Friday, June 12, 2009

Hero Artisan #3 Results...

Well, the Hero Artisan #3 : Make a Nautical Character, is over. It has been a long haul and quite a wait to get the scores back, but it pretty much just confirmed what i thought personally about my entry in comparison to the others.

I did ok in this competition. I was very proud of my entry. I won the award for best use of Thematic Creativity, which is what i sought out to do when making the character (not so much to win the award, but because i saw this theme and something very interesting to build a truly uniquely themed character around). So, I'm proud of that. Since this was my first entry into this competition, i'm happy with my showing.

Without Further Ado, Here is part 1 of my entry. It's a long one, but hopefully a good one, so i'll put it up here in several seperate posts. Here is the first. Enjoy!

Rikthalik the Clubber
Master of the Ancestral Hunt of Clan Orca
Level 18 Shaman MC Barbarian / Ghost of the Deep

Character Introduction
Rikthalik is the leader of the hunters among clan orca (not to be confused the demon god of the undead). He stands 8 feet tall; the black splotches on his skin have covered his entire body, save for around his eyes and along his stomach, in perfect similarity to those of the killer whale, to whom he pays spiritual homage. Rikthalik is known in the tribe as “The Clubber,” for his outstanding performance in the tribe’s coming of age ceremony where he was called upon to hunt the baby seals of the frozen ocean. During the coming of age ceremony, Rikthalik killed not only ten seal babies, but also took on an murdered the alpha male simply for the joy of the hunt. The ancestral orca spirits then immediately declared him to be worthy of spiritual training to commune with the killer whale.

Rikthalik wears his various kills around his body. The alpha male that he killed as part of his trial became his masterpiece; the tribe crafted a giant club from its bones and skull and enchanted it with the tribe’s spiritual blue and white flame. He carries the club on his back, along with a set of magic javelins made from the spines of the ten baby seals he killed during his trial, all of these weapons are placed in a holder that he specifically designed to make the weapons appear as a massive trophy wrack. Although he carries a veritable armory of magical weapons, he is more inclined to wield the ancestral tools of the shamans of his people, a mace made of un-melting solid ice and enchanted to bring out its primal elemental power and a totem of the orca, crafted from dark wood and the white fur of baby seals. Rikthalik wears specially crafted skin tight dark leather armor, the ancestral armor of his people, which oozes with the shadows of the murky, icy depths of the ocean Above his armor, he wears clothes to help keep out the winter’s chil,, a white cloak made from the skin of seals, and small baby seal skulls hanging from his belt as well as from a chain around his neck. His eyes are usually covered by magical goggles that help him see in the dark depths of the ocean, where he often lies waiting for his prey to swim by. Rkthalik is almost always seen accompanied by his companion mount a massive killer whale, Shoom’ma, that he became acquainted with as a child. The two of them, together, make a ruthless killing force.

The Master of the Hunt will eventually ascend to take his prophesized role as the chief and head of the clan, but his clan worries that he may be too efficient a killer to keep around as he risks exterminating the entirety of the seal population when he travels off alone to fulfill his sick addiction to baby seal clubbing. Although he now leads a veritable hunting army, 30 in number supplemented by the clan’s greatest beast masters and more powerful shamans, he will soon leave this all behind to travel the world in search of answers to his problem. Despite the tribe’s concern regarding Rikthalik’s childish ways, they admire his communication with the orca as well as his total adaptation of their predatory assassin like hunting style.

The Ice Goliaths
Ice Goliaths, unlike their normal goliath cousins, do not dwell in the mountains. Some time, after the creation of the worlds, and the birth of the other intelligent nations, the Ice Goliaths traveled through the frigid oceans of the far reaches of the world and settled among the icebergs. Ice Goliaths are a tribal race, but are not nomadic in nature. They tend to settle in a single region and stay there for the entirety of the tribe’s existence. Ice goliaths are reserved, solitary, and to some degree oppressive in nature, the cold perhaps has turned their hearts to ice, but they are not naturally war-like; they prefer to keep to themselves, away from other tribes and people. Although they do not relish going to war, they are fiercely territorial and will protect their tribe’s ancestral hunting grounds. Though Ice Goliaths do not usually go adventuring outside of their tribal homes with members of different races, on the off chance they do work with others, they often become very timid, longing to work beside their clansmen rather than with people to whom they are not familiar. When working in a group with others, Ice Goliaths tend to follow the commands of people they view to be stronger than they are, as rule in the clan is measured by personally strength. The tribal ways of the Ice Goliaths are often mistaken for evil tendencies, but in fact, Ice Goliaths tend to be almost completely unaligned, though some tip from Good to Evil, but do not have any particular calling towards law or chaos.

Ice goliaths typically select a predatorily animal of the icy wastes as a patron spirit and pay worship to that spirit, forming an ancestral bond with the animal for hundreds of years. They are very strongly tied to the relationship of the predator and its prey, and are very protective of their food sources. They also despise waste; they need to make use of every scrap of an animal once it is killed because they live in an extremely hostile environment where one has almost no access to trade and subsistence hunting is a necessity. Ice Goliaths tend to favor martial and primal classes. They almost completely lack any link to the arcane and they do not worship any of the traditionally revered gods in society. Most commonly, Ice Goliaths tend to favor the path of barbarians. Some Ice Goliath Rangers begin communing with the ancestral animals and fight alongside them. Other Ice Goliaths choose the path of the warden, or that of the druid, but the elders and spiritually inclined tend toward the path of the Shaman in order to commune with the ancestral spirits of the tribe’s guardian animal.

In terms of appearance, Ice Goliaths are slightly different than normal goliaths. While standard goliaths have skin that is grey or brownish, with large dark black areas, Ice Goliaths have far more Black areas on their body, possibly evolved to absorb more sunlight in the frigid ice wastes where they reside, while the other portions of their body are light blue or white.

Clan Orca
Clan Orca is one of the oldest of the tribes of Ice Goliaths in the frozen ocean. They have built their society on massive ice bergs that float in the waters. The Ice Goliaths of Clan Orca pay homage to the assassin of the deep, the killer whale. They worship the predatory nature of the killer whale and its desire to feed on the weak, consuming lesser species in order to survive. They adhere to the way of the orca in every manner of life, including their chosen food. The clan has barely survived over the millennia since their founding, eking a meager existence off the abounding seals that populate the frozen ocean, supplementing these prey with the massive fish that fill the sea as well as other whales and even sharks.

Clan Orca’s right of passage forces the youth of the clan, wishing to join the hunt, to travel alone to the breeding grounds where they are required to hunt the baby seals of the ice wastes. They quickly learn from watching the killer whale the method of the hunt; they approach stealthily in the water, wielding the ancestral weapons of the tribe, the javelin and the mace. The hunter-to-be swims up silently, getting as close as he can to the seals before alerting them to his presence. The hunter then leaps from the water, charging up the beach and attempts to kill a baby seal with the javelin before switching to using the ancestral mace in order to club as many he can before they get back in the ocean. If the hunter then catches, and kills, one of the baby seals, while in the ocean, fighting off the adult angered seals, then he is considered to be an honored hunter. They must do all of this without any of the clan’s rituals that have been used by the hunting parties.

When the youth of the tribe returns to the clan, he is presented before the elders who commune with the spirits of the killer whale in order to evaluate the prowess of the youth’s hunting skills. If the youth is granted approval, then he joins the seal hunters throughout the year. Some of these hunters then go on to have an exceptional relationship with the orcas, taking one in as an animal companion or as a mount. If the spirits of the orcas have an exceptional opinion of the lad, then he is taken in by the elders to be trained in communing with the killer whales and channel their spirits.

The Hunters of Clan Orca, travel the frigid oceans in search of the seal population in large three person ocean canoes; these canoes, which more closely resemble medium sized catamarans without sails, are very large to help compensate for the Ice Goliath’s unnatural size. In addition, the hunting force is supplemented by whale riders, special scouts which travel ahead of the rest of the hunters in order to find the rest of the seal groupings. The hunters typically attack the seals when they are in the water, from the depths of the dark ocean, enabled by the nature rituals of the tribe that allow them to hold their breath for extended periods of time under water, and supplemented by the clan’s special leather armor which lets them make full use of their faculties even while in the sea. On the rare occasion that they catch them on the ice, they aren’t averse to going at it with the seals on land.

The Hunters are exceptionally powerful. They have been hardened by the forces of the frozen ocean, including the numerous battles they have to face with Ice Elementals, Frost Giants, and the Blue and White dragons that live in the ice wastes as well as a host of other predatory beasts the live in the cold, dark sea. Each hunting party, typically about 10 in number, has a leader which coordinates everyone’s attacks, favoring the wolf-pack hunting style of the killer whale. The higher ranked hunting parties, those that are blessed enough to have a clan shaman or a beast-master ranger in them, are highly efficient hunters and hunt alongside the killer whales or their spirits. The clan follows the orders of the hunt master to the letter in order to better capture and kill more seals.

After the hunters have killed enough seals, they return to the clan homeland to make use of the seal and all its parts. They make armor and clothes out of the seals pelts, they eat the seals meat, they create weapons out of their bones, and they preserve their blood to be used as both a drink during the winter and for war paint.

Character Backstory
From birth, Rikthalik was considered to be a destined child. When he was born, the tribe was astonished by the pattern of black spots on his skin, exactly resembling that of the killer whale, the ancestral spirit beast. Rikthalik’s father, Drakthalik, was overwhelmingly proud of his son’s fortunate birth. He carried Rikthalik as a baby wherever he went. One day, when Drakthalik had taken Rikthalik out on one of the tribal canoes, they were attacked by a white dragon that had been hiding under the icy cold water. The boat capsized, throwing Rikthalik into the freezing ocean. Drakthalik fought off the white dragon with the help of his people that came to his aid, but he feared that his son had died. After the dragon fled the battlefield, heavily injured and irritated by his defeat, Drakthalik jumped into the water to save his son.

He was astonished at what he saw.

Rikthalik was having the time of his life, swimming about in the ocean. Though he hadn’t walked yet, he was swimming as naturally as any other member of the clan and seemed to have been able to hold his breath for far longer than even some adults. While he was enthralled by his son’s taking to the sea, something began its approach from below. Out of the deep, Drakthalik saw the white eyes of the oceans assassin. The orca rose up out of the black shadowy depths of the ocean and came up directly beneath Rikthalik. Drakthalik feared that his son would be mistaken for one of the small seals that the killer whales so prize as delicious snacks, but then, the impossible happened. The whale stopped directly in front of the boy, looked at him with inquisitive eyes. The whale stayed that way for several moments before the young baby reached out its hand to the orca. Then, the whale turned to the tribal elder, swam up to him, and then disappeared back into the ocean. After Drakthalik retold this to the other members of the village, Rekthalik’s legend began.

As an adolescent, even before his coming of age trial, Rikthalik was often taken along on hunting expeditions. The older hunters would leave Rikthalik in the canoe for the most part, but occasionally, when the hunters came up on seals sleeping on the shore, Rikthalik would join the hunters on the beaches, trying to chase down baby seals and occasionally grabbing one of them and choking the life out of it. The hunters admired the young boy’s spirit, but didn’t realize that the behavior he was exhibiting as a child would one day grow to threaten the clan’s livelihood.

A week before Rikthalik’s trial, excellent performance in which is necessary to join the clan hunters, he was swimming in the bay near the clan’s homeland, when he saw a killer whale breached on the water’s surface circling him. Instead of panicking, like many of the youths might, Rikthalik felt somehow familiar to the whale; he had no idea that the massive orca was the same that visited him as a baby. Rikthalik moved closer to the whale, which allowed him to approach. As he got increasingly closer, the orca made no signs of spooking, it just looked at him out of the corner of its eye. Rikthalik reached out his hand and touched the Orca; then, suddenly, the whale dropped under the water and rose up underneath him. The Orca had forced him to mount, then took him for a ride around the bay. They dove deep into the ocean, Rikthalik holding his breath with all his might. When finally the villagers took notice of Rikthalik’s antics, they believed this foretold of great success for the youth in his coming of age trial.

When the time of his trial arrived, Rikthalik was already 7 feet tall, an entire foot taller than any other of the youth that had ever embarked on the ritual. Rikthalik gathered together his tribal weapons: a number of javelins and a club, the all important club that would become his future namesake. When finally he embarked, everyone in the clan began to wait for what they could only imagine would be a fantastic performance in the trial.

When Rikthalik was finally alone on the ocean, in the black icy sea, he felt at peace with himself. He listened to every stroke of his paddle as he rowed the hundred miles between his village and the seals breeding grounds. He would sleep in the canoe at night, staring up at the cruel darkness of the night sky, he felt at home. During the night, he was serenaded by the killing song of the orcas that were following him along in the water, the large one he had ridden the week before was leading the pod; they too seemed to know that the child had the potential of a brutal killer and predator as well.

The tale of Rikthalik’s trial has long been retold in haunted whispers among the tribe. His speed of attack, his lethality, his stealth, his precision, and his daring attacking on the alpha male have become part of his mythology. When he rowed into the clan’s ancestral homeland, everyone greeted him with battle cries and cheers of joy at the sheer quantity of baby seals that he had clubbed to death. Rikthalik’s canoe was too small to fit the alpha male into the boat, so he had dragged it along behind him in the water, this would naturally attract the whale’s to eat it, but for some reason, the pod stayed at bay, perhaps they realized that this kill belonged to him. When he hauled it out of the water and lifted it over his head, the orcas that had followed him home breeched the water and began to sing. For a moment, the clan grew totally silent, astounded by the dramatic success of the youth’s killing spree and the beautiful bloody carnage that Rikthalik had wrought.

When Rikthalik was called before the elders that evening, they proclaimed that the whale spirits had spoken and declared him as the promised child of the tribe; he would be the next in the line of elder shamans and would be the new clan chief. His father could not have been prouder. The next morning, Drakthalik began training his son in how to commune with the ancestral orca spirits. They dubbed him “The Clubber” and began crafting the armor he would wear and the weapons he would wield as a hunter, sparing no magical expense. Although most of the tribe’s hunters started in one of the lower hunting groups, Rikthalik started at the top and he was not overshadowed by any of the men. He quickly fit right in and they were as pleased with his wicked death dealing efficiency as any person could be. The whale which had followed him in his trial and played in the ocean with him as a child joined him in battle from this point on. Rikthalik became one of the hunting party’s scouts; riding the great orca, Shoom’ma, he would track down seal groups by communing with his mount and the spirits of the killer whale.

It is told in the tribe that only one time did any man speak ill of Rikthalik. An older hunter and former hunt master complained that Rikthalik had been given too much too easily and he never worked for anything he recieved. Rikthalik heard the man say this, walked straight over to him, and ripped his head clean from his shoulder with a single violent snap. He declared then and there that if any member of the clan felt he was unfit that they should prove it with their own might and not words, and that any man spreading lies about any other member of the tribe would receive similar judgment at his hand. Nobody ever challenged him or said anything bad about him, to his face, again. The tribe also went through a long period where rumors and teasing were strictly quelled for fear that word of them would get around to “the Clubber,” who had become as skilled in caving in the heads of men as he is in caving in the skulls of baby seals.

As the years went by, Rikthalik’s harmony with the orcas grew even more powerful. Due to his mastery of the tribe’s rituals and his enchanted armor, he was able to travel with the whales wherever they went. Rikthalik was known to often go with them on their own hunts, irrelevant of the needs of the tribe. His childhood friend, the great whale pod leader Shoom’ma grew with him and the two are now considered to the most powerful pair in the tribe.In recent years, the tribes of the north have begun to be plagued by the presence of whalers seeking to profit of the oil of the sperm whales in the region, but their zeal for profit has caused them to be completing undiscerning of what they kill; killer whales have begun being slaughtered as well. This has not been setting well with the tribe, especially Rikthalik. He has begun hunting down anyone with a ship that comes threw the ocean.

Now, Rikthalik is approaching the age when he will take over as high chief and master shaman of the clan. His harmony with the assassins of the frigid deep is a profound sight to bear witness to and he has already become the most powerful member of the tribe. He has already led his people in clearing out the frost giants out of the ancestral fishing grounds and he has single handedly slain huge elementals of the ice, wielding his bone club, that burns with a scorching flame, on more than one occasion, but unlike the other members of the tribe, Rikthalik has never grown out of his childish ways and sick desire for “clubbing.” This practice, which was considered by the tribe to be cute when he was a child, has now developed into a serious problem. He occasionally goes off on his own for weeks at a time, to return to the breeding grounds in order to get another stab at his trial. He always returns with more cracked skulls on his belt. His actions have become a danger to the clan as of late; his wanton desire to hunt the seal’s newborn young has endangered the seal population with extinction. The tribe, fearing his wrath should they ask him to stop, has hinted at other creatures equally deserving of his mighty club-wielding hand in other parts of the world, hoping that if he travels the seas alone for a while, that when he returns he will have his fetish for killing cute and furry-little creatures out of his system. They suggested he travel back to the lands of warmer waters in order to decimate a different seal population, or perhaps, try his hand at clubbing otters, those delicious otters, those cute, cuddly, juicy morsels.

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