The north road from Tomierau to the Ruins of Thorn is a treacherous stretch, nearly 300 miles long through the Tomierran Forest. Devotees of the Dark Gods inhabit the region, harassing travelers and the settlements along the road.
The mad dwarf Chartres Plinth leads a band of reaving dwarves and the occasional derro “shaman” who has wandered up from the depths, inspiring the band with chaotic ramblings. Plinth’s band has a series of cave encampments in the bluff heights along the River Tomir.
Plinth is a fanatic follower of Addrikah, directing his warband to prey on travelers in the river valley, smashing their victims’ heads in to appease the Mother of Madness. The dwarf reavers are armed with stone-headed clubs and tomahawks, stained red and black with the blood of their slain.
The ogre mage Bloch Hannon came upon an ancient circle of standing stones on a plateau not far from the main road about two days’ travel north of Tomieurau. Standing in the ancient site amid a fierce storm, he heard the voice of Boreas as the wind whistled and whipped through the site.
Bloch now travels the road beneath a full cloak to disguise his bulk. He subdues lone travelers when he can, selecting the weakest from a small group otherwise, then hauling his chosen back to the standing circle. There he lashes the unfortunate to a standing circle, an offering for the Devouring Wind. Bloch keeps the victim there until he or she expires.
Serangarel the night hag possesses an abandoned mansion approximate to the Leofwine branch of the river. Self-styled as a “lady of means,” she has a dozen human, elfmarked, and gnome servants, all now pledged to Chernovog, who are devoted to her.
She often recruits new followers by assuming the guise of a middle-aged wise woman and joining a group of people traveling through the forest. A skilled debater, Serangarel is adept at making vices seem like virtues, a tactic intended to sway persons of mixed morality into her service. When confronted by persons whose souls are true and upright, she visits their dreams to torment them or finds opportunities to ambush them.
Chosen of Tivishta
Bogdan Ribbon-clad, the cross-dressing male goblin priest whose mentor was none other than grand speaker Tivishta Trikinta, is at work establishing shrines to the Goat of the Woods throughout the forest. Flamboyant and charismatic, Bodgan has rallied many goblins and hobgoblins to the cause, forming a small army of the devoted.
Bogdan directs raids on civilized caravans and settlements, stealing luxury goods. Under threat of spear point, Bogdan directs captives to engage in vices and taboos known to offend human and elfmarked morality but that pleases the Father of Mayhem. Bogdan often releases his shamed and humiliated captives after raids, knowing word of his attacks strikes terror in nearby villages and enhances the reputation of the Goat of the Woods.
Archer and ranger Karena achieved a position of leadership in the fiercely patriarchal bugbear society, proving herself a fierce ambusher and hunter. Sly Karena attributes her advancement to a slavish devotion to the Hunter.
Because the Horned Huntsman does not favor any race, but revels in the bloodthirstiness of all, Sly Karena’s band has established allies among the human rangers and centaur bands of the region. She now counts elves, humans, and ogres in her company, as well as wargs and winter wolves. Based in a secluded grove, Sly Karena has decided in her religious fervor that it is time to attack bugbear communities that won’t swear allegiance to the the Hunter, labeling them dissenters.
1 thought on “Grand Duchy: Along the Trail of Dark Gods”
This is a fun but disturbing read.