All of Unholy's NPCs (for his own convenience, still)
THE BROKEN HAND PLOT
The Broken Hand
The Broken Hand is a group that was formed with the simple goal of uniting to spread their cruelty onto others. In life, they were savage tyrants, ambitious and power hungry, and all too eager to trade existence for more power. In unlife, their strength can seem powerful enough to snuff out hope...
But make no mistake, the Broken Hand are still vulnerable, still mortal, and still very much in danger of death. Each member knows this, laments it, and hates it. It drives them further and further into the dark depths.
The leadership of the Broken Hand, which in its entirety consists of dark cultists, necromancers and the undead, is made up of three individuals. The leader Lacaine the Undying, who boasts a body that will never truly die, is in actuality gifted with regeneration powerful enough to outpace most attacks in battle.
Lacaine in life was the son of a noble hero, and the brother of a noble druid, and by his hand his family has torn asunder, all in the name of power. He rules over the Broken Hand spreading misery and torment, and using his necromancy and benefactor he twists corpses and the unlucky living alike into monsters for his army.
The Duke Garnet, or the Lord of the Manor, is the second of the Broken Hand's leadership. In life a greedy noble who indulged in hedonism and longed for more, turning to demon worshipping for what he thought would be the power to indulge forever. Yet a brush with death made him understand exactly what was at stake.
In his manor, where he draws power through dark rituals, Duke Garnet sacrifices others in his place to buy time, appeasing dark demon masters and the Broken Hand's benefactor. In his manor, Garnet is seemingly immortal, killing him merely ends with him being resurrected and another dying in his place... on the surface.
In truth, he is kept alive by the same dark magic he has come to fear will damn him to eternal torture, and tries to appease them with the sacrifices who are extinguished in his selfish place. But with each death (or at least death state) he grows more and more exhausted, his body grows weaker, and his mind begins to shatter. Now he is on the edge of insanity.
Finally, the Inventor. A mad genius of sorts, but mostly a huge bastard. The Inventor has no real name that has been kept in any records, and has been around long enough to know how things work. He tinkers in plagues, poisons and new inventions to help his schemes, all of which end in mass death.
The Inventor is the closest thing the Broken Hand has to a face, recruiting new stock from mad cultists and desperate people, often with intention of turning them later into more of the undead that he aids Lacaine in creating en masse. An utter sadist, he delights in the pleasure that petty cruelty brings.
While not invincible, he is a powerful vampire, however he is kept from harm by the creation of hollow simulacrum-like clones that fight in his place. Each clone is far weaker than his true self, but allow him to oversee things without ever putting himself in danger. The Inventor shows a sort of cowardice, only fighting in his true form when he knows he can win.
Somewhere in the cold mountains, the Broken Hand plot and scheme. Each one believing that they will become truly immortal, and escape death forever. Hopefully the adventurers of Narfell can prove them wrong and put them in the ground once and for all.
Artemis Delemont, Henry Duran, Claire Edwards, "Trick"
A group of adventurers who fought against the Broken Hand. Artemis Delemont, a druid and son of a noble Cormyr hero named Argent Delemont, was Lacaine Delemont's brother. Sacrificed so that Lacaine may gain his power, Artemis was brought back by priests, and has spent what feels like his entire life hunting his once loving brother across the land.
Henry Duran, Paladin of Helm, and Claire Edwards, a Ranger, traveled with Artemis during his initial adventures and search for Lacaine's mysterious power source. But when Claire was turned into a monster by the Broken Hand, Artemis fell into desperation, and Henry Duran began to lose hope. They were forced to abandon their quest.
Reappearing as Lacaine began to move in Narfell once more, Artemis and Henry were joined by Trick, a former prisoner and a halfling rogue who joined them in return for an early release. But of course, things never work out, and the group was again soundly beaten by the Broken Hand.
Now Artemis has been turned and Henry Duran lay dead at the hands of the Inventor, with Trick missing somewhere in the Giantspire. The final living Delemont has fallen, and the estate shall forever lay in ruins.
With any luck, adventurers may be able to find Trick, and perhaps discover the secrets he has learned during his time alone.
War in the Trees Plot
Grothel the Exile
In his younger years, Grothel Headtaker was a savage and vicious bugbear with immense strength and little to think about. Grothel never particularly liked being ordered about, let alone ordered to give away the things that he owned. He wanted everything, the things that he had and the things that others had, and he wanted to be on the top of the totem pole. As such, Grothel sought to usurp his superior, but found only that his strength only seemed immense in contrast to those he had fought. Grothel was soundly beaten, humiliated even, and kicked out into the night. This was another form of humiliation, after all, they could have killed him... they just chose not to.
Years of exile have done a number on Grothel. First his bloodlust, and then his sensibilities. Having little and struggling to gain anything made him respect what he did have. Spending so much time avoiding things that could defeat him taught him patience, and conversely having more time on his hands on quiet nights meant that Grothel had time to read the books and items he had stolen from travellers.
Soon, "Grothel the Exile" was considered a well read sage-like figure by those who would visit him, bringing him supplies in return for wisdom or the unique mixtures he had learned to brew. When Grothel was offered new places, in new hierarchy and tribes, he turned them down. Not because he did not want to be led, but because he knew that his lot in life was to be alone, to exist in the forest by himself.
As bitter blood spreads between the goblinoids, and the lustful lure of power calls to them, Grothel stands on the edge watching inward, seeing too much of his past self for comfort. But he will not bring himself to intervene... or rather, perhaps it's better to say he cannot bring himself to intervene. To get close to his old home. Lest he fall back into his old ways.
Every so often a goblin is born with an unusually cunning mind and the determination and willpower to use it. For a goblin, Halftooth is unusually charismatic and far before he ever proclaimed himself Warchief, he had a strong core group who would do what he said without question. Dwelling in the Hold not far from Norwick, Halftooth first gained an utter contempt from Norwick when a band of adventurers cut down his siblings and almost killed him, chipping his tooth (and gaining him his new monikor) but forgetting to check if he was truly dead.
Nursing a spiteful vengeance that only grew worse when he began to get kicked around by those who saw him as fodder, Halftooth continued to gain loyal allies not only within the Hold, but also from other goblin tribes from the surrounding areas. Eventually, as things hit a boiling point in the Rawlinwoods, Halftooth made his move and declared himself "Warchief of Goblins" with his new green horde.
While some in this up coming dispute may see Halftooth as a tiny runt of an upstart whose only quality is arrogance and a green tide to send dying one after the other, the truth is Halftooth is far more intelligent than his opponents give him credit for. Rumors spread that he has even found benefactors, human benefactors at that, willing to arm him with dangerous explosive weaponry to tip the tide in his favor... benefactors who bears the mark of the Black Hand.
Gringat Mirkblood, he of many poisons, is a goblin assassin who founded the Twisted Blades, a likeminded group who would assassinate for riches, named after Mirkbloods enchanted weapons. Mirkblood was a pragmatic sort, and a cowardly sort, who'd take missions from just about any race but would always ensure he could get away if things went wrong, even at the cost of his fellow Twisted Blades. He seeks treasure and status, with power being a distant second.
So it's rather odd that Mirkblood and the Twisted Blades have made it clear they intend to throw their lot in this growing turbulence. Whispers have it that Mirkblood isn't exactly fond of ruling himself and owes a deep debt to some dangerous individuals. Individuals whom Mirkblood repeatedly sends warm bodies to. Who are these shadowy people? Some say the Drow, but nobody is truly sure.
Cruel, savage and selfish. Grayback represents the worst a bugbear can possibly be. Valuing pillaging and destructing over conquering, Grayback seeks to do what Ostromog should have done, capture Norwick... and burn it to ash. And if there's time, he'll stake the survivors up high for all to see. Grayback's men consist of the young and impressionable goblinoids, as well as older ones looking for a good fight or some good old fashioned human blood spilling. Their savage strength can wash over the unprepared, leaving only destruction in their wake.
A young bugbear follower Ostromog. Zulvark honors the old bugbear even as age has slown him down to a crawl. Zulvark seeks to emulate Ostromog, but tends to be rather overzealous and lacks Ostromog's general skillset, coming off as rather impressionable and somewhat easily manipulated. None the less, there are many who throw their lot behind Zulvark, many others who honor Ostromog and his ways, and seek to keep them going even once the inevitable happens.
Evird is a proud hobgoblin who emulates their ways well. Militaristic, disciplined and pragmatic to his core, Evird seeks primarily to stop chaos from unfolding as ambitions rise and greed takes over. Evird's pragmatism extends to his way of fighting off his rivals, willing to work with adventurers and former enemies in the name of defeating mutual threats. But Evird is still a dangerous person himself, capable of ruthlessness and cruelty in the name of victory.
Evird's men are undyingly loyal and rigid. They follow him into battle without hesitation.
THE LICH PLOT
There are many reasons a spellcaster chooses to become a lich. Some fear death, some wish to extend their lives to complete their goals, and some do it just to prove that they have the power to do so. For Darius, becoming a lich was a means to an end, to continue his lifes work, only to find some years into his new lifestyle... that he really didn't care anymore. Left listless and theoretically eternal, Darius grew bored.
Darius was always good at being cruel, and was always evil even when his heart was still pumping blood through a body that has long since been rendered... skeletal. But boredom causes the mind to wander, and the wandering mind of a cruel man can come up with some inventive and disturbing ways to harm others. At the drop of a hat, Darius can do things to mortals that no sane man would think of, not because it excites him but merely because... well, he can.
Yet Darius is a strange creature, in that he carries himself with a weird amount of (hollow) humanity. He plays cards, indulges in drinking despite not really having any use for it, and skins humans to wear their pelts in order to "fit in" with a natural look, because just magically disguising yourself isn't horrific enough. The charm he puts on as he lives the day to day as a sleazy human is surprisingly convincing.
But at the end of the day for all of Darius's desires, both the wanton cruelty in which he slaughters and the nights he spends indulging in taverns and the arms of drunkards who can't stop singing, he is a lich who has outlived his lifes work, and is utterly ridden with boredom. And may the gods help anyone who truly interests this utterly brutal lich.
A group of paladins uniting to fight against great evils and small evils alike, the Five have discarded their names (at least while on the hunt) to symbolize that their actions are far more important than who they are as individuals. The Five are loyal, strong willed and selfless to their cores, the ideal paladins who will not be swayed from the path of righteousness. Their numbers are as followed.
One, not quite the leader but the most analytical of the group, and thus the closest thing to a leader. A Paladin of Tyr, who greatly values order and strategy. One can come across as dispassionate because of his rather subdued demeanor, only emoting in minor ways, and generally keeping his calm. However he is as dedicated to protecting the weak and destroying evil as anyone in the Five.
Two, the Paladin of Helm, is a more outgoing and casual sort. Quick to joke and prod his peers, Two is none the less the iron wall that protects his allies from his enemies. Two is notorious for being rather unlucky, despite his blessings of Helm usually getting him through the worst of it, with Two often falling to various misfortunes such as curses and traps placed every which way.
Three, the Paladin of Torm, is the more passionate of the group. He believes strongly in their cause, and is the first to try and rush into battle to defeat his foes, as well as the first to try and give a speech. He can be hot headed when pushed, but can be reigned in by those who fight along side him. He has a particularly deep seated hatred for necromancers, due to his own past traumas.
Four, the Paladin of Kelemvor, is a silent member who rarely seems to interact with anyone. He is still a paladin, a righteous warrior, and still invested in keeping the realm safe. But his lack of speech and the general distance he keeps from others can make him feel rather foreign, and he comes across as very hard to read. Whether he even views the others as friends is something one could probably debate.
Five, the original, was a Paladin of Ilmater and a half orc. Known as the Scarred Paladin by some, he strove to take injuries meant for others to spare them the pain he felt. He perished at the hands of the Fives enemies, but died heroically, and is remembered fondly.
With his death, the fifth seat opened up, and the Five convened to recruit a new member... Warziver... as their fifth. With their numbers restored, the Five hope to continue their crusade against evil, and unite those who fight for justice against those who fight for injustice.
THE ILLUSIONIST PLOT
The Red Wizards
Of all the Red Wizards to face the Illusionist, Luther has always been the most compassionate. Unusually kind for a Red Wizard, although no less ambitious, Luther is a good example of power not always corrupting, at least not entirely. Luther is the most accepting and helpful of his peers, being open to working with others while keeping minimal secrets, and still offering aid to those that don't wish to associate with Red Wizards.
However Luther's neurotic personality is his downfall, as he is often unable to control his emotions and is prone to panicking or not thinking things through. As such Luther generally leaves the leadership role to his partner Khardan, or to Jadus, and only shows initiative when the danger is low and the situation isn't dire.
Khardan is a classical Red Wizard, who hordes magical artifacts and schemes with the best of them. Considered ruthless and cunning, Khardan is a brilliant mind who is somewhat hampered by a lack of empathy, seeing his research as far more important than lives and discarding people all too easily. He does not suffer fools, which often leads to him dismissing others on first impression.
Reki, the youngest of the anti Illusionist force, is a firebrand (somewhat literally) of the highest order. He is the very stereotype of the storybook Red Wizard, vicious and cruel, arrogant and self centered and wielding powerful destructive magic. He lusts for violence, and engages in wanton slaughter with reckless abandon much to the chagrin of his peers. Reki had a sister, his only redeeming quality was his affection for her, and her death in the Convict Slaughter drove him to the brink.
Reki met his end, temporarily, at the hands of Erurk and a group of adventurers. Believing Erurk to be responsible for his sisters death, Reki refused to hear him out, and ultimately paid the price for it. Brought back by his peers, Reki is chained both metaphorically and literally, as they seek to drain the fight out of him and turn him into something more obedient and less... of a pain in the ass.
Finally, Jadus, the most powerful of the four and a Diviner. Jadus is a detached individual who rarely thinks about the world on the same level as most, instead keeping his focus on bigger things. This makes him seem rather... disinterested, and also uncaring. Jadus will occasionally play Kingmaker for the others, but otherwise he will stay out of their arguments and bickering. Jadus seems to know the most about the so called Hand of Leira, but keeps his cards close to his chest.
Warden Cole was, before becoming a Warden, a prisoner in that very same prison. A skilled assassin, Cole made a habit of shaming his captors by killing them just to prove he could. He survived numerous attempts to kill him and be done with it, and eventually his determination and persistence was enough to give his captors such a headache they offered him power over the other prisoners just to keep him sitting still. Warden Cole proved to be a very ruthless man on either side of the bars.
When the Prison Break occured, it was Cole who aided the Hand of Leira in collecting Khardan's prized tablet piece and rallied the prisoners to his cause. And unlike the prisoners, who believed their savior was a half orc named Erurk, Warden Cole saw the Hand for who he really was, even glancing upon his visage. Cole shows unusual loyalty to the Hand, be it a natural loyalty or a forced one (it's hard to say) and leads the rampaging Convicts of Camp Freedom in his name.
The Hand of Leira / The Illusionist
A mysterious individual and culprit of many strange and confusing events. The Hand of Leira is identified by his symbol, Leira's symbol bastardized by an open hand in the middle. Very intelligent but also unpredictable, the Hand of Leira uses powerful arcane magic to weave confusion and disarray for goals known only to him and his closest allies. Every word from his mouth comes from a silver tongue, which rarely if ever tells anything more than a half truth.
Contrary to his original alias of the Illusionist, he is not necessarily a proper Illusionist, showing adept skill in the rival school of Enchantment, having enthralled and dazed many of the humanoids, such as orcs and hobgoblins, prowling around Narfell to use as a patchwork army. Regardless of his actual teachings, he is clearly a powerful mage, capable of dangerous spells, and his complete unpredictability means that he is incredibly hard to outmaneuver.