Adventure in the Ruins of the Undermountain
Duergar Witch; "The Ashen Hag"
Female duergar witch 1 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide 65, Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide 186)
NE Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init + 7; Senses darkvision 120 ft.; Perception + 3
AC 14, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+ 1 armor, + 3 Dex)
hp 9 (1d6 + 3)
Fort + 3, Ref + 3, Will + 3; + 2 bonus vs. spells and spell-like abilities, + 2 trait bonus vs. charm and compulson
Immune paralysis, phantasms, poison; Resist duergar immunities
Weaknesses light sensitivity
Speed 20 ft.
Melee dagger + 0 (1d4/19-20)
Ranged light crossbow + 3 (1d8/19-20)
Special Attacks hexes (cackle, misfortune)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1st; concentration +1)
1/day—enlarge person (self only), invisibility (self only)
Witch Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration + 7)
1st—mount, sleep (DC 15)
0 (at will)—detect magic, guidance, message
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 18, Wis 12, Cha 7
Base Atk + 0; CMB + 0; CMD 13 (17 vs. bull rush, 17 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Extra Hex[APG]
Traits birthmark, focused mind
Skills Acrobatics + 0 (-4 to jump), Craft (weapons) + 8, Heal + 5, Knowledge (arcana) + 8, Knowledge (nature) + 8, Knowledge (planes) + 8, Linguistics + 5, Perception + 3, Sense Motive + 3, Spellcraft + 8, Stealth + 4; Racial Modifiers + 4 Stealth
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Dwarven, Orc, Terran, Undercommon
SQ witch’s familiar (hare named Charlock)
Combat Gear scroll of cure light wounds, scroll of obscuring mist, scroll of penumbra, alchemist’s fire, caltrops, oil, thunderstone; Other Gear haramaki, crossbow bolts (40), dagger (2), light crossbow, artisan’s tools, backpack, blanket, flint and steel, sack, spell component pouch, trail rations (10), waterskin, weapon cord
Birthmark + 2 save vs. charm & compulsion
Cackle (Su) As a move action, extend the duration of other hexes by 1 rd.
Darkvision (120 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Duergar Immunities + 2 racial bonus to save vs. Spells and Spell-Like effects.
Empathic Link with Familiar (Su) You have an empathic link with your Arcane Familiar.
Familiar Bonus: + 4 to initiative checks You gain the Alertness feat while your familiar is within arm’s reach.
Focused Mind + 2 to Concentration checks
Immunity to Paralysis You are immune to paralysis.
Immunity to Phantasms You are immune to Phantasms.
Immunity to Poison You are immune to poison.
Light Sensitivity (Ex) Dazzled as long as remain in bright light.
Misfortune (1 round, DC 14) (Su) Foe in 30 ft must take the lower of 2d20 for rolls (Will neg).
Share Spells with Familiar Can cast spells with a target of “You” on the familiar with a range of touch.
Weapon cord Attached weapon can be recovered as a swift action.
NE Tiny magical beast (animal)
Init + 3; Senses low-light vision; Perception + 5
AC 17, touch 16, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +1 natural, +2 size)
hp 4 (1d8-1)
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +3
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite -2 (1d3-4)
Space 2½ ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Str 2, Dex 16, Con 8, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 4
Base Atk + 0; CMB + 1; CMD 8 (12 vs. trip)
Skills Acrobatics + 3 (+ 11 to jump), Heal +2, Linguistics -1, Perception +5, Spellcraft -1
SQ improved evasion
Improved Evasion (Ex) No damage on successful reflex save; half on failed save.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Familiar Spells Known
- 0 All
- 1st Charm Person, Cure Light, Enlarge Person, Mage Armor, Mount, Obscuring Mist, Sleep
Descended from the evil forces gathered by the tyrant Kazavon, the Groanhild duergar allied with the warlord against the orcs of Belkzen and then were enslaved when Kazavon set his sights on further conquest. After the tyrant’s defeat, the grey dwarves found themselves cut off from the Darklands. Their original clanhold long-since collapsed, the proud but gradually declining Groanhild took to wandering beneath the foothills of southern Belkzen and western Canterwall. They sought a way back to the Darklands, emerging upon the surface only at night to raid orc and human settlements. Sometimes they traded their masterwork weapons or offered their services as masons and mercenaries, but the Groanhild remained as contemptuous of other races as any duergar.
Frooma was born with a birthmark on her bosom over her heart resembling an arch over a flame, the symbol of the duergar god Droskar. The Groanhild considered this a sign of favor from The Dark Smith and thought it a matter of time before a portal to the Darklands revealed itself to them. As she aged, Frooma was inundated with tales of her race by a people several generations removed from duergar society as a whole, and thus acquired a head-full of legends about their hardiness, courage, and awesome heartlessness. She was taken under the wing of the tribal priests who thoroughly instilled in Frooma ideas of her status as a savior touched by their god. This was a mistake. Though she was clever and studious, Frooma grew into spoiled brat, and proved far too impetuous and churlish—even by duergar standards—to ever become a priestess.
By the time she had reached late adolescence, even the most patient and hardhearted Groanhild had tired of her know-it-all attitude, bullying, and brattishness. While none wanted to risk their god’s anger by killing her outright, Frooma was hobbled and abandoned by her tribe to an orc warband. Frooma vowed to make them all regret their treachery in spectacular fashion. Even as she was suffering every sort of defilement beneath her sweaty, slobbering captors, it was the faces of the Groanhild who remained etched in her consciousness. Each member of her tribe was added to Frooma’s mental death list. But first, she would find a gate to the Darklands, descend its depths and become the queen among dark dwarves she was destined to be. That would show them.
The Rustrazor orcs used her for amusement, and when they grew tired of her face and body, demanded to know what else Frooma could do. She set to forging their weapons or fixing broken ones and was eventually allowed some freedom in the camp so long as she remained chained by the ankle to her anvil. Eventually, the dark dwarf was relied upon to advise her captors on the areas in which she possessed encyclopedic knowledge—natural and supernatural phenomena. When the Rustrazors were desperate, they managed to tolerate Frooma’s smug pedantry enough to consult her about tactics, which she obliged. The fact that her genius led to the capture of additional slaves didn’t make her popular in the pens. Even as an orc slave, Frooma remained obstinate, stubbornly believing herself to be the “chosen” of The Master of the Dark Furnace, if not his second coming. With none of the patience, wisdom, or strength of character to assume the blessings of her god, her entreaties remained unanswered. Until she met Charlock.
At first, when the mangy mountain hare appeared in the camp of the Rustrazors, Frooma strangled it when it got within arms’ reach. While she devoured it raw, it spoke, and claimed it would return to free her. Frooma responded that should the magical hare indeed return, she preferred her flesh cooked.
Sure enough, in a few days, the jackrabbit returned, its flesh charred and smoldering as if it were thrown in a fire pit. Frooma was astounded and quietly celebrated as she feasted once again on the magical talking animal.
A few days later, the black hare returned. This time, it stayed beyond the dark dwarf’s reach. The jackrabbit inquired as to why Frooma continued to help the orcs prosper. The gray dwarf claimed that every new slave brought to the Rustrazor’s camp eased her own workload. Charlock, as the hare referred to himself, called Frooma out on this fallacy. When did a duergar shy away from toil? How did a chosen of Droskar honor her god by avoiding work? It was pride, claimed the hare. Frooma could not stand being wrong, even if a good lie could free her from bondage. Frooma asked how the jackrabbit knew so much about her and her god. “That question is an admittance that you don’t have all the answers. Hearken to my hunger, instead of using me to indulge yours, and you will know these secrets and more.”
Charlock would say no more to her. Frooma agreed to the jackrabbit’s deal, with reservation. Her birthmark began to pulse and throb, and Charlock began to lick its lip. The dark dwarf knew what she had to do. After she set the satiated hare down, she found she understood various lesser arcana, in addition to the secrets of enrapturing hearts and lulling the weak-minded to slumber. It seemed Droskar had finally come to his senses and sent her his blessings!
It was not enough for Frooma to convince a guard to unshackle her and for her to sneak away invisibly. There was a score here to settle. Over a period of weeks, she subtly manipulated the Rustrazors on several fronts. She began to convince a lieutenant to make his move against the chief, while convincing the chief of the tactical ease in which they could capture the Canterwall village of Vasterstadt. Finally, she began to get into the head of Angrog, the warband’s loyal ettin. When he was receptive to the idea that the orcs were not really his friends, and the chief left for Vanderstadt leaving behind his lieutenant, the witch struck.
The Vanderstadt raid was a spectacular failure. As Frooma predicted, the chief survived and returned with a depleted force ready to take it out on her. Unfortunately, he was intercepted by his lieutenant at the entrance to the camp, who accused the chief of weakness, and for being susceptible to the dwarven female’s wiles—an outsider no better than a slave. Angrog felt the sting of this slight, and fought on the side of the chief. Again, as the witch predicted, the chief put down this coup, but not before losing more men of his own and having to execute all those loyal to the fallen lieutenant. The chief dragged Frooma out of the slave pens to the camp’s whipping post, where he planned to lash her to death for what he now understood were her manipulations. This was the last straw for Angrog. The big dumb ettin’s fears that non-orcs were an expendable commodity were realized. He did not see the gesture and mumbled words Frooma made toward him just before the whip slashed across her naked back. He only saw a friend who was right all long. After crushing the chief with a single strike of his spiked club, an enraged Angrog proceeded to pulverize the remaining Rustrazors to mush. Not a single orc survived.
When he was done, Angrog freed his dwarf lady friend, splitting with ease the chain that had forced her for years to drag an anvil around. Frooma told him it would be good to bring some of the orcs’ arms to the slaves and that she would wait for him. He did as he was told while the duergar witch went invisible and left. She did not look back as the freed slaves took up arms against their single surviving oppressor.
For the last few years, Frooma and Charlock have traveled the byways of northern Avistan, nursing old grudges and staying abreast of the Groanhild. She sells her services as a healer and enchantress, though she has come to discover that future favors are more valuable than the few silvers she can squeeze out of desperate humans. The prejudice of Avistan’s provincial jerkwaters makes business a challenge, but Frooma has found that invisibly canvassing a town always uncovers a host of its citizens’ petty fears and desires. And when “The Ashen Hag” appears to mend a child’s mortal wound, ensure a scandalized politician a successful election, charm the object of a awkward boy’s affection, or provide a grieving widow the vengeance she seeks on her husband’s murderers—prejudice is cast aside. Many men and woman of the north have had secret dealings with her, and many secretly owe her a boon.
Most recently, Frooma has heard rumors that the Groanhild clan made their way back to the Darklands through a legendary site called Undermountain which she traced to the Rimethirst mountains.
Though Frooma displays the virtues of courage and determination, she is also avaricious, impatient, pedantic, and ungrateful. She follows the teachings of Droskar dauntlessly and believes that sufficient toil leads to eventual success, and that one should be free to do whatever is necessary to accomplish one’s goal, even if that includes lying, cheating, exploitation, or even worse crimes. Like most duergar, she will harbor grudges and never stop tallying slights and services owed. She believes that might makes right, so she has no pity for those who are too weak to defend themselves. She is, however, more than happy to exploit others’ sorrow or desperation if she can get something out of it—especially favors.
Gravely Ustalav accent. Mean-spirited. Nit-picky and humorless, often misconstrues overstatement and turns of phrase which results in her constantly correcting people. Smart enough to understand the need for allies and strives to be useful. Tactically brilliant. Willing to compromise and work with good-aligned creatures so long as her long-term goals are served. Takes pride in her magical and mundane abilities, especially weapon-craft.