Baron Egor Malekov

2016-09-25

Name: Baron Egor Malekov
Race: vampire
Location: Tarzhov, Zarnova

One of the ruling vampires of Zarnova, Lord Malekov is also one of the less known and deliberately reclusive of the bunch. He is a member of The Roskov Ring – a ring of ruling lords commanded by the Vampire Queen Anya Voorish. He would rather he wasn’t but his former close alliances with the vampire queen have locked his unlife existence with the fate of her. Lord Malekov seeks no fame and doesn’t really care what history books say about him. He doesn’t share the vampire queens’ thirst for ever more power. He is quite happy living in his remote castle surrounded by restless wild life, untamed sea and fear infused trembling villagers of the nearby villages.

Lord Malekov rarely travels away from his castle near the small town of Tarzhov which is the capital of the barony. And when he does he is most probably going to or from The Castle Roskov where the vampire queen holds meetings for the ruling lords of the land. Lord Malekov holds many enemies – some of his feuds span over centuries and are still active – but his few friends are immensely powerful providing him pretty much free reign in his daily activities. He was a fierce adversary of the country’s former ruler Lich Lord Tomas Vladovych whom Lady Voorish “replaced” and Lord Malekov’s assistance in that coup d’etat was inherently important. However, the former ruler still has a strong following (mainly consisting of a group of his disciples) just watching and waiting for a change at retaliation. Lord Malekov is thus quite uncomfortable while outside the confines of his castle and uses whatever measures required to mask his traveling schedules and identity and always has a few trustworthy aides with him.

Lord Malekov is properly old. He is one of the eldest active vampires in existence and as such possesses amazing powers justifiably feared by the local townsfolk and denizens of nearby villages. His powers easily match and even surpass that of the vampire queen but he has no interest in ruling a country and no desire to attain a position that attracts the attention of foreign nations. In fact, he has an agenda to protect her interests fearing that should she be thrown out of The Castle Roskov, he would be forced to step in.

Many times during the last century the villagers have tried to burn his castle with him inside but somehow he has always been aware of these attempts and subverted them with very rough and brutal punishments to the ones leading the people to these activities. Lord Malekov has always had well paid spies on every village nearby and consider these a clever early warning system against threats both domestic and foreign. He oddly likes to see the villages do well and while of course it is handy to have fresh bodies available to quench the thirst for blood, he also treats the nearby inhabitants much better than he would have to. In fact, by proxies he donates back to the communities some of the taxes he collects and while not all people know of this, many do and those happen to be important individuals with power over the others in their respective communities.

A good strategy to keep human emotions at bay. And he doesn’t actually need the money anyway.

 

Eril Halgor Mundrek

2016-08-16

Name: Eril Halgor Mundrek
Race: Dwarf
Location: Fortress Egarmar, Pallor, Crovania

The dwarves of Crovania are a tight bunch and most are somehow – even if only by extended family members – linked to the Fortress Egarmar located at the heart of the Erildom of Pallor about three kilometers above the sea level resting on a mighty cliff protruding from one of the peaks of the Grellamur mountain. This is where pretty much all of the dwarven males of Crovania get their martial training. The dwarves of Crovania are extremely proud of the fact that their martial expertise has always been highly regarded not by people of Crovania only but the whole of Cresia. Saying out loud something akin to “I’ve trained at Fortress Egarmar.” will produce deeply respectful nods all around Cresia.

Eril Halgor Mundrek is the ruler of the erildom and calls the fortress as his home. He has lived half of his life surrounded by the bleak and inhospitable environment provided by the Grellamur mountain but he would not trade away even a single day. The fortress is his life and baby as well as he is not only the lord of the region but also the commander of the fortress. He participates in the daily life of the fortress as well by giving martial training to experienced veteran professional soldiers wishing to further master the art of killing. His specialties are improvised weapons, battling with broken equipment, disadvantageous positioning, combat with pole-arms and prolonged combat with heavy armor. He has gained actual combat experience in several campaigns over the years – including many conflicts between warlords in Gruenroth and border conflicts between Gruenroth and Zarnova.

Halgor is a man who extends respect to others possessing similar virtues he himself has; like stoic patience, discipline bordering insanity and candidness of speech. He is not afraid to say things as they are and respects others for doing the same even if they would insult or belittle something he values in the process. He has little support among the other erils of the kingdom but his position is still without a question one of utmost importance as he has easy access to an army of highly trained dwarven soldiers. Dwarves of Crovania even from other erildoms are trained free of charge and costs are covered by the erildom of Pallor and while nothing is required of them there and then, it’s expected that they remain in gratitude and support the fortress in any way they can for the rest of their lives. The fortress is open for other people as well but non-dwarves and persons from other countries are subjected to entry fees, training fees, lodging fees and upkeep fees … in other words for outsiders it is quite expensive to enter training in the fortress. However, the training there is brutally efficient, adaptive to modern world demands and offered by extremely skilled instructors many of which are retired and experienced combat veterans themselves. The fortress accepts trainees of all skill levels when it comes to local dwarves but imposes mandatory and dangerous testing for outsiders to determine if they can be accepted to train in the fortress.

Sir Welyk Paize

2015-08-22

Name: Sir Welyk Paize
Race: Human
Location: border regions of Groam and Zarnova

Formerly a leader of the mercenary group called The Eighteen Griffons, Sir Welyk Paize rose into fame after heroically saving the life of Lady Angelusia Wermander – the daughter to Lord Mortimer Wermander who is the high ambassador of Gruenroth to Groam and one of the chief counselors and a personal friend of the king of Groam. After that incident – which took place about 9 years ago – Sir Paize was recruited to the king’s guard but soon felt this new life was dull and uneventful and that life in the city with it’s comforts was for sissies and wimps. 8 years ago he was relieved of his guard duties and appointed to lead a newly formed military unit called The Emerald Unit. The unit is a first response group of stout warriors sent to deal with marauding undead creatures from the country of Zarnova. The unit operates in the border region of the two countries.

Sir Paize is a true warrior who lives and breathes action, adrenaline and combat. He does have a softer side to him in that he has a beautiful singing voice which he employs on still, cold nights after the duties of the day are over. Sir Paize leads his unit with a fervor and relentlessness but his men are hand picked by him and each and every man has had to prove their worth prior to being baptized in the unit. He enjoys the utmost respect among his men and his unit is well funded and supplied by the king himself who understands that all-out war with Zarnova is not in the best interests of the country but that still brutal force is required to send a message to the controllers of the intruding undead hordes.

Sir Paize is a skilled tactician and a logistical genius apart from being one of the best swordsmen in Groam to ever have existed. Little is known of his past and childhood but it’s needless to say his tough exterior started to grow at a young age.

He has an imposing figure of 190 cm and a rugged, weathered look in his face. His long reddish aubergine hair is a trademark of his and he usually wears his hair free-flowing.

 

Castle Roskov

2015-08-09 castle roskov

An illustration of a castle for a fantasy role-playing game setting.

Overview

Castle Roskov currently maintains the seat of power in the country of Zarnova. The castle is situated 15 kilometers directly inland from the city of Wila which is the capital city of Zarnova. The castle is home to the current ruler of Zarnova – the vampire queen Lady Anya Voorish herself.

Surroundings

Castle Roskov is situated in an extremely hard to reach place deep within unnaturally dense forest of spruces. The forest goes on for kilometers in every direction around the castle. A number of the spruces tower to heights of 120 meters shadowing the highest spires of the castle quite easily. Thus the castle is not visible from above the canopy of the forest lest one is close enough to the clearing that houses the castle.

Architecture

The castle is built from local stone excavated from the mountains to the west. The quarries are no longer active but still have a hefty supply of cut stone slabs that can be worked when replacement stones are needed in the castle. The workmanship of the castle is extraordinary – the castle was built to last. The general architectural style follows that of established Groam -influenced style that has been prevalent for hundreds of years and that is followed by many of even the newly built castles.

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Court yards and gate houses

The castle has an outer court yard which is secluded from the inner court yard by a secondary gate house which makes attacking the actual castle buildings extremely hard. Both gate houses have portcullises and heavy oaken doors. No other apparent entrances to the inner yard exists. The gate house complexes both house only defensive paraphernalia and positions but under the current rule are mostly empty spaces since the undead defenders of the castle can’t boil oil,operate ballistae etc.

Towers and walls

The corner towers are vast and each house living quarters and storage areas as well as defensive positions. The battlements of the castle walls are not covered and the bailey of the castle is part of the castle walls making the walkways on top of the walls harder to operate as there’s no way to walk around the castle perimeters via walkways only. The battlements protrude outwards slightly making it easier to counter attack any climbers. The walls contain rooms and corridors inside of them and defensive slits allow the defenders to fire heavier anti-siege weapons from within but the current castle house no such items – the rooms are now mainly storage areas for arrows, halberds, swords and such items that the undead defenders are able to use.

Bailey and keep

The keep is a 5-story structure with a roof designed for several catapults. None exists currently. The lower floors of the keep are the vampire queen’s main living quarters and the top levels are off-limits to all except the vampire queen. The entrance to underground sections is through the keep only. The bailey is truly a remarkably spacey and even luxurious: the lower floor houses a kitchen and main hall and grand stairs to all the other floors – 3 of them and the attic. The hall is open in the middle for all stories and each story has an impressive walkway circling the entire space – and has yet enough room to house several dozens of rooms that are living quarters. Servants and workers live in the two floors that form the attic and have there quite spacious and comfortable living quarters. Bailey has it’s own small underground section accessible from kitchen and contains the food supplies of the castle. Another bigger underground section was built for excrement and it’s accessible from the inner courtyard (the compost can be removed and used as fertilizer).

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Church

The original builders of the castle had need for a church. The church has separate inner temples for each deity of the old Phylar pantheon and a central hall. The church is now used as storage space and in a state of sad disrepair and neglect. The vampire queen has never been seen entering the church and many say that the ancient sanctum still repels the undead from ever entering the church without burning to ashes. The church has a tiny underground section of it’s own and contains merely crypts of various ages. Entrances to the various crypts and corridors are cemented and sealed shut by the order of the vampire queen and nothing much is known as to who were buried there centuries ago. The church still contains vast treasures of the Theocracy of Phylar period but while the maintenance crew see them daily, none have yet had the courage to steal any of the artifacts. The items seem irrelevant to the vampire queen while she does understand their monetary value.

Other buildings

The inner court yard contains but a few other buildings. The stables can house a few dozen horses, three piggeries and two chicken yards have been built next to the stables under makeshift lean-to structures facing the wall. There are a few dozen chickens, goats, lambs and pigs roaming freely in the inner courtyard. Their well being is under the care of the maintenance crew.

Residents

Maintenance crew, cooks and healers

There are only a handful of (living, that is!) permanent residents in the castle. The castle grounds and environs are maintained by a crew of 12 humans hand picked by the vampire queen and well-rewarded for their creepy duty among the undead creatures lurking in the castle. The crew are on the castle grounds 12 hours a day from dawn and return to Wila via horse drawn carts come dusk. While not a coveted position by any means, the crew do get so amply rewarded that each month they bring home a salary surpassing a farmer family’s annual income. Cooks and doctors are part of the maintenance crew and their job is to prepare meals to the blood supply -members (see below) and see that they are physically well.

The Roskov Ring

Castle Roskov has a large meeting hall in it’s heart. This hall is the closest to government of Zarnova. The vampire queen keeps a retinue of powerful individuals as her aides to control and rule the country. This retinue comprises of 7 members and have regular meetings in the castle regarding matters of state. Some of them occasionally stay for longer periods of time and many bring aides, cooks, drivers, slaves or servants of their own easily surpassing a hundred persons combined when The Roskov Ring convenes. More about The Roskov Ring.

The vampire queen Lady Anya Voorish

The main resident is of course the vampire queen herself. She lives in the castle and only rarely ventures outside. She takes maybe a tour or two around Zarnova annually conducting state matters, requisitioning blood supplies and making her power known to the land lords and commoners alike. Those tours take perhaps a month or two in total but are never scheduled beforehand or timed with any other precision than the vampire queen’s whim. She lives the entire castle and has no preferred dungeon, hall, tower or room. It is therefore impossible to predict where within the castle premises she is located at any given time – excepting the church which she shuns.

The blood supply

A group of 35 to 55 young(ish) adult males (of any race) call the castle their home now. They are all housed in the big bailey. These are the personal slaves of the vampire queen from which she takes her nourishment of fresh blood whenever she so desires and may even offer their blood to other vampires visiting the castle. The men are exclusively picked up by the vampire queen from around the country. They are not allowed to leave the castle – they are essentially prisoners. The alluring magic of the vampire queen further enhances the men’s subjugation but she also treats these men well since the quality of blood is of importance to her. The men are clothed well and attend to maintenance of the castle as much or little as they themselves desire. The men eat regular and well-balanced meals, they can engage in whatever activities they wish inside castle walls (such as healthy sports games in the spacious outer court yard) and the vampire queen has sex with the men to give them pleasure (even orgies with the vampire queen as a center piece are not uncommon) or arranges courtesan visits to the castle. Men that do not accept her rules she just sucks dry and tosses to a pile of corpses down below ground. When she bores with the taste of individual members of the blood supply, she usually releases them from her clutch and sends them back home with a monetary compensation ranging from meager to extravagant depending on how she felt about that individual. This is to encourage the people of the land to accept this strange and foul practice instead of resisting it. After all, should the men never return home, their families would most certainly rebel against her rule. Of the men who return home, most regard their time in the castle as “wonderful” and “well spent” but don’t actually seem to remember the presence of undead creatures and oddly have a greatly distorted memory of how the vampire queen looks and feels. As if they are still under some sort of charm or spell. The memories of the castle fade into oblivion entirely as time passes on.

Defenses

Apart from being in a location surrounded by nigh impenetrable forest, the castle is also well protected by way of combatants of the undead sort. The vampire queen maintains an army of rotting corpses and skeletons manning the gatehouse, towers and parapets. They require no sustenance and sleep, do not care for the omnipresent mosquitoes, never leave their post to take a pee and observe their surroundings with relentlessness and unnatural senses unhindered by foul weather. Half of these unholy warriors are armed with bows and half with melee weapons. They are not competent enough to maintain or work traditional defense methods such as hot oil, fire arrows, ballistae or tar and hence the castle has none of these implemented. Aerial defenses are non-existent but the castle grounds are well built and quite resilient to aerial bombarding by larger creatures dropping stones, caskets of burning oil etc. The number of undead defenders is impossible to guess since the vampire queen may have hundreds of corpses rotting in piles deep beneath the castle in special chambers. They are there just waiting to be animated into duty. A sort of reserve. The undead creatures do not care for any person they are instructed to ignore and will let all those go about their business unhindered – perhaps a turning of the skull, shifting of the pose or a rattling of the teeth making them know that they are indeed sensed but ordered to be ignored. It is uncertain whether or not the vampire queen can spy about using the senses of any undead creature she has animated. Such is the story anyway.

Weaknesses

There is no moat around the castle. The forest has grown quite close to the castle and the closest tree branches literally touch the castle walls. The proximity of big trees to the walls is giving possible attackers an easy vector in trying to climb the walls. Although the forest is extremely dense, the trees can be climbed and somewhat limited view from inside castle can be gained. Also the thick forests make for an excellent cover for attackers and observers alike. However, the local populace avoid the forest and say that it is somehow under the vampire queen’s control. This may just be superstition but the fact remains that the trees in the area are quite much older, bigger, twisted and denser than similar trees only some kilometers away.

 

 

Baron Samael Ivorin, Cult of the Black Flame Sorcerer

2012-05-21

Name: Baron Samael Ivorin
Race: Human
Location: WilaZarnova

A known member of The Cult of the Black Flame, Samael is also the supreme commander of the royal guard of Zarnova – the so called Hammer of Zarnova. The elite guard unit is located in the capitol city of Zarnova, Wila, and is housed at the center of the city at the Castle Wila with it’s infamous dungeons and dozen high-rise spires each housing a gas fueled beacon fire visible 15 kilometers to the Mare Nicasos sea. Baron Ivorin is not the ruler of the city and neither he wishes to be. His interests lie elsewhere – in the dark and dangerous path towards even more hidden secrets of The Cult of the Black Flame.

While a formidable sorcerer, Samael is still believed to be in a relatively minor position in the cult he follows although that is merely hear-say and probably goes unsubstantiated until such a time the cult reveals it’s true feathers. Baron Ivorin lives in the Castle Wila nowadays and has established a personal lair deep down in the labyrinthine dungeons below the castle. Rumor has it that the lair is well protected by traps and magic.

Baron Ivorin is known to excel in the magical arts of Chronomancy and Cosmology. His lack of skill in necromancy and summoning arts is probably the only factor that keeps him from attaining a counselor position in Castle Roskov where the ruler of the land, the infamous vampire queen Anya Voorish maintains her seat of power and houses a council of 7 members (The Roskov Ring) in aiding her iron rule of the country.

Temur Soxion

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Name: Temur Soxion
Race: Human
Location: Gruenroth (or where ever princess Leana travels)

Temur is the chief of princess Leana Baerwyn‘s personal bodyguards. He owes his life to king Werner Baerwyn and has vowed a life of servitude to him and by extension to his family. Temur has a history of violence back to his early childhood in the restless mountainous regions between Gruenroth and Zarnova. He was orphaned at an early age and adopted to a reclusive monastery located near the once bustling community of Ilven. The monastery was later ruined by a dangerous shadowy spider cult led by priestess Chya of Zarnovan origin whose influence is thankfully now shifted to warmer climates of Caheb. Temur spent ten years fighting against unspeakable creatures of Zarnovan source at the mountains and eventually joined Gruenroth‘s standing military at the age of 19.

He quickly rose in the ranks as he already had a decade of actual combat experience under his belt whilst most of his superiors lacked the power and skills to even subdue him. While the country is officially living a peaceful interlude in it’s history, the eastern mountainous regions are in actuality a veritable fountain of bloody skirmishes extending the entire border’s length of thousands of kilometers. And have been for quite some time. Total war is held at bay only because the region is just too damned difficult for either country’s armies to deal with (logistically or strategically) and the mountains also hide indigenous dangers hostile to all outsiders as well.

Years went by and eventually Temur commanded the entire standing army of eastern Gruenroth as a general appointed by the king himself. He was hand-picked by the king to his personal guard unit of elite warriors and gladly accepted the challenge leaving the army at an age of 40 and now holds a honorary title of Grand General of Gruenroth. He then quickly outmaneuvered his younger comrades and rose to lead the body guard unit nowadays simply known as The Soxions. When the king’s eldest daughter Lady Leana exhibited signs of interest to travelling the lands, the king appointed Temur to permanently body guard Lady Leana and on that mission Temur is still today. Lady Leana and Temur are good friends now sharing many common beliefs and a quirky, yet benevolent, sense of humor. Both also exhibit a similar appetite to righting wrongs – all in all this makes Temur content, pleased, proud and honored by his position.

Temur is deep, enigmatic, quiet, thoughtful and careful in his choice of words. He is the literal old wise man but also a warrior that can punch your lights out if need be.

Baron Benedikt Zolov

2013-06-24

 

Name: Baron Benedikt Zolov
Race: originally human (presumed deceased and is now some form of undead creature)
Location: Zolov, Zarnova

Not much is known about Baron Zolov as few mortals now dare enter the once-bustling trade town of Zolov that has been turned into a maggot-infested hive of undead abominations under the relentless rule of the baron. Located deep into the mountains in a hard-to-reach location almost 2 miles above the sea level, the town is not only remote, it’s positively secluded. The trade town was once an important way point for trade routes going over the mountainous regions between Zarnova and Gruenroth, but two decades ago things rapidly changed as baron Zolov simply took over the region backed up by Zarnova’s vampire queen Anya Voorish.

As Zolov’s residents were converted from living beings into hideous undead creatures, trade caravans no longer considered it a good idea to stop there and currently most of the trade routes using that region have faded into oblivion. The area still has good routes when one wishes to cross the mountains, but anyone familiar with the area would warn any and all travelers to simply avoid those routes and should anyone be fool enough to ignore those warnings, they most certainly would not rent their services as guides.

The exact nature of the former residents of Zolov is under debate and no reliable witness statements have been made in several years. In Gruenroth the whole idea of those undead creatures crawling on their borders is an unsettling one but so far the creatures have not expanded  their influence westwards of the bordering mountains. Baron Zolov maintains a stone fortress right in the heart of the old town – in a location that used to house a bustling marketplace. The fortress was built using the undead creatures as slave labor and much of the building materials originate from other buildings of Zolov rendering most of the entire town’s buildings as mere ruins further ruined by neglect and the harsh climate.

Baron Zolov is one of the vampire queen’s advisors in her ruling circle known as The Roskov Ring.