NPCs of Bral: Captain Strekha, Pirate Hunter

Captain Strekha is a well known captain of a privateer ship who hunts pirates.

Originally from Greyhawk, her father fled with her to Realmspace when she was about 11, due to a vendetta with priests of Erythnul, who later managed to assassinate her father when she was about 15. Her father died about 18 years ago now.

Short (she’s 5’1″ tall), but very well toned and muscled, her skin is a dark coppery colour, and her hair an unusual chestnut brown shot through with bronze and coppery highlights. The Captain’s eyes are her most striking feature: the iris of her left eye has a strong metallic, iridescent green cast to it, and her right eye an equally unusually metallic, iridescent blue over the norms of what you’d expect for a Human eye. (They are not truly metallic, it’s just over and above the norms of green or blue eyes, like a blend, sort of, and quite striking.)

The lady is Human, but she is unusual. Some say she has Vistanii blood, or Planetouched, she herself does not know, her mother having died just after she was born and she’s suspected that perhaps she is part sea elf or water genasi, or some such.

Her heritage, whatever it is, has given her some unusual abilities:

Once per day, she can foresee some event in the next few seconds that would adversely affect her, in game terms she can re-roll any roll she makes, skill or combat, or make an enemy or opponent re-roll something harmful or not to her benefit that is made against her once a day, be it an attack roll, a skill check, a skill challenge, or damage dice.

Once per week, she can do a form of divination, gaining some useful but non-specific information, such as what rough direction may a pirate be? Or is her prey very dangerous?

That power has helped her a lot in her trade of pirate hunting (she has other powers as well from her class abilities that may grant divination spells etc, but these ones are innate to her).

She can also tell innately when she is being scried upon, unless the caster beats her in a check such as Hide vs Spot, or the Spellcraft skill versus her Spot skill or some such. If she wins, she also gets some useful clue as to who scried on her.

This is above and beyond any such checks that a scrying spell may normally have, if a scrying spell allows such a contest anyway, give her a +4 bonus to her roll.

As a D&D character, she’s got levels of cleric of Tyr, (she also respects Tempus and Torm), with levels of, depending on how the DM wishes to run her and their D&D edition, levels as a ranger, fighter or swashbuckler, with some levels of a warlord and/or bard. Alternatively she could be played as a cleric of Tyr with levels of Swordmage if you have the relevant books for playing a swordmage character, with her sword mage armour bonus coming from her main gauche and she won’t have the bonus without it and it would replace the usual AC bonus for having a main gauche.
She will have feats in things like Iron Will, to protect against mind flayer’s mental dominations (as they are her prime enemy), and Ambidexterity/Two Weapon Fighting.

Captain Strekha’s Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma are very high, and Constitution high, her strength is above average.

For rough stats, which would vary on the D&D edition and level you wish to play her as: S 13 D 17 C 16 I 17 W 18 Cha 17 as a start.

In combat she uses a cutlass of Sharpness in her main hand, and a main gauche in her left that is an Aberration Bane weapon, but she’s fully ambidextrous.

She also carries and is infamous for, a powerful hand axe in a sheathe between her shoulder blades, the weapon is called “Vitriol’s Bite” it has the properties of Returning, Keen and Acidic Burst (does acid damage, with extra acid damage on a crit), it’s blade and handle are a strange greenish glass-like material and is thus immune to both acid and rust monster attacks. Mostly she uses it to kill fleeing enemies (she hates cowards) or disrupt spellcasters or the like.

Note she also has a special enchanted ring that allows her to draw or sheathe her weapons as a free action, so she’s notorious for being lightning quick or suddenly armed when she wants.

She wears an Amulet of Proof versus Detection and Location nowadays, so her innate abilities vs scrying aren’t often called on, she wears it because so many pirates fear her and want her scried on etc. However, if an enemy scries on someone near her, say an officer to get some info on where she is by association, and she happens to be nearby at the time, then she can use her powers to perhaps learn who’s scrying.

As a person, currently she’s largely focused on wiping out pirates, especially mindflayers, and she truly adores sailing her ship and crew as her two main things in life, though her recent marriage has complicated things for her and she’s learning about love and living with someone.

Somewhat reserved and wary, she’s very honest though tolerant of ordinary indiscretions folk get up to, but not the serious ones.

Her kindly, fun loving side is usually only seen by her crew and close friends, while her truly wrathful fury is seen by her enemies too often for their liking.

Growing up with her father, a captain of a roving merchant ship, who called no nation his home, she a wonderful life as a child. Captain Strekha adores sailing and ships, roving between ports etc.

That changed when she was around 10 years old, when pirates attacked her father’s ship, but were defeated, however, the pirates were particularly hideous, vicious and brutal, many being worshipers of Erythnul, god of slaughter. During the fight her father killed the captain of the pirates, who was a powerful priest of Erythnul.
And so, a bounty was placed on her father, his family and his ship by the evil priests.

Deciding to escape, he took to the wilds of space, leaving Greyspace behind and he hoped, it’s mad priests of the dark god.

Building up a successful merchants business on Bral, the younger Strekha came to love her new world, and still largely does. Alas, when she was 15, her father was getting re-married to woman of Bral, a priestess of Lathander, and despite initial jealousy and issues, she had come to like and even love the woman who would be her new stepmother…and then, the priests of Eyrthnul struck, at the wedding itself.

Her father was murdered by a disguised evil priest, who used a Destruction spell, her father’s body blasted from existence and unable to be raised from the dead.

In the ensuing battle with murderous assassins and saboteurs, around 30 people were killed.

It was a notorious event on Bral at the time, and because of the desecration of an attack in the temple of Lathander itself, a crusade was called for by clerics of Lathander, Tyr, Ilmater and Torm against any priests or worshippers of Erythnul in Realsmpace.

Not a common sort in Realmspace, but such fiends did exist and they were mercilessly butchered in the ensuing three years of the Crusade, which is referred to as “The Damnation of the Merciless”.

In the aftermath, Strekha was left at the head of very profitable merchant company, with her stepmother broken, her left arm gone and much of her left side horribly damaged by unholy magic, and her mind shattered.
It took some years for the poor woman to recover, during which Strekha alternated between a wrathful zeal and care of the woman who’s actions saved Strekha’s life, but cost the woman terribly.

Though her father had tried, kindly, to put her off her love of swordplay and magic earlier on, Strekha had proven to him her determination and skill so he’d given in and had her tutored in such. After his death, she took to those skills with a passion, and a great burning wrath, not a dark hatred but more fiery and just, burned in her heart, and she became a follower and then priestess of Tyr.

Many in Bral thought it silly that a girl of 15 thought she had the right to be a captain of a ship. But, she did own several, and had a lifelong experience and skill with such. Wisely though she chose to be the “master” (owner and in effect, second in command) of her father’s best ship, and worked with it’s captain to learn her trade an earn respect, which she did.

And she also developed ideas which would later be incorporated in her own pirate hunting ship.

At the age of only 24, she took command of a specially built ship, “The Golem’s Tooth”, the name being a private joke only she and her father would understand. It was a “Q” ship as some would call it, a decoy ship! It looked like a normal Tradesman, but she had numerous heavy weapons hidden in the lower decks with lids that could be opened to fire out, and other tricks that let her disguise which ship it really was.

With this, and a crew she handpicked who wanted revenge against pirates and the like, she started bringing justice to the wicked!

Fame and fortune came to her, and she was knighted by Prince Andru of Bral, and several other nations and groups likewise honoured her: Cormyr, the Lord’s Alliance and the Shou. Saving their citizens from ransom or worse, returning cargo and ships from piratical theft, and delivering pirates up for proper punishment.

Pirates came to fear her, but some grudgingly respected her.

Those pirates who didn’t deal with heinous acts but stuck to mostly what is essentially theft of ships and cargo while leaving crews alive where possible (known as “marauder” pirates), she dealt with fairly as best circumstances allowed.

Thus, such pirates knew that surrendering to her, and asking to be taken to Bral or other city that had more lenient justice for their type of less vicious acts, they may only spend a few years in gaol or forced servitude…or a quick merciful death if they didn’t surrender.

On the other hand, “reaver pirates”, those who lusted for butchery, rape, making slave of their victims or sacrificing them to dark gods, those she came down on like Tyr’s hammer!

She made a practice of leaving at least one such scum alive if he she or it was suitably weak and not likely to be a serious threat after she dealt with the villain, to spread tale of what would happen to them. And so Captain Strekha cut such miscreant’s main hand off with her now infamous acidic axe! Then let them off at some port where they could get tp spread the tale to others of their kind.

The rest…well, it depended. She usually brought as many back to face Tyr’s formal justice as she could, though some vermin of the worst kind, or if the whoresons didn’t surrender, well, she and her crew butchered the damn lot.

Using her ability to foretell things, and skills she and her crew put into the “decoy ship”, they wrecked a fair lot of pirates.

Until, over three years ago, even her luck ran out.

Mind flayers are of course, one form of pirate, one of the nastier whom she made damn sure to give the worst hammering of their twisted lives she could.

Her policy of “letting one go to spread the tale”, came back to haunt her.

Three mind flayer Nautiloid battleships turned the tables, and ambushed her own ship.

In the ensuing battle, the monsters made sure to capture alive as many of Strekha’s crew as they could…for their own twisted revenge and pleasures.

The less spoken of which, the better.

As her crew were all skilled marines, they were too valuable to just waste, but the mind flayers did amuse themselves in ways that wouldn’t’ break them, too much.

As for her…well, it was around this point they also captured Silverblade.

Things occurred that left them both scarred and bound together by those shared experiences, things they don’t’ speak of, that make being in each other’s company painful, at the same time, they respect and care for each other.
The surviving crew of her ship of that time know some of this and also with later events, so the two outfits have a strange, strained but respectful, friendly relationship.

Both crews and allies were working on an escape attempt form an illithid base, when horrific events drove Silverblade temporarily insane, and he went berserk.

His magic no longer subdued by the illithids powers, “overloaded” and thus slaughtered the mindflayers.

Fortunately for them all, the surge in power had revealed the base to a Pragmatic Order of Thought and Githzerai group.

Note that Captain Strekha’s pirate hunting privateer band are named “Tyr’s Green Axes” and so named in their charter. Most though refer to them as “Strekha’s Axes”.

She herself is sometimes called, “Axe Bitch” for her sometimes merciless ways or by her bitter enemies, but no one sane would say that to her face. She’s a decent sort but she will and has duelled folk who insult her, her crew or her god.

She takes very good care of her people and has an excellent reputation and support as a leader, and is also known for her charity.

Because she’s rid Bral etc of many pirates, the sailors really like or respect her.

Like anyone, Strekha has her own little quirks and foibles. She enjoys a sort of sweet jasmine tea, and ornate elven metal jewellery, favouring bronze or mithral bracers made with lots of filigree or woven metal.

Not terribly fond of most gemstones, she does however love mother of pearl, so her favourite item to wear is a beautiful set of mithral bracers inlaid with mother of pearl. Otherwise she’s not much into “typical womanly ways” or clothing etc, more likely to find her in temple, swordsmiths, consulting with wizards, or designing or overseeing work at the ship construction yard.

Blessed with a fine singing voice she’s also known to lead chanteys or prayers on her ship.

If she has a weakness, it’s gambling, especially dice! Se will not however use her foreseeing powers for this, considering such dishonourable and in ways, dangerous misuse.

Dice are a very friendly if passionate joy with her but she doesn’t often take losing to bad. She’s careful when playing with her crew never to get anyone upset.

Through this she made acquaintance with Nan-keto, the deadly mercenary and the two have nodding, respectful acquaintance.

Since escaping from the mindflayers, Captain Strekha has had a new ship built, “The Golem’s Revenge”, and resumed her work, with a zeal. The events have left her scarred, and she does tend to be more brutal to her enemies now, and more cautious. Because of the way the mindflayers subdued her crew, she’s been working with her new Lieutenant and Silverblade on ways to train the crew to resist mental attacks (in game terms, her crew and Silverblade’s all have the Iron Will feat, or equivalent, a bonus on Will saves) and suitable enchanted magical gear, such as her aberration bane main gauche.

In her personal life, Captain Strekha never found someone to love until recently. Though she had physical infatuations/desires/relationships from time to time, she never actually fell in love until she met her now Lieutenant during their incarceration under the mindflayers.

Khel Samross is actually from Athas, though he doesn’t know how he got to Realmspace. He was exploring some tombs as a youth near Tyr and…ended up near Luskan!

From there he was captured as a slave, a state he was used to even if he didn’t like it and had in fact escaped when he then had the incident in the tomb.

After that he was traded in Luskan, escaped, fought together with a free company of mercenaries in the Sword Coast who helped him and were together for a few years, then got captured by duergar slavers who defeated the band, and finally ended up in the hands of the mind flayers, who were very interested in him.

As a powerful psionicist with some abilities/skills as a monk, he was worthy of study.

He and Captain Strekha fell in love during their imprisonment, though it is a very painful, strange experience for them, and Khel had a hard time with it, taking a while to forgive Silverblade for things that were no one’s fault but the mind flayers. Still it’s not easy even for a kind, strong minded person like Khel to overcome such jealousies and pains, but he did.

Now he and Strekha are inseparable. He is quite comfortable being subordinate to Strekha as her lieutenant, though he’s kicked the ass of folk who go too far in disrespecting him about such things: “he maybe Strekha’s bitch but he’s no one else’s!” as he sometimes says.

In combat he often acts as Strekah’s bodyguard, or strikes against spellcasters as need, and otherwise acts as a scout or such when required.

His role’ as “lieutnant” is more about name and rank, noting his deadly abilities and utility not actual command. Other officers deal with various duties though he works with and oversees those who may goon stealthy assignments, or getting info on targets etc. He’s not jealous about such things, status and the like, he was s lsave and being free and with his love is all he wants, so he doesn’t tread on folks’ toes and is thus, respected and liked.

But he is very, very zealous and dedicated about whatever he does and protecting his wife.

Captain Strekha and Khel Samross were formally married in Tyr’s church (under very heavy guard) with Silverblade giving her away in lieu of her father.

Appearance wise, Khel is a Human male, somewhat wiry with very flexible muscularity.

He is an exuberant fellow and enjoys doing summersaults and back flips for sheer joy or entertainment, he also learned pick pocketing skills when imprisoned and does such for tricks with friends and children of the crew. He joins in with Strekha in dancing or doing gymnastics for fun with the crew when they let their hair down.

His hair and very long drooping moustache are pale sandy brown, almost blonde and his skin ruddy with lots of hair on his chest but he shaves his arms, oen of his few vanities along with plaiting the ends of his moustache. Mostly Khel favours wearing a sort of short sleeved leather jerkin that’s dark brown with black edging and copper designs (enchanted to give an armour class bonus).

Habitually he wields a Staff of Striking that he can recharge using his psionic powers, and using his boosted muscles, he can do dreadful damage with it.

For DM’s, Khel Samross is a Human, but since he’s from Athas, all his stats are +2 above the norms. He is a psionicist specializing in psychometabolic powers, this gives him the ability to make his skin tougher, his muscles stronger and such like, boosting his combat skills, but he also has some telepathic and other powers.
He has less levels, about 1/3rd, as a monk than as a psionicist, he’s used to sneaking up on enemies and taking them out with his amplified powers.

By Silverblade the Enchanter

Out with it then!

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