Mythic/ Historical
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ID: 835


January 3, 2006, 1:01 pm

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Karian Stoneheart


A wizard forced to rule over others, now deceased.

Appearance and Mannerisms:

As a mighty wizard and a lord expects others to respect him.


Karian began his career as many adventurers did. The young Elf met others of similar disposition, and so were dungeons cleaned, monsters killed, maidens saved and so on. Little did he care for those ordinary little people, but liked the image of a hero and good deeds meant ways to new magics known and less known.

So was the life of an adventurer, until the merry band attacked an evil vampire’s stronghold. Karian was bitten and wounded, even if the wampire was slain. Cured of the wounds, he could still feel the vampires bite. Luckily, in the treasury there was an artifact of great power, the fabled Ring of Stone. So he took the ring to himself, forgot among the spellbooks the healing and blessing to avoid the Curse, and so was his fate sealed.

Many more adventures came, but in a castle occupied by a mighty Necromancer and his servants, all his friends died, till the dark wizard could be slain. Celebrated as a hero, Kerian found himself having little to do. While exploring the Necromancers notes of magic and experiments, another problem was unresolved: what to do about the castle?

The castle and a near town with villages, formerly under the rule of Necromancer were now free, but surely others would like to rule it. Karian personally had to fight a “noble” rouge with a few mercenaries, eager to get a whole castle for free. Strange and varied are the ways of the world. So happened Karian to take the castle as his own, till someone worthy arrives. No one of value arrived, all were interested in taxes or outright plundering the city.

It was probably at this time, when Karian did first things usually perceived as Evil. Initially he left some weak undead in the basement, for mere protection. But later, as the great empty castle needed servants, and occasional army bent on plunder needed manpower to fight against, he animated himself a few, then more and more. Thus he became lord of the castle, protecting the lands around.

Long years it took for him to feel like a lord or commander. But power and responsibility have a magic of its own few can resist. His magical power was unquestioned. Occasionaly, dissatisfied people came begging to him, for being wronged. His magic made it easy to find the Truth and so he changed the decisions of judges and courts. For his stern views he was named Stoneheart. While assisting the small town militia his undead become the major military force in the area.

But lonely is the life on the top of all. Finding a ritual the Necromancer himself never dared to use, he created a companion suited for him, intelligent, magic knowing and obedient: a vampire. At this time he openly declared himself a lord, and taxed the people under his rule. But not all taxes were money, as his companion needed special feeding…

So he lived on for long years, till death slowly came.

Roleplaying Notes:

The common people still remember Karian. Even as a tyrant, there is some sympathy with him. Their lives improved much (and were not blindly taken, as happened with the Necromancer). The taxes are very low compared to other countries, and justice rules, even if sometimes harshly. The regular visits of the vampire are not so good, but are tolerated, as no one has yet died of blood loss. On the other hand, serious crimes may be punished by draining of all blood and animating as mindless undead. It is rare, but everyone knows this. All in all, were it not a vampire to rule, people would be really happy.

Personality and Roleplaying:
Karian sees himself as a wizard forced by circumstances to rule over people. This is true. So he tries to be a benevolent ruler, being kind and just to the people he rules. This is also true, sort of. While he does not really care about them, fairness is important to him.

At the moment the heroes meet Karian, he is dead, so there will be little talking ;-)  But not all is in vain. For the Stone Ring Karian carries (which are the heroes likely to take), is the only thing preventing his final transformation to a vampire. Bitten he was twice in his life. The second time by his companion, who could not look
at his slowly vasting away, taking weeks. But even this did not help, Karian died, but did not come back. So his companion made him a great funeral, and spends eternity with taking care of people and politics, all with the ideals of his friend and teacher. He will be enraged of this graverobbing, but happy his master returned.

- visit (by accident or purpose) Karian’s grave and take the treasure waiting inside
- find the Stone Ring
- blackmail the current lord (the vampire), by stealing the corpse of his beloved master
- steal the corpse for a necromancer, as it may be good for a vampire (is REALLY good for this purpose, even better than expected…)
- any of the former was done by others, you shall solve the situation
- kill a mighty vampire recently awakened, but what if you find out he is not evil?

In all this cases its quite probable the Stone Ring will be taken from Karian, sooner or later. After taking off it may take a few hours or even moments, before he awakes. Waking up, he feels himself very young, younger than he felt for long years. It will not take long for him to realize he is not Living anymore, and get strangely hungry. Depending on the situation the heroes may get
fast in trouble.

Karian should be played according to the background, but if he lacks the ring, he may change in any way desired. It may be necessary to get the ring back, to ensure he does not turn to Evil.

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Comments ( 5 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

October 9, 2002, 16:48
You could even use him as the current owner of the castle and ruler of the town. When do-good paladin types find out that the ruler has undead and allows somebody to feast off the villager there would be few that could let that unjustice go unpunished. Because Karian isn't completely evil it the paladin could kill all its undead, probably the lover, and then face Karian and find that he is only doing what he can to survive and allow others to survive. Perhaps putting the paladin into a moral dilemma. After all, Karian wasn't actually being evil on purpose really, just trying to get by and do best he could. Does a paladin consider that evil? Depends on the paladin or do-gooder. Paladin may have to slay him anyway, but get a bunch of lawful players and the situation remains. To kill or not to kill, that is the question.
October 11, 2002, 7:27
Say he is not killed, may become an ally, sort of, even a friend. Maybe he dies. Maybe, some time later his corpse is robbed and he wakes up...

Sooner or later they have to return him the ring to keep him stable or kill him as he is turning to Evil. Yes, a friend and a useful ally.
Voted Iain
February 16, 2006, 4:05
Only voted
Voted valadaar
March 21, 2014, 9:59
This poses an interesting puzzle, and fits in well with a more 'realistic' world with shades of grey rather than black and white.

Link Backs

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       By: ephemeralstability

A little way up the narrow valley, before they reach the woods, the PCs notice the squat, tumbledown buildings by the riverside. They are hardly big enough for a human to stand in, and the complex cogs and shafts that occupy the central cavity of one of the buildings are perplexing. What were these buildings? And how safe are they to explore?

Alternatively a desolate place is the perfect setting for a derelict chapel or croft. There needn't be any actual physical encounter involved, but it adds atmosphere to a place to see its dead history. For instance, in the Outer Hebrides there are whole deserted villages which were razed to the ground by the English during the Clearances. Such stories give a setting authenticity and character.

Encounter  ( Any ) | September 23, 2003 | View | UpVote 2xp

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