Cast of Characters

9th Level Human Druid (Circle of the Moon)

Armor Class:  19 (bark half-plate armor, shield)
Hit Points:  67
Speed:  30 ft.

   STR              DEX              CON              INT              WIS              CHA
18 (+4)          15 (+2)          16* (+3)          9 (-1)          18 (+4)          10 (+0)

Saving Throws:  Int +3, Wis +8
Skills:  Athletics +8, Insight +8, Medicine +8, Nature +3, Survival +8
Senses:  Passive Perception 14

Languages:  Common, Druidic, Elvish

Special Equipment: Amulet of the Verdant Will*, Staff of the Python*

A 6’4″ wall of muscle and scars, armoured in plate made from a wood the deep, dark red of fresh blood. Patches of moss and thorny vines cover most of the surface of his armour from which small, crimson flowers constantly bloom and wilt. His long black hair, streaked now with small strands of grey and threaded through with vines, is parted by two many tiered antlers, each just under a foot in length. His beard is a tangled mass of black hair and green growth, with three long ragged scars carved through it. One of those run up to split and twist lips which are shaped in an incongruously goofy grin, and his green, green eyes sparkle with mirth.

His voice, when it emerges, is deep and warm and kind. “Hello little friend. Do you need help?”

9th Level Human Blood Hunter (Order of the Ghostslayer)

Armor Class:  15 (studded leather armor)
Hit Points:  80
Speed:  30 ft.

 STR             DEX              CON              INT               WIS             CHA
9 (-1)          16 (+3)          16 (+3)          12 (+1)          16 (+3)          9 (-1)

Saving Throws:  Str +3, Wis +7
Skills:  Athletics +3, Insight +7, Investigation +5, Perception +7, Stealth +7, Survival +7
Senses:  Passive Perception 17

Languages:  Common, Abyssal, Sylvan

Special Equipment:  Dagger of Warning*, Longbow of Smiting*, Flash Arrows, Cloak of the Mountebank

The woman in front of you is human, on the taller side of average with dark hair set against skin that looks like it hasn’t seen the sun in months. The sparse freckles that cross the bridge of her nose and spread to her cheeks might be called “cute” on anyone else. Her eyes are the color and temperature of ice, looking you over coolly with a gaze that feels sharp and suspicious. In fact, everything about the way she carries herself feels wary. The leather armor is well worn, no piece of it existing for embellishment or personal aesthetic. Every item has a practical use. She is well armed, too, carrying a bow and quiver (the bow is the only thing that looks like she spent actual money on, finely crafted), and short sword. She notices you looking and her palm settles on the hilt of a dagger. The movement reveals faint scars on her wrists, ones that look like they may travel further up the skin. She steps toward you – her gait purposeful and without hesitation now that she has determined you are who she is looking for – and speaks.

“Let’s get this over with.”

9th Level Half-Elf Bard (College of Glamour)

Armor Class:  15 (fey soldier’s studded leather armor)
Hit Points:  48
Speed:  30 ft.

  STR             DEX             CON               INT               WIS              CHA
8 (-1)          16 (+3)          10 (+0)          10 (+0)          14 (+2)          20 (+5)

Saving Throws:  Dex +7, Cha +9
Skills:  Acrobatics +7, Deception +9, Insight +6, Performance +9, Persuasion +13, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +11
Senses:  Passive Perception 14

Languages:  Common, Elvish, Sylvan

Special Equipment:  Braid of Sending*, Ioun Stone of Awareness*, the Seelie Registry (fey and common translations)

Allie is a half elf with fine platinum blonde hair and alabaster skin. He is slender, graceful and much too pretty for his own good and he knows it. A dark blue ioun stone lazily circles his head and red crystal roses with enamel leaves adorn his tousled hair. Intricate, vibrant tattoos with demons’ faces encircle his wrists like handcuffs.

He sees you looking curiously at his tattoos and he smiles flirtatiously, “You admire tattoos, but I don’t see any on you. Are you hiding one somewhere? Let’s have a look.”

9th Level Elf Rogue (Assassin)

Armor Class:  17 (studded leather armor)
Hit Points:  60
Speed:  35 ft.

  STR             DEX             CON              INT               WIS             CHA
8 (-1)          20 (+5)          12 (+1)          12 (+1)          14 (+2)          11 (+0)

Saving Throws:  Dex +9, Int +5
Skills:  Acrobatics +13, Deception +4, Insight +10, Investigation +9, Perception +10, Persuasion +4, Sleight of Hand +9, Stealth +13, Survival +6
Senses:  Passive Perception 20

Languages:  Common, Druidic, Elvish, Thieves’ Cant

Special Equipment:  Cloak of Elvenkind*, Gem of Seeing*, Bag of Holding, Quicksilver Rapier*

You see before you a lithe wood elf, brown skinned and short for her race. Her black hair up on a messy bun, and she is leaning against a wall. Her dark green eyes survey the scene watchfully, her features aristocratic, in a classically elvish way. She wears dark-colored leather armor, and at her hips are an intricately jeweled rapier, and a dagger that glints in the low light. She wears a richly embroidered green cloak that seems to blend into the shadows around it, almost ephemeral and it hides the edges of her form.

She quirks an eyebrow at you, a silent, “what do you want?”

5th Level Human Alchemist / 4th Level Wizard (School of Necromancy)

Armor Class:  13 (leather armor)
Hit Points:  48
Speed:  30 ft.

   STR              DEX            CON             INT               WIS              CHA
14 (+2)          14 (+2)          9 (-1)          20 (+5)          12 (+1)          14 (+2)

Saving Throws:  Con +3, Int +9
Skills:  Arcana +9, History +9, Insight +5, Medicine +9, Perception +9, Stealth +6
Senses:  Passive Perception 24

Languages:  Common, Deep Speech, Draconic, Elvish, Orcish

Special Equipment:  Portable Lab, +1 Greatsword, Twilight Kiss*

A tall, lithe man, strange in his demeanor but precise and regal in his posture and in how he holds himself. The appearance and presence of nobility in and about him is somewhat offset by the strange details of his form, little notes that just don’t seem right. Pale skin is complemented by hair that seems to shift between brown and platinum blonde when one isn’t looking, and is juxtaposed by one diamond-eye of crimson red and another of bright purple, which seem to glow ever so slightly. If one looks closely, beneath the fancy clothing, minor jewels and pins, past the dark and significantly larger-than-expected black broadsword at his hip, his skin seems to subtly writhe and shift, as if there’s something beneath it, moving and trying to come out. Beneath the clothes is a sea of scars, each of them private and with a story behind them. He smiles pleasantly, a genuine moment of enjoyment, though something in his eyes looks you over like a butcher checking a chop of meat.

“Ah, a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” he says, a small smile on his lips. “Are you here to help with the experiment?”

9th Level Human Fighter (Battle Master)

Armor Class:  19 (splint mail, Shield)
Hit Points:  81
Speed:  30 ft.

   STR              DEX             CON              INT               WIS              CHA
18 (+4)          14 (+2)          16 (+3)          11 (+0)          14 (+2)          14 (+2)

Saving Throws:  Str +8, Con +7
Skills:  Athletics +8, Intimidation +6, Perception +6, Survival +6
Senses:  darkvision 60 ft.*, Passive Perception 16

Languages:  Common, Dwarven*

Special Equipment:  Eldritch-Touched Longsword, Equinox Crystal*, Belt of Dwarvenkind*

At first glance, you think he’s just another old man playing soldier. Struggling to remember his glory days as memory is inevitably swallowed by confusion and lost to age. He has to be in his early 70s, as far as you can tell. Far too old to be wearing that splint mail armor, not to mention carrying a sword and shield. The pack next to him is so loaded down that you struggle to imagine him being able to lift it. He’s big, though. Bigger than you’d expect. Even sitting down, his shoulders are broad and his back straight. He has to be at least six feet tall, maybe even more, and he weighs anywhere from 200 to 220 pounds. His close-cropped hair is bone white, as is his neatly trimmed beard. Some might still consider him handsome, despite the weathered lines wrinkling his face. His blue eyes scan his surroundings, and in them you see an energy that struggles…rages…against the limits of his biological age. He seems sharp, aware of exactly who and where he is, and for a moment you doubt he misses much at all.
 
When he stands, it’s clear you were wrong. About everything. The way he moves in that armor, it’s like he was born in it. He lifts that staggeringly heavy pack, one you doubt you could lift yourself, as if it contained little more than preconceived notions. He slings it over one shoulder, and not so much as a grunt of effort escapes his lips. He checks the belt on his waist, ensuring the sheathed sword rests neatly over his left hip, and slips his shield up his left arm. Every motion, while maybe not as fast as those of a far younger man, is practiced in its proficiency. You’re suddenly reminded of the old saying: beware the old man in a profession where most die young.
 
“Everyone rally up,” he says. His voice is as weathered as his face, but firm without being harsh, commanding without being demanding. “We’ve got work to do.”

The Umbra Collective, Ethris, and all associated original material are copyright © 2017 by Jack Hargreaves. All rights reserved.
Character art by Claudia Cocci/@ArtKaree