Postfest III: Gorrg Elfslayer, High Priest of Gruumsh
Date: Sat, December 11, 2004
Topic: Rogue's Gallery
Within the humanoid infested realm of the Pomarj, amid the warring factions of the despot Turrosh Mak, another half-orc has risen to prominence. Dedicated to the orcish power Gruumsh, Gorrg Elfslayer rallies orcish tribes to the cause of The One Eye, while fighting a shadow war against the cult of the Earth Dragon.
Gorrg Elfslayer, High Priest of Gruumsh
By: Brian McRae, aka Cebrion
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Gorrg grew up in the orc tribe of the Bleeding Eye, a small tribe of little influence within the Pomarj. Being small as a youth and a half-breed, Gorrg was given menial and demeaning tasks. Gorrg was no coward but he was deemed unfit to learn the ways of the warrior and so he became a servant to the tribal priests. Though Gorrg lacked size and physical power, he made up for it with a cunning intelligence. Unbeknownst to the priests he served Gorrg began to learn from them. He saw how they conducted their prayers and rituals and observed how new acolytes were inducted into their ranks by undergoing the Ceremony of Blinding, where the acolytes removed their own left eye in imitation of the Bleeding Eye tribe’s patron god, Gruumsh.
One day, Gorrg and the priests returned from conducting rites at the tribe’s burial grounds to find that the entire village had been destroyed, and every orc in it had been killed. Young and old, warrior and slave, all were dead. Bodies lay everywhere, hacked to pieces, burned by magic, or pierced by elven arrows. Seeing this, the priests raised their voices in anger while Gorrg wandered the remains of the tribe’s encampment. Gorrg stopped by a pile of smouldering orc bodies and rubbed his body with ashes. Picking up the tip of a broken spear, he began to intone the invocation of the Ceremony of Blinding. The priests had become silent as death. At the culmination of the ritual Gorrg gouged out his left eye, throwing it into the burning remains of the smoldering pyre. “I give my oath of vengeance to you, all-mighty Gruumsh! All elvenkind will I lay at your feet for this crime against your people!” He turned toward the priests who advanced upon him with angry steps and weapons drawn. For the temerity of this youth to invoke this most holy of ceremonies they meant to slay him, but they abruptly halted in complete shock when they saw that a fierce red light pulsed in the bloody left eye socket of Gorrg’s face. They had seen the sign of Gruumsh, and knew that Gorrg was favored of the god. He was accepted into the ranks of the priesthood, and so began the rise of Gorrg Elfslayer.
The priests soon found other dispossessed orcs to join their depleted tribe and they continued to grow in power. So too did Gorrg continue to grow in size and power as he reached adulthood. Gorrg learned quickly from the priests, and his blessings from Gruumsh became more apparent. Then, on the evening of the Blood Moon, he had a vision. While sitting with the rest of the tribe around the campfire, a vision of a floating spear appeared within the flames. Nobody else seemed to see it, so when he mentioned it to the other priests later that evening they were perplexed. That evening Gorrg dreamed of the spear “Alkarg” held high by an orc warlord as his forces stormed a sea-side citadel being defended by elves. As he watched, the citadel turned the color of blood, and the image of the orc warlord seated on a blood-spattered throne surrounded by orc and elf corpses spoke to him from within. “Seek the spear Alkarg within the Citadel of Alhurmus, and with it bring death to the elves!” The next evening Gorrg left the tribe in search of the spear.
Gorrg journeyed for months to find the location of the citadel. Facing many trials along the way, he finally came to the citadel which lay on the shore of the Azure Sea, just south of the Drachensgrab Hills. There he found that others had beaten him to his prize. A group of archeologists and their mercenary guards had recovered the spear and other treasures, but were ambushed by a force of orcs within the ruins. The mercenaries made short work of these orcs, and so they and their employer, an old sage who collected orc regalia, made it back safely to a nearby village. While they rested in the village, Gorrg returned to the nearby citadel, raising a host of undead to aid him in taking the spear from them. When the sage left the village a few days later with but a few guards, Gorrg ambushed them that night. Caught off guard in the darkness, the guards were no match for Gorrg and his undead minions. The spear Alkarg was now his.
Gorrg returned triumphantly to the Bleeding Eye tribe and took over as its high priest, killing all who opposed him. He proceeded to gather to him the surrounding orc tribes with little resistance. To celebrate the reclaiming of Alkarg, Gorrg launched a daring raid north into the Welkwood. With the aid of a mercenary wizard his forces were able to decimate nearly an entire wood elf village before being driven back by the destruction of most of his forces, and was nearly killed himself by a mysterious elf known only as the Shadow of the Welkwood. Though his forces were soundly defeated, the raid was hailed as a great victory. Undead warriors could be raised anew, and more orc warriors could be found to replace those that had been lost. What the elves had lost could not be replaced so easily. As Gorrg’s battle with the Shadow of the Welkwood nearly saw the loss of the Alkarg as well, Gorrg sought the blessings of Gruumsh to further empower Alkarg so that it would never remain away from its wielder’s hand for very long.
After the success of this raid became known, Gorrg’s power and influence continued to grow. Local orc warlords sought his advice on matters both martial and spiritual, and sought his blessing before entering battle, and his forces continued to make successful forays into the Lortmils and surrounding areas. With the rise of Turrosh Mak, Gorrg saw a leader of great promise and rallied behind his forces, lending support to the half-orc despot in his effort to crush the dwarves of the Lortmil Mountains and the elves to the north. Gorrg personally led Pomarj forces to the Pass of Celene, where his forces were held and defeated by a combined force of dwarves, gnomes, humans, and a handful of elves. Gorrg returned to the Pomarj in disgrace, and for the next few years spent his time fending off challengers to his power and regaining control over the orc warlords of the area.
Over time, Gorrg became disillusioned with Mak, for he didn’t heed the council of Gruumsh. All became apparent when one evening, an assassin nearly killed Gorrg within his temple as he conducted his prayers at the high altar. The assassin failed, and from the shriveled lips of his corpse Gorrg learned who had sought his death - Turrosh Mak. Gorrg also learned that the assassin served the Cult of the Earth Dragon, as did Turrosh Mak. The next evening Gorrg emerged from his temple and publicly thanked Turrosh Mak for his generous gifts, a dragon scale amulet and a horn-handled dagger made in the style of the Cult of the Earth Dragon, the very same that had until recently been in the possession of his would-be slayer. For the moment, Turrosh Mak has chosen to ignore the priest of Gruumsh.
Gorrg is currently concentrating on maintaining and increasing his own power and influence, seeking to undermine the Cult of the Earth Dragon and restore Gruumsh as the primary object of worship among the humanoid empire of the Pomarj. To this end, Gorrg works by indirect means to inform adventurers of areas where the Cult of the Earth Dragon has centers of worship, and hunts followers of the Earth Dragon when chance permits and he can get away with it, all to the greater glory of Gruumsh.
Gorrg Elfslayer, All Seeing Eye of Gruumsh, Male half-Orc Cleric 11/ Fighter 4: CR15; Medium humanoid (half-orc); HD 11d8+ 4d10+ 45; hp 117; Spd 30 ft. (20 ft.); AC 26, touch 12, flat-footed 20; Base Atk + 16; Grp +16; Atk melee + 20(1d8+8 or special*, see Alkarg); Full Attack +20/+15/+10/+5(1d8+8 or special*, see Alkarg), SA rebuke undead 5/day (+2, 2d6+13, 11th), spells; SQ half-orc traits; AL CE; SV Fort +14, Ref + 5, Will +11; Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 15.
Skills and Feats: Concentration +18, Heal +13, Intimidate +18, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (religion) + 14, Ride +8, (cc) Speak language (Giant) (cc), Spot +6; Blind Fight, Cleave, Craft Magic Arms & Armor, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Leadership, Power Attack, Undead Leadership, Weapon Focus (spear), Weapon Specialization (spear).
Languages: Orcish, Common, Goblin, Elvish, Giant*.
Spells Prepared: (Caster level 11; save DC 12+spell level): 0 - detect magic, detect poison, guidance, purify food & drink (2), read magic; 1st - bane, cure light wounds, deathwatch, divine favor, enlarge person, obscuring mist, protection from good; 2nd- aid, bull’s strength, darkness, death knell, desecrate, silence; 3rd - animate dead, cure serious wounds, dispel magic, magical vestment, protection from energy (electricity), searing light; 4th - divine power, neutralize poison, poison, spell immunity; 5th - flame strike, slay living, symbol of pain; 6th - blade barrier, word of recall.
Possessions: Alkarg (“Elf Destroyer”)*, +3 half plate, dragon scale amulet of natural armor +2, horn-handled dagger of venom, ring of freedom of movement, candle of invocation (chaotic evil), +2 heavy steel shield, skull amulet (animate dead 1/day at 6th level), various minor potions and scrolls.
Gorrg has a wide range of influence among orcs as a high priest of Gruumsh, counting many tribes of orcs as subject to his will. He is universally feared among the humanoids of the Pomarj for his use of undead servants, which he learned to make use of early on in his career. He is usually guarded by two orc wights (barbarian 6), eight orc barbarians (levels 4-6), and a host of undead, orc warriors, and priests. He is also currently served by a human thrall (Evoker 10) and his most favored minion, a half-orc acolyte by the name of Mogrash Gorefist (Cleric 3/ Rogue3/ Assassin 5). Gorrg maintains a fortified temple within the orcish city of Highport, as well as a fortress within the northern highlands of the Drachensgrab Hills.
*Alkarg (“Elf Destroyer”): +1(+2 elfbane)* returning spear; AL CE; Int 10, Wis 13, Cha: 13; Empathy, 60 ft. vision and hearing; Ego score 13;
Lesser Powers: resist energy-fire (while held), detect elves 60’r. (constant effect), wielder gains Cha 18 when dealing with orcs and ½ orcs.
Special Purpose: Defeat/slay elves.
Dedicated Power: mass inflict light wounds 1/day (only affects elves).
Personality: Alkarg is a spear that was made ages ago by orc shamans to use in their wars against the Elven folk. The weapon’s shaft is made of an entirely unknown gray metal; the rune-covered spearhead is made of iron, which is wickedly barbed and glows red hot when elves are near. The many legends and tales told of the Alkarg have made it holy in the minds of orcish folk. Unknown to most, Alkarg is also sentient and will attempt to possess any non-elf that grasps it. If it succeeds, Alkarg will urge the wielder to attack and slay all elves that are encountered, regardless of the consequences.
*Normally Alkarg is a +1 returning spear. When an elf approaches within 60 feet of the spearhead, it glows red hot and counts as a +2 elf-bane returning spear. Any elf that simply touches Alkarg suffers the 2d6 elfbane damage per round that it is held.
Strong conjuration; CL 9, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, resist energy, mass inflict light wounds; Price 108,400 gp.
***Author’s Note: Gorrg is wholly a creation of my own, including his history and background which developed out of running him in my campaign as a recurring nemesis. I slightly enhanced Alkarg’s powers, having added the returning ability and assigning a very limited dedicated power to the weapon’s special purpose of slaying elves. I also increased its base sentience to fit in with its elf detection range of 60 ft. At his current level of power(which is considerable), Gorrg is intended to be more of a behind-the-scenes ruler, but if adventurers are foolish enough to enter his domain and cause too much trouble, they might gain some personal attention from Gorrg, his humanoid minions, and a sizable force of undead warriors.
The spear “Alkarg” and “Alhurmus” are taken from the adventure “Citadel by the Sea” by Sid Fisher, which appeared in Dragon #78(p. 41). For the purposes of my campaign I located Alhurmas in hex C4-107(From the Ashes map) along the shore of the Azure Sea. While most of the above material is of my own creation, portions of the descriptions I used for Alkarg and Alhurmus are taken verbatim from “Citadel by the Sea” while others parts are paraphrased. “Citadel by the Sea” is one of the first adventures I ever ran as a DM, and still remains one of my favorites.