Walter Derleth

Mathematician, Adventurer, Heretic

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and the other begins?”

– E. A. Poe


Walter Derleth is a man who has regained his prime. Though he began this journey stooped by trials and with thinning, greying hair, some color and confidence have returned to him. Where he once wrung his hands and glanced about furtively, he now carries steeples his fingers and trusts in his own mind again. Where he went about hunched and shuffling, he now carries, rather than leans on, a staff. Where he used to float and bob in the air, unconscious of the battles around him as if possessed like a horrific marionette, he now exerts a mastery over the laws of the planes.

His face is set with wide, grey, bulging eyes and his neck is thick and fleshy, a look typical of Illmarsh in southern Ustalav. His hair, though thinning and grey, is long and his face is cleanly shaven. He carries himself well, but were it not for his raiment and the strange look in his eye, he would scarcely be looked at twice.

Walter dresses himself in far finer garb than the patchwork, professorial rags he wore after leaving the Pathfinders. He wears a dark cloak of pitch and violet over a coat of vibrant green (his favorite color). Dark breeches, high boots of soft leather, and fine gloves complete his attire.

About his waist and across his chest hang dark belts bearing an array of scrolls, pouches, potions, and wands, as well as half a dozen virtually unused weapons. These include a finely forged mace stamped with the mark of Harrowstone, an enchanted longsword taken from a vampire, and a curved katana that once belonged to the famed murderer Hirayama.

Also among his macabre regalia are a signet ring belonging to the Count of Vampires, a grim Moribund Key, a cracked mask of Razmir, several pages on the creation and control of flesh golems, and a folded ouija board.


Walter Barnabas Derleth is an unassuming man under normal circumstances. His claims of having been a Pathfinder would likely be laughed off. The one detail lending credence to the idea is Walter’s obsessive curiosity. His desperate need to know as much as he can lands him in difficulty more often than it provides answers, but his extensive understanding has proved, at times, to be the key to survival.

Over time, Derleth has developed a sort of casualness with the laws of the Prime Material Plane. When threatened or agitated, he has taken to absentmindedly folding the subjective gravity of the Ethereal around himself, allowing him to drift and fly through the air with ease. He frequently bends space to traverse vast distances in a moment, bending two points of the world so he can step between. He wraps reality around him to protect himself from harm.

In combat, Walter will pull pack the layered Planes to release bursts of flame or create dramatic pressure differences to cause massive static discharges. He frantically calculates probabilities, consults the ancient Yamasan arts of Numerology, and figures angles and formulae to effect what he needs. Derleth has also shown a certain disregard for the morality of toying with the minds of others, though this tendency has diminished since he lost Jenkin.


Party Relationships

(Extracted from Walter’s Journals.)

Relationship with Mordren

Mordren is a talented warrior who has yet to come to terms with herself. Her inclination, therefore, is violence, and she lashes out with a fury and a fervor against the slightest provocation. Combined with an almost obsessive ability to hold a grudge, she is as dangerous as a tiefling could be.

Walter trusts Mordren with treasure
Walter believes Mordren can protect herself
Walter isn’t sure Mordren will protect him
Walter doesn’t trust Mordren with knowledge
Walter doesn’t trust Mordren’s judgement
Walter doesn’t believe Mordren is helpful to him

Walter depends on Mordren to slay his enemies before they can slay him.

Relationship with Bjorn

Bjorn is ever one to stand in the way of danger for “glory and the greater good,” a behavior that I personally find appalling. He views the world in shades of story and too swiftly grows impatient, gallivanting ahead with no regard for knowledge, preparation, or true power. Only the strange favor of some great being (I suspect Iomedae) has kept him from meeting an early, gruesome end. I suspect he will, despite that warding, become a meal for some great horror.

Walter trusts Bjorn with treasure
Walter believes Bjorn can protect himself
Walter believes Bjorn will protect him
Walter doesn’t trust Bjorn with knowledge
Walter doesn’t trust Bjorn’s judgement
Walter believes Bjorn is helpful to him

Walter depends on Bjorn to protect him.

Relationship with Talathel

Talathel is a kind-hearted soul, as is demonstrated by his home and family. The man’s power and favor with his god is beyond question and, through him, I hope to benefit from this power as well. I must try not to take advantage, however, or let that desire show. He seems the sort to abandon one he deems antagonistic.

Walter doesn’t yet trust Talathel with treasure
Walter believes Talathel can protect himself
Walter believes Talathel will protect him
Walter trusts Talathel with knowledge
Walter trusts Talathel’s judgement
Walter believes Talathel is helpful to him

Walter depends on Talathel to keep him alive.


Feelings on Elk Runner’s Death

Elk Runner was a woman of magnificence and intellect with an unfortunate sense of ego. She always believed herself right, a situation made worse by its validity, and it gave her a belief in her superiority as a guiding force. The fact of the matter is that she was brilliant, a great leader in a divided group, and an inspiration. Her passing from this world to the next occurred to early and is a great loss. Who knows what she might have wrought, given the time?

Feelings on Reiner’s Disappearance

The man was perhaps too full of himself and not aware enough of others and the world at large. Certainly he seemed to care little for consequence to anyone else. I sincerely hope the man survived his lone crusade against the orc horde, but I will never regret my decision to abandon him to his own hubris.

Approval Rating: -2 (Irate)

Feelings on Hirayama’s Death

There seems to have been no call for the mass murder of so many people. I can see a certain logic in his eyes to the killing of one, but not fourteen. No doubt his spirit has joined those others we must quiet in Harrowstone. His actions have caused me a great amount of unnecessary difficulty.

Approval Rating: -2 (Irate)

Feelings on Liam’s Death

A noble, if wasted death, but his sacrifice revealed more than a few fascinating secrets the man was holding. Perhaps I misjudged him in life. I may need to seek answers from him in his death.

Approval Rating: +0 (Cautious)


Call of Ktulu – Metallica
Rats in the Cellar – Aerosmith
Monsters of the Cosmos – Symphony of Science
Dragula – Rob Zombie
Obsessive Devotion – Epica
Can I Play with Madness – Iron Maiden
Save Me from Myself – Sirenia
Losing My Religion – Lacuna Coil (In part because they just dumped a bunch of cinematic clips from random video games)

Walter Derleth

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