CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sins of The Father

Legends of Neshen's Faithful

There are those who fight physical evil and those who seek to cleanse the evil from the souls of others. The Empyreal Lord Neshen’s faithful suffer so that others need not; Repent so that other’s misdeeds may be cleansed, show penitence for the actions of others so that they might start anew. The Knight of the Steel Lash and her followers are if nothing else selfless in the face of evil.

For more information check these two sites

Even for one of the lesser divine beings there is zero about Neshen on its Pathfinder Wiki page. We don’t even know if Neshen is a male or a female just that it is an angel of great power.

Many of these write-ups are done in the form of  a handful of sects representing different aspects of the beings portfolio. Today however I’m going to tell you a story, a story about a sin eater.

As the light of the sun was eaten behind the mountains and the fire of the camp became the only illumination on the faces of the weary travelers, one of them began to speak. He was a young man if I remember correctly, no more than twenty if a day. Dressed in the finery of someone whose travels barely took them off the main roads that run through Varisia. But his voice was soothing after a hard day and the company at the small roadside encampment with the shrine to Desna was much appreciated.

He told the tale of a man that he swore he met in his travels and I remember his description vividly. A tall well-built Shoanti man, one who seemed older than his years, whose eyes spoke of constant sorrow. He described the man as having dark, weathered skin from many days out under the sun, but what’s more, every inch was covered in tattoos. The taleteller made sure to point out these weren’t your standard tattoos, symbols of meaning to the adorned, but they were just writing. The writing seemed to have been scrawled haphazardly, in multiple directions, as if no care was given to the position of the reader. The language was unknown to the bard, so it wasn’t the other traveler’s native Shoanti. Although the mishmash of words covered most of his body, in some places there was naked skin where an expanse of text was missing.

Now I’ve travel the road a long time and I’ve seen and heard many things. I’ve fought monsters that should not be, seen priest bring down the powers of the very gods themselves, and even fought alongside the crusaders in the Worldwound. But what the bard relayed as the story of the tattooed traveler seemed far-fetched even for me. Tall tales and taller claims are of course no stranger to those of us on the road, but still.

The tattooed man, apparently, came from a small group among one of the tribes of the Shoanti. Don’t ask me which, I know little of their people. Among his people, however,  there was a growing corruption. Although it began to appear as a wasting of the flesh, in reality it was a wasting of the soul. He claimed this happened once every few generations as the weight of the sins of the whole tribe past and present manifest themselves in the real world.

The elders of the tribe came together with the medicine men and looked to the old tales on how to combat this wasting, as it hadn’t been seen in an age. Some thought they could use a scapegoat to imbue all the evil and cast the animal out of the tribe, but the wasting was just too much. Only one venerable elder could remember a tale of the last time the sins of the tribe had become so great.

So it was with great sorrow that the elders called this righteous man into the longhouse and spoke with him. He was a fine warrior but beyond that, his sense of duty, honor, and steadfast adherence to that wich was right drove them to call for him. The elder told him that the evil, the sin was too much, and to rid the tribe of the wasting it would all have to be tied to a man and not an animal. Without hesitation, the man stood and accepted the onus of bearing the tribe’s sin. He knew full well that he would be cast out of the tribe for his act selflessness but he stood anyway.

Before the great ritual, the elders gave him one warning and one hope.  The sin would try to corrupt him. He was chosen for his own dedication to what is righteous and good, but the sin would try and destroy him from within. However, if he could make penance for the sins they would slowly fade from him and he could regain his place amongst his people. Still determined, the man not only accepted his fate but saw it as his duty.

The ritual lasted seven days and seven nights and in the end the man had accepted the sins of his tribe upon himself. These sins were inscribed, not just in his soul, but on his body in the form of the tattoos he exhibited to the bard. The blank spaces he said were where sins he had atoned for once existed. He hoped to have cleansed more from himself, but in the intervening years he had taken upon himself the sins of others so that they might find peace in the afterlife.

One of the unexpected turns of fate for the man covered in sin was that his act did not go unnoticed. The Empyreal Lord Neshen came to him in a dream and told him that all the gods had seen his sacrifice and to help him he would be imbued with the power of all that is righteous and just. Though he was never a devout follower of anything but the spirits of his ancestors, Neshen promised to look over him the rest of his days and that even if he could never remove all the sin from himself, as long as he didn’t fall before he passed from this world she would find a home for him in her realm.

Now I’ve never met the tattooed man, and I’m not sure how much I believe the stories of a well-travelled man without well-traveled clothes, but... I like to believe this man is out there, this tattooed sin eater. And should my life end before I can make up for my own misdeeds, he would take them upon himself that I may walk the path through Pharasma’s Boneyard and into the upper planes of the heavens.

Would you like to meet the tattooed man, then you can subscribe to this blog on the sidebar and get email notifications when new posts arrive, and maybe he’ll show up again. You can also follow me on twitter @SimonSezCRB for tweets about updates and the occasional random thought on gaming. And if my work excites your imagination you can show your support on my Patreon and help make being creative more sustainable for yours truly.

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