Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Werk: Fantomist

"Fantomists?  We 'Cocks don't let 'em into the city.  Lemme tell you what happened the last time a Fant came around; somebody turned up dead by the docks, and the Claasen said they had a lead on a guy.  All the descriptions suggested a wizened humanoid surrounded by this ghostly mist.

"Well, that's all anybody needed to hear.  The call went out.  Jax showed up, Torili and Balror showed up, even LeFarge showed up.

"The fight was pretty anticlimactic, all told.  Most of us held back, and a couple of guys ran in.  They panicked, ran back out.  A couple of Fants came out, throwing ectoplasm.  They saw all of us, and knew there was no way out, so they started slingin' Flash like it was goin' out of style.

"It went just like you'd expect.  One of ours went down, but you've got arrows slingin', you've got Torili summonin' spirits, you've got Jax dancin' between arrows like she's on stage, and then LeFarge rolls in and straight-up decapitates one of 'em.  With no support, the other Fant falls right quick.

"That's what happens when Fantomists show up in Scandshar." —Tlindill "the Drubber" Randalore

In this week's Wednesday Werk, we'll look at the Fantomists.

The Fantomists are a secretive group of necromancers.  Whether they're a sect, a religion, a secret society, or a race is unclear — they seem to have traits of all these things — but it is clear is that they're Bad News.  Reviled by many groups, the Fantomists must hide their activities, and so operate behind the scenes, for operating openly is frequently fatal.

As for the Fantomists themselves, they are not quite undead, instead occupying some queer twilight between the lands of the living and the dead.  They know many secrets, and always seem to be looking for more.  Some merchant or adventurer always seems keen on learning their secrets, but the Fantomists have a way of twisting things in their favor.  Buyer beware.

Although the Fantomists are hated equally by most organizations (particularly clerical orders), in the Sorrowfell Plains, the Illustrious Menagerie of Peacocks appears to harbor a particular hatred for them, dispatching large groups of enforcers to handle any potential Fantomist incursion.  Rumors suggest that there is an ancient feud between the two groups, but those in the know suggest that the Illustrious Menagerie of Peacocks is merely protecting an investment — if the Fantomists try to influence events from the shadows, that's cutting into the Menagerie's action.

Of course, smart observers suspect that this doesn't prevent Fantomists from doing things in Menagerie strongholds such as Scandshar — it probably only serves to make Fantomist sects in the Sorrowfell leaner and meaner.

The Fantomist Death-Priest represents an adept spellcaster among the Fantomists, and represents the sort of character adventurers are likely to meet.  The Fantomist Death-Priest opens combat with Ectoplasmic Bolts — it waits to use its other powers to maximum effect.  It uses Bleakwind Gale whenever foes are adjacent, and if three or more foes are adjacent, it will use Grim Miasma to give itself some breathing room.  It waits to use Damning Rot, typically doing so when it can be certain that the power will hit several foes, and place a zone in a tactically advantageous position.

Of course, sometimes the Fantomist will get lucky, and its foes will be nicely grouped to start.  In that case, it may well open with Damning Rot.  If several Fantomist Death-Priests are fighting together, they will frequently try to cover as much of the area as possible with Damning Rot zones, and some members will focus on using Ectoplasmic Bolts to make the other Death-Priests' necrotic attacks more effective.

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