Generic Adventure Setting 1
Tremontane Traveler of the Abyss
Manjo Drogo is a halfling warlock bent on achieving cosmic transcendence.
“Manjo Drogo” was a baby when a warband of gnolls, marching towards a human settlement, ravaged his family’s nomadic Halfling tribe. Through chance (or cosmic fate?) he was safely bundled, cast into the bushes, and spared the wetted palettes and razor teeth of the gnollish warriors. The rest of his kin were not so fortunate, though they were quite delicious.
Some days later, Cedric Dewdney, retired adventurer and owner of The Odyssey Emporium curiosity shop, was scavenging the blood-stained hill, looking for dropped items to sell, when he heard a baby’s shrieking cry from some bushes nearby. He found a small Halfling child Sbundled in a sack bearing the words “Manjo Drogo”. As a widowed man with no company to keep or offspring to care for him as he got older by the day, Cedric took it upon himself to adopt the small child. Cedric decided the baby should keep its “proper name,” not knowing the words on the sack were in fact a variety of pipeweed.
Manjo was raised as an apprentice to Cedric Dewdney. Cedric taught him to read, the value of ancient histories and sciences, how to mange the Emporium, and even a little bit of self-defense. Cedric was a wonderful father. Manjo was a good son, though perhaps tormented by the vague memories of that frightful day his entire community was slaughtered for the spit, he could at times be quiet and reclusive.
At the age of 15, Manjo Drogo noticed a girl. Zaeyanna was an Eladrin maiden who would come into town every day to sell strange and curious flowers and herbs, then leave promptly as the sun set. For ten years Manjo watched her from afar, lovelorn. He seldom spoke to her, and every time she would come into The Emporium Manjo would hide in the supply room, “busy looking for some mop heads”.
One day, perhaps on a whim (or cosmic fate?), Manjo followed the beautiful Eladrin with the jade-green eyes and raven-black hair as she left the town. He trailed Zaeyanna for seemingly hours and, strangely enough, wherever she went the sun would refuse to set. When she delved into the black marshes, the twilight followed her. She came to an icy black citadel, and Manjo could swear by his own two jacknuts that the obsidian fortress had never been there before.
With a glossy tear sliding down her face, Zaeyanna entered through the open main-gate and slowly climbed the winding stairs that lead to the top of the chief tower. Manjo followed her carefully and soon he could hear rhythmic, pulsating sounds from the dimensions in between. He smelled smells not of this earth and strange, darting lights would appear and disappear, disorienting him.
Not knowing how be got there, Manjo found himself hiding behind a deep purple, crushed velvet tapestry, peering at his beloved as she stood before a man whose smooth, nearly translucent countenance inspired delirium.
Sickly, spidery fingers broke the mythril clasp on her halter and a wolfish grin revealed rows of incisors in number not common to man. Zaeyanna stood still as stone as the dark lord pressed his face to hers, a serpentine tongue lightly grazing her majestic pointed ear. Manjo Drogo could take no more. He tore-down the tapestry, revealed himself, and commanded the strange man to cease his insidious behavior.
Zaeyanna turned pale as a ghost, perhaps knowing the poor Halfling’s fate. “Do my bidding, whelp, and I shall set my slave free!” the sorcerer hissed.
In an instant, Manjo Drogo’s vision turned white, then black. He heard all and nothing, silence and sound. His mind became a universe and his body was jettisoned into unfathomable tiny particles of primal dust, scattered across time.
Cast into The Void, Manjo Drogo wandered the Astral Planes for tens of thousands of years. He conquered entire regions of space-and time and spent lifetimes in the black shadowflames of the Demonweb Pits. At Sigil, The City of Doors, he bound his physical body and emotional soul the Lady of Pain, casting new stars into the astral sky. Infernal and esoteric knowledge entered into his mind and arcane lore brought to Manjo Drogo a perspective held by few that walk the earth. The World and Its Echoes became Manjo Drogo’s song and it played never-ending in his mind, the unnatural rhythms of its composition informing his every decision.
When Manjo Drogo passed through a searing white portal he found himself back in the strange obsidian citadel, forced with a choice. The knowledge of his pilgrimage through the planes remained in Manjo’s feeble earth-mind, brimming with hate and insufferable love. It took every ounce of his will to fend-off madness. He stared the dark lord in the eye.
“Do as Hyarkthoose of the Forty Fiends asks, or be returned to the void!” he cackled.
“I submit,” Manjo Drogo weakly replied. “Spare Zaeyanna and you may have me!”
The citadel, Hyarkthoose, and Zaeyanna were gone. Manjo Drogo found his body flailing and his lungs filling with blackwater algae. Wildly grasping for nothing but his life, Manjo gained purchase on a root and pulled himself from the marsh.
Manjo Drogo’s mind ached, swollen with forbidden astral knowledge. Radically changed forever, he could not bring himself to return to his father or his old life. He knew that Zaeyanna was indeed alive and that The Fates would forbid him to see her ever again.
All there was for Manjo Drogo, Tremontane Traveler of the Abyss to do was to wander the earth seeking to master his new accursed powers, waiting for the day when flames will bust from the void, stars should fall from the sky, and an extraterrestrial demonic voice shall proclaim: “YOUR TIME NOW HAS COME, WHELP! BE MY RIGHT HAND AS I EXACT DOOM UPON THE EARTH!”