The Hope of Erethor
Bonus Prestige Classes
In a land ruled by occupying forces, the ability to move around without attracting notice from the enemy can mean the difference between life and death for a trader, spy, or resistance organizer. The wanderer has an incredible insight into remaining out of sight, and an uncanny sense for answering questions before they’re asked or leaving town just before the orcs come knocking. Wanderers call the road their home, but usually remain inside one Shadow district that they know well, and have learned how to work the system in.
Hit Die: d6
Skills: 8 ranks each in Forgery, Bluff, and Diplomacy
Special: Must have an intimate familiarity with one Shadow District. This means either spending a significant amount of time exploring the area (~2 arcs), or being trained by a local insurgent familiar with these topics (~1 week).
Skill Points at Each Level: 8 + Int modifier
Class Skills: Appraise, Balance, bluff, climb, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spot, Swim, Tumble, Use Magic Device, Use Rope.
|1||+0||+0||+2||+2||Mental Map, Warning|
|2||+1||+0||+3||+3||Shadow Passage (+2)|
|4||+3||+1||+4||+4||Shadow Passage (+4)|
|6||+4||+2||+5||+5||Mental Map, Shadow Passage (+6)|
|8||+6||+2||+6||+6||Shadow Passage (+8)|
|9||+6||+3||+6||+6||Master Forger 10|
|10||+7||+3||+7||+7||Mental Map, Shadow Passage (+10)|
Mental Map (Ex): Each time the Wanderer gains this ability she must choose a Shadow District with which she has an intimate familiarity. She learns the important names to drop, what papers are required where, who can be bribed, and how to hide her paper trail. The district must satisfy the special requirement above before being chosen.
Warning (Su): The Wanderer knows when he has overstayed his welcome, and is able to leave the area before being discovered by the Shadow forces. When in any district he has a Mental Map for, the Wanderer is considered to have an [i]Alarm (Mental)[/i] spell on the entrance to the nearest orc garrison. The spell will only trigger when a search party of Shadow-forces leaves the garrison.
Shadow Passage (Ex): The Wanderer gains the listed bonus to the following skill checks when in any district she has a Mental Map for: Bluff, Diplomacy, Forgery, Gather Information and Knowledge (Shadow forces). The listed bonus is cumulative.
Local Trust (Ex): In any region the Wanderer has a Mental Map, she has been seen often enough by the local guards that they no longer require her to display papers, recognizing her (and any cohorts with her) as “legitamite” traders/message carriers/etc. This bonus does not apply to any non-local Shadow forces.
Insurgency Contact (Ex): By not attracting the notice or harrassment of the local guards, the Wanderer has attracted notice from local insurgent cells, who have reached out to him. In any town located in a district he has a Mental Map of, the Wanderer will have at least one contact into the local insurgency, who can offer safe housing, information, or even just a meal. However, these people will often request the Wanderer carry messages with them to the next town they will be going to. There is no such thing as a free lunch, anyway.
Master Forger (Su): At 5th level, the Wanderer gains the ability to forge any document for which she has access to an original, even if she cannot read or write that language normally. At 9th level, the forger is considered literate in any language she has a basic speaking competance in, and can forge documents from scratch in all these languages.
Author: Joe “Pheros” Masiero.
The Narandralud, The Husband-Guards
“There I see my bride,
Her arms red-hued with the blood of the accursed Fey, Her tusks red-hued with the blood of the weakling Men, She does the work of our God.”
“There I see my bride, Her hate sends the weak to cower,
Her hate freezes the sky,
Her hate fills my heart with strength.”
“There I see my bride,
Her belly full of my young,
The poison of her milk winnows the weak from the strong, I will not bend nor break, My hate for her is as shallow as a stream.”
- Chant of Marriage and War, the battle-song of the Narandralud
According to the laws and myths of the Odrendor, those priestesses who find favour with their Dark God are taken as His spiritual brides, becoming the kurasatch udareen, the Mother-wives. While they claim that all the children they bear are the progeny of Izrador himself, the truth is that the priestesses mate with carefully selected male warriors, champions and warchiefs. In the last forty years, just two generations of orcs, a new phenomena has arrisen; the cult of the narand udareen, roughly, ‘the husbands of the wives’. This group, called more commonly the Narandralud (Husband-Guards), is a band of male orc warriors of exceptional skill, who become bound to priestesses as life-long mates and guardians.
Many traditionalist kurastach udareen find this process abominable; by taking only one mate, you deny yourself the opportunity to mate with whichever warrior is strongest at the time, and you reduce the chance of producing the best and strongest offspring. Indeed, only a few of the more organized and ‘civilised’ tribes, those whom Izrador has been influencing towards a more lawful nature, employ this practise. Notable amongst the tribes that have Narandralud wed to their kurasatch udareen are: the Mother of Earth, the Sword Mother, the Blind Mother, the Mother of Lies, the Iron Mother, and the Dark Mother. Many others, the ‘wild’ tribes such as the Feral Mother, the Wolf Mother and the Moon Mother follow the belief that having a single mate is a practise worthy only of degenerate and weak tribes. Interestingly, the patriarchal orcs of the Pale Mother have nothing but contempt for the Naradralud, even though they represent a way for males to acheive great prestige in a female-dominated tribe.
Nevertheless, none can doubt the Narandralud are a fierce and powerful force; they overmatch almost all other orcs in martial skill, save a few great leaders such as the Fey-Killer and the One-Arm, and not many in the Elven army or the Resistance can stand up to them. Despite this, however, the Husband-Guard are an essentially reactive and defensive force, unsuited in temprament to launching raids due to their close bond with their priestess wives. Narandralud are seldom found away from the sides of their brides, prefering to remain close at hand to defend them during battle, ceremonies, and even in the day to day buisness of governing an orc warren. Many are wiser and more intelligent than other orcish males, and can provide good council to their mates, making them all the more valuable to keep near. The Narandralud try to keep each other appraised of the general situation of their brides, so that they may foresee greater threats and act to stop them.
Though there is virtually no central organization amongst them, and their leader is in name only, the Husband-Guards have marched to war before, gathering at the stronghold of the Dark Mother Tribe and bringing destruction to a conclave of Dwarven assassins who were training in secret to cut out the spiritual heart of their enemies by murdering the Mother-Wives in their lairs.
The truth that few know is that Izrador holds the Husband-Guards in high favour, as he Himself inspired their founding. They are part of his long term plan for placing a band of iron around Erenland, securing his reign for a thousand millenia, until the day he can Rise again to the heavens. By placing the seeds of orderly thought, strategy and long-term planning in the vile minds already primed with base cunning, raw hatred and blind obedience, He hopes to change the future of the orcish people, bending them closer to His will and making them a better tool for domination. The Narandralud represent Izrador’s vision of the future of the orcish people, an unyielding, single minded, dutiful army that will settle like an armoured shroud over Eredane, quenching the Light forever more.
In the high councils of Theros Obsidia, many Legates pour circumspect scorn on their God’s plans, seeing the orcs as incapable of rising above their bestial natures. Sunulael himself would dearly like to see this plan fail, as he wonders if even the Order of Shadow may become superfluous if a new breed of intelligent, devoted orcs is born…
There are three options for representing the Narandralud in rules-terms:
1) : Treat them as high level fighters (level 10+) with appropriate defensive feats.
2) : Use the Devoted Defender PrC from Sword and Fist.
3) : Treat them as a new Prestige Class, below.
Gender: Must be male.
Alignment: Any non-chaotic, non-good.
Feats: Alertness, Combat Expertise.
Skills: Healing 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks.
Special: The character must be wedded to a Mother-wife and swear an oath to defend her to the death.
Good Saves: Fort.
Skill Points/Level: 4 + Int mod.
Class Skills: As fighter, plus Diplomacy, Healing, Listen, Sense Motive and Spot.
1: Readiness, Link.
2: Devotion, Husband’s Fury.
3: Bonus Fighter Feat.
5: Dark God’s Favour.
6: Bonus Fighter Feat.
9: Bonus Fighter Feat.
Readiness: When within 50’ of his bride, a Narandralud is never surprised and gains a bonus to Initiative equal to her Cha mod.
Link: Once per day, the Narandralud can cast the equivalent of locate creature, except it has unlimited range and can only locate his bride. This spell-like ability takes a full minute to use.
Devotion: The Narandralud gains a +4 bonus to Will saves to resist enchantment spells and effects, but must voluntarily forego any and all Will saving throws against enchantment spells cast by any kurastach udareen (whether his bride or not).
Husband’s Fury: Once per day, the Narandralud may suffuse himself with the energy of Izrador in the name of defending his bride, entering a state similar to barbarian rage. In this state, he gains +4 Str and Con, and a +2 morale bonus to attacks and damage against those who directly threaten his bride. The Str and Con bonuses do not stack with barbarian rage. The husband’s fury lasts 10 rounds or until the bride is out of danger, and once it ends the Narandralud is fatigued.
Bloodbond: At this stage, the Narandralud is able to undergo the ritual that links the life forces of him and his bride. They are permanently linked by a shield other spell, so that the bride gains a +1 deflection bonus to AC and a +1 resistance bonus to saves, and meaning that half of all hit point damage the bride takes is dealt instead to her husband.
Dark God’s Favour: The Narandralud draws power from his bride, gaining a bonus to all saves equal to her Cha mod as long as he is within 50’ of her.
Potency: Any offspring fathered by the Narandralud with his bride are likely to be stronger and cleverer then their peers. They may reroll any two of their ability score rolls, and take the best result. Alternativly, if a point-buy character generation method is used, they gain +2 to any two ability scores, selected by the Narandralud at the time of birth.
Soulbond: Any spell of effect, such as being charmed, temporary ability damage, level draining or death effects (and many more) that affects the kurasatch udareen may, at her discretion, be shifted to the Narandralud instead. Against spells that shift target in this way, the Narandralud has a Spell Resistance of 10+class level.
- Limitations *: If a Narandralud fails to obey an important order by his bride, betrays her by adultery or becomes Chaotic in alignment, he looses all class abilities (except bonus feats) until she or one of her supriors in the kurasatch udareen grants him atonement. If she dies while he lives, the Narandracul is expected to take his own life as penance. If he does not, he will be hunted down and killed by his brothers in the Husband-Guards.