Heroes of New Canton
== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ==
h3. Semael, level 6
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
- Str 18
- Con 15
- Dex 14
- Int 15
- Wis 18
- Cha 17.
- AC: 26
- Fort: 19
- Reflex: 19
- Will: 19
- HP: 65
- Surges: 12
- Surge Value: 16
- Religion +12
- History +12
- Diplomacy +11
- Intimidate +11
- Acrobatics +1
- Arcana +5
- Bluff +6
- Dungeoneering +7
- Endurance +1
- Heal +7
- Insight +7
- Nature +7
- Perception +7
- Stealth +1
- Streetwise +6
- Thievery +1
- Athletics +3
- Lay on Hands: Ardent Vow
- Paladin at-will 1: Bolstering Strike
- Paladin at-will 1: Valiant Strike
- Power User Choice: Iron Fist
- Paladin encounter 1: Valorous Smite
- Paladin daily 1: Majestic Halo
- Paladin utility 2: Virtue
- Paladin encounter 3: Strength from Valor
- Paladin daily 5: Prayer of Two Paths
- Paladin utility 6: Wrath of the Gods
Semael is 6’4" tall with light skin that is more gray than that of humans or elves. He has smaller dark patterns in his skin, and jet black hair in an interesting do that looks like a halo with a ponytail coming out of the middle. His frame is lithe, looking a touch out of place in his full plate armor.
Semael is quite young, being reborn only 6 years ago so his personality is still developing. He tries to be polite and avoid rash decisions. He is keenly interested in justice and judgement, but doesn’t seem all that interested in organized religion. He worships Bahamut in a personal manner, always setting a place for Bahamut at dinner.
This section contains portions of Semael’s history that are known to the entire party.
My name in this life is Semael. I came to this world 6 years ago. I was reborn in a cavern 2 days North West of the town of Forkness. Upon arriving in the town I took work at the temple of Bahamut. The temple was quite small, but more than big enough for the needs of the small town. Garosh and Vera, the priest and priestess of the temple, found me a place to stay, and would often let me eat at their table at night. They were married, but had no children. I helped in any ways they needed at the temple including cleaning, distributing food to the needy, and even security. Security was by far my favorite part of the job, and I soon began training to become a Paladin.
Shortly after the training began, the dreams and memories started coming. They always do. It was then that I realized how fortunate I was to be reborn a deva. I was able to piece together snippets of my previous life. Enough to know that I was on the brink of being lost forever. I was Raphael. I did horrible things. Every time I, Semael, saw an elf, I saw Raphael killing a hundred elves in my mind. Samael should have been Rakshasa. Raphael’s crimes were unspeakable and I would awake horrified at the thought, wondering how I had avoided the inevitable fate of losing my immortal progression forever.
Next, came the dreams and memories of Gabriel. On the brink of attaining my seat next to Bahamut. Rather than murdering the elves, I was helping them. Setting up trade routes, negotiating with kings and rulers, seeing that the laws were just and enforced correctly. How could I have possibly had such a dramatic swing in just one lifetime? From justicar to maleficar.
Then came the visions. Semael, working in the temple, preparing for my final test to be knighted a Paladin of Bahamut. Gabriel, in the temple, ordaining elves as priests of Bahamut. Raphael, in the temple, slaying elves as they prayed. Gabriel, having lived a long, fulfilling, and righteous life, betrayed by the elves. The snap of the shoulder as it separates while the elves turn the wheel of the rack. Gabriel, unjustly, publicly shamed after a lifetime of helping the elves. Gabriel giving in to his rage and forfeiting his position with Bahamut. Gabriel, surrounded by elves, wildly flailing with his hammer, killing as many as he could before succumbing to his injuries and dying. Raphael, born with rage, almost a direct continuation of the life of Gabriel. Raphael, again surrounded by elves in the temple while the orcs and ogres razed the town. Raphael, giving his own life to hold the doors of the temple while the elves escaped into the catacombs, to come out in the forest, free from the horde. A decision that may have spared him from a never-ending fate as rakshasa.
Every scene was disturbing, and a little confusing, as though seen through a window smeared with bees wax. I, Semael, cannot change the past, but can only strive to keep on the side of Bahamut in the life I am living now. I pushed those memories to the recesses of my mind and focused on my test to become a Paladin of Bahamut. The test came easy. My commitment was firm. I was knighted by Garosh and participated in the rites that granted me the power of Bahamut to smite evil and uphold justice.
Garosh and Vera were loved by everyone in the town. They had been in charge of the temple for years. Everyone assumed they didn’t have children because they were devoted to their work at the temple. Unfortunately, I found out differently. When they were first married, they tried for years to have children. It wounded Vera very deeply that she just didn’t seem able to get pregnant. Aside from being the priestess at the temple, she was also a midwife in the town having delivered the children of many of the townspeople. Vera treated every child she delivered as her own.
Not long ago, a couple by the name of Jordan and Sarah were married. Shortly after that Sarah became pregnant. When her time for delivery was drawing near, Jordan was killed in an accident while felling a tree for their new home. The night before Sarah delivered, I had a horrible feeling, and a vision of Vera with a baby, and blood on her hands. The next day, Sarah delivered. Vera asked me to accompany her to the home and wait outside during the delivery. I had performed this duty for her several times in the past, and was used to the sounds and activity around child birth. Everything seemed to be going normally, and I heard the baby cry. Then, I heard a cry from Sarah that sounded very different than the strains of after birth. I knew something was wrong, and despite the commands of Vera, entered the house. I saw Vera, with blood on her arm past her elbow, removing a shiv from Sarah’s birth canal. Nobody else was in the room. Blood was flowing freely from Sarah. Vera, unsure of whether or not I saw the shiv, claimed that something was wrong and Sarah was likely going to bleed to death from natural causes during the birthing process. Sarah’s eyes were wide as she gasped for breath. They embraced me; begged me; silently screamed for help. Vera put on a scene as though it was an emergency, but within a few seconds Sarah had taken her last breath. Sarah’s wide blue eyes haunt me at night.
Naturally, Vera volunteered to take care of the baby, and the townspeople thought it was a great idea. A couple days later I confronted Vera about the shiv. Initially she denied everything, but then she began to threaten me. She was the priestess in the temple of Bahamut, and had delivered nearly anyone in town under the age of 20. The people trusted her with their lives, why would they believe me, a newcomer? I was never able to find out if Garosh knew anything about this. Perhaps the ‘accident’ in the forest wasn’t really an accident. Garosh was supposed to be out helping Jordan that day. Before I could discover the truth about Garosh I had to take my accusation against Vera to the town council. Things went precisely as Vera had predicted. A trial was held, but it was only a mockery of justice. Obviously, since Sarah had been stabbed internally, there were no marks on her body to show that Vera had harmed her, and the entire town was against further investigation, especially Sarah’s parents who had just buried her. Vera was let go, and I was ridiculed.
I was kicked out of the lodgings I was in, and not admitted to the temple anymore. The only belongings I had were the bedroll and shield I received when I completed my rites to become a Paladin. The people would mock me in the street, wondering how I could be so cruel to the couple that had taken me in when I was first reborn. They would throw things at me and spit on me as I walked through town. I was charged twice the normal price for every good in town simply out of spite. After a month of this treatment, I decided it was time to move on, but I took with me the things that I had learned.
Nearly all clergy, law men, and nobles will be, or are already corrupted by their station and power. They will begin to use that power for their own purposes rather than the purposes for which the power was given.
Organized religion is an abomination in the eyes of the gods. There doesn’t need to be anything “organized” about worship. You will get closer to the gods by learning about them, upholding their domains, and keeping their statutes. Religions and cults only set people up, in between the individual and their gods, giving honor to the leaders instead of their gods; In that position, every leader will eventually become corrupted by the false promises and illusions of power. Each individual is responsible for making their way to their gods, and those that rely on some organization are following a wisp that will only lead them to trouble, and when that trouble comes, their gods will not know them.
There is only one true justice, and that is the justice of the gods. The laws of men are often in agreement with the laws of the gods, but when they are not, true justice must be upheld regardless of the laws of men. Again, the power to uphold the law will inevitably lead to corruption in the hands of men. They will seek for the praise of men and will disregard the laws when it suits their needs. Men will often judge according to station, wealth, reputation, or relation rather than judge impartially based on the facts.
I have only just come to these harsh conclusions. Is it because of recent events? Is this just a phase I’m going through, or do I really believe the entire world is corrupted. Only time will tell.
As I leave Forkness, I do not know where I am going. I have been on the road for several months now, hunting in the woods, sleeping in stables. I am a lone wanderer with no purpose in this life. Am I even really a true Paladin? If Garosh was a part of Vera’s plot, then do the rites that were performed for me to become a paladin valid? I believe I feel the influence of Bahamut in my life, but you don’t have to be a Paladin for that. I must find where I fit.
For the last month I’ve been having a new dream. In this dream, there are two people. I am on one platform next to a very high wall. The other man is hooded, and standing on another platform, near mine. The hooded man pulls a lever, I drop and my neck snaps. I don’t know if this is a past life or a premonition of what is to come in this life. I have associated the name ‘Azriel’ with this dream, but I don’t know if it is mine, his, or has some other significance.
After 3 months on the road, I came to the town of New Canton. A town of a few thousand residents. As I came to the town after some time of recollection and self inspection, I decided I needed to find something to restore my faith in humanoid kind. Not every law person and clergy can be corrupted can they? Having spent plenty of time in the clergy in Forkness, I decided to start looking at the law side of the coin. I took a job as a bailiff in the courts, escorting prisoners to and from the courtroom and keeping order. In this position, I had time to talk to the prisoners, magistrates, and all others involved in executing the law at the lowest level.
One particular trial caught my attention. A human by the name of Warren was accused of worshipping Asmodeus. Warren was a simple farmer that had lived in the farmlands of New Canton his entire life. When he was grown, he took over the family farm and has been bringing his harvest to market on a weekly basis for over 20 years. Warren married Dinah when they were both 18. They have since had 7 children, all of which have been helping on the farm since they first learned to walk. The oldest is 19, the youngest is 7. I was surprised that someone like that would be worshipping the supreme master of the nine hells. The evidence against him consisted of an anonymous tip, and a dugout under his barn in which all of the implements of his craft was stored, including the body of an unknown woman that had very recently been sacrificed.
During the trial, Warren obviously denied everything, but he wasn’t given any time to actually speak. Any time he tried to say anything, he was cut off by the judge. With the evidence, and basically no defense, he was convicted and sentenced to death, along with his entire family, including all of the children. As I was walking Warren to the gallows he held his head high. Not like someone proud, but like someone innocent and consigned to his fate, but not willing to let his children see him break down. He turned to me, and told me that someone needed to know his story.
Warren told me that some years ago a man came to the farm and offered to rent his barn for a very sizable sum. They wanted to stay one night, but Warren was not allowed to ask questions. Although he had a bad feeling about it, the money was more than Warren would make all year, so he consented. This happened every 3-4 months. Finally, after the fourth visit, Warren decided he didn’t want to be a part of whatever was going on. When the man next came, Warren said no. The man would not be turned away and threatened Warren and his family. In order to protect his children, Warren let the activities continue.
On the next visit, Warren went to the barn to see what was really going on. To his surprise, there was nobody there, but he could hear something in the earth, below the barn. A small trap door had been concealed in an unused horse stall under the hay. The door creaked as Warren lifted on the heavy brass ring to open it, and the man met Warren’s gaze. In a dugout, under the barn, the man had cages filled with what looked like a half-orc family. The family tried to yell something to Warren, but the man quickly shut them up. Warren quickly went back to his farm house.
It didn’t take many more visits for Warren to figure out that the man was using the bunker under his barn as a place to spend the night while transporting slaves to the mine. His farm was about 1 day’s journey from the city, and another day’s journey from the mine. Now that Warren knew so much, the threats from the man were much greater. He also stopped paying and required food from Warren’s family on each visit.
Warren didn’t want to be a part of a slavery ring and finally put his foot down. The man was not allowed to stay again. Contrary to what the man had said, nothing bad happened to Warren’s family. A month went by without any incident. Then, Warren awoke to guards at his door and accusations of devil worship. The bunker under the barn had been modified to look like a temple of Asmodeus, complete with the corpse of a fresh sacrifice.
As all 9 ropes went taut I felt sick inside. The youngest wasn’t even heavy enough to break her own neck in the drop and flailed wildly for at least 30 seconds. I nearly ran up on the platform, I don’t know if I would have put her out of her misery, or released her, but in either case I would just join them. I need to find out who is really in charge here and bring them to justice. Unfortunately, I suspect it reaches at least to the judge in this trial, and probably much further than that. I have discovered that Warren isn’t the first to be accused of worshiping Asmodeus. There has been a spate of people convicted of this in the last 2 years, and it has the town in a witch-hunt mentality, believing a cult is trying to sink roots in New Canton. If all of the previous executions are like Warren and his family, I suspect it has nothing to do with a cult.