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Lord Ariks Eshteross (pronounced ESH-tər-AHSS) is an orc living in Jrusar, Marquet. As an NPC, he is played by Matthew Mercer.

Description

Fan art of Lord Eshteross, by Andrew Jensen.[art 2]

Appearance

Lord Eshteross is an older orc with grayish skin. He has gray, receding hair that is bald on top and a well trimmed goatee and beard on a scarred face. He stands about 6'2" and has broad shoulders and a wide neck.[7] He is also described as handsome[8] with a cunning look in his eyes.[9]

He walks with a cane, and when first encountered, he was wearing a pair of spectacles, a deep crimson-burgundy high-collared robe, and a scarf around his shoulders.[7]

Personality

He is described by Bertrand Bell as having a strange manner. Bertrand also believed that Eshteross is "interested in preserving the good folk of Jrusar" and wanting to see good done in the city.[10]

Eshteross keeps hidden weapons in several locations in each room of his estate,[11] and many of the rooms are heavily trapped and kept purposefully dark, as there have been many attempts on his life.[12]

Biography

Background

Ariks was a mercenary for 25 years, part of a group called the Ruddy Hilt. He captured more than 200 members of the Ivory Syndicate in his career.[13][14] He became friends with one of his employers, Mistress Prudaj, and after years, he left his career as a mercenary to become her personal bodyguard. When she died in 823 PD, she left her estate, business, and wealth to Eshteross, to his surprise.[14]

By 843 PD, he had become reclusive, with little publicly known about him beyond the "strange things" rumored by the people of Jrusar. He and Bertrand Bell previously worked together some months before "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01).[15]

"The Draw of Destiny" (3x01)

After Bertrand Bell gathered a group of wanderers and adventurers, he proposed that they go together to see Eshteross in pursuit of employment, though he refused to speak on what form that employment would take.[16] The next morning, the group visited Eshteross' manor and, though he was not expecting a visit from Bertrand, were granted an audience in his study. Eshteross, distrustful of how highly Bertrand spoke of the group, asked the group if they felt they had much to offer and what they wanted. When the group hesitated to answer, he turned on Bertrand, who quickly provided that the group sought to be paid, to have a chance to prove themselves, and to build a reputation in the city. Lord Eshteross asked the group if they sought to prove themselves, and when Imogen Temult confirmed so, he signaled to his caretaker Evelyn Wress to leave the room and lock the door. When done, he stood and rushed toward the group to attack them.[17]

"Trial by Firelight" (3x02)

Fan art of Eshteross testing the new adventurers, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 3]

After deeply wounding Orym and Laudna, knocking Dorian Storm briefly unconscious, and sustaining heavy injuries himself, he called an end to the fight and returned to his chair.[18] He admitted that, to his surprise, Bertrand selected skilled people and, using his cane to cast Zone of Truth, again asked the group what they sought. When Ashton Greymoore asked Eshteross what he was offering, he told them that the Ivory Syndicate increases their command over the city and "dangers both ancient and new" approach from the surrounding jungles. He offers employment to those concerned about these threats, not to simple mercenaries.[19] He sought those who would "offer guidance, protection, or at least be [his] eyes and ears in the greater world" as his enemies force him to shelter in his manor.[20] Once the group built trust by completing an initial task, he promised to provide connections, guidance, and answers they seek.[21] After spending the rest of the morning to deliberate, the group returned during Estheross' late morning tea to accept the job. He tasked them to investigate various thefts at the Prudaj Textiles warehouse, paying them 50 gold each in advance with another 150 gold each upon completion of the job or 350 gold each if permanently stop the problem. He assured them a formal contract will be offered when the job is finished as well. He invited them to stay for tea, but the group set about their mission.[22]

"The Trail and the Toll" (3x03)

When the group returned to the manor in the evening, Eshteross and Evelyn had quickly arranged a dinner. The group reported that the thefts were perpetrated by a worker Danas, whose body they brought, and relayed an unidentified dwarven man coerced her into smuggling brumestone and commanded strange shade creepers. Eshteross stated he would arrange financial compensation for Danas' family, whom he resolved not to tell about her deeds. However, he was unsure why shade creepers wanted brumestone. Regardless, he paid the group 150 gold each with an additional 50 gold for swiftness and invited them to dinner to celebrate their success.[23] During the evening, he relayed stories about his time as a mercenary, his employment by Prudaj, and the strange state in which he kept the manor. He expressed hope for the future of their working relationship and, because the manor was not equipped to overnight guests, sent them home.[24]

"On the Trail of a Killer " (3x04)

During the night, Bertrand was killed by the dwarven man. Because they had no other contacts, the group brought Bertrand's body to Eshteross. He advised them to no longer travel alone and agreed to shelter them in his manor going forward. Expressing his frustration and regret for his indirect role, he stated he would make burial arrangements. He did not wish to further endanger the group and was willing hire others to pursue the killer, but the group resolved to do so themselves.[25] After investigating in the morning, the group returned to Eshteross to discuss plans and burial arrangements. Upon the group's decision, motivated by Eshteross' confirmation that Bertrand had connection with Vox Machina, he agreed to write a letter and send Bertrand's body to Whitestone into the care of the Lord of Whitestone and his wife the Lady of Whitestone when the Prudaj estate's skyship returned.[26] Informed that the killer was named Dugger and was associated with the Hubatt Corsairs, he admitted he long wished to reach out the Corsairs to assess their dedication to their rumored noble intent, but his hired proxies did not return. Though he had no persons for the group to speak with, he suggested locations to begin their search.[27] As they left, Orym privately asked if he previously worked with Oshad Breshio. Eshteross did not, but he was familiar with the man. Correctly assuming Orym was sent by the Ashari to inquire about the attack on the Lumas family, Estheross promised to set up a means to speak with Oshad.[28]

"The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05)

The group returned to Estheross' manor to report that they spoke to the Corsairs and killed Dugger. Estheross informed them that his own skyship had not yet returned, but he contracted a skyship from Tal'Dorei to take Bertrand to Whitestone.[29] He said he would investigate remaining loose ends by looking into an illegal brumestone trade through his contacts involved in the development and maintenance of Jrusar's sewage systems, by hiring a group to seal the tunnels into the spire inside Dugger's home, and by having an alchemist analyze the strange ooze collected from Dugger's body.[30] Describing Bertrand as "friend of the Eshteross estate, hero of Vasselheim, and pseudo-member of Vox Machina", Eshteross had put a bounty on Bertrand's murderer and paid the group over 1,000 gold for avenging him. Some of them were initially reluctant to accept the reward, but he insisted by saying Bertrand, who he perceived generous, would be glad.[31] He confirmed to Orym that he contacted Oshad to set up a meeting, though he had not yet received a response. Estheross then disallowed the group from staying at his manor overnight because the person he was sheltering them from was now dead.[32]

Relationships

Bertrand Bell

Bertrand previously worked with Eshteross some months before "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) in 843 PD. Bertrand was part of a group tasked with looking into the Ivory Syndicate, but he abandoned the group during the mission, which ultimately ended disastrously.[33] Lord Eshteross and Bertrand have not spoken or seen one another in the time since, and Bertrand described himself as eager to bring Eshteross people able to help in his goals. Bertrand spoke well of Eshteross to others, characterizing him as having noble intentions for the city and sincerely believing this of him.[34] Despite this, Bertrand is nervous in his presence. Eshteross holds a disdainful view of Bertrand, describing his presence in the manor as a "stain" and immediately naming Bertrand's swaggering manner empty in front of others.[35] However, Eshteross was willing to offer Bertrand forgiveness[36] and apparently granted it to him when the group successfully and skillfully completed their mission.[37] As with all persons Eshteross hires, Bertrand was quietly subject to a background check; Eshteross was able to verify Bertrand's connection with Vox Machina, though he was unsure of its extent or nature.[38]

When Bertrand was killed by someone Estheross hired Bertrand and the others to investigate, Eshteross expressed his regret and frustration with what he perceived as his indirect role in Bertrand's death. He said that though he is no stranger to death "that does not mean the loss is lost on me"[25] and called it an injustice.[39] He cared for and remained with Bertrand's body in the day after and arranged for his burial per the decision of the adventuring party. He wrote the letter to accompany Bertrand to Whitestone.[26] Describing Bertrand as a "friend of the Estheross estate", Estheross felt Bertrand's standing, connections, and history warranted a bounty on his murderer. Estheross paid Bertrand's allies in Jrusar over 1,000 gold for avenging him, insisting that someone as generous with money as Bertrand would be glad they were rewarded.[31]

Character information

Abilities

Orc abilities

  • Darkvision
  • Aggressive[40]
  • Powerful Build
  • Primal Intuition

Fighter abilities

  • Fighting Style
  • Second Wind[41]
  • Action Surge[42]
  • Extra Attack (3 attacks)[43]

Notable items

  • Silvered cane made of solid metal with a heavy ball at the end.[44][45] Twisting the ball casts Zone of Truth with a DC of at least 16.[46] In combat, it is mechanically treated as a quarterstaff.[47]

Quotations

  • "Sir Bertrand, it has been a moment since you stained my abode with your empty bravado."[35]
  • "I hear of many places where people cry out for help unheard. So I seek individuals that can do these deeds in my stead, offer guidance, protection, or at least be my eyes and ears in the greater world. Doing this kind of work as long as I have tends to make some enemies, so it's safest I stay here, and those that work for me make no mention of it."[48]

References

  1. In order to make three attacks, Ariks must be at least level 11.
  2. Over the course of combat in "Trial by Firelight" (3x02), Eshteross takes 161 points of damage but remains conscious. He takes a Second Wind, which regains him 1d10 + fighter level hit points for a range of 12 to 29 points regained, given that the upper bound for a fighter with three attacks an action is level 19. This puts his absolute hit point minimum, assuming level 19 and a max roll, at 133. Assuming level 11 and max roll, his hit point minimum would be 141. See CritRoleStats' "Livetweets of 3-02 Trial by Firelight" for an accessible list of damage values.
  3. A 15 attack roll in "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 0:43:56 does not hit, but a 17 attack roll at 0:45:05 does.
  4. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 0:37:37.  Eshteross forces a Strength saving throw from Orym, who fails with a 12.
  5. Matt remarks that his damage bonus with his cane is +4 in "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 0:40:05. As a weapon, the cane is mechanically a quarterstaff—Matt says at 0:37:33 that the cane does less damage when used with one hand, suggesting it has the versatile property—so its damage is based on Strength. The cane is not indicated to have a weapon bonus.
  6. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 0:20:34.  Ashton and Eshteross roll the same initiative. After asking for Ashton's Dexterity score, 15, Matt prompts a d20 roll to break the tie, meaning that Ashton and Eshteross have the same Dexterity score.
  7. 7.0 7.1 See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 3:53:18.
  8. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:16:47.
  9. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:14:03.
  10. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:48:00.
  11. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:44:56.
  12. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:25:12.
  13. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:26:40.
  14. 14.0 14.1 See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:29:37.
  15. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 3:11:20.
  16. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:44:27.
  17. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 3:54:55.
  18. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) from 0:17:40 through 0:55:13.
  19. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) from 0:55:58 through 1:01:45.
  20. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:05:08.
  21. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:09:25.
  22. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) from 1:44:15 through 1:55:23.
  23. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) from 3:11:53 through 3:20:21.
  24. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) from 3:25:10 through 3:35:00.
  25. 25.0 25.1 See "On the Trail of a Killer " (3x04) from 0:40:20 through 0:49:20.
  26. 26.0 26.1 See "On the Trail of a Killer " (3x04) from 2:36:15 through 2:43:48.
  27. See "On the Trail of a Killer " (3x04) from 2:43:48 through 2:51:32.
  28. See "On the Trail of a Killer " (3x04) from 3:02:59 through 3:05:33.
  29. See "The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05) at 4:12:49.
  30. See "The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05) from 4:15:12 through 4:16:50.
  31. 31.0 31.1 See "The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05) at 4:17:34.
  32. See "The Threat Between the Walls" (3x05) from 4:19:32 through 4:20:30.
  33. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:06:25.
  34. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:48:01.
  35. 35.0 35.1 See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 3:51:34.
  36. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:07:42.
  37. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:28:08.
  38. See "On the Trail of a Killer " (3x04) from 2:39:50 through 2:41:17.
  39. See "On the Trail of a Killer " (3x04) at 0:51:00.
  40. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 22:19.  Ariks dashed as a bonus action towards a hostile creature.
  41. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 39:22.
  42. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 39:40.
  43. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 38:59.
  44. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 3:54:08.
  45. The cane is later described as silvered.  See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:34:41.
  46. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:58:15.  The group makes saving throws. Dorian fails with a 15.
  47. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 0:37:33.  Matt states that attacks made with the cane do less damage one-handed, suggesting that it has the versatile property. This is consistent with a quarterstaff, rather than a club.
  48. See "Trial by Firelight" (3x02) at 1:05:08.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Lord Eshteross, by Sam "Qelric" Spencer (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Lord Eshteross, by Andrew Jensen (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Eshteross testing the new adventurers, by Lap Pun Cheung (source).  Used with permission.
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