Khraz, Last Hope of the Downtrodden
"We, who carry the weight of an empire. We, who break our backs that others might rest easily! We, who will be slaves no longer! Rise, my friends! Rise against the injustices done to you!"
Khraz is built big, even for a minotaur. A lifetime of forced labor has left him draped in muscle as though it were plates of armor, and his features are worn from years of poor sleep and equal treatment. He lacks any form of smile lines, but the furrows in his brow and the roughness of his face in general falls easily into expressions of concentration and worry.
Since he seized his freedom, he has shod his horns with iron, with steel on the tips. In direct sunlight, they shine like dull silver.
There was a land embroiled in chaos, with the warring barbarian tribes being pillars of stability in comparison to the rest. These fires of strife, however, forged an empire the likes of which had never been seen. With rigid laws and unbending will, they dominated the surrounding badlands until they had carved out a large kingdom from the war-embroiled territory. When they clashed with the monstrous denizens of the land, they had a thought: why destroy a useful tool?
The monstrous races were enslaved en-mass, with those who fought back being methodically slaughtered. Those who were taken as slaves were put into forced labor, with no hope of freedom and not even the most meager of rights being given to them, such as regular meals or clean water.
It was to these conditions that the minotaur Khraz was born.
As a minotaur, Khraz was raised to perform the most physically intensive work that there was to be done. Hauling granite blocks for construction, working in the iron mines for days on end and felling great oaks were the type of task that composed his life. For each task that was completed, he was rewarded with at best insults, threats and the promise of harder work yet.
Some, when faced with truly overwhelming adversity and a complete lack of hope, find their spirits crushed. Some become bitter shells of who they once were. Sometimes though, perhaps once in a generation, such conditions fail to break someones will. Sometimes, such a will begins to push back.
As a young adult, Khraz began to harbor forgotten feelings. Not simply resentment of the situation, which was universal among the slaves, but an actual burning anger. Where others felt broken and crushed, Khraz felt the fires of angry passion slowly build themselves, until they finally reached a full out blaze.
One fateful day, driven by a lifetime of oppression and burning hatred Khraz acted, though others would say he snapped. After beating his current taskmaster to death with a wheelbarrow, he fled the city. As he did so, he fought a running battle with the city's guards, as they tried to quill him with arrows and he responded with flung bricks and slabs of stone. His display set off a handful of other slaves, who joined him in his mad rush for freedom.
After a full day of fleeing, the survivors finally made it out.
Khraz was not yet content however. His people, be they minotaur, gnoll, centaur or some other "monster" were still slaves. Though he had won his own freedom, there were still many who were pressed into lives of servitude. But not for long.
Since these events occurred, Khraz has managed to free more of the slaves, swelling his followers to the size of a large barbarian tribe. His methods are usually hit and run, focusing the offense on whatever will prove to be the most distracting. This could easily mean medical centers, houses or other civilian structures. The goal of these attacks are twofold: To free his people and to strike blows to the empire that enslaved a generation.
His metal-shod horns, though powerful weapons in and of themselves, are not magical or otherwise enhanced. Khraz doesn't wear armor, as it slows movement and he relies on speed in his activities. His weapon of choice is, as befits his race, an axe. However, unlike the enormous pole-axes of his ancestors, his blade is more of a hatchet. Because it is scaled to him though, it still is respectably large and possesses a large amount of mass. Although it is also unenchanted, it has enough force (especially when swung by Khraz) to shatter wooden doors and cleave easily through most light armors. The only other noteworthy piece of equipment that Khraz has is an amulet that he fashioned himself. Though it, like everything else he has, is unenchanted, it is still a powerful symbol.
Crafted from the flattened helmet of an imperial guard, it servers as a reminder that the empire is not invincible and as a powerful symbol of his movement. The amulet is quite large, it is a flattened helmet after all, but worn on a fully grown minotaur it doesn't seem out of place. Some of the other large creatures in the movement also wear them, as they are quite easy to make. Take a helmet, thread a cord through the visor or eyeholes, and proceed to hit it until it's flat.
For his entire life he was shown no mercy by his masters, and he feels no compulsion to grant them such a kindness. If he can do something that will not only serve as a distraction but also sow fear through the ranks of his enemies, he won't hesitate to do it. This has lead to many acts that have been labeled 'atrocious' by the empire, because they truly are. Khraz is a terrorist, fighting his foes as much by the occasional attack as by striking fear into their hearts at the mention of his name.
If he deals with humans at all, it will be with barely restrained hostility. If they wear the colors or symbols of the empire though, he will attack them on sight, usually alongside many of his followers. The other common races he is more friendly towards, but only barely. To him, Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings and all the rest look like humans. Some may be skinny, some may be built like barrels, but they still have the same basic features.
As befits the leader of a rebellion, Khraz is a powerful orator. With a few choice words, he can stir his followers into a frenzy, and his bellowing warcries can often be heard directing his attacks. Though he speaks the slave tongue, a crude language, he and his group have begun to change it to better suit combat. As such, it is becoming a language of it's own, distinguished by short words rarely longer than two syllables and lacking much finesse or unnecessary 'banter' words. It has seven words that are variations on "pincer attack", but there is no proper way to say "How's the wife?".
The PC's are more likely to face him as an enemy than as an ally, but if they have a bone to pick with the empire than they would be hard pressed to find a better ally. The hard part, of course, would be gaining Khraz's trust, a truly herculean feat if it is possible at all. The most likely scenario is that they are in an area that he attacks, and they are forced to decide between protecting bystanders or accosting him and his group.
Khraz's ultimate goal is the downfall of the empire, impossible though that may seem. If he can free enough slaves though, many of their industries will grind to a halt as they have no more silk from giant spiders to spin cloth from, and no goblins that they can press into working farms. Whether the empire accepts it or not, Khraz is the single biggest threat that it has yet faced.
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? Responses (8)-8
At last another freedom fighter doth join our ranks, hes no terrorist, ok he harbours an intense dislike towards humans but otherwise he's great.
Oh, yes. I really like this one.
Helmet stamped flat and worn as an amulet - Damn, wish I coulda come up with that.. That is so good!
Crude slave language lacking small talk - Nice, very nice..
Beating someone to death with a wheelbarrow - Imaginative, although slightly worrying...
Spartacus as a minotaur. Nice.
A cool take on this! Nicely done!
Echo loves the bit about the helmet, and the slave-speak, and all of Kharz. The bit about the lines in his face is excellent.
(*smile* I once had a rebellious slave minotaur in one of my games. The moment he snapped, an overseer was yelling at him and whipping while he carried a huge building block. Kamargh, for that was his name, simply dropped the block and walked away)
Oward to freedom.
Fun! For all the little things mentioned above that adds so much to the character. Definitely a villian in the eyes of the kingdom he attacks but his ability to be both give a great depth and useability to him!
My favorite extra is his lack of solid communication skills. I am sure he can get his point across to those that don't know the slave language, but I see some players hired to scout him out, come upon one of his grutteral speeches that would probably sound like stirring the horde into a murdering frenzy vs. him really chanting about freeing fellow slaves under the unjust mishandling of the cruel slave masters.
A solid minotaur spartacus, well done.