Bjorkus the Barbarian(!)

Pretty good name, huh?

That is the name of my new D&D char for the one-shot campaign we intend to have next weekend before the group is forced to disband for university. Yes, it’s a little cheesy but it was a suggested name and that is his class. I wanted to choose something that would be fun and have a strong background to play upon, and so I plumped for a Minotaur Barbarian whose name, as mentioned, is Bjorkus. But before I get into the fluff behind Bjorkus, I wanted to talk a little bit about Sumulael, my warlock who has now reached level 3 and served me more than aptly in our few weeks of gaming. Much more after the break.

Yog-Sothoth

The levelling-up occurred last night as we completed the adventure Khyber’s Harvest which consisted of us discovering, infiltrating and disrupting a group of cultists who had been kidnapping villagers for use in an infernal ritual to call forth something not-very-nice. We succeeded, and no-one even died along the way! It was shame that Jenn’s char was NPC’d by Barrett for a couple of the sessions, but it was still fun nonetheless, and he concluded the adventure with the separating of the party in-game also. Sumulael, Adriella and Rangrim ended up wandering through an apparently benign-looking portal that mysteriously opened in the final room, whilst Orianne and Kriv (Binky and Jenni are the ones going to uni) escorted the freed sacrificial prisoners back out of the caverns. There were a number of interesting story points for Sumulael, as currently not much more than a cultist with some arcane powers himself, taking on a (presumably) rival cult who worshipped something that wasn’t that far from his own chosen deity (it’s a bit vague what it actually is in story – The Thing Beyond the Stars – though o.o.c. we’re calling it Yog-Sothoth). He also ended up with two really gribbly symbionts attached to him and a breastplate covered in eyes. Pretty grim. There were also some points of contention with the group to do with my playing the character true to his description (nothing serious at all, but again quite interesting to see how people reacted) such as his disappearing into the night without telling the others, deciding to let the first symbiont attach itself to his flesh despite their protestations and the uncertainty as to whether he was withholding information he had gathered through being the one in the group with Deep Speech. At the end of the day, he’s a slightly deranged type, who believes himself the chosen prophet of, and is  intent on bringing forth, an incomprehensible entity from the Far Realm. It’ll be fun to game with him again later this year.

Bjorkus should be more straightforward and won’t have quite as much history to consider in every decision during gameplay, but he shouldn’t be any less interesting. The fluff on minotaurs in D&D is that they are constantly engaged in a personal battle between their bestial Maze of Ithnature and their quest for civilization.

As a barbarian, Bjorkus will obviously be quite in tune with his savage past and quite capable of flying off into a berserk rage, but I want to contrast him with a polite, calm side when he is not in battle. Glaringly apparent comparison here: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, though I don’t want to make it too clichéd. Another influence would have to be the story of Khârn the Betrayer from the Warhammer 40,000 universe; as he is part of the World Eaters chapter who eventually descended into Chaos-worship of the war-god Khorne and an orgy of bloodletting on an unimaginable scale (in which he was by far the worst, earning him his moniker as he turned on his allies when he ran out of foes in his frenzy). However, before their treachery to the Emperor of Mankind, Khârn was always the most level-headed and the story of him placating their primarch Angron is one of the most enjoyable in the Horus Heresy series (well worth a read even if you don’t care for the game. some of the consistently best and engaging sci-fi written in years). If the char turns out like I want him too, then Bjorkus may even stick around and become another option to Sumulael in terms of those I want to develop and create a legacy for. In the meantime, let’s get the animated Conan the Adventurer music on, oh baby.

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