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ID: 2088


December 21, 2005, 12:39 am

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The Villa and The Penitents of Vaaski


“He was a Savior.”
“No, he was a Madman.
“A Saint.”
“A Monster.”
“A Criminal.”

Half a Century after his death, Vaaski remains an enigma. The details of his early life are sketchy- he kept many secrets.  What is known is that he first appeared around sixty years ago, an itinerant preacher travelling from town to town, talking of a strange god.  He promised a paradise after death for those who were sinless, and a means of forgiveness for those who weren’t. 

Over the next decade, Vaaski grew in power and influence as his ministry recruited countless followers.  He could heal with a touch, the rumors said, and he could purify even the most horrible of sins.  The sick, the lost, the criminal flocked to him, looking for help.  And, by and large, he gave it to them.  Not without price, of course, for he claimed that a.) worldly goods were sinful, and b.) saving the ungodly wasn’t cheap.  Still, he found people willing to give up everything they had to follow him, and he was more than happy to oblige.  They became his closest disciples.

According to Vaaski, worldly sins could be purified, cleansed from the soul by suffering (Vaaski’s sins, if he had committed any, were apparently long-forgiven, and he displayed a marked preference for fine food and luxuries) and Vaaski’s followers would frequently be seen going around in sackcloths, sleeping in the streets, and even mutilating themselves as penance.  As some of his followers died, however, it became apparent that even this was not enough, for Vaaski, through some strange magic, was calling them back from the dead. They remained conscious, even retained some hint of their previous personalities, but they were lifeless, dull, uninteresting.  Vaaski used them as servants.

A decade after he first appeared, Vaaski was at the height of his power.  His followers numbered in the thousands, including several high-placed politicians; he had grown wealthy off of donations and, some claimed, elaborate tax dodges, and he owned a vast and luxurious villa, tended by throngs of his followers. 

The local government, on the other hand, saw it differently.  Here was a charismatic leader preaching a bizarre new religion; his followers were a public nuisance; he was trying to sneak tendrils of influence into the highest levels of government; and, worst of all, he seemed to be recruiting an undead army. Vaaski, they decided, was dangerous.

In the dead of night, soldiers broke into the villa and killed Vaaski and his lieutenants in their beds.  When Vaaski spectacularly failed to resurrect himself, the cult slowly began to fall apart until only the undead, still performing elaborate and somewhat ridiculous rituals, remain in the decrepit, overgrown Villa.

Those who visit will find the penitents to be harmless, if somewhat delusional;  They are flat and uninteresting, but absurdly hopeful about their paradise to come.  Although they have some knowledge of Vaaski’s ultimate fate, they lack the depth of personality for disillusionment.  Their bodies are slowly decaying as the magic of Vaaski wears off. and some of them have already ‘died’- their bodies litter the hallways of the villa in various states of decay.  Most of the others believe them to have finished their penance.

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Pariah
December 23, 2005, 10:25
Crazy priest nd his following, interesting. I think that I might have him spring up in my world, on his way up of course.
Voted Dragon Lord
August 8, 2006, 9:15
Saviour or madman, saint or criminal – he could be any of these – or all of them

One thing is certain – he is interesting – interesting enough that he could well turn up in my next campaign

4½ / 5
Voted manfred
August 8, 2006, 14:32
He is weird - just enough to be included in a game to see what happens. A neat "What?!" addition.
October 20, 2007, 20:56
morbidly peculiar. I enjoy.
October 20, 2007, 21:06
Now, does it seem only to me, or does this thing actually belong into the "New Take On Undead" or "... Necromancers" codex?
Voted Murometz
October 20, 2007, 20:56
Only voted
Voted valadaar
April 19, 2013, 10:59
This is an interesting take on necromancy - I really like this idea, especially since the undead are not homicidal but sad.

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