Naeel of Thulthantar, the Renegade Shadovar
"If you think I'm dangerous now, wait until you face me within night's embrace..."
One of the original members of the legendary fellowship known as the Balance, it is no surprise that the warrior-sorceror Naeel is as much an object of awe and reverence among the people of the Heartlands as his other companions, not the least for his participation during the campaign that saw the defeat and final destruction of the Lich-King and his forces. Yet, surprisingly, aside from a few general facts about the man, there is very little known about his origins. Even the surviving members of company itself -- the paladin-lord Malthus and the archmage Lothiel -- can provide little detail to his past aside from the fact that, like them, Naeel came from a world that was far removed from Celestin, and that he isn't quite as human as he appears.
Naeel is a Shadovar, born some four hundred or so years ago and raised in the Netherese city of Thultantar, otherwise known in the common tongue as Shade, which as of printing had just recently returned to its homeworld of Abeir Toril after nearly two millenia of exile in the Plane of Shadow. Hailing from a family with ties to shade's military hierarchy, Naeel's lot in life was to be a soldier, as his ancestors before him, but the fact that he displayed innate arcane powers early in his life gave him a distinct advantage over his peers. This, and his near-obsessive drive to excel propelled the ambitious young man quickly up the ranks, acquiring for him the rank of lieutenant barely three years after he joined the city's military... Impressive indeed, and one that his superiors immediately took note of.
After a few tests to insure his loyalty, Naeel was approached by his superiors and given an offer few they knew would be hard to refuse: he was chosen for the ritual that would transform him into a shade -- a human gifted with long life in exchange for a portion of his soul, and extraordinary powers while he remained in the darkness or shadows. It was a rare honor, bestowed only on those the ruling arcanists deemed worthy, and the young soldier gladly accepted, seeing it as the affirmation that he was indeed destined for greatness.
History would prove him right, but as events had shown, it was not in the manner he had first expected it to occur.
Several months after his ascension to shade status, Naeel was leading a routine patrol when he and his command were set upon by a pack of shadow mastiffs being led by a trio of malaugrym, a race of shapeshifters and sorcerers, and their city's most hated enemy. While it was a small matter to drive off the hounds, the malaugrym were another thing entirely, and the patrol found itself ill-matched against their opponents. Trying to buy time for his men to escape, Naeel grappled with one of the shapeshifters, and together they tumbled into the deeper and darker part of the Plane of Shadow. Most of the patrol managed to return to the city, but the lieutenant was written off as a loss, another casualty in the shadovars' war with their ancient enemy.
However, Naeel did not die. Through sheer luck, he was able to overcome his opponent, but he had lost his bearings, and careened out of control, falling deeper and deeper into the Shadow Plane... Until, after what seemed forever drifting in the emptiness, he was deposited on a strange and unknown world. Lost, cut off and without any contact with his companions, and low in supplies, Naeel was forced to take what he needed when night fell, all the while trying to find any way to return to his home.
As it became clear that -- for all intents and purposes -- he was stranded there, the shadovar began to wander the land in an increasingly foul mood... Fate stepped in however, and he got into a brawl with a particularly annoying and self-righteous holy warrior who just happened to be at the wrong place when his patience snapped. The warrior was Malthus Tannhauser, and it was through him that Naeel made the acquaintance of Selaqui the moon elf duelist, Lothiel the sun elf wizard, and Jaedrel the drow fighter -- the group of adventurers who would eventually become the Balance.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Naeel faded from public knowledge some time after the end of the March of the Dead. Rumor has it that he wandered the planes of existence, much like his compatriot Malthus, but while the paladin-lord's initial foray into the Multiverse was brought on by accident, the shadovar's journey was voluntary. Where he went or what he did during this period, no one truly knows, but there he stayed for three hundred years. It was only recently that his interest in Celestin was piqued once more, when news reached him of a strange young woman named Selene Moonshadow, who exhibited extraordinary skill and power approaching that of a quasipower... And who claimed that she was his daughter, born of his dalliance with Luna Silvertresses, avatar of the eponimous Goddess of Love.
Since his return to Celestin, the shadovar has renewed ties with his old comrades Malthus and Lothlorien, and even accompanies them in their adventures when he isn't too busy trying to uncover the truth behind the claims of Selene Moonshadow. The cynic inside him wants to dismiss the rumors as pure poppycock, but the more information he finds, the less likely it becomes that the story is a fabrication...
While already approaching middle age (for a shade anyway), Naeel remains as spry as a human of thirty winters, and still possesses the barrel-chested physique he had when he first joined the army of Thulthantar. His hair had long gone gray, however, and he prefers to wear it these days in a modest ponytail, while affecting a 'chin blade' goatee. He bears a slightly weathered complexion, but when night falls his skin takes an even duskier tone, his normally chestnut-colored eyes transform into gemlike orbs of an amber hue, and his form seems to trail wisps of shadowstuff when he moves. It is probably because of this fact that he prefers to wear clothes dyed black or gray, though he is known to put on brightly-colored affairs when the occasion merits it.
Naeel is infamous for his sharp wit and often-biting sarcasm, as well as for his brutal honesty. He has no patience for fools, and has no qualms on using them in order to gain an advantage in a situation, but admits that they have their uses. However, his experiences in the Balance have tempered his nasty streaks, and he now goes out of his way to make sure that his pawns aren't harmed by the consequences of his manipulations -- at least, not that much.
Naeel of Thulthantar, male shadovar Fighter 8/Sorcerer 6/Eldritch Knight 10: CR 24; Medium-sized outsider (augmented humanoid); HD 8d10+40 plus 6d4+30 plus 10d6+50; hp 253; wp 20; Init +6; Spd 30 ft.; AC 33 (touch 16, flat-footed 31); Base Attack +19; Grapple +25; Attack +32 melee one-handed (1d10+12 plus 2d6 vs. chaotic plus 2d6 vs. spellcasting creatures/17-20/x2, +4 axiomatic magebane sure-striking cold iron bastard sword), or +25 ranged (1d8+4/x3, +4 distance sure-striking composite longbow), or +21 ranged touch (by spell); Full Attack +32/+27/+22/+17 melee (1d10+12 plus 2d6 vs. chaotic plus 2d6 vs. spellcasting creatures/17-20/x2, +4 axiomatic magebane sure-striking cold iron bastard sword), or +25/+20/+15/+10 ranged (1d8+4/x3, +4 distance sure-striking composite longbow), or +21 ranged touch (by spell); SA Arcane spell use; SQ Enhanced statistics (Strength/Constitution/Wisdom), familiar, immortality, shade abilities; Alignment Lawful Neutral; Saves Fort +26, Ref +16, Will +21; Str 22, Dex 14, Con 20, Int 15, Wis 18, Cha 19. Height 6 ft.
Aging Bonuses and Penalties: Normally shades age at a much slower rate than humans, only reaching middle age by their 350th year. Thus, Naeel counts as a middle-aged shadovar, gaining a +1 bonus to his Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. Because of the boon granted by Vorvoc he no longer ages, so he gains no penalties for his age.
Skills and Feats (with Synergy and Competence bonus included): Bluff +10, Climb +17, Concentration +24, Decipher Script +11, Intimidate +17, Jump +17, Knowledge (Arcana) +18, Ride +13, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +25, Swim +17; Blind-Fight, Combat Casting, Combat Expertise, Diehard, Endurance, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard sword), Improved Critical (Bastard sword), Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Spell Focus (Evocation), Spell Penetration, Spellwise (+2 Knowledge: Arcana and Spellcraft, +2 to saves vs. Illusion spells and effects), Weapon Focus (Bastard sword), Weapon Specialization (Bastard sword).
Epic Feats: Epic Weapon Focus (Bastard sword), Penetrate Damage Reduction (Adamantine).
In Darkness or Shadows: When in shadowy areas or in areas of full darkness, Naeel has the following statistics and skills instead of those given above: CR 26; Hp 277; Spd 50 ft.; Attack +34 melee one-handed (1d10+14 plus 2d6 vs. chaotic plus 2d6 vs. spellcasting creatures/17-20/x2, +4 axiomatic magebane sure-striking cold iron bastard sword), or +27 ranged (1d8+6/x3, +4 distance sure-striking composite longbow), or +23 ranged touch (by spell); Full Attack +34/+29/+24/+19 melee (1d10+14 plus 2d6 vs. chaotic plus 2d6 vs. spellcasting creatures/17-20/x2, +4 axiomatic magebane sure-striking cold iron bastard sword), or +27/+22/+17/+12 ranged (1d8+6/x3, +4 distance sure-striking composite longbow), or +23 ranged touch (by spell); SQ Control light, enhanced statistics (Strength/Constitution/Wisdom), familiar, fast healing 2, immortality, invisibility 1/round, shade abilities, shadesight, shadow image 3/day, shadow stride 1/per 2 rounds, shadow travel 1/day; SR 35; Saves Fort +30, Ref +19, Will +24; Con 22, Cha 21.
Skills in Darkness or Shadows: Bluff +11, Concentration +25, Intimidate +18. Save DC = 15 + spell level. Naeel does not suffer skill penalties due to darkness.
Languages Spoken: Common, Draconic, Elven, Netherese.
Sorcerer Spells per Day: 6/7/7/7/7/6/6/4. Save DC = 14 + spell level. Caster Level 15th.
Sorcerer Spells Known: 0 - dancing lights, detect magic, light, mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue; 1st - disguise self, magic missile, obscuring mist, ray of enfeeblement, true strike; 2nd - darkness, Melf's acid arrow, misdirection, see invisibility, web; 3rd - arcane sight, fireball, fly, nondetection; 4th - dimensional anchor, Evard's black tentacles, greater invisibility, scrying; 5th - feeblemind, summon monster V, teleport, wall of force; 6th - acid fog, disintegrate, greater dispel magic; 7th - prismatic spray, waves of exhaustion. Caster Level 15th.
Standard Equipment: Naeel's Feybane (+4 axiomatic magebane sure-striking cold iron bastard sword), Dareth's Stinger (+4 sure-striking distance composite longbow), +1 keen silvered dagger, The Duskshroud (+4 twilight mithril full plate mail), Aronnak's Ring of Heavy Armor (acts as ring of protection +4, ring of ironskin, and grants the heavy fortification enchantment; grants +4 Deflection bonus to armor class, damage reduction 15/adamantine, and negates all critical hits and sneak attacks), Clasp of the Iron Regent (counts as ring of rapid healing, ring of minor universal energy resistance, and amulet of natural armor +5), Cloak of Twilight (counts as cloak of resistance +5 and robe of stars; grants a +5 Resistance bonus to saves, enables wearer to travel to the Astral plane along with everything they are wearing, grants +1 Luck bonus to saves, can use up to six of the embroidered stars as +5 shuriken), Heward's handy haversack (contents detailed below), masterwork potion belt (2 blur, 4 cure serious wounds, 2 haste, 1 heroism, 1 remove curse), Naeel's Winged Boots (fly as the spell up to a total of 5 minutes per day), Ring of the Magelord (ring that acts as a periapt of proof against poison, allows wearer to cast sending at will to Malthus Tannhauser and Lothiel the Archmage only, or teleport at will to Lothiel's Glass Tower), Spellstar's Horned Helm (equivalent to a cowl of warding; continually protects wearer with mind blank, a constant effect simular to that of a ring of freedom of movement, and turns six spells per day as the spell turning spell), wand of fireballs (10th level, 32 charges left), wand of greater invisibility (25 charges left), wand of lightning bolt (10th level, 29 charges left), wand of stoneskin (26 charges left).
Adventuring Gear (inside Heward's handy haversack): Antitoxin (2 doses), backpack, bedroll, blanket (winter), candles (5), clothes (explorer's), flint and steel, ink vials (2, black ink), inkpen, iron pot, miner's pick, mirror (small steel), oil (3 pints), potions (7 cure serious wounds), quiver of 20 cold iron arrows, quiver of 20 normal arrows, quiver of 20 silvered arrows, rope (silk, 50 ft.), scrolls (globe of invulnerability, greater teleport, greater scrying, limited wish, wall of force), soap (1 bar), spade, trail rations for six days, waterskin (full, water), whetstone.
Total Resources: Approximately 2,500,000 gp (398,675 gold pieces left, invested in various holdings and lucrative businesses across Celestin, Sigil, and Union). Equipment presented above reflect Naeel's gear as if he were still a PC. As a NPC, Naeel is alloted 390,000 gp worth of resources according to the Wealth Limit rules set down in the Version 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide and Epic Level Handbook, so feel free replacing some of the equipment listed above with less costly items.
Class Abilities and Special Qualities:
Arcane spell use: Naeel can cast arcane spells as a sorcerer, but has a limited selection to choose from.
Attunement (Su): A manifestation of the boon granted by the dragon god Vorvoc, Naeel can invest a weapon, item, or suit of armor with increased power. Whenever he gains a level, he may choose one or more items to enhance with this ability. The items in question must be of masterwork quality, or must possess a magical enhancement bonus of at least +1. Naeel must then sacrifice 100 exp and spend 1 day in meditation for every enhancement bonus he wishes to imbue the item with, or 500 exp per spell level if an item that duplicates or gives the ability to cast certain spells is involved. During this period, he must spend at least 8 hours a day meditating, not stopping to eat or rest.
Control Light (Sp): Naeel can decrease the levels of light within a 100-foot radius by a factor of 10% per level (in Naeel's case, he can plunge an area into total darkness using this skill). For characters and creatures that depend on light to see, this decreases their effective range of vision by the same percentage. For every 25% decrease in light, everyone within the area gains a +1 circumstance bonus on Hide checks (or a +4 bonus when Naeel uses this skill).
Enhanced Constitution: Naeel read a Manual of Bodily Health +5, increasing his Constitution score by 5.
Enhanced Strength: Naeel read a Manual of Gainful Exercise +5, increasing his Strength score by 5.
Enhanced Wisdom: Naeel read a Tome of Understanding +5, increasing his Wisdom score by 5.
Familiar: Naeel can choose to obtain a familiar, an animal that is unusually tough and intelligent, as a companion. However, he has not elected to summon one at this time.
Fast Healing: In areas of shadow or darkness, Naeel's injuries recover quickly, healing 2 points of damage every round, where all subdual damage is healed first. Naeel cannot access this ability if he is exhausted or fatigued.
Immortality(Ex): Because of a boon granted by the dragon deity Vorvoc, Naeel will no longer die of old age or disease, and penalties connected to aging no longer accrue, while bonuses continue to accumulate. He cannot be magically aged.
Invisibility (Sp): In areas of shadow or darkness Naeel can turn invisible as the invisibility spell once per round, as a 24th-level sorcerer.
Shade Abilities: Naeel has several useful abilities that function only in places of shadow or total darkness, as well as a boost to his abilities, resistances, and speed.
Shadesight (Sp): In areas of shadow or darkness, Naeel gains darkvision up to a 60-foot range. He can see normally through any darkness effect, but not through fog, invisibility, or obscurement.
Shadow Image (Sp): In areas of shadow or darkness, Naeel can create illusionary doubles as the mirror image spell three times per day as a 24th-level caster, creating 1d4+10 figments whenever he does so.
Shadow Stride (Sp): In areas of shadow or darkness, once every two rounds Naeel can vanish from his current location and reappear in any shadowy area within 300 feet as a move-equivalent action.
Shadow Travel (Sp): In areas of shadow or darkness, Naeel can, once per day, greater teleport to any shadowy locale in the world he is in, or plane shift to access the Plane of Shadow.
Spell Resistance: Naeel's gains spell resistance 35 in areas of darkness or shadow, superceding any other source of spell resistance he has.