Nicodemus, level 1
Build: Protecting Paladin
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 15, Con 10, Dex 10, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 17.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 10, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 17.
AC: 19 Fort: 14 Reflex: 14 Will: 15
HP: 30 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 7
Diplomacy +8, Religion +5, Heal +7, Insight +7, Endurance +5, Athletics +5
Acrobatics -2, Arcana, Bluff +3, Dungeoneering +2, History, Intimidate +3, Nature +2, Perception +2, Stealth -2, Streetwise +3, Thievery -2
Level 1: Battle Awareness
Paladin at-will 1: Bolstering Strike
Paladin at-will 1: Holy Strike
Human: Valiant Strike
Paladin encounter 1: Fearsome Smite
Paladin daily 1: Radiant Delirium
Longsword, Heavy Shield, Adventurer’s Kit, Scale Armor
I remember little of a childhood, by most human standards. Raised in the foothills of mountain regions to the far north, I began my training early. The only family I recall were the bishops and elven friends I knew as a child. Elves occupied the woods near the sanctuary and proved to be of good nature. It was seen in me early…the Holy Light. I was taught the ways of the Light by mentors who wanted me to harness this energy and instilled in me the understanding that the weak and innocent must be protected. I owe much to those who taught me respect for life. Those who taught me that RIGHT must prevail. This was the time…that I thought I knew my place. To protect others and defend the innocent at all costs. It wasn’t long before I and a childhood friend, Alkirst (who also had great strength in the Light) joined the ranks of the Knights of the Silver Hand. Alkirst was a great warrior and the only one I struggled to match in combat skill. The Order was known to the world and feared by those who would harm the innocent. We defended our realm, and this Order of Paladins gave me a sense of purpose and family. My training was strong, my home…stronger. Until the wars began.
I will not say the history of such wars, as all can be found in books, but know this; Orcs and Undead have no place in this world. My brothers and I in the Order of the Silver Hand fought with this in mind. Saving those, who are innocent from being slaughtered by Orcs or worse…turned by the Scourge. I am a military man and the Order gave me skills and understanding of other cultures that still come in handy each day. But the Order would eventually fail me.
After the Second War we expelled the orcs and yet another war loomed. Always another. The scourge of the undead. Those sickening, unholy beasts of evil would bring a plague on this world. I will fight the undead to the end of my days, but how could I be asked to destroy innocents? Why would my Order do this? Alkirst, a warrior of my company and the one I called friend, received this command from the Order. He handed it to me, as commanders we were expected to order our troops to begin the cleansing of areas thought to be infected. Thought to be??! I, of course, would not give such an order. Alkirst and I had known this land. We fought for these people. Plague or no plague I would not take the life of someone for the simple fear that they could be infected. NO! This was wrong and I would have no part. But, my friend, Alkirst, whom I had trained and fought beside for many years…he…I had to…it matters not. What matters is that my Order is now gone. The Order began fighting amongst itself, after this. All of us allowing the undead to taint our minds. The plague itself could not hurt us, but the fear of its spread proved lethal. The Order is now splintered and scattered. Weak and incapable. Some have even turned their backs on the Holy Light and have become death knights! Bahamut curse them! Many of my brothers have died by another Paladin’s hand. Many…by my own. So, now…outcasted and alone, I no longer understand my role to play in this time and place. I will defend those I can. I must stay true to my calling. But, the anger and regret grows in me. May Bahamut reveal his path to me soon. Or, I fear, I too will be lost.
Personal Demons - The Dark Side of Nicodemus
As we grow closer to our fate, I feel the overwhelming need to confess my soul’s most concerning secret. One which I have longed to forget or remedy. Suffice it to say, even the honorable can give into anger and vengeance. On this day, 7 years past, I became a destroyer of my own. A betrayer of loyalty. A foe to friends. It was this night, so long ago that I received an order from my superiors in the Silver Hand. An order that I could not follow and one that would bring out the evil within me.
My comrade in arms, Alkirst….who was my friend….and I were in command of two regiments of the Order. We were at war with the scourge of the Undead and the war was not going well. Members of the Order started succumbing to madness. The parchment I received ordered our regiments to slaughter those who we “deemed likely to have been or eventually be exposed to the scourge disease.” Who had we become? Butchering innocents because they “may” become infected?!
I immediate rode to Alkirst’s tent to confer with him on this insanity. I was surprised at what I saw. He was fully suited in his armor, preparing for battle. “Have we word of an enemy near, brother?” I asked. “You have received the same orders as I, no doubt. Why do you ask what you already know?” he replied. “Alkirst, don’t give in to becoming a Death Knight. We will NOT destroy innocents, this is madness!!” I reached for his arm to reason with him, but he was prepared for my advance. I found myself lying nearly unconscious on the floor with the tip of his sword at my throat. “The enemy, Nicodemus, has many faces.”
He left me and assembled his regiment for an assault on the town below us. The town was near the front and therefore deemed “a risk of infection” by Alkirst. There was no sign of undead in this town. Only his orders to destroy all that represented potential undead infections. I assembled my regiment to intervene. I would not allow this illegal, immoral action to happen while I stood by. My men were with me and showed loyalty to the true Order. We advanced at double the speed of Alkirst in an attempt to intercept his attack.
As my men and I were nearing the town, we witnessed a horror none of us were prepared for. This town of innocents had already been turned. They were undead, but when? How? Alkirst was stunned and caught off guard. He thought this was the destruction of a town of farmers and was not prepared for a scourge defense. I slowed my men and redeployed for the battle with the scourge. Before we could assemble properly in our positions for undead battle (which is a far different strategy than fighting non-diseased soldiers), I could see Alkirst’s unit, being caught by surprise in the middle of town, was completely decimated. Alkirst was fighting from his horse, unwavering in his slaughter of the undead beasts at his sides. My unit engaged and began pushing the scourge back. I saw Alkirst swinging violently with his sword. He had now taken at least 50 undead on his own, but he was surrounded by as many and more moving his way.
What happened next, I haven’t spoken of to this day. My men and I were able to destroy the remaining scourge. But, not before I saw my friend…Alkirst, dragged from atop his horse where he disappeared into a pile of undead. Minutes later (what seemed like hours) we had finished the last of the enemy and my men were searching for survivors. We found the body of Alkirst, torn and nearly unrecognizable. I ordered the town burned and my men to the outskirts. I was the last to leave the town center.
“Nicodemuuusss….” a whisper from the pile of undead bodies came up like a haunting spirit. Movement soon followed and I could see that Alkirst was slowly tilting his head towards me. I ran to his side and pulled him from the bodies. He was still alive, though would soon succumb to the plague. “My friend…kill meeee. Kill me…Nicodemus.” He pleaded with me like this for a moment. I raised my sword…stood over him…and sheathed the sword at my side. “Bahamut has seen fit to punish your blood lust…you wanted to be a monster, Alkirst…so I will let you become what you’ve desired.”
I left him. I left him….to suffer a fate I would never have wanted any man to suffer. My anger at his betrayal brought out the greatest evil within me. After a few hours…I grabbed a torch and went back to the town, alone. The fires had died down and piles of smoldering ashes now lay where homes stood. I heard movement behind me and saw a figure, moving slowly towards me in a staggering recognizable fashion. One, single undead…the soulless body of Alkirst approached me slowly. I took out my sword and with tears in my eyes for what I had allowed to happen, I cut him down.