A soldier who deserted his command.
Jacob Latris was a Taurian immigrant to Obstaria. Now he is a man who has severed his connections to sanity long ago, and is searching for something that probably doesn't exist.
The Prophet John's life and, indeed, death was a mystery. Some say that the gods placed him on this earth for his purpose without a past, and others, a rare few, claim that he was a god himself.
Born to King John XVII, Hope did not get standard princess treatment. Yes, she was locked away in a tower, and yes, there was the standard moat of flaming lava, but unlike all the other spoiled brats, she didn't get a dragon. Hope Rexian had to make do with a demon. And this particular demon couldn't even breathe fire! Simply pathetic job done by the cosmos. Hope may have gotten the valiant-knight-who-happens-to-be-called-Prince-Charming-riding-in-and-killing-guardian-on-noble-steed treatment, but some things just won't do. You can't just mess with tradition like that!
He grew up to be a powerful Knight, a force to be reckoned with. That is, before his fall. Before the Kingdom he protected, the Knighthood he served, and a Knight he fought with betrayed him.
The rain poured down on the city of Grathen in a relentless beat that would marvel the best of drummers. It beat down on the public buildings, with pedestrians streaming in front of, with eyes cast upwards and lips mumbling prayers to Rain Gods. It beat down on the Slums, where thieves were mumbling thanks to their gods for all these people looking up and not at their purses. And it beat down on Ariel Lorette, a girl of 13, escaping from horrors beyond the common person's imagination. Ariel Lorette, with rain streaming down her face and hiding her tears of pain and sorrow and, above all, victory. For Ariel had escaped them. Ariel was free.
A sadistic murderer.
"Aye, there be a lot of dwarves 'round these parts now'a'days. Why? 'Cause that Groggar kicked 'em out of their caves. Groggar the Genius they call him. Them dwarves now hate his guts, which is a lot o' hate for a race that they used to call 'infeior.'"
-Old Gerald, man in the pub.
"Which one? Oh, him. He be Pancratius. Yeah, he's a bit moody, but he's all right when you get to know him. Ya see, back in the day, and by that I mean his day, before you an' I were born, he was a big shot. The gods loved him, and one day, he asked for a gift that turned out to be a curse. Once he figured out the horrible side o' his gift, he sought out an oracle, to figure out how to get rid of it. Ol' Pancratius ne'er did tell me what the oracle said. The gift? Didn't I tell ye? No? It be immortality."
-Old Gerald, man in the pub.
When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.
To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.
It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.
The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.
It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.
GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).