Wednesday, 19 October 2011

NPC: The Black Cantor

Years ago,  back when the Redlands were still called the Duchy of Diem, the Monastic Order St. Euridicius owned several large wineries in the region, all run from the Abbey of Wolfgarten. The order's vows of poverty had long since become an empty formality, and the Abbey's luxury was said to rival that of the Ducal Palace in Zalburg.

Brother Aramath of Liesse was the third son of a Narbonnian grain merchant, and at an early age he was brought to the monks of St. Euridicius for his education and future career. He never showed any great affinity for numbers or theology, and one may even say he was a more than a little lazy. Still, his father's donations and his singing voice made sure he got to say his vows when he came of age.

Once he became a brother of the cloth, he was sent to the Abbey of Wolfgarten where he served in the obscurity of utter mediocrity for almost ten years. As with many of his brothers, the monastic life led to a steadily increasing gut, and a deteriorating health. In the summer of 1022 YE his heart all but gave in to the weight of his corpus, and he fell down a flight of stairs. The fall broke his left ankle, and he was taken to the infirmary. 

At the same time, outside the walls of the monastery, the Red Death washed over the land, turning layman, noble and clergy alike into mindless, walking dead, hungry for the flesh of the living. A monk returning from a tour of a nearby wine-yard was attacked by one of the afflicted and bit in the arm. Fright kept him from informing his betters, and within days he suffered the Red Death. With the curse now loose inside the walls, some of the monks fled, others turned to prayer -- none survived.

As madness gripped the Abbey, the Infirmarian locked the infirmary doors from the outside, hoping to save some of the sick, injured or elderly monks lying inside. In the summer heat, and without access to food or water, death came quick or slow to those poor souls, but it came to all. Brother Aramath's broken leg turned gangrenous, and without aid from the physicians, his body and mind was racked by a savage fever. For days he hung on, while his brothers died around him in the hot room, smelling of piss, desperation, vomit and death. At last his body could not take it any more, and he could feel the last fibres of his life-thread snapping.

It was in that very moment, as the cold darkness closed in around him, that the thing from the crypt appeared before him. It offered him life, and he took it without a second thought.

When Aramath broke through the doors and emerged into the world again, he found it to no less hellish than the nightmare he left behind him in the infirmary. Partially devoured corpses lay in blood-smeared hallways, corpses shambled aimlessly around in the courtyard, and something cold and dead had merged with his soul.

In the decades following his brush with death, Aramath has become known in the Redlands as the Black Cantor. He spends most of his days walking the roads, paths and trails running through the once prosperous, now mostly deserted and infested with evil, region. Constantly singing psalms as he patrols his parish, he brings death to those who deserve it, be they living, undead, or supernatural. He even sometimes aid those he deems worthy of life. He was always large, but the black-clad, grey-bearded giant he is today bears little resemblance to the wobbling mountain that fell down those stairs so long ago. The radical paradigmatic change of his life also revealed his faith to him, and he will offer spiritual guidance where he deems it appropriate, which is to say almost everywhere. When stronger medicine is required, he uses a heavy oaken staff on which he has mounted the bronze tutelary from the Abbey's funeral shrine.

Father Aramath
A.k.a. The Black Cantor

Geist: The Crypt Thing
Virtue: Charity
Vice: Pride
Archetype: Gatekeeper
Threshold: The Stricken

Intelligence: 3, Wits: 2, Resolve: 3
Strength: 4, Dexterity: 2, Stamina: 3
Presence: 3, Manipulation: 2, Composure: 3

Academics 2, Medicine 3, Occult (undead) 4, Politics 1, Science 2
Brawl 2, Survival (ruins) 3, Weaponry (heavy club) 4
Animal Ken 1, Empathy 1, Expression (song) 3, Intimidation 1, Subterfuge 1

Haunt utility 3
Haunt fluidity 3
Haunt residue 2
Ceremonies 2
Memento 5

Size 5
Speed 11
Defense 1
Armour 4/1
Initiative Mod 5

Health 8
Willpower 6
Psyche 3
Synergy 6

Plasm (22/3) 19

Keystone Memento
Skull of the Crypt Thing - Keys: Grave-Dirt, Stillness


The Boneyard 3
The Caul 3
The Rage 4

Tattered monastic robes, black leather coat, breast plate, heavy boots, Hominus Sancti, maps, haversack, oaken staff with mounted bronze tutelary, Hand of the Forgotten King.

Storyteller's note: Two posts in as many days! Hopefully I'll be able to make it three for three... This character was created as a system learning exercise, but he will most likely make an appearance in my games as well.

[Picture source: Art Experts Inc.]

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