Stalker was once Malkim, Chosen of Gerholtz the Hunter. He had been Chosen by the Divine Twins of Aldermark along with his brother Harald who had been Chosen by Mattiar the Smith. It was the proudest day of his life, he had always known he was destined for greater things, and now he would meet the Cinder King on the battlefield armed with his brother’s weapons and slay him for the glory of Aldermark. Instead Malkim was Broken, impaled on the spears his brother had smithed for him. His brother Harald screamed in agony at the moment of his Breaking and then fled the field, he has not been seen since. Stalker’s spears are still standing in Karslburg, where the Cinder King has forbidden him from retrieving them until his twin has been Broken.
Stalker is an unnaturally pale man with handsome features and blood-red eyes. He no longer wears armor, entering combat dressed stylishly in the local fashions or nude, depending on his mood. Stalker carries a brace of corrupted javelins and a fearsome longspear that was a gift from the Cinder King. Of all the Broken, he is the least obviously decayed, a fact that makes many, including the Cinder King jealous.
Stalker has been kept on a short leash. The Cinder King worries that the connection between Stalker and his Chosen brother Harald could be a dangerous vulnerability. The Cinder King also distrusts Stalker’s blood-based abilities, seeing them as too much like his own Cinderblood. For now, Stalker guards the Cinder King’s lands in the West and schemes for ways to return to Aldermark where he will hunt his brother down.
Wealthy nobles hunting people for sport. Corrupt leaders feeding on their subjects. The wilderness filled with horrifying terrors while more subtle monsters infiltrate your homes. Claustrophobia, paranoia, and above all else knowing that if you run, something is ready to chase you.
Commander, WE WERE successful on the mission, but we have TAKEN heavy casualties and were unable to secure a PRISONER. We are sheltering at a small town where he have been personally hosted BY the MAYOR. He is a decent sort and these villagers DON’T seem to mind the Legion. The mayor is hoping to trade with the legion, perhaps the Quartermaster could COME with our relief? Promise me you’ll tell the Quartermaster all of this with tact, don’t AMBUSH him, give him time to come around to it. Hope to see you soon!
- Blood of the Hunter: Stalker has learned how to raise intelligent undead with the power of his blood. Blooded can appear in any mission.
- Always Hunted: Stalker’s forces never tire and force the Legion to stay on the move. When Advancing add +1d to Pressure.
- Blood Eagle Ritual: Stalker has mastered the art of the Blood Eagle. Blood Eagles can appear on any mission.
- Boneforge: Deprived of his brother’s smithing, Stalker has learned to fashion corrupted arrows, clubs and spears out of the bones of his enemies and given them to his troops. Thralls and Blooded inflict +1 corruption when they wound someone with a weapon.
- Familiars: Stalker reclaims his power over Gerholtz’s patron animals: bats, wolves and rats. Rats and bats act as spies for Stalker or attack in massive swarms. Regular packs of wolves support War Wolves in the field.
- Harried Footsteps: Stalker’s forces are expert trackers, making it difficult to get the drop on them. Recon mission engagement rolls take -1d.
- The Silent Wilds: Stalker’s armies kill all animals they come across, leaving quiet forests, barren plains and slaughtered farms in their wake. All Acquire Asset rolls for Horses and Food Stores are -1d.
- Wolf’s Blessing: Stalker has corrupted the Great Beast Renvis and earned the favor of her children. War Wolves may appear on any mission.
Line Troops: 6-12 Drained supporting a Blooded with a few Thrall servants. In civilized locations, the Blooded often reverse this, keeping a staff of 6-12 Thralls with a few Drained hiding in the shadows.
Drained: These undead are impaled on corrupted spears and left to bleed to death. At dusk they reanimate and pull themselves off the spears. Drained are pale, desiccated corpses with blood red eyes and mouths full of sharpened teeth. They have excellent senses of smell and hearing but are sensitive to light and “sleep” during the day, becoming active at night. When left to their own devices they become feral and will hunt prey over long distances. They cannot use weapons or tools.
Thralls: Humans who are bitten by Blooded can be corrupted and turned into Thralls. Unlike Hexed, Thralls remember their former lives, but are slavishly loyal to the Blooded who created them. Unfortunately, the corruption grows worse over time, eventually resulting in madness and death. Thralls that die of corruption reanimate as Drained within 24 hours.
In war, Stalker is a devious schemer. He and his minions travel quietly through populated areas sowing terror and subverting important members of the population. By the time people realize what has happened, they are already at risk of being killed by their own friends and loved ones. Once people are forced to flee their homes they are easily picked off by his forces, and the cycle repeats itself again. In battle, Stalker remains devoted to the Hunt: he tracks his prey, stalks them and only delivers the killing blow after giving them a “fair chance” to escape. Only a handful have ever escaped, but those who put up a good fight are often transformed into Blooded. The rest are staked and Drained.
Blooded: Like the Drained, the Blooded are impaled and left to bleed to death, but at the moment of their resurrection they are fed some of Stalker’s blood. The result are superhumanly strong and fast undead warriors that can remember their prior lives. Blooded intelligence comes at a price: they must kill and eat at least one person a week or turn feral like a Drained, although sanity can be returned by feeding again. At night Blooded can pass for human, but their blood-red eyes and light sensitivity make it difficult for them to pass during the day. Stalker often offers Blooded status to human leaders so that he can subvert their communities. Blooded have pale skin, blood-filled eyes, sharp nails and elongated canines.
War Wolves: The Chosen of Gerholtz have fought against Great Beasts for centuries, but none were ever as fearsome as Renvis the Wolf during the Godswar. Unable to kill the Great Beast, the Chosen imprisoned her deep within a mountain. Centuries later, Stalker has freed her and allowed her to give birth to a new generation of Great Wolves, corrupted and enhanced by Stalker’s powers. Each War Wolf is the size of a horse and can move as fast for even longer distances.
Blood Eagles: Whereas Blighter’s Abominations are the product of combining and fusing undead flesh together to create a new monstrosity, Stalker’s Eagles are created by removing and sculpting undead flesh into new, useful shapes. An Eagle is made by flaying the torso, filing the teeth and distending the jaw, recycling the leg bones as wings and carefully preserving, then stretching the lungs over the bones to produce wing membranes. The end result is a vaguely bat-like creature with its entrails exposed and a sinuous spine-tail. Blood Eagles are scouts and assassins. Their bites are poisonous, as are the barbs on their repurposed spine-tails.
Count Bassineau (Infamous Blooded): A famous Orrite noble of considerable wealth who willingly offered himself to Stalker upon learning of Stalker’s powers. While physically powerful, the Count is most dangerous when he’s using his social acumen and wealth to manipulate and corrupt those around him. Travels in disguise.
Doctor Satri (Infamous Thrall): A Bartan physician with a reputation for brilliance, Satri was captured by Stalker to assist him in the creation of new monsters. Stalker keeps Satri close by so he can monitor her corruption. He finds her personality irritating and so he has not made her Blooded, the thought of her living forever fills him with dread.
Banshee (Infamous Blood Eagle): Stalker’s finest work of undead taxidermy. In addition to having a normal human face, Banshee has the ability to “burrow” into Thralls, replacing their upper torso and head with her own. In this form she is weakened but looks completely human. Her Blood Eagle body can erupt out of the torso very quickly when necessary.
Renvir the Great Wolf (War Wolf Lieutenant): Imprisoned for centuries in Dar, Renvir has willingly bowed her head to her once great enemy, at least for now. Stalker suspects that she has her own agenda. Renvir is a massive white wolf the size of a small elephant. Her howl paralyzes her enemies.
Leoch the Huntsman (Blooded Lieutenant): An Aldermani big game hunter that was Malkim’s only rival prior to his Choosing. Leoch was the first Blooded created by Stalker after his Breaking. Leoch serves as Stalker’s assassin and carries a small cannon into combat as his preferred firearm.
Surtig, (Blooded Lieutenant): The one and only attempt by Stalker and the Cinder King to create a Blooded empowered by cinderblood. Surtig looks like a black marble statue covered in glowing veins of lava, where smoke pours from his ears and mouth and his eyes glow white-hot. Weapons melt in his hands, stone walls sag and collapse at his touch. Unfortunately he is complete insane, incapable of following anything but the simplest commands and as much a danger to his handlers as he is to the enemy. Rarely deployed, but almost unstoppable.
Stalker’s greatest weaknesses are his warped sense of “fair play” and sadism. Despite being a fine strategic thinker, he will pointlessly toy with his enemies like a cat. He can also be baited and manipulated with talk of fairness or honor. Stalker likes a good clean Hunt and he’s willing to suffer multiple setbacks to get it. Secretly, Stalker is also harboring a secret. While he has told everyone that he yearns to capture his brother and bring him to the Cinder King for Breaking, he secretly hopes that his brother might be able to save him, or redeem him. There are old texts and stories about drinking the blood of the Chosen, maybe if he drains his brother, he can finally overcome the Cinder King’s influence…