This will be the Eighth part in a nine part series where I get to interview characters of the various character alignments in Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder.
This should give insight and illustrate the richness that can be found in each character alignment in an organic way.
To this end, I have chosen out nine NPC’s from campaigns I have written and went across the dimensional borders to speak to these characters face to face in their natural element.
Panting prolific powerful panic pulsed and pontificated my person as I trudged through shin deep snow in my exodus from the coming evil Deathless.
Arms wrapped around me in desperate attempt to hold myself together for fear of falling apart in the face of stark terror, I look up in desperation for shelter, no longer caring if I ever found a case of the neutral evil character alignment. Seeing a cave before me I gather the last remnants of my strength to flee the growing storm.
Looking around the cave, my eyes find that not only was this cave once home to occupants unknown, but home to an intelligent being not unlike myself. A history spilling and scrawling upon the walls in bloody and rusty earth tones. Hand drawn pictographs depict a common hunter gatherer dynamic of a family.
Man, wife and children live, laugh and love in earth tones as I start a fire with the wood I find. As the warmth of the fire warms my bones I notice the light provides me with more information and yet more pictographs. Like an interview with someone long gone, I find myself jotting notes down to tell a story that would otherwise have been left in the cave until the end of time.
A hunter once climbed a mountain chasing a deer to feed his family. The deer ran through forest and river, never able to lose the stalwart hunter for it’s tracks were clear in the snow. The sun rose and fell again and again before on the third day the hunter came through a cave to find a promised land. Though the snow was thick outside, in this land the land was warm and fertile. The hunter, no longer concerned for his prey and in fact grateful to it for leading him to this land, gathered smaller animals and berries for a return trip down the mountain.
Picking out a piece of the fire wood to light my way, I follow down the path, reading the walls as both the telling of a story but as a marker of safe passage through the cave. The drawings
go on telling the story of how the hunter raced down the mountain to find his family half starved.
Feeding them and telling of the promised land, he gathers them and the families of his brothers three. Together the tribe migrates and travels through the growing winter. Even encountering a large wild cat who had hunted the hunter in it’s hunger only to be slain by the brothers.
From the great beast, the oldest brother, being wisest, took the hide to warm his family. For this is what he valued most. The second oldest, being the kindest, took the meat to feed his family and the families of his brothers. The youngest brother, the hunter and believing might makes right, took the bones, claws, and teeth for himself to make weapons but left his family with nothing. For power can never be shared truly.
Right as the storm grew to seal the cave behind them, the tribe made it to the promised land. There they lived in peace and prosperity…
The oldest brother set his family to gather and seed crops. The land being fertile and the sun being bright, his family prospered quickly and was able to give any excess to his brother’s and their families. They lived happily as could be.
The second oldest, having the grain and crops of his older brother, began to raise livestock. The animals grew fat and healthy, providing comfort, clothing, and food to one and all. Like his older brother before him, he and his family found happiness in this existence.
The youngest looked around the golden valley and, seeing the animals were plentiful beyond measure, began hunting down the wildlife for his was the path of immediate gratification. Though he hunted and hunted, he never could find happiness despite the number of beasts he felled.
Though the first two brother’s prospered by living with moderation and sharing and giving to one another freely without feeling the need to receive anything in return… The young hunter hunted in excess without sharing. Even when the excess meat went to waste, he would not share for he was content to let his family be what he considered the best family. The fatness and lavish lifestyle of his family was lorded over his older gentler brothers.
Like all things, hard work pays off and the older brother’s families grew and grew alongside their farms. The youngest brother on the other hand noticed that his prey were getting scarce. Time wore on and the hunter’s family, once prosperous and unkind, now found themselves hungry and were no longer welcome at the home’s of the older brother’s.
The younger brother found himself without prey, and seeing everything with hate due to the (justified) rejection of his brother’s, reacted to the pleading of his mate with violence. Striking her down and seeing her laying there like any prey, the now evil hunter decided that he could still provide for his children after all…
Sending word to his brother’s of his repentance and asking forgiveness, the younger brother made up stories of a large wild cat having killed his mate. Days went by, and the hunter felt pains of hunger again as he watched his middle brother’s children play.
One by one, the mysterious cat claimed the loved ones of the the older brother’s until the hunter was asked to stay with
them to protect them. Still, the hunter would bring home game, yet the cat that only he saw would score wounds on the flanks before slaying another member of the family. The three brothers watched their families dwindle until they became the only ones left.
Living in terror, the older brothers searched the valley until they found the evil hunter’s larder, finding the bodies of those they loved and the truth of what they had been served under their own roofs. Now armed with the truth, the two confronted their evil brother within the very cave that brought them to the valley, what they now seem to refer to the cursed cave.
Feeling an almost warm breeze as I notice the paintings end, I look around the gloom of the cave and see the effects of an ancient cave-in. Amongst the rubble I see two half chewed bodies almost buried within the stones at the back of the cave. At the base of it, I see what appears to be a the bones of a leg that someone had cut off. Investigating the scene a bit further I notice that the owner of the leg is nearby adorned with tiger claws and teeth upon his dessicated body. Odd that he isn’t skeleton like the others.
Taking a moment to say a prayer to the lord of light on behalf of the two skeletons before I make every effort to bury them properly.
Throughout my digging I can swear I hear an odd rasping. I look out and cannot help but feel the evil of this place when I look at the body of the hunter and question if I should bury it.
“I guess neutral evil is more then I thought.
It can be good people doing truly bad things. Corruption, to it’s very core. That has to be why you left your story before you died. To show that you were not always the evil cannibal.” Pausing briefly as I hear a near silent shuffling scraping sound echoing off the cave walls, “That you were a father, a husband, and a brother. Once you guided your entire family to a great land.
Then you started to fall, with small actions of trying to raise yourself above others at any cost. Then with a climactic act, you gave way to wholly evil acts of murder and cannibalism. Pity, for had you just shared the wealth, you could have prospered even during lean times. “
At this point I hear a shuffle and scraping sound much more clearly. Looking down I see the corpse’s eyes open with an unearthly light shining within them. The corpse is dragging it’s one legged body toward me. Unable to give up the hunt even in death, the Ghoul approaches me tirelessly with sharp teeth bared.
Picking up my feet and fleeing back to my fire, intent to give this undead fiend a burial in flame, I exclaim, “Alright, I’m tired of everything trying to kill me. I can role with it. Time for you to stay dead hunter!”