by Carteeg Struve & Joe Mashuga
Pharon Blayda (Fahr’-on Blay’-dah) (8/25/382 AD – current) is the head of the red branch of the Tashramadic Council. Unknown to everyone but a few in the church, the indifferent Red Elder Dragon Traxus has forsaken the church and his armies, instead choosing to torment a single victim within his lair. Pharon has taken complete control of the red branch, claiming his own will to be the will of Traxus.
Pharon was born just within the edge of Brimstone to a nationally known opera singer, Jeanette Blayda, who had been long loyal to the Tashrama. His father Renau Blayda was a stagehand at Onster’s Selrach Playhouse who had met the young Jeanette Huffaneau during her first years on a professional stage. Renau was indifferent to his wife’s religious affiliations, but he had never criticized the church. In time Jeanette achieved fame in Solishairon for her leading role in the surprise hit The Prophet Papers. Two years later her singing talents immortalized her for her performance in The Amulet of Z’na. It was during Z’na’s second year on stage she learned of her pregnancy.
Convinced that her faith in the Tashramadic gods and her practice of the red branch’s lessons on forceful application of one’s will is what landed her fame and fortune, she became an even more devout follower of the faith, or at least her own interpretation of doctrine. After failing to receive permission to give birth to her child within Brimstone, the actress took absence from her career and snuck into the shrouded Holy Land late in her pregnancy. Not even Renau learned where she had gone. Jeanette was discovered during a painful and lengthy labor, but her ferocity shocked them. Even though she could not see in the hellish environment, she used her personality and will to drive mystics of the red branch – one of whom was secretly a Scalebound – into assisting her. Soon her son Pharon was born.
Jeanette and Pharon were escorted out of the Holy Land a month later. Upon returning, Jeanette convinced the owner of the opera house to close down the show for a month rather than let her understudy continue in her place. One month later, Jeanette returned to the stage drawing sold-out performances for the next two years. During that time, she divorced Renau in favor of “more attractive adornments.” She also proved herself to be a genius in composition, writing several operas and musicals in her off time. She performed in none of what she wrote, and instead kept her on-stage talents to the works of others.
Pharon grew up, living just off-stage and in the lap of wealth. His mother made sure he was given the best education and private tutoring available, and the teachings of the Tashrama became mother’s milk. Pharon gained a tremendous appreciation for the fine arts, especially music. Yet he could not understand why his mother continued to live a life in the arts when her own branch of the Tashrama was focused more on building a military force.
Friction first began to come between him and Jeanette in 393 AD when he received what was only one out of many love letters from his father, trying to re-establish relationships with Jeanette. Apparently, in an attempt to fall back in her favor, he had enlisted in the red branch’s army, which was attracting as many mercenaries from Ogun as true faithful. Jeanette dismissed the man’s existence as unimportant to their future. Pharon saw more bravery in his father’s enlistment, especially since it was only to garner her affections, than his mother’s quiet prayers before going out onto the stage to build her own glory. The arguments came to an end in 395 AD when Jeanette accepted an invitation to perform for Lord Montegron himself. Disgusted by her hypocrisy, Pharon traveled to Charnod and began training to join the clergy.
Although he had ended ties with Jeanette, he put the work ethic and drive he gained from her to excellent use. He became a member of the cloth after only three years of study of both church teachings and military tactics, and was able to work his way into gaining a position within Brimstone three years later. By 404 AD, Pharon had become an adviser to two bishops.
Two years after that, Pharon was promoted and began the process of becoming one of the Scalebound. He also participated in overseeing several parts of the preparation for the army’s assault into the Midlands. During this time, the Red Elder Dragon Traxus was taking advice from a human consort named Sianntica. Although her methods of combat training proved extraordinarily useful, Pharon saw too much of his own mother in the seductress. He advised holding off a key attack for six months to be sure additional precautions could be taken and intelligence could be gathered. The request was denied, and plans continued.
In the end, Sianntica betrayed the church and vanished. She had relayed information about the assault to Montegron and had successfully kept Traxus out of the battle. Many of Pharon’s superiors were killed in the slaughter, along with his proud father Renau, and after Traxus realized what happened, he raged and murdered the rest. By terms of sheer survival, Pharon Blayda was promoted to the Tashramadic Council as head of the red branch.
Unhappy with how the army was implemented, Pharon slowly began to rebuild the forces and have them trained his way. Brimstone’s defensive forces were rebuilt quickly, but it would be a long time before offensive capabilities would be realized. Blayda successfully put out a story that the invasion force Montegron defeated was in truth an Oguna raid from the north. Also, to avoid the dragon’s rage, Pharon remained outside of Brimstone and feigned sending messengers into the Holy Land. His closest associates approved the deception rather than needlessly risk their lives. Contact with their deity would not be re-established until 414 AD.
Traxus was no longer interested in military dominance. Instead he only wished revenge against Sianntica. Pharon dedicated a staff of clerics and sorcerers to help locate the woman, but this was merely a concession to appease Traxus while Pharon continued working on building his army by spreading faith rather than hiring those who were nothing more than bloodthirsty strong-hands.
Several months ago, Pharon hit a major setback when Lord Montegron exposed the Elder Dragons as the heads of the church. Although the gathering army was still itching to take the wealth of the land away from the weak, many of the faithful in the red wing felt deceived. Having been taught that open raw power was the clearest expression of truth, to learn of this massive deception was a blow the red branch might never recover from. Pharon’s faithful began to depart in droves.
The only good to come to Pharon lately is that Traxus apparently was successful in magically summoning Sianntica to him. The dragon is now only concerned with torturing the woman, leaving Pharon to continue cleaning up the mess Traxus made for himself fifteen years ago.
Pharon Blayda, Voice of the Red
Male red-scalebound Midlander human fighter 4/mystic of War 14
LE Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +4, Spot +4
AC 30, touch 16, flat-footed 27 (+7 armor, +3 deflection, +2 Dexterity, +1 dodge, +2 natural, +5 shield)
hp 143 (4d10+14d8+54)
Fort +18, Ref +11, Will +17
Resist critical hits 10%
Spd 20 ft.
Melee +4 flaming adamantine longsword +24/+19/+14 (1d8+11/17-20 plus 1d6 fire) and
claw +13 (1d4+2)
Ranged +2 javelin of returning +18 (1d6+7)
Special Attacks chaotic frenzy 4/day
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 18th)
1/day – detect magic, know direction
Spells Known (CL 14th, +19 touch, +16 ranged touch)
7th (3/day)—destruction (DC 21), power word blind(D)
6th (5/day)—blade barrier(D) (DC 20), heal, mass inflict moderate wounds (DC 20)
5th (6/day)—flame strike(D) (DC 19), righteous might, spell resistance, true seeing
4th (7/day)—cure critical wounds, death ward, divine power(D), greater magic weapon, restoration
3rd (7/day)—dispel magic, inflict serious wounds (DC 17), magic vestment(D), prayer, searing light
2nd (7/day)—aid, align weapon, death knell (DC 16), owl’s wisdom, resist energy, spiritual weapon(D)
1st (7/day)—bless, divine favor, entropic shield, magic weapon(D), obscuring mist, shield of faith
0 (6/day)—create water, cure minor wounds, detect poison, guidance, light, mending, purify food and drink, read magic, virtue
(D) domain spell; Domain War
Str 20, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 16, Wis 18, Cha 14
Base Atk +14; Grp +19
Feats Armor Distribution (banded mail), Cleave, Combat Expertise, Great Cleave, Greater Armor Distribution (banded mail), Improved Critical (longsword), Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Leadership, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword)
Skills Climb +10, Concentration +22, Diplomacy +16, Handle Animal +5, Intimidate +9, Jump +10, Knowledge (arcana) +11, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (religion) +22, Ride +5, Spellcraft +20, Swim +4
Languages Common, Draconic, Infernal, Trejori
SQ save bonuses
Combat Gear dust of appearance (2), potion of barkskin +4, potion of heroism, scroll of mass bull’s strength; Other Gear +1 light fortification mithral banded mail, +4 darkwood buckler of blinding, +4 flaming adamantine longsword, +2 javelin of returning, amulet of health +2, cloak of resistance +3, gloves of Dexterity +4, ring of protection +3, holy symbol, locked gauntlet
Chaotic Frenzy (Ex) Four times per day as a free action, Pharon may fly into a chaos-induced blood frenzy that lasts for 5 rounds. During this time, Pharon gains a +2 bonus to Strength and Constitution, and a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and his claw damage increases to 1d6, but he takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class. Pharon may use the Concentration skill while frenzied and can cast damage-dealing spells as long as the spell has a casting time of 1 standard action or less. Pharon cannot prematurely end his frenzy once it has begun.
Save Bonuses (Ex) Pharon has a +2 racial bonus on saves against magic sleep effects and paralysis.