spectral minions.

Allarkin’s following in the mortal world is small, but potent; many of her clerics are multi-class sorcerers or wizards, wielding both arcane and profane magicks in her service. Clerics of Allarkin gain the Extra Turning feat for free at 1st level, and when casting necromantic spells, do so at four levels higher than their own. Once per day per three levels, they can act as though under the effects of a Freedom of Movement spell, lasting one minute per level.

The most sacred rite for worshippers of Allarkin is to be sacrificed to her glory, and then brought back as an incorporeal undead. Any worshipper suffering this fate will come back as a full hit-point incorporeal undead, Evolved one step (as per the Libris Mortis).

Alignment: Neutral Evil
Sphere(s): Incorporeal Undead, Wizards, Planar Travellers

Sigil: A scrying ball, red, on a golden pentragram
Preferred hues: Blood and gold
Preferred weapon: Staff, Spells
Worshippers’ alignment: Any non-good

Domains: Death, Knowledge, Magic, Oracle, Travel
Church: Minor; "The Seekers"

* * * * *

The Lord of Shadows, Master of Darkness, The Slayer
(First among the Uruqua)

As Bræa bears the light and life of the world, Bardan, mightiest of the Uruqua, is the bringer of death and of darkness. He is the negator, the emptiness that is left when all that is, is gone. Those who revere him do so not because of what he gives, but what he takes away: the last vestiges of the cloying beauty of the world, the warmth of comradeship, the pain of being, the unease of life. Bardan is the silence at the end of the song, and his most common aspect reflects this attribute: that of a great, dark cloud of shadow that swallows and obliterates everything it touches. In the ancients tongue of the Esudi, he is Eyðar, the Waster; the Elves call him Eradicatrum, the Dark Destroyer, while to the Dwarves, he is þéostor geændung, the Ender-in-Shadow. Bardan's minions and slaves have other names for him: to the Goblins, he is Nuantă Rău, and they fear him above even Morga, their master; the Orcs and Uruks, his favoured children, call him Sötét Ányék; and in the Dark Speech of the fiendish realms, he is known as Zeshkane Zotëri. His manu is awesome and terrifying: that of a colossal devil, a Pit Fiend wreathed in flame, standing more than 100’ tall.

Bardan’s relationship with Bræa is more complex than most realize. Unlike the rest of the Powers, they are all but twins, opposite sides of the same coin. Theologians theorize that neither could exist without the other; and some even argue that Bræa agreed to give up the light that was in her, knowing that, as a consequence, Bardan would be diminished as well. It is not known whether Bardan’s strength was lessened by her sacrifice; but it may well have been.

The worship of Bardan is most widespread among the more orderly of the Speaking Monsters (especially, as noted above, the Orcs and the Uruks), and has even made modest inroads among the more orderly, if wicked, human societies. The Elves have never been seduced by his fair words, however, and have remained his implacable foes since the birth of their race; in the words of one of their heroines of old, "The Elves make no bargains with the vermin of Bardan." For this reason, amongst others, Bardan is said to delight in living sacrifices of the Children of Hara.

Bardan’s clerics follow a strict hierarchy and maintain order at all times amongst their followers, providing them with many benefits, but exacting unquestioning obedience as well as tribute from them. Clerics of Bardan gain Intimidate as a class skill and, if they reveal themselves for what they are, are +1 on charisma-based checks against intelligent evil creatures, and +4 vis-à-vis all orcs and goblinoids. Finally, clerics of Bardan are able to channel his devastating power of negation, transforming any spell they have been granted into a touch attack, doing 1d6 negative energy damage per spell level (Fortitude Save DC 10+CL for half).

Alignment: True Evil (Lawful)
Sphere(s): Darkess, Uruks, Orcs, Goblinoids, Armageddon

Sigil: Black fist on a hatched red shield (No, Bardan is NOT associated with the Black Panthers)
Preferred hues: Black and red
Preferred weapon: Flail
Worshippers’ alignment: Any evil
Domains: Cold, Death, Destruction, Domination, Evil, War
Church: Major; "The Fist of Darkness"