Note: Margo is my dead PC from Brendan’s Vaults of Pahvelorn game. Since I’m taking some significant liberties with the setting, I avoided any direct references to locations or characters. But I still wanted to give credit where it is due.
Margo was born in a land where learning was scarce, and magic was feared. Books were more rare than gold, and far less valued. Margo didn’t have much of either growing up. All Margo had was something so common as to be nearly worthless: ambition. He knew from his teen years, without any doubt, that he was destined to become the greatest wizard the land had seen in centuries.
That ambition manged to catch the attention of a middle aged magician who was willing to teach Margo the basics of the magical arts. But the sum knowledge of his mentor’s entire life was not enough to slake Margo’s thirst for magical powers. By the time he was in his early twenties, he had determined that the only way he would ever achieve his goals would be to recover lost magical knowledge himself. He would delve beneath the earth, into forgotten dungeons left behind from greater civilizations long past. He would find the journals and tomes of the greatest wizards who had ever walked under the sun, and he would learn their secrets. He would surpass them, and he would be remembered for all time.He would have a tower filled with ancient tomes, and young wizards eons from now would learn spells such as “Margo’s Floating Tentacle,” or “Margo’s Black Disk,” or his favorite idea, “Margo’s flinging roof tile.”
Margo found a party to adventure with. Ruffians searching for something as paltry as gold. Margo had use for treasure, but only as financing to further his quest for power. But that suited Margo just fine. The last thing he needed was someone else vying for the tomes he sought. And his companions were no less ambitious than he was; they had no time for smaller expeditions, and the promise of only small rewards. The group traveled immediately to the dreaded pit, where countless adventurers had been lost before them. They boldly descended to one of the numerous entrances to that labyrinth beneath the earth. At first, everything seemed to go well for the group. They cleverly avoided deadly traps, defeated terrifying monsters, and aside from a scratch, a bruise, and a gutted hireling, no one was any worse for wear. They grew more confident, daring to delve ever deeper into the vaults, without losing the caution which had kept them alive this long. Everything went well.
Until they encountered the Necromancer.
The party was actually successful in that battle. They slew the necromancer before he could cast any of his more powerful spells, and were able to flee the scene before the numerous undead were able to devour them. But unfortunate Margo took a blow to the head from a skeleton’s fist, and fell to the ground unconscious. By the time they realized he was missing, his companions assumed their magic user was long dead.
In fact, Margo was taken by the undead, and dragged before a necromancer named Turlok The Unrestful. He offered Margo the chance to join him. He could study the powers of necromancy as Turlok’s pupil, to replace the one Margo and his companions had killed. Turlok even told the young magic user of the great army of undead monsters which had been sealed beneath the ground. Monsters he intended to unearth, and control. All the young mage needed to do was join him, and he too could command legions of the fearsome monsters, as Turlok’s vassal. Margo was tempted, the opportunity to study under a true master of the magical arts was all he had thought he wanted. But he was not so narrow minded as to be devoid of morals. Margo refused the necromancer, and in turn was sent to join the throng of slaves in digging tunnels.
Margo lost track of the time he spent in the dark tunnels, slaving alongside other captured adventurers. It would have been easier and cheaper to just kill them and raise them as skeletal diggers, but they surmised that Turlok enjoyed watching them slowly die from exhaustion and malnutrition, only to then raise them to serve as overseers to their former fellows. Escapes were attempted from time to time, but the labyrinthine, pitch black tunnels offered little hope for those who escaped. The only way out anyone could be sure of was back towards Turlok’s citadel, but that was even more suicidal than the tunnels were. After a few months, Margo didn’t even bother his mental exercises any longer. Magic had failed him, and he could die without its help.
It took years, but the diggers did finally reach the magical barrier holding the army of undead at bay. Dutifully, they cleared around it, opening enough space for Turlok the Unrestful to begin the dispelling rituals needed to unleash his hordes. As they cleared, they saw the monsters on the other sides clawing at them, waiting for a chance to tear them piece by piece.
Turlok arrived alone, looking about as gleeful as a Necromancer ever can. He began to scrawl a meticulous circle in the dirt. With the digging complete, Margo watched him quietly, waiting for his doom. The mad wizard’s bent form was detailing each rune with ominous precision. Margo looked down at his hands. They had been capable of such delicate work once. Now all they were good for was swinging the pickaxe he held.
Margo blinked. He looked around, confused. Then he stepped forward, and buried the pickaxe into Turlok’s brain. It was simple. Stupidly simple.
Without direction, the skeletal overseers began to attack their wards. But their attacks were random, and disorganized. The skeletons standing far enough away didn’t even seem to notice, merely wandering off aimlessly into the blackness. A few prisoners were killed, but the rest fled back towards Turlok’s citadel. From there it took them several weeks and a few more lost companions to find a route to the surface, but that was it. They were free.
His taste for magic lost, Margo staked a claim on a few acres of land to farm not far from the town he and his companions had supplied in years before. He even learned that they had become successful adventurers, and upstanding members of the community. But he did not go to see them. He didn’t need to. He was content just being under the sun again.
Margo Waggletongue (CR 4)
Male Human Wizard 1/Commoner 8
Init +2; Senses Perception +5
Note: Margo’s history has led to him losing many of the abilities which would normally be entitled to.
AC 8, Flat Footed 10, Touch 8 [10 + Dex(-2) ]
hp 37 (9d6 + 0)
Fort +2 Ref +0 Will +1
Melee Quarterstaff +5 (1d4 + 1)
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 1st; Concentration +3)
1st– Shocking Grasp
0 (at will)– Flare, Ray of Frost, Mending
Opposition Schools Necromancy, Divination
Str 13 (+1) Dex 07 (-2) Con 11 (+0) Int 14 (+2) Wis 09 (-1) Cha 08 (-1)
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 13
Feats Scribe Scroll, Improved Initiative, Combat Reflexes
Skills Knowledge(Arcana)(+3), Spellcraft(+3), Perception (+5)
Languages Common, Ancient Common, Draconic
Gear Simple leather clothes, 120gp, quarterstaff