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Diath

Art courtesy of magp1e on deviantART

Diath Woodrow is a player character by Jared Knabenbauer. He is a human rogue, but he thinks of himself as a treasure hunter rather than a thief (a trait he shares with the character Locke Cole from one of Jared's favorite games, Final Fantasy VI).[1,2]

Personality Edit

Diath is a composed and calculating individual, comfortable serving as a leader to the Crew. He is often quiet, at times speaking only when it is pragmatic, and he is always alert to signs of danger. He cares deeply for his friends and has made immeasurable sacrifices for them over the course of their adventures.

Background (spoilers for Season 1) Edit

Diath's true backstory is unclear, as there are major differences between his character sheet[3] and what is later revealed by Chris Perkins in Season 2. According to his character sheet, he was born in Waterdeep to a hard-working middle class family. When he was young, however, his family home was burglarized, and he had to resort to working odd jobs or begging in the streets to help his family get by. Being a victim of crime is the reason he refuses to turn to thievery himself. One day while begging in the streets, a cloaked man placed a mysterious ring of keys into his hands, which Diath has kept on him ever since.

He eventually turned to adventuring as his main source of income, but believed that the stories and experiences he gained were more valuable than any amount of gold or gemstones. However, he does keep an amethyst as a pendant around his neck, which was his first successful plunder of an enemy lair.[4] Several years before the start of DCA, he ran into Strix, who was foraging for food in the alleys of Waterdeep. He eventually earned her trust, and they decided to team up. They met the rest of the Waffle Crew at the Rusty Pommel Inn, where the group decided to flee after Diath was falsely accused of pick-pocketing the barkeep.[4] The party had several adventures together before being mysteriously summoned to the land of Barovia.

Once there, Diath had a vision where he saw himself hanged. This in fact came to pass in the town of Vallaki, where he came to the attention of Izek Strazni, Strix's half-brother. Diath had killed one of Izek's fellow henchmen and was placed in the stocks, but rather than eventually freeing him, Izek took his life. This event was marked by several odd occurrences, such as ravens attacking anyone nearby, time seeming to slow, and a skull appearing in the clouds.[5] Diath was trapped as a wandering spirit, but was able to temporarily possess Paultin. He was eventually revived by the abbot of St. Markovia's temple in Krezk. As a side effect, he suffered a temporary resurrection madness that made him as fearful as Strix.[1]

The Waffle Crew eventually traveled to the Amber Temple, where Diath almost died again. Hoping it might heal him, Strix poured a potion of youth into his mouth; however this only succeeded in turning him into an 18-year-old.[6] Strix was then killed by vampires. To revive her, Diath made a deal with the Dark Power named Zhudun the Corpse Star to receive the one-time dark gift of greater resurrection.[7] Ironically, before he could use it on Strix, van Richten appeared and gave them a scroll to raise the dead. Together, they raided the temple and found the Tome of Strahd that had been foretold in Diath's Tarokka card. He used one of his mysterious keys to open the lock on the book, and they learned about Strahd's dark past. van Richten revealed that to trap Strahd's soul, they needed the blood of a powerful Vistani. Diath made the difficult decision to kill a young Vistani seer, an act that was observed by the sentient puppet, Simon. Simon had also instinctively reacted and killed a Vistani child, although ironically, Diath did not sympathize and could only think of the construct as evil.[8]

Unfortunately, as a cost to receiving the dark gift, Diath began slowly turning into a ghoul. This was reversed when they entered the crypts of Ravenloft and Diath imbibed a potion made with St. Markovia's holy ashes.[9]

Character development I (spoilers for seasons 2 & 3) Edit

Upon leaving Barovia for the frozen north, Diath and the Crew were set upon by werewolves trying to recover the effigy holding Strahd's soul. To protect them, Emil offered to turn the Crew into werewolves, which Diath agreed to very reluctantly, even though it was only temporary, since he cherished his humanity now more than ever before.[10] They also ran into Simon, who Diath developed an intense distrust and dislike for, even though Paultin and Evelyn had chosen to befriend him.

During a mission to spy on the fire giants for the dwarf king of Citadel Adbar, the Waffle Crew accidentally triggered a chain of events that led to the destruction of the giants' reforged colossus. Diath also unintentionally killed the prisoners he had been trying to save when he found himself unable to command a fire primordial that he had released, which proceeded to go on a deadly rampage and destroy the mountain. Those deaths weighed heavily on Diath's mind, and he began to doubt himself as a leader. He even re-evaluated his hatred of Simon,[1] choosing to pay for it to be rebuilt.

Shortly after Evelyn had sacrificed herself in a ritual to make rings to protect Diath and Strix from the death curse, a half dwarf-orc thief tracked down Diath and handed him the sentient magical sword Gutter, which had belonged to the dworc's adventuring companion, Ashton Woodrow.[11] At this point, Diath's backstory diverges slightly from the character sheet, with Chris calling Diath an 'orphan' who came from 'the gutter', and Jared confirming that Diath knew nothing about his parents or who Ashton was, and that he was sold as a child (however, in a later episode when inside a Zone of Truth, Diath admitted that Ashton was actually his dad, but that he was "no father of mine").[12] Gutter had possessed the dworc's mind to have it carry the sword to another member of the Woodrow family. Gutter then spoke to Diath's mind, suggesting that he place one of his keys in the sword's keyhole near the hilt. This summoned the arcanoloth Shemeshka, who revealed to Diath that she had made Gutter for Diath's ancestor, Dareth Woodrow, and that using the keys would grant him three answers from her. Diath was soon after summoned back to Barovia, along with the rest of the Crew, when the Dark Powers attempted to use Paultin in a ceremony to revive Strahd. The Crew foiled this attempt, but were then transported to an earlier timeline in Barovia, before Strahd's conversion. Rather than confront Strahd with the truth directly, the Crew attempted to poison him, help Tatyana and Sergei flee the castle, and convince his chamberlain that Strahd was evil by showing him the Tome of Strahd. The plan failed, and Diath, Paultin, and Evelyn were killed and their spirits wandered the mists for 50 years until Strix's friends revived them.[13] Strix had been very mentally and emotionally troubled during those years alone, crafting dolls in the Crews' likeness, although it had been especially difficult to make Diath's.[14,15] Holly later admitted that although Strix initially did not understand relationships or intimacy, her time in isolation made her open to experiencing deeper connections with others.[16]

Diath has shown hints of having strong feelings for Strix throughout the series. Perhaps subconsciously, he began to make connections between her and his amethyst: things that others may disregard at first glance, but that he's held on to because he sees their true value.[4] When they infiltrated Barovia in the alternate timeline, Diath even called Strix 'Amy' (short for amethyst), telling her it was her secret name.[17] When Strix vanished from the deck of the airship, Diath immediately summoned Shemeshka to find out where she went.[18] Shemeshka told him that she was summoned by Omin Dran, and droped hints that Diath was a Lorcatha (a word Izek called him in Barovia) and that the 'Skizziks' were after him. In Chult, the Crew were confronted by a Mercykiller who tried to bring Strix back to Sigil, saying the Skizziks kazram hired him to bring her to them.[19] When Diath intervened, the mercenary took him instead, again hinting that the Skizziks didn't like 'his kind', the Lorcatha. Although they were only briefly in Sigil before managing to escape, Diath did note the presence of the mysterious stranger that had given him the keys. Kerrek the paladin was the only one to notice that the stranger's face was actually half-angelic. When they were finally able to catch a peaceful rest, Diath admitted to Evelyn his feelings for Strix, and she encouraged him not to lose hope.[4] Diath also expressed to Evelyn his admiration for her, and that he trusted her to guide him to do what's right.

In Dendar's temple, Strix and Diath both were subjected to a mass hallucination where they imagined themselves transported to different realms. Strix saw herself trapped in a maze with Ubtao, who revealed to her that the Lorcatha have ties to celestials, and were long ago at war with the Skizziks. The war ended in an accord where all but one Lorcatha lost their soul, and the two families had to agree to have nothing to do with one another. In Diath's hallucination, he saw himself losing a pair of angel wings, and being confronted by an evil Paultin taken over by the Ring of Winter. He also saw what he thought was Strix, but was actually a swarm of cranium rats inhabiting her clothes. They mocked him saying, 'we are many, you are one'.[20]

After the Crew followed Paultin into the Shadowfell, Diath fell into a magical despair and became unable to tell what was real (he also thought he saw a shadow of himself hanging from a tree). They then ran into Izek, and although Strix told Diath to stand down, Diath kept Gutter or his poisoned dagger at the ready, refusing to trust him. Izek confirmed that their two families had been at war for "eons",[12] but that after the Skizziks allied themselves with Asmodeus and became tieflings, the Lorcatha allied themselves with celestials, and the war escalated to cause the deaths of millions. Izek said Asmodeus and other Powers had a hand in forging the Ashtown Concordance, where Asmodeus got to keep all but one Lorcatha soul, but the deal forbids the two families from sharing any other alliance or friendship. Despite this, Strix and Diath refuse to be intimidated, and Strix now holds one of Diath's keys, and Diath possesses Strix's doll she made of herself. When the Crew encountered the Sewn Sisters again, they offered a deal to retrieve Shemeshka's items for them in exchange for more hair. They also revealed that arcanaloths can be controlled by someone who knows their true name, and that Shemeshka kept a piece of Diath's soul as payment for helping to mediate the Ashtown Concordance. When they later encountered the Awful Crew, Evilyn's fear spell caused Diath to have his worst fear manifest as an image of Strix in chains and near death, blaming him for not being there to help, and himself as his haughty clone, which he worries is how others might see him.

Character development II (spoilers for seasons 4) Edit

Despite knowing that Diath mistrusted Omin, Strix took him up on his offer to help resurrect Evelyn and Simon. Omin quickly noted how protective Diath was of Strix and assumed they were in a relationship, which Diath quickly denied. Despite Diath's misgivings and Omin's condescending attitude towards him, Omin was able to bring his friends back from the dead, and Diath had to begrudgingly admit that he owed Omin a favor. Diath was also subdued when he noticed how much the rest of the Crew respected Omin's leadership qualities.

When given the opportunity to leave Chult, Diath suggested that for once, they actually try to solve their problems rather than run from them. He used thieves cant and his underground connections to get to the bottom of who the Ytepka Society were and clear the Crew's reputation. However, while trying to appease the dragon turtle threatening their ship, Diath was reluctant to give it the force bomb, even though it could have saved them, because one of his keys was still inside it. When he saw his friends willingly give up their treasures instead, which Diath saw as "giving up pieces of yourselves", he finally realized that giving it the bomb was the best course of action, especially since it freed them from having to keep such a dangerous object around. Strix managed to recover his key, however Diath's initial hesitation and change of heart after Paultin had already given up his mandolin created tension between the Crew. Despite Diath reaching out to Evelyn for guidance after he felt crushed by the guilt of the bomb's destruction, she rebuffed him by pointing out that the Crew hadn't been taking her advice anyway, and that her attempt to negotiate with the dragon-turtle and her desire to head back to the Port and help the victims had both been rejected. Strix attempted to comfort him, and Paultin half-heartedly accepted Diath's apology, while saying to Simon "you listen to me". Diath was noted to watch Simon and Paultin's interactions longingly. With a mysterious hum, a new key suddenly appeared on his ring, which was shaped differently than the others. Shortly afterwards, they reached Waterdeep, and became entangled in a conflict between the Xanathar's guild and the Zhentarim. Diath managed to recover a magical throwing dagger off a Zhentarim assassin. As an apology and a sign of friendship, the Zhentarim offered to grant the Crew any favor they might ask. They also gave the Crew intel about the Stone of Golorr, leading them to Magnus Burnsides, a goofy but strangely wise warrior of some renown. Magnus was able to comfort Diath after dwarf representatives confronted him about the fire primordial's slaughter of the prisoners in Ironslag, which had caused Diath to break down and promise them the hidden treasure hoard their seers foresaw him finding. Magnus continued to support Diath, telling him "I believe in you!", which nearly caused Diath to call him "father".

During some downtime while the Crew adjusted to finally having a headquarters, Diath traveled to Red Larch to find Omin and demand he return Evelyn's rings of protection.[21] K'thriss had begun conducting research on the rings, learning that van Richten had actually used an old Vistani marriage of souls ritual on them, but he did not share that information with Diath. Instead, he asked if he could continue to borrow the rings as a tool to free his and Walnut's trapped gods, which Diath decided to allow since he assumed Evelyn would support their cause. Shortly after his return, K'thriss and Rosie showed up at their doorstep, followed soon after by a squad of Mercykillers and modrons. Diath and Strix hid while Rosie convinced the Mercykillers they had the wrong house. The Crew and C-Team all later found themselves in the town of Nightstone, where an imbalance in the multiverse caused by his continued interactions with Strix had allowed the Blood War to spill over into the Prime Material Plane. Both devils and Skizziks kazram enforcers attacked them, until finally Asmodeus revealed himself and proposed taking Strix and Diath to separate planes so that they couldn't threaten the multiverse again, which would be bad for business. Rosie proposed an alternative, which was to adopt Strix into her family so that she would no longer be a Skizziks. Asmodeus agreed to the plan, but warned them that he had little influence on the enemies they had already made in Sigil. On their return, Diath needed to take a few days off to recover alone by an old fishing spot away from town, so missed witnessing Simon kidnap a child and the trouble that followed. He came back just in time to nab a Xanathar agent who had kidnapped Waffles, and was told by the City Watch that the street urchins who helped rescue her were now their responsibility. Despite having experienced poor parenting in his own childhood, Diath took it upon himself to guide and protect them. When Kozin appeared and tried to sway the Crew to follow him into the Xanathar's lair, Diath expected treachery at every turn. Diath ultimately made the final blow against the beholder, and claimed aloud that he was the new Xanathar so that its agents would obey him. He has since continued to sneak out from the Waffle House on secret errands, and taken responsibility for their dealings with Ulkoria, having to accept her request that they speak to a psychic exorcist. While under a Zone of Truth, Diath admitted that he felt the Crew no longer needed him as their leader, and that they had grown beyond him and would soon abandon him. The others were quick to reassure him that he was still valued. When Diath unintentionally revealed to Strix that he loved seeing her face every day and that making her dreams come true made him happy, she said she only wanted to make him happy as well, and that listening to him criticize himself "hurts me right here".[22]

Notable Equipment (spoilers for season 4) Edit

  • Mysterious Ring of 9 Keys - Diath received them from a stranger as a child. He has already used 7 keys (1 on the locked Tome of Strahd, 4 keys in Gutter (ep 53, ep 61 x2, ep 80), and 2 on the force bomb that he later recovered) and given one to Strix for safekeeping. A new, 10th key appeared in episode 93 that doesn't look like the others, possibly linked to an alternate reality game.
  • Gutter - a sentient magical short sword of backstabbing forged by Shemeshka for Dareth Woodrow and her descendants. It has a keyhole where the hilt meets the blade, which can be used to summon Shemeshka when one of the magical keys is placed inside to make her answer three questions. The name Gutter is inscribed in the blade in Abyssal runes.
  • Moonsplinter[23] - a dagger that can turn ghost-like, allows you to use misty step and gain 5 temporary hp every round of use, and can be thrown with the ability to return to one's hand. Taken off of one of the Xanathar's assassins.[24]
  • Horn of Silent Alarm - small well-crafted wooden blowing horn that was a gift from an unknown benefactor. Its call can be heard only by a designated target [25]
  • bag of holding - recovered from the desk of the Xanathar's recordkeeper, Nar'l, which has the initials 'J.B' stitched in it
  • map of the Xanathar's lair and the sewers of Waterdeep, recovered from Sylgar's fish tank
  • 2 gourds of "sticky poison" for coating weapons (+1d6 to attack) (one gourd was used to apply poison to one of Diath's throwing daggers in ep 83)
  • magical stone of good luck - given to Diath by a young halfling girl as a sign of appreciation for saving her. Also known as the "butt rock" or "butt stone".
  • amethyst pendant - the gem was loot from one of Diath's first successful treasure hunts. He later began to compare it to Strix, describing it as something others have told him to get rid of, but that he holds on to because he can see its true value. Shemeshka examined it and said it was non-magical.
  • Gloves of Thievery (in addition to his own, which the Crew never noticed because they are invisible, Diath has another pair given to him by Wandala. It is assumed that Paultin later took these from him)
  • Stone of Farspeech -given to him by Magnus Burnsides to allow him to communicate through the matched stone he carries[26]
  • shards of Lightfall (broken double-bladed battle axe emblazoned with Lathander's holy symbol, further empowered as a mace of disruption) (bequeathed by Evelyn)[27]
  • extremely sharp crystal shard of Ligotti, K'thriss's sentient crystallized tentacle [28]
  • masterfully crafted mysterious locked padlock found on the corpse of Krezk's burgomaster's son, that gives off a sense of unease [29]
  • doll of Diath (roughly constructed doll made in Diath's likeness by Strix during her 50 years alone in Barovia)[14,15]
  • doll of Strix (roughly constructed doll made in her likeness by Strix herself, after she destroyed the original she had made)[12,15, 30]
  • ring of protection +1 (blessed by St. Markovia)(given to Omin Dran to help resurrect Evelyn, but instead was packed with his things and later passed on to the C-Team)[31]
  • Horn of Blasting (given as a reward by the grung)(sold to a jewel merchant in exchange for two 500gp diamonds)
  • Tome of Strahd - Strahd's journal, describing his pact with the Dark Powers and his tragic love for Tatyana. Diath gave it to Rahadin to try to convince him to join their side, but the dusk elf burned it

Trivia Edit

  • Jared has used Diath Woodrow as a character in numerous D&D campaigns prior to the start of DCA[32]
  • Jared wrote a piece concerning Diath's thoughts during the events of Episode 58. He also wrote a short fic regarding Diath's thoughts while watching Strix make pies.
  • Jared revealed that Diath's name came from him making weird noises with his mouth[23]
  • Per Jared, Diath "does have a canonical backstory" with a lot of background that even the rest of the cast don't know about, involving his time on the streets, how he got his rogue skills, and his relationship with Ashton. This includes "a love interest before he met Strix" that Jared wants to write at some point. Chris hinted that it might be a role Jared's wife could play as a future guest.[23]
  • Diath's favorite color is purple (likely due to his amethyst)[23]
  • Jared has had monologues prepared for multiple showdowns (including one with Strahd and one with the dwarves) that he hasn't been able to fit into those scenes, but is holding on to just in case[23]
  • Jared revealed that Diath "knew" Mark Hulmes's tiefling warlock that he played during the Stream of Many Eyes event, and that he was "an NPC from Diath's past who he didn't automatically have animosity with" and that Jared would like to have return[23]
  • Jared both "loves and hates the neck scar" from Diath's hanging and beheading, and admits he has more scars, but won't say where [23]

References Edit

[1] "I'm Jared. I play Diath Woodrow. AMA!" DCA Reddit.

[2] Locke Cole. Final Fantasy Wiki.

[3] Diath's character sheet: level 4and Diath's character sheet: level 9.

[4] DCA Episode 73.

[5] DCA Episode 8.

[6] DCA Episode 18.

[7] DCA Episode 23.

[8] "Ask the Wafflecrew Anything Panel at PAX West". Twitch.com.

[9] DCA Episode 30.

[10] DCA Episode 33.

[11] DCA Episode 53 (55:53)

[12] DCA Episode 85.

[13] DCA Episode 58.

[14] https://twitter.com/ProJared/status/940789195815182336

[15] Puppets and Dark Powers - Holly writes another SAD about the gifts to the crew in 73. DCA Reddit.

[16] Waffle Talk: Discussing Dice, Camera, Action Episode 78.

[17] "Is Diath's amethyst analogues for Strix?" DCA Reddit.

[18] DCA Episode 60.

[19] DCA Episode 69.

[20] DCA Episode 79.

[21] Crossover Episode: Acquisitions Inc: C Team: S2 E19 and Table Talk Discussion. Penny Arcade Website.

[22] DCA Episode 112.

[23] DCA AMA Session

[24] DCA Episode 95 (3:04:10)

[25] DCA Episode 102.

[26] DCA Episode 98 (1:43:53-1:44:15)

[27] https://twitter.com/AnnaProsser/status/951749924068061185

[28] WafflesInc Secret Santa Gift Exchange. DCA Reddit.

[29] DCA Episode 13.

[30] https://twitter.com/HollyConrad/status/1024689674424475648

[31] https://twitter.com/AcqIncUpdates/status/991841987014819841

[32] Dragon Talk, 7/10/17 - Jared Knabenbauer. Dragon Talk.

[33] DCA Episode 5 (1:34:45 - 1:35:05)