Kellid Druid of the Raptorscale Following
On the Thunder Steppes of the lost lands of the Mammoth Lords, tribes of barbarians known as Kellids make a living from the cold earth, when they’re not busy protecting themselves from external threats or from each other. It is a land populated by great beasts, mammoths and megafauna alike, a land where only the strongest survive against the infringing demons of the east and witches of the west.
One of the larger followings (groups of tribes) on the Steppes is the so called Raptorscale Following. They reside roughly where the southern and eastern spurs of the Tusk Mountains come together, and live mostly in the shadows of the mountains.They honor the saurian totem as the symbol of their collective tribes, although few remember why. It is said by some that warm, hidden valleys full of primordial dinosaurs still dwell deep within the Tusk Mountains, but these tales are derided by most Kellids as old wives’ tales. The tribes’ shamans insist that these progenitor animals do exist, but the tribesmen are too superstitious of the mountain range’s heights to see for themselves. They are content to leave the truth of it all unresolved. Subsisting on the steppes is too difficult to spend much time dwelling on such matters.
It was in this environment that Raktor was born to the Rexclaw tribe, part of the Raptorscales. His father and mother are a hunter and weaver respectively, both sturdy and well-scarred folks in the manner of their people. From an early age Raktor excelled athletically, often besting his peers by strength of arms or by force of intimidation.
Yet at the same time he developed an empathy for nature and its creatures. While his heritage required him to live off the land, he adopted the shamans’ belief system that he should take only what he needed, and do his best to give back to the earth so as to provide for future generations. It was because of his ethos that his tribe’s shaman, Gothro, one day encountered him on the steppes attempting to bind the broken leg of a moose found on the Steppes, when it would have been far easier to just carve up the animal for food. “Take only what you need,” he told the shaman, “and right now my stomach is full.”
And so it was that Gothro took Raktor under his tutelage, teaching him about the ways of nature and survival. His teachings extended into the spiritual, as he taught the young man that all of nature is imbued with Spirit; every tree and brook and hill and mountain has a spirit whose gifts ensure the survival of the tribe and that must be honored, cherished and respected in turn. He also taught Raktor about the primordial saurian ancestors that live in the mountains, and the young man kept his doubts about such creatures to himself.
After being Gothro’s student for some time, the moment came to define his spiritual journey in the manner of all who aspire to eventually be shamans and spiritual advisors for their tribes. He would go away for one year, which would culminate in a solo ceremony to enter the spirit world with the aid of the demonweed commonly found on the Steppes. Gothro directed him to go north, deep into the mountains, and come back with stories of what he found there. Raktor departed his tribe and strode into the cold mountains, which quickly challenged all that he had learned about survival in the cold hard north. As he continued north and east it got colder, and food became far more scarce, until Raktor neared exhaustion and starvation as he wondered whether this spiritual journey would be his last.
Then one day as he stumbled through the ice he came upon an almost-hidden entrance to an enormous valley nested within a ring of mountains. He was amazed at its lushness and warmth, which he later discovered was due to the many hot springs in the area. And then there were the creatures inhabiting the valley, straight out of his shaman’s saurian legends. Resolving to ask his shaman forgiveness for his doubts, he basked in the wonder of creatures both enormous and small that should not exist but somehow did. He made his way deeper, refreshing his food and drink and recovering from his ordeal—while quickly learning to evade the valley’s many predators of all sizes.
Here he would reside for the remainder of his year, learning the ways of this lost world and living by dint of his survival skills. He discovered a network of valleys within the mountains that were similarly warm and maintained an entire ecosystem of primitive flora and fauna.
One day in his explorations he encountered a nest of allosaur eggs. Peeking in for a closer look, he had the good fortune of witnessing one of the eggs hatching, and an allosaur chick emerging that laid eyes upon Raktor and immediately imprinted upon him. The chick would not be eluded, even as its mother came roaring over the bend and nearly made a meal of the young man. He named the chick Garrok, which became his inseparable companion ever after.
Near the end of his one year stay, as he wandered the far eastern reaches of the mountain valleys, he and Garrok came across an enormous pit with 13 layers down to its bottom, each layer containing the littered bones of enormous creatures. As he descended into the pit the bottom came into view, which appeared to contain a man-sized opening in the ground. In the light of the setting sun he could see the entrance guarded by spirits of fur-clad men with large clubs, standing as silent sentinels. The chill in his bones told him that to advance further was to seek death at the hands of the spirits.
Could this be Sipapu, the legendary Earthnavel reputed to be hidden deep in the Tusk Mountains? It allegedly led to a place far underground called Deep Tolguth, an entire lost world of enormous primordial creatures. He could go no further to find out, so he returned to the top.
It was then that he decided to culminate his spiritual journey with the demonweed ceremony. Finding a nearby cave, he carefully unwrapped his preserved demonweed and cut it into pieces for his pipe. He lit it and breathed deeply of its smoke as he gazed into the flames. He fell into a trance that opened his mind to a series of visions.
First, he saw what appeared to be a shimmering city with awe-inspiring architecture in the middle of a large forest; thin beings with pointed ears walked the streets. Then the vision shifted to show a thick swamp with twisted trees, out of which appeared an enormous demonic creature that looked like a dinosaur but held a great battleaxe in its hands as it roared with fury. The scene shifted again and re-emerged as a valley full of dinosaurs that he recognized as the one he had been dwelling in, and then saw it overrun by a horde of demons that seemed straight out of the Worldwound.
Another shift and the scene transformed to a lush tropical island inhabited by saurians and lizardfolk, with a menacing red castle on the top of a hill. It, too, was overrrun by demons that put the entire island to the torch. Next he saw a huge jungle similarly inhabited, but again laid waste with axe and torch by the emerging demonic hordes.
Finally he had a vision of the nearby pit with its 13 levels. The huge demon with the battleaxe reappeared, laying waste to the guardians of the Earthnavel’s entrance and clawing his way deep into the ground. Raktor’s spirit followed as the demon emerged into a huge lost world deep inside the planet, populated by the largest creatures Raktor had seen yet. The demon approached a ziggurat, landed on its top, and grabbed some kind of artifact that shone too brightly with evil for Raktor to see it clearly, but which the demon used to summon some kind of portal through which the demon stepped through and disappeared. In his wake came demons in numbers too great to count. They poisoned and destroyed everything they touched as the increasing wave made its way to the surface. Still they came, until they overran the entire Lands of the Mammoth Lords and completely destroyed the Kellid way of life.
It was from there that Raktor arose from his visions, before falling into a deep and exhausted slumber. The next day, he and his companion began the long journey home. The way was difficult, and it took all of Raktor’s skills to keep him and Garrok alive during the tortuous trip back down the icy mountains to his home. He arrived to the wonderment of his tribe, who beheld his companion with wide eyes. He sought out his mentor Gothro and recounted his visions, but the shaman was at a loss for what they could all mean. He counseled Raktor to leave the tribe again, go out into the world and try to find the places he saw in his visions to see if he could make sense of it all.
Before departing, Gothro bestowed on Raktor a zoic fetish he had made for the young man, made of hair and twine to resemble the head of a dinosaur. Raktor would wear it always to remember his tribe, to which he would someday wish to return.
Thus it was that Raktor and Garrok made their way out into the wide unknown world. Remembering jungles from his visions, they walked south but otherwise had no idea where they were going. After several months of avoiding human settlements and wilderness dangers they approached the region that others would call Darkmoon Vale in the nation of Andoran.
Udalrich's Pathfinder Character Sheet
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