A House of Cards
Paladin of Ammonar, indigene from Blackmarsh, maternal cousin of Maedoc Templeburner
|Str||17||+2||Petri & Poly||14+|
|Int||13||+1||Poison & Death||13+|
|Wis||13||+1||Blast & Breath||15+|
|Dex||14||+1||Staffs & Wands||15+|
1 This is derived from +1 Dex modified, +1 Fighting Style: Weapon & Shield, +1 Shield and +6 Plate.
2 This is derived from +1 Dex modifier and +1 Alertness.
3 This is derived from +1 Alertness. and +1 Combat Reflexes.
4 This is derived from +2 Str modifier and +2 from? My Magic Eightball is hazy.
5 This is derived from +2 Dex modifier and who knows what.
|G||Adventuring||The character is well-equipped for a life of adventuring.|
|C||Alertness||+4 to Hear Noise & Detect Secret Doors; 18 + to Notice Secret Door on casual observation; +1 to avoid Surprise.|
|C||Fighting Style: Weapon & Shield||+1 to AC with shield.|
|C||Combat Reflexes||+1 to Surprise and Initiative rolls.|
|1||Aura of Protection||Paladin is protected from bad stuff, including dive-bombing pigeons.|
|2||Detect Evil||Concentrating for too damn long (i.e., 10 minutes) reveals presence of nearby evil.|
|3||Lay On Hands||Paladin can heal self or others once per day for two HP per level.|
|4||Sanctified Body||Paladin is immune to disease, including bedbugs.|
Is my cape on straight? Are my whiskers properly waxed? Is my helm sufficiently askew to to be fashionable while remaining serviceable? Is that dirt on my boot? This mail chaffes without my linen undergarments…
These events are always so taxing. Oh, is the curtain drawn? I didn’t notice…
A-hum. Good evening, young recruits. I have been tasked with relating to you how I came to be a Paladin of our most blessed Ammonar, and how I ended up in Blackmarsh those many years ago.
Raised in Blackmarsh, at the age of eight, at the behest of my maternal Aunt Industria Flo, my life was dedicated to serving the Temple of Ammonar. This dedication, my dedication, however, was not as forthcoming as is the truth from the deductive logics of Ammonar.
My father, Martinus Beneficent, though trained as an alchemist, was a practicing potter. As an alchemist, he found that he was better at spinning crockery for containing reagents than mixing up monster bile and hibiscus. Following what seems to have been a large explosion in the capital city, he found his way to the Town of Blackmarsh. There he developed his talent crafting sturdy containers for holding turnips and turnip by-products: pickled turnips, both spiced and plain; turnip wine (if it that foul-smelling sauce can be called that); and gingered turnips. (You should try the gingered turnips with a spot of dormouse. Truly delicious.) While not an indigene of Blackmarsh, my dear father was smitten with the local’s culture, especially its alcoholic arts. In an effort to better develop an understanding of the turnip’s chemical properties, he insinuated himself into various households known for their turnipy-prowess as he checked on his wares for defects.
In the process of doing so, he also seemed to have met the fairest Denzelia, my mother. Denzelia Turnipuskus hailed from a long-line of indigene turnip-growers, known for their luxuriantly-topped turnips. Anyway, she came to his kiln one day to complain that his pots had leaky waxen seals, allowing the turnip wine to evaporate rapidly. Martinus found this odd, as nobody else in the surrounding hamlets had ever expressed this problem with his seals. Curious, he followed the fetching Denzelia to her homestead. To his surprise, her parents were out attending to some questionable indigene ritual or another. (Probably farting on stones, or some nonsense, my father would tell me when I was older.) Undeterred, he examined the allegedly defective pots. While he noted nothing wrong, Denzelia had him sample the wine from many pots so that he might taste the difference between the spoiled and unspoiled wine…
This evidently led to them awakening the next morning together, a wanton tangle of nakedness and limbs, in the hayloft, with her numerous kinfolk eyeing the pair with unease. Fearing the ire of the trurnip faeries, my father was forbidden to see Denzelia. However, she regularly snuck into his kiln’s shack whenever she could. Underscoring their mutual affection, he would inspect the pots of her family’s neighbors whenever he could, and inadvertently yet repeatedly encounter her in secluded glens. Before long, Denzelia was with child, my oldest sister Martina. After a short ceremony, my mother, Denzelia Turnipuskus, was wed to Martinus Beneficent.
Little did my father know that he did the right thing, as indigene turnip growers are a violent lot, especially when one knocks up the young woman vetted to be the human sacrifice at the next turnip harvest. True to her first name, she provided many brothers and sisters. Of those who lived past their first year, there were four brothers and three sisters. I was her last child.
At this point you may well ask, “What in the Great Deducer’s Name is he going on about?” And I say this. As their last child, they had little interest in dedicating my life to Ammonar’s works. On the one hand, they knew that a life amongst the clergy of Ammonar would provide me experiences and opportunities I would never have if I remained in Blackmarsh. Furthermore, my exploits would grant them a degree of status beyond that held by my many relatives known for, among other things, their proclivity to grow the largest turnips (and turnip preserves and wine) found anywhere in the Empire.
However, as their youngest child, they treasured me. Additionally, while deep in his cups of turnip wine, my father told me not only did they love me deeply, but they thought my pleasant demeanor and capacity for hard work would provide another strong back amongst my four sisters and three brothers, either turning pots or pulling turnips.
What then led me to be here before you this fine evening? I am here to exemplify how the Great Deductions of Ammonar brought upon my parents an unpleasant affair that, in turn, led them to reconsider and even look favorably upon sending me to the Temple of Ammonar.
It was in the year that local landowners seized a great many turnip fields to plant with fruit trees. Indeed, it was a sour time. But this did not lead my parents to dedicate my life to Ammonar.
What led them to see the error of their ways? A maternal cousin of mine was accused of deliberately setting alight the Temple to the Fifteen in the very heart of Blackmarsh. Having been there at the time of the unfortunate incident, I attest that this was well and truly an accident resulting from the usual post-worship game of spin-the-lit-candle that many young worshippers (at least in Blackmarsh, before reaching the age of majority) were fond of playing in the alcoves. Saying this fire was set deliberately is like saying that the turnip-farmer’s principal goal is to feed nearby wildlife. Sheer nonsense, that is. It was well and truly an accident.
Anyway, while my mother’s family, thanks to public shame, acquired the moniker of ‘Temple-Burner’ instead of the famed ‘Turnipikus.’ In such a hostile environment, my parents thought it wise to accede to the wishes of my dear (and perhaps domineering) Aunt Inudstria. You see, at that time my cousin Maedoc had disappeared. At the time, we assumed she had been torn limb-from-limb by some particularly pious zealots.
I suspect now that dedicating me to Ammonar’s service was a way to make amends to the Fifteen. In any case, I have been dedicated to a life of righteous service.
What? I am done? I have no more time? But what of my insights into the paladin’s handbook, The Seven Deductive Virtues of Ammonar ?
Oh, bless you. I will make it quick.
Truly, we all know that Ammonar is the way of rectitude and forthrightness. Yet his words, as revealed in the Seven Deductive Virtues, are not as rectilinear as some of the old Inquisitors’ claim. No, in each place, the application of the virtues varies. In truly civilized realms, at the heart of the Empire, or perhaps in Mycenae hundreds of years before, the meaning of Ammonar’s words are exact. They must be followed to the letter.
However, as one ventures away from the pinnacle of civilization, Ammonar’s virtues must be interpreted with more suppleness, with more fluidity. “’Tis better to sow the seeds of civilization by overlooking minor failings than impose a foundation that will breed chaos,” as we know from our memorization of the third paragraph of the fifth scroll of The Seven Virtues of Ammonar. Indeed, there is evil. And there is EVIL.
What? You did not know I could bellow so? Don’t look so frightened. Are you not the righteous hands of Ammonar? Then stop cowerin, you milquetoast lads and lasses.
Lowercase e evil is the everyday sort of petty human folly. A farmer buggers his neighbor’s sheep. causing its wool to fall out. Idols to near powerless, half-forgotten cults to which the indigene leave small offerings every new moon. Drinking all the turnip wine before the Turnip festival. Entirely scoring the bark of wealthy landowners’ fruit trees because said trees were placed on your maternal uncle’s best turnip fields, at least before the fields were deceitfully appropriated. Such are examples of lowercase e evil I know from my youth. At times, especially on the outskirts of civilization, looking the other way might actually be the best thing one can do to extend the civilizing hand of Ammonar. Some things don’t really matter in the long run. ’"Tis better to bend now in a zephyr than break later in a hurricane," as the old texts say.
But some things do mater. Human sacrifices to old, malignant gods. Allowing abominations — trolls, harpies, beastmen — to live. Failing to pay taxes for the upkeep of common infrastructure. Lying to a magistrate. Breeding monsters for purposes of arcane curiosity. These all subvert the will of Ammonar. These, yes, all these, are examples of uppercase E EVIL.
And this is what we fight. Whether in turnip field, city or swamp, where you are matters, and it matters in how you interpret The Seven Deductive Virtues. Where others bring civilization to those places close to civilization, we defend it from the crawling chaos beyond the edges of our maps.
Go forth with this knowledge in Ammonar’s name.
What? Yes, I am done.
No, I desire no turnip wine. No, really. Thank you.