Uncomfortably Tall Adventures
The Archbishop of Knapsackia and Historian of the Realme
THE ENTIRETY OF THE BELOW IS NON-CANON. IT IS A COLORFUL COMBINATION OF LEGENDS AND HERESAY. Thank you, your GM.
Long ago, A demonic spirit named Soup du Vour gained great power over the other lesser and
greater demons by constructing an artifact of untold power. With this fell shadowcraft, Soup du Vour was able to lourd over great swaths of land, enslave entire races, and press his dominion upon the free peoples of the peaceful kingdom of Knapsackia. His plan was calculated and nefarious. Under the guise of a humble and kindly old wizard, Soup du Vour crafted and dispersed many lesser artifacts of clearly defined power, within which were bound the strength and will to rule all nations. Leaders and chieftains swiftly snarffled up these lesser artifacts, thinking themselves almighty.
But they were, all of them, deceived. For the Dark Lourd had forg’d, in secret, a master artifact
of untold power called The Artifact of Untold Power. One Artifact to rule them all. But there were some who resisted. A last alliance of Knapsackians marched against Soup du Vour, and on the slopes of Mt. Shroom, the fate of the world was decided. The hordes of Soup du Vour were broken and his power dissolved. The Artifact was rent in twain as its master fell and the Lourdes of Knapsackia, fearing its power, hid the two halves in the far reaches of the world, now lost to history.
Many thousands of years later, the Moste Magnificente and Malodorouse Shadowe Lourde
gained a boon in his never ending quest for the Artifact of Untold Power when he heard whispers that the Paladins of Evandra were drawing close to it, following clues laid down throughout the millennia. And so, 600 years ago, he sent down his servant, a Tiefling possessed by his evil will, to the Earth. Throughout the centuries, he bid his half-demon cabin boy to search many known territories and forgotten lands alike, with each time crafting a new identity for himself, and each time having his memory partially erased, leaving only that which he would need for his evile queste. After well over 500 years of searching, the Tiefling was not any appreciably closer to the Artifact. However, it was on an assignment in the small Hamlet of Hamlet that his existence of doing The Shadow’s bidding would change forever.
He had heard rumours that a cave nearby to Hamlet had put a cursed spell over the land
and was responsible for many deaths. The omens were known. He had seen them before, and after
performing the necessary rituals, he judged them to be discursive of Artifact lore. And so, the Shadow bade his Tiefling servant to journey to Hamlet and investigate the local claims. Not being one to move at any target with haste, preferring instead to get an innate feel for each new land he inhabits, he took the guise of a young human male, Harold Helmfist by name, and using his moste curs’d arts, ensconced himself within local culture—a humble blacksmith by trade. Harold, to ingratiate himself more with the local magistrate, took the latter’s daughter in Holy Matrimony (Batman!). Her name was Magistrata, and she was moste prettye.
And gradually, evile as he was, Harold began to see that even his most cruele techniques
for magical manipulation were no match for the powere of lovee. His relationship with the lovely
Magistrata began to pull Harold out of his Shadowsmitten state. His hirsute evil bonds began to shatter, and his relationship with his special Shadowy friend began to deteriorate. Fearing for the life of his loved one, Harold began to lie to the Shadow, leading him and his othere miniones on false trails, away from Hamlet, still the possible resting place of one of the halves of the Artifact.
No one deceives the Shadow for longe….
And so, on the eve of his 17th wedding anniversary, The Shadow, learning of Harold’s deception
through one of his evil spies sent Harold an ultimatum: Sacrifice Magistrata to his evil power and enter the cave, or suffer death for both of them. Harold, believing he could hold off the shadows minions for long enough for his wife (now pregnant with who knows what) to escape. He was mistaken…
They came for him in the night.
The battle was long and arduous. Harold Helmfist plied his moste darke shadowcrafte to the
best of his ability and slew many miniones. His wife even helped out with a well placed kitchen utensil here and there. However, his long period of inactivity and old age, combined with the fact that the Shadow had withindrawn his base support from his moste trusted servant, meant that Harold was soon defeated. His wife was cleft from knave to chops, and Harold, stricken with grief and mad from his severe injuries, summoned the last of his power to create a giant shadow chasm, into which fell the remaining minions. Fled then the Hamlet of Hamlet did he Harold, ne’er to return. (Dactylic Heptameter)
Broken from the Shadows evil will, but still in possession of the knowledge of his 500 year long
Artifact quest, as well as the means to destroy said artifact, should he ever truly locate the two halves and join them, Harold took up his quest once more. Unfortunately, he knew that he could never return to Hamlet. For him, the grief was too near, and he knew that the Shadow would soon have another servant there to steal the Artifact Sharde—who would succeed where he himself had failed. Harold decided then to pursue the other half of the Artifact, and journeyed back wither this wretched affair had began: the Kingdom of Knapsackia. He insinuated himself cleverly into the Church of Evandra there, as he had done so many times previously, utilizing his skills of deception, but this time with far nobler intentions, knowing that it was the Paladin’s of Evandra who had always kept the best records of the numerous quests for the Artifact Shards, and also full well that he was pursued still by minions of the Shadow, as well as more sinister agents, and would be pursued also by the Paladin’s of Evandra should his true nature and sordid past be revealed. He worked his way up through the church ranks until he was given the moste higheste honoure of being appointed Archbishop of Knapsackia. Though his piety to Evandra was mostly false, still nobility ruled his heart, bereft as he was hence of the Shadow’s manipulations, and Harold Helmfist was firmly set, once and for all, to destroy the Artifact of Untold power and rid the worlde of its evile.
Reviewing the records of the Paladin’s quest with an uncheck’d eye, pursuant to his station, a
moste astonishing revelation met his ear: A Noble Paladin Hierarche had found what he claimed to be an Artifact Shard. Finally, Harold’s waiting had paid off!! But alas, his plans were once again rent asunder, for it was on that night of the Paladin’s glorious return, and during Harold’s and his meeting on the road to the great temple that the minions of the Shadow struck. In order to aid the Paladin in fighting them off, Harold Helmfist the Archbishop of Knapsackia was forced to revert to his more base nature and ply his moste foule shadowcrafte, revealing himself to the Paladin. Together, the two powerful warriors easily defeated the minions, but the Paladin, not being of the wisest stock (this shall be his legacy) decided not to ask questions, and turned then his blade upon Harold. And the Archbishop, not wanting to kill the Paladin (which he surely could have done with nigh exertion), but still aware that he would be pursued by his moste ignorante foe, summoned all his power to wound the Paladin, not fatally, knowing that his wife was pregnant and soon to give birth to their first child. And so, his tragicfoe struck down and put into a deep magical stupor, Harold brought the former to the house of a merchant, well known in these parts, with the story that the Paladin had been wounded by the minions of the shadow. And the Halfling merchant, acting on more pious and altruistic whims than normally beset him, and perhaps jonesing for some spoiles, took the Paladin in. It was then for the wounded Helmfist to search as much of Knapsackia as he could for the place thither the Paladin had hidden his Artifact Shard. Unbeknownst to Harold, however, having failed a rather unfortunate Arcana check, the Paladin had kept the Shard on his person the whole time, and it was at this point, with the soon to be deposed Archbishop in full pursuit, that the Artifacts power cured the Paladin of his foul malady. Waking in the house of the Halfling, the Artifact now glowing in his hand, the Paladin was struck down then by the greed of his host, having told him the story of the Archbishop whom he wrongly believed to be evile. Using his stealthcraft, the Halfling stabbed the Paladin in the back, killing him instantly, never to see his newborn son, and stole one half of the Artifact of Untold power.
As the artifact activated itself to heal its carrier (though even it cannot save a soul from death), certain enchanted wardes that the Archbishop had placed alerted him to its presence and, sensing the height of his folly, he raced back to the Halflings olde shoppe, only to find it surrounded by templar temple guards, investigating the claim of a lowly merchant, who stated that the beloved Archbishop was in fact an evile servant of the Shadow, and had murdered this poor Paladin. Being unable to show his true nature or ply his magic craft to find the artifact, being surrounded by templars, Harold took once again the guise of an old man, and revealed himself to the lady of the Halflings house, as their family fled to desert Knapsackia (the Merchant being afraid that his deception would be revealed). Onto the Halfling child in the Lady’s arms, a mere two years old and sick with the Plaguee, he bestowed an enchanted Talisman, promising it would restore the child’s health. And, taken by his charm and kindly guile, and also fearing greatly for her son, the Halfling mother took the Talisman and placed it around the infant’s neck. The talisman did indeed save the boy’s life, but also served another purpose. For, having placed a hidden enchantment on it, Harold would be able to track the child wherever he went, as long as the talisman was in his possession. Knowing that the Halfling merchant was an expert in handling and hiding objects of unique significance, and of erecting defenses around which that perhaps even his magicke could not pierce, Harold decided, once again, to wait: to follow the Halfling family from afar and expect the opportune moment in which he might claim the Shard and destroy it.
The Halflings, after 17 years of travel and evasion (for they suspected they might be followed),
settled in the small town of Wheale Borough, just outside the far-distant and magnificent kingdom of The Realme. And so Harold Helmfist the Archbishop of Knapsackia, armed with a story about gambling debts and church coffers, entered the ranks of faculty and the Academy of Collegiate Academia, where he began to work his way up through the ranks of the History Department, using his great breadth of knowledge and wisdom afforded to him by his many centuries of life, desperate to find any more leads of the Artifact Shards. After 5 long years, upon him was bestowed the great honoure of being named Historian of The Realme, at last giving him access to the secret historical annals.
After years of quiet study and of watching the Halfing family, the time arrived. Harold sensed,
through the magick of the talisman, that the Halfling child, Rusty by name, had left Wheale Borough. And so, informing the Academy of his wish to extend their annals with field work, and wishing to take an historical sabbatical, Harold Helmfist the Archbishop of Knapsackia and Historian of the Realme rushed to Wheale Borough to investigate the status of the Merchant’s estate, only to find their house recently deserted and the Rusty’s parents gone without a trace. The Artifact of Untold power was nowhere to be found. Harold, therefore, pursued his only lead, young Rusty for 5 years of thievery and guile, and finally met the unsuspecting Halfling in a distant land upon the road to Winterhaven…