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Kor Bloodaxe and Otis Benbough: Agents of Hextor in the Gran March
Posted on Mon, July 30, 2007 by Farcluun
TwiceBorn writes "

The shadow of Hextor lurks in the highlands of the Gran March.  But what makes some folk embrace the path of Evil in a land that is dedicated the virtues of chivalry, honour and justice?  This article provides a background for Kor Bloodaxe, Priest of Hextor, and his halfling henchman, Otis Benbough, two villains that appeared in a “Greyhawk Lite” adventure in Dungeon titled “Evil Unearthed.”


Kor Bloodaxe and Otis Benbough: Agents of Hextor in the Gran March



Kor Bloodaxe (a.k.a. Arrias the Young), Male Clr 5 (Hextor)

Upbringing

Kor Bloodaxe, priest of Hextor, once went by the name of Arrias the Young.  He was born in Oldkeep—a hamlet in the Lorridges near the Gran March’s unmarked border with Bissel—in the mid-540s CY, the middle son of a peasant family.[1]  Arrias was a very bright, hardworking and curious boy who always wanted to know more of the world around him.  He grew up listening to mythical tales of the gods (and of Heironeous in particular), and of the heroic Knights of the March that had tamed the land that his family had called home for centuries.  He was especially fascinated by the tales concerning the struggle for Castle Overlook, located a day’s ride west on the outskirts of the hamlet of Brookhollow, of the unspeakable evil that had been bound beneath its ruins, and of the magical devastation that created the Ashen Waste.[2]  Unbeknownst to him, the tales he grew up on consisted primarily of fiction rather than truth, but they nevertheless had fed his imagination and his desire to one day become a servant of Heironeous. 


As the middle son in a family with three boys, Arrias frequently got in fights with his brothers, and felt that his parents always favoured his other siblings when doling out punishment (or privileges).  Despite the fact that Arrias shared his father’s name, his older brother, the firstborn, was his father’s favourite, while his younger brother was his mother’s favourite… or so he thought.  This jealousy created in Arrias an intense mix of love and hate towards his parents and siblings.


Every year, Arrias’s family (and much of Oldkeep’s tiny populace) would travel to Brookhollow on important holidays in order to partake in ceremonies held in the Temple of Valour, which was the Heironean chapel closest to Oldkeep.  The trip also gave the townsfolk an opportunity to visit friends and relatives, to catch up on rumours and gossip, and for young folk (and potential mates) to become acquainted with one another.  Arrias always felt awe while inside Brookhollow’s chapel, and his awe only increased as Father Darion told him more about its mysterious history and the significance of the ancient iconography within its walls, without ever revealing the deeper truth about the site and its unusual art.[3]  The old priest had always been kind and patient with Arrias, always made him feel welcome, and was most impressed by the young lad’s inquisitiveness.  In many ways, Arrias felt a stronger bond with the old priest than with his own parents.  Also, though Father Darion never flaunted this, it was well known among townsfolk in both Oldkeep and Brookhollow that the elderly priest was one of the Valorous One’s chosen, that he could work miracles. 


Whenever he was in Brookhollow, Arrias also would take the opportunity to sneak up to the ruins of Castle Overlook.  Father Darion had discouraged him from going up there, and avoided discussing the details of its history, or whether an ancient evil indeed had been bound beneath the ruins.  Some townsfolk, including Brookhollow’s blacksmith—Kerwin Colby—swore there was something unwholesome and unsettling about the place, even though he denied believing in stories about monsters and forgotten treasures buried beneath the fallen castle’s foundations.[4]  Arrias also felt something unusual about the place, and spent endless nights dreaming of its unfathomable denizens.  Arrias begged Father Darion to take him under his wing as an acolyte.  As Arrias neared his fifteenth birthday, and as his day of mustering drew nearer, Father Darion reached an agreement with his superiors in Red Arbour and Hookhill, and also with Arrias’s family, which would allow the boy to fulfil his military service as an acolyte of Heironeous in Brookhollow. 



In the service of Heironeous

Arrias was an obedient pupil, and though he still thought much on the mysteries of Castle Overlook, he refrained from visiting the place or asking too many questions.  One day, as he was cleaning the rooms of the chapel, he stumbled upon some of Father Darion’s old scrolls, which described the devils, undead, and other summoned creatures that reportedly were bound beneath the castle ruins, along with buried treasures.[5]  The scroll also alluded cryptically to the necromantic followers of an unnamed sorcerer V_______.  The information contained within the scrolls shed a modicum of light on some of the unique and seemingly Flan-influenced Heironean iconography found within the Temple of Valour, which depicted a sorcerer, a red dragon, and a mighty warrior in bronze armour in battle before Castle Overlook.[6]  Was the sorcerer this mysterious V_____, and did he summon the creatures that now lurked beneath the castle?  Fortunately for Arrias, Father Darion had not looked at those scrolls in years, and never noticed that his acolyte stole and substituted them on impulse with worthless documents.  At first, Arrias was terrified by what he had learned, and also by the thought of getting caught.  Then, over the course of months, he had resolved to develop the power that would enable him to slay once and for all the beasts that slumbered underneath the ruined castle. 


Tragedy, and a pilgrimage to Nyrond

Tragedy struck near the end of Arrias’s third year as an acolyte.  A Kettish warrior known only as the Fire Lord and his horde of cutthroats called the Brigands of the Flame had burned a swath across Bissel, and established a hidden lair in a cave complex at the foot of the Lortmil Mountains, a day’s ride or so from Oldkeep.[7]  It was only a matter of time until the Brigands raided the hamlet.  And when they did, nearly a quarter of the villagers, including Arrias’s parents and brothers, were slaughtered.  Despite his antipathy toward his family, the news shocked Arrias to the point that he lost the power of speech for months to come.  Within weeks of the tragedy, Father Darion sent the lad away on a pilgrimage to the distant city of Rel Mord in the Kingdom of Nyrond.  The benevolent priest only wished to turn his pupil’s mind away from the pain he felt, and wanted to use the unfortunate event as a way to reinvigorate Arrias’s dedication to the Church of Heironeous.  He would follow in the footsteps of St. Ferrante, the first prophet and saint of the Heironean faith in the Flanaess.[8]  He would see the borders of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, where Knights of Heironeous and Hextor once served the same Overking, until it became clear that the ruthless ways of the Hextorians could never be justified and that an overt conflict within the kingdom’s forces was inevitable.  To this day, the clash between Heironeans and Hextorians, between good and evil, remains most evident in the on-going conflict between the Kingdom of Nyrond (and its allies in Almor) and the Great Kingdom of Aerdy.[9]  The degeneracy, fiend worship, and political decline of the latter would demonstrate to the vulnerable lad what happens to nations that adhere to the tenets of evil gods, and confirm the continuing need to uphold the banner of Heironeous in places like the Gran March and Bissel—especially when confronted by the wrongs committed by the likes of the Brigands of the Flame.


The journey to Rel Mord took many months because the pilgrims took long detours in order to visit other centres of Heironean worship, including temples in Thornward, Mitrik, Chendl, Critwall, the Free City of Greyhawk, and Radigast City, as well as lesser known sites of religious or historical significance.  At least they travelled in safety with an escort of Knights Hospitalier.  Throughout the journey, Arrias felt only confusion in his mind.  On the one hand, the sites he witnessed, the history he soaked up, and the people he met truly were inspirational.  Having spent his entire life within the same small barony between the hamlets of Oldkeep and Brookhollow (with the occasional trip to the market in Oakhurst or to Red Arbour for church business), the size of the cities the pilgrims visited truly amazed Arrias. On the other hand, he remained torn by grief for the loss of his family, saddened by his sudden departure from Brookhollow, and in constant reflection concerning what else might have been done to save his family—and what lessons he might take away from his ordeal.


Rel Mord and Nyrond’s eastern front did not disappoint.  Yet Arrias’s time in this region also produced unexpected changes in the young man.  He chose to stay in Rel Mord long after the rest of the pilgrims decided to return home (or go their separate ways), gratefully making use of the inexpensive retreat within the Bastion of Faith, the greatest of all Heironean temples in the Flanaess.[10]   He soon befriended a street urchin by the name of Marinel who, over a period of weeks, told Arrias about much of Rel Mord’s “secret history,” “secret places,” and sordid tales concerning its important personages.  She showed him places of historical and religious interest that he missed while he was with the other pilgrims, and introduced him to locals of astonishingly diverse backgrounds, many of whom were as curious about his pilgrimage and place of origin as he was about their city and country.  Indeed, many of these new contacts had never even heard of the Gran March (though most were familiar with its southern and more powerful neighbour, the Kingdom of Keoland). 



Invitation to Rauxes

One of the persons whom Marinel introduced to Arrias was Lucius Albius, an amiable “mercenary” who wondered just how open the young Marcher would be to considering “different points of view,” and whether he would be interested in visiting the majestic capital of the Great Kingdom, Rauxes.  His curiosity aroused, and reassured of the safety of the journey across the reputedly corrupt Aerdy territory, Arrias accepted Lucius’s invitation.  He would see the imperial capital of Rauxes—heart of the largest empire to ever have existed in the Flanaess—which none of the other pilgrims would, and many dreamed of doing!                                  


Unexpectedly, Arrias ended up spending the better part of the next decade in the Great Kingdom.  In the beginning, there were many things that disturbed him about the country, which made him want to leave.  The intimidating, black-garbed military patrols and their rigid walk.  The hint that some soldiers were not quite alive.  The visible presence of creatures considered the enemies of the civilized people of the Gran March, such as orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins.  The brutal way in which local lords treated the peasants.  The fear and oppression that lingered in the air.  The twisted fortifications spread across the countryside.  The dominance of Hextorian temples everywhere he went.  And although it clearly was an awe-inspiring metropolis that dwarfed the March’s capital of Hookhill, Rauxes itself also showed major signs of decay and overwhelming poverty in its streets.  Despite all this, Lucius’s explanations steadied his nerves.  


As it turns out, Lucius himself was a Discordian, a priest of Hextor who discretely “recruited” (whether by guile or by force) new blood for the Overking’s forces among the Great Kingdom’s neighbours.[11]  He seemed to have an answer for all of Arrias’s questions and concerns regarding the Hextorian faith.



Interview with a Discordian

“What can Hextor do that Heironeous does not do better?”


Let me answer your question with questions of my own.  What did Heironeous do to protect your family from the brigands that slew them?  Nothing.  His followers waited for the enemy to strike first, like they always do.  Like they have done ever since they were repelled from Ket, Veluna and Bissel at the close of Keoland’s wars of expansion.  Like they do here in the east, in Nyrond.  They mistake their twisted sense of justice and “righteous war” for honour, and are the cause of their own people’s miseries.  What did the servants and followers of Heironeous do after your family was slaughtered?  They sent you away… but did they find and punish the culprits?  Who lives in fear and suffers at the hands of raiders from the Baklunish lands?  Your people.  Why? Because the Heironeans wait to be victimized before taking action.  Too little too late.  They do not fully utilize the talents of their soldiery.


What do Hextorians do differently? We believe that a strong offence is the best defence.  That by extending territorial borders as far away from our people as possible, we reduce the opportunities for our foes to harm them and to take our resources.  That it is better to inflict pain than to receive it.  That punishment must be swift and harsh in order to be effective.  That by instilling fear in both our enemies and subjects, we keep invaders at bay and dissenters from arising.  That by controlling or destroying them, we nullify all threats to ourselves and our nation.  You saw how none troubled us as we travelled the long road to Rauxes… it is because I command respect through strength and fear, and because our enemies are afraid to tread on our lands.  But I digress… Hextor would have ordered long ago that your nation’s armies regroup and reclaim your ancestral lands in Ket from the Baklunish… for the sake of your women and children.  Hextorians seek to make the most of their martial talents.  But your rulers chose the path of the weak and the complacent… why should they do otherwise?  They are not the ones who suffer from the raids, sheltered as they are in their cosy estates, far from the paths of bandits and nomads.  But they do enjoy playing “hero” and chasing those who caused harm when it suits them, when they grow weary with boredom… but the harm cannot be undone… Ask yourself—would you rather pray for weakness and pain, or strength and victory?



***


“How can you rely on undead creatures and demonic aid to rule this kingdom—how can this not be seen as immoral madness?” 


These creatures exist independently of morality.  They are a resource to be used like any other.  If we do not make use of them, they may turn on us.  Why squander a resource that can be key in turning the tides of war?  Why not use the most powerful weapons available against our enemy?  Why not use those who are already dead against our opponents?  We reduce our own casualties by doing so.  Some of the undead became so of their own will… and the lesser undead do not care, and played insignificant roles while they lived, anyway.


“What if they turn on you?”


Then we can always destroy them, as the Heironeans would.  But better to try first to make allies of them and to bolster our own forces, than to destroy them wastefully without a second thought…


***        

      

“What about the misery under which the peasants toil, the poverty in the streets?”


I understand that you yourself come from peasant stock, but fear not.  It is a universal law in all nations and under all gods that hierarchy is necessary for the functioning of society.  Everyone cannot lead.  Indeed, the Church of Heironeous is as hierarchical—and perhaps even more elitist—than the Church of Hextor.  Yet those with talent and persistence, regardless of class, may better their lot in life… and that clearly is what you are on your way to accomplishing.  If it is inevitable that a select few will lead better lives and have more power and influence than the masses—then wouldn’t you prefer to be among the select few?  Those who merit, succeed.  How you deal with peasants and the great unwashed is up to you—but remember that visible displays of strength generate fear, respect and security, and make it possible to uphold order.



***


“If all this is so, then why have so many territories seceded from the Great Kingdom, why have its borders shrunk over the years?”


This is a complicated matter.  On the one hand, we must give respect to those who took sword in hand to fight for their independence.  Though they be our enemies, what they did required strength, bravery, and determination.  And some of those lands were successful precisely because they paid homage to the Scourge of Battle.  Success can also depend on the tactical skills of rulers and commanders, and therefore cannot be completely attributed to the gods.  Of course, it would be a mistake to believe that because some lands achieved independence, they cannot be retaken…   



***


“What of the deeds of St. Ferrante?”


What of them?  Yes, I can acknowledge that he fought bravely, as all nations count at least a few brave fighters among their ranks.[12]  Yet I would tell you of the equally impressive deeds of Hextorian soldiers that are commemorated annually during the holy day of Discordsmight.  In a time before the unification of the Great Kingdom, those soldiers fought a ten-month war against Heironean foes, and bested them even though they were badly overwhelmed and in a severely disadvantaged tactical position.[13] 


Oh, and I should add that it is widely believed among our high priests that in the end, St. Ferrante himself converted to Hextor.[14]



***


“What prospects would a cult of Hextor have in the Sheldomar Valley?  Who would join?  We would be hunted down and executed…”


It is indeed a risk.  But you are not the first to come here seeking wisdom and enlightenment.  Many soldiers have come from your homelands on pilgrimages over the past century only to conclude what you are about to conclude: that they have erred in declaring their allegiance to Heironeous.  We have trained many Discordians from afar, who now operate cells in their homelands, including yours.  Others will have started cells of their own initiative, with forbidden knowledge handed down by their forefathers.  With discretion, you can succeed.  And the more your people suffer at the hands of the enemy, the stronger their reason to convert to Hextor will become.  The voice of patriotism can speak loudly in these matters.  As I understand it, many of your troops are trained, yet completely idle… how many of them would respond favourably to the idea of an offensive against Ket?  Resonant words, and evidence of strength and righteous conviction can spread like wildfire to enflame the passions of men… It is only a matter of time… And then one day, perhaps our forces will join to claim the entirety of the Flanaess, and—dare we dream?—the world…       


The Church of Hextor does not condone mindless slaughter and bloodshed.  We believe in a strictly ordered world, where the rule of law is backed by both strength and logic.  We believe that glory is to be found in battle, when the battle serves a higher purpose.  That vengeance must be served in order for justice to prevail…


And lest you forget… Hextor knows what it is like to be the unloved brother… for his mother, Stern Alia, always favoured her other son, Heironeous…


***


A new purpose in life: the path from Unblooded to Discordian 

Lengthy discussions with Lucius dispelled the confusion in Arrias’s mind, and gave him a new purpose in life:  vengeance… and the dissemination of a new ideal for the armies of the Gran March.  And so, for nearly a decade, he trained amongst the ranks of the Hextorian priesthood, rising rapidly from the rank of Unblooded to that of a full-fledged Discordian.  He immersed himself in the holy texts of the faith, and learned to read and speak Old Oeridian.  He mastered the rituals and prayers required to honour the Scourge of Battle and administered them to the faithful.  He spent a great deal of time mastering Hextor’s preferred weapon, the flail. He was even granted “gifts” from the god for his devotion. He successfully completed four Feats of Strength.[15]  He fought bandits and went on slave raids in the Adri Forest, and supported troops in the Grandwood Forest.  He enforced edicts and penalties among peasants.  He took the name Kor Bloodaxe—thereby remembering always that the blood of his family would forever stain the axe of Heironeous and drive his mission of vengeance.



A sort of homecoming

In 574 CY, Kor returned to the Gran March with the blessings of his superiors (and a small escort of dedicated soldiers), who encouraged the spread of the Hextorian faith in other lands.  Kor intended to unearth the evil trapped beneath Castle Overlook.  He knew he was destined to become much more than just another lowly hamlet priest, and that the secrets beneath the castle likely would play a major role in his success.  He relied on hired scouts and his personal guard to reconnoitre the hamlet and inform him of its current situation, and especially that of Father Darion.  In the meantime, he began to prod among the ruins from his base of operations in the village of Oakhurst.[16]  One of his hired hands also sold him a mysterious blue key that he had stolen from a dwarven adventurer, and for which he had never found any use.[17]  Kor was all too happy to buy it, suspecting that it might open a magical portal beneath the castle ruins.  In fact, the key had belonged to a dwarf by the name of Winterbok, who was with the expedition that sealed the Brigands of the Flame inside their mountain lair shortly after Kor/Arrias left on his pilgrimage.  The mercenary had picked it from the dwarf’s pocket as he entered the Osterhaus Inn, which is situated at a highland crossroads between Gran March and Bissel.[18]  The hired soldier was on his way out, and so never heard the tale concerning the magical portal beyond which the brigands had been entombed.


Early in Readying, 575 CY, Kor got the opportunity he was waiting for when one of his agents, the halfling Otis Benbough, intercepted a message from Father Darion destined for Hookhill, in which he requested that a replacement be sent due to his declining health.[19]  Kor took advantage of this opportunity to return to Brookhollow, once again as Arrias the Young, passing himself off as a priest of Heironeous himself.  Father Darion was ecstatic to see his protégé return.  Given the circumstances and the town’s familiarity with the young man from Oldkeep, Kor/Arrias’s arrival aroused no suspicions (his personal guard were sent to make contact with other Hextorian cells scattered across Bissel and the Gran March), although the elderly priest wondered where Arrias had been all this time and why he had not sent him news. 


Father Darion also was glad to inform Arrias that shortly after the young man left Brookhollow, a company of adventurers tracked down the Brigands of the Flame and sealed them in their lair.[20]  It may not have been the most honourable way to deal with them, but the adventurers acted on their own without official sanction before military forces could arrive.  At least the threat had been neutralized.  One allegedly could still see the portal beyond which they had been entombed, near the foot of the Lippen Falls.[21]  On a sadder note, Arrias’s birthplace, the hamlet of Oldkeep, had been abandoned.  Its residents had relocated four years ago to a nearby place that has been named Newkeep… but that was a story for another day.  Kor made a mental note of all this, deciding to investigate the tomb of those responsible for his family’s slaughter once he had broken through the foundations of Castle Overlook.  In order to commence his excavations, though, he would have to dispose of his mentor.



Murder most foul

Kor found it difficult to slay Father Darion.  Despite his anger for being sent away, and for the weakness inherent in the Heironean faith that had caused the death of his family, Kor still remembered with fondness the three years he spent with the elderly priest in the Temple of Valour.  He could have relied on one of his hirelings or personal guards to murder the old man, but knew of the priest’s powers and therefore trusted only himself to kill him “cleanly.”  He would have preferred to give Father Darion a chance to defend himself in an honourable duel, but could not risk defeat or drawing attention from the townsfolk, and therefore slipped a deadly poison into the holy man’s cup of wine as he prepared to go to bed.[22]  This method of elimination was not particularly well regarded by the Hextorian faith, but given the urgency of the mission, the need for discretion and the potential payoff, Kor trusted that his divine patron would understand and forgive him; likewise, he assumed that his poor rendition of Heironean church services would be acknowledged by Hextor for what it was.  The day after Father Darion passed away, “Brother Arrias” stumbled through the Heironean last rites during an open casket funeral for Brookhollow’s spiritual keeper.  Given the hardness of the winter ground, the interment of Father Darion’s coffin would have to wait a bit longer.  Kor could not push himself to animate the corpse of his old friend, as he would those of other long deceased folk in the graveyard and travelers who would go missing in the area over the coming weeks.  On some nights, he would even cry himself to sleep due to the guilt he felt for having murdered his friend.  But no one in Brookhollow ever suspected that Arrias the Young had taken the life of Father Darion, or that the scatter-brained young priest was desperately trying to tunnel beneath the ruined castle to release and control a terrible evil…   



New recruits

By the second a week of Readying, a band of kobolds followed Kor into the mausoleum underneath which he had begun his excavations, with the use of undead labour.  The tables quickly turned on the diminutive humanoids, who found themselves trapped between terrifying zombies and Kor himself, with no escape route.  Using his spell-casting abilities to further instil fear in his would-be attackers, Kor ensured that the kobolds would be willing to make a bargain with him.  Under the leadership of the halfling mercenary Otis Benbough, the kobolds would ambush travellers in the area, who would then become part of Kor’s underground (and for the most part undead) labour force.  The kobolds would also assist in the excavation work.  In exchange, he promised to pay them well, to provide them with food, to not turn them into undead, and to provide them with a secure lair.  The kobolds initially agreed to this pact out of fear and gratefulness for being spared from undeath.  Upon further reflection, they saw that they too might profit from Kor’s discoveries, and would be rewarded as his work progressed.  The tunnel complex itself could become a suitable home, if their brethren failed to capture the Sunless Citadel or the silver mines of Duvik’s pass.[23]  They vowed to slay both Kor and their humiliating halfling under-boss as soon as Kor’s project neared fruition.      


And on goes Kor Bloodaxe, moving closer to his goal day by day…



Otis Benbough, Male Halfling Rog 3

Portrait of a disturbed youth

Otis Benbough is the epitome of selfishness, maliciousness, greed and cruelty.  He is rotten to the core, much more so than his master.  Otis has a foul temper and the mentality of a spoiled brat, but can also be extremely sly.  He grew up in a little halfling shire in the northwest of the Duchy of Ulek.  When he was but a boy, relatives and neighbours wondered if the boy were not possessed by a demon.  Although mischief is a common pastime for halfling children, Otis went far beyond the bounds of what was considered acceptable, delighting in making other children cry.  He bullied those much younger than himself, and stole whatever he could get his hands on, but always behaved respectfully in the presence of adults.  Despite the fact that Otis was rarely ever caught red-handed, the frequency with which other children complained about his misdeeds ensured that he acquired a bad reputation in the community.  His poor parents, upstanding citizens in the community, did not know what to make of him.  Only Otis’s grandfather had some success in taming the boy; his secret was to take the lad out of the community and into the wilderness for days at a time, where he would teach him how to trap.  It was not the old man’s fables or the peacefulness of the wilderness that held Otis’s attention during those trips, but the knowledge he gleaned from his elder.  As the old man showed him how to construct and set snares, the troubled boy was already imagining devious ways to put his newly acquired knowledge to more cruel ends.  He also enjoyed watching animals suffer, taunting them as they slowly died when his grandfather was not around to intervene.  Otis’s behaviour only worsened when he reached adolescence, and he became openly contemptuous of those around him.  He refused to help with farm work, and his presence was a constant damper on the community’s spirit. 



Banishment

At long last, enough was enough: to his parents’ shame and dismay, Otis was banished from the community.  He wandered alone for years, throughout the Duchy of Ulek, Keoland and the Gran March.  He survived by trapping, stealing, begging and taking advantage of the charity shown by kindly folk, and also by accepting the “odd job.”  After drifting for nearly three decades in this way, he reached the hamlet of Brookhollow.  The hamlet’s sizeable halfling minority, proximity to prime trapping grounds as well as to a large town, and its naïve innkeeper convinced Otis that it would be a worthwhile place in which to “retire,” especially since he had reason to be concerned that law enforcement in villages further south were keeping an eye out for him.  He has lived in Brookhollow for a year and a half, renting a room at Cutter’s Inn at a highly discounted rate by having taken advantage of Tril the innkeeper’s feelings for him (she has a soft spot for the halfling “bad boy”).  He has befriended some of the local ne’er do wells, who survive primarily by hunting and logging.[24] 



Blood money from Hextor

Otis will do anything for “easy money,” and is eager to work for the highest bidder.  He fancies himself a clever rogue who will reach old age in comfort and wealth, if he can only find the “right job.”  He is careful to not “defecate where he eats,” and will leave Brookhollow for weeks at a time in order to prey on miners and merchants in other communities.  He occasionally travels to Hookhill in order to pick up the latest gossip and identify potential opportunities.  Otis first crossed paths with Kor’s henchmen when the latter had set up camp in the Gnollwood.  Kor’s men observed Otis and a gang of thugs robbing, slaying and then disposing of the body of a travelling merchant that was travelling south of Brookhollow.  They relayed the news to their master, who then approached Otis with an offer he couldn’t refuse.   For the time being, Otis is content to work for Kor Bloodaxe, who not only pays him well, but has also boosted the halfling’s ego by granting him command of a small band of kobolds.  Kor’s “spiritual mission” is of no interest to Otis.  From Kor’s perspective, Otis is the perfect agent—who would suspect an “innocent” halfling trapper of being a Discordian’s cutthroat spy, informer and slave procurer?                


          

Endnotes



[1] Kor Bloodaxe was introduced in: Ed Stark, “Evil Unearthed: Digging in the Dark,” Dungeon 82: 12-29. 
[2] See TwiceBorn, “The Forgotten History of the Southern Lorridges: Vecna, the Mara, and Ashardalon.” http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=824.
[3] Ibid.  Father Darion is mentioned in Stark, “Evil Unearthed,” pp. 13-14.
[4] Stark, “Evil Unearthed,” p. 19.
[5] Ibid., pp.14, 29.
[6] See note 2, supra.
[7] The Fire Lord and the Brigands of the Flame were introduced in: Jeff Grubb, “Playing with Fire: Don’t Get Burned!”, Dungeon 82: 31-41.
[8] Bruce R. Cordell, Bastion of Faith (TSR: 1999), pp. 8-9; Sean K. Reynolds, “Core Beliefs: Heironeous,” Dragon 354, p. 22.
[9] This article was written for a pre-Greyhawk Wars context.
[10] Cordell, Bastion of Faith, p. 4.

[11] For a list of titles associated with Hextorian clergy, see Cordell, Bastion of Faith, p. 88.
[12] Ibid., pp. 7-8.
[13] Ibid., p. 89.
[14] Ibid., p. 64.
[15] Ibid., p. 89.
[16] Oakhurst was first introduced in Bruce R. Cordell, The Sunless Citadel (Wizards of the Coast: 2000).
[17] The blue crystal key is in a chest in Kor’s underground quarters near Brookhollow’s  Temple of Valor (see Stark, “Evil Unearthed,” pp. 26, 29), and it opens the magical blue door leading to the Fire Lord’s lair (see Grubb, “Playing with Fire,” pp. 31-32, 35).
[18] Winterbok and the Osterhaus Inn were introduced in Grubb, “Playing with Fire,” pp. 33-35.
[19] Stark, “Evil Unearthed,” p. 23.
[20] Grubb, “Playing with Fire,” p. 31.
[21] Ibid., pp. 32, 35.
[22] Stark, “Evil Unearthed,” p. 23.
[23] See TwiceBorn, “The Forgotten History of the Southern Lorridges: Vecna, the Mara, and Ashardalon.” http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=824; Cordell, The Sunless Citadel; Miguel Duran, “The Burning Plague,” http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20000801a.
[24] Stark, “Evil Unearthed,” p. 17.
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