About Mortimer Valdebridge
"Fellows of the University, invited guests, Ladies and gentlemen. I will not overly burden your hours with my talk today. I am not a man for flowery usages of language, so I will be brief. My name is Mortimer Valdebridge. It is my honor to be speaking before you to present my work to the University and the many august personages here today."
Mortimer looked up from his notes. The Professor had suggested the introduction. It was no doubt meant for a larger crowd than had actually turned out for his lecture. A dozen young students sat in clusters throughout the hall, many of them not looking at the lectern where Mortimer stood. A smattering of older fellows, scholars, were sprinkled about the room. One was asleep. Mortimer sighed and looked back to his notes.
"I have been most fortunate to collaborate with the renowned Professor Lorrimor on my research." A couple heads lifted at the Professor's name. Mortimer suppressed a smirk. The Professor's name was good for attracting attention. Many of the younger students were keenly interested in the more sensational tales of his adventures. The older scholars and faculty less so, but it still got them to look up.
"The subject of my research is the Unquiet Dead, or simply Undead if you prefer.” Mortimer smiled before continuing. “But I am not here to discuss theory and philosophy, but practical matters. Observations made in the field.” Several of the students looked more interested now. Mortimer walked over to a large chest on the stage and drew a key from its pouch around his neck. The lock made a satisfying clack as he turned it. After opening the chest, he withdrew a heavy, ornate crossbow of impressive proportions. Mortimer couldn’t stop himself from stroking the dark wood stock and the iron filigree that decorated and reinforced it. Placing it on the table next to the lectern he then withdrew several more items. A case of crossbow bolts, a mace, a saber, a slightly damp paper package and a dog’s skull. Many of the people in the room were now paying attention. He closed the chest and unwrapped the package, revealing a hunk of meat - probably pork, and placed it atop the chest.
“Combating the Undead is a matter of matching the weapon to the target.” he explained, picking up the mace, he then said. “The common Zombie, whose form is like this hunk of meat, is not particularly vulnerable to most blows.” He then walked over to the table, selected the mace, and then thumped it full force with the weapon. The meat made a squishing sound, and flattened under the blow. “As you can see, while tenderized somewhat, it is not terribly deformed.”
The students chuckled nervously. All of them were paying attention now.
“But, apply the correct type of force...” he said, grabbing the saber, “and you will receive much better results!” With a swing of the blade, he sliced the hunk of meat in two. Stabbing one piece with the end of the sword, he held it up for the audience to see. When he was satisfied they had the concept in their heads, he dropped the hunk of meat onto the table. “The common skeletal Undead, on the other hand...” Mortimer picked up the skull and placed it on the chest. He swung over hand at the skull, and the blow deflected off the top the blade of the sword clanging off the iron bands on the chest. “Is resistant to blades, but not...” he grabs the mace. “to blunt trauma.” The skull shatters under the mace’s heavy head.
“Thus, you see, we must choose our weapons carefully when fighting our Undead foes.” he says.
One of the students raises his hand. “Uh, sir. Why not just let a Cleric destroy them for you?”
Mortimer’s expression darkened and he frowned. After a moment, restraining the venom in his tone. “Yes, many Clerical adepts are proficient in defeating the Undead, but just as many are the cause of their depredations. Do you not know that many a Necromancer hides under the cassock of a holy person? Their powers are able to create and control the Undead.”
The rest of his presentation passed in a blur. His audience were amused by his demonstrations, but he feared they did not get the practicality of his observations. The older scholars left early, and the students took few notes. By the end, Mortimer, his temper aroused, stormed out of the lecture hall. Outside, his wagon waited. He loaded his chest into it and then sat behind the reins. Shortly thereafter a man approached. “Oh, Mortimer.” he said.
“Yes Rolf?” Mortimer snapped. “What is it?”
Mortimer forced a smile and reached down to receive it. He waited until the other man departed. He tore it open and began to read, his cheeks blanching and his jaw dropping as he read. “Oh, no... not the Professor...” he whispered.
He sat in shock for a time. Mortimer could hardly believe what he read, but the signiature on the letter could not be disbelieved. The man who had so supported his efforts, who had been like a father to him, was dead. What was he to do without his guidance? Suddenly he felt like he needed to get to grips with something unliving, to tear it apart and end its mockery of life. His memory leapt to the first time he had met the Professor. A hunting expedition of sorts. Mortimer was a callow youth, ordered to escort the Professor to his ancestral burial ground. Reports of the Unquiet Dead in their family’s holdings had reached his father in Ardis, and through an acquaintance Professor Lorrimor was engaged to help investigate. It was years ago, but it stayed in the forefront of his mind. What he and the Professor found in the village was a pall of fear and mistrust. The local priest, a fawning man with unsavory looks, assured them there was nothing to fear. He and the temple were taking care of the problem. Lorrimor was not fooled. He began to investigate, and this forced the hand of the foul Necromancer, who pretended to be a priest and who had dominated the villagers with the threat of a fate worse than death. When the horde of Zombies finally assaulted the house they were staying in, Lorrimor was ready for them, and armed Mortimer and the few retainers they had left with the knowledge and weapons they needed to prevail. Even so, the horror they endured left a deep mark on Mortimer. When he emerged to see the ruin the Necromancer had made of the village and the brutality he had visited on the villagers, animating their loved ones and forcing them to remain quiet, a part of Mortimer’s heart became dark with hatred. He dedicated the next years of his life to studying the Undead and how to kill them. Lorrimor, saddened to see the scars the experience had left on the young man, tried to channel his new passion, educating him on what he knew of the Undead. As he grew older, and Lorrimor was pulled away to continue his own studies, he kept in touch, sharing the nuggets of his own research on the Undead.
The Necromancer, pretending to be a Cleric of Pharasma, fled. Mortimer tried to track him down, but the local Church of Pharasma was intractable and tried to cover it up, saying they were the only ones qualified to pursue the man. Mortimer never heard if the caught him and believes to this day that he is still out there somewhere, and spares time to hunt the man when he can, but the trail has grown cold beneath a pall of whispers.
Mortimer, a deep sadness in his heart, directed his horse home. He packed his things and departed for Ravengro to attend the Professor’s funeral.
Traits: Teacher's Pet (+2 Knowledge: Religion. Knowledge Religion class skill)
Jaded (+2 to Saves vs. Fear)
Feats: Point Blank Shot (Human), Rapid Reload (Heavy Crossbow) (1)
Mortimer Brandon Valdebridge
Male Human Ranger (Skirmisher, Infiltrator) 1
LN Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init: +3, Perception: +6
AC 17 (+3 Dex, +3 Armor, +1 Shield), touch 13, flat-footed 14
HP 11 (1d10+1 favored class)
Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs Fear)
Melee: Heavy Mace +2 (1d8+1), Scimitar +2 (1d6+1, 18-20/x2) Dagger +2 (1d4+1, 19-20/x2)
Ranged: Heavy Crossbow +4 (1d10)
Special: Favored Enemy (Undead)
Str 13, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Attack: +1, CMB +2, CMD 15
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload (Heavy Crossbow)
Traits: Teacher's Pet
Skills: Climb +1, Heal 1 +6, Knowledge: Dungeoneering 1 +6, Knowledge: Nature 1 +6, Knowledge: Religion 1 +8, Perception 1 +6, Ride 1 +7, Stealth 1 +7, Survival 1 +6
Gear and Coin:
10gp, 8sp, 7cp
Heavy Crossbow, Bolts (20), Blunt Bolts (10), Heavy Mace, Scimitar, Dagger, Studded Leather Armor, Buckler, Small Treasure Chest, Backpack, Chalk (4), Compass, Flint & Steel, Charcoal (4), Magnet, Mirror, Lamp Oil (3), Paper (10), Belt Pouch, Hemp Rope (50'), Sack, Soap, Twine (50ft), Sunrods (2), Tindertwig (3), Torch (2), Waterskin, Weapon Cord, Whetstone, Flask, Bottle of Whiskey, Signet Ring