Unusual dwarf granted strange, infernal powers after tragic end to pioneering exploration. (I know the picture is unfinished. Shut up)
10 Strength (0 modifier)
21 Constitution (5 modifier)
10 Dexterity (0 modifier)
15 Intelligence ( 2 modifier)
10 Wisdom (0 modifier)
11 Charisma (0 modifier)
Bloodied at 24 HP
Surge restores 12 HP
Initiative and Movement
2 Initiative score
17 Passive Insight
12 Passive Perception
Melee Basic Attack: Morningstar
4 Attack Bonus
Dwarven Weapon Proficiency: Proficient with Hammers
Cast-Iron Stomach: +5 bonus to saving throws against poison
Encumbered Speed: Speed is not reduced by armor or a heavy load
Dwarven Resilience: Second Wind is a minor action
Stand Your Ground: When forced to move by an ability, can move 1 square less than the effect specifies. In addition, when an attack would knowk you prone, you can make an immediate saving throw to avoid falling prone.
Improved Dark One’s Blessing: Pact boon grants 3 additional temporary hit points
Glasya’s Rebuke: When dealing retaliation damage with Hellish Rebuke, deal 5 additional damage to an enemy within 5 squares of the target.
Killing Curse: Warlock’s curse dice increase from d6 to d8.
Eldritch Blast: Use Eldritch Blast as an at-will power and as a basic attack
Eldritch Blast Constitution: Use Constitution for Eldritch Blast
Infernal Pact: Grants Hellish Rebuke. When cursed foe is dropped to 0 hp, gain temporary hp equal to your level.
Prime Shot: If no allies are closer to the target than you, get +1 to ranged attacks against that target.
Shadow Walk: On your turn, if you move 3+ squares from starting square, gain concealment until end of your next turn.
Warlock’s Curse: Once per turn (minor), curse nearest foe you can see; deal extra damage to cursed foes.
You may call me Edgewalker. That is what I was, and what I suppose I still am. I once had a name, but it was taken from me by my clan. Even if they had not, I can no longer remember it. It has not been so long, but the madness in me stole away the memory of it, of who I was.
I was not an exceptional Dwarf in my past life. I was a member of the Stone Dog clan, and of a lower caste of excavators. I was assigned to minor expeditions into the deeps. They weren’t really for riches—the shallow mines were still plentiful with iron and gold. But there was hidden knowledge to be found, the remnants of a forgotten time. That was the idea of it, at least. It mostly involved killing critters that got too close and taking samples of ordinary-looking rocks.
Occasionally, we actually did find something interesting, though—the earth knows—this was very rare. On my last expedition, before my duties changed, we came across a massive cavern, miles and miles below the lowest levels of Dun Tyr, the city where I was born. In it we found a large altar, a wide shape with ragged sides, carved out of the floor of the cavern. The top was perfectly smooth and was large enough for three Dwarves to share it comfortably. Steps led down to it from all sides at right angles, making a basin in the floor of the cave. This was not common at all. It was very rare to find something that had been built by someone, but even more so to find something that wasn’t simply a lost Dwarven trinket. We had no idea who had built it or for what.
Of course, the archaeologists wanted to stay for a few days. They felt the urge to study it and figure out who made it for what purpose. I, frankly, didn’t care. All I had to do was work my pick and my mace. We made camp in the cavern, spreading out around the altar. The researchers did their work, speaking to each other in hushed, excited tones. The rest of us simply sat around lazily. Most of us fell asleep. The night was growing late. Even deep in the lifestone, we feel the sun’s passing in our bones, even if only the memory of it keeps our bodies going.
When I woke up, in what would have been the morning, no one else was up. Unusual. I stood up slowly and worked my mouth, unable to speak. The bodies were scattered around the camp. It was not a clean end. There was blood everywhere, and weapons lay scattered all over the floor. It looked as if a battle had taken place, but deathly quiet if I had slept through it.
I finally managed to call out, and a few of the bodies stirred. I ran to the nearest one and shook her while yelling for the others. A short matron with a strong jaw and thick muscles.. I would have been hard-pressed to claim her of the softer sex. She had no wounds, though her leather jerkin was beginning to stain with the blood of another. She jumped to her feet when she saw the spreading pool of gore at her side. Her face showed the horror that had me reeling inside my own head.
We joined the others in the basin of the altar. No blood had entered here. It seemed to spread around the lip of the stairs in a crimson polish that pushed against some unnatural wall. I counted nine. Nine confused and terrified Dwarves, including myself. Fifty-one had died in a battle that raged around our sleeping forms. Some of us wept openly. Some wore grim, stoic expressions. Some looked dazed, as if still trying to take in everything.
I couldn’t feel my face. It was terrible, and I could not tell how I was reacting. I was numb. I had no friends among the party when I left Dun Tyr. I don’t think I did even then, after sharing the horror with the eight others. But I learned their names and committed their faces to memory. I took in their pain and rage and fear and I remembered it. Even as the memories fade and blur, even as I tell my unreliable story pieced together from fragments, the madness will not take that. I will remember.
Rauthviss. The first Dwarf to wake after me. Homely. Strong. Her face is like stone. Balak. Tall, for a Dwarf. Thick, graying beard and wrinkled skin stretched over lean muscles. Balding. His axe dangles from his hands. His eyes seem glazed. Agamm. Young. Younger than me, even. He sniffs and wipes tears from his eyes. He quivers from the effort of not breaking down in front of everyone. Hafhrím. Scowling. Angry. Quiet. Kalya. Beautiful. Even by the standards of other races, I think. Young. My age, maybe. Her eyes are wet. She wants to cry. But determined. She imitates Rauthviss’ stony expression. The others… Three of them. I’ve forgotten their names. One is crying quietly into her hands. Almost laughter. Another is nervous. He tugs on his beard and rubs his arms. The last is gone. I see no life in his eyes. It frightens me. I notice that no one will look him in the eyes for too long. I will remember.
It did not take long to decide. What could we have done? We fled. We left our comrades lying in their grotesque pools and fled. We barely rested at all until we reached the outskirts of Dun Tyr. I wish I could have said that we reached the place safely.
The nameless one, with vacant eyes that have no light. He was nearly as tall as Balak, with dark skin and dark hair. He woke us with his nightmare screams for two days. We did not sleep often or for long, but he was lost in his terrors almost immediately after shutting his eyes. It was the only time anything ever came out of his mouth, and this made it so much worse. Something in his mind was torturing him, and we could not fairly blame him after what we had just escaped. We all took on new burdens when we left that cavern. I could not imagine how much worse it would have to be for my dreams to be always and forever haunted.
On the third day, Faldun—that was his name; I remember now. Faldun did not scream in his sleep. He quietly cast himself into a pit when everyone was resting. I saw him and could not say a word. I think we all saw him. Maybe we did not scream, but we all suffered in the night, enough to stay awake. There was some trauma in our heads. Some evil, some taint. What could I have said to convince him to live that would have been truth?
The taint grew weaker as we escaped the unseen tethers of the cavern. It was always there.. But we could sleep. We could close our eyes and, if not feel safe, at least feel willing. When we finally made it back to Dun Tyr, we frantically told our story to anyone who would listen. The clerics examined us, and claimed that there was a madness in us. Lunacy was eating at our memories and reason. But there was something else. I could do things, then. I had abilities that were rare in a Dwarf and that I surely did not have before the expedition. Fire and eldritch magics. Pain. Sacrifice. That was at the core. Sacrifice.
We were put to a use, the eight of us who lived. Battle mages, warlocks, crazy, powerful but unreliable tools for the Stone Dogs. We were all of these things. The clerics told us that we were walking a razor edge between sanity and insanity, between life and death. They claimed this was the source of our power. We had learned a new way to tap into the arcane by venturing into the darker parts of our minds. The balance fueled our power. They called us Edgewalkers. We fought alongside warriors. We hurt many enemies. We hurt ourselves. We walked along the brink, suffered and enjoyed the rewards of our danger.
I had never quite been a proper Dwarf, as the elders would say. I had never fit in very well. But it was just quirkiness. I was eccentric, but I still had my place in the Stone Dogs. When we became Edgewalkers, this was no longer the case. We were out of the clan in all but name. I have seen slaves in Human cities treated as the Edgewalkers were treated in Dun Tyr.
This did not sit well with me. I and two other Edgewalkers—Kalya and Balak—escaped into the Underdark. That was no way to live. So we left. We delved deeper and deeper into the stone, trying to find the altar again. I was convinced that the altar was responsible for everything. I tried to track it with the pain. I tried to feel the ebb and flow of the evil in the back of my head. We never found it. Balak finally faltered. To walk on this Edge is to live in desperation and danger. Balak risked too much. He reached too far, sacrificed too much. Kalya and I gave up on our search, reluctantly, and returned to Dun Tyr in frustration.
When we approached the gate, as haggard and tired as we had been after our escape from the massacre at the altar, the guards bared steel at the sight of us. We were not welcome, they said. We were traitors. We were too tired to comprehend them. I stood in a daze and stared at them, a slow, idiotic smile spreading across my face. Kalya continued her approach as if they had greeted us warmly. Voices. A small voice in the back of my head shouted at her and at me. It told me to grab her and run. Get out. Get away. Another voice, one I recognized from nightmares, screamed wordlessly. My battle instincts killed two guards before I realized what was happening. I fled, leaving Kalya’s body spread on the ground, as if seeking deliverance from the earth. I turned back, for a moment, and saw the light of hellfire reflected wetly off the ground around her. The memories before and after this moment are hazy. They are guessed, at best. But that remains clear.
I stumbled my way to the surface and tried to integrate myself as I could. I knew of other Dwarf clans that would probably take me in, but I did not want to be a simple tool for a new hand to wield. Any Dwarf could tell from a brief conversation that there is a strangeness to me, if not exactly what. They might not jump to the conclusion that I am an Edgewalker, though I’m sure tales of my old squad have spread, but they would know that something was off. This isn’t as much of a problem in the more racially diverse regions. I may be odd for a Dwarf but, as far as Men are concerned, all Dwarves are odd.
I learned to speak like people on the surface and found odd jobs where I could. I adopted Edgewalker as my name. My old name is lost, taken when I was exiled. A Dwarf without a name draws unwanted attention. A Dwarf warlock draws odd looks sometimes, as well, but people don’t trouble me much. I am strong in the art. Besides, no one turns away a good mercenary, and I am nothing if not that.