Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Helenie: Ex-Master god-Butcher and Hero of the 12th Meridian Crisis

Race Human, Female
Age 52
Affiliation God-Butchers (Former Master)


Helenie is a human woman who sits in the corner of the tavern, carefully strapped to a chair. Despite the fact that she has no eyes, arms, or legs her matronly face seems almost peaceful. Every few moments, another individual will walk up to her, bow, and ask her a series of yes/no questions about what she would like before fetching it for her or -more commonly- telling her a joke.


Born to a comfortably middle-class family, Helenie worked
her way up through the ranks to become a well respected if somewhat unremarkable Master God-Butcher. However, she is famous to the point of being cannonized for her actions during the 12th Meridian crisis.

The 12th Meridian Crisis

Many of the Master God-Butchers know one or more of the command words necessary to unmoor one of the immoveable harpoons that bind the Tarrasque. In the early days of Salzinwuun, it was not uncommon for these to be utilized in order to adjust one of the harpoons as the butchers worked, striving to better understand the Tarrasque’s monstrous physiology or to improve their mastery over the creature. However, in the centuries since the butchers have moved away from pragmatic inquiries to calcified, dogmatic belief that their procedures/and the placement of the harpoons are divinely ordained. As such, at present time Master God-Butchers -while aware of some command words- act as ‘confirmers’ and are legally prohibited from using their knowledge. For the last 110 years, no individual has ever, even temporarily, released one of the 13 Harpoons. That all changed during The 12th Meridian crisis.

When the Tarrasque was able to free it’s tail -ripping away from the harpoon that held it bound- chaos reigned. Many brave God-Butchers lost their lives trying to wound the beast enough to hobble its musculature and bring it back ender control. The then Binder-Lord of the 12th Meridian -Autoxia Marcellun- was summoned in order to release and re-spear the harpoon into the Tarrasque. But he refused to come. Like so many others that day, he believed that the end was nigh and the Tarrasque was freeing itself. Instead of honoring his duty, he sought to flee with his family and favored concubines.
At this point it was Master God-Butcher Helenie who stepped in and saved the city.

Rallying a group of God-Butchers and laborers, Helenie rushed towards the 12th Meridian Harpoon even as boulders flew and the earth trembled. Fully understanding the consequences, she drew close and shouted the command word that dropped the harpoon from where it hung, uselessly, in the empty air. Dragging the massive spar -its multi-ton chain gouging trenches into the ground- the group was able to load the harpoon into one of the nearby wall-mounted ballistas (unused for centuries).

As the Tarrasque thrashed, Helenie could see that the beast grew ever closer to freeing one of its hind legs. And if it managed that, it might well free itself completely. She had only one shot to rebind the tail and prevent the Tarrasque from finally gaining leverage to free itself.

Helenie aimed the ballista, and pulled the massive crank lever.

The harpoon sailed through the air and struck true.

The beast's tail brought down, and debris no longer filling the sky and smashing through the fortress Salzinwuun and the Hind Quarter, more God-Butchers were able to rally. They brought their siege-machine heavy tools to bear and finally bled the Tarrasque into unconsciousness.


The Master God-Butchers and Binder-Lords all agreed that Helenie almost singlehandedly saved the city. However, she had broken the law by utilizing a command word and as such she was stripped of her rank and subjected to the penalty of truncation. Even as many God-Butchers demanded clemency, the Stage Courts sentenced Helenie to have her arms and legs cut off, her eyes removed, and her tongue severed; a fate she submitted to without protest.

Helenie can now be found most days sitting in the corner of the Twin Spikes Tavern, waited on hand and foot by a number of off duty God-Butchers who view her as a living saint. Blind and mute now, she communicates with nods or shakes of the head. She is known to be fond of especially bitter ales and jokes, the more ribald the better.

Following Helenie’s sentencing, numerous God-Butchers (mostly journeymen and apprentices) quit the organization, many of which would eventually join the Marrow Miners when it was founded several months later. Also, Tolviko Marcellun in large part secured confirmation for his coup of 12th House from the God-Butchers by ensuring that Autoxia Marcellun (who was reviled as much as Helenie was revered) was flayed alive in full view of the public.

Nearly every citizen in Salt in Wounds knows Helenie's story and where to find her.

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  1. Actually, what purpose beyond a living idol does she serve? If she can't communicate, only those that experienced her sacrifice would be in such servitude and worship of her. This is lovely lore, but like a lot of WotC lore, it doesn't give DM's much to work with.

    What are some potential plot hooks that involve her? Are there some key functions she still serves? If she's blind and mute, is there any reason a party of PC's might EVER interact with her and what could be some of those reasons. Is she just a creepy reminder of the fragility of the city's situation?

    RPG settings need lore for DM's to internalize, but to make it largely actionable, it needs interactive nodes defined. Does she have a force of elite followers that only she can bid to do action? Is her sole value the knowing of the word of binding? Which she can now no longer say or write. I'm really intrigued by the lore, but this element felt like a slight dead end for incorporating into plot points.

    Or maybe as another post or supplement segment, you could consider including some interaction possibilities, plot triggers with a list of potential resolution pathways. Even for your world-building, it can be helpful to consider the reasons a party might come here, what they might get embroiled in, and its these plot drivers that help to flesh out antagonists, and supporting characters, as well as the cultural and societal roadblocks or bureaucracy that may impede a swift resolution.

    1. Well, for one thing, if the players are on a quest to learn the command words for the other harpoons, she is one of the few leads they could follow, which would lead to a quest where the PCs have to find a way to restore speech to her, preferably without anyone else finding out. She would also be a useful rallying point if the players want to overthrow the existing houses, for she's proof that the houses have grown corrupt and are more concerned with preserving their own power and prosperity rather than their original task of keeping the tarrasque contained. And she would also be a useful back door of sorts into the god butchers as an organisation, if the players need to ensure their cooperation for whatever reason.

      And if nothing else its useful to have setting details like that to give your players the illusion that there is a bigger world out there beyond their characters and the people they interact with.


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