Note: I’m considering supplementing Colorful Characters with some other features. Something like “Malevolent Monsters”, or “Amazing Artifacts.” Just to give myself some more options on what to post on a Friday/Saturday. Let me know in the comments if you would like more variety like that, or if you’d prefer Colorful Characters remain a weekly feature.
Maedhar Krekpe was born in a massive city to an affluent merchant family. He was always a thin, bookish child, and excelled in the expensive private academies his family sent him to. He decided very early on in life that he wanted to become a Wizard, and worked hard to pursue that goal. He applied to the magic academy when he was eleven. His aptitude was so impressive, that one of the test administrators offered him the opportunity to become her personal apprentice. An offer the young boy accepted eagerly.
They boy excelled in his studies, which focused primarily on the school of evocation and the practice of alchemy. In the evenings, his teacher–an elderly woman, with leathery skin and calloused hands–would tell him stories about her life as an adventurer. Tales of goblin tribes and slain dragons. Some were perhaps exaggerated, but they none the less filled the young students head with visions of himself as a traveling wizard, using his skills and knowledge to triumph over evil, and rescue a village in the process.
Maedhar grew, and learned, and when he was 28 he joined a small group of adventurers as a fully certified Wizard. The group went on a number of adventurers together, and in many ways it was just as Maedhar had imagined. He never managed to slay any dragons, but he did stop a tribe of orcs which was stealing pigs from an outlying village. After a couple years on the road with his companions, the group heard that a barbarian tribe was poaching in the King’s forest, and took it upon themselves to bring the uncivilized brutes to justice.
They scoured the forest for a week before finding the tribe’s encampment. They contemplated whether or not to attempt diplomacy, but the party’s leader–a cleric with much more experience than the rest of the group–decided that it wasn’t likely enough to work for them to sacrifice the element of surprise. They made plans, and launched a surprise attack.
They were slaughtered.
Maedhar awoke days later, bound in a tent. He wasn’t sure why he had been spared, because the last thing he remembered was seeing his compatriots hacked to pieces by the masterful barbarian warriors. He waited, unable to move, for some time before anyone came to check on him. The barbarian spoke a few words, but Maedhar didn’t understand his language. Then the barbarian pointed to Maedhar’s ring–which depicted a bear–and then to his own chest, which was tattooed with the silhouette of a roaring bear. Apparently the tribe viewed him as somehow connected to them, and had decided to spare him. At least, for a little while.
He was then unbound, and led through the village to a large hut, where a middle aged woman sat on a large chair. He was made to sit on the ground before her, while she questioned him in broken common. He gathered that they were the Tribe of the Dire Bear, and that she was their matriarch. They did not understand that this was the King’s forest, and did not accept that they were not allowed to hunt here.
During his questioning, Maedhar heard wet, sickly coughing from the corner. He looked, and saw a young boy laying on a mat on the ground, sweat covering his forehead. He asked what was wrong with him. The matriarch did not answer at first, staring at him in stony silence, contemplating whether to humor him. Finally she answered that the boy was her son, and that he was very sick. They had been unable to help him with any of their traditional remedies. Maedhar offered his help. Again, the matriarch considered, obviously distrusting of the violent outsider, but eventually allowed him to try.
Maedhar still had a few healing potions with him, given to him by his adventuring companion. He gently poured the magically healing liquid into the boy’s mouth, and he visibly improved instantly. He sat up, and quaffed the rest of the potion in a few large gulps. There was a murmuring in the hut, and the Matriarch approached Maedhar. She kissed him on the forehead, and said.
“Dire Bear send you to help us. You be Clan of Dire Bear now.”
Maedhar wished to return to civilization, but the matriarch would not have it. She said that he must stay with them, for he knew the location of their village. And, after seeing the brutal efficiency with which they fought, the bookish Maedhar was not inclined towards any foolish escape attempts.
It has been three years since Maedhar was accepted into the Tribe of the Dire Bear. In that time he has integrated himself fully into their society. He has married a woman, and has a young child of his own. He no longer wishes to return to civilization, but still views himself as a scholar.
Maedhar has not lost himself in barbarian culture. He is still a bookish fellow, without much interest in developing himself physically. However, he now holds community and family as paramount values, which he feels civilization has lost sight of.
He speaks boldly, and cares deeply for the members of the Tribe of the Dire Bear. He is also compassionate and welcoming towards outsiders, but is deeply distrusting of them at the same time.
He is always eager to study the spells or scrolls of Wizards he meets. A lack of magical study material is, he says, the only downside to living among the Tribe of the Dire Bear.
Maedhar is not a close quarters combatant, and he knows it. In battle, he lets his barbarian compatriots handle the direct combat, while he stays to the side and focuses on buffing them, and casting ranged damage spells such as Scorching Ray and Magic Missile.
If forced to fight alone, Maedhar will prefer to flee. If he can’t, he will cast Mage Armor and Shield, and quaff his Potion of Bear’s Endurance, before attempting to fell his enemies with his offense spells and clumsy dagger thrusts.
Thoughts on Use
Maedhar could show up in a game in a number of different ways. If your adventurers encounter a group of barbarians, the presence of Maedhar can provide an unexpected challenge. Not only is Wizardry an unusually skill to find amongst barbarians, but education is likewise uncommon. If your party is attempting to negotiate with the tribe to get them to leave the lands of Baron Hammak, Maedhar will be able to tell his barbarian cohorts that Baron Hammak is untrustworthy, thanks to his knowledge of the nobility.
Maedhar’s affluent family might also engage the PCs to find their son. They would likely believe him to be dead, but they might have heard tales of the wizard who lives amongst the barbarians.
Maedhar Krekpe (CR 3)
Male Human Wizard 4
Init +2; Senses Perception +0
AC 12, Flat Footed 10, Touch 12 [10 + Dex(2)]
hp 29 (4d6 + 2)
Fort +3 Ref +3 Will + 5
Melee Silver Dagger + 0 (1d4 – 2/19-20 x2)
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 4th; Concentration +7;)
2nd (3/Day)– Bear’s Endurance, Scorching Ray, Scorching Ray
1st (4/day)– Magic Missile, Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Shield
0 (At Will)– Acid Splash, Flare, Message, Message
Str 7 (-2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 14 (+2) Int 16 (+3) Wis 13 (+1) Cha 13 (+1)
Base Atk +2; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Scribe Scroll, Brew Potion, Metamagic: Empower Spell, Metamagic: Extend Spell
Skills Craft (Alchemy)(+10), Knowledge (Geography)(+10), Knowledge (History)(+10), Knowledge(Nobility)(+10) Spellcraft (+10)
Languages Common, Elven, Gnomish, Tribe of the Dire Bear Tongue
–Bonded Object: Masterwork quality silver ring, with a bear etched into it and gilded with gold. A single small emerald is set into the ring, serving as the bear’s eye.
—Evocation Specialist. Opposition Schools: Divination, Necromancy
—-Intense Spells: Evocation spells which deal HP damage have their damage increased by 1/2 the caster’s Wizard level.
—-Force Missiles: (6/day) As a standard action, you can unleash a force missile which automatically strikes a foe. The missile deals 1d4 points of damage, plus the damage from Intense Spells. This is a force effect.
Gear Fine Purple Robes, a few pieces of ornate silver jewelry, 2 Potions of Cure Light Wounds, 2 Potions of Bear’s Endurance, Small silver dagger
Level 0– Resistance, Acid Splash, Daze, Dancing Lights, Flare, Light , Ray of Frost, Ghost Sound, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Arcane Mark, Prestidigitation
Level 1– Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp, Mage Armor, Enlarge Person, Feather Fall, Magic Weapon, Shield
Level 2–Bear’s Endurance, Darkness, Gust of Wind, Scorching Ray