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This is part of the character sheet for the game Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. Check back often, as new heroes are added regularly. This page contains all Dire heroes.
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Undying, the Almighty Dirge"How long has it been since he lost his name? The torn ruin of his mind no longer knows. Dimly he recalls armor and banners and grim-faced kin riding at his side. He remembers a battle: pain and fear as pale hands ripped him from his saddle. He remembers terror as they threw him into the yawning pit of the Dead God alongside his brothers, to hear the Dirge and be consumed into nothingness. In the darkness below, time left them. Thought left them. Sanity left them. Hunger, however, did not. They turned on each other with split fingernails and shattered teeth. Then it came: distant at first, a fragile note at the edge of perception, joined by another, then another, inescapable and unending. The chorus grew into a living wall of sound pulsing in his mind until no other thought survived. With the Dirge consuming him, he opened his arms to the Dead God and welcomed his obliteration. Yet destruction was not what he'd been chosen for. The Dead God demanded war. In the belly of the great nothing, he was granted a new purpose: to spread the Dirge across the land, to rally the sleepless dead against the living. He was to become the Undying, the herald of the Dead God, to rise and fall and rise again whenever his body failed him. To trudge on through death unending, that the Dirge might never end."
Mogul Khan, the Axe"As a grunt in the Army of Red Mist, Mogul Khan set his sights on the rank of Red Mist General. In battle after battle he proved his worth through gory deed. His rise through the ranks was helped by the fact that he never hesitated to decapitate a superior. Through the seven year Campaign of the Thousand Tarns, he distinguished himself in glorious carnage, his star of fame shining ever brighter, while the number of comrades in arms steadily dwindled. On the night of ultimate victory, Axe declared himself the new Red Mist General, and took on the ultimate title of 'Axe.' But his troops now numbered zero. Of course, many had died in battle, but a significant number had also fallen to Axe's blade. Needless to say, most soldiers now shun his leadership. But this matters not a whit to Axe, who knows that a one-man army is by far the best."
Pudge, the Butcher"In the Fields of Endless Carnage, far to the south of Quoidge, a corpulent figure works tirelessly through the night—dismembering, disembowelling, piling up the limbs and viscera of the fallen that the battlefield might be clear by dawn. In this cursed realm, nothing can decay or decompose; no corpse may ever return to the earth from which it sprang, no matter how deep you dig the grave. Flocked by carrion birds who need him to cut their meals into beak-sized chunks, Pudge the Butcher hones his skills with blades that grow sharper the longer he uses them. Swish, swish, thunk. Flesh falls from the bone; tendons and ligaments part like wet paper. And while he always had a taste for the butchery, over the ages, Pudge has developed a taste for its byproduct as well. Starting with a gobbet of muscle here, a sip of blood there...before long he was thrusting his jaws deep into the toughest of torsos, like a dog gnawing at rags. Even those who are beyond fearing the Reaper, fear the Butcher."
Chaos Knight"The veteran of a countless battles on a thousand worlds, Chaos Knight hails from a far upstream plane where the fundamental laws of the universe have found sentient expression. Of all the ancient Fundamentals, he is the oldest and most tireless—endlessly searching out a being he knows only as “The Light.” Long ago the Light ventured out from the progenitor realm, in defiance of the first covenant. Now Chaos Knight shifts from plane to plane, always on the hunt to extinguish the Light wherever he finds it. A thousand times he has snuffed out the source, and always he slides into another plane to continue his search anew. Upon his steed Armageddon he rides, wading into battle with maniacal frenzy, drawing strength from the disorder of the universe. A physical manifestation of chaos itself, in times of need he calls upon other versions of himself from other planes, and together these dark horsemen ride into battle, as unstoppable as any force of nature. Only when the last Light of the world is scoured from existence will the search be ended. Where rides the Chaos Knight, death soon follows."
N'aix, the Lifestealer"In the dungeons of Devarque, a vengeful wizard lay in shackles, plotting his escape. He shared his cell with a gibbering creature known as N'aix, a thief cursed by the Vile Council with longevity, so that its life-sentence for theft and cozening might be as punishing as possible. Over the years, its chains had corroded, along with its sanity; N'aix retained no memory of its former life and no longer dreamt of escape. Seeing a perfect vessel for his plans, the wizard wove a spell of Infestation and cast his life-force into N'aix's body, intending to compel N'aix to sacrifice itself in a frenzy of violence while the mage returned to his body and crept away unnoticed. Instead, the wizard found his mind caught in a vortex of madness so powerful that it swept away his plans and shattered his will. Jarred to consciousness by the sudden infusion of fresh life, N'aix woke from its nightmare of madness and obeyed the disembodied voice that filled its skull, which had only the one thought: To escape. In that moment Lifestealer was born. The creature cast its mind into dungeon guards and soldiers, compelling them to open locks and cut down their companions, opening an unobstructed path to freedom while feeding on their lives. Lifestealer still wears the broken shackles as a warning that none may hold him, but on the inside remains a prisoner. Two minds inhabit the single form—a nameless creature of malevolent cunning, and the Master whose voice he pretends to obey."
Banehallow, the Lycanthrope"Banehallow was noble-born to the house of Ambry, the greatest of the landed castes in the old kingdom of Slom. Before the Fall, as the King’s wants grew strange, and his court grew crowded with sorcerers and charlatans, the house of Ambry was the first to rise against the avarice of the throne. No longer willing to pay homage and fealty, they instead sent six-thousand swords into the capital, where they were wiped out in the Massacre of the Apostates. And then came the teeth behind the old truth: When you strike a king’s neck, you had better take his head. Enraged by the betrayal, the king exterminated the vast Ambry bloodline, sparing only the lord of the house and his youngest son, Banehallow. Before all the royal court, with the disgraced lord chained to the ornate marble floor, the King bade his magicians transform the boy into a wolf so that he might tear out his own father’s throat. “Do this,” the king said, “so that Lord Ambry will understand the bite of betrayal.” Powerful magic was invoked, and the child was transformed. But though his body was changed, his spirit remained intact, and instead of biting the exposed neck of his father, he attacked his handlers, tearing them to pieces. A dozen of the King’s knights perished under the wolf’s teeth before they managed to drive it off into the night. Lord Ambry laughed from his chains even as the King ran him through with a sword. Now the heir to the lost house of Ambry, Banehallow wanders the trail as the Lycan, part warrior, part wolf, in search of justice for all that he lost."
Magnus, the Magnoceros"The master-smiths of Mt. Joerlak agree on only a single point: that the horn of a magnoceros is more precious than any alloy. And of all such horns, the largest and sharpest belongs to the beast they call Magnus. For half a generation, Magnus took easy sport goring hunters come to claim the treasures of his kin. Each time he would return to his cave with hooves and horns stained red, until his Matriarch urged him and all their kin to seek refuge to the north beyond the shadow of the mountain. But Magnus scoffed, having never failed to defend his people. The magnoceri would stay, he decided, for a magnoceros does not believe in chance... nor does it ever change its mind. But when Mt. Joerlak erupted without warning, and half his kin perished in the fire and ash, Magnus changed his mind after all. The survivors pushed north, until they reached a blockade watched over by a hundred hunters armed with bow and steel. Magnus expected no less. He led his fiercest brothers and sisters in a charge against their enemies, and fought with a ferocity matched only by the fire-spewing mountain at his back. Meanwhile the magnoceros elders, mothers, and calves vanished into the drifts. The master-smiths are divided about what happened next. Some say Magnus reunited with his kin, while others claim he suffered mortal injuries and expired alongside the body of his Matriarch. Neither theory is correct. Magnus did vow to rejoin his kin...but only after seeking out those responsible for the eruption of Mt. Joerlak and watching them die upon his horn, for a magnoceros does not believe in chance."
Balanar, the Night Stalker"Of the Night Stalker, there is no history—only stories. There are ancient tales woven into the lore of every race and every culture, of an impossible time before sunlight and daytime, when night reigned alone and the world was covered with the creatures of darknesscreatures like Balanar the Night Stalker. It is said that on the dawn of the First Day, all the night creatures perished. All, that is, save one. Evil's embodiment, Night Stalker delights in his malevolence. He created the primal role of the Night Terror, the Boogeyman, and as long as there have been younglings, his is the specter summoned to terrify them. This is a role he relishes—nor are these empty theatrics. He does indeed stalk the unwary, the defenseless, those who have strayed beyond the lighted paths or denied the warnings of their communities. Night Stalker serves as living proof that every child's worst nightmare... is true."
Crixalis, the Sand King"The sands of the Scintillant Waste are alive and sentient—the whole vast desert speaks to itself, thinking thoughts only such a vastness can conceive. But when it needs must find a form to communicate with those of more limited scope, it frees a fragment of itself, and fills a carapace of magic armor formed by the cunning Djinn of Qaldin. This essential identity calls itself Crixalis, meaning 'Soul of the Sand,' but others know it as Sandking. Sandking takes the form of a huge arachnid, inspired by the Scintillant Waste's small but ubiquitous denizens; and this is a true outward expression of his ferocious nature. Guardian, warrior, ambassador—Sandking is all of these things, inseparable from the endless desert that gave him life."
Ostarion, the Skeleton King"The victim of a longevity spell that backfired, the Skeleton King Ostarion, has built an empire from the bones of his enemies. He lives only to extend his reach, for as long as he is perpetually building and adding to his domain he cannot die. The walls of his palace are formed of fired bone; the streets are paved with bones of every sort of creature and every enemy; and even the wood and other natural features of his land have been swept away and replaced with replicas formed of bone. From the Ivory Forest to the Ostarion's towering Throne of Bone, nothing happens in the Empire of Bones without the full of knowledge of its Skeleton King."
Slardar, the Slithereen Guard"Slardar is a Slithereen, one of the Deep Ones, guardian of the great wealth of sunken cities and the ancient wealth buried there. In the lightless gulf of the great ocean abysses, the Slithereen Guard carries his lure-light with him through the secret treasure rooms. Subaqueous thieves (sent into the deeps by covetous dryland sorcerers) are drawn in by its friendly glow, never to return. He is utterly loyal, and his taciturn nature hides deep knowledge of the most secret places of the sea. He rises to the shallows in spite of the pain caused him by brightness, to commit reconnaissance, to make sure no one is conspiring against the depths, and sometimes in relentless pursuit of the rare few who manage to steal off with an item from the Sunken Treasury. Because he has spent his whole life at great pressure, under tremendous weight of the sea, Slardar the Slithereen Guard is a creature of great power."
Barathrum, the Spirit Breaker"Barathrum the Spiritbreaker is a lordly and powerful being, a fierce and elemental intelligence which chose to plane-shift into the world of matter to take part in events with repercussions in the elemental realm that is his home. To that end, he assembled a form that would serve him well, both in our world and out of it. His physical form borrows from the strengths of this world, blending features both bovine and simian—horns, hooves and hands—as outward emblems of his inner qualities of strength, speed and cunning. He wears a ring in his nose, as a reminder that he serves a hidden master, and that this world in which he works is but a shadow of the real one."
Leviathan, the Tidehunter"The Tidehunter known as Leviathan was once the champion of the Sunken Isles, but his motives are as mysterious as those of his people. We all know the importance of the Drylanders' shipping lanes, how empires may rise and fall according to who controls the open water. Far less is known of the submarine lanes, and how the warring tribes of the Meranthic Disapora have carved out habitations through endless undersea skirmishes. In the fragile treaties between the Mer and Men, we can glimpse the extent of the drowned empires, but their politics appear complex and opaque. It would seem that Leviathan tired of such petty strife, and set off on his own, loyal only to his abyssal god, Maelrawn the Tentacular. He stalks the shallows now in search of men or meranths who stray into his path, and with a particular loathing for Admiral Kunkka, who has long been his nemesis for reasons lost in the deepest trenches of the sea."
Strygwyr, the Bloodseeker"Strygwyr the Bloodseeker is a ritually sanctioned hunter, Hound of the Flayed Twins, sent down from the mist-shrouded peaks of Xhacatocatl in search of blood. The Flayed Ones require oceanic amounts of blood to keep them sated and placated, and would soon drain their mountain empire of its populace if the priests of the high plateaus did not appease them. Strygwyr therefore goes out in search of carnage. The vital energy of any blood he lets, flows immediately to the Twins through the sacred markings on his weapons and armor. Over the years, he has come to embody the energy of a vicious hound; in battle he is savage as a jackal. Beneath the Mask of the Bloodseeker, in the rush of bloody quenching, it is said that you can sometime see the features of the Flayers taking direct possession of their Hound."
Clinkz, the Bone Fletcher"At the base of the Bleeding Hills stretches a thousand-league wood—a place called The Hoven, where black pools gather the tarry blood of the uplands, and the king-mage Sutherex sits in benevolent rule. Once a sworn protector of the Hoven lands, Clinkz earned a reputation for his skill with a bow. In the three-hundredth year of the king-mage, the demon Maraxiform rose from sixth hell to lay claim to the forest. In response, the king-mage decried an unbreakable spell: to any who slew the demon would be granted Life Without End. Unaware of the spell, Clinkz waded into battle, defending his lands against the demon’s fiery onslaught. Clinkz drove Maraxiform back to the gates of sixth-hell itself, where on that fiery threshold the two locked in a mortal conflict. Grievously wounded, the demon let out a blast of hellfire as Clinkz loosed his final arrow. The arrow struck the demon true as hellfire poured out across the land, lighting the black pools and burning Clinkz alive at the instant of the demon’s death. Thus, the mage’s spell took effect at the very moment of the archer’s conflagration, preserving him in this unholy state, leaving him a being of bones and rage, caught in the very act of dying, carrying hell’s breath with him on his journey into eternity."
Black Arachnia, the Broodmother"For centuries, Black Arachnia the Broodmother lurked in the dark lava tubes beneath the smoldering caldera of Mount Pyrotheos, raising millions of spiderlings in safety before sending them to find prey in the wide world above. In a later age, the Vizier of Greed, Ptholopthales, erected his lodestone ziggurat on the slopes of the dead volcano, knowing that any looters who sought his magnetic wealth must survive the spider-haunted passages. After millennia of maternal peace, Black Arachnia found herself beset by a steady trickle of furfeet and cutpurses, bold knights and noble youths—all of them delicious, certainly, and yet tending to create a less than nurturing environment for her innocent offspring. Tiring of the intrusions, she paid a visit to Ptholopthales; and when he proved unwilling to discuss a compromise, she wrapped the Vizier in silk and set him aside to be the centerpiece of a special birthday feast. Unfortunately, the absence of the Magnetic Ziggurat's master merely emboldened a new generation of intruders. When one of her newborns was trodden underfoot by a clumsy adventurer, she reached the end of her silken rope. Broodmother headed for the surface, declaring her intent to rid the world of each and every possible invader, down to the last Hero if necessary, until she could ensure her nursery might once more be a safe and wholesome environment for her precious spiderspawn."
Darkterror, the Faceless Void"Darkterror the Faceless Void is a visitor from Claszureme, a realm outside of time. It remains a mystery why this being from another dimension believes the struggle for the Nemesis Stones is worth entering our physical plane, but apparently an upset in the balance of power in this world has repercussions in adjacent dimensions. Time means nothing to Darkterror, except as a way to thwart his foes and aid his allies. His long-view of the cosmos has given him a remote, disconnected quality, although in battle he is quite capable of making it personal."
Meepo, the Geomancer"If you ask me, life is all about who you know and what you can find. When you live up in the Riftshadow Ruins, just finding food can be tough. So you need to cut corners, you need to scrounge, you need to know your strengths. Some of the beasts up there can kill you, so you need a way to trap the weak and duck the strong. On the upside, the ruins have history, and history is worth a lot to some people. There used to be a palace there, where they had all these dark rituals. Bad stuff. If you survived the ceremony, they would shatter a crystal and split your soul into pieces. They made great art though! Sculptures and such. Let me tell you: sometimes you stumble onto some of those old carvings. Take a pack full of those to town and sell them, then get yourself food for a few weeks. If luck is really on your side, you might find a Riftshadow crystal. Get it appraised and start asking around. Someone always knows some crazy fool looking for this kind of thing. If all else fails, sell it to a Magus the next time one's in town. They love that stuff. Still, whatever you do, be careful handling those crystals. You do not want one to go off on you. It really hurts."
Medusa, the Gorgon"Beauty is power. This thought comforted Medusa—the youngest and loveliest of three beautiful Gorgon sisters, born to a sea goddess—because she alone of the sisters was mortal. It comforted her, that is, until the day masked assailants invaded the Gorgon realm and tore the two immortal sisters from their home, unmoved by their beauty or by their tears. One of the invaders seized Medusa as well, but then cast her aside with a disgusted look: 'This one has the mortal stink upon her. We have no use for that which dies.' Humiliated, enraged, Medusa fled to the temple of her mother and cast herself before the goddess, crying, 'You denied me eternal life—therefore I beg you, give me power! Power, so I can dedicate what life I have to rescuing my sisters and avenging this injustice!' After long thought, the goddess granted her daughter's request, allowing Medusa to trade her legendary beauty for a face and form of terrifying strength. Never for a moment has Medusa regretted her choice. She understands that power is the only beauty worth possessing—for only power can change the world."
Razor, the Lightning Revenant"Among the emblematic powers that populate the Underscape, Razor the Lightning Revenant is one of the most feared. With his whip of lightning, he patrols the Narrow Maze, that treacherous webwork of passages by which the souls of the dead are sorted according to their own innate intelligence, cunning and persistence. Drifting above the Maze, Razor looks down on the baffled souls below, and delivers jolts of scalding electricity that both punish and quicken the souls as they decide their own fates, hurrying on toward luminous exits or endlessly dark pits. Razor is the eternal embodiment of a dominating power, abstract and almost clinical in his application of power. Yet he has a lordly air that suggests he takes a sardonic satisfaction in his work."
Viper, the Netherdrake"The malevolent familiar of a sadistic wizard who captured and hoped to tame him, Viper was curiously glad to have been sprung from the sealed and unchanging subterranean Nether Reaches where his race had lived for millions of years, after tectonic slippage had sealed off the Netherdrakes in luminous caverns. Viper spent some time appearing to submit to the wizard's enchainments, hoping to learn what he could of the dark magics the mage practiced. But he soon realized that few spells were as deadly as the toxins that were his birthright. Exuding an acid that swiftly ate away the bars of his cage, the Netherdrake slipped free of his confines, spit poison in the old spellcaster's eyes, and soared out to let the world know that it had a new master."
Slark, the Nightcrawler"Little known to the inhabitants of the dry world, Dark Reef is a sunken prison where the worst of the sea-bred are sent for crimes against their fellows. It is a razor barbed warren full of murderous slithereen, treacherous Deep Ones, sociopathic meranths. In this dim labyrinth, patrolled by eels and guarded by enormous anemones, only the vicious survive. Pitched into Dark Reef for crimes unknown, Slark spent half a lifetime without kin or kindness, trusting no one, surviving through a combination of stealth and ruthlessness, keeping his thoughts and his plans to himself. When the infamous Dark Reef Dozen plotted their ill-fated breakout, they kept their plans a perfect secret, murdering anyone who could have put the pieces together—but somehow Slark discovered their scheme and made a place for himself in it. Ten of the Dozen died in the escape attempt, and two were captured, hauled back to Dark Reef, then executed for the entertainment of their fellow inmates. But Slark, the unsung thirteenth, used the commotion as cover and slipped away, never to be caught. Now a furtive resident of the carnivorous mangrove scrub that grips the southern reach of Shadeshore, Slark remains the only successful escapee from Dark Reef."
Nyx Assassin"Deep in the Archive of Ultimyr, shelved between scholarly treatises on dragon cladistics and books of untranslatable spells, there is an ancient tome of entomological curiosities. Compiled by scholars, the book describes the telepathic talents of the zealot scarab, a strange species of social insect with abilities unique to all the seven planes. Unlike most grubs of his colony, Nyx Assassin did not arise from metamorphosis with the plodding thoughts and blunted appendages common to the worker caste of his kind. For his was a special transformation, guided by the grace of Nyx. He was the chosen one, selected from the many and anointed with an extract of the queen goddess herself. Not all survive the dark blessing of the queen's chamber, but he emerged with a penetrating mind, and dagger-like claws–his razor sharp mandibles raking the air while his thoughts projected directly into the minds of those around him. Of all zealot scarabs, he alone was selected for the highest calling. After his metamorphosis, he was reborn, by grace of Nyx, with abilities which shaped him for one thing and one thing only: to kill in the name of his goddess."
Mortred, the Phantom Assassin"Through a process of divination, children are selected for upbringing by the Sisters of the Veil, an order that considers assassination a sacred part of the natural order. The Veiled Sisters identify targets through meditation and oracular utterances. They accept no contracts, and never seem to pursue targets for political or mercenary reasons. Their killings bear no relation to any recognizable agenda, and can seem to be completely random: A figure of great power is no more likely to be eliminated than a peasant or a well digger. Whatever pattern the killings may contain, it is known only to them. They treat their victims as sacrifices, and death at their hand is considered an honor. Raised with no identity except that of their order, any Phantom Assassin can take the place of any other; their number is not known. Perhaps there are many, perhaps there are few. Nothing is known of what lies under the Phantom Veil. Except that this one, from time to time, when none are near enough to hear, is known to stir her veils with the forbidden whisper of her own name: Mortred."
Nevermore, the Shadow Fiend"It is said that Shadow Fiend has the soul of a poet, and in fact he has thousands of them. Over the ages he has claimed the souls of poets, priests, emperors, beggars, slaves, philosophers, criminals and (naturally) heroes; no sort of soul escapes him. What he does with them is unknown. No one has ever peered into the Abysm whence Shadow Fiend reaches out like an eel from among astral rocks. Does he devour them one after another? Does he mount them along the halls of an eldritch temple, or pickle the souls in necromantic brine? Is he merely a puppet, pushed through the dimensional rift by a demonic puppeteer? Such is his evil, so intense his aura of darkness, that no rational mind may penetrate it. Of course, if you really want to know where the stolen souls go, there's one sure way to find out: Add your soul to his collection. Or just wait for Nevermore."
Mercurial, the Spectre"Just as higher states of energy seek a lower level, the Spectre known as Mercurial is a being of intense and violent energy who finds herself irresistibly drawn to scenes of strife as they unfold in the physical world. While her normal spectral state transcends sensory limitations, each time she takes on a physical manifestation, she is stricken by a loss of self—though not of purpose. In the clash of combat, her identity shatters and reconfigures, and she begins to regain awareness. She grasps that she is Mercurial the Spectre—and that all of her Haunts are but shadows of the one true Spectre. Focus comes in the struggle for survival; her true mind reasserts itself; until in the final moments of victory or defeat, she transcends matter and is restored once more to her eternal form."
Lesale Deathbringer, the Venomancer"In the Acid Jungles of Jidi Isle, poison runs in the veins and bubbles in the guts of every creature that scuttles, climbs or swoops between fluorescent vines dripping with caustic sap. Yet even in this toxic menagerie, Venomancer is acknowledged as the most venomous. Ages ago, an Herbalist named Lesale crossed the Bay of Fradj by coracle, searching for potent essences that might be extracted from bark and root, and found instead a nightmare transformation. Two leagues into Jidi's jungle, Lesale encountered a reptile camouflaged as an epiphyte, which stung him as he mistakenly plucked it. In desperation, he used his partial knowledge of the jungle's herbal bounty, mixing the venom of the (swiftly throttled) reptile with the nectar of an armored orchid, to compound an antidote. In the moments before a black paralysis claimed him completely, he injected himself by orchid-thorn, and instantly fell into a coma. Seventeen years later, something stirred in the spot where he had fallen, throwing off the years' accumulation of humus: Venomancer. Lesale the Herbalist no longer—but Lesale the Deathbringer. His mind was all but erased, and his flesh had been consumed and replaced by a new type of matter—one fusing the venom of the reptile with the poisonous integument of the orchid. Jidi's Acid Jungles knew a new master, one before whom even the most vicious predators soon learned to bow or burrow for their lives. The lurid isle proved too confining, and some human hunger deep in the heart of the Venomancer drove Lesale out in search of new poisons—and new deaths to bring."
Skitskurr, the Weaver"The fabric of creation needs constant care, lest it grow tattered; for when it unravels, whole worlds come undone. It is the work of the Weavers to keep the fabric tight, to repair worn spots in the mesh of reality. They also defend from the things that gnaw and lay their eggs in frayed regions, whose young can quickly devour an entire universe if the Weavers let their attention lapse. Skitskurr was a master Weaver, charged with keep one small patch of creation tightly woven and unfaded. But the job was not enough to satisfy. It nagged him that the original work of creation all lay in the past; the Loom had done its work and travelled on. He wanted to create rather than merely maintain—to weave worlds of his own devising. He began making small changes to his domain, but the thrill of creation proved addictive, and his strokes became bolder, pulling against the pattern that the Loom had woven. The guardians came, with their scissors, and Weaver's world was pared off, snipped from the cosmic tapestry, which they rewove without him in it. Skitskurr found himself alone, apart from his kind, a state that would have been torment for any other Weaver. But Skitskurr rejoiced, for now he was free. Free to create for himself, to begin anew. The raw materials he needed to weave a new reality were all around him. All he had to do was tear apart this old world at the seams. "
Kaldr, the Ancient Apparition"Kaldr, the Ancient Apparition, is an image projected from outside time. He springs from the cold, infinite void that both predates the universe and awaits its end. Kaldr is, Kaldr was, Kaldr shall be...and what we perceive, powerful as it appears to us, is but the faintest faded echo of the true, eternal Kaldr. Some believe that as the cosmos ages and approaches its final moments, the brightness and power of Kaldr will also intensify—that the Ancient Apparition will grow younger and stronger as eternity's end draws nigh. His grip of ice will bring all matter to a stop, his image will cast a light too terrible to behold. An Apparition no longer!"
Atropos, the Bane Elemental"When the gods have nightmares, it is Bane Elemental who brings them. Also known as Atropos, Bane was born from the midnight terrors of the goddess Nyctasha. A force of terror too powerful to be contained by sleep, he surfaced from her slumbers, fed upon her immortality, and stole his vaporous form from her inky blood. He is the essence of fear. Mortals who hear his voice hear their darkest secrets whispered in their ear. He calls to the hidden fear in every Hero's heart. Wakefulness is no protection, for Bane's black blood, continuously dripping, is a tar that traps his enemies in nightmare. In the presence of Bane, every Hero remembers to fear the dark."
Batrider"There is no such thing as harmony among the creatures of the Yama Raskav Jungle. By bite, or claw, or pincer, or hoof, even the slightest sign of weakness means a swift death. They say the Rider was just a lad cutting chaff in his family's field when he was taken, swept up by a massive morde-bat looking for take-out. But this boy had a better idea, and wriggled his way from his captor's grip, onto the beast's back, and hacked it down with his tools. Emerging from the bloody wreckage and intoxicated by the thrill of flight, the boy realized he'd found his calling. The boy grew, and every summer he'd return to his family's field, often setting out into the bush seeking to reclaim that first thrill of facing death in the form of jaws or a fatal fall. The years went on, but his fire only grew stronger. He studied the overgrowth, plunging deeper with each expedition, until finally he found his way to the caves at the heart of hostility. They say the Rider, on the eve of a scorching summer night, had nothing but a rope, a bottle of liquid courage and a burning determination to feel the skies once more, when he plunged inside..."
Visage, the Bound Form of Necro'lic"Perched atop the entrance to the Narrow Maze sit the looming shapes of sneering gargoyles, the paths into the hereafter forever in their gaze. Beasts and birds, men and monsters, all creatures that die and choose to travel beyond must someday pass beneath their sight. For an untethered spirit, the decision to journey through the veil of death is irrevocable. When chance comes, and by craft or cunning some restless soul escapes their hells and heavens, it is the dreaded gargoyle Visage, the bound form of the eternal spirit Necro’lic, who is dispatched to reclaim them. Ruthless and efficient, unhindered by the principles of death and fatigue, Visage stalks its prey without mercy or end, willingly destroying all which may give shelter to the fugitive essence. That which flaunts the laws of the afterlife may never rest, for while it is true that the dead may be revived, it is only a matter of time before Visage finds and returns them to their proper place."
Ish'kafel, the Dark Seer"Fast when he needs to be, and a cunning strategist, Ish'Kafel the Dark Seer requires no edged weapons to vanquish his enemies, relying instead on the strength of his powerful mind. His talent lies in his ability to maneuver the fight to his advantage. Hailing from a place he calls 'The Land behind the wall,' Dark Seer remains an outsider here—a warrior from a realm beyond the veil of this reality. Once a great general among his people, and a valiant defender of the god-king Damathryx, Dark Seer’s army was wiped out by a much larger force in the final days of the Great Boundaries War. Facing certain defeat, he made one last desperate act: he led the enemy forces into the maze between the walls. At the last moment, just before capture, he crossed over—then sealed the walls forever in an explosive release of dark energy. When the dust settled, he saw that he had saved his people but found himself blinking at the sun of a different world, with no way to return. Now he is committed to proving his worth as a military strategist, and vows to show that he’s the greatest tactician this strange new world has ever seen."
Krobelus, the Death Prophet"Krobelus was a Death Prophet—which is one way of saying she told fortunes for the wealthiest of those who wished to look beyond the veil. But after years of inquiring on behalf of others, she began to seek clues on her own fate. When death refused to yield its secrets, she tried to buy them with her life. But the ultimate price proved insufficient. Death disgorged her again and again, always holding back its deepest mysteries. Her jealousy grew. Others could die for eternity—why not she? Why must she alone be cast back on the shores of life with such tiresome regularity? Why was she not worthy of the one thing all other living creatures took for granted? Still, she would not be discouraged. Each time she returned from the grave, she brought a bit of death back with her. Wraiths followed her like fragments of her shattered soul; her blood grew thin and ectoplasmic; the feasting creatures of twilight took her for their kin.. She gave a little of her life with every demise, and it began to seem as if her end was in sight. With her dedication to death redoubled, and no client other than herself, Krobelus threw herself ever more fervently into death's abyss, intent on fulfilling the one prophecy that eluded her: That someday the Death Prophet would return from death no more."
Lion, the Demon Witch"Once a Grandmaster of the Demon Witch tradition of sorcery, Lion earned fame among his brethren for fighting on the side of light and righteousness. But adulation corrupts. With powers surpassed only by his ambition, the mage was seduced by a demon and turned to evil, trading his soul for prestige. After committing horrible crimes that marred his soul, he was abandoned. The demon betrayed him, striking better deals with his enemies. Such was Lion’s rage that he followed the demon back to hell and slew it, ripping it limb from limb, taking its demonic hand for his own. However, such demonoplasty comes at a cost. Lion was transfigured by the process, his body transformed into something unrecognizable. He rose from hell, rage incarnate, slaying even those who had once called him master, and laying waste to the lands where he had once been so adored. He survives now as the sole practitioner of the Demon Witch tradition, and those who present themselves as acolytes or students are soon relieved of their mana and carried off by the faintest gust of wind."
Enigma"Nothing is known of Enigma’s background. There are only stories and legends, most of them apocryphal, passed down through the ages. In truth, Enigma is a mystery for whom the only true biography is description: he is a universal force, a consumer of worlds. He is a being of the void, at times corporeal, other times ethereal. A beast between the planes. There are stories that say he was once a great alchemist who tried to unlock the secrets of the universe and was cursed for his arrogance. Other legends tell that he is an ancient being of strange gravity, the abyss personified—a twisted voice from out the original darkness, before the first light in the universe. And there are older legends that say he is the first collapsed star, a black hole grown complicated and sentient—his motivations unknowable, his power inexorable, a force of destruction unleashed upon existence itself."
Invoker"In its earliest, and some would say most potent form, magic was primarily the art of memory. It required no technology, no wands or appurtenances other than the mind of the magician. All the trappings of ritual were merely mnemonic devices, meant to allow the practitioner to recall in rich detail the specific mental formulae that unlocked a spell's power. The greatest mages in those days were the ones blessed with the greatest memories, and yet so complex were the invocations that all wizards were forced to specialize. The most devoted might hope in a lifetime to have adequate recollection of three spells—four at most. Ordinary wizards were content to know two, and it was not uncommon for a village mage to know only one—with even that requiring him to consult grimoires as an aid against forgetfulness on the rare occasions when he might be called to use it. But among these early practitioners there was one exception, a genius of vast intellect and prodigious memory who came to be known as the Invoker. In his youth, the precocious wizard mastered not four, not five, not even seven incantations: He could command no fewer than ten spells, and cast them instantly. Many more he learned but found useless, and would practice once then purge from his mind forever, to make room for more practical invocations. One such spell was the Sempiternal Cantrap—a longevity spell of such power that those who cast it in the world's first days are among us still (unless they have been crushed to atoms). Most of these quasi-immortals live quietly, afraid to admit their secret: But Invoker is not one to keep his gifts hidden. He is ancient, learned beyond all others, and his mind somehow still has space to contain an immense sense of his own worth...as well as the Invocations with which he amuses himself through the long slow twilight of the world's dying days."
Ethreain, the Lich"In life, the frost-mage Ethreain (not yet a Lich) had used the threat of destructive ice to enslave entire kingdoms. His subjects, aided by a few desperate magicians, eventually grew bold enough to ambush him. Armed with enough charmed rope to bind him forever, they tied the frost mage to adamant weights and dropped him in a pool known chiefly for being bottomless. It wasn't. He only fell for a year or so before an outcrop snagged him. There he rested, dead but undecaying, until the geomancer Anhil thought to verify the legend of the supposedly bottomless Black Pool. Anhil's plumbline snarled with the ropes that bound the drowned magician, and up he hauled an unexpected prize. Thinking that by rendering the dead undead, he could question the Lich about the properties of the pool, he removed the bindings and commenced a simple rite of resurrection. Even the descendants of Ethreain's enemies were long forgotten by time, so there were none to warn Anhil against imprudence. But he learned the error of his judgment almost immediately, as Lich threw off the shackles and consumed him."
Rotund'jere, the Necrolyte"In a time of great plague, an obscure monk of dark inclinations, one Rotund'jere, found himself promoted to the rank of Cardinal by the swift death of all his superiors. While others of the order went out to succor the ill, the newly ordained cardinal secluded himself within the Cathedral of Rumusque, busily scheming to acquire the property of dying nobles, promising them spiritual rewards if they signed over their terrestrial domains. As the plague receded to a few stubborn pockets, his behavior came to the attention of the greater order, which found him guilty of heresy and sentenced him to serve in the plague ward, ensorcelled with spells that would ensure him a slow and lingering illness. But they had not counted on his natural immunity. Rotund'jere caught the pox, but instead of dying, found it feeding his power, transforming him into a veritable plague-mage, a Pope of Pestilence. Proclaiming himself the Necrolyte, he travels the world, spreading plague wherever he goes, and growing in terrible power with every village his pestilential presence obliterates."
Pugna, the Oblivion"In the realm of Pugna's birth, near the vents of the Nether Reaches, there stood a lamasery devoted to the Arts of Oblivion, which drew its power from the nether energies. The Grandmaster of the temple compound had himself passed into Oblivion several years prior, leaving his academy without a leader. From the moment of their master's death, the regents of the temple began rites of divination to identify their master's reincarnation, and eventually all signs converged on the immediate neighborhood. Several villages squatted in the shadow of the temple, their alleys and plazas full of the laughter of squalling children. Pugna, a mere thirteen months of age, was but one candidate among the local brats, and on the appointed day he was presented at the temple alongside two other promising tots. The lamas offered a jumble of worn relics to the children, treasured possessions of their former grandmaster. One boy reached for a porphyry wand that had belonged to the lama...and put it in his nostril. An impish girl pulled out an amulet that had also been the lama's, and immediately swallowed it. Pugna regarded the other two coolly, gave a merry laugh, and blasted them with gouts of emerald flame, reducing them to ashes in an instant. He then snatched up the wand and amulet, saying 'Mine!' The regents hoisted the beaming Pugna on their shoulders, wrapped him in their grandmaster's vestments, and rushed him to the throne before his mood could change. Within five years, the temple itself was another pile of ash, which pleased Pugna to no end."
Harbinger, the Outworld Devourer"One of a lordly and magisterial race, Harbinger prowls the edge of the Void, sole surviving sentry of an outpost on the world at the rim of the abyss. From this jagged crystalline Outworld, forever on guard, he has gazed for eternities into the heavens, alert for any stirring in the bottomless night beyond the stars. Imprinted deep in the shining lattices of his intellect lies a resonant pattern akin to prophecy, a dark music implying that eventually some evil will wake out there, beyond the edges of creation, and turn its attention to our world. With his whole being focused on his vigil, Outworld Devourer paid little attention to events closer in to the sun. But at last the clamor of the Ancients, and a sense of growing threat from within as well as without, sent him winging sunward to visit the plains of war. Harbinger's place in our own prophecies is unambiguous: he must be considered an omen of worse things to come. But his arrival in itself is bad enough."
Akasha, the Queen of Pain"The Ecclesiast-King of Elze nursed a desire for pain—forbidden pain. In a less prominent political figure, such desires might be considered unwise, but in a monarch of his stature, to satisfy such thirsts would have threatened the virtue of the Divine Throne itself. Therefore he turned to his dungeon full of demonologists, promising freedom to whoever could summon a personal succubus of torment and bind it entirely to his service. The creature who arrived, Akasha by name, visited upon him such exquisite torments that he named her his Secret Queen, and he began to spend all his spare moments submitting to her clever torments—eventually abdicating all his responsibilities in his pursuit of the painful pleasures that only she could bring. Queen of Pain could bring him to the brink of death, but she was rune-bound to keep him alive. At last the King's neglect of state brought on an uprising. He was dragged from his chamber and hurled from the Tower of Invocations, and at the moment of death, Queen of Pain was let loose into the world, freed from servitude—freed to visit her sufferings on anyone she deigned to notice."
Shadow Demon"Among the sovereign Demons with explicit access to this world, Doom Bringer scarcely bothers with the affairs of Noninfernals and Lesser Spectral Consorts, while Shadow Fiend passes through almost exclusively on collecting expeditions. The Shadow Demon, however, has always taken a deep and abiding interest in the material plane, as if sensing that mastery of this gritty dimensional nexus might be the key to total domination of all realities. Summoned first by minor wizards, the Shadow Demon granted every wish and put on increasingly impressive displays of power until he had the full attention of the greatest demonologists, and through them the various lords, tyrants, autarchs and heirophants who depended on sorcery to buttress their mundane power. So great was his deception that all his summoners considered themselves the master and Shadow Demon the servant; meanwhile, he eroded their identities and made their minds his own. In the end, most members of the cult were hollow puppets, extensions of his evil will. What Shadow Demon's next step would have been remains open to speculation, for around this time, Nevermore the Shadow Fiend bit into a particularly nasty-tasting soul and discovered that it held nothing but a foul nougat of Shadow Demon's essence. Alerted that a coup was underway, and that the ancient equilibrium of the Umbral Pact was about to be destabilized, Doom Bringer and Shadow Fiend briefly joined forces to destroy the burgeoning cult. Combing spells of incredible force, they undid Shadow Demon's centuries of patient work, reducing his cult to smithereens—and all its members to a bloody splatter. Nothing remained except a tiny speck of demon shadow. Immortal and irreducible, this mote of evil was enough to seed the Shadow Demon's next scheme, and in fits and starts, over further centuries, he began to regroup. Whatever that speck of shadow touched, it tainted, and its influence gradually grew. A chaos of damaged parts pulled together, reknit, and combined to give Shadow Demon a form even stronger than his former. He is all but complete now, and his plan for infinite dominion lacks all of its former weaknesses. It would seem that such a being of pure malice and malevolence, a threat to all creation, would be forever out of place in our world...yet Shadow Demon does not lack for followers."
Dazzle, the Shadow Priest"Each young acolyte to the Dezun order must complete a series of rites before becoming a shadow priest. The final rite, the rite of shades, is a harrowing spiritual journey through the Nothl Realm, an unpredictable domain from which not all visitants return. Of those who do, some return mad. Others return with strange aptitudes. But all who go there are changed by their experiences. Driven by the need for enlightenment, Dazzle was the youngest of his tribe to ever request the sacred ritual. At first the order refused him, saying he was too young. But Dazzle was not to be dissuaded. Sensing something special in the headstrong young acolyte, the elders relented. Dazzle drank down the sacred potion and sat by the fire while the rest of his tribe danced through the night. In this ethereal dimension of the Nothl Realm, the properties of light and dark are inverted. Thus his brilliant healing light, beautiful to our eye, is actually a sinister kind of evil; and the darkest deeds are done in a dazzling glow. The elders intuition was prophetic: Dazzle returned to his people as a Shadow Priest like none seen before. With the power to heal as well as to destroy. Now he uses his power to fight his enemies and help his friends."
Leshrac, the Tormented Soul"Leshrac, Tormented Soul, is an entity torn from the heart of nature, a liminal being that exists half in one plane of existence, half in another. His penetrating intelligence is such that he can never ignore for a moment the agonizing horror at the heart of all creation. Once a great philosopher who sought the meaning of existence, he plumbed the depths of nature with the haunted Chronoptic Crystals, and was forever altered by the hideous mysteries thereby revealed to him. Now the darkest depths of his enlightenment are illumined only by the fitful glare of his arrogance. Like other elemental characters, he is completely at one with nature, but in his case it is a nature lurid and vile. He alone sees the evil truth of reality, and has no use for those who believe the cosmos reserves a special reward for those who practice benevolence."
Demnok Lannik, the Warlock"As Chief Curator and Head of Acquisitions for the Arcane Archives of the Ultimyr Academy, Demnok Lannik was tireless in his pursuit of lost, rare and forbidden tomes. No cursed temple was so foreboding, no cavern path so treacherous, that any concern for his own survival could dissuade him from entering if rumors hinted that some pamphlet of primordial lore might still survive in its depths. However, so often did his investigations trigger the wrath of protector entities, that he finally found it necessary to master the arts of magic. He bent himself to learning sorcery with the same thorough obsessiveness that marked his quest for incunabula, becoming the most powerful Warlock of the Academy in less time than most practitioners required to complete a course of undergraduate work. Almost as an afterthought, he carved a staff of Dreadwood and summoned into it a captive spirit from the Outer Hells. And anticipating the day when he will have recovered every last lost spellbook, he has commenced writing his own Black Grimoire. It will undoubtedly be instructive."
Zharvakko, the Witch Doctor"A wiry silhouette hitches forward—uneven of feature and limb, bizarre of gait, relentlessly criss-crossing the battlefield in search of that vital weak point where his talents can do most good, and most harm. Whether broken or mismade it is not clear, but still, none can doubt the power carried in his twisted physique. A long staff thumps the earth as the Witch Doctor advances, deploying a terrifying arsenal of fetishes, hexes and spells. It is a body of magical knowledge learned over several lifetimes in the island highlands of Prefectura, now wielded with precision accuracy against his enemies. Witch Doctor is your best friend, or your worst enemy—healing allies and laying waste to all who oppose him."