Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Postcards from the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly
Denizens
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Occupied Ulek: Part 3 - The Blight
    Posted on Wed, August 02, 2006 by Dongul
    DangerDwarf writes "A mighty orc shaman has used the "blood" of his dark god Yurtrus to poison the land. Now, parts of Ulek's former Grindin province have been transformed into a venemous blight by the orcs of the Leprous Hand.


    The Blight

    Overview

    The desolate, southern region of the front has been given to the vile orcs of the Leprous Hand tribe. The once fertile fields of the old Grindin province now wither under the effects of a magical blight called forth by the Yurtrus worshipping orcs who reside here.

    The lands of southern Ulek lie shrouded in a thick mist, hordes of undead wander the countryside aimlessly and small tracts of formerly pristine woodlands are now filled with twisted trees and sinister shapes. The orcs here are not as plentiful as other regions of occupied Ulek, but this region of the occupied provinces remains the most dangerous to travelers.

    Ungar, a mighty shaman dedicated to Yurtrus and chieftain of Clan Plague Wind, presides over the activities of this region and works closely with the War Chief’s long term goals.

    The Rite of Sky Rending

    On the 11th of Goodmonth every year, both of Oerth’s moons are new and darkness rules the night sky. Some regard this as an unholy night, a time to work wicked magics. It was on this night in 591CY that Ungar gathered the clans of the Leprous Hand within occupied Ulek, at the center of the old Grindin province, for a powerful rite.

    Sorcerers and shamans of these clans formed a massive ring measuring close to a half mile across. Entering a trancelike state they called upon the dark blessings of their god and focused their growing might upon the center of the circle, where Ungar stood amidst thirteen drugged and bound captives. The captives, a band of elves, were captured after a failed raid by the group on Clan Plague Wind’s encampment. They were placed in a prone position, arranged to form a ring about the high priest. Ungar’s offering to the plague lord Yurtrus.

    Strengthened by the growing energy being channeled by the assembled shamans and sorcerers, Ungar thrust his hand into the night sky. In it he held a powerful relic passed through the centuries by Yurtrus’ faithful. The relic was vial of noxious blood which had fallen from an avatar of Yurtrus when he had walked Oerth briefly during the mythic ages.

    The powerful forces being invoked tore the night sky asunder, sending forth a green flamed comet. To the horror of the assembled orcs it crashed into the center of their ring, seemingly obliterating the high priest and his captive offerings. The ground crumbled beneath the impact spreading outward towards the ring of spell casters. Many cried in horror and fled, others continued their dark rite completely lost in trance. The expanding crater halted at the feet of the remaining orcs of the circle and they collapsed in exhaustion. Those who fled were later found a short distance away, transformed into mindless undead husks, cursed by Yurtrus for fleeing the ritual.

    At the center of the smoldering crater was a pool of sickly green ichor. Rising from its blasphemous depths was Ungar, and the mighty shaman was changed. His flesh and muscles were burned away by the incredible heat of the blast, his charred bones covered by the still liquefied metallic ores within the meteor. His now empty sockets shone with a venomous green light. With a terrible howl of triumph he announced his victory. Blood had called to blood and the dark god heard the call. Yurtrus sent forth one venomous drop to poison the land and transform his high priest into an unholy plague lich.

    The Blight

    With the Rite of Sky Rending, the orcs had called forth the “blood” of their god to poison the land. Now the former province of Grindin is a dreary place with patches of bare earth, twisted trees and sickly wildlife.

    At the site of the comet strike, the orcs of the Leprous Hand tribe have built a village called Mutok. It is from there that they conduct sacrifices to Yurtrus, feeding bodies into the pool of green ichor, the Blood Blight. It is through these sacrifices that the orcs are managing to slowly expand the radius of corruption.

    The nefarious idea to inflict such an abomination upon the land came from cooperation between Nevrash and Ungar. Nevrash’s goal is to reach the Lortmils and reclaim the range which he states is the orcs’ birthright. To accomplish this goal he understands that it will require the combined strength of the orcish tribes. Nevrash’s plans were proceeding well, but began to stall in 589CY. The humanoid tribes were losing focus and growing lazy living off of the spoils of their conquest. Nevrash needed something to spur them forward.

    He again began to spread the dogma of orcish superiority and at his urging; Turrosh Mak’s human forces suffered much at the hands of the orcs until the Despot was forced to remove them from the occupied provinces. It was Ungar who first approached Nevrash with the idea of spreading a blight across the lands of Ulek. Nevrash immediately seized upon the brilliance of the concept. Through his leadership he would continue to spur the orcish armies onward, Ungar’s wretched blight despoiling the lands behind them would give the hordes further incentive to press forward.

    The blight would also serve two very important secondary aspects as well. Once Nevrash pushed the hordes into the Lortmils, leaving behind the plagued provinces, the dwarves would rush into their lands and seek to end the growing blight. This would hopefully take a considerable amount of the Principality’s resources and manpower, buying Nevrash time to establish his forces in the newly reclaimed mountains. This would also serve in placing the dwarves of Ulek between himself and the remainder of Turrosh Mak’s forces. Though a dutiful War Chief now, once Nevrash is able to seize the Lortmils he plans to sever his ties with the Despot.

    So, with that in mind, Nevrash spared no expense to give Ungar whatever resources he needed to eventually perform the Rite of Sky Rending.

    Clans & Tribes of the Blight

    Clan lines within this region are blurred more than any other area of occupied Ulek. Orcs of the Leprous Hand tribe have always shown greater cooperation between clans than any other tribe. Because of this, only the orcs of Clan Plague Wind and Clan Black Heart merit individual description, the rest being generally subservient to these two dominant clans.

    Clan Plague Wind (Orc)

    Population: Approx. 800 Members: 350 Combatants, 415 Non-combatants (women, children), 35 3HD shamans (Pleg’zul)

    Leader: Ungar the Afflicted

    Tribal Affiliation: Leprous Hand

    Religion: Yurtrus

    Standard: Black skull on green field

    Orcs of Clan Plague Wind are the undisputed masters of the blighted southern provinces. The position of their leader within the tribal council ensures the other clans in the region affiliated with the Leprous Hand, defer to and cooperate with Plague Wind activities.

    They work to despoil the land and spread disease into western Ulek. They work closely with the desires of the War Chief and prepare for the day when they will be commanded to spread their blight northward, urging the tribes there to push harder as they march towards the Lortmils.

    Organization: The Chieftain of Clan Plague Wind is a particularly cruel orc named Ungar the Afflicted. Within the clan, shamans serving Yurtrus known as the Pleg’zul, serve as leaders. Each war band is headed by a shaman.

    Tactics: On the field of battle this clan makes heavy use of animated undead servants as fodder designed to weaken its opponents. Under optimal circumstances they will possess an undead force equal to at least half of their orc forces.

    Notable Plague Wind Personalities

    Ungar the Afflicted

    Ungar is the undisputed master of Clan Plague Wind, and likely the most powerful orc shaman in the Flanaess. His position as an elder in the Leprous Hand tribal only furthers his authority among the clans of south-eastern Ulek.

    During the Rite of Sky Rending he was transformed into one of the Afflicted, a powerful plague lich as proof of Yurtrus’ favor. He towers over most orcs standing an impressive 6’7” tall. He is now a dark skeleton, bones covered by a thin layer of brown/black sky iron (the name the orcs give ore derived from meteors) that fused to his form during the rite. His eye sockets glow with an unholy green light. He dresses in tattered brown robes and carries a gnarled wooden staff.

    Ungar is cautious and deliberate in all that he does, considering possible ramifications of his actions. His callous nature is legendary even among the harsh society of orcs, those who raise his ire often left writhing in agony at his feet. Ungar rarely leaves Mutok, preferring to personally oversee the continued upkeep of the blight.

    Clan Black Heart (Orc)

    Population: Approx. 350 Members: 150 Combatants, 175 Non-combatants (Women, Children), 25 3HD arcane spell users (Nek’rog)

    Leader: Din’kar

    Tribal Affiliation: Leprous Hand

    Religion: Yurtrus

    Standard: White hand clenching a black silhouette heart on a gray field

    This clan was formed in 578CY by its enigmatic leader who gathered surviving members of various decimated clans in the Pomarj. The Black Heart orcs are unusual among their kind. While most orc arcane spell users (often called witch doctors) possess an innate ability for a few spells, Clan Black Heart has a small number of orcs who have actually trained in the art of wizardry by their dread chieftain and excel in the art of necromancy.

    Black Heart spell users are known collectively as the Nek’rog and enjoy an elevated position within the society of the clan. Since the invasion of the occupied provinces, the Nek’rog have largely resided with Clan Plague Wind in Mutok. There they aid in the upkeep of the blight while the Black Heart warriors serve in various locations throughout the region conducting patrols.

    Organization: While a unique clan, the orcs of the Black Heart possess little central organization. The goals of the Leprous Hand always take precedence over simple clan goals. Throughout this clan’s existence they have served the will of the tribal council, often acting on special assignments as attachments to other clans. With the invasion of Ulek this has become more pronounced, with different portions of the clan spread throughout the region acting in various tasks.

    Tactics: Due to their numerous assignments to other clans, orcs of the Black Heart have developed few tactics of their own, often adapting to those with whom they are serving.

    Notable Black Heart Personalities

    Din’kar

    Din’kar is a bloated orc that stands a mere 5’2” tall. His squinting black eyes seem devoid of all emotion, save annoyance. His gray beard is cut short and square, his hair is similarly short and stringy. Dressed in a black robe with crude arcane runes embroidered into it, Din’kar is a strange sight.

    Din’kar arrived in the Pomarj in 578CY. Because of his arcane ability, he was able to assemble a core of loyal orcs around him, building a clan of his own. How he came across his wizardly ability is unknown, Din’kar is private about his life and discusses little outside of furthering the goals of the Leprous Hand. Those who have seen him without his robe on claim his back is laced with scars and seem to believe he must have one time been a slave, but to whom they can only guess.

    Regardless of his origins, he has proven his loyalty to his tribe time and time again and now often serves as an advisor to Ungar.

    Krang

    This sadistic orc is a mighty warrior and serves as the commander of the Black Heart warriors. He takes care of the mundane assignments of the clan warriors and coordinates their assistance of other clans of the Leprous Hand.

    He stands 6’3” tall and keeps his head and face cleanly shaved. To enhance his frightening appearance, he has ritually scarred most of his face. On the field of battle he wears a blackened suit of plate armor and wields a massive great sword.

    Other Leprous Hand Clans

    The other orcish clans of the southern region are seeming extensions of Clan Plague Wind. Ungar’s position at the head of the Leprous Hand council ensures the other clan chiefs defer to his decisions. The various clans often coexist within the same encampments throughout the region.

    These other clans are listed below with their approximate populations:

    Fetid Breath (500)
    Soul Pox (350)
    Poison Eye (400)

    Green Death (200)

    The Ghostwalker Tribe (Troll)

    Population: Approximately 30

    Leader: Bejum

    Religion: Ancestral Worship

    These depraved trolls produce a large number of shamanic adepts who lead this vicious tribe in profane rites. Their religion is a strange mixture of cannibalism and ancestor worship. Warriors of the tribe coat their bodies in a thick white paste and cover themselves with odd symbols that possess a spiritual meaning known only to them.

    The orcs of the region give this tribe a wide berth, as the ravenous trolls are quick to consume anything, even allies. Its chieftain ascends to power by devouring the previous leader.

    The tribe is currently ruled by a deranged troll by the name of Bejum. The Ghostwalkers are native to the southern Grindin province and Bejum allied his tribe with the orcish invaders for the opportunity to feast upon dwarven flesh.

    From time to time the Ghostwalker trolls will travel to the front lines, leaving a swath of destruction in their wake. Leprous Hand war bands follow the marauding trolls providing support and extra man power.

    Locations in the Blight

    Mutok

    Population: Approx 350 orcs plus an additional 200 undead

    Clans: Plague Wind, Black Heart

    This village was built within the massive crater caused by the Rite of Sky Rending and is the focal point of the blight within southern Ulek. Plague Wind and Black Heart orcs intermingle here with the remainder of their clans spread out in outlying encampments.

    Camp of the Guardians: This section is built outside of the crater’s rim and consists of Mutok’s first line of defense. Krang of Clan Black Heart is in charge of the defense of Mutok and resides here with a contingent of Black Heart Warriors. Occasionally, a handful of Ghostwalker trolls also aid in the defense here.

    Statue of Yurtrus: This large statue dominates the central portion of Mutok’s residential area. The dark god towering above the ramshackle orc homes and casting a wicked gaze upon the dark waters of the Blood Blight.

    Mutok Village: This collection of huts and shacks make up the primary residential section of the village. Orcs of both the Plague Wind and Black Heart clans make their homes here.

    The Nek’rog: This section holds a magical lodge that serves as a laboratory and study for the necromancers of Clan Black Heart. Homes of these orcs surround the lodge, Din’kar resides here as well.

    Slave Pens: Warriors of Clan Plague Wind reside here among the many pens holding captive dwarves, humans and halflings to use as sacrifice.

    The Pleg’zul: The shamans of Clan Plague Wind make this area their home. A small temple to their dark god occupies this section as well. Ungar makes his home in the temple.

    The Blood Blight: This large pool of dark and fetid water is the actual impact point of the meteor that was called down during the Rite of Sky Rending and is the source for the continued blight of the land. A stone walkway, stained dark with dried blood, extends out over the foul water. At the end is an obscene altar to Yurtrus where the orcs offer captives as sacrifice to their dark lord.

    Dunmaer

    Population: Approx 30 (trolls)

    Tribes: Ghostwalker

    Dunmaer was once a quiet hamlet of simple fishermen. This sleepy community was spared many of the horrors of the initial humanoid invasion but in the end suffered a far crueler fate than their countrymen elsewhere.

    The feral trolls of the Ghostwalker tribe descended upon the people of Dunmaer one terrible night and those who were not slaughtered in the initial attack were penned like cattle for later use by the trolls in their nightly feasts. Many of those caged villagers went mad in the following nights, listening to the horrified screams of their friends and family as the trolls partook in their grisly meals.

    Now the trolls continue to reside within the hamlet, leaving much of it unharmed but adding morbid decorations to the place. Skulls lashed to hitching posts, obscene runes painted across building sides, effigies of ancestral heroes made from bones and wood.

    Some nights apparitions of the former residents can be seen wandering the streets of Dunmaer calling out the names of lost loved ones, oblivious to their surroundings and unaware of their state. The trolls have made a sport of stalking the oblivious spirits, taunting them and throwing javelins through their incorpeal forms.

    The few Ulekian scouts who have ventured far enough into the occupied provinces to see Dunmaer have vowed to return and give those troubled spirits release.

    New Monster

    The statistics given are for the Castles & Crusades system though they can easily be converted for use with any edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

    The Beholden

    No. Encountered: 1-2

    Size: Medium

    HD: 7 (d12)

    Move: 30

    AC: 17

    Attacks: Slam (2d6+2)

    Special: Command Undead, Strength Drain, Aura of Desecration, Touch of Yurtrus

    Saves: P

    INT: Low

    Alignment: NE

    Type: Undead (Extraordinary)

    Treasure: Nil

    XP: 630 + 7

    This walking corpse has decidedly elven features. Its tortured, feral eyes shine with a dull green light. The creature’s pale elven skin, tinged a fetid green, has a leathery appearance and is drawn tight across its slight frame. It is clothed in the grimy tattered remnants of a white robe, crudely stitched into the garment are vile glyphs and runes. Despite its desiccated appearance, this abomination moves with an inhuman grace.

    The elven druidess, Lethani, had long made the wooded region of Ulek’s Grindin province her home. After the orcish invasion of eastern Ulek she used her considerable abilities to remain hidden, striking when the opportunity presented itself against the hated orcs of the Leprous Hand tribe.

    Through the use of animal spies, Lethani discovered that the orcs were making preparations to conduct a powerful ritual which would poison the land. Determined to stop such a vile occurrence, Lethani sent word to her contacts among the Knights of Luna in Celene, explaining that time was of the utmost essence.

    A small band of knights answered her summons. With little time to spare before the ritual would be enacted, they discussed possible strategies, fully aware of the disadvantage they had due to the sheer number of orcs. They eventually decided on a guerilla raid into the orcish encampment in an attempt to slay the shaman who would lead the rite.

    The elves were aware that even should they succeed in slaying the shaman, it was unlikely they would survive long enough to escape the encampment. With grim determination they accepted that possibility and were willing to make the sacrifice to put a stop to the invoking of such wide spread corruption.

    On the 11th of Goodmonth 591CY, Lethani and sixteen elven knights made their strike against the orcs of Clan Plague Wind. The attack occurred during the daylight hours, making use of the sun to hamper the light sensitive orcs’ vision. The elves however, were unaware that just prior to dawn that the orcs of Clan Plague Wind were joined by members of several other clans in the area, thus bolstering their numbers. Despite a valiant fight, Lethani and the Knights of Luna were quickly overtaken.

    Four of the sixteen knights died during the battle, Lethani and the remaining twelve knights were taken captive. The orcish shaman, Ungar, viewed their capture as a favorable omen from his god and declared they would be given to Yurtrus as a sacrifice during the rite.

    Garbed in filthy white robes, embroidered with crude sigils denoting them a gifts to Yurtrus, the elves were bound and drugged. During the Rite of Sky Rending they were placed in a circle around Ungar as he worked the powerful magics that would call forth the comet from the sky.

    When the green flamed comet struck the Oerth, Yurtrus delighted in the offering given to him. As a sign of his favor, the resulting blast transformed Ungar and the elves. Ungar became a mighty plague lich and the elves became the Beholden. Twisted undead creatures held in thrall to the will of the orcish god of death and disease.

    These cursed elves now wander the corrupt lands of the old Grindin province, spreading death and disease in fits of tortured rage. While they do not work directly with the orcs of the region, the Yurtrus worshipping clans regard the beholden with awe, viewing them as proof of the dark god’s supremacy. It has become a custom of the orcs of the Leprous Hand tribe to maim and bind captives then leave them in an area where a beholden is known to wander so that the undead elves can feed off of their strength with their weakening touch.

    Combat

    When encountered, a beholden will often be accompanied by 3d8 HD worth of skeletons and zombies. They keep their mindless undead minions close enough so that the skeletons and zombies are benefited by the beholden’s aura of desecration. Clerics and wizards are primary targets and the beholden are unafraid of entering the fray themselves, using their strength draining attacks to bolster their own prowess.

    Sleep and charm spells have no effect on a beholden, nor are they affected by poison or paralysis.

    Strength Drain: The diseased magic of Yurtrus which animates the beholden also consumes their strength. To sustain themselves they drain strength from the victims of their attacks. Each time a target is struck by a beholden’s slam attack they suffer the loss of 1 strength point. Those who survive the encounter will find their stolen strength returning at the rate of 1 point every 2d4 turns.

    Command Undead: A beholden can command up to 35HD of skeletons and zombies at one time. When attempting to bring such mindless undead under their control make a wisdom check with a challenge level equal to the HD of the undead they are attempting to command. If successful they gain control of an additional 1d12 undead of that type, up to their maximum of 35HD of controlled undead.

    Aura of Desecration: As a gift from Yurtrus, the beholden radiate a 100’ aura which mimics the effects of a desecrate spell. All undead within the radius (including the beholden) gain the following benefits. Attempts made to turn them suffer a -3 penalty. All attack and damage rolls made by the undead gain a +2 bonus.

    Touch of Yurtrus: Every time a creature is struck by the slam attack of a beholden they must also make a constitution save. Failure indicates they have been infected by a magical disease which can only be removed with a Cure Disease spell. After a 24 hour incubation period, those affected by the disease begin suffering the effects of this wasting disease. Each day they lose 1 point of strength. In addition to the strength loss, healing magic loses potency against them, only restoring half the usual hit points. The first point of strength loss is permanent, if the disease is cured the remaining strength points lost return at the rate of 1 per day.

    Lethani

    The druidess Lethani also stalks the occupied southern territories as one of the accursed beholden. While the other beholden are completely subsumed by Yurtrus’ will, the dark god has allowed a small vestige of Lethani’s conscious to remain. Thus the fallen druidess is tormented by the knowledge of what she has become.

    No. Encountered: 1

    Size: Medium

    HD: 8 (d12); 54 hit points

    Move: 30

    AC: 17

    Attacks: Slam (2d6+2)

    Special: Command Undead, Strength Drain, Aura of Desecration, Touch of Yurtrus, Keening, Spell-like abilities

    Saves: M, P

    INT: Superior

    Alignment: NE

    Type: Undead (Unique)

    Treasure: Nil

    XP: 1907

    Lethani possesses all of the abilities of a standard beholden with the following additions.

    Lethani can only be harmed by magical weapons of a +1 or higher enchantment.

    Command Undead: Lethani can command up to 40HD of undead.

    Keening: Much like a banshee, Lethani’s current state fills her mind and soul with unbearable torment. Once per day she can concentrate this anguish into a single, forlorn wail. All creatures within 30’ of her when she unleashes this wail must immediately make a charisma save or die. Those who make the save are still affected by the angst of this accursed elf and automatically lose their next initiative roll.

    Spell-Like Abilities: Lethani can use the following spell-like abilities, each 1 time per day. Entangle, Faerie Fire, Obscuring Mist, Chill Metal, Warp Wood.

    "
     
    Related Links
    · More about Greyhawk Gazetteer
    · News by Dongul


    Most read story about Greyhawk Gazetteer:

    Postfest X(Needfest 2009) The Dirty Dog Tavern in Rookroost

    Article Rating
    Average Score: 5
    Votes: 1


    Please take a second and vote for this article:

    Excellent
    Very Good
    Good
    Regular
    Bad

    Options

     Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

    Re: Occupied Ulek: Part 3 - The Blight (Score: 1)
    by Crag on Wed, August 02, 2006
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    very nice indeed, especially like how you kept the orc tribes and numbers low given the lack of resource within the province, even orcs have to eat something.

    The "low" numbers give a reasonable justification for the orcs desire to produce undead servants especially the Yurtrus worshipping tribes beyond faith alone.

    Love the backstory for the beholden; not every heroic mission succeeds after all...




    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.27 Seconds