Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The warrior-mages of Gamagadhi

The oligarchy of Ghamagadhi is described in the Yoon Suin book, but as my players spent some time there, I had to expand upon it.  Here are the warrior-mages of Ghamagadhi

It has an unusual design, being built to resemble a crescent moon and four stars: the main part of the city forms the crescent, with the rear curve facing the mountains, and the four "stars" are fortresses arrayed in front of the crescent in a semi-circle, making the whole city vaguely circular in shape. The four fortresses represent the Azure Dragon, the Vermillion Bird, the White Tiger and the Black Tortoise respectively, and their gates and walls are decorated accordingly. Each is garrisoned by 133 eunuch fighters and led by a mage-warrior of some renown.
- Yoon Suin, p 274

The four fortresses guarding the city are places of power, and each warrior-mage is bound to it.  In exchange for binding themselves to the fortress and swearing fealty to the ruling family, they are granted long life and mystical protection.  Each warrior-mage usually serves for several decades, sometimes more than a century, but eventually they must find a successor and transfer the mantle.  The requirement for becoming a warden of the fortress are somewhat vague - the capacity to wield magic, martial prowess, and the willingness to serve the Oligarch.

Azure Dragon:  Gao Li, a seemingly middle-aged woman from Xinjiang.  She has been serving for almost a hundred years.  She is aloof and not interested in the local politics.  The other warrior-mage knows she is the strongest caster by far and respect her for it, but she disdains them somewhat, seeing their knowledge as insufficient.  She feels that she is nearing the limit of what she can learn in this position, and has begun giving thoughts to moving on.  She bears an ancient jian as her weapon of choice.  Her ultimate goal is to become an archmage.  The Azure Dragon sees to the persona guards of the Oligarch.
(5e build:  Wizard (blade dancer), level 10.  The position of Azure Dragon grants +1 to all saves and increases the Azure Dragon's spell DC by 1)

Black Tortoise:  Nikhil.  A sellsword who grew up in the oligarchies and who acquired a powerful blade in a game of chance.  He once got lost in the jungles of Lamarakh and stumbled upon a powerful asura, Kalanemi.   The asura, sensing his potential, trained him in obscure arcane arts and gifted him with a magical egg which grants good fortune, all this in exchange for future... favors.  Kalanemi told him that to increased his potential, he would have to serve as a warrior-mage for some time.   Nikhil is ambitious and suspicious of others, and has become restless in his position after nearly 50 years, and is actively searching for a successor.  His predecessor was Chagdun the Brown.  The Black Tortoise sees to internal security.
(5e build: level 3 fighter (battlemaster)/level 5 warlock (fey patron).   The position of Black Tortoise grants +1 to all saves and increases the warden's AC by 1)

White Tiger:  Has served the oligarchy for over 130 years and his original name has been lost, and is only know by his title.  An old but hulking man with a great white mane. He fights with a large elephant knife (a type of polearm).   His martial skills are suprased by none and his dedication to the job has earned him the respect of the others, although both the Azure Dragon and the Black Tortoise doubt his intelligence.  Originally from the 100 kingdom, his chief ambition is to do his duty and he is fiercely loyal.  His chief concern is external security, and he has forged an alliance with giants of the high passes.
(5e build Fighter 13 (Eldritch Knight). The position of White Tiger grants +1 to all saves and increases the warden's to-hit numbers by 1)

Vermillion Bird:  Madan the Crimson, originally from Sughd is a somewhat new arrival to the oligarchy, having earned the title less than a decade ago.  A startlingly beautiful man, he is graceful,  eloquent and vain, and currently is the favorite amongst many of the Oligarchy's nobility, although some privately wonder what he's up to.  They are correct in their suspicion, as Madan wishes to marry the daughter of the Oligarch and become the next ruler.  This is strictly forbidden, but Madan is patient and believes he will succeed.  The other warrior mages see him as a fop and doubt his competencies.  He supplies the guards that ward the Seraglio.
(5e build: Bard 7 (college of swords). The position of Vermillion Bird grants +1 to all saves and +1 dmg per dice on spells).

The oligarchy has a few other notable figures.

Sarbodaya:  The 2nd son of the Oligarch, and the effective leader, given the stupidity of the firstborn and the senility of the father.  He is in his late 20s but wise for his age.  Has a magic blade in a bejeweled scabbard trust through a green silk sash, and a star broach on his shoulder.   Wants the best for his oligarchy, his main concerns about finances and food supplies - he is confident that he will handle the succession, and trust the warrior-mages will handle defence issues. He is served by the chamberlain Vo Mang and by Dumat the Sage

The nameless one: A humble priest, who tends the great well in the middle of the valley.  Has sacrificed this name to the power in the well. Recent crop failures has lead him to fear that the well has been corrupted somehow and is busy doing sacrifices to appease the well spirit.  The well spirit is not a god, but an Elder water elemental, who *will* come out to defend his humble servitor.

Namarata:  The oligarchy is renowned for its grand Seraglio, the  Bronze Nymph, and Namarata runs the place.  A woman of unknown origins, seemingly in her 40s, she is rumored to be a sorceress given that she has been in this position for the last 80 years.  Rumors that some of her employees are nymphs are correct.  She is intelligence and wields considerable influence in the valley.  She is served by Ra U Nak, a long armed bald eunuch (the opium master) and by the head guard Samir, a eunuch warrior who is quietly in love with her.  She knows, but pretends not to notice.   

Dumat the Sage:  The Oligarch's house wizard, a man in his late thirties, originally from the Yellow City.  Dumat has a secret - he isn't a wizard at all, he is a "fraud" .  He fears being discovered, and constantly seeks more magical items (or money to aquire them) to keep up the appearances.  He has gathered so far a cape of billowing, a staff or display (which holds aloft a large pink crystal made of quartz with a continual flame spell upon it), a wand of detect magic, a ring of the ram and a number of potions.  He's also managed to master the spell of sleep, prestidigitation and dancing light.  Despite his deep insecurity, the Oligarch is satisfied with Dumat's services, as he's actually become a decent pseudo-caster by now and is fairly knowledgeable about all things magic.  Dumat is very in love with the nymph.
Dumat is served by Grum, the figment. Grum wears burlap robes and a rune-engraved bronze collar. Grum has existed for so long now that he has gained "realness" and now has 3 HD. Can cast grease 3/time a day, minor illusion at will, invisibility 3/day, stinking cloud 1/day.

No comments:

Post a Comment