Adventures in Thargothras
The Red Reaver
The Fifth Apprentice
The Red Reaver is dead several times over, and gone forever. He does not need any description.
There are legends of the Age of Chaos and the colorful and dangerous personalities that helped shape it or end it. The Red Reaver is one of the former. They still tell tales about his life and sing songs about his death.
The Red Reaver earned his moniker as a petty but ambitious warlord, ruling over a primitive clan of nomadic raiders, having seized control with strength of arms and a talent for fire magic. Despite his youth, he was shrewd, brutal, and ruthless, and soon his clan grew wealthy from the raids he led and the tributes he arranged. But it was not enough. After a time, the Red Reaver decided to demand fealty from the clans already giving him tribute, and conscript an army to begin attacking more civilized lands, starting with what would one day be Segarcova. As his army marched south, leaving a trail of burnt towns, with all survivors captured and enslaved. When he reached Balaxa, he began the battle by sending a wave of slaves laced with at the main gate laced with destructive spells of his own invention (having no formal training or literacy, the Red Reaver had to research all of his own spells). The slaves, driven forward by mounted raiders with whips, would climb onto the door and explode at the end of the spells’ duration. Since the gate was breached before he ran out of slaves, so the rest were made to scatter into the broken enemy formation. The battle was over quickly, as the soldiers poured in and slew everyone who didn’t escape. The city now conquered, the Red Reaver requested that all of the corpses be gathered and impaled on spikes along the outer wall to deter anyone planning to retake the city.
When the Silver King had the idea to move his palace to another plane and take his other apprentices with him, he left the Red Reaver on Thargothras to support his interests, with the understanding that he had more leadership experience and less emotional bond with the other apprentices. Flaunting the absolute power vested in him, the Red Reaver ruled with cruelty, keeping and killing citizen-slaves for uncountable purposes. As a hobby, he would sometimes raise armies and pit them against horrors captured from the darkest corners of his empire. Most of his power was spent on the acquisition of exotic materials and animals, either for experiments or sacrifices to sinister powers in exchange for information and magnified magical potential. The Red Reaver is credited with the creation of several foul artifacts and magical machines, including a series of nigh-indestructible siege engines, which served as inspiration for the far inferior “Juggernauts” created by more recent magicians. It is also said that he is personally responsible for the magical bloodlines of arcane casters still alive today, though there have been many attempted purges against his descendants over the centuries.
Historians claim that he must have been some kind of long-lived shapeshifter. He is known to have reappeared after the Age of Chaos only to be defeated and presumed dead five times. Each time, he had an established alias for decades before he revealed himself with an indisputable tell. While it is difficult to separate apocrypha from historical fact, it is believed that he was finally and truly slain about two hundred years ago, as no one has resurfaced with that title since his rather decisive defeat.
The known identities of the Red Reaver are referred to as his “faces” in order to distinguish them. In order, he was a human, an elf, a dwarf, a human again, and a hobgoblin.