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Comments: 10
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Rating: 4.3889
Condition: Normal
ID: 2292


February 3, 2006, 2:11 pm

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Ancient Gamer
Cheka Man

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Cardinal Luther


A dashing Bard, who also happens to be a shared drug experience.

Sara snatched from her purse six of the wizard’s pills.

“If Cardinal don’t gits here soon. We’s is gonna have bad time cracking duh castle shell! We’s hafta wait till ‘nother night!” whined Baroo the half-orc.

“He’ll be here.”, Sara snapped as she swallowed her pill and handed them to the rest of the party. The minutes drifted by and doubt crept into their minds. Jovan, the wise appologised: “He’s not coming, maybe he’s - ” 

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world!”, boasted Cardinal, coming out from behind the shadow of a tree. Scooping Sara into his arms he cooed “pill for me too darling?”. Sara produced another Pill, which Cardinal swallowed gracefully.

“Thanks love, I needed that more than you’ll ever know!”, joked Cardinal as he stretched and sighed into the air. Sara beamed at him as he continued “Now friends, I think we have a princess to rescue!”, Cardinals mouth turned a half-way smile, “... and I have just the song for it.”


Cardinal Luther is a supremely handsome man. Every strand of his Raven black hair is perfectly arranged, always. The instrument he holds varies, as he seems to have a great number of them tucked somewhere in his backpack; He plays all instruments equally well.


Cardinal Luther doesn’t actually exist.

The sensationalist Wizard Harold Simmersense has devised an ingenius way to offer bard-like services at low low prices.  He created an ingestable magic spell that creates an illusional bard servant. This servant is tied to a magical phylactery, which stores his persona.

Harold found that this servant wasn’t very popular, people became attached to the character and felt a deep emotional loss when the drug wore off. Harold decided to solve this problem and ensure his pockets stayed full. He would create his own sellable hero that seemed real. Harold reset the Phylactery and created a new bard. Then he added narcotics to his spell pill, he made his illusional bard addicted to the pills, as a way of explaining his arrival when users devored them. He made the bard an extreme charmer, and doubly handsome.

Lastly Harold added another Phylactery which stores the characters memories. This way the character became more alive, remembering previous experiences and telling real stories.

Overtime Cardinal developed quite a following, many tales are told of his dashing adventures on both sides of the law. Many bards attest to his musical genius, known first hand from practice sessions. His reputation became so great that no one questioned his existance anymore. They take his sudden arrivals, departures and drug addiction as just character traits.

Special Equipment

Has no real equipment, but can pretty much create illusions of any known item. These illusions can only affect personas under the drug, and its only a placebo.

Cardinal rarely does this, because he doesn’t want to jeopardize the illusion.

Roleplaying Notes

Cardinal is boisterous and friendly. He is everybody’s best friend, many adventurers’ have tales involving Cardinal. Female npcs love Cardinal.

He should be introduced slowly to the PCs. His drug addiction is the talk of the town, as are his sudden appearances. This must be handled slowly and carefully, otherwise the PC’s will figure out the characters twist. Cardinal will never jeopardize the illusions.

This no jeopardize clauss means he won’t physically affect the world, nor will he manipulate items. Nor will he appear in situations where there are allies who have not taken the drug. If both friend and foe have taken the drug, Cardinal will not appear. Cardinal will not tell about his evil exploits when he is being viewed by good parties, and vice versa. If questioned about past exploits that he doesn’t wish to talk about Cardinal may choose to leave, lie, or defend his actions.

Cardinal can be any level of bard, and his bard spells really do inspire the drug takers. The level of the character should be determined by the level of the party, the amount they payed for the drug, and their previous history with the character. Cardinal gets his bard spells from other bards. These bards will have taken the drug to meet Cardinal and get inspired from him. Cardinal takes these songs for later invokations, and he always gives proper credit.

Additional Twists

Heres some fun ideas:

  • Make the second phylactery an enslaved human mind. Then if the PC’s discover Cardinal to be an illusion they have the mini quest of freeing the human mind. This trapt mind might be Cardinal or someone completely different from him.
  • Make the drug have some subtle evil properties… perhaps the creator, Harold is actually a Mindbender, Mindflayer or even a lich! They might have a hidden agenda for wanting to sell pills to people.
  • Maybe Cardinal is actually sentient, and wants a real body. He might be subtly manipulating things to attain his ends. This body could be created magically, or perhaps by possession.
  • Perhaps the phylacteries haven’t been fully cleared of Lich presence… Maybe the Lich’s are aware of Cardinal and are directing his actions.

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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Ancient Gamer
February 4, 2006, 8:02
Surely this is imaginative and great stuff. For some it might be a little "out there", but for me this is very nice. I will definitely use Cardinal as a mysterious NPC in some of my games.

Definitely a good submission. I wondered whether I should give it 5.0 or 4.5, but I ended up with a 4.5 since I reserve the 5 for posts like Thoral's Grim Brigade ;)
Voted Scrasamax
February 5, 2006, 9:10
A wonderful surprise, the not really there character. Worthy of Mr. Sterling's attention, even if the mechanics of multiple phylactaries as rather confusing.
Voted Ria Hawk
June 16, 2006, 2:06
Wow. I like the idea of Cardinal actually being a captive mind (although one has to wonder if he knows that's what he is). Of course, a bard of his reputation is going to have difficulty explaining why he never does public appearances (unless they're akin to raves, where everyone is stoned). And there's always the possibility that the Pills have some unknown and unpleasant side-effects, as opposed to just being addictive, although that's bad enough.
June 16, 2006, 12:24
It is 'out there', but definitively interesting. Makes people go 'Huh?!' when/if they find out.

As an alternative, he could be easily converted into a wizard, an Illusionist. (The illusions might be even visible by others - actually powered by the minds of those calling Cardinal.)

Good one.
Voted tinypoisonousfish
February 3, 2010, 21:00
Awesome submission. Very cool idea. Another twist might be that Cardinal becomes a tulpa, a thought form that becomes manifest in reality under certain conditions and more independent as time goes by and his legend grows.
Voted Cheka Man
February 4, 2010, 11:18
Only voted
Voted EchoMirage
February 9, 2010, 5:06
It's an interesting idea, an a cool mystery character!

But: there's some spelling and grammar that could be corrected; also, his name is an issue, being the title of a high-ranking priest, and Luther being the founder of the Protestant church.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
October 11, 2010, 22:38

Too bad Wildcorn left the halls of the citadel.

Voted Kassy
May 20, 2012, 8:06
A brilliant idea! The perfect illusion!

Voted valadaar
June 17, 2015, 12:10
This is original! An NPC that comes in a bottle. I like this idea..

I wouldn't bother with the phylacteries. Its magic - no need to create a storage container for memories, and I think it unnecessarily complicates the core idea. If you must, perhaps it takes over a small portion of the pill-popper's own mind to store its memories, which could then potentially 'leak' into the user's own consciousness.

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