Monday, December 10, 2012

Heroes & Villains of The Known World: Bald William

So I had a thought the other day. Most game worlds have lots of heroes and villains. There are these two 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms book entitled the Heroes Lorebook and the Villains Lorebook (or something like that, too liquored up to care too much at the moment) and they were two of my favorite books back in 2nd Edition. Just page after page of legendary heroes or villains from Faerun. Drizzt, Elminster, Artemis Entreri, Finder Wyvernspur, Alias, Dragonbait, Bruenor, and so on and so forth. It was grand.

Now, I do have an NPC section in my campaign book. But it is small and only has a few guys in there. The majority of them are now retired (or dead, or cloned) player characters from the Rebellion Arc campaign. I think I am going to start doing a series of posts about heroes and villains of The Known World that aren't directly connected to my players or me. I think it'll help me flesh out the campaign world. I've always felt that The Known World is fairly light on history, so this is in part an excuse to throw out some myth and legend I guess. I dunno, we'll see. I'll play around with stuff until I get bored or distracted. What I do complete will get added to the campaign book. 

Bald William
68 year old Elduman Descended Uncout
Fighter (Armor Master) 7/Barbarian (Armored Hulk) 13
Strength: 19
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 21
Intelligence: 11
Wisdom: 9
Charisma: 12

Bald William was once Lord William of Lakeside in The New Empire. He was at one time one of the most trusted and well respected knights of The New Empire. He served Lord Menglen of the South Duchy with honor and much renown.

Lord William was something of a rogue among the knights and lords of The New Empire, as he eschewed the use of cavalry. His infantry were well trained and considered veteran warriors among the armed forces of The New Empire. They were not poorly armed and armored serfs that had exchanged their plowshares for swords. His infantry were heavily armored warriors typically clad in the heaviest plate available and wielding heavy maces.

In the year 9972 DK, William of Lakeside was ordered by Lord Menglen to capture Lord Menglen's eldest son. Lord Menglen's son was something of a rogue and sociopath and typically spent his time riding from town to town in the South Duchy tormenting serfs while drinking heavily and generally making a ruckus that disrupted the serfs and their work in the service of The New Empire. This had been his way of life for years, he was a noble's son so little could be done to curb his activities. Until he set fire to the town of Koren and its surrounding fields. Homes could be built and serfs could always be replaced, but the grain was irreplaceable in The New Empire's poor soil and strained economy. King Ranmel demanded action from Lord Menglen, and Lord Menglen had no choice but to send out his most loyal knight to recover his son.

William in turn called upon his most trusted men to enact his lord's will and they set out to bring this rebellious son to task. In a short time William and his men found Lord Menglen's son and his collection of sycophants and wastrels and put them to the sword, keeping the son alive. However, during the melee William took a blow to the skull that nearly shattered it like a melon and almost slew him. William had always been a hearty warrior of robust health and his lord dispatched his physicians to William's estate in the hopes of ensuring his survival. The convalescence was long, taking the better part of three years, but eventually William was recovered enough to once again bear armor and sword in the name of his lord.

After his recovery, William's head was a tangled mass of scars that no hair would grow from and he took to being called Bald William. In battle he would often descend into fits of screaming rage, his skill and toughness undiminished, but his tactics and foresight almost crippled. When out of battle, he was often found staring off into space or muttering under his breath while his fingers and hands tore some close at hand object apart. Physicians could do nothing for him, his wounds were healed and it was a miracle he could walk and talk and still manage his estate. For this behavioral development, they had no cure.

Over time, William's condition worsened and worsened, spending more and more time staring off into space or muttering bloodthirsty mumblings. In the year 9980 DK something snapped within William and he slaughtered his wife and children and set fire to his own estate. Most of Lakeside burned in the fires that followed, and a good portion of its serfs were murdered in the ensuing chaos, as most of William's men at arms assumed the serfs had revolted and that was why William was slaughtering them like some bloodthirsty reaver.

Some time after daybreak, William return to a close approximation of sanity and realized that the bloody ruin he had made of Lakeside would draw down the wrath of his lord and his king. He still had a few loyal men, granted, they were the more amoral ones under his command, but they were loyal and would follow him wherever he led. So he led them out of The New Empire and into The Wild Lands. William and his men were chased, but they'd reduced all of Lakeside to an ashen ruin, so a few more soldiers and psions of The New Empire put in their graves were nothing to really lose sleep over at that point.

Having no clear plan in mind, and not really being a planner anymore, William led his men west through The Wild Lands and into The Beast Lands. Being outsiders, they ran afoul of the Uncout and Greenskin Abraxen tribes dwelling there, and across the paths of a few of the great beasts as well. William was no longer a planner, but he and his men were still veteran warriors and they survived all their battles, though they did take casualties. 

After about six months of some very intense camping, William and his men crossed paths with Cenn the Reaver and his band of warriors. Bloodshed quickly followed and the furious melee left most of Williams men dead, but enough of Cenn's fell that the immortal warrior's interest was piqued. Cenn and  William quickly brought the battle to a halt and began a parley. At the end of it, another melee ensued and William and a few of his men fought their way into Cenn's band. 

A few bloody years of reaving ensued then, with William becoming a integral part of Cenn's warband. His leadership and skills in melee were still sound and his durability made him something of a legend to many in the band and he grew to have a strong following among them. In time William came to be third in command in Cenn's Reavers, with only Laram of Volungshemle and Cenn himself superior to him. 

When Cenn died at the hands of bards in 9996 DK his warband split up into many different factions. Laram of Volungshemle took all Children of Volung with him and he did not let any other races join his band. Other smaller chunks broke off from the mass as well, however one whole quarter of the band followed William. These reavers began calling themselves Baldy's Boys and work primarily for Kusseth in the constant warfare with the Vyanth around Camp Osfell. 

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