A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

19 April 2011

P is for Poushif Bonereader

Poushif Bonereader is considered to be the “oddest bird in a aviary of crazy” around Coldtreath. Born to a human father and a dragonborn mother, he was bound to have issues. Despite his oddities, however, he is a wealthy man and a man of some influence in the city. He is also one with a unique role in society: the Merchant Necromancer.

Poushif was raised by his father; his mother abandoned them as they were “weak, fleshy things” when he was still an infant. He had apparently inherited none of his mother’s attributes. He never knew the loving touch of a parent; his father had been beaten down mentally, physically, and emotionally by his wife. Her abuse in all forms turned the man into exactly what she thought of him; in the end he was little better than a sentient vegetable and hardly capable of raising a son on his own.

Somewhere during his adolescence, Poushif became entranced with the necromantic arts. At first it was limited to raising newly-deceased beloved pets and making the soup bones gurgle and writhe in the cooking pots. As he reached maturity, however, some latent power in his blood manifested itself and his power grew unbelievably strong.

Unlike most powerful necromancers in the world Poushif had no aspirations for power, world domination, or wholesale destruction of the living. Instead, he saw a niche that needed filling in Coldtreath: cheap manual labor. He began marketing his undead creations to merchants and shippers along the docks and throughout the city. No menial chore was beneath his creations’ abilities, except maybe for domestic cleaning and cooking. Even Poushif had his limits. Dock laborers, warehouse laborers, couriers: all were tasks for which Poushif provided a body and for which he was well-paid.

Of course, not everyone in Coldtreath can stomach an undead servant running errands, moving crates, or delivering messages. But there are a sufficient number of citizens who appreciate cheap labor that Poushif could live a very comfortable existence if he so wished, with a nice house, fine clothing, and exqiusite food. Instead, he ekes out an existence in a small hovel constructed just outside the northern gates of the city; one wall of the hovel is the very wall of the city itself. He dresses in layers of cast-off clothing, often appearing to be little more than strips of cloth hanging from his gaunt frame. His clothes are always clean, however. He is often found in shops buying stale bread and nearly spoiled provisions.

Poushif makes a striking and imposing figure. Nearly 7 feet tall, thin, and without a hair on his head--this along with a long neck and a pointed nose all combine to give him a vulterine appearance. The strips of cloth draped from his arms and shoulder add to the illusion, sweeping behind him as he walks. When he walks, he strides forward purposefully, but will occasionally and randomly stop suddenly to peer around him in all directions before continuing on his way. His eyes glow very slightly with a yellowish light and he whistles very slightly when he speaks.

Poushif has largely put behind him the emotional issues of his youth. At least, he has come to terms with them. He seems to be extremely satisfied with his life regardless of how others see him; he sees himself as providing a service to society, which helps his self-esteem. (He does not consciously admit it to himself, but being paid for that service does not hurt either.) However, he is still a sucker for happy endings and his emotions are easily played by others. In addition, the past abuses he has suffered make him extremely intolerant of gratuitous violence.

From this little shanty, unassuming as it may be, Poushif manages an admirable and successful business, providing a much-needed commodity to the port city of Coldtreath. He is respected--if not completely well-liked--both for that service and for his successes. He is also just a little feared by the citizenry; after all, he seems to be a little unstable and has a massive potential army at his command, and an intimate knowledge of the city's business.

(Stats to follow.)

**Many thanks to WotC's "PC Portraits" Archive for the image.

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