Campaign of the Month: October 2010
Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting
A Bovite Weren (Minotaur) with a deadly past, Khulvos embraced the way of the wandering monk as a method of overcoming his savage tendencies. Still, he is haunted by the crimes, and associates, of his past.
Khulvos never knew who his parents were. He was raised by a culturally sophisticated clan of High Elves. The Elves of Wyrmshadow reached levels of excellence in art, literature and philosophy that have rarely been equaled. Their achievements formed the foundation for much of Imperian culture. Huge and strong, the boy who looked to all the world as a monster enjoyed painting and gardening. This peaceful life was not to last.
When he was ten years old his village was sacked by troll raiders. The village was looted and then burned to the ground. Khulvos instinctively gored an attacking troll with his horns. It took several trolls to subdue the boy. Because the boy was the only villager who wounded a raider, he was the only prisoner taken alive, as a sign of respect.
Being raised by a bloodthirsty tribe, Khulvos had to become just as bloodthirsty in order to survive. After years as a prisoner he began taking part in raids of villages like the one he once lived in and killing men, women and children just like the ones he once considered his family. Events came full circle as Khulvos eventually became the leader of the raiders who he had renamed the “Horns of Agony.” The boy who looked to all the world as monster now was one.
Year after blood-soaked year passed, village after village was razed, prisoners sold into slavery until one evening, Khulvos was alone in his tent and as he looked into the flame of he had a vision. He saw a man who projected maturity, serenity and wisdom in the tradition of Imperian philosophers. It was a vision of the man he would have become if he had never become a monster. He looked upon the man he should have become. He roared in anguish and fled from the camp into the mountains where he sobbed uncontrollably.
He cried for days and when he finally spoke again he said the words, “I am a man, and I will never harm another creature again” He wandered for weeks until he found a monastery devoted to Ryss. Taking it as sign, Khulvos shattered his battle axe and vowed to never again raise a weapon. When asked why he had come he responded that he was there to slay the most evil monster he knew once and for all. The monks lived a reclusive lifestyle and were reluctant to accept the new initiate at first. However he still had the buried memories of his childhood and the monks were not so different from the Elves. For years he lived a life of silent contemplation and penitence.
One day a group of bandits attacked the monastery intending to plunder the sites’ treasures. Khulvos was lost in meditation when the familiar sounds of battle surrounded him. One by one the monks fell and Khulvos was frozen. His people were being slaughtered again, just like the troll raid on his village. But he had sworn never to kill. How could he preserve life by taking life? Then once again he glanced into the flame of sconce and heard a voice he knew in his heart belonged to Ryss. The voice spoke the words, “We hunt the wolves to protect the sheep.”
At last Khulvos understood. The true path was the path of balance between the forces of order and disorder, reason and emotion and restraint and excess. Most importantly, he had to balance the scales by making up for the harm he had caused by defending the innocent. The bandits didn’t last long. In that moment, Khulvos became the man he was meant to be.
Years later Kjulvos was captured by a tribe of bugbears and dragged into the underdark as a slave. There he befriended a fellow prisoner, a Goliath Barbarian named Arekos Rageblade. For some reason he felt meeting this Goliath was the will of Ryss. He taught the young man to control his feelings, and together they escaped their captors into the underdark.
Arekos told Khulvos that he remembered little of his mountainous homeland, only being taken captive by a vicious gang of trolls with tatoos of a bull’s head. They could only have been the Horns of Agony, Khulvos’ former followers. A troll named Kajano had become the new chief after the Minotaur’s departure and was continuing the path of bloody violence the tribe had been on since before Khulvos was born.
Once again, enlightenment came to the monk as he realized, “Redemption is a path, not a destination.” He spent months training the Goliath in the wilds of the underdark. He became convinced this barbarian would eventually become a champion of Ryss. One day two creatures stumbled upon their camp. The human Kelain and his Kobold comrade,Yadakath were members of an organization known as “The Current”.
These surfacers had been captured by the same tribe of bugbears the pair of warriors had escaped from. Apparantly these bugbears were servants of a mind flayer named Gygax. To make matters worse, their comrades, Reks, Auleak, Vespa, Varen and Eilora were still being held captive at the monster’s camp. Without a moments hesitation, Khulvos agreed to help the pair rescue their friends.
After a fierce battle the group thanked Khulvos and Arekos for their help, but after they were needed on the surface. Convinced Arekos’ destiny lay on the surface of Wyrmshadow Khulvos volunteered to guide them back to the world of sunlight. No sooner had they returned to the surface than a massive battle erupted with Gygax.
At the conclusion of the battle Gygax was slain by the Current and members of the Order of Draconeous. After the the fight it became clear despite the cooperation against a common foe, they still had different goals. The Goliath was drawn to the Current, as they were going to travel north where Arekos believed his homeland lay. The Order was intent on travelling to Freel, where Khulvos knew the Horns of Agony, and Kajanos awaited.
Khulvos immediately bonded with two fellow monks of the Order, the mighty Crossel and the young felite weren, Adon. The three soon became calling themselves brothers and formed a spiritual bond with each other stronger than any other. This led Khulvos to formally join The Order under the command of Sir Laurence Van Drake.
Khulvos was with Laurence, Crossel, Adon, Aelanah, Sarah, Saleos, Mardak, and Elosian during the end of Sins of the Fathers. This group travelled to Shi Di Ma, where they confronted an army of hellforged and revenant samurai in order to capture a massive hellryft. Their intent was to traverse the hellryft, seek out a servant of Arkulat Fa’Sado calling itself the new “Stendhal”, and destroy it, returning through the Hellryft and ultimately destroying it.
Saleos, Sarah, Aelanah, and Mardak remained on the Materian side of the ryft while Laurence, Crossel, Adon, Elosian, and yourself made the journey into Infernia. Upon emerging, you were confronted with a massive force of demons intent on passing through the Hellryft into Shi Di Ma. Some forces managed to get through, causing Saleos and the others to combat them while you fought the tide of demons pushing toward the hellryft.
Elosian revealed, via his link with Revenon, that a hellryft can only be destroyed via a powerful blood sacrifice. Adon and Crossel met your gaze and the three of you had a brief moment of clarity. If you were to succeed in preventing these forces from entering the already devastated Shi Di Ma, one or more of you would have to sacrifice your lives to destroy the Hellryft. Crossel placed a particularly skillful punch into your jaw, telling you to protect Laurence for him. He and Adon went to sacrifice their lives, and you caught them just in time to enter their minds and take hold of their souls, pulling them into your own body just as their own bodies were consumed in an aether-borne explosion.
You were overwhelmed by the explosion, and lost track of the events following the destruction of the Hellryft. The explosion of aether had a mutative effect on your body, as a result of your recent acquisition of two new soul tenants. The majority of the demons were destroyed, Elosian and Laurence were badly hurt. You heard Laurence muttering that he couldn’t feel his god. In truth, you felt the absence of the gods as well, the moment the Hellryft collapsed.
Days later, you awoke, hanging from meat hooks dangling from high above your head. You heard Crossel’s voice saying that it was about time you joined the party, and Adon’s voice followed, expressing concern for your long period of inactivity. It was at this point when you realized what had happened, that your body had changed to reflect the souls within. Crossel was particularly angry at you for making the decision to save his soul. He said that without his body, his temple, he had no need for a future. But to have further opportunity to protect Laurence and destroy this “Stendhal”, he was grateful.