Monday, December 1, 2014

Kurgani, or Curse-Knights

I like things in barrows...

The party enters the tomb complex.

Harald the Crusader lies here, struck down as he dealt a death-blow to the Ur-lich.  It was truly a Pyrrhic victory, as although he had put the bane down, Harald's reputation had been forever tarnished by his burning of the heretical Temple of the Bent Willow. His allies had paled when they realized that the families of the acolytes had taken shelter within and, in his fervor, Harald paid no heed to the cries...

In the gloom of the ossuary, five dead knights arise, armor riddled and rent, eyes glowing with the baleful light of undeath.

Behind them, Harald rises, still wearing his campaign armor, holy sigils burning.  Harald lets out a haunted, paralyzing moan...  The band spreads out, attempting to surround the party.  Strike the leader down, or fritter their dwindling resources on destroying the guard knights - with the hope that there will be strength enough to put Harald into his grave permanently?


Kurgani (Curse-Knights):

The corrupted knight may be a fallen paladin or similar holy warrior who lost his attributes and soul due to a moment of passion or temptation. Perhaps he killed a helpless foe, betrayed a compatriot, or gave into material greed.  Regardless, his god has assured that he will atone for his fall, reanimating him as a powerful undead, escorted by a band of lesser wights.

The Kurgani (HD 6 AC 2[17]; Atk by weapon + level drain; Move 9; Save 9; AL C; CL/XP 11/1,700; Special: Haunting moan: Save upon initial contact or be paralyzed with fear 1d6 rounds; Drain 1d3 levels with hit, hit only by magic weapons).

He is accompanied by 2d3 knights reincarnated as barrow-wights (HD 4; AC 4[15]; Atk by weapon + level drain; Move 9; Save 12; AL C; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Drain 1 level with hit, hit only by magic or silver weapons) arise and act as guards to 'protect' the corrupted crusader.

However, the knight is not actually the leader of the band, but held in thrall by the escorts as a punishment by his deity for his transgression and moment of weakness. The escort-wights will direct him through combat, puppet-like, his terrible moans striking fear and distracting combatants from the wights' manipulation. because of this connection, the escorts will be turned as a 6 HD undead, rather than 4 HD.

Defeat/destruction of the companion wights will 'free' the Kurgani of the curse, and he will provide a random 'boon' to each member the party as his dying act.

Boon list:
  1. +1 vs Chaotic foes
  2. Location of a powerful relic or artifact (especially if already quested by PCs)
  3. Grants sufficient XP to reach next level
  4. Location of the Kurgani's former stronghold and ownership thereof.
  5. +1 all saves
  6. +1 to one attribute (permanent)
  7. 2d3 fanatical retainers (PC's HD-2)
  8. Location of a magical weapon or staff revealed
  9. Commanded to continue the knight's quest (possibly not a 'boon')
  10. 'Lay on Hands' as paladin, regardless of class.
  11. Smite (Once per day, make a normal attack against a foe to deal additional damage equal to the PC’s total Hit Dice)
  12. Character gains a random Familiar, regardless of class.
  13. Character gains an arcane or exotic mount of up to 5HD.
IF the PCs kill the fallen paladin prior to dispelling his 'escorts,' the PC who dealt the killing blow will be cursed to arise as a barrow-knight upon death.  During the remainder of his/her life the PC will have a sense of ill-ease and garner negative reactions.  This can be cured by atonement (if cleric) or remove curse.

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