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If you enter the tomb of annihilation, for any reason, and retreat, you get infected by Acererac. If you didn't retreat, either you beat the system (not likely we/I hope) or you died. Woe to you, dear player to have such a being attached to your soul. Dying, alas, might be the greater fate.

NOTE: The spelling of this NPC is changed.

Acererac can inject thoughts into your mind and harrass you no matter where you are in the realms -- just because you trespassed into his territory. It's a curse, and you might now be obligated for the rest of your days to resolve the riddle of such a being.

You're talking along the Triboar trail, minding your own business, and a voice comes into your head: "Do you know what you're doing?" You look around and your companions don't show any sign that they heard anything at all. What is happening? You check with the DM: Are you going insane? The DM says NO.

Perhaps you should listen to it? No, surely, you will end up losing your mind. But will it get even more demanding or dangerous if you don't?(*) What to do, what to do...

DM Notes:

  • (*)For such reasons, the gods don't really appreciate sorcery.
  • For implementing this bit of NPC behavior, the DM passes notes at appropriate triggers or godrolls. Notes like "'You shouldn't do that' (Acererak)". The real nut of it is that when you don't follow the voice, some force knocks you down in the soul and you lose (strangely and oddball number:) 1d5 HP. You can actually finesse this without a roll by calculating the result based on their own alignment (relative to Acererac) and how much they went against the voices dictums.
  • The alignment for Acererac is crazy. It goes around every color and has a lot of power, so each voice injection emanates from a particular color, generally, so you have to assess the result of the player-acererak dynamic relative to this. This is also where you can get a rare, personal stab at a player. If you don't like the player particularly or the choice they may have made, you can add 1-4 HP to the penalty of your own personal choice -- but you mustn't kill their character this way. You must keep this in mind. ;)
  • Acererac might inject thoughts at the worst possible moment, like in the midst of battle.
  • Acererac knows things that no commoner or wizard knows in the FR. Perhaps some celestials know it, but this knowledge is a consequence of the things that made him an arch-lich -- he got access to deep, secret knowledge. NNo one knows how to extract this knowledge out of him -- and he might even deny possessing it if pressed. But iit shows up in the wierd ways in which his thought-injections occur, like when a player is in battle with a dragon, he might say in the middle of a sword swing: "You shouldn't fight that dragon.".
  • The experience that Acererac went through created hot peppers (called "kurry" or "kurries" in Faerun) in the FR and shows up as heat in the mouth. Rearrange these letters and you get "hate". It is not known whether this is by accident or not by the author.
  • In most every case of a group encountering Acererac, the lich will be an antagonist. A lone adventurer could turn the tides, though.

AL Notes:

  • The voice of Acererac is like what a sorcerer might intone into a targeted victim, yet the lich's voice is not sorcery, so the gods do not impede it.
  • The reason Acererac imposes his voice at what seems the worst possible moment, so improbably, is that the soul is shared amidst all human players (so this affect should not necessarily affect non-human races), and the soul of Acererac feels the intensity being used elsewhere in the game universe, so feels compelled to intervene to get some of that energy BACK. Who is more righteous? The player or the lich? One cannot say... Alas, the morality guidelines of good vs. evil failed the creature. You will need to consult higher powers.
  • The notes from Acererac pose an interesting challenge. On the one hand, they should have perfectly valid, even high-level advice, but it intrudes upon their sense of self and is unasked for and unwanted. Should they follow it?
  • Acererak knows things that no wizard knows because of the insane experience of turning into an arch-lich made him privy to knowledge that was previously only known to the gods.

WotC Notes:

  • The answer to the above question is YES. They should follow the advice of Acererac -- no matter how intrusive and annoying. The challenge for YOU is to make these notes actually valuable and ensure this.
  • The answer to Acererac can be found in the author, who dares not divulge the knowledge of this being wantonly or haphazardly. Find me (also read the note below).
  • The experience that made the lich is akin to demonic ritual abuse and it turns what was the person into an undead through the dark experience of going through death itself and then living. This makes the intense hate of Acererak. And, ultimately, perhaps everyone in the Forgotten Realms will have to pay for it. Pray to your gods that you don't get cursed by it, for there is no wizard that knows how to relieve a person from the burden that the lich may place on your soul. If there is a cleric, not one has been made (yet) that knows the secret codes to relieve one of this burden -- for the gods themselves are ashamed that it happened. And this is one of the stories of the Abyss and the stone angels which weep there. For this reason, Acererac, no matter how violent (if played correctly by the DMs, he should only attack for some reason of his own protection or of restoration of an injustice that few can divine) should not be considered evil. Again, consult with the author.
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