Riza, later known as Riza Whispercreek, was a tiefling warlock/cleric and the leader of the Council of Echoes.

Description Edit

Appearance Edit

Riza was a 5'7'' tiefling with lavender coloured skin. She was described as having striking and sharp features but she was not "stereotypically beautiful". She had short cut black hair and blood red eyes. Her right horn is snapped off just above the hairline. Her forearms and face bear several prominent scars from her previous struggles. Typically she wore very simple, functional travelling outfits that often bore the bright scarlet of Tharizdun's symbol yet when freeing Tharizdun from his prison she wore an ornate set of deep blue studded leather armour.

Personality Edit

During her adventures in Barovia, Riza proved to have a sharp wit and strong will, often facing down problems that faced her group directly or twisting situations with a sickening sense of dark humour. However, after a stray Eldritch Blast accidentally led to Tarrell's death and Hannah and Kulos fell in their campaign against Strahd Von Zarovich, Riza began a slow spiral into madness, calling on darker and darker magics to fulfill her needs.

Following her resurrection and subsequent takeover of Barovia, Riza became entirely focussed on her goal of freeing Tharizdun from his prison.

Riza was naturally deceptive and highly charismatic, able to very rapidly rise through Tal'Dorei high society. Her sense of humour remained wickedly sharp although it was often morbid. She was highly intelligent, able to bend several powerful beings to her goals, including Sisava, Alrion, Kulos and to an extent, even the band of heroes known as "Hindsight". However, while exceptionally intelligent and cunning, her single-minded pursuit of her goals made her predictable.

Her alignment was Chaotic Evil. Her birthday is Dualahei 7th.

Biography Edit

Early Life Edit

Riza was born in the wastes of Xhorhas and at age 3, she encountered her warlock patron and ancestor Tharizdun. Tharizdun granted Riza warlock powers and drove her to leave her family and begin wandering a few short years later when she was 10 years old.

Curse of Strahd Edit

At age 30, Riza was wandering in the northern regions of the Dwendalian Empire when an unnatural seeming mist grew around her and she became lost. The mist transported her to Barovia in the Shadowfell and there she encountered a few fellow wanderers, also lost in the mist. Kulos, an elf rogue, Hannah, a human bard and Tarrell, a human wizard. The group then travelled deeper into Barovia where they took on a mission to defend a young woman named Ireena Kolyana from the vampire overlord of Barovia, Strahd von Zarovich. In a battle with a coven of night hags, Tarrell was polymorphed into a toad and then killed when Riza sent an Eldritch Blast wide and shattered the floor beneath him, sending him falling to his death. This accidental kill began Riza on a slow spiral into madness. The next day, the party were joined by a half-orc barbarian named Korg and Riza began to experiment with blood magic, creating a voodoo doll to control the barbarian. Kulos and Hannah were killed shortly afterwards and Riza and Korg were then joined by an aarakocra monk named Pikkik and an aasimaar paladin named Din. Soon after Strahd brought before them a vampire Hannah and Riza killed her again, further driving the warlock insane. Knowing that Din, a particularly feverent warrior of good, would eventually attempt to kill her due to her evil deeds, Riza decided to attack Strahd at the edge of a cliff, believing she could kill the vampire. However, Strahd turned to mist and flew back up the cliff, leaving Riza to fall to her death.

However, soon after her death, Riza was revived, albeit missing most of her right horn. Her deeds had caught the eye of her patron and he reached out from beyond his prison to resurrect her. However, Riza decided that Din would kill her if she returned and hid from the party until Strahd was destroyed and Din left Barovia to return to Tal'Dorei. At that point, Riza took over from Strahd as the ruler of Barovia. Riza used her newfound power to resurrect Kulos and turn Tarrell into a lich. She also found Hannah and recruited the vampire to her side, dubbing her newfound allies the Council of Echoes. Pikkik and Ireena Kolyana then led a Barovian uprising against the Council and Korg and his mountain tribes joined them. However, this revolution was overthrown when Riza used blood magic to seize control of Korg's mind and turned him against his allies, allowing the Council to capture Pikkik and Ireena. During this time, Riza also enlisted the aid of Portia and her mongrelfolk, promising that Portia could use whatever supplies she needed to attempt to cure the mongrelfolk.

Barovia to Whispercreek Edit

About a month after the rebellion's defeat, Riza left her Council to return to Xhorhas at Tharizdun's urging. There, beneath the catacombs of Ghor Dranas, she discovered several relics of her patron, his personal vestige, his sword - S'gail still stained with the blood of Ioun as well as his personal etchings, which included the ritual to free him from his imprisonment. She also became aware of her true heritage and the fact that as a direct descendant of Tharizdun, she could support his soul. Energised by this, Riza returned to Barovia and tasked the Council with locating the required vestiges. She also began to make preparations to leave Barovia to Tal'Dorei. Korg, at Riza's urging became the lord of the Ravagers and secured the Horn of Kord. Riza brought the wereravens from the Wizard of the Wines winery to Tal'Dorei and using Strahd's amassed wealth, bought the Whispercreek estate and vineyard, earning herself a way into Tal'Dorei high society. She also bred Oblex and used them to kill the Gladberry family and secure Avandra's Lucky Coin. Over the course of the next seven years, the Council secured several other vestiges and quietly built their influence. Kulos became known as the Reaper, a terrorist across Tal'Dorei, Hannah started an orphanage in Emon and Portia bred a monstrous mongrelfolk named the Nuckelavee that destroyed any plant life around it and Riza used it to start cutting off the food supply to the Tal'Dorei military. The council also gathered new allies in the form of the green dragon Alrion and the Yuan'ti crime lord Sisava. Riza also summoned a familiar, a blue pseudodragon named Diavolo.

About five years after leaving Barovia, Riza was approached by Din at Whispercreek estate. The paladin threatened Riza and this eventually broke out into a deadly duel between the pair, which caused a tower at the edge of the estate to float and shatter, leaving floating debris in its place. Although both combatants were extremely powerful, Riza eventually overcame Din and stabbed her through the chest with S'gail, which condemned the paladin's soul to being imprisoned and tortured by Tharizdun. Riza also kept Din's skull as a trophy following this. Not long after this, Ireena Kolyana succeeded in escaping from the Council. In late Quen'pillar of 822 P.D. Riza and the council caught wind that the Ring of Erathis was being transported to Westruun and she tasked Korg and his Ravagers to recapture the vestige.

Council of Echoes Edit

However, Korg's Ravagers failed and the Ring was successfully taken to Westruun. Annoyed, Riza tasked Kulos to recapture the vestige, a task in which he was successful. He also recaptured Ireena Kolyana who Riza took great joy in torturing. A couple of weeks later Riza attended the Maiden's Wish Casino auction and met with Hindsight, the band of heroes who had opposed the Council's attempts to capture the Ring. She had Korg take some of Pseuda's hair so that she could use blood magic to scry on them and began to send Diavolo to track and watch them. Hindsight then proceeded to Emon and killed Hannah, although the vampire succeeded in securing Sarenrae's Goblet for the council and sending Riza Belin and Elana, Pseuda's nephew and neice. Sisava also sent Riza Lydia Starguard and Theodore Balmhand as prisoners against Hindsight.

Hindsight then killed the Nuckelavee when Riza sent it to kill Melora's escorts and secure the Ring of Melora and in retaliation Riza sent Korg and Kulos to attack them. Her servants defeated and subdued every member of Hindsight apart from Argos who fled. Hindsight were brought before Riza at Whispercreek and she then attempted to recruit them to her side. She attempted to use her prisoners as bargaining chips, executing Theodore Balmhand and threatening the others, she also taunted Williner using Din's skull. Lindal and Ariawyn refused to surrender and in retaliation, Riza beheaded Lydia Starguard. Riza also demanded punishment for the deaths of Hannah and the Nuckelavee and had Hindsight draw tarot cards. As Bishop and Williner drew the Devil and the Hanged Man cards respectively, Riza had Bishop use the Fang of Zehir to sever Williner's right arm. Having secured Hindsight's tentative allegiance, Riza teleported them and the bodies of their dead to the fields outside Emon, sending Diavolo with them to act as a watcher.

A month later, after Hindsight secured the Scale of Bahamut, the last vestige Riza needed, she teleported to their location with the Council and took the vestige in exchange for Belin and Elana's freedom. However, this freedom was at a cost as the Council destroyed the skyship that Hindsight were on, sending it plummeting to the ground. Riza, Korg and Kulos then teleported to the Gatshadow and began the ritual to free Tharizdun. In the Gatshadow, Riza slew Morxes, a paladin of Sarenrae that stood in the Council's path.

Riza's ritual took nearly two days and on the second day, towards the end of the ritual, the Council were attacked by Hindsight, who had survived the crash. Williner succeeded in freeing Korg from Riza's influence, although she regained the control later in the fight. Bishop successfully killed Kulos and for a time, Hindsight nearly killed Riza but she was able to use a Mass Heal spell to restore her vitality and force a surrender. During the fight she slew Argos twice and Ariawyn once, although she revived the Blood Hunter so that Hindsight could view her victory. As she finalised the ritual, Sisava approached her under the guise of congratulating her victory and intending to assassinate her but Riza saw through his scheme and opened his gut using the Fang of Zehir, taunting him as he died.

The ritual to free her master was then completed and Tharizdun's soul was unchained, allowing it to take possession of Riza's body. At first she began to laugh as Tharizdun was freed however as his soul took possession of her and she felt the true power and horror he wielded she began to scream in pain and fear before being cut short.

Once Tharizdun was slain by Ariawyn and his soul was rechained by the Prime Deities, Riza briefly retained control of her body, reverting back to the mind of the 3 year old girl she had been before she had encountered the mad god. She asked for her parents and cried that "it hurts so much" before falling dead to the wounds her body had sustained during the fight.

Legacy Edit

Riza freeing Tharizdun would later go on to be known as the Echoes Crisis and had multiple lasting effects that would be felt throughout Exandria for years to come.

Relationships Edit

Tharizdun Edit

Tharizdun is Riza's ancestor and the source of her powers. For much of her life he dominated her thoughts and actions, turning her towards evil and driving her down the path of madness. Her adult life was dedicated to finding and freeing him, a task in which she succeeded. Her body, as she was descended from Tharizdun, was capable of maintaining the sheer power of his soul. At the very last moments of her life, she realised she had been decieved as she saw the sheer power, madness and horror of the mad god.

Kulos Edit

Kulos was the closest thing Riza had to a friend, especially during their early days together facing Strahd. However, later on, as Riza was further consumed by her mission, she came to see Kulos as her right hand and most reliable servant.

Korg Edit

Korg was a tool to Riza, a mind she could easily dominate and turn to her own means, a task she carried out with great efficiency.

Tarrell Edit

Tarrell's first death greatly affected Riza, although unknowingly to them both it had been Tharizdun who had guided the stray Eldritch Blast that killed him, starting Riza down the path to madness. After raising him as a lich Riza found Tarrell's intelligence useful yet she showed no remorse when he was slain by Vax'ildan when Barovia was resecured by the Raven Queen.

Hannah Edit

Hannah was another tool to Riza, one she wielded with great caution as she knew the vampire often plotted against her. In a way she was thankful to Hindsight for slaying Hannah before Riza herself inevitably had to.

Din Edit

The paladin of Pelor Din was like a mirror to Riza, an image of what she could become if she used her powers for good and as such Riza despised her. She also knew that Din wouldn't hesitate to kill her if the paladin discovered her evil nature. Riza took great pride in slaying Din and took the title "Dawnslayer" after doing so.

Pikkik Edit

Despite the fact that he led an uprising against her, Riza was very fond of Pikkik. It was a very common dilemma for Riza over whether she would kill Pikkik or not and she could never bring herself to do it. This was in defiance of Tharizdun and was perhaps the strongest indicator that Riza's own soul wanted more than what the mad god was guiding her to do.

Portia Edit

Riza found Portia fascinating, unable to comprehend why she chose to care for the mongrelfolk. She kept her promise to the halfling, providing her with all the supplies she needed for her research in exchange for mongrelfolk soldiers and servants and the powerful Nuckelavee. Despite her support, Riza did not believe Portia would be capable of undoing the curse placed upon the mongrelfolk.

Hindsight Edit

Riza found Hindsight more of an annoyance than anything, only coming to appreciate the threat they posed during the battle in the Gatshadow. She did however, appreciate their power, recruiting their services to secure the Scale of Bahamut from the metallic dragon enclave.

She saw Pseuda's psychic abilities as mere parlour tricks. Ariawyn to Riza was a wild beast that needed domination, much like Korg. Riza found Lindal annoying and didn't hesitate to torture the halfling by placing the blame for Lydia Starguard's death firmly at his feet. Until later on in her mission, Riza was unaware of Argos' existence although she quickly came to appreciate the threat he posed, opting to personally slay him twice during the battle in the Gatshadow. Riza appreciated Williner's courage and was aware of his care for Din, using her skull to taunt him when she had Hindsight prisoner. Riza quickly recognised Bishop's aasimaar heritage and began to see him as something of a rival and in her mind, the only true threat amongst Hindsight.

Sisava Edit

Riza was aware of Sisava's treachery well in advance of it happening and always kept the Yuan'ti at arms length for this reason. She took pleasure in killing him with the vestige of his own god and taunting him as he died.

Equipment Edit

Riza wore simple leather armours for the most part, although she also owned a deep red dress that she wore to the auction in Kymal and an ornate set of dark blue leather armour that she wore when freeing Tharizdun.

Notable Items Edit

  • S'gail - One of the original vestiges and the sword of Tharizdun, Riza bonded with this sword and used it throughout her time as the leader of the Council of Echoes. Any victims killed by the blade had their soul trapped and sent to Tharizdun's prison, where the god of madness could eternally torture them.
  • Fang of Zehir - Another powerful vestige, Riza often used this in a taunting manner, having Bishop sever Williner's arm with it and thus relive a past and fate that Bishop had tried to escape and forget about. Later, Riza used the Fang to gut Sisava, a taunt as she killed him using his own god's vestige.

Trivia Edit

  • Riza was the only member of the original party to "survive" the Curse of Strahd campaign, although she was technically killed and resurrected out of game.
  • Inspiration for the way Riza would act at the head of the Council of Echoes mostly came from The Walking Dead's Negan.
  • To ensure that she would be acting correctly in a given situation, the GM often conferred with Riza's original player before playing her.
  • Riza, Korg and Kulos were all briefly played again by their original players in a one shot adventure that involved the council uncovering Tharizdun's prison in the Gatshadow following the gathering of all the required vestiges.
  • Riza is the NPC with the most named character kills, having killed: Tarrell (technically), Din, Theodore Balmhand, Lydia Starguard, Sisava, Argos (twice) and Ariawyn.
  • For a time during Curse of Strahd, Riza's alignment was unknown as her player got a feel for the character, however when she began tormenting a priest during a line of questioning the GM stated her alignment was Chaotic Evil.
  • In the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse makeup of the Council of Echoes, Riza was meant to represent Death, often regarded as the leader or most powerful among the horsemen.
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