HeRoes and the Twilights Hammer

A campaign in which the heroes are members of the Twilight's Hammer is not going to suit everyone, due to the cult's fatalistic attitude. In the end, the goal of reawakening the Old Gods is impossible for mere mortals. However, if the players enjoy playing anti-heroes, a Twilight's Hammer game can provide a number of interesting adventures.

Twilight's Hammer members face adversity both without and within the cult. External missions are much like a traditional campaign: delving into dungeons for lost artifacts, capturing powerful beasts, and fighting the faction's enemies. However, in this case, the artifacts are relics of the Old Gods, the beast is to be sacrificed to the elementals, and the enemies are shaman.

Encounters within the cult can be just as dangerous. The Twilight's Hammer is a chaotic organization; that may sound like an oxymoron, but it succinctly describes the complex web of individual ambition that somehow binds the cult together. Members of the cult constantly vie for position. They seek the favor of their superiors even as they plot to replace them. The leaders hope to attract powerful followers, but crush those who show too much initiative. Beyond the local sects and the worldwide network, they all look to powers beyond this world for their true reward — powers whose motives are unknown even to the faithful.

O f the Old Gods. In truth, he is just a mortal man, albeit one of great power and influence. Vyral maintains his grand facade by destroying all records of his history. Despite his attempts at revision, I was able to discover the following:

According to a few fragmentary accounts, there was born to a wealthy family of the Eastern Kingdoms a child who was plagued by nightmares. Now this is not unusual for the time, but as the child grew his nightmares became worse. What's more, eventually his nightmares manifested in the real world.

His parents consulted priests of the Holy Light and they suspected that the nightmares were of extraplanar origin. Around the same time, the young man was seen with outlanders who dressed in purple. Before the priests could ascertain what afflicted the youth, he disappeared, as did the strangers in purple. It would seem the boy was inducted into the Twilight's Hammer, possibly of his own volition.

Based on these and other details, I believe that the boy in question grew up to be Vyral the Vile. Regardless of his origins, we do know that the Vyral is not just the cult leader of the Twilight's Run sect in Silithus, but also the current leader of the entire cult. On one hand Vyral is intelligent and diplomatic, on the other he thoroughly insane and cruel beyond measure — all traits necessary to gain power in the Twilight's Hammer. Vyral dresses in the manner of a high arcanist; his face is ever concealed beneath a hood, save for his glowing red eyes.

Twilight Keeper Havunth (male orc): This elementalist was part of the oringal Twilight's Hammer clan. As one of the few survivors of the disastrous events at the Tomb of Sargeras, he sought to keep alive the nihilistic traditions of his obliterated clan. He poured over the writings of Cho'gall as well as nihilistic texts by natives of Azeroth. This is how he first discovered the Old Gods — beings more powerful than even the demons. When Thrall reformed the Horde, Havunth rejected the ways of demonology, but he also rejected the path of shamanism. Instead, he turned to the worship of the Old Gods and became an elementalist. While it's true that the current Twilight's Hammer formed independently in several places, Havunth was integral in bringing these disparate groups together. He created the cipher the cultists use, which he based on the grammatical style of the elemental language Kalimag. It's no surprise then that Havunth is keeper of one of the volumes of the Twilight Lexicon along with Twilight Keeper Exeter (male human warrior 20) and Twilight Keeper Mayna (female human priest 20). Though only in his early forties, his patchy, gray hair makes Havunth appear older.

Willow (female Forsaken): Willow is a rarity among the Twilight's Hammer — a cultist who isn't trying to convert you or kill you. In fact she's downright personable for a cultist... and a Forsaken. Unlike her kin, Willow eschews necromancy for the study of elemental spirits. I suspect her veneration of the Old Gods brought her in conflict with her former faction, which is why she makes her home in Desolace. Passing herself off as a humble scholar, Willow often hires adventures to run errands, from collecting rare plant samples to nicking artifacts from ancient tombs. These missions appear benign, even goodly, and she pays well, so she's never short of eager helpers. Yet don't be fooled; Willow is dedicated to the Twilight's Hammer and every rock and relic brought to her is part of her insidious, apocalyptic scheme.

• See More Magic and Mayhem for the witch doctor class and enchanter prestige class.

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