Birth of Alric Eisenhower
Alric Eisenhower originally started out as a name conjured up in the player character Ulrico Eisenhower’s background. I’m always a fan of making use of PC backgrounds, and having them involved into the story. Some might get 2-bit parts. Others might get more involved.
Ernst Steurmann started out as the uncle of Kall Horst.
Erika Johann was an npc in Piet’s background, and later had a more prominent role in the story, before being taken over by a player.
Johan Karling was the younger step-brother of Liliana, whose role was reversed. Instead of me making use of him, the player brought him in as a playable backup. Then switched back to Liliana, and I gained control of Johan as an npc, whose actions in the Marienburg game actually reversed his role in the whole campaign. Madness!
An effective gm makes good use of player backgrounds. I require all my players to have at least detailed backgrounds, as compulsory. If they don’t write one up, I’ll write one up for them.
So Alric Eisenhowers role gradually became more involved as time went on. From a controversial figure in a players background, to a prominent antagonist.
Who Is Alric Eisenhower
Alric Eisenhower was born in Stirland, Julbach. Alric had a privileged childhood. His father, Tobias Eisenhower, ran a successful apothecary business in Julbach. As such, the Eisenhowers were financially stable. Alric had taken a great interest in his fathers work; he particularly enjoyed experimenting in herbal mixtures, finding out what the different plants do and mixing them together to discover their effect on the body and mind. While his father was very much a businessman, Alric cared less about the financial aspects of the business, and more about the scientific principle behind medicine. He was a very intelligent young man who always experimented and thrived to learn as much as possible.
Eventually this young man would grow up to surpass his father in nearly every way. He became a successful physician and a prominent member of Julbach’s Physicians Guild. Alric would eventually marry his true love, Laurain, a local herbalist who won over Alric’s heart. Together, they had a son. They named him Ulrico.
– Ulrico Eisenhower, a PC in the earlier campaign.
Like father like son, Ulrico would find himself following in his fathers footsteps.
Despite Alric’s expertise, his reputation never grew beyond the borders of Julbach. That was until the infamous plague of 2510-11 that ravaged Stirland.
The whole province of Stirland was aflame in disease. Julbach had closed its gates long ago, forbidding anyone from entering. For a time, Julbach remained free of disease. Wurtbad, the capital of Stirland, did not fare well, as it was widely believed to have become the source of the Plague. And it was getting worse, and Wurtbad, being the largest city within Stirland, suffered terribly for it.
Feeling helpless, Alric Eisenhower made a decision to leave Julbach with his family and make their way to Wurtbad, to try and help out to ease the suffering of the plague victims. Alric had a loftier goal in mind; he suspected the rumors of Wurtbad being the original source of the plague was correct, and wanted to find out the cause, perhaps hoping that he could stop it. The family did not have any qualms about it; Alric’s son was a practicing apothecary, and his wife was now a physician who could be said was his equal in medicine.
That decision to leave Julbach would forever haunt the Eisenhowers.
The Eisenhower family was indeed welcomed within the confines of Wurtbad, and they got to work. Ulrico assisted his father in herbal remedies to ease the suffering of those who were too far gone, while Alric focused his efforts in finding out the source of this plague and perhaps find a way to lessen its effects or even to stop it altogether.
But tragedy would soon befall the Eisenhower family. Laurain, Alric’s wife, had been afflicted with the disease. Her selfless attitude and charitable nature brought her into direct contact with the plague victims, even going as far as to remove her plague mask, as she always said to Alric, “I hate that dreaded hooknose mask. I look like some bizarre bird creature in it,” to which Alric would respond, “It’s for your own safety my dear.” But she often did not wear it, believing that it only frightened those who she tried to treat.
When Alric discovered his wife was beginning to show the early symptoms of this specific plague, he did not grieve or become distraught. Instead, he worked tirelessly more than ever to find a way to stop it.
His desperation to save his wife would ultimately prove his undoing.
Alric Eisenhower had indeed found out the cause of the plague. His investigation led him to believe that several butcher shops within Wurtbad had sourced ‘cheap meat’ from a mysterious unregistered warehouse located in the slums of Wurtbad. He also believed that the water supply was tampered with; his suspicions were that this plague was manufactured.
His investigation into the meat warehouse led upon a strange discovery; there, stashed away in hollowed out concrete blocks, was a set of peculiar stones. It emanated an eerie glow of dark emerald green, and had a strange ‘void’ to it, as if looking into the heart of the stone showed nothing but a dark abyss. He was transfixed, and became positive that whatever this was, it was affecting the meat stored here. Alric took the stones, making great care to limit physical contact with it. While he could not find the owners of the warehouse, he decided to relieve them of their supply of these strange stones. The warehouse did not shed any light on who may have used it, but the smell was bad, and not just because of the rotting meat…
Bringing these stones back, Alric knew he was on borrowed time. Most of the plague victims did not last more than a month. He knew he hadn’t long till his wife would eventually succumb to the disease. Day and night, he spent toiling away to try and find a way to treat the plague victims.
At first, he tried wrapping the stones in bandages and applying them to the victims legs and arms, and waiting to see their results. This was all done in secrecy, for he suspected the stones had dangerous properties and did not want his son, Ulrico, to become aware of what he was doing for his own safety.
Alric became alarmed at the results of his experiments; yet he was fascinated by it. He could not understand why there would almost always be a different result, no matter how hideous that might be. One victim grew a third arm. Another grew tiny little eyes on their back. Alric suspected that the strange growth aspects of this had its usefulness, but the victims did not survive for long, and at times, he would be forced to put them out of their misery.
Alric then experimented with breaking the stone into a fine powder. A process that he found exceedingly difficult. But using his alchemical expertise and equipment, he succeeded turning it into a fine powdery form. Alric had thought that perhaps if he could find a way for the right dosage, he could create an immunity. He believed the stone had healing properties, after all… a third arm or another leg could be useful to an amputee. An extra eye could be beneficial…
But time was running out for his wife. Alric’s experiments took the best part of a month, and now he was faced with a difficult choice…
Facing no other course of action, he accelerated his plans and decided to apply the powdery form to his wife, and leaving the rest up to the gods to decide.
To his amazement, Laurain showed improvement. The plague she was suffering with still bared its hallmarks on her skin, but her mind became one; her speech was coherent, and by the next day, she was sitting up and talking. A vast improvement. Alric had believed he had succeeded. At once, he went about town applying his secret ‘formula’ to as many victims as he could. But it was exhausting work. Fearing he could not work in time, contemplated giving his secret medicine to several other physicians to speed the recovery process, but feared they would steal his miracle cure. Instead, he opted to share the vials of green powder to students of medicine, particularly those he knew were under-performers, believing that they were no threat to his secret.
So they got to work. But after a weeks worth of ‘immunization’, Alric started to notice odd happenings with those administered with his cure, including his wife.
Strange growths would appear on their skin. Now this wasn’t a third arm or mouths, this was different. These were pustules. Alric grew very worried at that. But as each day went by, it seemed things were getting worse. Their skin tone would change to a sickly yellow or brownish tint, and at times they would become delirious. Yet they did not seem to suffer weakness for it. It was as if they were getting stronger yet suffering greater for it.
Alric’s concern was at its highest when it came to his wife. Now he was permanently at her bedside, trying to analyze what was happening to her. This woman who he knew for so many years, who he loved dearly, was turning into something hideous beyond imagination. She became bloated despite not eating much, and her mood changed drastically. At times she didn’t even recognize Alric. It became more bizarre when she called him ‘Grandfather’ and kept on saying how wonderful ‘Grandfather’ is to her.
Then it happened.
A gradual change became sudden and abrupt. It was the next morning, and Ulrico had gone to pay his mother another visit in the hopes that his presence may lighten her mood. What he found in that room, in that bed… was not his mother. It was a hideous bloated creature that wanted to cause him harm. He ran out, locking the door, and went to find his father. He found Alric in the makeshift alchemical lab that they made together, and warned him of what he saw upstairs. Alric did not seem surprised however. He told Ulrico to leave the house at once, and he’ll see to it.
Alric fetched what remained of the stone he retrieved from that warehouse, and along with his diary that contained his notes, he left the house. A few minutes later, it was engulfed in flames… The strange screams echoing from the upstairs bedroom was horrifying. Yet something drowned out those screams. The city itself was screaming out in terror. People were running and fleeing. Strange mutant like creatures plagued the streets, covered in pustules and chasing after the sick and healthy. Bloated creatures that resembled Ulrico’s mother walked unsteadily out of doorways and into the streets.
“What have I done…” Alric uttered out, as he watched this scene unfold.
Ulrico, who was beside him, looked at him with horror. Realization had swam across his mind. Now he understood. He did not know what his father did, or how he did it, but he knew that Alric was behind it all. The shame that he saw on Alric’s face said all that needed to be said.
“I’m sorry son… you should leave. You should leave now.”
“No. I’m staying. You should leave. Leave now before I do something I might regret. And when I’m finished cleaning up your mess, I’ll find you. I’ll find you and make you pay for what you’ve done to our family.”
That would be the last time Ulrico ever got to see of Alric Eisenhower.
Ulrico did stay behind to try and help, but he found himself helpless at the ongoing slaughter that had befallen the city. He would wound up the survivors and made way for the Temple of Shallya in hopes that help would arrive.
It did arrive, but perhaps not in the form he had hoped for. Witch Hunters had descended upon Wurtbad like locusts. With torch and flame, they showed no mercy to anyone who got in their path. For four days and four nights the city burned with a fever pitch of zealous fire. Yet if it was not for the Witch Hunters, perhaps Wurtbad would have had a crueler fate. At dawn on the fifth day, those who were held up in their houses or elsewhere saw a wounded city. Many had died, yet many had survived also. The rotting creatures that plagued their city were vanquished. But the Witch Hunters weren’t going anywhere. They suspected someone was behind this.
It was not long before they got a name; Eisenhower. Ulrico was snatched by the Hunters. For 3 months he was brutally tortured and questioned repeatedly about what he knew by one Fabius Grey. Ulrico did not hide the fact that his father was perhaps the architect of this mess. Yet Alric could not be found anywhere. Ulrico had no notion of where his father went, and he did not hide this fact. But the torture continued regardless.
On the last week of the 3rd month, Ulrico was let go. Brutalized, his name in ruin and no longer welcomed within Stirland, Ulrico would probably have preferred to stay on the torture rack. He suspected Fabius did not let him go out of kindness either, perhaps as a way for him to lead Fabius to Alric. But Ulrico had no intention of finding his father unless fate decided to put them together again.
Ulrico left Stirland and traveled to Reikland where he would eventually meet Eckhardt, and o what wild adventures they would have…
And as fate would have it, Ulrico did eventually meet Fabius Grey again, much to his own demise, and that of the entire party! (Well, except Kall ‘Lucky’ Horst and Borri ‘Kneecapper’.
As for Alric?
He never wanted fame, but he got it all the same. The name ‘Eisenhower’ became infamous throughout Stirland, and the physicians guilds have gone out their way to refuse membership to anyone with the name. Even the neighboring provinces would soon hear of the wickedness of Alric Eisenhower. Indeed, the very plague of 2510-11 was blamed on Eisenhower as the sole architect of it. He became a hunted man.
With no friends and nowhere to hide, he disguised himself and dressed himself down as he traveled west. He soon found himself in a small town called Wittgendorf, governed by the barony of the Wittgenstein family.
But fate can be strange at times. The only residential physician of Wittgendorf was a very unlikable bretonnian fellow by the name of Jean. It so happens Jean knew Alric’s late father, and he had met a much younger Alric in his time studying at the Julbach physicians guild. Rather than turn him into the authorities, for Jean offered him a position of employment with the Wittgenstein family, believing they could make use of his abilities. “I believe they are looking for your kind of expertise. A man who appreciates science above all else. Who is willing to take the risks to achieve the impossible.”
Alric had no idea what he was getting into, but the prospect of working for a noble family, and being allowed to work in relative comfort and to further study these miraculous green stones, he jumped at the offer.
The relationship would prove to be of mutual benefit. In exchange for safety from the authorities, Alric agreed to help the Wittgensteins in placating a cult that called themselves The Purple Hand. Alric had no notion of what the Hand wanted to do with the doppelgangers that he was helping to make, but he didn’t care. He was living the dream. He found judicious use of the stone that he would soon learn was called Warpstone and hypnotism was an effective means at achieving the ambitions of the Red Crown and that of the Purple Hand.
Unbeknownst to Alric, the Purple Hand had taken an interest in his work, and was looking to eventually leech him from the Red Crown with promises of further greatness and greater freedom. Indeed, Alric became frustrated at the Red Crown’s continued demands from him, often interfering with his own private studies. The death of Baroness Ingrid at the hands of Eckhardt would be the final excuse he needed to break away from them.
He soon fled Wittgenstein and journeyed north to Middenheim, where he believes his skills could be put to more practical use.