Campaign of the Month: October 2010
Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting
A mountainous man-turned-Weren against his will.
An extremely tall mountainous man who could easily be mistaken for part giant, Boris Silverstem has wild brown hair, a full mustache and beard, deep brown eyes. Boris wears natural hide armors of his own making, often modifying the armor with the prize skins of his most recent hunt, especially if the hide provides better protection from the elements. Boris carries a long-handled double-edged battle ax and a pair of throwing axes lashed to his upper legs, as well as a backpack filled with the gear he needs for skinning, fishing, and trap-making.
After becoming an infected Weren, Boris can take on the form of a Grizzly bear or a hybrid of bear and man. In his hybrid form, Boris is well over eight feet tall and weighs nearly a ton. His hands are just as dexterous in hybrid form as they are when he appears human, so he often employs the use of his battle ax in both forms. In fact, when in battle, Boris rarely leaves his Hybrid form.
After becoming the new God of Nature and Balance, Boris appears much as he does in hybrid form, but with massive fur-coated bat-like wings and a spinning halo of autumnal leaves floating over his head. However, he can also take on the form of any animal, plant, or other living being upon desire, the only indication of his divinity being the feeling upon looking into his eyes that everything is as it should be, even if it is not.
As a young man, Boris found that he could no longer stand to stay within the confines of his home, a simple thatch hut that he lived in with his mother. His father had abandoned them when Boris was merely five years old. A druidic extremist, Boris’s father believed that man sought to destroy all of nature and, thus, all men were his enemy. In his obsession, he abandoned his family, went into the woods, and would never return.
So, at a mere thirteen years of age, his mother having remarried, Boris no longer felt a desire to stay. His father’s wanderlust had taken hold of his youthful curiosity. Even more compelling was his general disdain for the town in which he was raised. The people, the crowds, the very noise of civilization were a constant, frustrating annoyance that he could not explain, like anitch that one could never quite scratch. He had some experience from jobs he had in his youth, knowledge of forestry and hunting, logging, tanning, and trapmaking. These skills could aid him in surviving out on the open road, and gain him coin when it was needed as well. So, with every reason to go and no reason left to stay, Boris followed his father’s footpath away from his mother’s home, never to return.
For many years, Boris would survive in the wilderness, trading furs in whatever town he came across, certain never to spend too much time in anyplace crowded. He had become a young hermit, and though life was hard, Boris was happiest in those moments when birdsong and the wind in the leaves were the only noises he could hear.
One day, in his travels through the thickets of the southern Anzel Wood, Boris stumbled upon an unassuming hut occupied by an old man. This hut was far away from the bustling towns at the Wood’s edge, and the man within was a kindred spirit, someone happiest with the wild as his only company. Boris became fast friends with the Old Man, whose name Boris never asked for and the Old Man never offered. The animals didn’t name one another, after all, and they made along just fine without them.
Boris, while already a ranger at heart, was truly blessed in meeting the Old Man, as he was a thoughtful and inciteful instructor. Taught the ways of the forest and schooled in the gifts of natural magic, the Old Man pointed Boris toward the path of working for the greater good, putting all his passion and strength to good use.
While on the hunt for some Orc raiders, a paladin by the name of Sir Drogyn Martok rode into the clearing nearest the Old Man’s hut, catching their attention. Boris was wary at first, but the Old Man smiled, winked, and told Boris to go make friends with the man. Boris walked to Sir Drogyn, the men exchanged introductions, and due largely to his spontaneously aloof nature, he trekked along with Sir Drogyn in his hunt for the Orcs without a second thought. The Old Man waved goodbye to Boris and Drogyn, knowing that Boris would not have need of his guidance for a long time to come.
Boris traveled with Drogyn for some time. A life-long friendship was built as they traveled many roads together. After a while, Boris felt a calling to return to the forests, and so he and Drogyn parted company. However, Drogyn left Boris an open invitation to rejoin him whenever he felt the need, and Boris echoed that if Drogyn ever had need of him, he would be there. Political tensions were mounting, and Boris knew that soon, war would spread into the great forests that he had long ago sworn to protect. Boris wished to rejoin Drogyn, aid him in his war efforts, but had difficulty jumping into a fight he did not believe in. He became so embroiled in his own thoughts that he could hardly believe his eyes when he came across the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.
A youthful half-elven nymph girl named Rynn was picking berries and enjoying a walk through the woods when Boris saw her. Boris fell in love with Rynn from the very moment he laid eyes on her, from the delicacy with which she glided through the leaf-strewn forest floor, to the radiance of her warm and sincere smile. After a few moments watching Rynn, practically frozen by her majestic beauty, something behind her caught his notice and raised within him a protective alarm. The shadows beyond her were moving, menacingly, and he could make out from these shadows a sound of low growls and snarls. Gnolls. However, he realized that from his distance, he could hear the growls, yet Rynn, as close as these Gnolls were, did not seem to notice their presence. Something was amiss, for she seemed neither deaf nor daft. His eyes took in the scene more closely, and he realized the truth of the matter upon noticing the presence of cleverly camouflaged snare traps. The Gnolls were not the hunters, but the prey.
The Gnolls’ resistance to this lovely bait was finally at its end. Two of them were flung high into the air, rope nooses binding their ankles, hanging them heels-up from the tall branches. The third managed to escape the trap, but before it could react, a silver-lined throwing ax buried itself in its skull. Boris had no sooner released the throwing ax than Rynn’s smile widened. She turned to him as the Gnoll fell dead and said that she wondered how long he was planning on just standing there regarding her. She was enamored with Boris as well, thanking him for his help in dispatching that last Gnoll, and introducing herself. She was Rynn, the daughter of Ryndrick, an Ilrasi general who had left her in charge of defending the innocents of the forest.
Boris offered his aid to Rynn, setting traps side-by-side with the lovely woman, and the two became inseparable, at least for a short while. As their friendship drew closer and closer to love, Boris realized that he had to devote himself fully to her protection, and that meant returning to Drogyn and joining in his war efforts. He knew Rynn would be safest that way, if they could prevent the war from coming far enough South to endanger Rynn or the people she was protecting. Boris left, not saying goodbye, unable to form the words through his own tears.
Boris reached Drogyn, finding that he was gathering a force to accompany Sir Gellar on an escort mission that would lead Boris back toward Rynn. He agreed to accompany Drogyn, becoming acquainted with the new recruit, a sorcerer named Silas Vale. Silas was young, but very confident and impressively skillful and intelligent. Though the others in Drogyn’s unit were disrespectful of Silas, Boris found himself liking the boy despite his reservations. As Drogyn reached Ryndrick’s lands, Boris was pleased to see Rynn again. However, Ryndrick explained the circumstances of her lineage to Drogyn, asking him to take her away so that she would not be in any danger. Rynn was a child born out of wedlock, a result of a nymph’s seduction of Ryndrick, and at first he offered Drogyn her hand in marriage. it was a thought that utterly mortified Boris, but luckily, it seemed that Drogyn had other plans for Rynn. Drogyn took her from Ryndrick and found a new place for her to stay, hidden from Ryndrick’s enemies, saying that after the war, he would retrieve her and she would be a part of his family.
After a member of Drogyn’s unit disappeared without a trace near the Bogmire, a man both Boris and Vale had grown fond of, the two went off together to try to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Soon thereafter, they returned to Drogyn’s unit in time to participate in the famous Battle of Whirlwater. Shortly later, the Shadow Knight committed regicide and named himself the Emperor of not just Imperia, but of all Wyrmshadow. This Shadow Knight was by far the greatest threat ever posed to Rynn and her people, to the forests Boris had sworn to protect, and to the very concepts of freedom that Boris so cherished. Nine months later, just when it seemed hopeless, Drogyn and his contemporary, Sir Osar, achieved a miraculous victory in Quae Elfien, and within a week, the Shadow Knight had been imprisoned and defeated.
After the war, Drogyn decided to retire, and for a time, Boris and Vale traveled together. However, Vale had fallen in with a dreadful mentor, MaThius Pa’Vayne. Vale had become someone Boris could no longer associate with, his methods too cruel, too unnatural for Boris to condone. The two separated, and Boris, tired as he was of war, decided to make the slow journey to find Rynn, retire to the forests, and live a peaceful life once and for all. However, destiny had far different plans for Boris. As he was making his way through the forest, he stopped to take a drink from a clear lake, noticing bears at play across the waters. He smiled, thinking nothing of it, and continued to drink. He noticed the reflection of a tall, bear-like creature towering behind him, but turned too late to offer a proper defense.
He was being attacked by Infected Weren Ursites, also called Were-Bears, and he suffered bite after excruciating bite. He passed out from the loss of blood, and was honestly quite surprised to wake up again. However, he soon realized that over a month had passed, and that he had been roaming the forest since the attack as a member of the same pack of Infected Weren. He had become a monster, an unnatural creature, and everything that he had once hated.
Boris stumbled upon a small settlement in the woods during one of his nightly rages. As he began to tear through the settlement, he came across a woman who did not flee from him and seemed totally unafraid of his appearance. She held her hand up and started talking to Boris, her kind words and even tone somehow able to cut through the confusion and calm Boris down. Her name was Katiera Hexan, and she was a Weren Felite. She explained that once, all Weren could control their transformations, and that their loss of this ability, their rage, and their infectious bite, were a result of a dreadful demonic curse on her people… on their people. Like it or not, Boris was not a human anymore, but, like Katiera, he could learn to control his transformation, temper his rage, and even cure his infectious bite. She was born with a special gift, an ability to calm the rage of Infected Weren and help cure them of their eccentricities. Her coming was foretold by her people and she was considered a high shaman of Freel. She had found others like Boris and had assembled a makeshift team of misfits, former members of other races, now Weren, to help one another come to terms with their new nature.
Boris spent the better part of a year with these misfits, under the guidance of Katiera and her son, Sharakh. However, the team would eventually fall apart, and Boris, now confident in his abilities to control his rage, decided to return to society once more. He planned to seek out Rynn again, but thought again of it when he realized that he was a monster, now, How could someone so precious, so perfect, ever love him as he was? Instead, Boris struck out with Sharakh, the two of them traveling together. occasionally Boris would check in on Drogyn, and Rynn, but never stayed long enough for his feelings to get the better of his judgment. Eventually, Drogyn sent word that he wanted Boris to return, and this time, to bring his new companion with him when he came. Sharakh was excited at the premise of meeting the legendary Sir Drogyn. Boris had never used the title Sir when addressing Drogyn, and he thought it funny when someone else did. However, he was most excited at the chance to see Rynn again.
When he arrived, his joy at seeing Rynn again was tainted by the presence of another person, a man whom Boris had hoped never to lay eyes upon again… Silas Vale.
MORE TO COME