Arklar The Hidebound
Arklar tu’Catek ta’Can “The Hidebound” is part of a long line of orcish shamans who all give up their family names to attain a title. Arklar is known as “The Hidebound” because of his connection with the skin of a coatl he had to slay during his ascension rites.
As a paragon of orcish health, he must be an exemplar of orcish physiology. With slate black skin covering a rippling mountain of muscle, Arklar stands seven and a half feet tall. His hair is long and pitch black. His massive square jaw houses a pair of enormous tusk-like canine teeth. His beady yellow eyes are set deep in his stone-like brow.
Hide of the Coatl
Arklar is only half of who he was before his rites of ascension were completed. Now, he houses the spirit of a winged serpent creature, granting him magic on par with a beast of the gods. To acquire this hide, Arklar had to fight the serpent in single combat while his worldly sins were plied against him. Had he given into the weight of his guilt, the serpent would have consumed him. Instead, he consumed the serpent.
Wrapped around his person at all times is a garment stitched of the whole skin of a Coatl, a mythological winged serpent resembling descriptions of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. It covers his head with a hood, and wraps around his whole body down to just above his knees and elbows, leaving only his forearms and legs uncovered. It’s scales are a sleek multi faceted blue. Feathery plumage lingers along the hood and back of the garment, depicting every color of the rainbow when the sun touches it (but otherwise it is a dull gray). The jaws of the coatl make up a mask that Arklar wears to hide his true face, it’s fangs periodically dripping with venom even still.
While the Coatl’s physical body may have been eaten and burned by Arklar, it still lives. The snake skin hide he wears is a living thing, drawing nutrients from within Arklar’s body and protecting him from harm. It can heal itself over time, and it still produces poisons. In addition to Arklar’s already formidable Orcish physique, the coatl skin enhances his durability and athleticism to untold heights. However, Arklar’s actions are partially controlled by the plumed serpent spirit that has consumed half of his own soul. While Arklar would normally fall into the Chaotic Neutral alignment, the serpent soul within alters his sense of morality and judgement, guiding him to fall closer to Lawful Neutral.
The hide follows Aztec theming in respect to the Coatl Daysign. The hide causes Arklar to shirk self-interest. He cannot feel pleasure from acquiring wealth, fame, or power. Arklar is driven to help his tribe, or his party, and the only way he may feel gratified is by being of use to them. The Hide gives him the tools he needs to do this.
If you had to pin Arklar into a “classification” of adventurer, he would best be described as a “combat healer”. He is a formidable fighter in his own right (as are most orcs), but his ability to heal and protect his allies makes him more valuable in a support role. Arklar leaps into the fray, and while dealing moderate damage he will assist his allies with healing magic and debuffing poisons.
Arklar is an orcish shaman. His role within the tribe is as a healer, a consultant, a counselor of a sort. He is a selfless member of the tribe, sacrificing his personal interest and even his own family name to become a tool for his chief or his raiding party.
Arklar is only half of the personality he once was, and he has a dualistic split due to the Coatl spirit possessing him. Like all orcs, he has a certain amount of blood lust. He will never run from any fight, even if it brings him death. He will never turn down a challenge, even if his foe is stronger. He will never abandon an ally, the Plumed Serpent won’t allow it. He will favor healing over damage, the Plumed Serpent demands it.
Because Arklar does not value material possessions or fame, he is valued in any orcish raiding party. He will always turn down the spoils of war, save what he needs to survive. Instead, Arklar gives his share to his comrades to further strengthen the rest of his tribe.
Arklar’s sense of purpose is directly tied to the success of his tribe, family, or friends. He can only feel fulfillment if he has helped someone else achieve glory. He feels no sense of accomplishment when he acquires glory for himself. In his mind, all glory is to better his tribe, and Arklar will always take a back seat in order to boost an ally to higher achievements.
Magic of the Plumed Serpent
Akrlar’s Coatl hide, as I’ve described, is a living entity that forms a symbiotic relationship with it’s host. Arklar gave half of his soul to the spirit of the hide, and in exchange the Coatl gave him it’s body. Because half of his soul is that of the Coatl, Arklar is able to wield the magic of the Coatl.
Arklar’s magic represents The Eternal Waters. Lifeforce may flow through him from “The Shadow Soul” and into others. In this way, Arklar is able to heal the wounds of his allies with a touch. While in battle, Arklar accumulates stacks of Endless Water. He can accumulate a maximum of five at one time, gaining a single stack at the beginning of each turn. For one prep, Arklar can consume any number of Endless Water stacks to perform a feat of healing magic equivalent to the stacks he has spent.
One Stack; Arklar may touch an ally and heal them of one minor wound. A minor wound is something like a superficial cut or bruise, or minor bone fractures.
Two Stacks; Arklar may touch an ally and reduce the severity of one moderate wound to a minor wound. A moderate wound is something like a deep tissue laceration, a moderate bone fracture, or an eye gouge.
Three Stacks; Arklar may touch an ally and reduce the severity of a major wound to a moderate wound. Examples of major wounds are broken bones, internal bleeding, and severe head trauma.
Four Stacks; Arklar may touch an ally and reduce the severity of a fatal wound to a major wound. A fatal wound is something like a severed limb, a slit throat, a burst organ, or disembowelment.
Five Stacks; Arklar may bring a fallen ally back to life, so long as they haven’t been dead for more than one minute. He may do this only once in a day. The target must be willing to return to life.
Arklar is unable, in any capacity, to use this method of healing on himself. Instead, the Plumed Serpent affords him a basic healing factor detailed below.
One small quirk afforded by the Hide’s magic is the ability to communicate telepathically with snakes, Coatls, and Nagas within sixty feet.
Physiology of the Plumed Serpent
In addition to healing magics, Arklar has an above-average healing factor for an orc. He is able to reduce the severity of wounds inflicted over his Hide by one stage once every three turns. One wound is selected and healed. Wounds given to his face, forearms, and his legs below the knee are not healed by the Plumed Serpent hide. Wounds that penetrate below the hide and into his orc flesh are only healed on the surface and continue to bleed under the hide. The hide is roughly one half inch thick.
Arklar is able to push himself beyond his own formidable physical limitations by the grace of his coatl hide. He is able to sprint for twice the distance of a normal orc, leap three times as high, and his natural senses are enhanced by a thermal-sensory organ embedded within his hood and taste/smell receptors on his palate. Arklar has a long forked tongue.
By consuming some of his magic, Arklar can enhance these top condition feats into forms that rival a demigod. If out of combat and uninterrupted, Arklar may sprint indefinitely, leap absurdly far, and track prey up to three hundred feet away or one mile downwind with his sense of taste. Once he enters an active combat area, he loses these benefits. For one prep, Arklar may restore one of these benefits for one turn. He may spend additional preps to continue channeling the benefit until interrupted.
Every day, Arklar produces a small amount of Coatl venom. This venom can be severely crippling in moderate doses, or deadly in high doses. Arklar only produces enough to temporarily paralyze medium or large sized creatures, or to stun huge or larger creatures for one round. For one prep, Arklar can part the jaws of his Coatl Hide and bite a creature with it’s fangs to inject the venom. This can only be done once per day.
On top of his already rhino-like hide, Arklar is protected by hard snake scales all around his head and core. He is more resistant, as a result, to the claws and teeth of wild animals. Steel blades can still slice through these scales as well as they could his normal thick orc skin, but because of the Coatl’s Endless Waters magic, he can heal from these wounds over time.
While Arklar can heal from cutting and surface wounds to his skin, he cannot recover from internal damage. Blunt force trauma is therefore the most lasting damage type against him.
Akrlar is highly susceptible to magical Fire and Cold damage, but natural heat and chill is not a bother to him.
Arklar engages in shamanistic medicine, using rituals and poisons to cure his allies of ailments or to enhance their attributes. Arklar brews several potions and creates various totems to give his allies help in times of need.
Arklar carries around several pieces of equipment to engage in his shamanistic medicine. These include containers, alcohols, and magical reagents.
Component Pouches; Arklar carries three component pouches. One pouch is for “bodies”, or base materials. These come in the form of pieces of dried animal flesh, living twigs, or insects. The second pouch is for catalysts, or activators. These come in the form of chemical powders or pastes that are applied to bodies or mixed with alcohol to make tinctures. The third pouch contains pieces of magic, or spell components. These pieces of magic can take the form of the feathers or hair from magical creatures, cursed idols, or magical metals. Pieces of magic are mixed with bodies or catalysts to create totems and potions. It is presumed that Arklar has every component he needs at any given time within the pouch, but once a pouch is punctured Arklar is only able to recover up to three specific components for later use.
Arklar may spend time in battle to construct a totem from components found in the many pouches hanging from his body. It requires a body, a catalyst, and a piece of magic to complete, taking a prep to apply each stage of the totem.
Once complete, Arklar my give the totem to an ally, or place it down on the ground to apply an area of effect, depending on the purpose of the totem. If a totem is removed from a person or otherwise destroyed, it’s effects are immediately lost.
Totem of the Jaguar; Totem of the Jaguar is applied to an ally to grant them three turns of enhanced speed and the ability to leap up to thirty feet into the air with a running start.
Totem of the Serpent; Totem of the Serpent is applied to an ally to grant them a venomous magical aura. When they land their next melee attack against an enemy (within three turns), a festering magic takes hold in the wound causing it to become necrotic. This wound throbs painfully and paralyzes the local muscle for three turns, or until cured.
Totem of the Eagle; Totem of the Eagle is applied to an ally, granting them uncanny accuracy on their next attack within the next three turns. It allows the affected ally to make one accurate ranged attack without having to take the time to properly aim.
Totem of The Endless Waters; Totem of The Endless Waters is applied to the ground and grants a thirty foot diameter sphere of effect. Allies within the area are able to spend a prep to obtain healing as though Arklar had spent two charges of Endless Waters to heal them. The Totem lasts for three turns, but can only be used by each person once.
Totem of Sacrifice; Totem of Sacrifice is applied to an ally. While the ally (henceforth known as Totem Bearer) carries the Totem of Sacrifice, damage is shared between Arklar and the Totem Bearer. Whenever the Totem Bearer receives damage, that damages is reduced in severity by one stage, but an equal wound appears on Arklar.
By dissolving catalysts and pieces of magic in an alcohol, Arklar can create curative tinctures on the fly. Arklar has as many as eighteen one ounce doses of alcohol for the purposes of mixing tinctures, allowing him to make up to eighteen.
Vitality Tincture; This tincture allows a target to ignore the effects of a debuff for a single turn, or to reduce the effects of an attack landed against them by one stage at any point within the next five turns. Side effects are a lack of coordination for one turn. Arklar must spend two preps to mix this tincture.
Savagery Tincture; This tincture allows a target to recover from a crowd control effect immediately. Examples of crowd control are slows, hamstrings, roots, stuns, and paralysis. The tincture may need to be applied by an ally depending on the effect. Side effects are reduced inhibitions for one turn. It takes three preps to mix this tincture.
Basilisk Tincture; This tincture cures a target of being turned to stone, so long as it is applied within one minute. Side effects are arthritic pains for one turn. It takes three preps to mix this tincture.
Clotting Tincture; This tincture, once consumed, immediately stops bleeding wounds. It takes only one prep to mix this tincture. Side effects are a burning sensation in the mouth.
Differing from tinctures, potions do not contain alcohol, and mixing potions together can create volatile and dangerous situations. Potions are prepared ahead of time, and thus don’t require any preparation in combat. Arklar may only carry up to three potions prepared for combat, but their effects are strong to compensate.
Health Potion; The most iconic of potions, a health potion can reduce the severity of a major wound to that of a minor wound. A creature who drinks a health potion cannot drink another potion for the next five turns.
Rabid Potion; The Rabid Potion, once drank, will enhance the blood lust and healing factor of its beneficiary for three turns. Each turn, the one who drank the potion may reduce the severity of any one wound they have received by one stage. In addition, they must attack the nearest creature at least once each turn.
Iron Body Potion; Drinking this potion will make your skin as tough as iron for a limited amount of time. For the next three turns, it is possible for someone under the effects of this potion to shrug off the effects of any physical attack that lands against them. It does not stop magic or directed thermal or electrical energy.
Antidote; A cure-all potion for poisons and toxins. Using strong magical components
Arklar carries a few different weapons.
Combat Pickaxes: A pair of matched pickaxes. The handles are two feet long, tipped with a hooked spike ten inches in length. The back side of the bit has a pear shaped counter-weight to help accuracy in the swing, or to use as a bludgeon if need be. Each pick weighs two pounds, and the hafts have a slight S curve.
Bolo: An agricultural knife, not unlike a machete. This bolo is the sort with a long leaf-shaped blade. It starts narrow near the grip, bulges out in the middle, and comes to a fine point. Arklar's bolo is twenty inches long with a ten inch horn grip. Used mostly for utilitarian purposes, but it makes a fine backup weapon if Arklar loses his picks.
Blowgun: While Tanaoran Orcs definitely have the technology to make a mechanical spring gun, or a gas powered dart gun, Arklar adheres to an old style of thought. He uses a hollow wooden blow gun to shoot poisoned darts. He can carry up to thirty darts at a time in a pouch on his waist. The blow gun itself is one meter long.
Arklar uses a pumiliotoxin on his darts, taken from the skin mucus of poisonous frogs. When he scores a hit with his poisonous dart it applies the poison to the local area, causing the muscle therein to become sluggish for a limited number of turns (between 1 and 3 depending on the target’s healing factor)