Friday, November 11, 2011

Colorful Characters 5: Delana The Gravedigger

Delana was born in the town of Obleton to a local widow. The widow, a seamstress by trade, had a brief tryst with an elven ranger who was passing through Obleton with his adventuring party. Though Delana's mother never saw her elven lover again, she always spoke fondly of him to her half-elven daughter.

Like most half elves, Delana had a difficult childhood. As a member of a much longer lived species, she matured much slower than the other children in the village. A decade passed for her the way a pair of years passed for her fellows. Childhood friends matured quickly enough to have children of their own for Delana to engage with as peers.

One day, as a child of twenty, Delana was out with a hunting party. She was learning to track and to use a bow in an attempt to be closer to the father she had never met by emulating his craft. During the hunt, she came into a clearing where she found herself separated from her companions. In the clearing stood a shambling undead, which began inching towards her with hunger in its eyes. The young half elf fled and rejoined her companions, warning them of the nearby danger.

The group decided to find and kill the beast, but by the time they returned to the clearing, it was gone. Given Delana's mental age, they assumed the child simply had an overactive imagination. Delana's pleas for them to trust her fell on deaf ears. Later that night, Delana awoke to a wet smacking sound. The undead had returned, and was eating her companions. She screamed, and the creature turned to attack her. It bit her on the forearm, tearing away a large chunk of meat. The girl flailed, and somehow managed to escape, fleeing into the woods.

Delana was lost in the wood for four days, and lost a great deal of blood before she stumbled back into Obleton. Her mother and the townsfolk tended to her wounds and her exhaustion as best they could, but she was never quite the same. It was a full decade before she spoke a single word to anyone again, and when she did speak what she said was often cryptic. More disturbing still was that what she said could often be interpreted later as descriptions of events which had not yet occurred when she spoke.

Fifty years later, Delana's mother passed away. Now a fully grown and developed half elf, Delana dug her mother's grave, buried her, and set the tombstone in place with her own two hands. Every day for weeks Delana returned to the graveyard, visiting not only her mother's grave, but each of the graves in turn. Shortly thereafter, she requested that the townspeople help her build a small home for herself near the graveyard, so as to free her mother's larger home up for the next young couple to start a family in the village.

Delana has continued to live in the village of Obleton through the many decades and centuries of her life. The town has always been kind to her, and in her peculiar way Delana has worked to protect the town and its inhabitants. She very rarely speaks to anyone, but she is always kind when she does. Those who now live in Obleton (now a much larger town) are generations removed from anyone who knew Delana as a young woman. People often wonder why she came to their small town, never realizing that she has lived there her entire life.

The old woman still helps with the hunting occasionally, but it is a skill she never quite took to. Her livelihood is supported by the village. The only real work she does is in the graveyard. It is well known locally that when old woman Delana begins to dig, someone will be dead by the time she reaches six feet deep.


Delana is not crazy. She is, in fact, quite sharp for a half elf of such advanced age. Many of her mannerisms are eccentric, though. She does not speak much, preferring to listen. When she does speak, she is often cryptic. If pressed for a more firm answer, she merely chuckles as though her oblique answers are a joke which only she understands.

Delana does have two very strong convictions. First, if she believes that the village or anyone in it is in danger, she will bring all of her abilities to bear on the problem. She will offer help as clearly as she can, though, even when trying to be clear, her responses are often difficult to understand. Second, Delana has a great fear of, and hatred for, the undead. A lifetime of outliving friends has made Delana very comfortable with death, and the perversion of it which is represented by undeath enrages her.

She knows that the sorcerous powers which have slowly manifested since that first encounter with an undead creature include abilities which she views as abhorrent, and she has done her best to turn her focus away from them.

If faced with a choice between raising the dead and allowing Obleton to be destroyed, it is unclear which conviction would prove stronger in Delana's mind. It is certain, though, that failure to uphold either would break the poor old woman's mind.


Delana is not a fighter, but if attacked she is more likely to fight with her shovel than with her few offensive spells. If Delana is reduced to below 50% health, she will begin casting Cone of Cold and other frost based damaging spells, as well as any non-evil necromancy spells.

Delana will never cast evil necromancy spells, such as Animate Dead, except under extreme duress. The guilt of doing so would likely either drive her completely mad, or cause her to commit suicide.

Thoughts on Use

Delana is intended to be a seer in the traditional fantasy sense. Goodly characters can seek her foresight and wisdom to aid them on whatever quest they are on. Delana's cryptic nature allows the GM some room to toy with players by forcing them to puzzle out the meaning of Delana's answer before proceeding further.

Interesting Facts

-Delana refers to graves as "beds," and to death as a type of sleep. Something which she might say is "I make the beds for the long sleep we all must take."

-As a joke, Delana refers to her trusty shovel by the name "Samuel." She often acts as thought she believes the shovel is her husband.

-Delana can often be found walking amongst the graves mumbling to herself. Unbeknownst to the townsfolk, she is reciting the life story of those who are buried there. She has committed each to memory. For most of the graves, she knows the story because she was part of the life of that person. For others, she has used her divination spells to learn of their life, and taken care to memorize it accurately.

Delana, The Gravedigger (CR 12)

XP: 19,200
Female Half Elf Sorcerer 14
NG humanoid
224 years old (Venerable)
Init +0; Senses Perception +31

AC 10, Flat Footed 10, Touch 10 [10 + Armor(0)]
hp 84 (14d6 + 28)
dr 10/- (Nonlethal damage only)
Resistance 10/Cold
Fort +5 Ref +4 Will + 16 (May Reroll Will 1/Day)

Speed 30ft
Melee Samuel The Shovel + 9/+4 (1d8 + 2/20 x2)
Sorcerer Spells (CL 14th; Concentration +18; +2 save DC for Divination spells)
7th (3/day)-- Greater Scrying, Finger of Death
6th (5/day)-- Legend Lore, True Seeing, Undeath to Death
5th (6/day)-- Wave of Fatigue, Cone of Cold, Telepathic Bond, Contact Other Plane
4th (7/day)-- Detect Scrying, Locate Creature, Scrying, Bestow Curse, Animate Dead
3rd (7/day)-- Arcane Sight, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Tongues, Gentle Repose, Vampiric Touch
2nd (7/day)-- Detect Thoughts, Locate Object, See Invisibility, Blindness/Deafness, Scare, False Life
1st (7/day)-- Comprehend Languages, Detect Undead, Identify, Cause Fear, Ray of Enfeeblement, Chill Touch
0 (at will)-- Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Read Magic, Bleed, Disrupt Undead, Touch of Fatigue, Light, Ghost Sound, Ray of Frost
Bloodline Undead
Bloodline Powers
Grave Touch (7/Day) -- touch attack causes living creature to become shaken for 7 rounds.
Death's Gift -- Cold Resist 10, DR10/- v. Nonlethal Damage
Grasp of the Dead (1/Day) -- Skeletal arms attack foes. (See Pathfinder Core Rulebook page 77)

Str 15 (+2) Dex 10 (+0) Con 13 (+1) Int 13 (+1) Wis 21 (+5) Cha 18 (+4)
Base Atk +7/+2; CMB +9/4; CMD 19
Feats Eschew Materials, Skill Focus(Perception), Toughness, Iron Will, Still Spell, Silent Spell, Quicken Spell, Alertness, Improved Iron Will, Spell Focus (Divination), Greater Spell Focus (Divination)
Skills Perception (+31), Profession(Gravedigger) (+19), Spellcraft(+15), Sense Motive (+7)
Languages Common, Elven
Gear Rags for clothing, Samuel the Shovel, 17 copper

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