Standing at about six and a half feet tall, Hak is tall for a gnoll and broad to fit. Clad in what he refers to as 'Raider Plate', he appears in an mismatched assembly of scraps of armor and whatever he's been able to scavenge to affect improvised repairs.
Also worthy of note are the large chains attached to his wrists. Lengths of it are attached to the heavy steel manacles latched to his wrists, and on the other end of the chains are a pair of axes, looking to have suffered the same repairs as his armor.
Finally, strapped to his belt is a rather worn looking skull. The lower jaw has been tied back on with a leather lash, and the surface of the skull is covered with countless chips, gashes and other marks of wear.
Hak was, at one point, a raider. Physically gifted and with the mindset of a hunter, he was quite adept at the ambushes that his band would launch on travellers and merchants.
This came to an end when their tribe was deemed too much of a nuisance, and a band of mercenaries were contracted to deal with them. Many were slain, but some of the more physically powerful, including Hak and a number of others were taken as slaves. Led off in chains, they were taken to a nearby port city to be shipped off.
So it was that Hak, his kin and a volume of other cargo was packed onto a large ship and sent off. Unknown to any at the time though was that the mage on the crew had his own plans for the trip. It had recently come to his attention that hijaking the ship was within his power, and that the profits involved were astronomical. With these thoughts in mind he took stock of the slaves coming on board and prepared some of his more potent spells of subjugation, to have some measure of backup.
Of course, being Gnolls, Hak and his kindred had absolutely no intention of going easily. Troublesome from the start, they had been shackled to the wall of the boat. As soon as the crew was out of sight, they began hauling on their bindings with all the force they could bring. Though nothing broke, the bindings were strained signifigantly. Signifigantly enough that, by the time the mage decided to make his move and bind the will of the slaves it was easier to simply find a stout chunk of wood and pry the bindings from the wall then try to find the key or waste energy on a destructive spell.
Group of Gnolls in tow, the mage began his mutiny. The plan went perfectly, the rest of the crew either being butchered or, eventually, surrendering. It was at this point that the mage discovered the unpleasant fact that the slave trade had prepared for slave uprisings. There was apparently no key to the shackles on board, but there were only two keys for that slave 'road', one at the port they had left from and one at the one they were going to. Realizing that a ship of slaves would be ill recieved, he changed course to the one place he was aware of that he could sell off the boat and it's contents: Fishtown.
Putting in, he sold the cargo with little problem, but decided to keep the biggest of the surviving Gnolls, Hak, as a bodyguard. Seeking to improve his new servant, he sought to have the chains removed, but having it done by a smith would cost the Gnoll his hands and the mage wasn't willing to pay the exorbitant price he was being charged to have it picked, so in the end the manacles, and chains, stayed on. So it was that the mage, confident nonetheless in the abilities of his enchanted bodyguard, went on a spree of drinking and gambling. It was on one of these little 'indiscretions' that the mage ran into a bit of a roadbump. Caught using magic to cheat at a game of cards, a couple of thugs attempted to beat a bit of sense into him.
As it turns out, the old tidbit of wisdom about not casting spells when drunk is a good idea after all.
Nobody was really sure what spell the mage was trying to cast, but he wound up blasting the two thugs through a wall. Unfortunately, he blasted them with his own flesh, as it tore off his bones in a focused burst.
Hak, still under the bewitchments of the deceased mage, was stunned that his master was dead. Reacting quickly, he grabbed what was left by the head and attempted to escape. Unfortunately, this only broke the skull off. After realising that he wasn't being chased, he sat down to think about what his next step was. His people had been dispersed into slavery, his boss was dead, and he no longer had any real direction. Staring at the skull, he tried to figure out what his master would have wanted. It took a moment, but it eventually clicked: he wouldn't want to be dead.
Tying the skull to his belt, Hak set off with dedication in his eyes. He had heard tales of people with the power to raise the dead, though it was generally accepted that it cost more than most men could pay. Hak was okay with this. He wasn't of the races of men, after all, and he had a mission.
Hooks & Stuff
Hak is a mercenary. If the coin is good, he'll smash, cut and otherwise debilitate anyone he's pointed at. This could be a good thing, if the PC's need some muscle and have money burning holes in their pockets.
He would work well as a recurring foe, a minion repeatedly employed by some major enemy of the PC's. Eventually, if they learn more about him, they may very well find out what his goal is. At that point, they may help him bring his (Rather confused) master back to life to get him to go away, or take it upon themselves to stop him from returning a dead wizard wielding an unknown amount of power back to life. Such things are risky buisness, after all.
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? Responses (6)-6
I like his backstory.
Like Cheka, I'm a sucker for backstories, especially amusing ones. Hak seems like a decent enough fellow, for a crazed gnoll merc.
And although I can't help but wonder why he can't find a decent enough blacksmith to take off his chains, they do help with the imagery.
When I started reading this I was unimpressed, another violent demi-human thug with a single syllable name and another mage succumbing to the hubris of his own powers...4 years old know these troupes.
But for some reason, and perhaps I have the intellect of a 4 year old, I was completely charmed by the end of the read. I think it was the quiet moment you described in which the one dimensional character has to look around and find some motivation. You gave things just enough depth to make this a fun and usable NPCs that is accessable enough to be placed in any campaign. I like it.
A good way to flesh out an otherwise generic NPC. I like it!
Hak must be a fairly honourable fellow to feel such a debt to his now departed master or that must've been quite the spell. I agree with the previous comments as well.