Oh, you seek the torc of Ommos the healer? Very well, I will tell you where it may be found and how it came to be there, but know that it rests in a terrible place beyond the reach of normal men. You may think yourselves clever and strong, but many have died seeking it.
A long time ago, there was a Halfling who hated everything about being a Halfling. He hated the water. He hated fish. He hated boats. He hated bargaining with humans for salt. He hated running from the Orcs. He hated that women seemed to prefer a guy with a bulging purse to someone big and strong like him. He hated being the butt of short jokes. So he did what every budding misanthrope does, he packed up his things and headed for the horizon.
More than a decade later, when his family and friends had largely forgotten him, he returned to our people with three things: a sword nearly as long as he was tall, a cloak made from wolf skins and a story. He explained to his kin how he had left the rivers and lakes far behind, living among the dwarves, elves and humans as an equal. He showed them the cloak and told them about how the bitter winter had driven the direwolves into the human farms and how the count had placed a bounty on the beasts, but that most were too frightened to vie for it. He boasted of how many he had slain and the small mountain valley the count had offered him as a reward for his heroism. “Who will come with me?” he roared. “Who will dare to forge a new destiny?
Of course, what he didn’t tell us was that the valley was cold and remote, fit for little more than herding sheep and goats. Our people took to the challenge with a will, as they often do. Before long, there were three small towns ringed with farms and we were making a healthy profit trading with humans and dwarves. We also built a fighting arena so that we could teach their children to stand their ground. Life was good.
One spring, a goliath shaman came to the valley with a dire warning. The valley was cursed with a sickness beyond the strength of mortals to conquer. This was why it had lain empty for so long. The Halfling laughed at the goliath. “It is always the same with the big folk,” he replied. “You think we are weak, so you think you can rob and cheat us. Begone with your lies before I become angry.” And so the goliath left, his words unheeded. The years passed without that sinister fate coming to pass.
Satine was the first to show the buboes. We know this because her father, the mayor of Creekbottom, was the fastidious sort and documented the spread of the plague quite thoroughly. These things happen, however, and our people were not dismayed until a second disease appeared among them, then a third… As the winter came, three-fourths of our people were ill. So many died. Entire families were wiped out, but there was no one to bury them. Instead, they were left to rot in the homes that they had built.
With the thaw, the few survivors gathered as a mob and cursed the Halfling for having led them to disaster and ruin. The Halfling tried to reason with them, but they pelted him with rocks until he fled. No one knows what became of him and all the records of his name were destroyed. I would like to think that he found a new home and was not punished overmuch for having dared to dream large.
Those that remained had a problem, however. Something in the hills was making them sick, but no other community would take them in while they were so visibly ill. They could not leave and they could not stay, so they did what desperate people have done since the first times: they prayed.
Surprisingly enough, their prayers were answered… in the form of another Halfling. This one had an aura about him. No, an actual light from within. At first, our people were frightened. After all, they had endured much. Ommos was unfazed, however. He walked among them, cleansing their ills with his touch. When he was done, he went up into the hills alone. Ommos returned the next day, feverish and weak. Hidden in the mountain, he explained, was a demon of pestilence, bound there ages past. The wards had weakened with time, but he had managed to reseal them with the power of the artifact. Then our people watched aghast as his body split open like an overripe fruit, filled with tumors and pus. Ommos had sacrificed both his power and his life to save us. We abandoned the valley, but kept the lore that had been so dearly bought.
So, yes, I can tell you the way to the healer’s torc. The road is neither long nor particularly difficult, but if you wish to have it, you will have to fight the evil that lurks there. Perhaps you are strong enough to accomplish what Ommos could not. Perhaps you will die screaming. It is not my place to choose for you.
– Burardo the Strong
Requirements: Halfling, 13+ Constitution
Interestingly enough, the smalltitans revere Ommos instead of the nameless halfling that actually inspired the fighting style. There are not that many of them, as the form requires a grim tenacity not commonly found in halflings. Philosophically, the group teaches that weakness comes from choices, not stature. Halfling society tends to be conflicted on the issue of the smalltitans. They respect the smalltitan’s tenacity, but feel uncomfortable with their standoffish and martial attitude.
Smalltitan Starting Feature
You are treated as a medium creature with regard to melee weapons. Also, you gain the Grim Determination power:
Smalltitan Level5 Feature
You gain a +2 power bonus to Intimidate and Endurance checks.
Smalltitan Level 10 Feature
When you are bloodied and spend a healing surge to regain hit points, regain additional hit points equal to your Constitution modifier.
The Iron Torc of Ommos
According to history, the Torc has become part of the magical bindings that hold a dangerous demon. The Halflings who remember the lore of Ommos might be reluctant to tell people about the artifact, fearing that it will be stolen and the evil unleashed. It is also possible that the Torc cannot be removed without destroying the demon.
Goals: The Iron Torc is an instrument of cleansing and purification. It would not object to being bonded to an evil person, as long as they are healing the sick (for free) and ridding the world of corruption – specifically by destroying monsters that use poison or disease. It would prefer to be used by a good person, but won’t be picky as long as its goals are being met.
It prefers halfings and humanoids with the natural or immortal origin. It dislikes creatures of the shadow, aberrant or elemental origin.
Concordance: The Torc will show its displeasure first by turning off the activated powers, then by burning the bearer with radiant fire (it doesn’t like to mess around). It rewards those who use it properly in a variety of ways. It might cause the target of its second activated power to take radiant damage equal to the bearer’s Charisma score. It might allow people targeted by its heal to heal as though they had spent healing surges or it might grant a bonus to the saving throw equal to the bearer’s Charisma modifier.
The Iron Torc does not normally leave items in its wake. Instead, it sometimes grants Ommos’ Boon:
The Torc can grant one or both of the properties, depending on its relationship with the bearer.