This being goes by many titles: Emperor of the Void, Watcher at the Edge of the World, Lord above the Opal City… He may not actually be a monarch at all but simply carries the title by self-appointment.
What is he?
Destroyed by a curse, the King has been reclaimed by the Grey Isles and could be any of the following (fact or rumor):
- A troubled mortal noble who has been kept alive beyond normal human years. (Mummy Lord)
- A ego-maniacal Lich who generally keeps to himself, pouring over ancient tomes of blasphemous secrets. (Lich)
- The anguished ghost of a man, tormented forever and prowling the halls of his palace unaware of the passage of time. (Demi-Lich)
- A clever vampire who rules over his seemingly lifeless realm, relishing in feeding off of his would-be hunters. (Vampire)
- A sardonic Wight who dons a black iron crown and guards the islands with a fierce dedication. (Death Knight)
- Nothing but a figurehead: while a lifeless skeleton does indeed sit in the Ashen Throne, it is the Maidens who actually rule in secret. His ghost, however, still prowls the halls, unheard and unseen by anyone on the Isles… except to strangers. (Ghost)
Why was he cursed?
The individual now known as the King of the Grey Isles was once a member of the living world. Something terrible happened to his House and family; the cause of this tragedy was the man’s own flaws:
- Lust: he was once a kind, benevolent ruler who worshipped a pagan fertility cult. He did not hide his love of nature, romance and magic. For reasons that were either political or truly fuelled by religious fear, he was investigated for diabolism many times and many times escaped trial because of his popularity and wealth. Eventually, perhaps due to a betrayal from one of his allies, he was eventually caught and successfully tried. In the presence of the King, anyone who has caroused within a fortnight will have a hazy corona of grey mist around their heads.
- Wrath: he was a knight from a holy order whose army won a decisive battle for a great cause. However, his would-be allies were wary and jealous of his great strength, so once he served their purpose, they turned on him and had his House declared traitors. In his rage, he went on a rampage to slay those who betrayed him, which sealed his doom. Anyone within sight of the King who has ever killed another (not in self-defence) will have bloody hands.
- Greed: his great amassed wealth came at the expense of the well-being of his serfs and country. Like a dragon he hoarded the things that made him happy: treasure, women and fine wine. While not evil, he was blind to how much he neglected the world outside. Eventually rival lords, jealous of his riches, struck at a decisive moment and took everything that they could. In the presence of the King, all metals, precious or not, shimmer and shine brilliantly when looked at head-on, but in a peripheral view, are rusted, decayed and filthy.
- Sloth: he began to keep to himself and pursue his own interests, refusing to take up a cause or bother with worldly affairs. Because neither he nor his family exited the Palace, rumours started to spread that they were demonic and debased. The lack of action eventually led to a investigation by a group of monster hunters. In the presence of the King, all clothes and armour feel like they weigh ten times more than normal.
- Envy: he once shared the Palace with his sibling; a more popular, successful man. Resentful that the crown would not likely be his, he and his wife plotted murder. When the betrayal was done, his brother spat an oath at him. Anyone in the presence of the King will perceive their fellows as looking taller, stronger, more attractive and confident than usual.
Those who engage the King in combat will meet a formidable foe: he can instantly summon his companion and guard, Osman the Janissary, as well as his Warrior-Wights. The Ettin will also rush to its master’s aid. The King himself will have different statistics depending on what the GM decides is his nature (see above). No matter what, as long as the Grey Isles exist, the King cannot be destroyed: he will re-materialize the next sunset.
Read more on the King of the Grey Isles when the book is complete!