Widfaral, High Priest of Death
Widfaral, the son of a rich merchant named Jovich, was born in the year 8115 F.R. and grew up in a luxurious mansion in Dessingrove. At the age of 21, the young man seemed to have it all: he was set to inherit his father's house and business, and everyone agreed that he was one of the most charming, handsome, and intelligent men in all of the town. Yet Widfaral was idealistic and uninterested in what he called the "money-grubbing machinations" that constituted his father's day-to-day business under the evil regime. Instead, and at great risk to himself, Widfaral sought out the underground church of Heshtail and pledged himself as a novice cleric. For the next year he prayed devoutly and did the business of the church, which met in the High Priest's house. There he learned much about his newly chosen religion and about the other religions that used to thrive before the time of the Dark Conquest. Then the Red Pox struck the town. Because of the squalid conditions in which the Orcish Hoth kept most of the inhabitants, it spread like fire until it reached even the rich section of town in which Widfaral dwelled.
Widfaral was stricken with the disease, and inflamed boils broke out all over his body. Near death, Widfaral kept an unceasing prayer vigil in the room, entreating Heshtail to spare his life. Yet he felt his strength failing and death approaching. In great pain and fear, he forsook the religion of the god he felt had deserted him and prepared to die in silence. But lapsing into a fevered sleep, he had a vision of a dark-robed, skull-faced figure. The figure said, "Come unto me, and I shall relieve your pain." Waking, Widfaral recognized from his religious lessons in the church of Heshtail that the cloaked figure was Grlarshh, an ancient god of disease and death. Hoping to end his unbearable pain, he prayed fervently to the evil deity. Within two days his fever had broken and he was well on his way to recovery. His face, however, forever bore the marks of the Red Pox, like a sign of the choice he had made.
Widfaral, in solitude and secrecy, began devoting his life to Grlarssh. Soon he grew in might: it seemed that the god really did work through Widfaral, for he began to wield powers far beyond the ken of the local priests of Vornoth. Then word arrived in Dessingrove of the liberation of Dragonspur City and, the rumor went, all of Kelerak. Seizing the moment, Widfaral organized a rebellion against the Hoth and the other Orcish bosses, and he proved to be a natural-born leader. Men rallied to his cause and drove the creatures into the wilderness. Because of his power and charisma, men followed his orders, but because of his face, no one became his friend. Widfaral turned once more privately to his religion as a solace and comfort, and began organizing the newly freed town.
Then came the turning point in his life. A mysterious spirit had reoccupied Carn Marrot, the ruins of the ancient castle that overlooked the town. Thinking that some agents of the Lord of Lust had returned, Widfaral summoned the modest number of militiamen that now obeyed his command and went to investigate. There he found a skull-faced figure in dark robes. Surely this was his god! Shocked, he blurted out, "L... Lord Grlarshh?" Pausing and seeming to think for a moment, the dark figure drew himself up to his full height and imperiously intoned, "I can see that Grlarshh means a great deal to you. You are faithful. Of course I am Grlarshh. Will you serve me?" The disfigured man replied, "I will forever be your faithful servant." Widfaral immediately asked what the will of his Lord was, and the figure replied that he desired to bring all of Kelerak into the fold of the worship of Grlarshh. Yet this would have to be done by main military strength, for the Kelerites had always, wrongly, hated the religion, except for the occasional prayer meant to keep away disease. To this end, Widfaral actively recruited an army, even accepting into his force the dispossessed orcs from the wilderness, and openly declared his religion to the shocked town. He founded a church to Grlarshh, declaring himself High Priest of Death, and initiated others to its mysteries. Widfaral's army conquered the neighboring towns, who put up little resistance, and his church spread its influence; temples were founded in the towns as well. Widfaral also secretly sent out his best priests, the most important of which was a promising young man named Urdar, to found secret temples in towns that had not yet fallen to his military might. Widfaral discovered that he thrilled in his new power. And always the skeletal figure, who wished to be known as Afej the Black in order to keep their intentions secret, spurred on the priest.
Under the direction of Afej and the impressive personage and power of Widfaral, the military success of Dessingrove knew no bounds. Plus Afej seemed to miraculously produce large sums of gold. It took only a handful of years for the baronies and towns west of the Lake of the Sky to fall, and Widfaral began planning to attack Eastern Kelerak. Held up by a stormy season on the great lake, the powerful priest nonetheless managed the daunting task of moving his 12,000-creature army across the lake, and he successfully conquered the entirety of Eastern Kelerak up to the mighty Spur itself. This city would be the final linchpin in the conquest of the once-kingdom, but it also represented the greatest threat to his army. Once again, however, it seemed that Grlarshh was providing, for the city had its hands full fighting off an invasion by the Lord of Sloth. In a sound strategic decision, Widfaral waited for the outcome of the battles, preferring to save his own strength and finish off the weakened victor of the fray.
But not all went as planned! Dragonspur City acquired some sort of powerful magic that allowed it handily to defeat the army of the Lord of Sloth with little loss. Widfaral, after sending word to his Lord, was forced to attack, but the item—-he now suspected on information provided by Afej that the Spurites possessed the fabled Stone of Silence—-was stronger than he anticipated, and for the first time Widfaral was in real danger. The Spurite army seemed unconquerable, and he was forced to flee suddenly with the remnants of his attack force. But all was not yet lost, for as always, Widfaral could rely on Grlarshh to provide. Afej said he had a plan to destroy the Stone forever, and, as the scheme was of utmost secrecy, sent word to the priest to meet at a hidden location. Here, however, the power of Grlarshh finally failed Widfaral, as his enemies seemed miraculously to know his plans. The Spurite champions, the Lords of the West, were lying in wait for him, and, after a major melee, managed to put an end to the troubled life of the great cleric of death.
Widfaral, High Priest of Death
Medium human, neutral evil
Armor Class 14 (scale mail)
Hit Points 50 (10d8 + 10)
STR 10 (+0) DEX 10 (+0) CON 12 (+1) INT 13 (+1) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 15 (+2)
Skills History +4, Persuasion +4, Religion +5
Senses Passive Perception 14
Languages Dark Speech, Kelevan
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Dark Devotion. Widfaral has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.
Touch of Death. As a bonus action, Widfaral can expend a spell slot to cause his melee weapon attacks to magically deal an extra 10 (3d6) necrotic damage to a target on a hit . This benefit lasts until the end of the turn . If Widfaral expends a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by ld6 for each level above 1st.
Inescapable Destruction. Necrotic damage dealt by Widfaral's spells or Touch of Death ability ignores resistance to necrotic damage.
Spellcasting. Widfaral is a 10th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following cleric spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): chill touch, light, resistance, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
1st level (4 slots): cure wounds, guiding bolt, sanctuary, shield of faith
2nd level (3 slots): hold person, lesser restoration, spiritual weapon
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, dispel magic, spirit guardians
4th level (3 slots): banishment, death ward, guardian of faith
5th level (2 slots): contagion, flame strike
Multiattack. Widfaral makes two melee attacks.
Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 slashing (1d6)