Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Which The Warlock Tells Luke His Father Was Named Rosebud...

To round out our last bit of "Pirates of the Underdark," I wanted to give just a little bit of face time for our lovely villains, who didn't manage to make it to the game table. They had big plans, for sure, but no recompense was to be had.

Jaegren Lern--"The One Living Man"--Level 22 Elite Controller

After ambushing The One Living Man on his ship, at the behest of the lich-loremaster Tsaron Mindweaver, the party found themselves being pursued halfway to hell and back by the necromancer-turned-pirate.

But who is Jaegren Lern, really? Believe it or not, he's one of my old characters, when I was playing at Wittenberg. Lern was a wizard, with the Pale Master prestige class and a heavy necromantic flavor. He used Create Undead and Animate Dead spells numerous times to create a zombie crew, which even included an Undead Dire Octopus. The kicker for Lern, though, was his arm--a skeletal graft that comes with the Pale Master class. Very flavorful stuff.

I designed Lern to be a sniveling, arrogant bugger, who had allied with the enigmatic Dread Pirate Tim, only to be hired by the rest of the party, as they traveled to IceRazor City. As it turned out, Lern betrayed the party (a week before finals week, no less!), resulting in a TPK. Lern, however, escaped (yes, really!), taking Lauryn's sorceress-turned-vampire with him.

While I really like The One Living Man as a plot device, he doesn't really have any far-reaching machinations, so he was fairly one dimensional as a villain. However, his prescence was enough of a threat to keep the party on their toes and make them really strategize when he came calling.

Lascer, Lord of the Shadow Shoal--Level 19 Solo Skirmisher

I first came across Lascer in an issue of Dragon magazine, where he was tossed in amongst the "Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha". The image for Lascer is what stood out most, though: a roughly stitched together albino body, with jagged teeth and shards of broken glass jammed into the joints, hands, and feet. I knew I had to use this guy.

The players came across the cult of Lascer early in their adventuring, but only began to put together the pieces of his true agenda once they managed to meet up with the Cult of Dagon at Tsaron Mindweaver's tower. Lascer, having been Dagon's personal assassin for milennia, had broken free of Dagon's control and had escaped to the Prime Material. Set on vengeance, Lascer began founding a cult of his own amidst the kuo-toa and sauhagin of the Underdark.

Had the game continued, the players would have had to hunt down the Iron Flask of Tuerny--a 2e relic!--which was capable of holding the essence of a being as powerful as a demon lord. However, upon finding it, disaster strikes--the Flask is inhabited by a powerful demilich...the one, the only, Acererak.

And the rest?

The Gith--As mentioned in my last post, a rogue faction of Githyanki sought to use the Midnight Romance plant in a bid to dominate Sigil. This would have culminated in a cross-planar chase, as the PCs try to track down the Gith to their home-base and eliminate them, all without rousing the ire of the Lich-Queen, Vlaakith. Mind you, all of this would have only been compounded by the party's "acquisition" of a Gith Silver Sword...

The Weavers--Ah, yes. The powerful, enigmatic merchants guild, located on Skull and Stars. The Weavers were, of course, much more than they seemed. In fact, they were spider-people, known as "chitines". The Weavers had cornered the market on silk in the region, and weren't about to be undercut by some no-good scallywags. Unfortunately, their vengeance never took shape.

The Drow Houses--of course, in true back-stabbing style, both Mathir's and Zara's houses were going to come back to bite them in the behind. Mathir's mother was intent on letting her foolish daughter upgrade the Red Mourning as much as she wanted...then calling in the debt on it, taking the powerful ship as her flagship. Zara's sister intended on dragging her back into the Menzoberranzen political situation, intent on a second coup.

Ah, but all that's in the past now. Now, it's time for some Eberron! And let me tell you, Cyrid Alamein--elf paladin--is ready to bring some righteous pain!

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