Postfest III: Bortwimn, the Heir to Icespire
Date: Sat, December 11, 2004
Topic: Rogue's Gallery
In the Ahlissian city of Trennenport, there is a mysterious wizard, Bortwimn, who is leading a small force of sahuagin in some strange project. These sahuagin are kept busy, fetching odd plaques etched with mystic runes, setting stones below the port’s sea wall, and engaged in bizarre rituals under the waters. What is this sinister wizard plotting?
Postfest - Bortwimn, the Heir to Icespire
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Bortwimn, the Heir to Icespire
Bortwimn is a minor noble, hailing from the South Province. His ancestors were credited to have created the great lighthouse now known as Icespire. The lighthouse, formerly known as Lezt Lechtfeur, fell under some horrible curse about 20 years ago. This curse turned the area around the lighthouse into a frozen mausoleum. Bortwimn has become obsessed with divining what has happened to Icespire, and if possible, reclaim the lighthouse. Trennenport is about as close as he dares to get to Icespire for now.
Bortwimn is keenly aware of his present shortcomings; that he does not yet have the power to enter Icespire and survive. So he struck upon a brilliant scheme to gain power quickly: he would enlist a force of undersea creatures to control the shipping lanes of Relmor Bay, and with the wealth and knowledge received from this piracy, he could then challenge the perils of Icespire. He happened upon a renegade band of sahuagin while sailing the Bay. These beasts worshipped Panzuriel and thus were exiled from the sahuagin empire. Bortwimn was able to win their trust by offering them assistance in building an undersea beacon to contact a kraken priest of Panzuriel from the depths of the Azure Sea. With a kraken at his side, Bortwimn reasoned, he could master the shipping of Relmor Bay and become powerful enough to challenge Icespire.
STATS: Presented below are three versions of Bortwimn, each with varying degrees of power, in order to present a suitable long term villain to your characters. Each version is designed to keep pace with your character’s growing experience levels, thus providing them with a long term villain that can keep coming back to plague your characters again and again.
Bortwimn’s basic stats:
S: 8, D: 13, C: 17, I: 18, W: 15, Ch: 13.
His other statistics should be updated according to which version of him your adventurers are facing. His spell selection tends to focus on water magic, cold magic (attempting to learn how to survive Icespire), divinations (he loves to find out everything possible about a foe before facing them), and charm spells, all appropriate to his level and the situation.
Bortwimn appears as a stout middle-aged man, with dark brown hair and beard. His eyes are bulging, and he has a strut to his walk that most people find arrogant. He is very deliberate in his methods, and one of his strongest character traits is that he has no delusions as to his own limitations. He will not attempt an undertaking unless he is absolutely sure he has researched it thoroughly and has great potential for success. This can be exploited in that he will often hesitate before making an important decision.
Version I – The Sinister Mage – Level 9 Wizard
At this point in his plans, he needs to construct a weird underwater beacon at the base of Trennenport’s sea wall. Once a temple to Panzuriel is constructed and consecrated, the sahuagin priests will attempt to call forth a kraken high priest of Panzuriel from the Mirodian Deep. Bortwimn is also making temporal alliances with local rulers, most notably Fleet Admiral Llarnen, in order to ensure that he can act undisturbed out of Trennenport.
The major magic items he owns includes a Ring of Protection + 2, a Wand of Frost, and a Helm of Underwater Action. He also owns treasure and minor magic items as appropriate to his level.
Version II – The Ruler of Trennenport - Level 13 Wizard
By now, if Bortwimn was not defeated earlier, he will have successfully constructed his undersea beacon and has entered an alliance with the kraken-priest. This beast assists him in raiding the shipping routes between Trennenport and Blue. His relationship with Llarnen is one of wary respect. The Fleet Admiral’s forces are not harmed by the kraken in exchange for a share of their booty. This triple alliance is fraught with peril, as neither Bortwimn, Llarnen, or the kraken trust each other, but each needs the other: Bortwimn provides the strategic planning and magical support, Llarnen provides the political connections and military intelligence, and the kraken provides the brawn and renegade sahuagin troops. With the power thus gained, Bortwimn now effectively rules Trennenport and takes a cut on every dirty deal made in that pirate town.
If the plans of Bortwimn were defeated earlier, he will have fled to Prymp and is working as an assistant to Fleet Admiral Llarnen. He will have taken command of a man o’ war from the Prymp shipyard and is hip deep in conducting piracy and smuggling in order to gain more magical power and treasures. He will most likely be encountered at the command of his ship – The Death’s Head. He has been promoted to an admiral in the Ahlissian navy, with all the trappings that implies.
Bortwimn is becoming more and more obsessed with Icespire by now. He busies himself with conducting magical and mundane research into all aspects of that place. He will now own (along with his previous items) a Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals, a Wand of Lightning, and an Apparatus of Kwalish, as well as many potions and scrolls and other minor magic items.
Version III – The Heir to Icespire - Level 15 Wizard
At this point in his career, Bortwimn has gained enough power to enter the frozen necropolis of Icespire and claim his “birthright”. He will have abandoned either his posting in Prymp or his rulership in Trennenport (potentially leaving an enraged kraken to raid Relmor Bay at will) in order to spend all his time in preparation for entering Icespire and attempting to control its malign effects. The players should oppose his entering Icespire at all costs. The fact that he has not been struck blind or mad from divining Icespire implies that some intelligent, malign force wishes Bortwimn to enter the cursed land. Why and how Bortwimn was chosen for this task, and to what purpose, no one knows.
Bortwimn is now convinced he is powerful enough to claim Icespire. He has many small miscellaneous magic items to protect him from the cold. In addition, he owns a Crystal Ball, a Brooch of Shielding, a Wand of Fire, and a special Staff of Fish Command (as the trident) he uses to reconnoiter the sea caves near Icespire.
NOTES: Some sages have speculated that there is some connection between the events surrounding Icespire and the area of the Adri Forest known as Coldwood. Certainly, the freezing effects are eerily similar. In fact, there is a dread artifact of incredible power in the lower depths under Icespire, that may or may not be a companion piece to the dread sword Hunger. This artifact is an intelligent, sentient, and very evil staff made of a strange black metal. It calls itself The Devourer and has the powers of a staff of the magi combined with a rod of rulership and several other unique powers as well. It bears runes and markings of old Ur-Flannae wizards. It seems likely that these Ur-Flannae created an artifact to rival Hunger, only to have it turn on them. The Devourer rules an army of gibbering, unnatural creatures under Icespire, it exhibits a similar control over the weather, just like Hunger. Just what this staff wishes to do once Bortwimn finds it is a matter best left unsaid. Suffice it to say that your players should do all they can to avoid this event from occurring and should destroy this staff or at least keep it from being recovered at all costs.
SOURCES: Ivid the Undying for Icespire, the Coldwood and Trennenport, Monster Mythology for information on Panzuriel, articles posted on Canonfire by Taras Guarhoth for additional inspiration about Icespire, and the idea of a long term villain presented in 3 versions was done in the City of Greyhawk boxed set.