(Champion Spotlight) New Champions (06.09.2019)
Master balladeers know that a hero of legend often earns the title not just due his or her skill and courage - important as they are! - but also by heeding a greater calling. Be that timely divine intervention or a twist of fate that leads them to greatness. For Trunda Giltmallet, fate had a mystery to solve.
As a young and hopeful smith apprentice, Trunda had come across a collection of strange ore nuggets during one of the mining expeditions. Elder Dwarves claimed these must have come from somewhere beyond the realms of Teleria. And indeed, they were nothing like she had seen before, harder than steel and buzzing with hidden power. No hammer could break them, no smelter had heat enough to bend this mysterious metal to its will. The magical properties of the ore were clear, and Trunda had spent well over a decade being tutored by the very best artisans the Dwarven Kingdom had to offer before she finally prevailed.
With dragonbone dust and alchemical fire, with rune-incrusted instruments and water from the purest mountain streams, Trunda forged a mighty mallet from the star-metal ore. The invading hordes of Siroth provided the final ingredient, and, with a droplet of demonic blood, the magic that lived within the metal had been unleashed.
Her new weapon in hand, Trunda joined her kindred in repelling their hated foe. Each strike pealed like thunder, blasting demons with arcs of eldritch lightning and setting them ablaze with the fires of the Primordial Forge. Such was Trunda’s fury and skill, that the King himself praised the young warrior and held a feast in her honour.
Now, with Siroth’s minions well and truly on the run, Trunda turns her attention to the King’s expedition to the Surface. She is a hero of her people, and the lust for adventure fills her spirit. Surely, there are yet many deeds worthy of Trunda Giltmallet’s rising legend - and she is determined to find out.
Fighting as part of the rearguard is not as easy as some may imagine. Indeed, theirs is a crucial role and theirs is the sacrifice, should the main force need to withdraw. While it may not always be possible to keep the best warriors behind, the Dwarves know that officers, at least, ought to be both experienced and skilled.
The Rearguard Sergeant has been in her Jarl’s service for many years and has not failed him once. She is a stern taskmaster, but an expert of her craft. Her heavy flail had smashed many a foe, sundering armour and weapons alike in a single fell sweep.
But for all her bluster and overbearing habits, she embraces her duty and the need to protect others. Indeed, the Sergeant will often stand at the forefront of her band of Champions and intercept any enemy attacks that she can while her allies recover. Such loyalty is hard to come by and ought to be valued by any warrior.
Once upon a time, Baerdal Fellhammer was a brave and boisterous warrior, ever looking for a good scrap to test himself in. Short he may have been, but only a fool underestimates a Dwarf’s strength. And, to Baerdal’s glee, there had been plenty of fools in Teleria’s taverns. So he fought, he drank, gambled away whatever he had earned, and enjoyed his carefree life. All of that would not last.
One of Baerdal’s forays into the forgotten crypts ended in catastrophe. The ancient floors collapsed beneath his feet, and the Dwarven warrior had been thrust into catacombs far more ancient than even the tomb he had been exploring. There Baerdal had been forced to fight for his life for days, beset on all sides by skeletal ghouls and malevolent spectres, until he finally found his way out.
The desperate battle with no rest or respite had changed Fellhammer, and where a loud and cheerful fighter entered the tomb in search of glory, a paranoid and cautious survivor burst out from its catacombs and into the grim Durham Forest.
But all was not in vain. Through sheer grit and the strength of his axe arm, Baerdal slew many unclean creatures, and fought his way to a glade where an eerie light seemed to keep the Undead at bay. Tired and wounded, Baerdal collapsed by a pond of water as black as pure obsidian. He dreamt of spirits that coalesced and danced around him, keeping away the evil that would see him dead.
When he woke up, Baerdal Fellhammer realized that the Fey - guardian spirits of Durham - had imparted a small portion of their power upon him. Be it for his bravery or simply because they were compelled to, but their protection has remained with him until now.
This Champion's story had been adapted from the contest submission by Murd
This Champion's story had been adapted from the contest submission by Murd
According to Dwarven Legends, the First Smith had bestowed the Runic alphabet upon his children. Through it, he imbued them with a sliver of his divine genius and ensured the Dwarves would remain the best blacksmiths Teleria has ever seen.
It is no surprise then that the Children of Stone revere these ancient Runes and use them extensively in both their craft and their religious ceremonies. Runic Wardens, in particular, are honoured warriors and priests both, whose example guides their kin in the times of peace and in the times of war alike.
Clad in the finest gilded armour, the Wardens lead the charge, bolstering their allies and baffling the enemy. Their knowledge of runecraft allows these Champions to enhance those who fight at their side with arcane protection and even heal injuries, sustained in righteous battle.
Even among the criminals and outcasts of society, there are those who may yet rise to greatness and, perhaps, even find redemption. Though few know the Madman’s name - and fewer still care - he has already managed to make a mark on the surface. Indeed, when a screeching and heavily tattooed Dwarf charges at a horde of undead before your very eyes, forgetting it will prove difficult.
Once, he was a gang leader, a merciless and unprincipled scoundrel who would rob and intimidate the honest folk to get what he wants. His exile must have set a few things right - or unhinged him even further. So when an opportunity for pardon had presented itself, this Madman took it gladly.
Though hardly a sophisticated fighter, he can still offer his blade and fights with crazed determination, slashing and stabbing at his foes like a wild animal.
No one can deny that the Dwarves fought against the forces of Siroth with valour and determination, and no one would question their eventual victory. Alas, treachery exists everywhere, and there were those who besmirched the honour of their people. Some turncoats submitted to the Demonspawn, striking vile pacts and selling their souls.
Even with the Legions of the Damned scattered and forced to flee, some of these demon-worshippers yet survive in the darkest corners of the underground caverns. And some even found their way to the Surface.
Twisted in body as well as in the mind, the Painsmith still clings to his dark loyalties. He managed to escape the death row where he had been imprisoned for his treachery. With his guards dead and his trail gone cold, he now roams Teleria like a hungry wolf. Though not without strength of his own, this Champion of evil relishes any opportunity to strike at an unsuspected foe and deal as much pain as he can before any retaliation can be mounted. Worse still, his pickaxe
Few sights are as awe-inspiring as a Dwarven phalanx in the heat of battle. Short these warriors may be, but when their axes swing, they carry the song of glory and strength that have endured for millennia. Their armour repels all but the most horrible attacks, and the Dwarves advance to the sounds of drums and the mighty battle cries.
The Stout Axeman had earned his name through stubborn refusal to back down and his unflinching loyalty to those he calls comrades-in-arms. He is a veteran of the war against Demonspawn legions and has learned much about fighting these dark-hearted foes. Superior enemy numbers do not scare him, and he laughs in the face of death. Indeed, what kind of warrior would not revel in the thickest fray? Certainly not a Dwarf!
Though Dwarves are legendary smiths first and foremost, their artisans are learned in many disciplines beyond the forging of metal. Alchemists, in particular, are wide-spread and valued. After all, someone has to work with the wealth of arcane materials that are available beneath the Mountains of Despair.
These fighters are just as tough as their more traditional warrior brethren, however! They might lack heavy armour and oversized axes, but they can use alchemical concoctions to gain an edge in battle instead!
Even before the demonic invasion, the caverns and tunnels that connect different Dwarven strongholds to one another were not safe to travel. Beasts, brigands, even an occasional Ogryn or Ork incursion were commonplace. As such, the need for dedicated wardens and scouts had arisen, and many brave Dwarves heeded the call.
The Tunnel Stewards, as they are called, are a volunteer militia. They eschew heavy armour in favour of greater mobility and often prefer ranged weapons that allow them to engage the enemy and withdraw whenever they choose. Given the tough nature of the underground beasts they face, Tunnel Stewards are not above coating their arrows and quivers in poison, or using other less direct means of gaining the upper hand.