Tan Mu Rong is not Vassa-born; in fact, he wasn’t born in Faerûn at all. He hails from far-off Shou-Lung, and claims to have been a Mandarin there. He does not speak of his past except to say he left willingly, hearing the call of Telos, but others guess that he was driven from the lands of the Celestial Empire for some wretched misdeed. Whatever the case, he has demonstrated his bureaucratic skills and keen analytical mind to his fellow knights time and again, and was put in-charge of the Kingdom’s finances since soon after his arrival. He considers taxes and their procurement his life’s work, and takes great pleasure in squeezing every red copper from the peasants, who simply call him “The Collector”.
When he first came to Vassa, through Narfell and across the northern tundra of the Hordelands, he went straight to Tomb of Telos located beneath the Temple-city. The guards – for whatever reason – simply allowed him to pass, but the few Council Members present stood to bar his way… until the Voice of Telos spoke, and told them to stand down. Kneeling before the alter, he renounced all former ties and swore his allegiance to the Primordial, and to the shock of the attending members the Voice of Telos knighted him on the spot! No explanantion was ever given, and none dare to question the will of Telos.
The Collector’s unprecedented rise to power is not the only mystery surrounding this strangely calm man from the east. The right side of his face is covered with a mask in the style of the Samurai of the Island Kingdoms of Kara-Tur. Although its frightening Demonic visage has not changed since his arrival, the material it is constructed from has – what was once the apparently broken half of a normal mask is now a cleanly wrought one made from Ironfell. Aside from its composition, the only other change apparent from the original is an earring – a loop of dark, crystalline Iron and the symbol of his devotion to Telos. He has taken to wearing the style of armor of the West (and that of the other Warlock Knights), but retains one other piece of regalia from his Eastern heritage – A katana sword he wears upon his back with a strange, black blade. Although he still doffs the accepted weapons of a Warlock Knight – an Ironfell shortsword on his left hip and a Baton (mace) of authority on his right – he almost never draws them, preferring to rely on his own, ancestral weapon. Once, while trying to pry money from a village mayor that the man simply did not have, Tan Mu Rong drew the sword and severed the man’s head in a single stroke, saying only that he would “take this in payment”. Rumors abound concerning the swords powers, and some say it can cut through ANYTHING, even energy.
Upon acceptance, and aside from his financial duties, he was granted the undesirable position of ‘Lord of the Western Marches’. As with everything else the man does, he calmly took to his new role and carved out a large swath of land for himself and Vassa in the Frozen wastes bordering The Ride and The Tortured land, around Tóu Lóng Lake – named for it’s shape (literally ‘Dragon’s Head’. His Magnificent Citadel sits on an island near the western shore, connected by a narrow land-bridge during the frigid winter months, but becomes a swampy ford during the brief Vassan summer. The keep houses one of the finest collections of Art and Literature in the northeast – another reason for his nickname, “The Collector” - but very few people have ever gotten to see his private museum and library, for he entertains few visitors, keeping mostly to himself and saying very little, except to issue commands to his underlings. The one visitor he does see often, however, is the enigmatic “Mistress of the Great Glacier”, Iyraclea, with whom he’s reached an amicable accord and mutually beneficial relationship, between her realm and that of Vassa. Whispered rumors are exchanged around the council about this unlikely ‘friendship’, but most just laugh-off any that the two are amorous, given the cold, dour personalities of both.
Tan Mu Rong takes to his position of March Warden as seriously as he does overseeing Vassa’s wealth, and has twice repelled incursions by Ride Barbarians trying to retake the lands surrounding the lake. The only time anyone has seen him smile is during one such battle, wherein he drew his exotic sword and waded through the barbarians like a peasant threshing wheat. As for his past, even Lishkah Ehravic has trouble finding out anything substantial about the man – all forms of scrying have failed, and he has found it nearly impossible to place any spies in Tan Rong’s Duchy, due to the man’s keen, discerning mind. He has sent two of his best operatives into the east, along separate paths, in hopes of uncovering something he can use against the enigmatic foreigner, but he has thus-far not received word from either of the two, and now fears them lost. As for the other Warlock Knights – they tend to just ignore Tan Mu Rong, even when he is present, and the man’s unnerving silence during most meetings further enforces this situation. Most of them would rather not be bothered with running what they feel is the ‘drudge work’ of the kingdom, and they are more then happy to leave the Easterner to his methodical bookkeeping.
This weak chinned and pale watery-eyed mass of corpulent flesh clad in fine dark velvets and sable façade hides a hideous aspect that is known only within the Ironfell Council. Underneath the perfumed fineries there is more to Vasilii than meets the public eye, that being his partially developed vestigal sibling Ivanov. While Vasilii is the public face it is Ivanov who is the master as he rides his twin torso like a foul malignant tumor. Masters of extracting information under the most vile of methods and with appetites even more so, Vasilii Ivanov Gubin is the bogeyman of the hushed whispers told around the campfires and hearths of Vaasa. A devil in the skin of a man some whisper, his obscene fleshy mass the result of dark cannibalistic orgies frequented by infernal beings.
Rumored to be a practitioner of the darkest Art with the ability to break even the most iron willed hero, it is to Tower Gubin that those who have failed or displeased the Voice are sent, never again to be seen. The villagers who live in the shadow of the stark white tower exist in an agony of constant fear and despair that their young daughters and sons will catch the eye of Vasilii and his ‘appetite’ and be brought to serve the Warlock Knight. There are fewer and fewer children in the countryside that surrounds Tower Gubin of late and fearful families try to hide their newborns or flee the region if they can.
When children go missing from their beds in the still of the night rest assured that somewhere in Tower Gubin their screams are still echoing in the dark.
One of a few of the denziens of Tower of Gubin.
The Children of Vasilli
The Brood Swarm Level 26 Skirmisher Large natural animate (undead/swarm) XP 9000 Initiative +24 Senses Perception +20; dark vision HP 238; Bloodied 119 AC 26; Fortitude 36, Reflex 38, Will 32 Resist half damage from melee and ranged attacks. Vulnerable 10 against close and area attacks. Speed 6 Swarm of Teeth (standard; at-will) +31 vs. AC; 2d6 + 10 damage (crit 2d6 + 22) plus an extra 2d6 damage if the brood swarm has knocked the target prone. Drag down screaming (standard; at-will) +26 vs. Reflex; The brood swarm latches on to the target with its mass of tiny clawed hands and drags it to the ground. Howl of the Damned (standard; encounter; recharges when first bloodied) Necrotic Ranged 10; +25 vs. Will; 3d8 +12 necrotic damage, and the target is immobilized (save ends). Alignment Evil Languages Common Skills Endurance +24, Intimidate +21, Stealth +27 Str 30 (+23) Dex 28 (+22) Wis 8 (+3) Con 22 (+19) Int 18 (+17) Cha 3 (-3)
Nothing goes to waste within Tower Gubin and if it is not later used for food or other resources it ends up on the work tables in laboratories of Vasilii Ivanov Gubin. Here is where Ivanov gets to treat himself to a few of his appetites, the creation of life. The children of the surrounding land and those that are bred within the pristine white walls of Tower Gubin are a favorite of Ivanov and he cares for them as only a father can.
Several creations lurk within the tower, rarely seen outside of its confines unless requested by The Voice of Telos or in an isolated village in a test of abilities. Many of the creations are prepared to serve the Voice of Telos while others exist to continue to serve Tower Gubin.
The powerful scent of preservative fluids and spices with a hint of rot is all one usually notices before the Brood Swarm comes crawling and scrabbling from the shadows, that and the reflected light in the green catlike eyes of the multitude. Small forms teeming over each other in a wave of horror that moves along the floor, walls and ceiling pour forth intent on devouring its prey. Its hunger the blessing of the father, one that can never be filled only sated for a time.
Jonmarc is a charismatic and strikingly handsome figure, made more so by the ever apparent smile on his face and probably one, if not the most recognizable member of Ironfells infamous 13. This is not because he is the most powerful, nor even the most cruel (though he is by no means merciful).; it is merely the fact that he is the most flamboyant and showy of the bunch. This is achieved by his habit of strolling to most all public meetings of the council, where he is easily spotted by his distinctive color changing ironrfell chainmail, and his even more characteristic hobble, the source of his nickname. The cause of Jonmarc’s uneven gait is the well of never ending gossip through a lot of Warlock circles. This is goaded on by Jonmarc telling a different story every time a green Warlock Knight asks of it’s making. The story ranges from an everlasting battle scare given to him by an Angel on the celestial plane itself, a Yochol’s acid which stained him in the palace of a Matron mother herself, or a very, very rough romp with one of the prettier Lasses in Silvermoon, only Telos and the Voice themselves know the truth. His entire bearing and mannerism seems more befit to a courtly prince of Waterdeep then that of a Vassa Warlock Knight.
The Limper makes his money in various locations but most of his coin comes from commissions. The commissions in question is because he is also known as the “Ambassador” of Vassa’s goods. When there is a great deal of importance riding on any trade agreement, Jonmarc is sent to help make it happen. His undeniable charm, wit and manners assure his acquaintances they are in the presence of royalty. Not only this but for all his Jovialness and manners, The Limper is not as intimidating as any of the other 12 members of Ironfell’s council. Being underestimated helps the Non-Vassa end of the transaction feel safe, let them think they are getting the better end of the deal, that the oh so scary Warlock Knight’s are no more than an overblown rumor. All his other funds come from his independently run trading corporation. That is, he is a peddler of flesh. He sells the majority of his battle earned livestock (humans, elves, Halflings, dwarves, etc.) to fellow Knights, the Shade Enclave, Thay’s wizards, and underdark contacts. Slave trade is always a face to face business, and Face to face is where Jonmarc excels.
Contrary to many of his Brethren he keeps no standing army, but instead spreads his resources through the Vassa population in sleeper cells. Each cell has a permissible business front, and a work force numbering from half a dozen to a score of well trained and well disciplined men. For every 5,000 people in the area he keeps about seven of these cells active. Each cell can contact every other single cell under Jonmarc Hathsin’s control via a specially made Ironfell ring of connecting, but doesn’t know the actual whereabouts, and/or physical description of anybody outside their own cell. This is for security purposes. No cell can flag another cell if ousted. Jonmarc is known to always have two hidden tails/bodyguards at all times, but has an additional four that have never been noticed, all for security sake. The reason for hiding his bodyguards is another thing that makes him so well known. All the lowly peasants who spot him in pubic assume him alone, even though he is always to be in constant danger, that falls to him by his Council seat. Always more posturing.
Jonmarc’s rise to power is a well known one. And one he still flaunts about. His life before the council was that of assassination. He was a wanderer who gained prestige in his stylized manner of killing. He was always known to his mark before there death. He would meet with them, use his charm to thrust himself into their life in some way and from their killed them via poison, or slipping a feral animal into their room, and more ways to prove that he didn’t have to do it. The Limper let them think he a friend right to the very end. Before ascending to the council though he was given the names of thirteen people by the Voice of Telos himself. Thirteen people who had to die before he took his seat. Thirteen clerics, each of a different god, each to end their days in Jonmarc Hathsin’s chosen way. Supposedly he sat through an entire service to Corellon next to a mark and her lover, before he slipped a dead magic pellet into the latter’s belt pouch and watched them as they were beaten to death down the street by hired thugs, helpless without their magic. Another rumor stats he somehow started a house war in a drow city just to see his Mark, the matron mother of one house, dead.
A funny side note; Jonmarc has no land to his name and therefore may be classified as an Executioner. A point which he is mocked by the other Council members for, even if he has some of his most secret and well trained sleeper cells in their innermost garrisons and guard houses.
We need at least one female, and at least one non-human (although all of these guys are probably at least a little bit demon by now).
I was thinking Drow, but that might be too over-done for FR, so maybe something unlikely, like a Halfling. We already have an assassin though... Hmmmm... Genasi?
A Tiefling would be a little too easy...
I'd do another, but I'd rather each one be done by a different person. Also, as I do the map (yes, I am working on one for this region, considering how much work is going into these write-ups), I'll be outlining the various Lords domains, so something to that efect will help.
One last thing - I have learned that Iyraclea DIED during the Rage of Dragons. Assume for now that for all intents-and-purposes she still looks exactly the same - alive and well - but probably isn't. Ice is an amazing preservative.
I have it on good word that she is indeed making a comeback, so I wasn't far off, after all.
^Don't forget to leave The Limper out of any known land.
Oh and I guess a shade wouldn't be bad. That would be starting pretty early though. 4e for the realms isn't even out yet and we would be getting started on the favorite protaganist (Is it just me or are the Shades going to become the 4e conterparts of the 3.x Drow?).
IOne last thing - I have learned that Iyraclea DIED during the Rage of Dragons. Assume for now that for all intents-and-purposes she still looks exactly the same - alive and well - but probably isn't. Ice is an amazing preservative.
I have it on good word that she is indeed making a comeback, so I wasn't far off, after all.