Friday, December 9, 2011

Colorful Characters 9: Raughm Saltbeard

Like all members of the Saltbeard clan, Raughm, son of Thulas, was born with stark white hair. And, also like all firstborn men of the Saltbeard clan, it was ordained that Raughm would join the clergy of Moradin. During his early life, Raughm met those expectations without complaint or incident. Though he had no skill as a scholar of Moradin's teachings, he served his clan will with his simple wisdom, devotion to duty, and loyalty. He did not stand out amongst dwarven folk, for good or for ill.

Shortly after Raughm entered his second century, the stronghold of the Saltbeared clan was visited by travelers. They were dirty from the road, and claimed to be refugees from the Greenstone Clan, who lived far to the south in the jungle of Dejich. Their mountain stronghold, they said, had been destroyed by a great shaking of the earth. Only two score of Greenstone dwarves remained, and they asked whether they might be allowed to settle amongst the Saltbeards, as their numbers were too few to continue as a clan of their own. The Saltbeards, being an amicable people, accepted the Greenstone clan as full citizens.

The next few decades proceeded very normally for both clans. They mined for precious ores, forged weapons and armor of great beauty, and warred against goblins and orcs whenever the opportunity arose. The two clans had been living as one for thirty years before the woman approached Raughm. She was a Greenstone named Ryllen, and a picturesque example of dwarven nobility. At first she was simply flirtatious, flattering the simple dwarf. As the months progressed, though, she became more aggressive. She told Raughm that, for the good of her people, she wanted to be wed to him. Despite living together as a single clan for decades, the Saltbeards had been wary of endangering the white beards they were so proud of by becoming bonded with the Greenstones. It was Ryllen's hope that seeing a "respected and honored paragon of Saltbeard values," such as Raughm, wed to a Greenstone noble would break the taboo.

Raughm was excited to have the attentions of such a beautiful dwarven woman, and immediately agreed to the wedding. Ryllen had one stipulation, however, which she insisted Raughm meet before they announce their bonding plans. There were two items of great importance to the Greenstone clan which had been left behind in their destroyed stronghold. She would need Raughm's help to retrieve them. Only them would she wed him. The task seemed minor enough, and Raughm agreed to accompany her on her quest.

The journey south to the Dejich Jungle was a long and difficult one. Raughm had never been more than a few miles from the Saltbeard clan stronghold before, and found the increasingly humid temperatures nearly unbearable. The two faced many challenges along the road, and Raughm grew ever more devoted to Ryllen during their journey. Finally, after six months of travel, the two reached their goal. The Greenstone clan stronghold. Just as the Greenstones had claimed, the mountain had split violently down the middle. Raughm wondered about what violent force could possible caused such destruction.

The two entered cautiously, and made their way through the crumbling hallways to Ryllen's former chambers. A wooden shelf lay cracked and broken on the ground, exposing a stairway behind it. The two descended down into what appeared to be a hidden chamber. Ryllen gleefully ran over to some skeletal dwarven remains. She removed some unusual hide armor, and a great warhammer, from the corpse. Believing their great journey to be at an end, Raughm asked if these were the heirlooms they had been seeking. In response, Ryllen smashed him in the side of the head with the hammer.

Ryllen left him there to die. And as he lay bleeding on the ground, he called out to Moradin for aid. But no answer came from the All Father. Instead, the room began to warp and twist, the stone trembling. A bloody mist seeped into the room, and coalesced into the form of a 10ft tall dwarf. It spoke in a booming voice, sputtering acid onto poor Raughm as it spoke.

"Your weakling god cannot hear you here, cleric. I have profaned this room, which my servant brought you to. The hated dwarf god is blind here. But I will help you."

"Who are you?" Raughm thought, unable to speak. He could feel his extremities growing cold, knew his life would leave him soon.

"I can give you back your life. I can grant you vengeance against she who betrayed you. I can make you my champion...all you must do is agree to serve under the sign of the Dead Mountain. I am Agg. Enthrall your will to mine and you will live."

Raughm was no scholar, but he knew of Agg of the Dead Mountain. No god was so feared and loathed by dwarven kind. Yet death drew ever nearer, and Raughm was afraid. He found the strength to bloodily sputter the words out of his mouth: "I enthrall my will to Agg, the terrible, of the Dead Mountain. Grant me life. Grant me vengeance..."

Agg drew in a deep breath, and exhaled mightily, filling the room with ash. A moment later, Raughm emerged fully healed of his injuries. He had always been a temperate dwarf, but now he felt filled with unholy rage. He ran out the chambers, and through the dwarven citadel. He found Ryllen as she was descending the path leading back into the jungle below. He leaped upon her, taking her by surprise. She never even fought back as he smashed her head into the stone again, and again, and again, leaving nothing but a bloody mess in his hands.

When he stood from his bloody work, Agg was again standing over him.

"Don the armor, and take the weapon, then go forth into the world. Rot the trees and salt the earth. Let nothing grow where you have been."

Raughm, unable to reject the will to which he had bound himself, merely nodded, and complied. Since that day, hundreds of years ago, Raughm has traveled from village to village doing Agg's will.


Even among dwarves, Raughm is quiet. Amongst other races he does not speak at all, because he was never able to master the common tongue. He tries to appear friendly, offering healing to any in need. He often offers his healing spells to poor villages with sick or wounded members, who would otherwise be unable to afford magical healing. Only once Raughm is well loved and allowed to stay in the village, does he begin his work corrupting the land, spoiling the food, eventually forcing the entire village either to move, or to die.


Raughm is not the greatest combatant, and avoids direct conflict when he can. If forced to fight, he will use his hammer and his spells as appropriate, but will flee at the first opportunity to do so.

Thoughts on use

Raughm is a good mystery villain, much like Hiles Gorefeet. The mystery can be set up one of two ways: either the characters are in a town whose land is dying, and are tasked with finding the cause. Or, alternatively, the characters can learn of a series of towns which each suffered similar famine-like conditions, and from there learn that the same dwarven cleric visited all the towns.

Raughm Saltbeard (CR 10)

XP: 9,600
Male Dwarf Cleric 11
CE humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +5 (+7 with regards to stonework.), Darkvision 60ft

AC 14, Flat Footed 16, Touch 16 [10 + Armor(4) + Dex(0) + Size(0)]
hp 96 (11d8 + 33)
Fort +7 Ref +3 Will + 12 [+2 to any save v. poison, spells, or spell-like abilities.]

Speed 20ft
Melee Deadearth Hammer + 11/6 (2d6 + 3/x3)
Channeled Energy: 6d6 [6/day; Negative Energy; Will DC: 16][May substitute normal effect to heal or harm earthen outsiders]
Prepared Cleric Spells (CL 11th; Concentration +16 [+20 when casting defensively]) (Domain Spell is in Bold)
6th (1 + 1)-- Antilife Shell, Harm
5th (3 + 1)--Insect Plague, Unhallow x2, Wall of Stone
4th (4 + 1)-- Giant Vermin, Unholy Blight, Cure Critical Wounds, Inflict Critical Wounds, Inflict Critical Wounds
3rd (5 + 1)-- Contagion, Meld to Stone, Greater Rot, Cure Serious Wounds, Inflict Serious Wounds, Stone Shape
2nd (5 + 1)--Desecrate x2, Death Knell, Undetectable Alignment, Cure Moderate Wounds, Soften Earth and Stone
1st (6 + 1)--Cure Light Wounds, Endure Elements, Inflict Light Wounds, Curse Water, Rot x2, Magic Stone
0 (at will)-- Stabalize, Create Water, Purify Food and Drink, Light
Domains Destruction, Earth
Domain Powers
Acid Dart (Sp)(8/day): As a standard action, attack a foe within 30ft with an acid dart as a ranged touch attack. Dart deals 1d6 + 1/cleric level damage.
Destructive Smite (Su)(8/day): Melee attack gains damage bonus equal to 1/2 of cleric level. (5) Must be declared prior to making the attack.

Str 13 (+1) Dex 11 (+0) Con 16 (+3) Int 4 (-3) Wis 20 (+5) Cha 13 (+1)
Base Atk +8/+3; CMB +9; CMD 19 (23 v. Trip & Bull Rush)
Feats Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Combat Casting, Extend Spell, Quicken Spell, Extra Channel, Elemental Channel (Earth)
Skills Appraise -4 (-2 for precious metals & gemstones), Diplomacy +25, Perception +5 (+7 with regards to stonework.)
Languages Dwarven
Gear Famine Hide Armor, Deadearth Hammer, Holy Symbol of Agg of the Dead Mountain, Four potions of Cure Critical Wounds, Ring of the Ram (PFCR Pg. 482), Glove of Storing (PFCR Pg. 515), Wineskin filled with Blackberry Wine, Wineskin filled with Acid, 250 gold pieces

New Spells
Necromancy; Level cleric 1, Sorcerer/Wizard 1
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range Touch
Target Food, earth, or plant
Duration Instantaneous

Saving Throw
Will negates (object); Spell Resistance yes (object)
This spell draws the nutrients from whatever it is cast upon. A pot of stew or plate of food can become fetid and unpalatable. A single tree, shrub, or other plant can will wither and die. A patch of ground with a roughly 10ft radius from the caster can be rendered completely barren for three weeks, killing all but the most hardy plants growing there.

Greater Rot
School Necromancy; Level cleric 3, Sorcerer/Wizard 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range Touch
Target Food, earth, or plant
Duration Instantaneous

Saving Throw
Will negates (object); Spell Resistance yes (object)
This spell functions as Rot, but with greater range. Greater Rot could be used to spoil an entire store room of food, or all the food in a decently sized kitchen. It can be used to kill 3d6 trees or shrubs, so long as they are within 50ft of each other. If cast upon the ground, Greater Rot causes an area in a 30ft radius to be rendered completely barren for two months.

New Equipment
Famine Hide Armor
Aura Strong Necromancy; CL 12th
Slot Armor; Price 18,900 gp; Weight 25lb.
This armor appears to be normal Hide armor, though it is somewhat discolored. The hide used to create this armor was harvested from an animal who died due to famine. Once a week, this +2 Hide Armor allows its wearer to drain all nutrients from an area of earth up to 100 square feet in size. This process takes a minute, and grants the armor's wearer full health when it completes. The land will remain completely barren for a year.
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Circle of Death, Hide of an animal killed by famine. Cost 11,750gp

Deadearth Hammer
Strong Transmutation; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 50,320 gp; Weight 16 lb.
This +2 Heavy Warhammer (two handed martial weapon, 2d6 damage for medium creatures) is crafted from stone harvested from the heart of a mountain, magically strengthened to be as hardy as steel, though much heavier. The 4ft long handle is crafted of mithril, with a leather grip. Once per month, the hammer may be smashed into the ground to cause an earthquake, radiating out as much as 2 miles from the hammer's impact.
Requirements: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Move Earth; Cost 25,320 gp

New Deity: Agg of the Dead Mountain

Magmaheart, The Stonebreaker
Lesser Deity
A mountain on one side. On the back side is a mountain split in two.
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Worshipers Evil dwarven cultists
Domains Destruction, Earth, Chaos, Evil, Fire, Maddness
Favored Weapon Warhammer
Agg was once a celestial revered by the dwarves, called Aggonem. In ages long past Aggonem entered into a great battle with the demon hordes of the abyss. Details of the battle are not known, but it is said that he fought on tirelessly for years, as only a celestial could. After long ages of war, Aggonem was brought low by the demons. A demon general stepped forward, and struck Aggonem's head from his neck with the celestial's own warhammer. So strong was the force of Aggonem's will, though, that his death caused a every demon within a mile to be sucked into a vortex centered on the place of his death. When the screams of the demons had died down, and silence momentarily covered the abyssal battlefield, Agg emerged. The evil god seeks the destruction of all which dwarves hold dear.

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