Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Lore' started by vorshlumpf, Oct 7, 2007.
No other FfH forum games. I checked it.
Bumping to request that most of the threads in the first post be moved to the new LORE subforum.
Or just move the whole thread.
FYI, here is the latest cut-scene that I used to get the players into the next game session (which occurred last night). Another Bannor Inquisitor is coming to town...
"Watch the flank!"
The Bannor sergeant's shout made Amin wince as he peeked out from his covered wagon. The halfling merchant swivelled his head toward said direction to see another group of mounted goblins burst forth from the cover of trees. What creature the foul humanoids rode, Amin was unsure, but he hesitated to call the beasts "wolves".
As one, a line of Bannor crossbowmen pivoted toward the new threat and unleashed their latest volley. Amin was thoroughly impressed by these soldiers - their discipline, courage, and skill. But despair was close at hand as he saw the crossbow bolts strike true and have little effect. When a goblin rider was killed, the 'wolf' continue on its own, apparently quite willing to complete its charge without direction. When one of the beasts was hit, it was usually undaunted by the attack and showed no fear of further injury.
Equally unfazed, one rank of pikemen marched several steps in front of their crossbowmen compatriots. Pikes were set and braced against feet just as this new wave of goblin riders reached them. The resulting cacophony made Amin jump despite his anticipation. Snarls and the snapping of fangs were as plentiful as pained yelps. Pike shafts splintered under the immense weight of the charging beasts. Steel met steel as those goblins still alive swung their vicious morning stars against their armoured adversaries.
But the Bannor line held. Pikemen and crossbowmen both immediately switched to secondary weapons and fought side-by-side in the chaotic fray. Though it took two or three soldiers to handle every wolf-beast, they did so in perfect unison. There were men that fell to injury or even death, but the majority survived the vicious assault.
Seeing these Bannor fight so well had Amin blessing his habit of attaching his merchant wagons to their twice-yearly supply trains. He would have no chance against such evil as this if he were on his own, regardless of any mercenaries he could hire - and such expenses would make his trips to Valentia unprofitable. Sure there was a cost to using the Bannor as protection. Some monetary cost - for "procedural adjustments" - but their rules and stipulations as well. And this trip in particular was quite odd, with the mysterious passenger carriage and their insistence on as few travel breaks as possible.
More fighting near the front of the caravan caught Amin's attention. Another wave of goblin riders had swept through the soldiers holding out on that end. The humans left standing prepared themselves for another charge, when yet more of the mounted humanoids poured forth from the trees to join the battle.
Is there no end to the fiends? thought the merchant as the scattered Bannor soldiers rushed to form up their lines.
A robed figure caught his eye, then. The pure white cloth with gold trim was a stark contrast to its surroundings. In small form on the front, and large on the back, was the embroidered shield and blazing sword of Junil, god of Justice. The person within descended from the passenger wagon and calmly approached the soldiers.
So that's the mysterious guest, Amin thought, his days-old curiosity more heightened than satisfied. But who is it? Other than possibly being some priest of the patron god of the Bannor Empire, he didn't know. The halfling could see nothing but cloth - even the figure's hands were tucked within the ample sleeves of each opposite arm.
However, he quickly noticed peculiarities about this person. Though the Bannor people were of typically tall, athletic builds, this person surpassed even the greatest of these soldiers by several inches in height and shoulder girth. The person also walked with a slightly odd gait, though Amin couldn't immediately identify why. This was partially answered when the halfling noticed the presence of what must be a large tail beneath the individual's robe. It swayed with each step and threatened to poke out from beneath its confines.
The mystery deepens, Amin thought, but his heightened curiosity was dissipated with a group battle cry. Almost as one, almost organised as a disciplined unit, the goblins and their beasts charged. The robed figure stood completely still behind the stoic soldiers, as if merely observing the proceedings.
The halfling held his breath as the enemy thundered across the ground. The snarling, shouting mass seemed a huge wave about to crash down upon the shore of Bannor steel. Suddenly, the robed figure's arms shot straight out to the sides, exposing dark green, scaly hands, one clenching a symbol of Junil. A hissing voice accompanied the motion, the God of Justice's name being called upon. A wide sweep of one arm ended the incantation, directed at the charging masses. In sync with the moving hand, dozens of gouts of flame erupted straight up from the ground forming a long line in front of the Bannor defenders. The fires mingled and immediately coalesced into a wall several times higher than any of the soldiers present.
Even at this distance, a wave of heat washed over Amin. He could faintly see through the wall of flame, and he watched the wavy images of goblins and wolf-beasts react. Many tried to pull up, goblins yanking on their harnesses and beastly paws pushing frantically into the churned earth. Some brave wolves didn't falter and bravely, insanely, leaped through. In all cases, there was not much left of the goblin cavalry when they emerged on the other side of the flame. Beasts, much more than goblins, fought despite their charred flesh, but it wasn't hard for the Bannor soldiers to finish them off.
Beyond the smoldering husks and wall of flame, a few lucky goblin riders had managed to pull up in time. All showed signs of the intense heat that must be radiating from the magical wall, and any thought of continuing the battle was long dispersed from their minds. They immediately wheeled around and fled in the opposite direction.
Again the priest of Junil moved, this time reaching up to swiftly pull back the large hood.
"Lizardfolk!" Amin couldn't help but blurt out as the reptilian head was exposed. He instinctively shrunk back, as if this priest was suddenly a new threat. The only lizard men he knew about were barbaric tribes that raided civilization from their preferred lands, jungle and swamp.
He - Amin assumed this lizardfolk was male - removed a necklace and thrust it out at one of the retreating riders. The wolf-beast appeared to heed the barked command from the priest, stopping immediately in its tracks. It was quickly apparent, though, that obedience had nothing to do with it, as the creature stiffly remained in half-stride. Even its tail was suspended against gravity.
Atop the living statue, the goblin rider futilely urged the beast forward. His motions and squawks become more panicked and desperate as he realized his predicament. Strapped tightly into the riding harness, as all the goblin riders were, he had nowhere to go.
Satisfied with the result, the lizard-kin replaced necklace, then hood, returned his hands to his sleeves, and calmly walked back toward his carriage.
"Kill the beassst," came his low, hissing voice, barely audible to Amin. "Bring the goblin to me."
(My first post here)
I am a huge D&D fan who has totally fallen in love with this world. Especially with the Belseraph civ. Bards have always been my favorite class and I find everything about Perpentach and Keelyn fascinating. Unfortunately, I will have to be the DM in this one, but if I was playing in any of your campaigns sign me up for a chaotic neutral Belseraph bard. My performance being acrobatics/dancing.
That would be an awesome character. I'm still toying with the idea of running a FfH D&D PBeM RPG ...
I don't think I have enough creative energy (or free time) to do that along with DMing this campaign and playing in another D&D campaign.
I've got some Inquisitor action coming up soon in my D&D campaign. I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on how inquisitors would engage in combat, what spells they would use, what special abilities they may have as a prestige class, etc. I hope to make this as unique as possible (i.e., not your typical D&D combat), so let the ideas fly!
I think they'd fight kinda like mindflayers
I can picture them fighting mentally, like the psi units in SMAC.
So you'd be going for a cleric I'd guess to start with?
Farmer bobathan and Wilbowman are on the money with saying an inqusitor will work through mind affecting spells primarily. Sadly there are no prestige classes that really, REALLY fit into the role properly and especially not for a FFH world. Although they are out there they're too concerned with breaking illusions, banishing possessing spirits and protecting their own minds.
I'd highly recommend a slection of spells that fall into the fire domain, as our FFH inqusitors used to favor that school in the game. Now you've got Junil as having access to Law, Fire, Luck, and Good which is fair enough- if you have access to the D&D suppliment 'Complete Divine' there is an Inqusition domain there as well as a Domination domain that suit an inqusitor very snugly. I'd chose spells from those schools, using dominations, suggestions and hold person spells. He's going to want to cleanse and burn but why wouldn't he be able to adopt such spells as righteous might to mix it up hand to hand?
Very traditional (and time honored) spells such as recitation and castigate are just made for an inqusitor to use, while surrounding himself in a fire shield, wall of fire or immolating his enemies with flame strikes suit the FFH feeling of the spells.
The most terrifying inqusitor I've ever come across is the Halruuhan Magehound from the Forgotten Realms suppliment 'Shining South' Thanks more to Elaine Cunningham for her fantasic writing of the series 'Councilors and Kings' where a Magehound features in the story as a major antagonist. However it's not perfect as this is the role of the investigator/judge who can bring down the most powerful of magic users- stop their magic dead, shrug off most of what can be thrown back and comes with the full clout of the law behind them. I'd strongly reccommend scanning that one and adapting it to suit your needs.
um... would it be possible to make a special folder for D&D FFH2? that would be awesome for us plentiful DMs out there loving your ideas
As soon as I get my hands on 4th ed, and getting to know it, I plan on running this world as my campaign. I'll keep you huys informed.
After reading this thread I got the bug badly-- but seeing as I own 70ish 3.5 books I'm not going to wait for 4th ed.. the great thing is I've managed to find a few old buddies and convince them in just on evening what a good idea FFH would make as a setting.
I love the D&D rules things I've found people put down here and I really agree it would be great to have a thread-- especially anything else Kael is prepared to put down from his old campaign.
If anyone has the time and inclination, I'd like some feedback on another story. This one involves the Lizardfolk inquisitor introduced in a previous cut-scene. He's become a significant NPC in the game and so I wanted to flesh out his history a bit. I'm particularly interested in help with the religious aspects of the story - I'm not religious at all so I feel I tend to understate such things in writing.
So let the criticisms and suggestions fly!
Intruders. Prey. Krasslik carefully stalked the humans. He chose his target. The white one in the middle. The others seemed to protect this one. This made Krasslik relish the thought of tearing the white one apart. He would spill its blood. It would not be white for long. He would prove himself to the elders. They would give him his warrior's name.
The signal. His tribesmen attacked. Krasslik eagerly pushed himself out of the swamp water. He easily leaped over an old, fallen tree. As he ran, faster than any of his kin, he let the Rage come. Scaly lips parted to show a sharp, toothy grin. Nothing felt better than the Rage.
The first human. It was covered in shiny metal and carried a long, pointed stick. Too slow for Krasslik. Shocked eyes followed Krasslik as he leaped over this human's stick. Over the human. He reached down as he flew past. With one taloned hand he clawed the soft flesh. Ripped open its throat.
The white one was ahead of him. The Rage burned inside. Krasslik hissed and charged at it. He raised both hands, fingers wide, ready to strike.
He stopped. No! He did not want to stop! The white one stood there, looking at him, holding one hand up toward Krasslik. Then it turned away. Krasslik seethed inside. His body would not move. His hands were still raised. His eyes were stuck forward, mouth still held open in anticipation of the kill.
His Rage dissipated, replaced by impotent anger.
The sounds of battle. Krasslik could not look. But he heard the fight. He heard the death. He did not hear humans screaming. He did not hear victory. Shame replaced his anger. Shame for himself. Shame for his tribe.
The sounds died down. The white one! It returns to him. It says some words. It looks Krasslik over.
After a moment, the white one waves its hands and speaks some more strange words. Krasslik feels something. This human in white.It doesn't seem so bad. Perhaps Krasslik was wrong about it.
* * *
"Inquisitor Jolon, this is quite unorthodox."
Krasslik stood near the entrance to the grand room. He did not understand the words they spoke. He knew that he must stay where he was.
"Grand Inquisitor. I understand your hesitance. But think of the possibilities! I have already tamed him. What better way to show the infinite reach ofJunil - the relentless power of Order - than to teach this savage creature not only the ways of Junil, but to be an agent of Junil himself!"
"Yes, but if you fail, this would make a mockery of us. We have more incidents every day that require our attention. If it is known that you, an Inquisitor of the Order, is playing master to a lizard folk beast..."
"I will not fail, Grand Inquisitor. I sensed something in this savage. He will see the Light, he will learn the Code, or, Junil bind me, he will die trying."
The white one. Now one of many in white. But still the white one. He approached. He said something and gestured. Krasslik knew that he must follow.
* * *
"This is a momentous day for you."
The words were not so foreign anymore. Krasslik shifted in anticipation of what was to come. He thought he understood the ceremony but it was still so strange.
Before him, the white one, the one who he now called Father, showed a rare smile. "This is your re-birth. The life you had before will be forgotten.Junil, in his limitless magnanimosity, will embrace you as you embrace him." Father gestured, and Krasslik turned to the alter. A wise-man - a priest - stood waiting. Nearby was a sword, incense, and special water.
"Kneel, my son." Krasslik obeyed the priest immediately, though his stomach was in knots. "Repeat after me: 'I, Fahren, lay myself bare before Junil, the Lawmaker.'"
"I, Fahren, lay myssself bare before Junil, the Lawmaker."
He wasn't yet comfortable with this language. But he had practised these words many times. He did not want to disappoint Father.
* * *
Fire! Krasslik - no, Fahren - hissed at the flames before him. The acolyte of Order held a ball of flame in his hand. It did not burn him, but Fahren cringed from it nonetheless.
"You must conquer this fear, Fahren." Father's voice came from behind him. "Junil's Righteous Fire can cleanse this world of chaos and disorder. When true evil is found, there is nought left to do but purge its presence from Erebus."
Fahren forced himself to straighten his posture, like he had learned in his etiquette lessons. His pointed tongue licked across his upper lip in apprehension.
"Approach the flame, Fahren."
He obeyed Father, and stepped toward the acolyte. Now the female human held two balls of fire high, one resting in the palm of each hand.
"Junil'sss Will isss abssolute," he murmured as he felt the heat on his body.
* * *
Infidels! The woman cowered in the doorway like a trapped swamp rat.
"Please, sir," she pleaded, "Show us mercy. We had no choice."
"You knowingly aided your husband in his rituals, did you not?" Father asked her, though the answer was already known to all.
"But we had no choice." Fahren felt some disgust as she fell to her knees to beg. "He would have killed us. Or worse..." She held up clasped hands. "At least take my boys. The should not becondem-"
"Tell that to the families who still mourn their missing children." Father's voice was not angry, but it carried the power of Junil himself with every word. The force of it alone was enough to silence the tainted woman. Fahren was always impressed to see Father in action. "There is always a choice. You and your boys chose the path of evil. Praise Junil for saving your young daughter from your nefarious ways - she may yet be untainted by your deeds."
Father turned, nodding to the soldiers nearby. They rushed forward and pushed the woman, screaming, back into the shack. The door was blocked, just as the rear was, and the soldiers stepped back.Fahren, knowing this was his moment, stepped forward. He couldn't help but feel eager to unleash Junil's cleansing flame. With hands held before him, fingers splayed, he called for Junil's righteousness to wipe this evil from the land. A fan of flames burst forth before him, engulfing the entire front of the run-down abode. The structure quickly caught fire, andFahren stood there, enjoying the growing heat and the screams from within.
* * *
Father argued with another. Fahren stood placidly outside the chamber, the words spoken within having no ill effect on his mood. In fact, many of the words pleased him.
"Fahren is touched by Junil himself. You cannot deny that. He has served for two years now, faithfully enforcing the Code and purging heretics. It is time."
"Inquisitor Jolon, you know that he has not grasped critical studies. He lags behind in various religious doctrines. To be accepted into the Inquisitors of Order, he must show proper aptitude in all of these."
"And that he will. He excels in other areas, however. He is invaluable to the cause." A rustling sound as Father paused. "And the Grand Inquisitor agrees."
"Very well, but you know this is a title only. Your pet-... Fahren... is not truly one of us."
* * *
Father stood beside the orc strapped to the high bench. His smile, that rare smile, was unconstrained.
"So, Fahren, you have done it then?"
"Yes, Father." He was so eager to please Father. So eager to prove to him he was worth all of his love. So eager to prove himself to the Lawmaker above. "More than just a barrier toliess. But a sseeking of the truth. Speak falsse? Righteous fire boilss their blood. Deceive uss? Flames of justice ssear their thoughts. Withhold truth? Feel the wrath of the Inquisitors of Order in their boness."
Fahren moved to stand above the orc's head. The savage tried to look, but was too tightly tied down to see. Garbled sounds of protest came from it's tongueless mouth. Holding histaloned hands on either side of the orc's head, Fahren began to incant a prayer to Junil. It had taken him a long time, and many discarded test subjects, to get it right, but he finally had it.
"May Junil burn the truth from within," Fahren murmured as the spell took effect. Instantly, the orc stopped moving, feeling the budding heat grow in its body.
"Assk it a quesstion, Father."
Father hesitated momentarily as he discerned Fahren's plan. Switching to the beast's native language, Father asked it a series of questions it could not answer, it's voiceless screams gaining in intensity.Fahren couldn't help but expose his sharp teeth in a wide grin.
* * *
Fahren had helped Father uncover some damning evidence of Commander Petras' activities. No, he no longer deserved any such recognition. Mergwynn. The tainted human only had his first name left for him. And, once they got all the information they needed, he wouldn't even have that.
Lieutenant-Commander Mugain returned from the door, their interruption over. Father waited for her return, then nodded to Fahren. Fahren positioned himself above the dishonoured Bannor officer and held his scaled hands on either side of the man's head. The prayer was spoken and the spell wrapped their prisoner in its power.Fahren nodded to Father, the pride at using his spell once again invading his mind.
"Tell us everything about the cult presence here at Helm's Crest." Father's voice, as powerful as it ever was, filled the small room.Mergwynn didn't say a thing, his eyes wide. Droplets of sweat sprouted on his brow.
"You cannot keep the truth from us. Tell us, and your pain will come to an end."
"I... know... nothing!" The words were spat out by the former commander of Helm's Crest. The man was obviously uncomfortable, but not in pain.Fahren's pride dissipated. He focused harder on the task. Something was not right. This cultist obviously was countering his spell somehow, butFahren wouldn't let it last. He would burn the truth from this despicable human if the flames consumed them both.
Father asked some more questions. Mergwynn's discomfort increased, but still did not answer. Finally, Lieutenant-Commander Mugain stepped forward.
"Perhaps Mergwynn is innocent after all?" she suggested.
Before Father could answer the absurd notion, a maniacal laugh escaped their subject.
"Innocent?!" His eyes seemed consumed with madness. He looked everywhere but nowhere, sweat now pouring from him. "Yes, I'm innocent! Wait... am I... innocent?...Nooo..." An evil grin came to Mergwynn's face. Fahren almost lost focus, but resumed his efforts. "You have no idea.. heheh.. your time has passed!"
"What is your purpose at Helm's Crest?" Father pressed him suddenly. "Who is your master?"
"Master?... Why should I tell..." Mergwynn winced as the fire of justice burned him within. He mumbled to himself, seeming to have a conversation alone. More pain became evident. "Heheheh! It will do you no good. Yes, I can tell you, but you cannot do anything. It is too late."
"Tell us! Who do you take orders from?"
Mergwynn sneered, but it was cut short by more pain. His eyes temporarily lulled, but they gained focus once more. "It's Ibrahim... Yoshiah Ibrahim!"
* * *
Father faced off against this local lord. This Ibrahim amounted to nothing even before his duplicity was revealed by Mergwynn. Fahren stood back, calm, enjoying this moment of absolute Justice. These people would be taken, and Questioned, and Junil's Way would be followed.
"You have no right to come here and make demands!"
A human man, a mercenary or men-at-arms of some sort, stood before Yoshiah with his sword drawn. Fahren's eyes narrowed. He would enjoy Questioning that one.
Yoshiah put a hand on the shoulder of the angry mercenary and spoke to him quietly. Fahren could sense the confidence in this nobleman. He obviously didn't know what he faced. The Inquisitors of Order - not just any, but Father andFahren - would break through any deceptions he could weave. No cultist magic could protect him from the Question.
"You know it is for the best, Lord Ibrahim." Father's voice carried far in these manor grounds. "Come with us, peacefully, and we can determine your innocence."
"I will cooperate, Inquisitor Jolon," the middle-aged man stepped forward past his guard. He stopped just short of the two Bannor soldiers who held chains to hold him. "However, I hope you can see the need for prudence. We should talk, just you and I. This stand-off can only g-"
A shot! Two shots! A crossbow bolt hit one of the Bannor soldiers before Ibrahim, and an alert crossbowman nearby retaliated with a shot at the nobleman himself. Fahren jumped to Father's side as more shots were fired by the waiting Bannor crossbowmen. The Ibrahim household guards charged forward. Fahren could hear Father shouting over the sudden din, commanding futilely for everyone to stand down.
"Hold your fire! Do not attack!" Father yelled to the surging squad of soldiers. "We need the-" Fahren grabbed Father and pulled him back, cutting off his words. The unruly mercenary from before had cut his way through several soldiers, screaming a battle cry as he charged them.
Fahren's lips almost parted in a grin. This human had proven himself - he was beyond redemption. Fahren could have easily disabled the man but was eager to cleanse Erebus of his lawless presence.
"Junil's flame remove thiss taint." A fan of flame engulfed the man in mid-stride and he fell screaming to the ground. Fahren stood passively over the burning heretic, satisfied, the flames licking at the edge of his robes.
* * *
Fahren slowed his paced and caught his breath as he trotted down the road. He saw the horses, and the savage Doviello with its wolf, waiting outside one of the houses. There would be many of them, but Junil would guide his hand. He would take them all, the rest of the Ibrahim family as well as their accomplices, and deliver them to Father.
He paused briefly, calling upon Junil to prepare him for what may come. It was likely that this savage would fight - all savages were the same - and he would try to dispatch it quickly. Quickly, but inJunil's way. Once ready, he calmly approached, incanting the prayer that would hold the barbarian in place.
The wolf, as feral as its master, sensed his presence. Fahren pulled back his hood, looking up at the Doviello frozen in place in his saddle. He couldn't help but express his disdain. "Ssavage."
He was about to dispatch the growling wolf when the barbarian suddenly dismounted. Hmm, this savage was lucky to break the spell so soon. But it was not a concern.
"Drop your weapon." Fahren stood tall, but the man almost matched him in height.
The Doviello hefted its large, two-handed flail. "I'll drop you before I drop my weapon."
Fahren didn't expect any better from this savage. So be it. It's pathetic life would not be missed on Erebus.
Fahren began chanting as the savage swung its flail. Dodging to the side, he was able to maintain the spell. He would burn the sight from this feral human's eyes. The wolf attacked as well, but was largely ineffectual against his thick Inquisitor's robe. Each danced around the other, andFahren was soon able to touch the man's arm to deliver the spell. The large man barely paused as he fought off the effect.
Disappointment came to Fahren, and he heard noise from within the house. He loathed to do it, but he relented to his instinct to handle this barbarian with more mundane means. Each clawed hand swiped down on the man, tearing into both hide armour and skin. The man roared in defiance of the pain, butFahren knew he dealt a serious blow.
Just as the front door to the house opened up, spilling lamplight onto the road, a cloud of golden dust enveloped Fahren. A sharp hiss escaped his lips and he tried to cover his eyes, but to no avail. Not knowing how long he'd remain blinded, he instinctively called to Junil for respite. His prayer was heeded, and he could hear the gouts of flame erupt from the ground around him. He could not see the result, but he knew that a high wall of Junil's fire now encircled him and this barbarian and wolf. None would be able to interrupt him as he dispatched these two foes.
Before he could next act, though, Fahren found himself losing his balance. The ground had suddenly grown moist and slippery beneath him, and he couldn't help but fall to his hands and knees. He hissed again, anger threatening to break through his training. His anticipation of releasing Junil's fire to purge these infidels grew, and he needed to see again in order to do it.
"Junil! Expel this foul magic from my eyes." Satisfaction came with his renewed ability to see. Fahren looked up to see that young Mordecai Ibrahim had somehow joined the barbarian within the circle of flames. Under the influence of some foul magic, he was twice the size he normally was, and held his large sword before him. The lordling was calling for a truce while the savage Doviello looked ready to swing away with his own immense weapon.
Fahren hated negotiations. However, the realization that he may be outmatched was coming to him. He had no fear of death, not in Junil's name, but he had fear of failure. Father told him to wait for reinforcements if he met any considerable resistance while hunting down Sora Ibrahim. How long would it take? Perhaps he could stall them until daybreak.
I enjoyed reading the segment. It's quite good. I can't provide much help though - not sure what could be improved. Maybe that is a good sign
I'm sort of surprised to hear we don't have more long-time tabletop gamers frequenting the mod's forum, honestly. I've been playing D&D off and on for half my life, now; it's weird to find out that a lot of the guys writing the 'pedia entries haven't.
I'm running a campaign of my own which isn't set in Erebus, though the overall setting is similar in some respects. One of the major antagonists is shaping up to be a vampire and I'm cribbing heavily from the Calabim backstory (and a little from old Ravenloft details about the domain of Sanguinia) to put him together.
As it stands, he's a devotee of the Queen of Air and Darkness, the deity responsible for this world's own version of the Age of Ice. He views himself as a necessary predator, culling the weak and so forth; his stat block will probably involve a lot of Ranger and Barbarian levels, for the 'crunch' guys. The question, in my mind, is how to build a network of minions / NPCs that relate to him.
Not to threadjack Vorshlumph, but has anyone got any particular insights / opinions about just how the Calabim integrated themselves into society in the Age of Ice? I've read the obvious stuff (they kept people fed by hunting for them in exchange for being supplied with food), but if there are any details / subtleties / notes about figures other than Flauros or Alexis to be had, I'd be appreciative if someone shared them. It'd be a big help in fleshing this character out.
I never imagined many vampires outside of Flauros and Alexis as prominant in the Age of Ice. Vampires are top predators in any environment they enter, and when food is scarce Alexis and Flauros would be best off making sure they had little competition for it.
Of course their challenge was in making sure their "livestock" lasted through the winter so their talents were often turned to hunting for food for their citizens, more than hunting the people directly. But that doesn't allow for very large tribes, instead each maintained a few small ragged groups of people that they helped survive.
Viewed from the perspective of those people Alexis and Flauros were dark saviors. They would bring mammoths or other hard to kill fare to the people and their arrival was often met with feasts and rituals as if a god had come down to commune with them. The fact that they occasionally bled, or stole entirely, from the children or the strong of the tribe was accepted or even celebrated.
They may have promoted other vampires during the Age of Ice. But I would guess that it was very rare and typically short lived. More of an idle diversion that any real attempt to grow their numbers. Any new vampire would have a difficult time sustaining his immortal life since finding new humans to feed off of would be difficult, and feeding off those claimed by Alexis or Flauros would lead to a quick death.
Yeah, Frostfang has the dual advantages of Alexis & Flauros not existing in my game (he's in a similar position, if probably a bit less privileged) and divine endorsement, so the parallels aren't perfect. Your point about keeping numbers down, however, definitely is: his henchmen probably shouldn't be other vampires or they should be of recent, uh, vintage. Perhaps he opted to feed on and cooperate with humanoids rather than people? Dunno, but it's food for thought for me.
Heck, while I'm at it, the above suggests that vampires in the Age of Ice (even if it's just Flauros / Alexis and a handful of others) probably belong in the recon line / that general theme. Possibly I should focus his talents in an animal-training direction, which leads to interesting possibilities as far as supporting creatures for encounters.
(I'll use Alexis in the following, though it should be applicable for your characters as well).
I assume the first tier would be ragged hunters looking to apease Alexis, if they capture (hopefully alive) and bring victims back to Alexis for indoctrination/consumption they would gain status without their band and with Alexis.
After that would be men amoung the bands that Alexis favors (her "priests"). They would probably have some training, maybe even a little magic, and Alexis may have gifted them with a few relics from earlier times (probably with a nasty side effect, her gifts usually some with a price).
If her opponents are particuarly difficult Alexis may grab one of her "priests" and give him the gift of vampirism, then task him with killing the players. Either way Alexis cleans up whatever is left.
Then you have whatever specific subordinates Alexis is toying with at the time. She is a sorcoress so I would expect animals possessed by demons, tormented souls bound into her service, bone golems, specters, wraiths and the bizzare. For the most powerful I could imagine a dragons corpse raised as an undead, or a partnership with a lich from an earlier age.
A battle with Alexis directly (if she even allowed it) would probably take place deep within her catacombs and be well protected. Dozens of her subjects would be bound within the location and she would be able to reach out and steal their lives to sustain her own during the fight.
Yeah, in my case the first tier will probably be mongrelfolk / orcs / some similar subhuman creatures, with the second being humans or demihumans, but the basic structure is likely similar.
Frostfang is definitely a Ranger, so I was going to head more in the direction of megafauna and their fantasy spin-offs instead of posessed animals or bone golems, but that's certainly the right tier and idea. I really like the idea of vampiric suicide-bombers, so to speak, and will almost certainly use that. I even have an NPC in mind who'd make an excellent candidate.
Seeing as he lives at one of the deeper portions of the dungeon that's the main adventure locale for the setting, that last paragraph is definitely pertinent as well. No doubt he's got all manner of food in 'cold storage' so to speak, and would favor hit and run tactics. He may be cooperating with a hag NPC loosely based on Baba Yaga, as well; haven't decided yet.
Also, Frostfang is admittedly a terrible name, but I justify that to myself by claiming it's more of a title. I'll probably end up giving him a Slavic or Germanic / Norse actual name at some point, if the PCs show interest in doing something other than killing him and taking his stuff, which I can't bet on.
Separate names with a comma.