Mr Eckert Information and background

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Mr Eckert Information and background

Post  sploenk on Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:56 am

This information was sent to me by Pigron...many thanks for this pc background information! Very Happy

Mr. Eckert's is a scholar gnome first. The classes that I chose for him were incidental, but having played him for years he evolved into a particular character, gathering needed skills as he went. I made him before ever talking to other NWN players about a "build," a concept that was foreign to me, having come from a Pen and paper role playing background.

His personal motivations stems from his desire to acquire a somewhat inflated reputation. On the surface he is a wealthy businessman known in adventuring circles for his modest demeanor and incredible fortitude. Though no great quests of successes in expeditions are attributed to him, he has a knack for survival, and on more than one occasion has been the sole survivor, bringing with him information about the reasons for his companions defeats, and knowledge of the opponents weaknesses for successive campaigns.

First and foremost, Mr. Eckert is a gnome. Like all gnomes, he has an affinity for illusions, but Mr. Eckert is a perfectionist and in time comes to have mastery over illusions. If his career had gone another way, he could have rivalled other arch-mage illusionists, were it not for his other gnomish obsession.
A keep craftsman, Eckert's is enthralled by the concept of locomotion. He takes inspiration from the flight of insects, the burrowing capability of woodland animals, most notably badgers, and the grace and power of large felines. Unlike other golem manufacturer's who design golems for power and destruction, Eckert is driven to create an apparatus of pure form. Not just human form - enough of the world is dominated by humans.

Back story.

Having started out in a small village in the foothills, where turnip farming was strictly prohibited, Eckert spent most of his waking hours watching the small life in streams and his nearby dale. Here he would marvel at the adaptations of water larvae, striders and beetles, both mundane and monstrous, for in his youth it was not uncommon to see unwanted creations formed by the careless discarding of failed elixirs dumped by the village alchemist. It was a boy's life, born out of curiosity but generally misunderstood by his kin.
When a certain mutation of stream beetle started eating chickens, Eckert's guardian decided it was time to put the boy Eckert to work, irradicating the fledgeling species. The boy was the natural choice as he seemed to have knowledge of the wearabouts of all mundane life in stream and dale. In fact, he was known to go on about them in great detail ad nauseum.

Eckert was less than enthused by this task, for this particular beetle was one of his newly acquired favorites. He demanded to know why it was that a successful and elegant predator should be favoured over any other creature. Instead of an answer, this marked the beginning of Eckert's religious instruction. A magic mouth was placed upon his bedroom door which repeated "I will not side with abominations, " in his own voice. It was determined that he should be confined at home until the summer solstice, when he would be sent for druidic instruction to mould his preoccupation with animals into a useful and productive pursuit.

Eckert was an eager capable student and took little time in becoming an initiate.  His order, for their part, acknowledged his ideosyncracies, but made little of them, as they had never instructed a gnome before. They were, after all, an odd race, but akin to brownies and other woodland folk, which are themselves, exceedingly peculiar.
Soon, he was able to muster the lowliest of druidic spells from his own meditations. He was then sent on his vision quest to commune with nature where he would be chosen by his divine patron and hopefully come to discover his totem animal.
"Finally, a nice badger!" Eckert thought. He had been mindful and held back the many questions he had for his mentors after being met with frowns and some initial disapproval. This was all going to pay off, however, when he amassed his army of badger helpers to carry his many wondrous natural inventions.
The visions Eckert received were less than grand, and at the end of them, it was revealed to him that his token animal was a bear. Eckert's destiny was to protect a narrow strip of forest from human and humanoid incursion . . . with a bear.
"Okay," Eckert called out, "I like a good joke as well as the next gnome but this? Not this!"
On his way back to his village, Eckert came across a lone merchant on his way to a neighboring fair. He bided a while with the man who prepared him a meal and asked about his recent wanderings . . . and the bear.
"No, he's not dangerous. That dumb bear is my totem animal. I'm stuck with him for life."
"Could be worse," the old man offered.
"Yeah, he could eat me out of house and home. They say he will do anything I tell him, but there's nothing a bear can do that's not scary or illegal. I'm ruined." Eckert sobbed.
"Can he dance?"
"What? Sure. Dance stupid bear. See? Great."
"Well, the way I figure it, a fella with a dancing bear will never go hungry. People will always pay gold to see something special. Besides that, once you make your gold, anybody would have to think twice before trying to take it from you."
Heartened by this, Eckert set off to more populated lands. He traveled to fairs and learned other oddities and marvels of magic. Along the way, his bear did protect him, and taught him a great deal. Bears are deceptive creatures. Near silent when they want to be, large and bulky but graceful and extremely fast. He also learned from the remains of creatures that the bear killed - that living creatures are themselves machines of sinew and humors - though this type of learning was limited by the mess the bear made of carcasses.

_________________
"Mages are superior to other mortals for they alone have felt, raw and unfettered by the guiding hands of deities, the power that moves and gives life to all things.  It is right that wizards rule."
- from the Tome of the Dragon, the book of lore and doctrine of the Cult of the Dragon,
- written by Sammaster the Mad, founder of the Cult of the Dragon
avatar
sploenk
Forum Courtier

Male Number of posts : 254
Age : 39
Location : the Netherlands
Registration date : 2012-10-11

Character sheet
Character Name: Salino Mudenya
Race: Halfling
Overall Level: 36

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The Case for Mr. Eckert. Part II - Arcane calling.

Post  sploenk on Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:57 am

For several years into adolescence, Eckert worked the local fairs making a decent living billed as Mr. Eckert and his Dancing Bear. His act included some slight of had where he would use his minor magics to camouflage himself, seeming to disappear in the middle of the act. This later evolved into more elaborate acts like the famous Gnome Eater of La Mancha, where Mr. Eckert would use the bear as the drop for his disappearance.

However, this fame was not very satisfying for Mr. Eckert, who still had dreams of making his own animal creations. Steam and ether driven beasts, winged cats and snake driven carriages, like the beings of legend. It was these sorts of longings that would come to him in his quiet but constructive moments.
On one such night, as Mr. Eckert was refitting a deer hide suit onto his pet for his upcoming routine in the operatic Bare Bear of Seville that he was visited by one of his own kind, a gnome wizard with a proposal.

"Your talents should not be wasted on human amusements, young gnome. Too many of us gnomes are patronized by their kind. They feed us scraps from their table while treating us like a sad joke. You will never gain acceptance from human kind, never overcome their disdain and turnip lies unless you can show them you possess the only thing they can respect; power." said the wizard. "I see in you great promise, and I might say some admirable skill with needle and thread. What would you say to becoming my apprentice in the Nov Sur's golem works?"
It took no time for Mr. Eckert to express his glee and commit to a lengthy apprenticeship. Of course, he would need to be reschooled in the arcane arts, but his knowledge of animal anatomy and his experience with controlling summoned creatures gave him a head start. His familiarity  with elemental theory and the handy ability to protect himself from elemental energies also allowed him to take the kind of risks that were expected of an ambitious gnome as well. He took to his studies fervently for several years.
Now a mature gnome, Eckert became a regular hand in the flesh golem department of Nov Sur's golem works.
Not quite the splendor of which he had dreamed, much of his time was spent stitching bits of animal carcasses into roughly humanoid forms.
"After a coupla years, ya gets used to da smell," he was assured by his half-orc coworker, but after two months he was not sure if he would be able to continue. Fumes from embalming agents left him light-headed and confused most days, but after two months, the first golem was ready for animation. He worked with a team of gnomes, focusing to maintain a channel to the para elemental plane of lightning while his mentor fiddled and focused energy into the lifeless form.
The result was magnificent, in its own right. From lifeless flesh, a form, and from the form a being, but Eckert was less than ecstatic.
"What do you think, Eckert?" his mentor shouted over the his from the gate.
"It's repugnant."
"Yeees, but it's invincible!"
"It's slow and flammable. It can barely make a fist, let alone hold a tool. Why don't we make them out of something with hands?"
"Don't speak of such things! It is forbidden."

And so the conversation was ended and forgotten for several more years until a customer would come to the golem works with a similar request.

_________________
"Mages are superior to other mortals for they alone have felt, raw and unfettered by the guiding hands of deities, the power that moves and gives life to all things.  It is right that wizards rule."
- from the Tome of the Dragon, the book of lore and doctrine of the Cult of the Dragon,
- written by Sammaster the Mad, founder of the Cult of the Dragon
avatar
sploenk
Forum Courtier

Male Number of posts : 254
Age : 39
Location : the Netherlands
Registration date : 2012-10-11

Character sheet
Character Name: Salino Mudenya
Race: Halfling
Overall Level: 36

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The case for Eckert Part III: Paradigm Lost

Post  sploenk on Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:58 am

On an unusually hot autumn morning, Mr Eckert made his way, late as usual to the upper floors where he worked in the flesh golem works. He had taken to spending his nights in a copse of trees a few miles outside of town when his bear had become irritable and and had caused some trouble in town. Rumours were circulating that he was unable to control the animal and some murmuring had him concerned. He had made it a point to memorize a clairaudience spell each day, which he used often.
The issue had died down some around then. The dancing bear was refusing to enter into town in those days and would curl up his snout when Eckert approached him, the scent of elixirs and preservatives heavy on his robes and his breath. It began refusing food when offered, and the gnome had taken to letting the bear forage on its own, choosing instead to allow his new familiar, Gelato, a being from the para-elemental plane of ice, to follow him from a safe distance.
The bear was not welcome at work and the familiar too vulnerable, especially when a rift was opened to the para-elemental plane of lightning, which was becoming a regular occurrence. The mephit and the bear had always got along well, and it helped that it was not tainted by the smell.
There were other things to worry about. Production was up and there was already pressure for Mr. Eckert to spend his nights in town closer to the works. They no longer had the luxury of perfecting details, much to Eckert's chagrin. They were no longer making house servants and guards for collectors and treasure rooms. Their focus was now on a much larger scale with focus more on protective enchantments than form. Someone was preparing for war.
Today was not quite like every other day, however. Today, he was particularly late, and as he passed the large oaken door to Nov Sur's chamber, he saw that for the first time. it was open. Slowly backing down the stairs he cast his camouflage spell and made his way back up, knowing that a direct glance form the archmage would see right through his ruse. As he passed the doorway, he noticed two men with their backs to him, facing the old man.
He had never heard the archmage speak. His voice was unnaturally loud and unusual given his slight and venerable form. "You cannot speak to me of such things!" he said.
What things? Was it that thing? Were they talking about using whole creatures? He had to know. He moved into the empty chamber above the men, closed the door and cast his clairaudience spell.

Immediately he could clearly hear a man speak, attempting to be soothing but obviously without practice, "It's not like we are asking you to kill anyone. These are evil creatures. Our men are dispatching scores of them each month. We will deliver them to you and you work your magic."

"It is not that simple. Golems are not like real creatures. We construct them piecemeal for many reasons. The joints of a dead creature are not suitable after even a full day." the archmage retorted.

"Okay, then, we subdue them and kill them closer to the works."

"Out of the question," Nov Sur said, "The final result would have predictable vulnerabilities like any living creature, only worse. The construction is every bit as important as the magic we use."

"We need them by the end of the month and the bottom line is, your 'process' as fine as it is, is too slow. We will not hold you accountable for the quality. We need quantity, and we have a very steady supply of ready meat. No assembly required, no stitching or chopping or fitting. You just dump 'em in a tank, juice 'em up and get them running. Now is that possible or not?"

"The question is not about it being possible. It is whether or not it is permissible, which it is not. When you meddle with whole creatures you cannot be sure you overcome the sympathetic magical effect, or contagion magic for that matter, let alone actual material contagion. You could end up with unintended consequences."

"But surely, if those are magical principles, there must be some magic that can control them."

"There is," chided Nov Sur. "One could negate the essence of the creature with energy from the negative material, but you cannot consider that as an option."

"And why not, exactly?"

"Because it has a cost! One that not even you can pay!" the archmage boomed."You could curse the host, or yourself, or this town or the kingdom. Your host could become Tyrantfog, or a juju zombie outside of your control. Worse still, it could become something new. We don't do it because it is immoral, it is unpredictable and it is dangerous."

And then, an interjection from the third voice in the room. Low and even, the voice began, raspy at first like a whisper, "Ahhhh, calm yourself good Nov Sur, please. You know there is a much, much simpler way. Negative magic can be predictable if you have paid the price in advance, as you know I have."
Then there was a low shuffle, and an odd clattering sound as he addressed his companion, "I told you we were wasting our time with a golem maker. No disrespect to your art, Nov Sur. It is undoubtedly fine, but there are older, simpler ways to muster armies of flesh. Much simpler and much much older."

There were more objections, some more courtesies and polite farewells, then only three days and nights before Nov Sur closed the works for good.
Mr. Eckert spent the rest of the month in the forest, bathing in clear streams, enjoying the fresh air and getting back in touch with small things in the forest. His bear seemed to have reconciled with him, and even came begging for the odd treat. Lazy days, campfires and some time to practice the old dance routines. With luck he could get second billing in the fall fair doing the old act.

But the fall fair never came. Instead, there was a military parade with the dukes new army. Mr. Eckert arrived to see them standing, perfect and expressionless under the heat of that indian summer. Two hundred soldiers each seven and a half feet tall with falchions and large shields looking like bucklers in their hands.

"Magnificent!" He said.

_________________
"Mages are superior to other mortals for they alone have felt, raw and unfettered by the guiding hands of deities, the power that moves and gives life to all things.  It is right that wizards rule."
- from the Tome of the Dragon, the book of lore and doctrine of the Cult of the Dragon,
- written by Sammaster the Mad, founder of the Cult of the Dragon
avatar
sploenk
Forum Courtier

Male Number of posts : 254
Age : 39
Location : the Netherlands
Registration date : 2012-10-11

Character sheet
Character Name: Salino Mudenya
Race: Halfling
Overall Level: 36

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The case for Mr. Eckert Part IV: The seduction.

Post  sploenk on Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:59 am

Time passes. Battles are fought and won. A victorious army returns to the city but officials are divided on the outcome. It is true that the enemy is vanquished but a new grave concern has emerged.

There is disagreement about what should be done with the army of zombie gnolls. At first it is agreed that they should remain to protect the city, functioning as a deterrent for would-be attackers like lesser golems are to thieves. However that is before the rot sets during the final month before the heat turned to rain.

The remaining zombies that had not fallen apart outright stood at attention still, amid pools of stench and hanging bits of filth. There was a respite when the snows came, but with them came citizens in close quarters, and quickly spreading disease.

Many were quick to ascribe blame, inner alliances were formed and a power struggle between the necromancers who had rallied for the "simple solution," and rival priests petitioning to use divine power to destroy them.

In these troubling times, Mr. Eckert finds work amongst various factions. An experienced technician familar with animated flesh, Eckert is employed with his former gnomish colleges applying bandages, preservatives and prostheses to the zombies, all with necromantic supervision. He becomes exposed to necromantic libraries and their surgeries. He is impressed by the knowledge they have amassed but falls short of accepting all the precepts of the necromantic school.

In the dead of the winter, his tenure of employment abruptly ends as evil priests take control of the zombie army and lead it out of the city. A commission is formed and an inquiry, it which necromancers and golem makers are called to testify. The conclusions do not go well for the necromancers.

Mr. Eckert appeals to compatiblity in his testimony, maintaining that there is common ground between animated corpses and flesh constructs. He maintains that a more perfect construct can be obtained by art imitating life as found in nature. By studying creatures both in life and in death, in a methodical fashion, he contends that a perfect golem can be created. Some dismiss him as a youthful idealist, while yet others consider him a blasphemer. A circular misquotes him as having said the words, "Meat is meat," emphasizing his time spent in the employ of necromancers.

In the end, the commission makes some sweeping decisions. The school of necromancy is outlawed in the city and even healing necromantic spells are to be strictly regulated. Healing and curative spells are sanctioned only in dedicated consecrated structures. There is a moratorium placed upon any non-divine magic being performed on hallowed ground. Finally, any handling of corpses for any purpose other than preparation for internment is banned. This effectively criminalizes the study of human (or demihuman) anatomy.

In the wake of this ruling, Mr. Eckert must take his anatomical pursuits underground. He is a regular at midnight surgeries amongst respected doctors, sages and alchemists for a time. Local authorities turn a blind eye to these events as they are conducted with prominent members of society in attendance and kept from public view. This all ends however, when it becomes clear that grave robbers are discovered and it is revealed in their trial that they were selling whole corpses for a profit.

Mr. Eckert is later approached by the mysterious man from Part III. a pale master who convinces Mr. Eckert that there is a way to pursue the type of knowledge he is seeking without giving in to the darker side of necromancy.
He explains that animating undead is an evil act only because it involves holding the soul of a creature at bay, keeping it in a limbo like space and denying it the chance to travel through the astral plane to its final destination. By contrast, if one knew of a truly despicable person, destined for a terrible afterlife in the the lower planes, keeping that soul from such a fate could actually be considered an act of charity though falling short of grace.
It then becomes the moral responsibility of the pale master to maintain and sustain the same corpse to the best of his ability, or find another corpse whose identity can be verified, or better yet, a person who will contract with you to keep his soul in a perpetual astral state before he meets his demise. (Enter Bill the zombie, another old friend but short lived friend of Mr. Eckert's)

Eventually, the palemaster can learn about the connection between life and undeath directly by summoning intelligent undead and interviewing, observing and physically interacting with them (often bandaging them). Such knowledge of biological systems would normally be obtained by animal vivesection, which Mr. Eckert considers as evil as animating the dead, if not more so.

// In game, Mr. Eckert rarely uses undead summons. They are generally weak and summoned for roleplay, a means of communicating with an otherwise inaccessible realm. His end goal is to summon an Elder Alhoon, who he simply calls Captain Squiddly. Captain Squiddly represents the ultimate attainment of knowledge as he is connected to the hive mind of the illithid.
His position at 5th level is as an initiate palemaster (now postponed to 6th at the earliest) His first level of palemaster will reflect his exposure to the golem toughening chemicals from his past which will lead to further self-experimentation. He concludes early that there is no way to avoid corruption when pursuing a golem made of flesh, and that eventually, steel or mithril will be the solution. Much of the rest of his career is spent pursuing the form, during which time, he walks a tenuous and complicated line, which is typical of any lawful neutral character.

Mr. Eckert is inspired by several sources. Personality has been noted, but his academic pursuit and the balance between legality and corruption and a higher moral purpose are mirrored by real life English anatomists of the 19th century, or stem cell researchers of the 20th century. His task is to not end up on the path of Burke and Hare, the Scottish doctors who were caught murdering indolent old men rather than relying on grave robbers. Their trial ultimately changed the laws regarding human anatomy in Britain and allowing what I consider the golden age of gross anatomy. Until that time police had been instructed to not enforce the existing laws and to turn their backs on the grave robbing.
Mr. Eckert's druidic origins reflect the real life conflict between religious ideals which simultaneously held back the examination of human corpses in favor of unspeakable, unnecessary, dissection of live animals, which resulted in a good deal of inaccuracies in our understanding of human anatomy and physiology.
A contrary character to Mr. Eckert could be conceived, being a Lawful Good Cleric maintaining the position similar to that of the Chruch of England. He would be a religious zealot who would write treatises similar to ones I have read, about how for the purpose of higher knowledge one must learn to insulate oneself from the screams of animals when performing a vivesection. He could maintain that acts arbitrarily chosen for condemnation by his church are always evil under all circumstances because the church says it is. (Even the original DMG was not that strict when discussing Animate Dead. Neutral characters were simply cautioned not to do it too often lest they become corrupted and their alignment changed.)

Anyway, that is the case for Mr. Eckert for now. I have roleplayed it more than this on several occassions on several different servers with other incarnations of the same character. Generally, I don't like playing the character with him wearing the back story on his sleeve, but I also appreciate that there are people who want to play paladin rogues, vampire angels or even good drow rangers dual wielding Arabian swords, none of which make any kind of sense.

Note also famous witches like Baba Yaga from russian folklore. She was featured in Dragon Magazine back in the 80's. (maybe best of Dragon volume 2, if memory serves) Wizard/Druid who could cast animate dead. She lives in an animated hut which walks on giant chicken feet. Merlin is both a druid, summoning animals and speaking to horses and a Cambion (half demon) in AD&D terms. He engages in overtly evil acts (casting illusions to allow the rape of Arthur Pendragon's mother, for instance.)
Generally, druids can routinely summon fire elementals as well, which I never really understood. I always just figured they kept the fire elemental from interacting with normal animals, some of which would run headlong over cliffs to avoid such a being, and never summoned them in the forest on a dry summer's day.

_________________
"Mages are superior to other mortals for they alone have felt, raw and unfettered by the guiding hands of deities, the power that moves and gives life to all things.  It is right that wizards rule."
- from the Tome of the Dragon, the book of lore and doctrine of the Cult of the Dragon,
- written by Sammaster the Mad, founder of the Cult of the Dragon
avatar
sploenk
Forum Courtier

Male Number of posts : 254
Age : 39
Location : the Netherlands
Registration date : 2012-10-11

Character sheet
Character Name: Salino Mudenya
Race: Halfling
Overall Level: 36

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