Campaign of the Month: January 2014
Greyhawk 937 CY: The Age of Steam
If Mortekai could choose a theme song for himself, it would be this one. That should tell you enough to be getting on with.
He is something of a dandy, always liking to dress up and look his best, even on adventures and when poking at gooey undead. It’s a good thing he has magic or he’d have trouble keeping his clothes clean. He enjoys bright colors and fancy hats, although sometimes when he wants to cut a dramatic figure he will wear something rakishly dark and necromantic.
Mortekai’s birthday is Gods’ day, the 6th day of Growfest.
Mortekai is a necromantic prodigy. At a young age he was already intuitively tuning into the undead and negative energy, listening to ghosts talk, telling his parents about scenes he could see that’d gotten pressed into old places, that kind of thing. Although his parents are all for their children stretching their intellectual and magical boundaries, they weren’t all that keen on having a kid go into necromancy. However, after their eight year old son started waking up zombies and summoning ghosts, it was time to find him a tutor.
Like many of his sisters, Mortekai is a bit of a magical Mythbuster. Magic is cool, man! He likes trying stuff out and doing experiments and he gets excited about MAGIC. He also likes cutting a good figure. Mages are impressive! They’re learned! They can do cool stuff! They’re an experience! So he likes to dress and present himself accordingly—as an experience.
He is currently a PhD student at the Greyhawk College of Wizardry, teaching introductory courses on Negative Energy and You; Anatomy of the Undead; things like that. His particular area of focus is forensic necromancy (as such, he sometimes consults for the City Watch), but he also has an interest in the flux of negative/positive energy levels and the flows of life force that result. He is likely to get into things like personal energy signature as an individual’s unique mix of elemental energy levels. Magical chromatography!
One of the undead he woke/summoned as a child was John Rigby, the restless spirit of a young paladin who fought in the Greyhawk Wars over 300 years ago. Mortekai feels guilty about having bound the soul of a paladin, of all things, to such a fate, but as yet he hasn’t found a way to undo it. He and John agree that there must be some purpose the ghost has yet to complete before he can find rest.
Mortekai has no brothers, but he has a small, colorful flotilla of sisters, many of whom are also mages—except for his twin sister Madrona, who is an adventuring ranger.
Racially, he’s a mutt. On his mother’s side, they’re mixed, primarily Flan/Oeridian, and from a long family tradition of scholars and mages. His mom’s side of the family has lived in the Domain of Greyhawk for a long time. This side of the family is…well, basically a bit batshit. His mother, Aradia, is a mage scholar who specializes in the study of historical techniques of magical artificing (aka old magic items).
On his father’s side, the family’s a totally normal line of primarily Suel farmers and blacksmiths and stuff. Except for his dad, Horatio, who’s an artifact-hunting Paladin of Phaulkon. (Does Phaulkon have paladins? I think he’s chaotic. Well, he’s an artifact-hunting something of Phaulkon.) The parents on his side love their grandchildren, but observe them with a sort of wide-eyed cautious bemusement.
They met over an evil artifact and fell in love. When they began having kids, they decided to move out to the countryside outside the City of Greyhawk, where the children would have room to play and explore, and Horatio’s pegasus could have plenty of space to exercise. The parents still live there. Most of the children have since moved off to various locations. A few of them live in Greyhawk City. Others have settled in other locations.
They have all daughters except for Mortekai, who is the second youngest. The daughters are as follows:
Food mage—the oldest daughter, Seneca, is a wizard-chef. A woman who takes so much delight in the joys and comforts of domesticity that she was recognized by the halflings of Elmshire as an honorary hobbit, she puts her magic to use to create the perfect dish. She takes pride in cooking dishes that are tailored to the personal tastes and interests of her clients, often sculpting a plate of food into a work of art or perhaps a diorama displaying a favorite landscape, scene from history or a book, or perhaps some favorite object or animal. When attempting to express her affection, admiration, etc. for an individual through her art, she can sometimes get a bit carried away with this. She owns a restaurant in Hardby, although she doesn’t normally work there (it’s practically a school of magic in its own right, accepting apprentices who dream of becoming masters of the art of food), and can be hired to cater your event or important occasion.
Mind mage—the second-oldest daughter, Isabeau, is a mage who specializes in mind magics. She excels in her field, and thinks that this also makes her a master psychologist. She is always prepared to helpfully psychoanalyze you, usually by applying her pet theory of the moment. She also has that somewhat unsettling habit possessed by many psychologists of accidentally turning most of her conversations into probing question-and-answer sessions. (“And how does that make you feel?”) Nice woman, but terrifically annoying for about 95% of her acquaintances. Not sure where she lives.
Punk diviner—the third daughter, Letitia, is a diviner, and also a punk. Piercings, tattoos, creatively shaved head, rugged music, raging against the machine. She has serious hangups about the idea of destiny and the gods who embody it. She might be a big fan of Trithereon and his “F*** the Establishment” philosophy. Somewhat restless, she’s lived in many different places, and has a habit of settling somewhere for a couple of years at a time before moving on to someplace new and interesting. Also, she hates her name and wishes to be called Lee.
Oeridian explosions historian—the fourth daughter, Candace, has an academic focus in the strategies and history of Oeridian battle mages, and believes that she’s the normal one in the family. She’s wrong about this. She’s something of an archaeologist, and will travel to sites of famous battles and explosions to study the ruins, landscape and fallout. She also is diligent about reproducing and testing theories and research, usually by making something blow up. Think: Mythbuster. I’m not sure if she lives in Greyhawk or moved out east to be nearer the scholarship of the Great Kingdom.
Suel historian—the fifth daughter, Brienne, focuses on the magical history of the Suel empire. She’s cool, collected, and…a bit spooky, actually. Isabeau claims she’s a sociopath, though Brienne has always been a very conscientious daughter, and admittedly the rest of the family is a leeeeetle concerned that one day she might give in to the impulse to take a crack at re-enacting one of those human sacrifice rituals she studies.
Granola hippie tattoo mage—the fifth daughter, Hyacinth, is a researcher into the ways of ancient Flan magics, and is totally a back-to-nature, ‘frolic in the woods barefoot with the Elves,’ ‘needs to wash her hair more often’ granola chick. She’s a vegetarian except for fish, and all into Beory and druids and living in harmony with nature. What she is not, however, is a pacifist. She may have a touch of the screaming Maenad when she gets going, in fact. She lives on the outskirts of the Gnarley Forest with her husband.
Half-orc hero—Hyacinth is married to a half-orc fighter named Brahn, who has a mild reputation as an adventuring hero. Mostly retired now, but he can still keep up with his wife. Nice guy, and the most normal person in the family. He’s one of the few who gets on beautifully with the mind mage, who finds him too normal and well-adjusted to bother psychoanalyzing. They enjoy hanging out and talking about hobbies and current events.
The grandparents on the dad’s side also like him, and are HUGELY RELIEVED to have somebody sane in the family they can talk to.
Academic ranger—the sixth daughter (and Mortekai’s older twin sister by a few minutes), Madrona, is not a mage at all. Perhaps influenced by her close relationship with Hyacinth while growing up, she took a deep interest in animals, became a ranger, and is essentially a female Professor Pendrake. Technically lives in Greyhawk, but spends a lot of her time traveling.
Mortekai is the only son and also the second-youngest child. Hyacinth and Madrona were just the right age to spend a lot of time with their little brother, growing up. This has led to long-standing trauma on his part.
Budding planologist—A ‘surprise’ to their parents, Calico is the youngest child by about six years. She’s still wrapping up her magical training, focusing in planology, but she isn’t good enough at magic yet to actually go plane-walking. As such, she’s a bit huffy and jealous about all the interesting antics and work the rest of the family gets up to.
The parents like to hold Needsfest at their place. The half-orc and the dad’s parents find this a terrifying prospect.