Scaled Down Scales
A desperate githzerai wizard.
Githzerai, Wizard, Spellstorm Mage
Build: Control Wizard
Arcane Implement Mastery: Staff of Defense
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Staff)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Unarmed)
Arcane Admixture Damage Type: Arcane Admixture Thunder
Arcane Admixture Power: Winged Horde
Background: Githzerai – War Band Survivor (+2 to Perception)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 11, Con 12, Dex 11, Int 24, Wis 20, Cha 9.
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 11, Dex 10, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 8.
AC: 28 Fort: 21 Reflex: 27 Will: 28
HP: 74 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 18
Arcana +19, Insight +17, History +19, Religion +19, Perception +22
Acrobatics +9, Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Dungeoneering +12, Endurance +8, Heal +12, Intimidate +6, Nature +12, Stealth +7, Streetwise +6, Thievery +7, Athletics +9
Wizard: Ritual Caster
Level 1: Enlarge Spell
Level 2: Disciplined Talent
Level 4: Mark of Storm
Level 6: Superior Implement Training (Quickbeam staff)
Level 8: Versatile Expertise
Level 10: Melee Training (Intelligence)
Level 11: Psychic Lock
Level 12: Resounding Thunder
Level 14: Arcane Admixture
Disciplined Talent: Force Punch
Wizard at-will 1: Thunderwave
Wizard at-will 1: Winged Horde
Wizard encounter 1: Grasping Shadows
Wizard daily 1: Arcane Whirlwind
Wizard daily 1 Spellbook: Rolling Thunder
Wizard utility 2: Memory to Mist
Wizard utility 2 Spellbook: Feather Fall
Wizard encounter 3: Hypnotic Pattern
Wizard daily 5: Visions of Avarice
Wizard daily 5 Spellbook: Thunderstaff
Wizard utility 6: Emerald Eye
Wizard utility 6 Spellbook: Dimension Door
Wizard encounter 7: Charm of the Defender
Wizard daily 9: Visions of Ruin
Wizard daily 9 Spellbook: Face of Death
Wizard utility 10: Arcane Gate
Wizard utility 10 Spellbook: True Seeing
Wizard encounter 13: Thunderlance (replaces Charm of the Defender)
Spellbook, Quickbeam staff of Forceful Rebuking +3, Robe of Eyes Githweave Armor +3, Hypnotic Pendant +3
Comprehend Language, Object Reading, Speak with Dead, History Revealed, Iron Vigil, Portend Weather, Silence
Ki’sho – The Story of a Lost Zerth
Ki’sho was born to a devoted rrathmal couple in the great githzerai monastic city of Zerthadlun. His parents loved one another, and their newborn infant, but were both much more dedicated to their calling as illithid-hunters. With the grim determination and single-minded focus common to their caste, Ki’sho’s parents chose to give their child up to the care and education of a monastic upbringing so that they could pursue their calling – the leading of elite rrakkmas, or “vengeance bands” – with even greater fervor. Both were lost on an expedition to slay an elder illithid and are presumed dead. This occurred when Ki’sho was still a young boy, so he has never really known his natural parents.
He was given his name by one of the sages who raised and taught him growing up. It was customary in Ki’sho’s monastery to perform a number of tests with the young children who came to live and learn there, to determine the child’s aptitudes and interests. These tests generally offered the child a number of choices, or placed before them a number of different objects, images, pathways, or experiences to explore. By observing the child’s reactions to these tests, the expert sages could tell much about the child’s future talents and calling. Ki’sho was unusually decisive and consistent in these tests, choosing each time with no hesitation, and always going directly for the option which was most associated with the ways of the philosopher Zerthimon, even though such choices represented a wide variety of concepts and symbols, and the connections between them were not obvious except to an educated githzerai scholar – certainly nothing a child could naturally deduce. For this reason, he was called Ki’sho, a name meaning “one who knows his own mind”.
When presented with a wide assortment of colorful toys, flashy magical devices, sweet treats, pieces of various artwork, and intriguing baubles of all kinds, Ki’sho disregarded all of the seemingly tempting offerings and went immediately to a small, plain-looking stone circle carved with worn symbols. It was hidden away amongst many more interesting-looking objects, and few children ever noticed it, let alone picked it up. But Ki’sho spotted it instantly, and had eyes only for it, claiming it and studying this treasure with intense curiosity. The watching teachers were amused and impressed, for this unimpressive little disc was in fact a copy of the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon, a cleverly-concealed, encoded, and locked receptacle of the writings encapsulating the teachings of the philosopher who founded the githzerai race. The sages were even more surprised when the precocious child managed to deftly trigger the series of hidden catches in the stone which allowed the first thin metal plate engraved with the actual teachings to slide out from the circle – apparently through sheer intuition alone, for even most intelligent adults could not discover the secret of opening one of these circles without first being shown how.
It was clear from Ki’sho’s decisions and unwavering interest in everything related to Zerthimon and his teachings that the boy would grow up to become a zerth, one of those disciples of Zerthimon who followed his ways and devoted themselves to his wisdom in all of their endeavors. Thus, from a very young age, even before finishing all of his basic education, he was paired with a wise and experienced zerth master, the esteemed warrior-arcanist Ar’jun. Ki’sho took to his training eagerly, constantly hungering for more knowledge and greater mastery of his own mind as well as the forces around him. He proved to be an ideal student, highly favored by Master Ar’jun as well as his other teachers. Serious, disciplined, and insightful beyond his years, Ki’sho developed an understanding of the ways and lore of his people that marked him as one of the future great sages of the githzerai academic elite.
For four decades, Ki’sho lived and studied in the contemplative halls of Zerthadlun. He devoured every book that he could get his hands on, soaking up texts on philosophy, history, spirituality, culture, and magic, and poring over the words of Zerthimon endlessly. He spent countless hours in silence and stillness, meditating on the truths of the zerth way, seeking to know himself, to know others, to know truth . . . simply to know. He sat upon the walls or rooftops of Zerthadlun, staring into the swirling primordial currents of the Elemental Chaos all around, striving to grasp the powerful and incomprehensible forces and energies surrounding the city. Through Master Ar’jun’s instruction and his own tireless practice, Ki’sho learned to touch, draw upon, channel, and control those flows of power, wielding his own mind and will to bend reality itself to his wishes. His path was one of duality and reconciliation. Delving deep within himself, into the depths of his own consciousness, as well as seeking ever outward, into the chaotic fabric of the universe. And then, through knowledge, concentration, and effort, bringing those two things together, expanding his mind into the freedom and potential around him, and contracting that surrounding field of possibility into the patterns created by his own mind.
Ki’sho served as a cenobite for several years, charged with protecting Zerthadlun and upholding its rules and traditions, as most adult githzerai in the city are expected to do. He had no interest, however, in joining the rrakkmas or other expeditions outside of Zerthadlun to seek out and wage war upon the enemies of the githzerai. He was content to remain in his beloved home, to learn and study, to meditate and practice, to steep himself in the ways of Zerthimon and his people, and stand ready should the city itself come under attack. The reckless bloodlust of the vengeance bands was understandable, and all well and good, but it was not Ki’sho’s way, and he was always keenly aware that his own parents had died (or even worse, the unthinkable alternative – that they’d become enslaved thralls of the illithid) by following such a militant path. Ki’sho was a scholar and philosopher first and foremost, and though he honed his mind and body to face any danger, he had no love of conflict and would have preferred never to have to use his growing magical talents offensively.
It was Khya who changed all of that. A young monk and rrathmal, she was several years his junior, and merely an acquaintance of Ki’sho’s from their shared cenobite duties. He had never taken much notice of women, being such a devoted student and introspective thinker. But he noticed Khya, and then found to his increasing frustration that he was unable to stop noticing her. She was everything that he was not – fierce, passionate, physical, strong, graceful, militaristic, social, charming, and attractive. He watched her with growing interest and fascination, awed by her mastery of movement and balance, her muscular precision and the artistry with which she could apply raw bodily force. Ki’sho had practiced some hand-to-hand combat skills, as was customary for his people, and required for all zerths, but it had never been his strong suit, nor held his attention much. He’d done the bare minimum, and focused his studies and practice on more esoteric disciplines. But he could not help but admire Khya’s transcendence of physical limitation and the extent to which she had forged her own flesh into a weapon every bit as potent as his own magic.
They likely never would have become more than mere acquaintances, despite Ki’sho’s infatuation with her, for he was not the type to overstep propriety and approach this young woman with his unseemly affections. However, as fate would have it, Khya herself took a late but very sincere interest in the way of Zerthimon, and became a fellow student of Master Ar’jun. As Ki’sho was one of his advanced pupils, Ar’jun placed Khya with him for tutoring, which was the doorway to their now-blossoming relationship. Despite their many differences, they found common ground in the teachings of Zerthimon, and in their mutual dedication to their respective paths of self-mastery. Each was a mentor to the other, their talents and areas of expertise complimenting one another perfectly. They grew into a deep friendship, and then became lovers. Soon enough, they were an inseparable pair, training together, living together, becoming more whole together. They spent hours sparring, physically and verbally, Khya honing Ki’sho’s prowess with the staff, and he sharpening her capacity for intellectual debate. They meditated together for days at a time, Khya balanced on the tip of a finger or toe atop Ki’sho’s head as he sat stone-still like a statue beneath her.
It was Khya who convinced Ki’sho to join a war band, for this was a passion that she would not deny herself for long. No reclusive scholar content to enjoy the tranquility of Zerthadlun was this girl – she wanted to travel, to face danger, and to hunt. And so it was that Ki’sho finally departed the safe and comforting walls of his home, along with a band of eager young githzerai warriors, hungry for githyanki blood and stories of personal conquest. The expedition was led by none other than Master Ar’jun himself, with Ki’sho and Khya his most advanced students in attendance. It was doomed to a tragic end.
Into the terrible majesty of the Elemental Chaos they voyaged, seeking out the age-old foes, their estranged cousins, the githyanki. Several successful skirmishes were fought, and confidence among the war band was high. But at last, they met their match, and Master Ar’jun himself was slain, his last breath a gasping reminder to his students to “endure, and in enduring grow strong” as he died, impaled on a silver sword. In the confusion of the horrible moments which followed, Ki’sho miscalculated his own use of power and accidently blasted Khya, along with several githyanki, off the edge of the floating mote of rock they were fighting upon, sending her tumbling into the raw chaotic energy storm below – and almost certainly to her death. One by one, his fellow githzerai were killed by the superior githyanki force, and then Ki’sho, too, was struck down. He was left for dead, but due to some unknown fortune or destiny survived, alone and drifting far out in the uncharted void of the Elemental Chaos. He had lost everything, and was himself lost.