Across Ytarria, people have grown nervous. A thousand years ago, the Banestorm whisked people from their homes to Yrth, and now the third millennium is dawning. None know if the year A.D. 2000 will mean a return to Earth, bodily assumption to the bosom of the Lord, or absolutely nothing at all.
by T. Carter Ross
Art by andi jones
While most in the Church remain skeptical of anything apocalyptic happening in the days, weeks, or month surrounding the year 2000, the Curia is having trouble keeping some of the Christians of Yrth calm. From across Christendom, the Templars, Hospitallers and Michaelites bring reports of priests, mages and others proclaiming the imminent end of the world. Last October, four heretics claiming to be the returned Christ had to be cleansed in a grand auto-da-fe in Serrun.
Now, in the city of Sho'joor, a charismatic wandering preacher called Aloo'rilaam, apparently an albino Hobgoblin, has been drawing large crowds among the traditionally faithful Goblins, wooing them with a mixture of end-times theology and Goblin chauvinism.
At last report, some 300 Goblins in Southern Megalos were proclaiming at least tacit acceptance of the Lurite heresy, and the Curia is concerned that its acceptance is spreading.
The Michaelites have come close to capturing the heretic twice, but each time he managed to elude the holy brothers. Now, Aloo'rilaam has gone into hiding. The Michaelites believe he is in one of the Goblin villages that dot the southern countryside, but he may have fled to Araterre, Cardiel or the Muslim lands.
According to Michaelite reports, Aloo'rilaam preaches that Goblins are the original Israelites, delivered long ago to Gabrook. Over the centuries, some gave in to their bestial nature, degenerating into Hobgoblins; others became swollen with self-importance and pride. All forgot their special relationship with God. For that He sent forth the Banestorm to punish them. Those who were irredeemable were killed on Gabrook, just as God killed all but those saved by Noah in the flood. The elect were brought to Yrth and given a second chance. Now, the period of exile is almost over, according to Aloo'rilaam, and the righteous will soon return to Gabrook and God's favor.
The Lurite heresy views humans and other races as tools of God. They exist to both tempt Goblins away from and prompt them back toward the path of righteousness. However, while non-Goblins may be learned beings, they are not the chosen ones. When God brings forth the Banestorm again, only Goblins will return to paradise. Oddly, Aloo'rilaam has not said what role Reptile Men and Kobolds -- both of which came with Goblins from Gabrook to Yrth -- play in God's grand plan.
Aloo'rilaamA short man (5'6", 140 pounds) with a distinctive voice wearing a long, cowled robe that hides his features and body completely. Age: 33.
Attributes: ST 9 ; DX 14 ; IQ 14 ; HT 12 .
Advantages: Ally Group (Lurite followers, 9 or less) ; Charisma +3 ; Language Talent +2 ; Literacy ; Reputation +1 (among Goblins, 10 or less) ; Sparrial .
Disadvantages: Albinism [-10]; Amnesia ; Appearance (Ugly) [-10]; Delusion (Messenger of God) [-10]; Enemy (Michaelites, 9 or less) [-30]; Excommunicated [-5]; Sense of Duty (to followers) [-10].
Quirks: Always wears a cowl to hide appearance; Mutters in Sparrial; Never lets others see him eat [-3].
Skills: Area Knowledge (Southern Megalos)-14 ; Augury-11 ; Bard-16 ; Brawling-14 ; Cooking-14 ; Cyphering-14 ; Dreaming-13 ; Fast-Talk-15 ; History (Goblins of Yrth)-14 ; Knife-14 ; Lucid Dreaming-13 [1/2]; Savoir-Faire-15 ; Singing-12 ; Staff-13 ; Streetwise-13 ; Teaching-13 ; Theology (Christianity)-14 .
Languages (includes +2 for language talent): Anglish-14 [1/2]; Goblin-16 ; Sparrial (Native)-16 [--]; Latin-15 .
Aloo'rilaam's earliest memories are of a small hut in the countryside outside of Ekhans. He had been found, burned and mutilated, in a nearby field by a kindly old Goblin woman. As the woman nursed him back to health, she tried to learn from Aloo'rilaam who and what he was. All he could do was to feebly state his name, which left the woman to weave her own version of his story.
The woman decided that Aloo'rilaam was a deformed hobgoblin who'd been tortured and cast out from his tribe. Because his eyes -- as odd as they were -- had a light of kindness and intelligence behind them, she worked hard to educate Aloo'rilaam. Enlisted into this effort was the village priest who found Aloo'rilaam to be an eager student.
A total amnesiac, Aloo'rilaam believed the story the woman developed for him. His same thirst for self-knowledge led him to grasp at the message of salvation offered by the priest. So as to not frighten others, Aloo'rilaam began to wear a cowled robe to hide both his burns and his deformed features. As he healed and learned, Aloo'rilaam began to have increasingly vivid dreams.
At first, the priest was excited by Aloo'rilaam's dreams, many of which involved communication with Goblin-like images of the divine, but soon Aloo'rilaam's visions left the priest more and more worried. He called in an exorcist to see if the young man was possessed by demons, but to no avail. Although Aloo'rilaam had little inkling as to what was going on, he could smell (literally) that the priest's attitude toward him had changed.
When the old woman learned that Michaelites were being sent to question "her boy," she sent Aloo'rilaam off to Sho'joor. There his true role as the chosen messenger to the Goblin race was revealed to him in a dream.
At first Aloo'rilaam was scorned. What could such a grotesque figure (and a Hobgoblin at that!) know about God? And if he were really the messenger of God, why could he work no magic? But gradually his stories of the paradise of Gabrook and God's true message for Goblins drew an audience. And as his flock grew, the interest and ire of the Curia were raised, culminating in his excommunication and the condemnation of the so-called "Lurite heresy."
Now Aloo'rilaam wanders from Goblin village to Goblin village charming audiences with his promise of glory soon to come.
Aloo'rilaam is a 110 point NPC.
GM's informationAlthough he believes he is a deformed hobgoblin, Aloo'rilaam is actually a Sparrial (see GURPS Space, pp. S41-42 (note the most recent errata), or GURPS Aliens, pp. A84-87), although this fact is unknown to both him and his followers. Because of his amnesia, how Aloo'rilaam arrived on Yrth is up to the GM: He could have arrived on Yrth as the result of a hyperdrive malfunction, or the Banestorm could have plucked him from the Sparrial homeworld long before the Sparrials developed even rudimentary space travel, just as it has plucked thousands from Yrth, Gabrook and Loren'dil. Perhaps his amnesia is courtesy of the Ministry of Serendipity.
It has been seven years since Aloo'rilaam arrived on Yrth, and for the past year he has been on the run from the Curia and its agents. He is completely sincere in his teachings, and believes the Yrthian church is made up of Pharisees out to prevent him from delivering God's message to the Goblins of Yrth. (Because he has no recollection of his life before Yrth, but does have access to everything he's learned since arriving on Yrth, Amnesia is treated as a zero-point special effect. Also while he retains his Sparrial language skill, he cannot remember how to speak it. Occasionally, he will mutter, talk in his sleep or otherwise slip into Sparrial; at these times his followers believe Aloo'rilaam is "speaking in tongues.")
Despite his amnesia, Aloo'rilaam remains subject to his Sparrial instincts, such as Kleptomania an Stubbornness, which upon occasion get him into trouble, but he also can take full advantage of his inborn Detect Lies skill, which has helped keep him stay one step ahead of the Michaelites.
For those without Space or Aliens, the Sparrial racial package is reproduced below:
Sparrial (8 points)Attributes: ST -3 [-20]; DX +2 ; HT +1 .
Advantages: Acute Taste & Smell +2 ; Night Vision ; Super Jump ; Thin Fur .
Disadvantages: Gluttony [-5]; Kleptomania [-15]; Short Lifespan [-10]; Stubbornness [-5].
Skills: Climbing @DX-1 ; Detect Lies @IQ+3 (limitation: Scent-Based, -20%) .
Sparrials appear vaguely feline. They have long, pointed ears that stick out parallel to the top of the head, and large, deep-set eyes, slitted vertically like a cat's. Their oddest feature is a triangular mouth with three lips; instead of teeth, a Sparrial's mouth has a serrated bony ridge. They are covered with sleek fur, usually in varying patterns of brown or rust, although albinism is common. Their height and weight are average for their strength.
Adventure Seeds* If any of the PCs are Goblins, a friend, dependent or family member becomes a follower of Aloo'rilaam. Not only are the PCs being pressured to join the sect, but the Michaelites have learned of the PCs and think that they might be able to lead the Curia to Aloo'rilaam.
* On a trip to Sho'joor, the PCs are asked by a Goblin acquaintance to help bring a poor cousin of his to Yibyorak. The poor cousin is Aloo'rilaam. As they travel, the PCs must avoid the Michaelites and curious Goblins who have heard that Aloo'rilaam is passing through their area.
* In a Michaelite campaign (see the article by Sean Nicolson in Roleplayer #19), the players have to find Aloo'rilaam and deal with his heretical followers. Of course, it is rumored that Aloo'rilaam is a demon, which could complicate things.
* It's all a great con. Aloo'rilaam is faking the amnesia and having the time of his life leading a life of luxury at the expense of his Goblin followers. Perhaps the PCs are followers who begin to suspect something, or they are Michaelites who want to expose the fraud in order to diffuse the power of the sect.
* It's at least partially true. The Sparrial homeworld really is Gabrook, and Sparrials are the next stage of Goblin evolution . . . and Aloo'rilaam is just the first of what could be the busiest Banestorm resurgence in centuries.
* It's really an illuminated conspiracy. Aloo'rilaam is scouting out Yrth for an alien invasion force, building a cadre of Goblin collaborators who will help rule the coming order. . . .
Further readingAs the year 2000 draws near, a number of real-life cases of millennial anxiety are arising. The following websites include more information that could be useful in adding millennial anxiety to almost any type of campaign.
Article publication date: July 9, 1999
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