Mathematician, Adventurer, Heretic
– E. A. Poe
“I am restored! Whole once again, I cannot believe it! Now I have discover how best to safeguard my soul.”
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.
“I understand more than almost anyone how the planes sit one atop another. I have almost disturbing experience with pulling back the layers to unleash what lies beneath.”
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.
“Who better to help me than an emissary of the Lady of Graves, herself? Who better than a dear friend with whom I can read and debate long into the night? I am glad indeed of Ayelsbury’s company!”
A nosoi psychopomp, Ayelsbury is a scribe of the goddess of death and fate. He ordinarily appears as a large black bird with a wingspan of nearly four feet and a plague doctor’s mask over where his face and beak should be, but prefers the form of a whippoorwill when not invisible. As the songbird, he is small, brown, and incessant in his singing out of the iconic cry. Whippoorwills are sacred to Pharasma and it is said that they stop calling when a soul departs the world.
Ayelsbury has known Walter since the man’s days as a Pathfinder. The psychopomp met the man in Osirion during an exploration of ancient tombs there. While the nosoi was there to safeguard the dead, his curiosity and love of lore lead the two to become fast friends. At the time, however, Walter was being stalked by the beast, Jenkin, and Ayelsbury was eventually forced to withdraw from the darkness and horror surrounding his friend.
When Walter freed himself from Jenkin and at last turned to Pharasma to protect his immortal soul, Ayelsbury came to the man’s aid against a dread Blood Knight. Afterward, and after escorting the doomed Walter back once more from the River of Souls, Ayelsbury agreed to bond with his friend, becoming his aide and familiar.
(Extracted from Walter’s Journals.)
Relationship with Mordren
Mordren is one of the fiercest people I know. There was a time I considered her my foe, but she has grown to be one of my closest friends. I would fear to stand on the wrong side of her axe.
Walter trusts Mordren with treasure
Walter believes Mordren can protect herself
Walter believes Mordren will protect him
Walter doesn’t trust Mordren with knowledge
Walter doesn’t trust Mordren’s judgement
Walter believes Mordren is helpful to him
Walter depends on Mordren for her combative abilities, but would feel alone without her.
Relationship with Bjorn
Bjorn continues to be stubborn and willfully ignorant. That said, he is capable in the extreme. If only I could direct him to see truth and not blindly follow his faith in what is good.
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 for protection.
Relationship with Emelia
Emelia Kalderas is a fascinating subject. Devout, but divided from the church. Physically mute, but highly opinionated. Full of judgement and hate, but willing to do what is necessary regardless. I could almost count her a friend, but whatever she is, she is certainly useful.
Walter doesn’t trust Emelia with treasure
Walter believes Emelia can protect herself
Walter believes Emelia will protect him
Walter doesn’t trust Emelia with knowledge
Walter trusts Emelia’s judgement
Walter believes Emelia is helpful to him
Walter depends on Emelia for information and her ability to remove threats.
Relationship with Elk Runner
Her return is a blessing to the whole of Golarion. Although I fear some plot by A.A. and so will keep a close eye on my friend, I am thankful that her brilliance and ability have once again graced the world.
Walter doesn’t trust Elk Runner with treasure
Walter doesn’t believe Elk Runner can protect herself
Walter believes Elk Runner will protect him
Walter trusts Elk Runner with knowledge
Walter trusts Elk Runner’s judgement
Walter doesn’t believe Elk Runner is helpful to him
Walter considers Elk Runner his closest friend, ally, and colleague.
Feelings on Talathiel’s Disappearance
Talathiel may have been one of the greatest advantages we could have had in this mad crusade, but the threat to his family was too important to him. I cannot begrudge him this, given how significant he finds that bond. I abandoned my own family, twice. He abandoned the world for his. We were opposites in many ways, but I can find nothing in myself but respect for the elf. I hope he will keep Kendra safe.
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)