Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Winter Is Coming- New Monster [D&D 4e] The Iceshard Skeleton

This is a second entry in response to T.W. Wombat's  Winter Is Coming RPG Blog Festival.

The Arnerian Empire once stretched across thousands of miles in the furthest north, but now resides only in legend. Before their slow and steady invasion of their more southerly neighbors, it was assumed that nobody, and nothing, could survive in the impossibly high and hostile mountains known, aptly, as the Roof of the World. Tales of the brutality and unforgiving nature of the Arnerian Empire have been passed down from generation to generation and survived, even when descriptions of their people and their cities have been lost to the ages. Nothing, however, stands out as much in the imagination as the strange and terrible tales of the dark magic that the Arnerians were said to control. It is said that even the gods feared the powers that were under the Arnerians’ command; that their powers came directly from those beings from outside the gods’ domains, from the strange and terrible beings that occupy what we now call the Far Realm.

The secrets of the corrupt magic dreamed up by the Sages of the Arnerian Empire have been lost, many would say thankfully, forever, but their legacy in their creations remains. The most fearsome and terrible of their ranks were their Frost Giant slaves, magically bound to guard their lands, and tortured until death if they refused to obey or became derelict in their duties. But the torture for the Arnerian Frost Giants did not end at death: the Arnerian Sages had the flesh stripped from the giants’ bones, and then reanimated them in a state of undeath so they could continue to serve even beyond the length of their own lives. Any mind or spirit left from the Frost Giants were irrevocably lost; the giant skeletal forms did not recognize kin or kind, only the need to kill instilled in them by their masters, and the will to obey even the most terrible of commands. With the Arnerian Empire destroyed and lost beneath the shifting snow, the skeletal giants continue in their duties, directionless, without an empire to protect or commands to fulfill. Usually, the presence of one or more of these monsters is the only indication that there ever could have been a citadel or tower amidst the wastes, sometimes standing without moving for hundreds of years.

At first, the Frost Giants of the Verdenstak Mountains made war upon the abominations. Directly succeeding the downfall of the Arnerians, the giants sought revenge for their enslavement, laying waste to their wasted cities and trying to destroy everything that they had created. However, it became soon evident that wherever the skeletal monsters were felled, they seemed to eventually rise back from the rubble, and then even the giants began to shun the accursed lands. Now nothing walks among the peaks and passes at the Roof of the World, abandoned even by those who would wish to call these lands home. All the time, the silent, unmoving, unthinking guardians of the carcass of the Arnerian Empire remain, ready to confront any who dare trespass in their forgotten lands.

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