Gyruff (Grand Duchy of Geoff)
former cleric of Iuz on the road to reform
A tough spiked platemail warrior with nasty weapons and a lute
A mild mannered, quiet, subdued bald monk wearing sandals, coarse wool robes and a rope belt.
The Saga of Dopa
Dopa grew up a barbarian boy in the Howling Hills, making money by playing the lute and singing. By the time Iuz returned to Dorakaa, the City of Skulls, in CY570, Dopa had learned “might made right” and joined Iuz’s charismatic following. In 582 Iuz departed for over a year when tricking the Suloise Barbarians. When he returned, his chaotic empire had started to collapse. Iuz executed his noble vassals, replacing them with things from the Abyss. Dopa survived that time by sucking up to his superiors and ruling his underlings with an iron fist.
Dopa was fully caught up in the Iuz movement. He set aside his lute to go into the clergy. He discovered he liked the power and developed real talent for surviving in Iuz’s clergy. Just subordinate enough to survive, while ruthless enough to keep down those below him and avoiding assassination and serious betrayal.
Iuz Doctrine: “The strong should exploit the weak, for such is their right.” Deceit and guile are the proper tools of the enlightened ruler. Iuz, who is the strongest and most deceitful of all, is the rightful and destined ruler of all of Oerth. The infliction of pain and suffering is a delight comparable with none other. No atrocity committed in the name of Iuz is so sickening, no trick so cruel, that it does not meet with the Old One’s approval.
Clerics of Iuz are commonly known as Liars or Oppressors among the faithful. These titles are accepted as the honor it is intended to be; the twisted culture that Iuz cultivates considers these words to be flattering. Often they are multi-classed wizards or fighters.
Iuz’s clergy believe in the survival of the fittest, and so battle one another as often as they battle the enemies of their lord. They travel the Flanaess in disguise, seeking powerful magic and captured creatures of great good (or simply their skulls) as trophies to prove their worthiness. They adopt inconspicuous garb outside the Empire of Iuz, but among the faithful they dress in rusty black or white streaked with rust-red stains of blood. Some adorn their robes with bones.
Dopa has led hobgoblin and other non-human troops from the Horned Society into battle and even accompanied his god-king to Tovag Baragu, where Iuz was pursuing Vecna. Iuz had found a way to defeat Vecna, his rival, and absorb his own godly powers into his own.
The pursuit turned out to be a trap and Vecna not only defeated Iuz, but he absorbed Iuz’s whole essence. Dopa was cut off from Iuz and his spells for the first time since he joined Iuz’s cult. How was it possible that Iuz, Old Wicked, the Great Oppressor, who preaches “The strong should exploit the weak, for such is their right” is defeated and absorbed into another god?
In Iuz’s faith, only the strong survive, and Dopa discovered he backed the wrong demigod. His hopelessness and loss of power turned into an almost madness.
Left alone and godless in one of Vecna’s libraries, Dopa struggled to research a new deity and find a new purpose. He couldn’t find anything that matched his temperament and the loss of his deity made his madness worse.
While researching, a bunch of good-doers (Ban Cant 31) arrived and Dopa tried to fight them off. There was a terrible struggle and Dopa was vastly outnumbered, but he put up a good fight. Expecting to be killed, he accepted his fate without flinching, for there was nothing that these do-gooders could do that he hadn’t done, seen or experienced himself while following Iuz. “There is nothing that you can do to me that hasn’t already been done. Do your worst!”
Ban Cant 31, desperate for information and needing an evil person (Dopa) to read from an unholy book, beat up Dopa and slipped him a very powerful (and permanent) love potion. When the potion took affect, the first person he saw was Radiant Servant of Pelor Alena Araul. She was suddenly the most beautiful… the most interesting… the best woman on Oerth! – It was incredible! – He had never felt these feelings before and knew he had to dedicate himself to her. He could be happy, perhaps for the first time in his life!
When Ban Cant 31 was done with Dopa, they realized they couldn’t just kill him (which would be an evil act), so they brought him along. His love for Alena was true, perhaps the truest and most powerful love that anyone had everyone had ever felt for anyone else ever in time, any plane anywhere! – He would follow her anywhere, do anything to be with her.
Dopa struggled to reconcile his love for a neutral good cleric of Pelor with his own belief system. Pelorites are into such strange customs and religious practices, but she is “the one”, so he’ll try to follow her belief. He’ll try to convert to her religion, even if he doesn’t understand it.
Everything feels crazy and upside down. Mercy for the weak instead of the strongest survive? – Don’t they realize how unnatural that is? – But how can he resist her ruby lips and mocha skin?
Sure Ban Cant 31 took everything from him, including his money, but have you seen Alena? – Sure, she used to be a guy, but that changed when she was reincarnated. – Dopa’s done worse with stranger, especially in the Abyss.
At least fighting Vecna with Ban Cant 31 gave him a chance at revenge against the demigod (now lesser god) who took his own deity away from him. Although Iuz was released/reborn, Dopa just couldn’t follow a god based on the strongest rule who was so easily defeated by another god.
The Fey Lord permanent love potion was particularly potent, so Dopa found himself obsessed with Alena, even though she wanted nothing to do with him. He abandoned his old life, including his evil armor and weapons to Ban Cant 31’s apartment in Sigil (protected by The Lady herself).
At night, when Dopa couldn’t sleep, he would just watch Alena breathing. Every movement on the battlefield. Every spell she casts. Every undead she destroyed. She was perfect. Even if her smiles toward Dopa seemed fake, he couldn’t stop watching her.
At repeated times, Dopa professed his love for Alena and willingness to do anything for her, while repenting his earlier ways. Alena never seemed to believe that he reformed, but he pledged anything and everything to her. He would lie for her, steal for her and kill for her. All she needed to do was ask, but that seemed to make her more uncomfortable. He pledged that he would never let her down and never fail her. He would protect her with his dying breath. He would never hurt her. He would sell his soul for her. He would repent his former evil ways.
Of course, Dopa realized that something was strange about his feelings, suspecting a love potion, but under the powerful magics, it didn’t matter. He was no stranger to magic and overcoming a person’s will. He was evil and did things that Alena would find repulsive, so he knew that what he was feeling was unnatural, but he didn’t care. He liked feeling this way. It was OK that she had seduced him with magic, because that’s what the strong did. They took advantage of the weak. While she had the smile of an angel, he accepted the hell that she were putting him through in order to be with her. Alena is amazing.
Again and again, Alena rejected Dopa. Each time felt like a knife in the heart, and as a cleric of Iuz, he had a pretty good idea of what that felt like. He could take the pain. He would wait. He would love, but love hurts. He would learn to live with the pain. He would study her. He would learn what it would take to make her love him. No matter what. This agony of love was to be expected. He was a former cleric of Iuz and understood that the strong and powerful handed out pain and suffering to the weak. In this relationship, Alena was the one with power and Dopa the victim, but he would endure the pain, even if she didn’t love him back. Even if it was a lie. It was a lie he was willing to endure to be near her. Even if it hurts to be rejected again and again.
Dopa even tried staying away from Alena, but it only made him long for her more. He would do whatever he could to make her love him back. He would always be there for her. He would fight for her and win her love again. Perhaps he could go back to the beginning and start again? – Maybe he could find a love potion for her, so she could be as happy as he is with her. They shouldn’t throw away love this pure. They were meant to be together, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. He would always be there. He would always wait for her.
Alena found every excuse to leave Dopa behind, including taking on a quest into the Rushmoors against powerful undead virtually alone without telling Dopa, just to get away from him.
Constant rejection began to make Dopa bitter, but he still couldn’t shake his love for her. Dopa began to look for ways to make a difference, impress Alena and keep busy enough to keep his mind off Alena. He heart aches. He misses her, but love itself is a fools game. She has discarded Dopa and she doesn’t even care. It isn’t wise to depend on or love anyone. He was down when he lost his god and his faith, so she and Ban Cant 31 took advantage of him when he was weak, but that’s what the powerful do. They take advantage of the weak. Still, he had learned that in her philosophy of Pelor that it supposedly isn’t right to treat someone that way. – It’s confusing for Dopa and all he has to think about as he nurses the pain and suffering of rejection from someone he loves so much.
Waiting for Alena to notice him is like lying on a bed of nails, which he’s had to do in the service of Iuz. Dopa feels like a ship lost at sea. He knows he needs to find his way, but doesn’t know where to go or what to do. He’s beaten and broken, but he’ll continue anyway, even without Alena, his true love. Even if he’s near her, she won’t have him, so he can’t live with or without her.
The Brenin of Geoff asked Dopa to accompany the elderly, infirm and confused High Priest and Radiant Servant of Pelor, Rhodri Morningmist, on his quest to cure the Blackscour Taint affecting those along the Javan River from Pwyst’s Ford to Aberglain. Dopa attempted to convert to Pelorism, stoically accepting his new role as lacky to a nearly incompetent “goody goody” priest.
Rhodri wanted nothing to do with Dopa other than ordering Dopa around as a lackey, so he was of no comfort or companionship to poor Dopa. Even the Fighting Tomatoes, their escorts, weren’t interested in poor Dopa.
Dopa feels alone. He lies awake at night, thinking about Alena. Every day drags on and he wallows in his loneliness and abandonment. He never cared about love before he met Alena, but now she is all he thinks about. What is she doing? Is she safe? – He is utterly devoted to her and would do anything for her, if she would only realize it. Without a god to follow, a reason to exist or the woman he loves, what is he supposed to do? – He plods along with Rhodri and his guards, mostly unaware of the cold, despite wearing sandals and a robe in the snow. – He has gone his whole life without love this pure, but she still doesn’t acknowledge him. He’s obsessed with Alena and how he can get her alone to profess his love.
Finally, when Rhodri casually abandoned Dopa in Stonereaver, Dopa had enough with trying to convert to Pelorism. While no longer evil, he just couldn’t get into Pelor’s sunny disposition. At best, he’s neutral on the whole good-evil scale. He just can’t convert in his heart.
Dopa would do anything for Alena, anything at all, but he just can’t become a Pelorite. He would do anything for Alena, kill for her, anything at all. Even when she yelled at him. Even when she ignored him. He would do anything for her. He will always be there for her, no matter what. His love for her is pure and overpowering. It isn’t easy, but some days it is tolerable. The only one who can save Dopa is Alena. She is the only one for him and he’ll do anything for her, but can’t quite fulfill the ideals of Pelor.
Feeling completely lost, Dopa searches for meaning to his life. Abandoned by his god. Abandoned by his love, Alena. Abandoned by Rhodri and Pelor. Dopa can’t figure out what to do. He feels like he’s in pure darkness like a dream. All he has is his love for Alena. The place he needs to start is finding a mission and finding a god to follow.
Dopa feels like he’s asleep, but he’s fine with that. If the pain he’s felt can be dreamed away, just wake him when it is over. The experience has been beneficial and he’s wiser now. He can’t convert to Pelor and can’t deal with the responsibility for everyone else (good alignment), but he has love, something he never had before. He didn’t know what he was missing and didn’t know he was lost. Now, he just has to find meaning and a way to win Alena’s love.
Word reached Dopa that Llwyres Rhian “the Spearbreaker” merch Neirin was trapped in the Abyss. It suddenly occurred to Dopa that Alena didn’t respect the weak Dopa. He needed to be a hero. Iuz had been respected in the Abyss and Dopa had contacts there and in Sigil.
Dopa was still young (enough), strong and could find the Llwyres, despite the odds. Even if he died trying, it would be a sweet release from the agony of unrequited love. But, if he succeeded, he would be a hero, her white knight. He could be strong. He could be fast. He could come to Alena, fresh from the fight and larger than life.
He would become Alena’s fantasy and ideal. He would win her love on the field of battle, if necessary. He would be super human. He would be the hero she deserved. If he rescued Llwyres Rhian and returned to Alena, she would have to love him… right?!
First, Dopa needed to return to Sigil to get his armor. He would need to get back into the mindset, retrain and suit up for this quest. He let the Fighting Tomatoes, Rhodri’s abandoned guards on the way to Stonereaver, join him.
Dopa need to get back in shape and start getting ready to face demons in the Abyss and he has no idea which layer she is on, but the Fighting Tomatoes don’t need to know that. He will take his time and do this right. He will survive and win Alena’s love. In his evil days, he’s seen too many heroes charge in foolishly and die in their passion for glory. He will fight, but be cool and poised like a tiger, the perfect predator. Patient, powerful, stealthy and in control with the ability to kill to survive. Dopa has to admit the quest is a thrill, just to survive. No guts, no glory.
Sigil is way beyond what the Fighting Tomatoes have seen before. At first, the size and complexity is overwhelming, but only later do they discover the hidden dangers and barely contained violence that lurks around every corner. Each of the Fighting Tomatoes felt the beating of their hearts like drums in their chest as they are overwhelmed by the crowds and confusion. There were wonders everywhere to behold, everything from angels to demons walking past each other on the street. Each building was a unique piece of architecture with evil temples next to shrines to good deities. Just overwhelming.
As Dopa and the Fighting Tomatoes make their way through Sigil, they are accosted by followers of Joramy, a neutral goddess who likes arguments, fire, passion and destruction. Joramy is a hot-tempered, but generally a good-natured goddess. She argues for the sake of arguing and uses strong emotional arguments when the logical ones fail. Her holy symbol is a volcano and her followers’ passions burn as hot, like Dopa’s love for Alena. “Never back down when you have the opportunity to convert someone to your perspective.” Ideal and opinions form and shape a person. Defend what you believe in (Alena) with all your heart, even to the death. Dopa could do that! He’s finally found a god to believe in again. He has purpose.
Finally arriving at Ban Cant 31’s apartment, Dopa found his equipment and it fit like an old glove. The big bad was back! It has been too long since he’s be in command. His platemail, spiked with horns (symbols of Iuz not yet removed), weapons in hand and his old magic lute. He finally feels like his death sentence has been commuted. He’s back, in the black. In his armor with his weapons, new faith and a mission, he’s back in control. He even puts on warpaint, something he hasn’t done since falling out of Iuz’s service. He looks bad. – Oh yeah, he’s back!!!!
Now, Dopa looks like this: