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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.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Order of the Moonbeard

       By: valadaar

Among the assortment of organized criminals who live in the great city, few command greater fear the Moonbeard Order.

They of course do not call themselves that, but have earned the moniker from their fashion of dying their large beards with lye to produce a distinctive crescent shape running from earlobe to earlobe. This is meant as a taunt for their enemies, for it clearly outlines their throats.

They also wear garb similar to the northern tribesman, carefully tooled leather and showing multiple, colourful glyphs.

They are feared due to the intense discipline that their group maintains, due to their origins as a warrior-sect.

They serve as paid thugs, enforcers and assassins within the city, with the client simply ordering a service from the organization, not hiring an individual. Apart from making the request and providing payment in full in advance, the order completes the assignment themselves.

Their order has many moles through the organizations of the city, and more than a couple of nobles. As such, no organized move has been made against them since their chief activity is directed against other members of the crime world. It is said that their services have been useful for those in power as well, further protecting them from persecution.

Their religion holds that their time in this world is vanishingly brief, and largely unimportant except as training for the Great Battle.

The order is very utilitarian with weapons choice - they simply use the tool needed for the occasion, though not without having trained extensively with it beforehand. Daggers, garrottes, swords, bows, battle axes, polearms, wagons, even siege engines have been used to carry out their contracts.

Encounter  ( City/ Ruin ) | January 24, 2014 | View | UpVote 5xp

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