The Challenge: Evil Henchman!
Party: Any low- or mid-powered group of 4 PCs
Objective: Create an NPC that serves as a henchman to an evil leader.
Specifications: Submissions should include a brief background for the NPC, describe his/her relationship with the BBEG, provide details on his/her modus operandi, and suggest creative ways the NPC might be used to develop a story through direct or indirect interactions with the PCs.
Deadline: September 30, 11:59 pm GMT
System: D&D 3.5e
Party: 4 level 6-7 PCs
Class: Monk 2/Sorcerer 4
Home: Elemental Plane of Fire
Position: Guard or Head of a group of guards
Description: Laiton is about the size of a large dwarf, except that he is clearly otherworldly. His skin appears to be made of brass and his long hair and beard look like flames that are burning downward. In his beard is a
golden clasp, inlaid with silver and electrum, that looks like a leaping flame, while around his thick, sinewy neck he wears a
string of three, small, orange globes. He wears a
metal kilt made of
thrice-forged Fire Brass, an especially tough type of brass that is found on the Elemental Plane of Fire. On his arms are a set of simple
brass bracers studded with three rubies. Other than that, his brassy skin is bare, since he has no real need for clothing.
Background: Laiton grew up in a typical Azer community, but from the start he was fond of wrestling over armed combat. When his magical ability manifested, he decided to strike out on his own. He learned non-fire spells (since those would be useles against the largely fire-immune inhabitants of the plane), hoping to make a name for himself on the Plane of Fire. For the most part, however, he is only a minorly successful brazier on his home plane. However, he has been bound by several different magicians on several different occasions to serve as a bodyguard/soldier/etc. This time he is lower on the totem pole, but he still takes his job seriously. His lack of fire spells often takes arrogant heroes by surprise, especially if he is called in to guard something in a volcano or other exceedingly hot locale.
Relationship to BBEG: Laiton was called by the BBEG several weeks ago. Shortly after his summoning, the BBEG was able to bind him to this plane (using a spell, plot magic, whatever), the focus of this binding magic is the set of brass bracers that Laiton wears (maybe each creature must have a specific item as their binding focus). Regardless of the kind of magic that allows him to remain, the real reason he agreed was the payment. The BBEG immediately offered him a minor magical item (the Brooch of Shielding), but it was the gold and silver that drew his attention. Additionally, the BBEG has promised a significant amount of jewels and gems every few weeks. The first of these payments has yet to be delivered and Laiton is getting annoyed.
Laiton is a relatively low minion for this particular BBEG. He might have been called to protect a secret ritual location within a volcano, he might have been called to journey into such a place to find an object, or perhaps the BBEG simply has a theme or a plan that involves fire/elements/outsiders/dwarves/etc. Laiton does not particularly care what the BBEG's plan is, even if it means the end of the world. He has heard of, or worked for, too many "evil magicians bent on detroying the world" to be concerned. It seems to him that some plucky band of mortals always manages to stop them at the last second.
Modus Operandi: Laiton's tactics in battle are generally a simple series of steps.
Non-Combat Interactions: As noted earlier, it is possible that the PCs might be able to bribe Laiton with a suitable offering of gems or jewels (usually 300+ gp worth), but this event is relatively unlikely. Instead, what is more likely is that he will be interrogated if he is captured alive (a difficult challenge since his body burns through rope very quickly). If so, he responds to bluff, diplomacy, or intimidate checks (DCs determined by DM as appropriate). While he might not know much about the BBEG's powers or his plans, he does at least know one thing: a location. Laiton has been communicating to the BBEG using Beaky, his Silver Raven statuette, which requires a location to deliver a message. It might be that another, more powerful henchman is stationed at this location and is merely relaying the message to the BBEG via magic, or perhaps Beaky really has flown to the lair of the villain. Either way, the PCs now have a new lead on their quest to stop the bad guy.
Further Interactions: Given that his defeat on the Material Plane does not constitute permanent death, it is quite possible that the PCs will see him again. Indeed, a character capable of summoning (and who learns Laiton's name, not a difficult task since he will tell it if asked) might choose to call on the services of the Azer. Or, perhaps the BBEG learns of his minion's defeat and summons him once more, intent on forcing Laiton to make up for his failure by destroying the party (probably with the help of other minions as well). Or, maybe the party is successful in defeating the BBEG, but in a later adventure they run across Laiton again, this time called to help a new villain or perhaps just to guard a treasure.
System:The Masque of the Red Death / Ravenloft-Homebrew Variant
Class: [Evil Druid/Gypsy]
Home: Carifax, England
Position: Independent Cultist of the Red Death
Description: Set within a pre-historic variant Earth, the plane of Ravenloft and Earth collided. A portal was opened, spewing forth a vile and evil entity known as the Red Death. The Red Death is known for having caused mysterious deaths during the time period of 1842. The mysterious deaths included a new disease that caused "bleeding from the poores, vomiting and nausea." Media of the mid nineteenth century marked this passage as the Red Death and soon swept through Europe, having an initial start in England. Not only did the Red Death bring death itself but other unworldly monsters and arcane magic. Deformities paving caustic drudgery in the cobblestone paveways they called streets. Their was one lone, independent cultist, that believed in the Red Death and somehow aquired the arcane art of the Red Death. This is his story.
Backround: Igno born from the realm of Ravenloft was somehow transported through the mist that transports people, whole kindgoms and sometimes whole planes to the world of Ravenloft. Serving Azlant the demilich and his quest to unify all of the borders of Ravenloft, Azalant created a powerful artifact in his realm. At first Igno was a follower of Van Richten as the Vistani Gypsies and Van Richtan heard word that Azlant was going to use the powerful artifact. Reaching the final chamber as the group of heroes tested the very fabric of evil in Azlants lair, the demilich was sucessful but the reverse happend. He transported Van Richten and Igno to Earth. Something happened during the reformation and channeling through the planes. Igno became mad, with evil intent, hell bent on surving the darker and insidious plans of the Red Death as some of the mist was transformed into the Red Death.
Relationship to Red Death: Igno was gifted and called to serve the Red Death to the very end. Gifted with evil drudaic powers, he is the opposite of a person within a natural setting. Where druids use the power of nature to their advantage, Igno destroys it with evilness, corruption and a vile taint that radiates from him in a 20 ft radius. Animals flock away from him as he makes his way through the wild landscapes of the mountaineous region in Carifax. He can summon other unworldy denizens of dread that do his bidding. Usually low level monsters, ayptically summoning undead. He works independently, but searches to wreak havoc and destuction on the streets. Operating in the low hub of the lantern street life of the 1800's. Igno searches for Van Richten, thinking that Van Richten is all thats stopping the Red Death from total consumation of Earth.
Radius: Spoil Surroundings
Lvl 1: Taint Water
Lvl 1 : Taint Food
Lvl 2: Taint Soul
Lvl 2: Decomposition Nature
Lvl 3: Necrotic Sludge
Lvl 4: Feeble Ray
Lvl 5: Touch of Disease
System: D&D 3.5e
Party: 4 PCs level 10-12
Name: Zavax the Dead
Class: Sorcerer 2/Binder 1/Anima Mage 10
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Position: Chief Arcanist, Second in Command
Physical Description: Black hair, white skin, azure eyes, usually dressed low-key; should usually be described as non-descript, despite his odd coloration. Closer inspection (Spot DC 15) reveals sharp incisors protruding only slightly onto his lower lip. Carries a ring of wizardry I, a ring of wizardry II, a lesser metamagic rod of silent spell, and the necessary components for three castings of stoneskin.
Background: Zavax's life hasn't exactly been great. His heritage has always been an issue, but he's managed to get along in society for the most part. He has a broad range of knowledge about matters arcane and pact magic, learned from practical application and university studies. However, some people are bigots; howling, fanatical bigots that try to torch you, thinking you're an undead monstrosity that's going to kill their children, rape their wives, and eat their flesh.
Relationship to BBEG:
Zavax was chased from his home city by such a group of fanatics, beaten near to death and left for dead. The BBEG found Zavax and brought him into the fold, nursing him back to health. He found a quick mind and a talent for matters arcane, as well as a charismatic, likeable individual. Zavax swore undying loyalty to the BBEG in exchange for saving his life, and now serves as his second in command.
Zavax typically has an overland flight spell cast on him, which he will use to take to the skies and cast solid fog to allow him a round or two to buff up. His first immediate defensive spell will be wind wall, followed by lesser globe of invulnerability. If the heroes haven't found their way out of the solid fog by round three, he'll also cast stoneskin.
The first person to emerge from the solid fog will be hit by a readied action disintegrate. Beyond that, he'll try to end the fight quickly with direct damage spells, divide their forces with charm person, and try to be as large of an annoyance as possible.
If his overland flight is dispelled, he'll dimension door to the nearest elevation advantage he can (top of a building, etc). If the fight has gone badly and he's low on hitpoints, or if no elevation advantage is at hand, he'll attempt to teleport back to his sanctum in his shop. If counterspellers try to stop him, he'll lay down a second solid fog and try again, saving 2 5th level spell slots and 1 4th level spell slot for this very contingency.
Zavax will own and operate a magic item shop in the largest city (or most-frequented hub) in the campaign setting, which sells scrolls and wands of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level Sorcerer/Wizard spells (and a few scrolls of 4th+ level spells, at exponentially increasing prices), as well as some minor wondrous items. He may, also, be one of the campaign setting's few information sources on pact magic. Zavax will gladly train the heroes as Binders and Anima Mages; for free, if they show a large enough interest in learning about pact magic and its uses and abuses.
Zavax will show no overt association with the BBEG, and be typically friendly, cogenial, and helpful. He may also request the adventurers locate some minor item for his "research" after they begin to grow in levels, sending them to increasingly deadlier places in hopes that the heroes will die before they learn of his master's plans.
Zavax may also be encountered in any place the heroes go to try and uncover more of the BBEG's plan if it involves an item that the BBEG needs to carry out his plots. He'll attempt to tag along with them and let them clear out the ruins, helping with an occasionally well-timed (1st or 2nd level) spell and being charming. He may try to use his metamagic rod to charm person one or two low Will save party members to have them be more helpful toward him. When they locate the item, he'll wait for them to get out into open ground and/or rest for the night before attempting to make off with the item.
If defeated, but not killed, Zavax will grudgingly give details about the plan in hopes that the adventurers won't kill him. He will not, however, swear an oath not to come against them, due to an oath given to the BBEG to serve. If killed, the BBEG will have a Cleric in the organization cast resurrection or raise dead on him some time later, and keep him closer to home.
If not killed in the initial scuffle, Zavax will return to his magic shop and continue to sell his items, while informing the BBEG of what has transpired. The PCs will still be able to purchase items from him if they wish, at a slight discount (10-15%) if they spared his life, and will still teach players about pact magic. If the fight ended with a teleport spell, he'll try to talk them down from fighting, and offer the above benefits (discount, pact magic access) as incentive. If not, well - he's got an awful lot of scrolls to put to use against them in round two - including one scroll of horrid wilting he'll grab when they enter his shop.
The players may also attempt to redeem Zavax, either before or after the fight, restoring him to a Neutral alignment but still refusing to go against his master. He will, however, agree to accompany them on any quest that doesn't go against his master's plans if they require arcane services.
If his master's life is threatened, he will spend three rounds maximum casting defensive spells and teleport to his master's side, taking to the skies and unloading as much magic as possible into the target(s).
System: D&D 4e, but can be converted to any system easily enough.
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