Excerpts Archive | 12/19/2008
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Excerpts: Hantumah
Open Grave


Hidden from view on three sides by lofty snow-covered peaks and protected on the fourth by a deep river gorge, the fabled nation of Hantumah is a realm populated entirely by the unliving.


A character knows the following information with a successful skill check.

History DC 20: Hantumah was not always ruled by undeath. The nation-state was once called Khatiroon, and it was a place for the living, a hidden paradise of tranquility and scholarly learning. Its fertile lands and abundant mineral resources provided its citizens with a rich, bountiful, and self-sustaining lifestyle nearly free from the strife and avarice common among their neighbors.

History DC 25: At the onset of winter just over a century past, a massive undead army gathered along Khatiroon’s western frontier. At the head of the horde stood Raja Thirayam of Dukkharan, a lich of immeasurable power. Through the early months of the campaign the raja’s army easily conquered Khatiroon and the settlements around it.

On Midwinter Night, Raja Thirayam held a grand celebration for his “subjects” in the ruins of the conquered capital city. He proclaimed the birth of Hantumah, Empire of the Bloodless, and appointed himself its emperor. The following week a wasting plague swept the newly renamed lands, slaying a great percentage of the population outright; the survivors were left with a debilitating sickness. As the plague raged, Raja Thirayam and his court necromancers performed rituals over the dead. By spring, more than half the nation’s population had been transformed into undead servants of the emperor.

Streetwise DC 15: Adventurers wielding a great weapon that had been forged to destroy undead, some sort of stone scepter, made their way to the capital and killed Raja Thirayam. Lands near to Thirayam’s empire thought they had reason to celebrate when word spread of the emperor’s death. Elation turned to horror when it was revealed that upon the raja’s death, his life force divided and possessed the four audacious heroes. In turn, each adventurer was slowly consumed by the malevolent spirit of the emperor; the raja lives on, his body four-fold and harder to destroy than ever.


Hantumah Resistance

An active band of undead hunters haunts the edges of Hantumah, finding secret routes into the guarded kingdom. The Lightbringers, as they call themselves, are secretly supported by a variety of distant kingdoms, who are worried that one day the bleak nation of Hantumah might swell beyond its borders. Several different companies have taken up the Lightbringers’ banner (their symbol is a stylized half-sun, half-moon disc).

In recent years, money has flowed more liberally into the Lightbringers’ coffers, and real organization has begun to form around the name. Indeed, a headquarters for the resistance has been constructed in a secluded valley not far from Hantumah. Some believe this isn’t wise, since the structure gives the bleak nation a specific target against which it can strike. Regardless, most Lightbringers believe their cause is soon to be fulfilled. Their credo is “Suffer no false life.”

Hantumah is a militaristic society bent on conquest and the destruction of all that is holy.

Government: The Empire of Hantumah is divided into four provinces, each ruled by a sceptenar who holds absolute authority over his or her subjects. Sceptenars are murderous tyrants who rule through violence and intimidation.

Defense: Geographically, Hantumah is well protected, but rugged terrain is the least of the factors that keep the empire’s enemies at bay. Hantumah is a hellish plagueland of undeath where few living creatures dare to trespass.

Trade: Hantumah neither seeks nor desires trade with its neighbors. The sceptenars and their undead subjects consider the living to be no better than food.

Culture: A mortal observer of the Empire of Hantumah would be awestruck by the bizarre and perverse nature of this undead society. Outlying villages are empty of anything except zombies that tirelessly go through the motions they pursued in life, even as their fields and livestock molder around them. These serve as the empire’s first line of defense against any living incursion. All the sentient undead moved inward and settled in the capital city (also called Hantumah, or Hantumah City). Here, where undead are thick, days-long rituals venerating the various sceptenars are the most common and easily understood activity, but many more gruesome activities occur behind shuttered spires.

Sceptenar Vasabhakti

Sceptenar Vasabhakti, daughter of the late ruler of Khatiroon, rules the southern province of Hantumah. Once a kind and benevolent princess, Vasabhakti was possessed and corrupted by the undead forces that overtook her homeland. Today, she is seen traveling the countryside riding her infernal stallion, Maheghoda the Black Courser.

Sceptenar Vasabhakti
Level 22 Elite Soldier (Leader)
Death knight
Medium natural humanoid (undead)
XP 8,300
Initiative +15 Senses Perception +13; darkvision
Marshal Undead aura 10; any lower-level undead ally within the aura gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls.
HP 398; Bloodied 199; see also second wind
AC 40; Fortitude 38, Reflex 35, Will 38
Immune disease, poison; Resist 15 necrotic; Vulnerable 10 radiant
Saving Throws +2
Speed 5
Action Points 1
Melee Soulsword (standard; at-will) Necrotic, Weapon
+29 vs. AC; 1d8 + 9 damage plus 5 necrotic damage (plus an extra 2d6 necrotic damage on a critical hit)
Melee Valiant Strike (standard; at-will) Necrotic, Weapon
Requires soulsword; +29 vs. AC, with a +1 bonus to the attack roll for each adjacent ally; 2d8 + 9 damage plus 5 necrotic damage.
Melee Terrifying Smite (standard; encounter) Fear, Weapon
Requires soulsword; +29 vs. AC; 2d8 + 9 damage plus 5 necrotic damage, and the target is pushed 2 squares and can’t move closer to Sceptenar Vasabhakti on its next turn.
Ranged Divine Challenge (minor; at-will) Necrotic
Close burst 5; targets one creature in burst; the target is marked until Sceptenar Vasabhakti uses this power against another target. If the target makes an attack that doesn’t include Sceptenar Vasabhakti as a target, the target takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls and 16 necrotic damage.
Close Burst Unholy Flames (standard; recharge 56) Fire, Necrotic
Close burst 2; +24 vs. Refl ex; 6d8 + 13 fire and necrotic damage to living creatures. Undead creatures within the area (including Sceptenar Vasabhakti) deal 2d6 extra fire damage with melee attacks until the end of Sceptenar Vasabhakti’s next turn.
Second Wind (standard; encounter) Healing
Sceptenar Vasabhakti spends a healing surge and regains 99 hit points. Sceptenar Vasabhakti gains a +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of her next turn.
Alignment Evil
Languages Common, Draconic
Str 24 (+18)
Dex 14 (+13)
Wis 14 (+13)
Con 15 (+13)
Int 18 (+15)
Cha 24 (+18)
Equipment plate armor, heavy shield, soulsword (katana)

If drawn into melee, the sceptenar charges into cmbat riding Maheghoda, seeking to trample her foes under her mount’s hooves of hell. With her soulsword in hand, Vasabhakti is a formidable warrior, unleashing valiant strike and terrifying smite against her enemies.

Monday: A look at undead campaigns, with a vampire kingdom!

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