Insider 5/28/2010 - Simon Berman

Maybe I’m late to the party, but since everyone seems to love Dominar Rasheth so much, I thought I’d talk a little about my involvement in bringing his fat face to life.

Warlocks and warcasters are undoubtedly the most challenging model entries to write. We only have a few hundred words to introduce a character that is going to occupy a key role in our setting for years to come. In that short space, we not only have to present him for the first time, but make sure that he makes sense within the context of his faction and the greater setting of the Iron Kingdoms. On top of that, we still have to find a way to make our new warlock or warcaster into a compelling character.

One of the ways that we accomplish this is by making many of our characters “exceptions to the rule.” For example, Rasheth’s obesity and sloth fly in the face of almost every ideal held by the skorne. The Skorne Empire places immense value upon an ascetic lifestyle. Indeed, they have cults devoted to suffering and honor. Rasheth couldn’t give a crap about all that, and just wants to stuff his face with jellied eyeballs and amuse himself by torturing baby titans.

Normally, this kind of decadent attitude would result in a skorne meeting his end in the slave pits (if he was lucky). Rasheth, however, is such a potent mortitheurge, and the head of such a financially powerful house, that his rivals and peers are forced to tolerate him as a necessary evil. The twin pillars of mortheurgical prowess and mercantile potency have gained him not only leadership of his house but the position of Dominar of his own small empire within the skorne homelands.

Rasheth is an extreme example, but if you look at all of our Skorne warlocks, you’ll note they are each exceptional in their own ways. Most skorne do not have the courage to rise to the top of their caste (and entire Empire) like Makeda. Hexeris and Zaal dabble in forbidden arts the vast majority of extollers and mortitheurges consider blasphemous in the extreme. Morghoul is no mere Paingiver Tormentor, but has forged his peers into their own caste, with their own house. In every instance, our warlocks highlight the ideals of the skorne by deviating from the norms of their society.

Some of you are no doubt starting to wonder what would lure a glutton and hedonist like Dominar Rasheth from the comforts of his home. That’s an excellent question but one that will go unanswered until Forces of HORDES: Skorne releases this summer!