Tomb of Horrors 4e 4p
A middle-aged bugbear warrior of vast stature. Maw has red-brown fur over the same color skin with patches of silver in his facial hair. His face is not hideous like that of his kin and may even be handsome if one overlooked his goblinoid features and battle scars(perhaps there is a bit of truth in some human being mingled in his bloodline).
Two skeletal hands, one large one human-sized, hang from his dark, scale armor. He has all of the visual characteristics of a mercenary and is quite literally armed to the teeth.
Maw Dûn the Kinslayer
The goblin warlord Maw Dûn was born as Gadbone among the Gash-Gor warband. The chieftain Gash was his sire. Not that lineage has any significance among the vuugbar; having Gash as his sire only meant that Gadbone would be just as vast and as strong as his chieftain.
The vuugbar age at the rate of other goblin races so by the age of 11 Gadbone had reached almost the same mass as his sire. Gadbone was a fierce warrior and at an early age showed all the attributes of a vuugbar warlord. He quickly earned the respect of the other younglings his age through his superior combat prowess and ability to lead. And so it was that when Gadbone came of age, Gash knew that he was the only male among the band that posed any threat to his position.
The Gash-Gor were the most feared bugbear warband known among the civilized peoples of the western Nentir Vale. Their raids were swift and brutal. It was only when the border towns hired former military commanders to protect them were the Gash-Gor raids foiled. The border towns even sent offensives against the bugbear camps. Some of the Gash-Gor were killed in those offensives but more than anything it just provided the Gash-Gor with extra food (the vuugbar are known to eat anything they can kill and intruders make a convenient meal).
The Gash-Gor were eventually forced to withdraw back into the hills of the wilderness. This move was risky as the giants came down from the mountains during the late season and the vuugbar and giants are in direct competition for game and resources.
They were met immediately by competition. A small band of giants came against them. But it was Gadbone, not Gash, that saved the Gash-Gor from the assault. Gadbone had studied the tactics of the human commanders that they fought and had implemented the disciplines (along with his own natural affinity for strategy) amongst the men under his command. Gadbone’s group downed the giants with lethal precision while Gash’s other groups suffered losses with their reckless fighting style.
Gash knew that Gadbone would make a move for chieftain of the warband. Gash quickly rallied his tribe into a frenzy and declared that they would go against the giants in their caves and take what was theirs. The chieftain ordered Gadbone and his men to scout out their first target. While en route to their quarry, Gadbone and his group were attacked from the rear by two of Gash’s war groups.
Gadbone proved to be too skilled a commander to defeat, even against such odds. The would-be assassins were dispatched and Gadbone’s group suffered minimal losses.
Gadbone’s fury at the treachery was immeasurable. He could not return to the Gash-Gor; he would just be killed. Nor could a warband as small as his survive for long in these hostile lands. He would take the tribe as his and destroy Gash. He knew he would be hopelessly outnumbered. He and his men risked a journey into the depths of the mountains and there confronted and slew a hobgoblin king and took over rule of a legion of goblins and hobgoblins. Gadbone organized them into an army with his men as commanders.
Gadbone’s army struck first against the giants on the mountain and even subjected two of them under his command. Gadbone’s army came upon the Gash-Gor and Gadbone demanded that they give up Gash to them or be destroyed. The Gash-Gor thought Gadbone and his men to be traitors of their tribe (Gash had told them that Gadbone had murdered the reinforcements he sent and fled). They did not deliver up Gash and so Gadbone’s army came upon them and killed all who would not surrender and join them. Gadbone slew Gash in single combat and kept his hand as a trophy. The spoils of war were great. The Gash-Gor had acquired large stores of supplies.
It became evident to Gadbone that vuugbar tribes were the most rewarding target. The vuugbar were the most efficient raiders in the Vale and so would possess the greatest resources. And so Gadbone went up against his kin, sacking villages and assimilating vuugbar tribes into his army.
By Spring of the following year, the goblin army was so large that it could easily take the whole of the borderlands if left unchecked. Gadbone’s men now called him Maw Dûn, the Kinslayer. The few vuugbar tribes that had evaded him fled into the mountains. One vuugbar tribe even sold themselves into slavery in the borderlands to avoid being destroyed by the warlord Maw Dûn.
The goblin threat to the borderlands had long been evident and the humans and dwarves were amassing a strong defense. Maw Dûn first struck in the northern borderlands. His victory was solid and a testament to the opposition that this could possibly be an enemy that they could not defeat with militias and a hired soldiers. However, how the goblin war of that fateful Spring unfolded was rather anti-climactic for all but Maw Dûn.
On the eve of his next major raid, Maw Dûn was captured in the dead of night and taken by shrouded figures on flying mounts. The goblin army crumbled without his leadership and the different races therein turned on each other in a bloody battle.
Maw Dûn was kidnapped by the powerful archmage Paldemar and taken to his hidden stronghold deep within Thunderspire Mountain. At first Paldemar kept Maw Dûn shackled as a slave. Paldemar made no attempts to break Maw’s will; he needed him to keep that. Eventually Paldemar persuaded Maw to work with him. Simply put, Paldemar needed a strong leader for his forces he was organizing within the depths of the mountain. He had no time to train one and he wanted more than just a hired sword; so he found what he needed and took it.
The adjustment was easy for Maw. He was given absolute command over Paldemar’s military resources. And the pay was unmatched. Maw was not unhappy to leave his goblin army in the past and forget about them. He held deep prejudices against his former people and his goblin kin. He had higher aspirations now and the means to execute them.
For several years, Maw was under the employ of Paldemar. Then Paldemar started drawing the attention of his former colleagues and the circle of mages deemed his goals and actions traitorous.
Maw set Paldemar’s forces to the defensive and again and again he foiled the mages attempts to reach Paldemar. But then, through Paldemar’s own pride and foolishness, he managed to get himself cornered. In an attept to save himself, the archmage set up Maw as bait while he attempted to escape another way through the labyrinthine caverns of Thunderspire. Maw was able to fend off his attackers and flee to the top of Thunderspire. All of the treachery of Gash returned to Maw’s mind. Paldemar was no different.
Maw made his way back into the mountain to Paldemar’s tower. There he found Paldemar, run through with a blade and near death, his assassin’s having taken his precious artifacts, destroyed his magic contraptions, and fled. They left him for dead. Through gasping breaths Paldemar begged Maw to save him. Maw severed the mage’s hand and carefully stowed it away while Paldemar bled out.
Maw now works as a mercenary and treasure hunter but not without greater motive. He constantly looks to seize his opportunity to rise to power. Yet he is ever loyal to those that help him. He despises the traitor and he wears on his armor the skeletal hands of two traitors as proof of that. He carries a mistrust for goblinkin and humans but keeps it well hidden. He is conceited and considers most others below him but he never conveys that sentiment outwardly.
Maw is well composed (quite contrary to the nature of his race) but is has a short temper that he forces himself to suppress. When he speaks it is short, honest, and to the point. In a fight all of this changes.