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Author: Jim Vassilakos
System: AD&D 2nd Edition
A Casual Encounter with Akach of the tribe Karacgh.
(c)1991 Jim Vassilakos (firstname.lastname@example.org). All Rights Reserved.
Permission is granted to copy for personal use.
"Remember now... not all barbarians are barbarians."
Akach was born of the Tribe Karacgh within the Clan Draug, his people known only
as the Fangs of the Druatan by outsiders. His premature birth, early in the
month of the Winter Wolf, was most remarkable, and during his childhood, stories
were often told by elders of how his mother's womb was inexplicably chewn from
the inside causing her subsequent death. Although popular, the story is a sad
one for the elders as his mother was a valued Mogis (Priestess) of the tribe,
and the first of her order in over a century to attain the Shewolf's blessing.
Therefore, in the proper time her son, the sacred child of the people, was
traded to the wolves for one of their own (the Sacred Draug) thus reaffirming
the ancient pact with the Shewolf. However, after three years the child
returned, driven from the Vulfen den by the leader of the hounds. The disgrace
could not be lost upon the Tribe, and with the broken pact, Akach was committed
However, his father, Azga, still grief-stricken due to the loss of his mate,
purchased his son's banishment at the cost of his own. The Sacred Draug, the
second party to the trade, remained close to tribe thereafter, often visiting
upon the Woses as they would move from one settlement to another.
In his 4th year, Machta, the wiseman of the tribe, conscious of the Akach's need
to learn the ways of his mother, called to the Nibelung to repay a longstanding
debt owed the by forest-dwellers since one of their number was named the
wolf-parent of the child. The Children of the Mist, often regarded as the most
reclusive of any race, answered the wiseman's request, sending Ulma, their
rain-maker. She became Akach's ward and mentor and is the only parent the youth
ever really knew although dim memories of his father still linger.
It was Ulma who introduced Akach to Skylos, the sacred wolf who often followed
the tribe at a distance. With her aid, he learned to speak the strange tongue of
the wolf, thus making a friend of it even though it would never enter the tribal
encampments. When he came into his 14th year, Akach had the right to declare
himself a man, and after the ceremonial hunt was tattooed across his chest with
a symbol of the Ngwaw (see the Legend of Canis). His became the Isil, a crescent
moon which is considered a powerful ward against evil spirits of the darkness.
On his following birthday while journeying to find his place of birth, a falling
star struck nearby, fragments showering for miles around. Although badly hurt,
he managed to recover after several weeks and made his way back to the tribe.
Afterward, he found within himself the innate psionic abilities of complete
healing, absorb disease, and lend health (DM's discretion advised, see ADnDv2
Complete Psionics Handbook for details). However, these powers tax heavily upon
him, and he has not learned how to entirely control them.
He has the skills of hunting, trapping and foraging, however, he is not well
accomplished at anything aside from thieving which he was taught by Ulma.
Although she did not consider these skills proper for one such as Akach, she
honored her duty as bequested by Machta to the best of her ability, and at the
completion of the training permitted Akach the gift of her TriBlade, an ancient
magical weapon of her people which is hurled at adversaries and returns of its
Here's more background information on Akach's culture.
Draug, The Vulfen Nation
The Draug arise from Wose stock, their appearance primitive and apelike, with
dark ruddy-brown skin, squat frames, and thick, imprecise features. Also called
the Druatan and the Wardogs, these are a race of fierce warriors, their
gene-pool long since polluted by the Auduin invaders of millennia past.
The Counting of Moons
The twelve moons of the year, each of approximately twenty-eight days duration
are (from January to December), the moons of the Goat, Cave Bear, Gar, Ram,
Bull, Eagle, Crab, Lion, Dryad, Owl, Scorpion, and Winter Wolf. Their wandering
month is that of the Black Horse.
Most tribes hold ten hunts each year, one at the wane of each moon save that of
the Goat and the Winter Wolf. Each tribe generally has between 100 and 500
people, one-third of which are hunters. The hunters typically meet at the tribal
center a few days before the new moon for a ceremony which instills strength and
courage into the hunters' spirits. They then split into bands of between fifteen
and thirty and hunt until the close of the moon, returning with their kills for
the newmoon festival where they display their victories to the tribal chief.
Reindeer and musk oxen are hunted in autumn while mammoth and mastodon are
hunted during spring and cave bear in all seasons save winter. However, many
animals such as long-horned deer, wild rabbit, ground squirrel, ice toad, and
numerous fish can be hunted of caught year round.
Tradition and Culture
Legend has it that the Shewolf bore the Wardogs and gave them their homeland in
return for the promise that they would take care of each other as the wolves do,
and that the two races ally in times need. She is said to run with the wild
packs at night and in popular belief is personified as queen of the wolves.
This covenant is symbolized in the foremost right of a newborn, to be granted a
"wolf-parent", usually a member of the tribe friendly with the natural parents
of the child, who fulfills the identical role of the god-parent: that of caring
for the child should the natural parents die. However, members of the high order
must find suitable parents outside the immediate tribe and often among
neighboring peoples who owe favors. These individuals are regarded as one with
the tribe, thus expanding its contacts even further while still keeping the
popular saying true, that there are no orphans among the wolves.
Tribes are led by chieftains, however, there is no absolute leadership at the
clan level. Each clan has a Mogan selected from among the Mogi of the varying
tribes. This individual is said to have a special relationship with the spirits
transcending even that of a Mogis. The duties of the Mogan are to lead the clan
ceremonies and keep the collective spirit of the tribe safe from demons. The
Mogan is beyond the will of the tribal chiefs and serves as a connecting force
for the clan. Assistants to this position are sent out to the various tribes to
practice herbal medicine and spirit healing.
Both male and female children may be granted "recognition" status, however, this
only comes with the ability to hunt. Thus the boys who are often physically
stronger than girls are more frequently chosen for the hunt and thus more likely
to gain such status. Children may be selected for the hunt as early as their
The mating ritual is common to all Wardog culture. Unmated females play the prey
and are turned loose into the wilds for one night every year at dusk (from the
last sunset of the Crab to the first sunrise of the Lion) to be hunted by the
unwed males. The male must capture his prey and bring her back at dawn to show
the tribe that he is worthy to be her mate. To ensure that secret deals are not
made between participants but rather that the mating hunt is a contest of skill
and chance, females are often drugged with a fear-inducing medicine and males
with potent aphrodisiacs.
Infighting is discouraged, but when necessary, the combatants discuss the
problem with the Mogis of their tribe and may request a fight to the death. If
the request is judged to be unworthy or petty it is denied and the antagonists
are sent to different tribes within the clan. If they fight without going
through the procedure, it is a simple case of murder and the survivor is
executed without chance of reprieve. If the Mogis decides that the request is
legitimate, the tribal chief must set the rules governing its fair combat.
Taboos: One may not kill wolves, or owls, or each other. Chiefs are to be
obeyed. When a chief is standing, lesser members must stand. They must also ask
for permission to speak to chiefs. The Mogis is treated as a rank above chief is
situations of honor or respect but as a rank below chief where important
decisions must be made concerning the practical welfare of the tribe, clan, or
nation. The Mogan, however, holds the ultimate rank in the clan.
Belief: Fire has a spirit, it is to be guarded at all times. Fire is to be
respected -- it can only be put out with blessed water, or if that is
unavailable, then water that has been sprinkled with the grindings of a holy
leaf. Pissing on fires is forbidden.
Rituals: In the month of the Winter Wolf once every several decades, the four
clans join in two common rituals. Of the first, they attempt to exchange a
sacred baby with a wolfen cub. If the trade fails, it is a forecast of doom. Of
the second, they also exchange gifts of unity which bind the tribes together as
one clan under one common heritage.
The Legend of Canis
Canis is the man of legend who mated with the Shewolf and from whose loins all
Wardog Clanspeople and their wolven cousins have sprung. He became part wolf,
and ruled the Clan Draug as their Ulrik or King. He hunted for his children and
gave the choicest parts of each kill to them so that they could feast. Canis
gave them more than enough food during the warm seasons so that they could
maintain stock for winter when the game moved to warmer climes. However, in
doing so, he unknowingly stole these kills from his mate, and by winter her
belly became empty so that she could not milk her young and still find enough
food for herself. She asked Canis if she must starve, but he answered that he
would not let her starve and that she could eat him and be satisfied. In the
end, the Shewolf did just that, but later sorrow overcame her so that she howled
because she realized then that it was better to be hungry than lonely. Thus, we
have the Ngwaw, or the Howling, the great winds at year's end which shatter all
the forestlands save the Godswoods and which both begin and end the hunting
season of the Vulfen calendar.
Wardog culture and religion centers around the relationship the nomads have with
their wolf counterparts. The ritual which symbolizes this relationship is the
covenant the Woses share with the Shewolf in "The Trade."
Once every several decades, during the last month of the year, usually on the
winter solstice, a human child newborn is traded for a wolfen cub. The child
which is traded is not yet named as that right is reserved for the wolves. For
the child to later return as did Akach is an event without precedent. It is most
certain among the elders, however, that the banishment spells a disintegration
of the pact which has sustained the Clan Draug for innumerable generations.
The Symbols of Unity
The clan chiefs attempt to meet annually during the Winter solstice to exchange
the eight sacred symbols of unity. All these objects revolve around the man
named Canis, the father of the wardog nation.
The owl feather was the tail feather of the great owl who came in the night to
advise Canis on the wisest courses of action. This gift from the owl symbolizes
a pledge to Canis and his descendants to aid the wardog nation with wise
The mithril ring was originally a gift from Lyn, the sylvan elf princess, who
made the gift in thanks to Canis for granting the Elves the inner forest and
protecting them from the Shewolf and other barbarian tribes during their early
years and for defeating the Green Drake of the Godswoods.
The Dragon's tooth is from the dragon which Canis slew when defending the sylvan
elves. The misty gem was cut from its skull.
The stone axe was wielded by Canis during his wars with the Auduin and other
barbarian tribes. The golden chalice was used by him at feasts. Both were
presents from the Dwarves for aiding their fight against the Goblins, and later,
the Solianic. One legend also states that the axe and chalice were used by the
Shewolf to carve his flesh of Canis and drink his blood.
However, the greatest of the gifts of unity are the skull and claw of Canis,
which are said to be the remains of the Shewolf's ancient repast.
Character Name: Akach
Author: Jim Vassilakos
Gamesystem: ADnDv1 (more or less)
Race: Woses (class of sub-human)
7th Level Racial Mod Dex 18 Final
Pick Pockets 60% -5% +10% 65%
Open Locks 52% -10% +15% 57%
Find/Remove Traps 50% -5% +5% 50%
Move Silently 55% +10% +10% 75%
Hide in Shadows 43% +10% +10% 63%
Hear Noise 25% +5% --- 30%
Climb Walls 94% +5% --- 99%
Read Languages 35% -10% --- 25%
1. The characters have unknowingly trespassed across the Karacgh territory.
Akach is sent out as a scout in order to determine their nature and intentions.
He will attempt to sneak up on the party while using Skylos as a diversion.
2. The party is currently resting after it's most recent defeat at the hands of
a prominent campaign villain. In town, the party is approached by Akach who is
seeking his father and has been venturing through the forest for several weeks
without much success. He says that the witch in the woods (yes, the same woman
who turned one PC into a toad last week) told him to seek the party on this
matter, that they would know of Azga and how to find him. Unbeknownst to the
party, Azga is the villain who just kicked their collective hind-quarters.
3. While wandering through the woods, Akach finds definite signs of Ulma, his
ward of childhood. Hoping very desperately to find her, he follows the traces,
stalking her like a wild animal for several days and nights before finally
realizing himself lost within the magical realm of the faerie folk. The
inhabitants soon begin to stalk him instead, tormenting him for his unwarranted
invasion and leaving him tied for the vultures within a blackened corner of the
dwurmyrgroves seldom touched by sunlight or kindness. The PCs, similarly lost,
find him pleading for aid. It may just be that their only way out of these lands
is by finding Akach's ward. But can they trust him?