Gothmatum Baenre is a renegade drow necromancer and former bladesinger. A student of his uncle, Gromph Baenre, he left Menzoberranzan to learn more about artificing and alchemy from as many sources as possible. He claimed to have done this to bring wealth and knowledge back to Sorcere and House Baenre. In truth, he seeks to carve out a place of his own, be it on the surface world or within the Underdark. After defying his uncle’s wishes, he became a liability, rather than an asset. Even before this turning point, he was an oddity among drow. He obeys established a strict code of personal conduct, which despite its honorable tenants, still allows for murder, theft of knowledge, torture, adultery, and other forms of depravity.
- 17/11/07: A Thin, Dark Veil
Tall for a drow, at just under 6 feet, Gothmatum is lithe of build and sturdy of frame. His skin tone is much lighter than most drow, being a dark lavender rather than obsidian, a side effect of his experience in the Demonweb Pits when he was summoned there by Lolth as a youth. His eyes, too, were altered by that trial, as golden flecks can be seen in his amethyst irises. At times, the flecks catch the light and spread gold through his entire eye, just for a moment. This tends to happen when invoking his flashier magics, such as the cantrips that augment his strikes in his bladesong.
He dresses in fine robes, tends to his bone-white hair with diligence, and maintains his appearance with products of his own design and the ministrations of his deft hands and a sewing kit, kept with his tinker’s tools. His voice is deep and honeyed. At rest, he smells faintly of pulverized bone, spiced mulled wine and sandalwood; when fighting or casting spells, most of his scents are overwhelmed by a heady mix of ozone and brimstone.
Charismatic, genteel, and gregarious, Gothmatum finds ways to speak directly without being offensive. He is not above the well-timed jibe or scathing remark, but he prefers to frame such comments in an advisory fashion, often justifying his speech as ‘constructive criticism’. He will not abide rudeness, crude manners, and especially the debasing or abuse of females. Such things draw out his scorn, and on more than one occasion have had him calling the offender out for a duel.
His deferential demeanor and smooth tones of voice belie his ambition and insatiable thirst for both knowledge and pleasure. He speaks with respect and understanding towards females, willingly bending his ear and offering his arm or shoulder, while preferring romantic partners who in turn defer to his desires, especially if they allow him to indulge his dominating and, at times, sadistic streak. He despises the chaotic and capricious nature of drow politics. He adheres closely to his personal code, and looks down upon those who do not do the same. Even so, he leaves almost bureaucratic loopholes within his own code to remain flexible. He will not tell an outright lie, but will refrain from speaking on a subject if it would compromise him or reveal hidden knowledge (which he covets). He will neither kill nor endanger children, at least individual children, but knows that some may die if violence becomes widespread. He is obedient and loyal, but if it suits him, he will follow the letter of the order rather than its spirit, often undermining the ends of those who commanded him. This goes for oaths and promises he makes as well. The list goes on.
Youth in Menzoberranzan
Gothmatum spent most of his youth in the shadow of his older half-brother Jeggred. His mother, Triel Baenre, seduced a high-ranking noble of House Xorlarrin and master of Sorcere, in order to secure the house’s allegiance. To that end, Gothmatum was given the Baenre family name and kept in the manor as a servant of the house and a student of Triel and her fellow priestesses. As he grew, Gothmatum always felt closer to his mother and his uncle, Gromph Baenre, than his father. He studied magic and the lore of Lolth in equal measure, which may be why the Spider Queen summoned him to the Demonweb Pits.
His trial pitted him against his father, who was plotting against the Matron Mother of House Xorlarrin while acting as her trusted advisor. Enraged by this, Gothmatum demanded they battle within the Pits for the glory of Lolth. Gothmatum barely survived, and his physical appearance was forever altered thanks to his father’s devastating magic. It was here that Gothmatum first felt his affinity for necromancy; when his father was dead, the youth wanted nothing more than to summon his spirit into a vessel he could kill or shatter, and do so over and over again to torment the traitor.
Study at Sorcere
Upon his return from the Demonweb Pits, Gothmatum petitioned for an apprenticeship at Sorcere, which his uncle granted. He relied not upon familing connections or politics to achieve his goals, but rather studied whatever he could whenever he could. He began to construct his code of conduct and dedicated himself to becoming self-reliant, learning the ways of the mortal and pestle, the artificer’s craft, and even the rapier as much as he did the schools of necromancy and evocation. When his extracurricular activities exceeded the resources of Sorcere, and when his incessant questions irritated his instructors enough, he was summoned to his uncle’s study for a long talk about obedience and restraint.
Indeed, Gothmatum had become something of a wild card, given his honest and honorable nature among the capricious drow. He had taken a variety of lovers, much to the chagrin of their paramours or spouses, and managed to evade retribution thanks just as much to his own devices as the fear of his mother and uncle. Still, he was beginning to reflect badly upon his House, and asked his mother to give him leave to depart Menzoberranzan in search of his own fortunes. Triel agreed, secretly relieved to be rid of the troublemaker. This was, in the end, all according to Gothmatum’s own plans. While he was undoubtedly a creature of Lolth, he was also dedicated to his own power and ambition, things that could be stifled by the structure of drow society. His ultimate goal was to create a colony of Menzoberranzan on the surface, or at least close to it, remaining closely allied with his birthplace while becoming a power in his own right. Service and loyalty, to Gothmatum, were means to an end; undead thralls, smitten lovers, and deadly allies alike would, in time, serve and be loyal to him.
Kilgore’s Fall and Team Telenovela
Gothmatum arrived in the town of Kilgore’s Fall, recently liberated from a corrupt baron by a group of adventurers. The half-elf who had been installed as the new head of state accepted Gothmatum’s offer of administrative work. Making himself a butler as well as a bureaucrat, Gothmatum quickly began organizing several new structures of government within the town. He established a union for the workers in the taverns and casinos, ensuring they would have their rights and wages looked after. He also worked to start a local bank, allowing casino bosses and business owners to secure their riches, which would in turn give Gothmatum a source of income based on charged interest. Unfortunately, the bank idea failed to fully take hold, and Gothmatum is barely able to break even on transactions.
Still, adventuring with Team Telenovela had its advantages. He forged an unlikely but close friendship with a paladin of Bahamut, earned the half-elf ’empress’s respect, and indulged his curiosity considering the other drow in the party, a surface-dwelling druid who had a surprisingly similar view of death. During this time, Gothmatum made the decision to pursue necromantic studies as his primary focus, abandoning the bladesong and its connections to Lolth’s daughter Eilistraee. This was partially to strengthen his foundational arcane might, but also to maintain the appearance of loyalty to Menzoberranzan, a place from which he was growing distant not only in space, but also in mind.
The Turning Point
During a ritual to preserve the druid’s swamp and protect the world from incursion, Gothmatum encountered the primordial known as Bazim-Gorag. As the ritual reached its zenith, the party’s ranger was knocked out near the primordial’s portal, and lay near death. Faced with his various choices, Gothmatum’s train of thought was interrupted by a communication from his uncle. The archmage furiously told his nephew to seek negotiation with the creature, for the advancement of the family. Pressed and infuriated that such a mad thought would enter the mind of his uncle, Gothmatum chose Team Telenovela over House Baenre, and in a desperate but clever maneuver, rescued the ranger.
After that, Gothmatum began seeing illusions of his family. A phantasm of his half-brother attacked him, and a vision of a scene that could have taken place in his childhood appeared to all of the party. Gothmatum could deduce that he was being toyed with by an outside force, but the source of the illusions eluded him for some time. They did little to truly disturb the drow, however, who was now dedicated to securing his surface position and pursue his ever-expanding knowledge of the arcane.
The Green Glen
During an attempt to restore a teammate to his former self after a chaotic magic surge, Gothmatum was introduced to a magical conclave known as the Green Glen. His contact with them, a tiefling named Extinction, expressed curiosity at the drow wizard. Likewise, Gothmatum was fascinated with the potential of such a place, and offered his services as a possible instructor in the art of necromancy, exploring its deeper secrets without succumbing to a lust for power or any attendant evil. Extinction was skeptical at first, but then Gothmatum handed over his primary spellbook as evidence of his honorable intent. The tiefling was struck by the gesture and promised to consider the wizard’s petition.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Likes: Good wine, good food, interesting conversation, beautiful women of a variety of races; necromancy, infernomancy, chronomancy; the lore of evil gods and races; alchemy, artifice, tinkering, and magic items.
Dislikes: Dull, self-righteous, sullen or squeamish people, especially of ‘good’ races; overcooked food and/or bland, stale wine; unnecessary or overly masculine demonstrations of strength such as wrestling matches; overindulgence in drink (“it robs one of one’s senses, and then there’s the smell”); individuals with poor hygiene.
Positive Personality Traits: Charming, self-assured, willing to assist others (when it suits his purposes), polite, intelligent and has a decent sense of humor.
Negative Personality Traits: Arrogant, ruthless, uncaring towards those who have nothing to offer him, callous in his methods to attain what he desires, often detached and unemotional.
Favorite Foods: Sweetmeats, cheeses, chocolates and pasta dishes.
Favorite Drinks: Wine of various flavors and ages.
Favorite Colors: Deep red, purple, indigo and black.
Hobbies: Studying the art of the alchemist, the craft of the artificer, and the enigma of the sensual.
VNV Nation, “Chrome”
Information Society, “Ozar Midrashim”
Chris Cornell, “You Know My Name”
Type O Negative, “Black No. 1”
Metallica, “Master of Puppets”
Alice in Chains, “Them Bones”
Foo Fighters, “One By One”
Spellbook: Perhaps Gothmatum’s most important possession is a small leather-bound notebook in which he keeps his spells, formulae, notes, and sketches. From studies of anatomy to notes on alchemical recipes, Goth can be somewhat meticulous in his note-taking. The book also contains his thoughts on those individuals of note he encounters, what role they play in his travels, and potential weaknesses of theirs that could be exploited. He also keeps spare books, including one exclusively dedicated to ritual magic, in case his main spellbook gets lost, destroyed, or otherwise leaves his possession.
Robes: Custom-made by one of the finest tailors and armorers of Menzoberranzan, Gothmatum’s robes feature several ‘plates’ of dark leather, reinforced with light metal bands sandwiched between leather layers. This gave the bladesinger maximum protection while giving him the freedom to cast spells and move with ease, to say nothing of preserving the necromancer’s desire for high fashion. The robes are not magical, but are of excellent craftsmanship. Goth has written several notes in his spellbook on ways in which he can enchant his robes in the future. Since abandoning the bladesong, Gothmatum has had the ‘armor’ removed, and now relies solely on his magical prowess to protect himself.
Mask: Gothmatum wears a bronze mask of fearsome visage when out of doors. He claims he had it made as a tribute to his uncle, who “always wore the most dour and standoffish of expressions.” Behind the eye sockets of the mask are secured a pair of dark lenses, enchanted to assist in the drow’s sight while in sunlight, and enhancing it in the dark.
Rapier: As good an example of peerless craftsmanship as his robes, Gothmatum’s rapier is a weapon tailor-made for his hand. It is perfectly balanced, flexible yet sturdy, and features the swept hilt and cross-guard suiting a fencer. He takes time to practice with the weapon every day, as a means to clear his mind and focus his thoughts between long sessions of studying texts or preparing alchemical experiments. Like his robes, the weapon is not magical in nature, but within Goth’s spellbook are several notes expounding upon possible enchantments.
Staff: Before departing for the surface, Gothmatum worked after-hours with his uncle on alchemy, attempting to learn as much as he could. Gromph admitted, begrudgingly, that the younger drow had promise in the area, even if alchemy was not a major subject of study at Sorcere. For his demonstrable skill in magic and survival of the machinations of his siblings and rivals, Gromph gifted his nephew a staff of charming, to help him facilitate transactions and interactions with the surface world. Goth takes care to track how often he makes use of the staff’s powers, lest it turn to an unremarkable length of wood in his hands.
Bag: Like his uncle, Gothmatum’s mother had to admit that her son had surpassed expectations. Evading being savaged and eaten by his half-brother Jeggred was no small feat, even if Goth broke rules (and some of his mother’s possessions) to do so. To help him on his way — and incentivize him to leave as soon as possible — she bestowed upon him a bag of holding to provide him a means to carry all of his possessions without compromising his sense of fashion. Grateful as he is for this useful gift, Gothmatum still carries his spellbook in a separate pouch on his belt, but apart from that and a scroll of pedigree kept in a small case near his rapier’s scabbard, most things he comes to possess end up in the bag.
Summoned upon his arrival on the surface, Sindri is Gothmatum’s fiendish familiar. Most often taking the form of a great horned owl, Sindri enjoys seeing what their master cannot, be they high above the road Goth walks or perched on the eaves of an inn. At times, Goth has changed Sindri’s form to that of a cat, snake, or spider, the better to investigate underground spaces or keep the bladesinger company indoors or during inclement weather. Sindri doesn’t mind this, but much prefers their owl form. With their wings and talons, Sindri visits havoc upon Goth’s foes, never attacking themselves but making it easier for Goth’s spells or blade to hit their mark.