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PART 3 - The Villians of Midnight

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PART 3 - The Villians of Midnight

Post by The Hive Mind on Thu May 15, 2014 11:32 am

The legates are one of many types of villains that threaten the future of Eredane. The foes and evils of Midnight are legion, and the allies are few. Above them all is Izrador. No mere overlord or tyrant of the flesh, Izrador is a god that walks the earth, as far above mortals as humans are above insects. He has more power than any mortal can dream to achieve, and is beyond even the ability of the Witch Queen of Erethor to battle. Yet Izrador is not omnipotent, bound as he is in shapeless darkness. He relies on his minions to spread terror and despair, offering them power but relying on their ability to travel the land of Eredane in a way that he cannot.

Above all of Izrador’s minions and by far the most dire enemies of all heroes in the world of MIDNIGHT are the Night Kings. These four lieutenants of the Shadow are made all the more tragic and fell by their previous roles as heroes of Eredane; if these brave champions fell to the corrupting whispers of Izrador, who among the mortals of the Last Age can hope to resist him? Indeed, as the dark god foresaw, the physical damage wrought by the Night Kings at the end of the Third Age was as nothing compared to the wound their mere existence continues to inflict, even today, on the morales and spirits of Eredane’s defenders.

Even the greatest heroes of MIDNIGHT fear these four; they are as gods above men, and none can hope to stand against them. Only the Witch Queen’s constant striving and counter-maneuvers save the defenders of Eredane from being overwhelmed by their might; thankfully, she is aided in these efforts by the Night Kings themselves. Their own greed for power, made evident in their struggles with one another and their otherworldly plotting, distracts them from turning their full attention to the obliteration of the enemies of their dark god. Despite these overwhelming powers, there are foes that the heroes of MIDNIGHT can and must face. Foremost among them are the legates, the dark priests of the Order of Shadow. These are the strongest of Izrador’s mortal servants, not least because of their spellcasting abilities. More important than this divine might is their influence over every aspect of conquered Erenland, from the orc warbands to the lives and belongings of common citizens. Legates are entitled to any action, no matter how foul, that serves the greater good of their god. Murder and theft are disguised as punishment and the taking of tithes, and their power and religious rituals are both dependent on the sacrifice of living, intelligent, and usually innocent beings. Finally, the legates are granted devious servants, animals that seem possessed of a malign intelligence and unerring ability to sense those who are disloyal to the Shadow in the North.

Yet these powerful enemies, like those above them, are distracted by the intrigues among their peers. They too jocky for position, backstab and wheedle, and strive to climb the ancient and crumbling edifice of Izrador’s favor.

Beneath the legates in power but just as dangerous to the people of Eredane are the dark god’s savage and relentless hordes of orcs. These are not the mind- less brutes of other campaign settings, however. The orcs of MIDNIGHT are the chosen of Izrador, bred for strength and savagery, pride and cunning. They are raised only to hate and kill, but do so in a selfless and passionate way that the forces of evil find beautiful to behold. They alone can see and hear the sendings of Izrador each night as they lie in sleep, and they alone have been promised the inheritance of the world.

Where there is ignorance, pain, and helplessness, there are those who would prey on the unfortunate and the defenseless. The destrucion wrought by Izrador’s army as it conquered Erenland has left an economy shattered by war, a people broken by tyrants, and a land raped of its resources, and throughout them all roam enemies with a thousand names and faces. As in other worlds, monsters and predatory beasts roam the wastes between the holdouts of civilization, but in a land where weapons are outlawed and magic is hunted down, how are such creatures to be fought? In the supposedly safe remaining towns and cities, the people are hunted instead by spies and collaborators. These are traitors to their own people who, to save their own skins or to receive power from their darkmasters, turn in those who disobey the Night Kings’ decrees and the legates’ demands.

Crimes include the pursuit of literacy and learning, the practice of magic, providing help to outlaws, or even hiding a few sacks of grain from the dark god’s tithe-takers in order to feed one’s family. The punishment for such acts begins with lashings horrid enough to kill most men, escalates to slavery guaranteed to do so, and at worst includes fates even worse than death. There are other, less easily defined and even less easily defeated foes awaiting your characters in MIDNIGHT. Hunger and want are everywhere, and cannot be cut with any sword. Despair and ignorance creep through the people of Eredane, and cannot be banished with a spell or a ritual.
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