Bog's World

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Ancestral Avenger

There is a wide assumption on the part of those who have learned some things about the subject, that the Nostir must hate the Drow as much as the Drow hate their surface dwelling relatives. This is of course, not the case. Of course the Drow are reviled for their acts of barbarity, despised for the atrocities they carried out and loathed for the treachery they committed. But all of this was a long time ago. Only a very few now living have ever met any Drow, and those were deep below the surface of Oerth.

In truth, the Nostir tend, above all to pity the Drow for their loss of what the Nostir all see as the very best of what life has to offer. ie the appreciation of nature, the freedom to travel where one likes, the crystal clarity of truth (when one finds it) and above all, love. Romantic love, family ties and other comradeship’s which can only be missing from the cruel and harsh world of the Drow.

The Drow would be quite happy being reviled, despised and loathed. Above all they would like to be hated and feared. Being pitied probably makes them quite cross.

The hatred of the Drow is fired in the oven of their own hatreds and cooled in the breeze of eons of experience. They are diabolically depraved and debased. The first swift century of warfare soon came to mean that the Nostir ceased to fight with one hand behind their backs. Amongst the Nostir there were (and possibly have always been) certain individuals who were marked for a certain task by their gods. They were to be a cadre of avengers, special warriors for good who were granted certain supernatural gifts by their gods in order for them to accomplish their tasks.

Above all the purpose of these holy warriors was to avenge the damage done to the Nostir by the Drow. Legend (uncorroborated by the Clerics of Labelas) states that should the numbers of victims are ever balanced that these ancestral avengers will cease to appear amongst the people.

These tasks invariably involved descending into the underdark to take the war to the enemy. The Proto-gwaithor were able, using their arts, to create certain items for the avengers. These retained some of the essence (possibly in both senses of the word) of their original users. Being touched by the gods gives the modern day avengers some of the skills and abilities of their ancestors. Possession of one of these items, which were ancient heirlooms when the first High King took to the throne, would give unparalleled knowledge.

Ancestral avengers can be of any profession.

Strange Abilities

Quite often, the first clues that one has been marked for special things is that one is able to track underground (possibly using one’s darksight) even across tunnel floors, as if it were any other firm surface. [ie reducing the penalties for darkness/hard smooth surfaces by 50%]. This is followed by the realisation that one has been marked by the Seldarine as a weapon of vengeance. Most avengers when asked reported an interlude of commune with the higher plane, where they experienced, above all, feelings of calm and certainty of purpose.

From then on the avenger’s gifts function through a subconscious manipulation of the flows. As such they do not count as spell casting for power perception purposes.

The avenger might become increasingly resistant to poisons either made by the Drow or by their eight legged allies, including Sandestinal ones. (by expending DPs, the avenger can buy “increased poison resistance (Drow, demonic ally & Spider et al)” at a cost of 1/2/3)

The avenger can develop an ability that allows his or her spells to overcome the increased spell resistance of the Drow. This spell attack roll is specifically against the Drow target’s ability to make their resistance roll. For every point by which the attacking Nostir exceeds 100, the Drow’s RR is reduced on a point for point basis. Once gained, this ability works automatically – the avenger does not have think or act to ‘use’ it. It is not an actual spell itself and is therefore not blocked by walls or protections that do block spells. The attacking spell user still has to roll their attack normally and remains subject to ESF rules. (by expending DPs, the avenger can buy “overwhelm magic resistance (Drow, demonic ally[1] & Spider et al)” at a cost of 1/2/2)

The avenger gains the ability to webwalk. They are no longer captured or confined by the adhesive properties of webs. Webwalking may still involve climbing etc and MM should be conducted normally. Webwalking itself can be developed as a skill in its own right. (by expending DPs, the avenger can buy “Webwalking” at a cost of 2/5/9). This becomes a modifier to MM rolls made by the avenger on/in a web.

For each Drow slain by their own hand, the avenger gains +1 to their RRs vs Essence, Mentalism and Channelling. This is permanent and applies equally to magic of any origin.

Secret Knowledge: If one were to slay a priestess of Lolth under the sun, dedicating the act to all the innocents (on both sides) who died during the schism, then there is a reward[2]. From that day on, for the period of one year and one day, all critical damage done by the avenger to demons is done on the ‘of slaying’ table.

Ancient Lore

Avengers were initially equipped with a falchion like cleaving weapon known as a Nevaalth (Gal: Dia “Dark Cleaver” ) with a ‘two handed’ shaft of approximately the same length as the blade[3]. These tended to be leaf shaped and objects of great beauty. Almost without exception, they were magical to some degree.

Used two handed it rolls on the Battle Axe table, used one handed it rolls on the falchion table. The butt spike can be used as a –15 rapier.

Many of the other items made for the first generation avengers were personal adornments such as collars (torcs), amulets, sigils, bracelets and jewellery. These were always enchanted in some way (possibly with protections or power point multipliers or some other useful ability for Drow hunting).

The effect of the use by generations of magically gifted avengers, undertaking their sacred duty to take the fight to their twisted and depraved foe, has embued many of these items with strange (but coincidentally quite helpful) side effects.

Possession of one of these items might possibly confer one to ten of the following (or something similar and in step with the ethos of the Ancestral Avenger).

  1. One to ten ranks of Sense Reality Warp
  2. One to ten ranks of Lore (Drow)
  3. One to ten ranks of Ambush (only applicable to Drow victims)
  4. One to ten ranks of Langauge (Drow – Spoken)
  5. One to ten ranks of Langauge (Drow – literacy)
  6. One to ten ranks of Langauge (Drow – literacy)
  7. One to ten ranks of Langauge (Drow – Spoken)
  8. One to ten ranks of Lore (Abyssal)
  9. One to ten ranks of Lore (the Underdark)
  10. One to ten ranks of blind fighting

This represents the accumulated specialised knowledge of the previous avengers who used/wore/wielded this item. Drow will not touch these items (they cause a disruption B crit for each ‘touch’[4]). Other, less useful, side effects might be experienced, although not many avengers actually lived long enough for any to attract the appellation ‘typical’.

Whilst the item is in the avenger’s possession, the knowledge is retained. Additional ranks can be purchased (ie the owner is using their enhanced experience and intellect to expand their current knowledge – postulating and testing theories, finding the right ones and then ‘filling in the gaps’) without recourse to sages or libraries which might be unavailable and not actually any more knowledgeable. For each year for which the item is in the avenger’s possession, one rank in each skill becomes permanent.

Many avengers ended up preferring to work alone or only with other avengers. Many did not come back. Therefore it seems likely that such items might be found in places where those opposed to Drow might find both their enemy and the knowledge to combat them. Scant few remain on the surface.

During the schism the occurrence of avengers was not unusual. Gradually their numbers appeared to decline as less and less of the population were exposed to the conditions where their unique gifts would actually show up.

A lot of romance surrounded these individuals. They all seemed to accept their doom with good grace. Many went to the fight not expecting to return. Of those who did, there was a 50/50 split. Half never went underground again (some even forsook war in all its forms) the other half felt compelled, driven by some need within them, to go down again and again, until eventually they didn’t come back either.

When one becomes an Ancestral Avenger one does not cease to be an elf. But things are never quite the same again. This is reflected in the songs about them and can be evidenced in the lore retained in the library shrines of Labelas. Some found themselves never again at peace – others lost some of their appreciation of one or more of the cornerstones of the elven moral compass. None ever became a danger to themselves or to others, but in the eyes of Nostir everywhere, they had made a great sacrifice for the good of their people.

Should any elf today[5] be identified as an Ancestral Avenger, then certainly the great and the good of the Nostir would want to know. It is highly likely that the clerics of the Seldarine would take a direct interest in the affairs of that person. Whilst the people always need or want a hero (and there’s a chance that the population at large is full of avengers – they just don’t know it), nonetheless the appearance of an Ancestral Avenger would soon be put down to the only possible reason for such an event.

The Drow are coming.

[1] The supposition is that any demonic ally must have been summoned by Drow magic. If this is the case then they become subject to this rule.
[2] This is not really in keeping with the ethos of the Seldarine. It is a direct reply to Lolth’s testing and subsequent favouring of certain priestesses. If the wider population of the Nostir knew about this, would it make a difference ? Perhaps. But it’s a secret, and quite possibly a forgotten one at that.
[3] ie not quite long enough to be a real pole arm
[4] Therefore avengers who follow the risky tactic of changing their appearance to infiltrate Drow settlements should be aware that they need to shield such items from not only any scrying, but also casual contact with those who are being penetrated.
[5] The last openly acknowledged Ancestral Avenger was Lynne Ketafain Ario. He died fighting a rearguard action before the Dagor Rhassë, possibly against Iuz himself.

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