EarthDawn - The Age of Legends
Lord Abbadon Rulinian
Theran Great Elf Noble
Lord Abbadon is one of the oldest and most powerful Great Elves in the Theran Empire and is a member of the Trismagestis, the Council that secretly rules the Empire. He holds the title of Slayer on the Council, representing those that have fought and slain dragons in defense of Great Elves. He appears as a suit of jet-black living crystal plate armor with no one inside it. As you get closer to Abbadon, the sound of breathing seems audible, and his deep booming voice echoes from within the suit. When using his considerable magical powers at full strength, a pair of glowing orbs sometimes appears where his eyes would be.
Abbadon was not always such a frightful apparition. In the centuries before the Scourge, he was quite handsome and also well respected for his great deeds in battle against the dragons. Alongside his brother Vargas, he fought the Great Dragons in countless battles around the world, until Vargas fell in battle against the dragon Gorynych. After Vargas’ death, Abbadon and Mountainshadow met and brokered the peace between the Dragons and Great Races, although Abbadon never forgave them for his brothers death, nor was he able to forgive himself for surviving while his brother did not.
During the Scourge, a single powerful Horror managed to breach the defenses of the Great Isle. Abbadon and several of the most powerful Great Elves engaged the Horror in battle, and nearly slew it. Before it died, it fled back to the Far Realm, the nightmare plane where the Horrors live. As it fled, it drew Abbadon and the others back through the nether realms with it, knowing they could not survive in the Far Realm as it could.
Rather than abandon their beloved champion, some of the remaining Great Elves gathered their strength and journeyed to the Far Realm in an attempt to rescue Abbadon. They found him, although what they found was not what they expected. In order to survive the soul-shredding madness of the Far Realm, Abbadon bound his pattern to his sole remaining possession – his living crystal armor. His body destroyed but his soul intact, the Great Elf rescuers fled the Far Realm with what was left of their hero, returning with the last intact shard of Abbadon’s formerly shining white armor, now stained permanently black from the corruption of the Horrors home plane.
In order to survive the time he spent in the Far Realm, Abbadon had to call upon all the power he could muster to maintain his pattern. However, in so doing he became a being of pure power, much of his former identity and personality stripped away. What remained was an avatar of power for power’s sake, lacking compassion or any degree of connection with others. While he is considered a tragic figure among the other Great Elves, they continue to allow him his position and influence in part out of deference to the great deeds he has performed in the past, and in part out of fear of his titanic strength.
In time, it became clear to Abbadon that he would not live forever as his other kin would. As a being of pure magic, he would fade to nothingness when the level of magic in the world dropped away. He wanted to do what all Name-givers do when they feel the brush of mortality – he wanted to have children. However, lacking a body, he would never be able to sire children in the normal fashion. He chose instead to “adopt” another Great Elf child, and make that child his Heir Incarnate – recipient of both his worldly goods and title and also of his magical might. However, the way in which he went about this was reflective of his new, twisted mindset.
He first tried to simply demand that his relatives give him their children. When that tactic failed, he began to try and kidnap their children instead. Abbadon’s nephew Nerevar and his wife fled to Barsaive with their son Nazeer to escape this tactic, but were captured and killed by Abbadon after abandoning Nazeer in the wilds outside Samsara. The Trismagestis, seeing this as a symptom of his tragic state but still having compassion for him, declared that no one could be named another’s Heir Incarnum unless they were of age and agreed to the title of their own free will. This frustrated Abbadon to no end, but he agreed to the Council’s change, in no small part due to the influence of Cassandra, who was once his lover.
Since that time, he has attempted through various means to secure an heir he finds suitable. He has also attracted a large number of Great Elves to his service, notably Alexander Atreides, each hoping to impress him enough that they might be named his Heir. When Abbadon discovered that Nazeer had survived and become an Adept, he set his sights on “acquiring” his nephew and somehow forcing him to accept what he saw as Nazeer’s destiny as his Heir Incarnum. Nazeer has repeatedly refused and thwarted his will thus far, but Abbadon has continued to try and manipulate him into the position nonetheless. With the fall of the Great Isle and the destruction of the lock that was holding the world’s magic in place, Abbadon was driven even harder to acquire the heir he seeks before the magic finally fades and he is lost to oblivion.
During the Battle of Throal, Abbadon sent his agent Atreides to kidnap Adam while the Passion’s Champions fought to defend the dwarf kingdom. Atreides had lost faith in his master, however, and intentionally left a trail Nazeer could follow. Nazeer tracked them down to the ruins of Samsara and battled Abbadon to the death, rescuing his son and the other Great Elves enslaved to Abbadon’s will. After his death, Abbadon’s spirit appeared as it once did for a few brief moments, and warned Nazeer against the terrible power that the Horrors can wield through Great Elves before finally vanishing to his eternal rest.
Abbadon is, obviously, Darth Vader. Over the years he has taken on attributes or mindsets of other characters, including Kain from the Legacy of Kain series and Raoh from Fist of the North Star. He has sometimes been used to progress his story and/or the other character’s destinies, and other times he’s been used as a deus ex to achieve something I needed done and I didn’t want the PCs to be able to do a damn thing about it.
Ultimately, he is the dark side of power. He is power for power’s sake, and thus the perfect foil to the PCs goals of using their power responsibly. He also embodies the notion of absolute power corrupting absolutely. His name is taken from the Hebrew name for the angel of death, although I learned years later that there was a character with the same name in the Warhammer 40k universe.