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The Brethren of the Blizzard

 

History: The Brethren of the Blizzard existed in the times before the apocalypse of the Paring, and served Ithaqua quite faithfully. They resided in a keep known as the Tower of Ice, located in a frozen forest on the antarctic tip of the Southern Continent, acting as a school for the followers of Ithaqua. But on that night of terror, when Cthulu released his minions slay all the Tanu wizards, the Brethren perished with the rest of their sorcerous Tanu brothers. On this dreadful night, a ceremony was taking place; a ritual in which a disciple was being advanced to the title of Ren-shal. This Tanu, known today as ‘Wyndigo’, died with the rest of his brethren, but his sprit refused to pass on into the afterlife. He remained in the ruins of the tower and haunted it for all the centuries since, in time becoming more and more powerful; eventually becoming strong enough to leave his "spiritual anchor", the frozen remains of his mummified body sprawled in a crypt deep within the tower. As a lonely, dispossessed spirit, Wyndigo slipped through the ages.

In practice, priests of Ithaqua stake victims on mountainsides during blizzards as a tribute to their deity to divert his wintry wrath; occasionally, Ithaqua possesses these bodies to spread general chaos, death, and destruction upon the mortals who displease him. During those times when Ithaqua is sleeping or just plan busy with plotting, Wyndigo used his ghostly magic jar ability to do the possessing in his god’s stead. That way the priests and people held constant faith in the "Wind Walker".

With the resent rise of the Cabalists, Ithaqua has allowed Wyndigo access to the library in the Tower of Ice and charged Wyndigo with reviving the cabal in his name. By this time Wyndigo is powerful enough to actually manifest physically. Although he still appears translucent like the ghost he is, his will is strong enough to form a body of frozen water vapor {similar to an ice para-elemental}, fully able to effect the material world as if he were corporeal. While he wanders completely cloaked so as to hide his true appearance, Wyndigo is unaffected by local temperature or sunlight; his horrific form always remains frozen. Now, he walks among the living, able to use his Ren-shal abilities again to their fullest potential. Currently, Wyndigo can also travel astrally, at will, to anywhere within Arkaelaspace. Ithaqua granted him this power in modern times, enabling Wyndigo to travel farther and commune with his followers. He may also use this skill to possess others for his own means {acts as ghostly magic jar}.

 

Current Sketch: Wyndigo now lives the life of a nomad, returning annually to the Tower of Ice to reestablish his ties to the material plane by tending his withered corpse. His ability to remain corporeal allows him to seek apprentices for the Brethren cabal. Guiding them back to his keep, he teaches them arcane formulas and the fine points of summoning, then departs abruptly when he feels they've learned enough. His strategy for the cabal aims at creating independent ‘cells’ in various places, close-knit groups aware only of their own activities, who act as mystic saboteurs against those opposing Ithaqua.. While they receive orders from the Ren-shal who leads them {usually via his astral form or the possession of others}, it is up to them to determine many of their activities, and these cells often undertake missions under their own guidance. Wyndigo doesn't mind this as long as the individual sects continue to advance Ithaqua. If he feels the members are tending to their own desires above Ithaqua, he will possess the leader and get the sect back on track. Some of the more known {successful} cabals are the Snowmen, the Cryonic Crypt, and a sisterhood known as the Witches of Winter, who have traveled to Greyhawk and installed themselves among the Ice and Snow Barbarians.

The individual sects all share the hatred of the cabalists of Cthuga, as well as the Githyanki race. The hatred of Cthuga is simply due to antithesis of fire and ice. The hatred of the Githyanki deals with the troubles Wyndigo has with these creatures while traveling the astral plane {which he must do often}; there have been several arcane skirmishes fought between Wyndigo and the Githyanki Lich Queen. The different sects currently wage a war of genocide (to no avail) with the Githyanki when opportunity arises. In their wars against the Ring of Fire, the sects strive to summon creatures from the para-elemental plane of ice and to make powerful ice magic to aid them in their quest.

Role-playing Notes: The followers of Ithaqua dress in gray robes that are highlighted with white and blue. The prefer gems that resemble ice like diamonds and frost agates, and use them frequently in power rituals and magic item creation. They favor spells that use cold and ice. They love to kill foes with the power of cold and make Wintry Evil Dead {cf.}.

Weapon Proficiencies: The followers of Ithaqua prefer short swords as their chosen bladed weapon requirement of the cabalist class. Higher level cabalists in the brotherhood are known to fashion frostbrand short swords from the dense remains of a slain ice para-elemental.

Familiars: The different sects tend to acquire familiars of an icy nature. The DM should make a list including creatures like ice lizards, ice mephits, etc.

Magic Items: Like all cabalists, the Brethren have certain power rituals of magic item creation unique to their sect. Again it is up to the DM to design the different power rituals and have the PC embark on spell research to see if they can learn it. If proven successful, the DM then uses magical item creation rules as a guide to see if the cabalist is able to enchant the item or bring about the new spell. Below is a list of some of the magic items already used by the faithful of Ithaqua.

Icicle Rings: These are exquisitely carved solely from frost agate. It can be better described as a locket worn on the finger as the top of the ring can be removed to reveal a tiny compartment. The cabalist begins with the carving of the ring. On a night of a storm, the cabalist augments the blizzard with weather affecting-magic and casts the needed spells into the ring. If the power ritual is complete, Ithaqua will create an eye of calm within the blizzard centered on the cabalist. In this calm, 6d10 slightly glowing snowflakes will fall from the sky. The cabalist then catches these in the tiny compartment of the ring which powers it up and provides charges. The ring is then able, at the cost of one charge, to form an icicle and fire it as if a warrior of equal level of the cabalist was using a heavy crossbow. It has the same range as a heavy crossbow and can fire a shot once a round. Note: If a cabalist was to enlarge one of the snowflakes or modify a pair of "eyes of the eagle" into a primitive microscope, they would see that the tiny snowflakes are water crystals formed into glyphs from the Necronomicon.

Cloaks of the Tempest: These bleach white leather cloaks are made from the skin of a creature that died from the cold magic of a member of the Brethren. They are sacrificed during a power ritual to honor Ithaqua during a freak snowstorm of the warmer months. If the power ritual is successful, the cloak protects the wearer as a ring of warmth.

Frost Wands: Frost wands must be made from bones of a creature that died of hypothermia. They are shod with mithril and inlayed with diamonds. The power ritual should occur on the winter solstice, and include the sacrifice of a sentient fire creature. If the ritual is successful the result is a frost wand. Frost wands are used in conjunction with the casting of cold based spells and increase the casting time by one. However the damage dice have a +1 bonus per damage die, and the target of the attack has a -1 penalty to their saving throw. When created they have 1d20+60 charges. Each use costs one charge and they cannot be recharged. Once the last charge is spent, the wand explodes in a 30' radius of icy shrapnel and does 3d10 points of damage (save vs. wands for half damage) to all in a 3" range.