Realms Personalities : Halisstra Melarn: First Daughter of House Melarn

Dragon #312

Trained from childhood to rule, Halisstra is the eldest daughter of the Matron of House Melarn in Ched Nasad. As the focus of her mother's designs for the future of her House and city, she was subjected to the same sort of upbringing that any other drow heir-apparent would receive in similar circumstances. The Matron pushed her daughter relentlessly to be smarter, tougher, and more ruthless than anyone around her, and yet from time to time would indulge her with lavish pampering. The gift of the battle-captive Danifae to serve as Halisstra's maidservant was one example of such indulgence.

House Melarn was somewhat unusual among great Houses in that it kept alive a very ancient drow custom - the tradition of the bae'qeshel telphraezzar, or Whisperers of the Dark Queen. As a girl, Halisstra was chosen to spend many long years studying the bae'qeshel lore and learning how to raise the ancient keening songs of the drow race. The bae'qeshel tradition dates back to the long-lost days when the drow were known as the Ilythiiri and ruled great surface realms. For uncounted generations, House Melarn has trained at least one daughter in the bae'qeshel tradition while also schooling her as a priestess of the Spider Queen.

The fall of House Melarn during the events of Insurrection has left Halisstra a rootless wanderer. Instead of a Matron-to-be, she is now the weakest and most wretched of creatures - an outcast dark elf. The Underdark shows little pity to Houseless drow, and even though Halisstra was well schooled in the cruel lessons of a nobleborn drow lady, she knows that she must be stronger and more clever than ever before to avoid a life in chains or a horrible death alone in the dark. Bitter and grieved by the loss of the high station that should have been hers, Halisstra has had no choice but to throw in with the Menzoberranyr who heralded her city's destruction.

Halisstra is unusually tall and slender for a drow. She lacks the voluptuous sensuality of many nobleborn drow women, but she is quite graceful and possesses an austere beauty of her own. Unlike many of her peers, Halisstra views cruelty and excess as tools to be used with care, not ends in their own right, and she has always feared that she does not have the same sort of iron strength that her mother possessed in abundance. She wears the arms of House Melarn - an enchanted suit of chainmail emblazoned with the emblem of her House.

Halisstra: Female drow Brd8/Clr10 (Lolth); CR 19; Medium humanoid (elf); HD 8d6+16 plus 10d8+20; hp 109; Init +7; Spd 30 ft.; AC 36, touch 20, flat-footed 30; Base Atk +13; Grp +16; Atk +22 melee (1d8+8/19-20 plus 1d8 sonic, +5 thundering heavy mace of impact) or +24 ranged (1d8+4/19-20, +2 quick-loading light crossbow with +4 crossbow bolts); Full Atk +22/+17/+12 melee (1d8+8/19-20 plus 1d8 sonic, +5 thundering heavy mace of impact) or +24/+19/+14 ranged (1d8+4/19-20, +2 quick-loading light crossbow with +4 crossbow bolts); SA rebuke undead (9/day, +8 damage), spell-like abilities; SQ bardic knowledge +11, bardic music (countersong, fascinate, inspire competence, inspire courage +2, suggestion) 8/day, darkvision 120 ft., drow traits, spell resistance ~g; AL CN; SV Fort +15, Ref +20, Will +23; Str 16, Dex 24, Con 15, Int 16, Wis 23, Cha 22.

Skills and Feats: Balance +8, Bluff +17, Concentration +23, Decipher Script +14, Diplomacy +23, Heal +16, Hide +29, Intimidate +8, Jump +4, Knowledge (religion) +13, Listen +13, Move Silently +13, Perform (lyre) +20, Search +5, Sense Motive +11, Spellcraft +13, Spot +16, Swim +3, Tumble +17; Greater Spell Penetration, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (Enchantment), Spell Penetration, Stealthy, Still Spell, Weapon Focus (heavy mace).

Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day - dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire. Caster level 18th.

Bardic Knowledge: Halisstra may make a bardic knowledge check with a bonus of +11 to see whether she knows some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places.

Drow Traits: Halisstra is immune to magic sleep spells and effects. She gains a +2 racial bonus on saves against enchantment spells or effects, a +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells or spell-like abilities, and a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Search checks (already figured into the statistics given above). She is entitled to a Search check when within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door as though actively looking for it. As a drow, Halisstra also has light blindness (blinded for i round by abrupt exposure to bright light; dazzled on each subsequent round that she remains in bright light).

Bard Spells Known (3/5/5/2; save DC 16 + spell level or 17 + spell level for Enchantment spells): 0 - daze, detect magic, light, mage hand, open/close, read magic; 1st - charm person, cure light wounds, expeditious retreat, silent image; 2nd - cure moderate wounds, invisibility, see invisibility, sound burst; 3rd - charm monster, dispel magic, remove curse.

Cleric Spells Prepared (6/6+1/6+1/4+1/4+1/3+1; save DC 16 + spell level or 17 + spell level for Enchantment spells): None. During the events described in the War of the Spider Queen series, Halisstra does not receive spells from Lolth and cannot prepare any of her spells.

*Domain spell. Domains: Chaos (cast chaos spells at +1 caster level), Trickery (Bluff, Disguise, and Hide are class skills as cleric).

Possessions: +5 thundering heavy mace of impact, +2 quick-loading light crossbow, 50 +4 bolts, +4 mithral large shield, arms of House Melarn, gloves of Dexterity +6, amulet of health +6, headband of Wisdom +4, Halisstra's comb, ring of protection +4, piwafwi of resistance +4, boots of elvenkind, instrument of the bards (Cli lyre), ring of evasion, wand of improved invisibility, wand of cure serious wounds, Heward's handy haversack, drow house insignia, backpack, bedroll, and routine supplies.

Halisstra's Unique Items

As the eldest daughter of a great House, Halisstra enjoys tremendous personal wealth and has used it to outfit herself with the finest weapons, armor, and magic items. Her instrument of the bards is a small lyre made of dragonbone, with strings of mithral wire.

Arms of House Melarn: Traditionally worn by the firstborn daughter of Che Nasad's House Melarn, this armor is a suit of +5 elven chainmail of nimbleness that also grants the wearer a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength. The nimbleness property raises the maximum Dexterity bonus of the armor to +6 and reduces the armor check penalty to -1.

Strong transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bull's strength, cat's grace; Price 85,300 gp; Weight 20 lbs.

Halisstra's Comb: This jet comb is normally worn pinned in the hair. It provides its wearer with a +4 enhancement bonus to Charisma and does not take up an item slot.

Moderate transmutation; CL 8th; Craft Wondrous Item, eagle's splendor; Price 32,000 gp.

Piwafwi of Resistance +4: This black cloak grants the wearer a +4 resistance bonus on all saving throws and a +10 circumstance bonus on Hide checks.

Strong abjuration and illusion; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, invisibility, resistance; Price 20,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

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