Expert Dungeon Master Competition 22: Introduce a Subversive Villain!

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XDMC 22: Create a Subversive Villain!
Welcome to the twenty-second Expert Dungeon Master Competition! The primary purpose of the Expert Dungeon Master Competitions is threefold:
  • To create a resource for new Dungeon Masters drawing on the vast talent pool of the experienced Dungeon Masters of this forum.

  • To create a fun and vibrant competition that is sportsmanlike and friendly.

  • To showcase the creativity and talent of Dungeon Masters like you.


The best way to keep informed about the competition is to join the Expert Dungeon Master Competition group. There you can review the rules, archives, and future contest ideas, and get broadcasts telling you when new competitions begin and when results are released!

Required Elements


The topic for this competition is subversive villainy. The contest asks entrants to create an NPC who seeks to manipulate a party of good and lawful good heroes to act in an unheroic manner.

In order to enter this competition, your entry must fulfill the following required elements.  If you do not meet each of these required elements, you will receive a score of zero in Themes:
  • Name: Name the villain.

  • Block: Provide a stat block for the villain.

  • Character: Describe the villain's personality and motivation.

  • Description: Describe the villain's appearance and resources.

  • Encounters: Describe one or more scenarios in which the villain tempts the heroes.

Optional Elements


In addition, the entry must include at least one optional element from each of the following three categories.  List the optional elements you intend to include. If you do not, the judges will credit you only for the optional elements they happen to notice:

Motivations


  1. Conversion: The villain wants to change one or more of the heroes’ goals.

  2. Debasement: The villain wants one or more heroes' alignment to change to evil or chaotic evil.

  3. Greater Evil: The villain wants the heroes to commit one or more good acts for a greater evil.

  4. Greater Good: The villain wants the heroes to commit one or more evil acts for a greater good.

  5. Infighting: The villain wants to get at least one hero to attack another hero.

  6. Prophecy: The villain wants the heroes to fulfill an evil prophecy or not to fulfill a good one.

  7. Revelation: The villain wants the heroes to divulge or uncover information unavailable elsewhere without greater difficulty.

  8. Warmongering: The villain wants the heroes to attack one or more innocent NPCs.

Temptations


  1. Deception: The villain’s offer includes true but misleading language.

  2. Favor: The villain offers to perform one or more favors for one or more heroes.

  3. Influence: The villain offers political power.

  4. Lore: The villain offers information that cannot be obtained elsewhere without greater difficulty.

  5. Power: The villain offers a boon, pact, or other supernatural power.

  6. Pleasure: The villain offers pleasure.

  7. Restoration: The villain offers to resurrect a hero or remove an affliction or condition.

  8. Second Chance: The villain offers to one or more heroes a chance to correct a past mistake.

  9. Wealth: The villain offers possession(s) worth at least as much as a magic item of the average party level.

Aftermaths


  1. Double-Cross: The villain cannot or will not fulfill any promises made to the heroes.

  2. Enemy: The heroes gain the enmity of another NPC at least five levels higher than they.

  3. Friendless: The heroes lose one or more powerful allies.

  4. Poverty: One or more heroes lose possession(s) worth at least as much as a magic item of the average party level.

  5. Promotion: The villain becomes more powerful than the heroes’ target.

  6. Sacrifice: One or more heroes is captured, killed, or subject to a condition, curse, affliction, or effect that requires a ritual to remove.

  7. Servitude: The villain gains dominance over one or more heroes.

  8. Spite: The villain personally loses more than is gained, and anticipated that this would happen.

General Rules


Following are some general rules of the Expert DM Competition. The complete list of rules is in the Expert Dungeon Master Competition Group Wiki.
  • Code of Conduct. All entries must comply with the forum's Code of Conduct.

  • Contest Duration. Contests usually run for two weeks, beginning with the post announcing the competition. The Coordinator may extend the duration of the contest at his discretion after consulting the other judges for that competition. However, such extensions should be done very rarely.

  • Edits Made at Entrants' Own Risk. A judge may download your entry any time after it is submitted. So any edits you make might not be considered by a judge. For this reason, you should submit your entry in as complete a form as possible. Use the preview function liberally. Once winners have been announced, entrants may edit their entries.

  • Images Allowed. If you want to use an image in your entry, you must first post it to your profile gallery.

  • Multiple Entries Prohibited. Each applicant may only submit one entry during the period in which entries may be submitted. Submitting multiple entries disqualifies all entries. Additional entries may be submitted after the competition closes, but they will not be judged.

  • Multi-Post Entries Prohibited. Each entry must be contained within a single post. The judges must ignore any subsequent posts.

  • Outside Links Prohibited. Entries may not include material hosted on a website other than the post on which the entry appears.

  • Plagiarism and Peer Reviewing Prohibited. All entries must be the original, exclusive work of the applicant. Entries found to be copying the work of another, or that have been posted for review prior to the close of the competition, will be disqualified.

Judges and Schedule


The contest will run from today through Friday, October 1, 2010. All entries must be submitted no later than 12:00 midnight at the end of that day (Eastern Standard Time). The judges of this contest are ClanBattlerage, Fuka, and wrecan, and the coordinator of this contest is wrecan. Good luck and have fun!!
Questions and Answers
Q. Must the villain be a creature?

A. No.  But remember that one of the required elements is that the villain have a stat block.


Q. Must the villain be evil or chaotic evil?

A. There is no requirement then the villain be of any specific alignment.


Q. Must the heroes be aware that the villain is an antagonist?

A. There is no requirement that the heroes be aware the villain is trying to subvert them.


Q. For purposes of the Temptations/Power optional element, can the villain offer heroes access to a feat, background, theme, or other mechanic?

A. Only if that mechanic grants the hero a boon, pact, or a supernatural power.



Entry List
  1. Veok's Realgar the Magnificent (level 12 elite artillery) Gold Medlaist!

  2. Nyarlathotep's Sarnath Kreel (level 13 elite controller) Silver Medalist!

  3. Kestralb's Dregzia the Briar Hag (level 5 solo controller) Bronze Medalist!

  4. zmortis' Thomas the Poisoner (level 30 assassin)

  5. shinobicow's Elzebel the Soul Reaper Cherub (level 3 elite controller)

  6. Qube's Maglan (level 8 minion (leader))

  7. Shaadow's Duck Duck (level 1 elite brute)

  8. Pluisjen's Great Necromnos (level 1 minion)

  9. Ankiyavon's Fragment of Acamar (level 3 wondrous item)

  10. LordArchaon's Anowon the Ruin Sage (level 15 elite controller)

Supplemental Entries:

Coordinator's note: I am aware that the hyperlinks don't currently work. 
I don't know when hyperlinking will be repaired.  I am sorry for the inconvenience.

Scores and Medals
All hail the winners of XDMC 22!

The bronze medal goes to:


Kestralb
with
Dregzia the Briar Hag!


The silver medal goes to:


Nyarlathotep
with
Sarnath Kreel!!


And the gold medal goes to:


Veok
with
Realgar the Magnificent!!!
Congratulations to all three.  This is a milestone for the XDMCs because Veok's victory makes him our very first Epic Dungeon Master!!  In addition, this is Kestralb's second medal, so Kestralb is our newest Heoic Dungeon Master!  This makes Kestralb eligible to be a judge in future XDMCs.

Thanks to our judges for this contest, ClanBattlerage and Fuka!  Stay tuned for the next contest in a few weeks.  In the meantime, enjoy the carefully tabulated scores below:
























































































No.CreativityUsabilityThemesClarityBonusTotalEntrant’s Entry
18 1/3105 2/3832zmortis' Thomas the Poisoner (level 30 assassin)
211 1/311 2/38 1/28 1/339 5/6shinobicow's Elzebel the Soul Reaper Cherub (level 3 elite controller)
31211 1/39 1/6840 1/2Nyarlathotep's Sarnath Kreel (level 13 elite controller)
411 1/310 1/38 1/28 2/338 5/6Qube's Maglan (level 8 minion (leader))
51011 2/377 2/336 1/3Shaadow's Duck Duck (level 1 elite brute)
610 2/3105 2/3632 1/3Pluisjen's Great Necromnos (level 1 minion)
710 2/38 1/36 1/36 2/332Ankiyavon's Fragment of Acamar (level 3 wondrous item)
811 5/612 1/38 5/6740Kestralb's Dregzia the Briar Hag (level 5 solo controller)
985 1/67 1/32 2/323 1/6LordArchaon's Anowon the Ruin Sage (level 15 elite controller)
1011 1/2119 1/68 1/2141 1/6Veok's Realgar the Magnificent (level 12 elite artillery)
Ooooo, like the way you are doing the optional elements in this one.
Can a "Power" be access to a new feat that only the vilain can teach or is a feat to common or not powerful enough?


Only if the feat grants the recipient a supernatural power (or a boon or a pact).  For example, a Channel Divinity feat that grants a new Channel Divinity power would fit the requirement.

"Boon", "pact" and "power" are all defined terms in the game.
Is it necessary for the villain to be a creature, or is any source of intelligence that can communicate with the players (and meets the other requirements) acceptable?
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Intriguing... I think I'll throw my hat into the arena for this one.

Incidentally, does the NPC have to be evil or chaotic evil? 

A list of CharOp Handbooks I'm currently updating:

Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

So, subversive in a Xanatos Gambit / Unwitting Pawns kinda way, or in a temptation, seduction of the innocent kinda way?

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

as an aside - it would be kinda fun to do a random-seed brainstorm session for this one using 3d8 to generate the 3 elements (Blend temptations 7 and 8 into one item).
as an aside - it would be kinda fun to do a random-seed brainstorm session for this one using 3d8 to generate the 3 elements (Blend temptations 7 and 8 into one item).



I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought that... O.o


Anyhoo, a question: Given that the theme for this contest is "subversive villany",  I'm assuming that the villain must clearly be such -- and the PCs must consider the villain as such -- and yet still be compelled to work with them?

PS: I'd put this sentence: "List the optional elements you intend to include.  If you do not, the judges will credit you only for the optional elements they happen to notice." on the other end of the optional elements. I was purposefully looking for it, and I still missed it on the first once-over.
If you look past the plot and the voice acting, Metroid: Other M was an okay game. Not a great game, but an adequate one. Not using the Metroid item collect jingle though? That, was a mistake.
Im in.  Creative Juices are flowing. 
I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

15.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

So, subversive in a Xanatos Gambit / Unwitting Pawns kinda way, or in a temptation, seduction of the innocent kinda way?



A strong tactic, invoking tvtropes in an attempt to lose us in a labyrinth of wiki style linking.  And I'm powerless to resist!!  Curses, you Magnificent Person!!
So, subversive in a Xanatos Gambit / Unwitting Pawns kinda way, or in a temptation, seduction of the innocent kinda way?



A strong tactic, invoking tvtropes in an attempt to lose us in a labyrinth of wiki style linking.  And I'm powerless to resist!!  Curses, you Magnificent Person!!


Yes... could it be that Jester is entering himself as a subversive villain? ;)

Of course, the use of the tvtropes as a trap might mean the judges get caught in that trap... and we never get scores!

Hm... tvtropes as psychic fantastic terrain...
Is it necessary for the villain to be a creature, or is any source of intelligence that can communicate with the players (and meets the other requirements) acceptable?

As long as it has a stat block of some sort you should be fine.

Incidentally, does the NPC have to be evil or chaotic evil? 

Nope!  There is no alignment requirement for the villain.

Given that the theme for this contest is "subversive villany",  I'm assuming that the villain must clearly be such -- and the PCs must consider the villain as such -- and yet still be compelled to work with them?


The NPC must be a villain, though there is no requirement that the PCs know that the NPC is a villain (though presumably, they will find out eventually).  To use a tired example, Anakin did not know (or believe) Palpatine was a villain until too late.  On the other hand, the One Ring is quite obviously a subversive villain, but is so important that you cannot help but invoke its corrupting powers.

PS: I'd put this sentence: "List the optional elements you intend to include.  If you do not, the judges will credit you only for the optional elements they happen to notice." on the other end of the optional elements. I was purposefully looking for it, and I still missed it on the first once-over.

Good suggestion.
You mention the One Ring... does this mean that Stat Block doens't neccesarily refer to a Monster block? Would an Artefact be allowed for example? Or some other sentient villain that isn't a monster?
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
You mention the One Ring... does this mean that Stat Block doens't neccesarily refer to a Monster block? Would an Artefact be allowed for example? Or some other sentient villain that isn't a monster?


Already answered in the Q&A.
Wow, talk about an oversight. It was in the same post as I got the One Ring from. 
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
Ooooo, like the way you are doing the optional elements in this one.

+1. I have to say, the "three that are each one from separate lists" is inspired. Even in a "why didn't we think of this sooner" or "we should do it like this all the time" kinda way.
That's Someone, with a capital S. "Cat's out of the bag on that one, isn't it? Who puts cats in bags, anyway? Cats hate bags." -Sheogorath, Oblivion
Ooooo, like the way you are doing the optional elements in this one.

+1. I have to say, the "three that are each one from separate lists" is inspired. Even in a "why didn't we think of this sooner" or "we should do it like this all the time" kinda way.

I'd like to take credit for saying that it was all Wrecan's fault idea.  We gave him a ton of optional ideas and he figured out that they all fell into those three categories.  Kudos to da man!
Sorceror: "I'll attack the [solo monster] with Chaos Bolt." Warden: "Don't you ever use encounter powers?!?!?" Sorceror: (casually) "I don't need to." ----------- "Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live." - Martin Golding
I wouldn't expect optional element subcategories to become the norm in the XDMCs.  I think people have noticed that we're very open to trying new things, but it has to be appropriate to the topic.  For example, in XDMC 19: Business, we reduced the optional element requirement and upped the required element.  We did something similar in XDMC 16: Paragon Path, having two categories of optional elements, and each path needed to meet two from each category.  Heck, the Populate a Map (XDMC 5 and 14) and the Warband (XDMC 18) contests are unlike anything the DMCs (either the 3.5e MDMCs, or the 4e XDMCs) had tried before. 

For this contest, the judges were great about suggesting a ton of fantastic optional elements that happened to fit neatly into these three categories.  It seemed like very appropriate categories for a subversive villain.  In other categories, trying to come up with subcategories of optional elements would feel very forced and would be a bad idea.  But we're always up for original and innovative suggestions.  One of the fun perks of being a judge is coming up with new and innovative ideas for the XDMCs!

edited to add: I cannot take the credit.  Fuka had initially suggested a separate list just of temptations (I think), which I initially tried to make work as a required element.  But when I saw the suggestions we were getting, I realized Fuka was right, split the remaining suggestions between aftermath and motivations, and presented it to the judges as a proposal.

I've got a problem ...
in the current story arc of my campaign, there are 3 subverive villans who's story is interleaved
Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
Signature in a box
For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

3.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
Some of my work:
XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
My ego in a box
who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
Must the PCs be Lawful Good? Can they just be good or unaligned?


This is a generic group of good and lawful good heroes.  The are not unaligned.  The point is to subvert characters who have committed themselves to the cause of good.  So unaligned is out.
I already said I'm in for this one in the other thread, but I'm still trying to figure out something original.
I guess it gets less points if it's an adaption of something already existent? I was thinking about a character of the Zendikar MtG world, since I would have needed to do it anyway for my Zendikar - D&D group!
Otherwise, I have a character of mine that was meant to be "srecretly evil" and to influence the others, but I would have to do it nearly from scratch, it would take me much time.
Last option would be to really think something new

Join the Zendikar D&D Campaign Setting group: discover the fantastic world and contribute to make Zendikar a playable setting!
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Play-by-Post and my D&D blogging!

*All my latest rolls!*

Campaigns and Characters:
Zendikar: Covenant of The Forgotten Relics
- Cylonea: Merfolk (Elemental Priest) Shaman(World Speaker)/Artificer --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff
- Vurokk Dahvre: Shade (Escaped Slave) Blackguard of Fury --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)
Nature's Allies
- Carwyn Sihderfein: Half-Elf (Tuathan) Blackguard of Domination / Binder of Gloom --> Sheet, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)

I already said I'm in for this one in the other thread, but I'm still trying to figure out something original.
I guess it gets less points if it's an adaption of something already existent? I was thinking about a character of the Zendikar MtG world, since I would have needed to do it anyway for my Zendikar - D&D group!
Otherwise, I have a character of mine that was meant to be "srecretly evil" and to influence the others, but I would have to do it nearly from scratch, it would take me much time.
Last option would be to really think something new

Well, I can't speak for the rest of the crew, but as for me...

"Reimagining" an existing concept won't lose you points IF you're creative about it.  In other words, if you just copy what another person has come up with, then yes, you'll probably lose points.  If you "make the character your own", then you'd be fine.

For example, if you wanted to use Yoda in an XDMC (not this one), and you just took a standard-issue goblin, gave him green skin, jacked him up to a level 30 controller, and threw him in a swamp, then you'd probably lose points.  But if you came up with a credible backstory on how he got to his current position, why he's in the swamp, how he interacts with other characters, made sure his powers are appropriate and reflective of his "real world" skills, and made a genuine attempt to incorporate him into the D&D universe, then I'd probably give you full credit for the effort.

Most of character archetypes have been explored in some way or another, so you're bound to copy someone, somewhere.  The trick is to make the character into a uniquely D&D character who "just happens" to be similar to another character that someone else came up with.
Sorceror: "I'll attack the [solo monster] with Chaos Bolt." Warden: "Don't you ever use encounter powers?!?!?" Sorceror: (casually) "I don't need to." ----------- "Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live." - Martin Golding
I guess it gets less points if it's an adaption of something already existent?


From the XDMC Group Wiki: Rules: Judging Criteria: Creativity
Creativity measures the originality of a particular submission or how well it takes an existing idea and converts it into game terms. (Emphasis mine.)

I think when doing an adaptation, it is important to indictae in the post what source material you are using.  If you state outright you are doing an adaptation, the judges will score you better because they will score you only on the elements you added to the concept to make it D&D-appropriate.  If you don't do it, and the judges see that it's based on an established character, the judges may dock you for plagiarizing, thinking you are trying to boost the Creativity of your entry by adopting the creativity of the person who created the character.

Saying "Here's a character based on Indiana Jones..." will always serve you better than just posting a character called "Greyhawk Gary" who happens to weild a whip, wears a leather fedora, has a fear of snakes, and delves into dungeons looking for ancient artifacts to be given to the museum of the university at which he is a lecturer.  Even better if you turn the fear of snakes into an ongoing animosity with the yuan-ti, explain why he uses a whip, and turn his quest for the Holy Grail into a question of the Cup of Ak'Abar (an established artifact in the Greyhawk setting).  That way, the character doesn't feel like Indiana Jones shunted into Greyhawk like some Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, but rather like a character who feels like he fits naturally in a D&D universe and is based on Indiana Jones.
Is using a figure from a novel I've written fair game?  I do have stats for him in Character Builder, but he was written as a subversive character (not necessasarily an evil one) who changes the life of the protagonist of the novel.
Is using a figure from a novel I've written fair game?  I do have stats for him in Character Builder, but he was written as a subversive character (not necessasarily an evil one) who changes the life of the protagonist of the novel.



If the judges aren't familiar with your work, you're unlikely to lose points for creativity. If the judges *are* familiar with your work, and are fans of it, and don't know you're the author, you might lose many points.
If you look past the plot and the voice acting, Metroid: Other M was an okay game. Not a great game, but an adequate one. Not using the Metroid item collect jingle though? That, was a mistake.
They shouldn't be familiar with it.  Still haven't published it as it is in second draft revision at the moment.  The character is one I've used in RPGs for about 20 years now as an antagonist, although not as an outright villain.  He has an agenda, and a party might be coerced into helping that agenda even if they don't understand the full ramifications at first.  That certainly happens to the protagonist of my story, hehe.
Again, you should explain somewhere in the entry what you base the entry off of.  I often had a small section called "Designer's Notes" in my entries where I would make these explanations and I always felt they were appreciated by the judges.
Ok here goes my entry.  For image please refer to my forum avatar, hehe.

Now with updated stat block!

Name: Thomas the Poisoner

Statistic Block: ====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Thomas the Poisoner, level 30
Shadar-kai, Assassin, Venomed Soul, Raven Consort
Build: Bleak Disciple Assassin
Guild Training: Bleak Disciple
Background: On the Run from the Devil (On the Run from the Devil Benefit)


FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 23, Dex 28, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 13.


STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 10, Con 13, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 11.



AC: 44 Fort: 39 Reflex: 40 Will: 35
HP: 155 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 38


TRAINED SKILLS
Stealth +34, Arcana +22, Insight +21, Perception +22, Acrobatics +37


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +17, Diplomacy +16, Dungeoneering +16, Endurance +21, Heal +16, History +17, Intimidate +16, Nature +16, Religion +17, Streetwise +16, Thievery +24, Athletics +22


FEATS
Level 1: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 2: Implement Expertise (Ki Focuses)
Level 4: Skill Focus (Stealth)
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Light Blade)
Level 8: Weapon Expertise (Light Blade)
Level 10: Assassin's Cloak
Level 11: Venom Hand Killer
Level 12: Venom Hand Master
Level 14: Secret Stride
Level 16: Persistent Poison
Level 18: Defensive Advantage
Level 20: Minion of the Dark
Level 21: Spirit Jaunt
Level 22: Deathless Warrior
Level 24: Flanking Maneuver
Level 26: Untraceable
Level 28: Unfettered Stride
Level 30: Poison's Partner


POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Executioner's Noose
Assassin at-will 1: Shadow Storm
Assassin encounter 1: Shadow Darts
Assassin daily 1: Terrifying Visage
Assassin utility 2: Cloak of Shades
Assassin encounter 3: Inescapable Shadow
Assassin daily 5: Twilight Assassin
Assassin utility 6: Sheltering Dark
Assassin encounter 7: Shadow Link
Assassin daily 9: Bound by Shadow
Assassin utility 10: Seeker of Shadow
Assassin encounter 13: Well of Shades (replaces Shadow Darts)
Assassin daily 15: Shade Venom (replaces Terrifying Visage)
Assassin utility 16: Shadow Meld
Assassin encounter 17: Shadow Fire (replaces Inescapable Shadow)
Assassin daily 19: Consign to Shadow (replaces Bound by Shadow)
Assassin utility 22: Soul of Death
Assassin encounter 23: Wraith's Assault (replaces Shadow Link)
Assassin daily 25: Folded Shadow (replaces Twilight Assassin)
Assassin encounter 27: Ambush from Thin Air (replaces Well of Shades)
Assassin daily 29: Three Shadow Venoms (replaces Shade Venom)


ITEMS
Magic Ki Focus +6, Short sword, Dagger, Deathcut Starleather Armor +6, Bracers of Escape (epic tier), Cat Tabi (epic tier), Venom Gloves (epic tier), Scarab of Invulnerability +6, Ring of Free Time (epic tier), Shadow Band (epic tier), Dynamic Belt (epic tier), Cubic Portal (epic tier), Diamond Scabbard (epic tier), Whetstone of Venom (epic tier), Astral Mead (epic tier), Spotted Toadstool Venom (level 30), The Raven Queen's Shroud (level 28), Crown of Stuttered Time (epic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======





Character: Describe the villain's personality and motivation.  –
Thomas the Poisoner is the name used by an infamous assassin.  In actuality Thomas the Poisoner himself works as a favorite "minion" of the goddess of death.  Thomas is a Shadar-kai assassin who poisoned himself and died over 650 years earlier in order to have a personal discussion with the Raven Queen make a request to enter her service.  She appoved of his boldness, and gave him the task of sorting through those spirits who couldn't move on because of unfinished business related to their death in the prime material plane.  Thus Thomas seeks to avenge the wrongful deaths of those killed by murder most foul.  As an assassin he knows of one way to avenge these deaths, by seeking out their killers, and seeing to their demise.


A Difficulty Check for player knowledge of 10 reveals the following:  Thomas the Poisoner was a mystery in the lands where the characters are. His work was well known throughout all the surrounding kingdoms. That is to say the results of his work were well known. From high ranking aristocrat to low ranking peasant, if the agreed price was paid, then it was rumored every one of his targets for every contract accepted ended up dead. Those authorities who tried to find or capture Thomas the Poisoner soon discovered that he was as elusive as the departing night fleeing before the dawn. A mysterious man indeed thought many people who spoke of his rumored exploits.


A Difficulty Check of 15 reveals this much more:  One of the most mysterious aspects behind  Thomas the Poisoner was that no one seemingly knew who he actually was. There was a name to be sure, but being so pointed a name it was obviously an assumed name. Not even a suspected client could say whether they had actually ever met him in person.  Many times a suspected cohort was caught, only to be later found either innocent of suspicion, or dead before any serious interrogation could begin.



A Difficulty Check of  20 reveals this even more: Some people speculated that Thomas the Poisoner was actually a cover for an entire shadowy organization of assassins.  However, all serious inquiries through the criminal underworld of various nations where his work occurred failed to turn up any sign of this organization. The various thieves and assassin guilds all claimed to have no knowledge of who he was. Honestly speaking the numerous thieves guilds were too locally based to be so internationally involved. It was also rumored that several of the various assassins guilds had tried quietly accepting a bounty to kill Thomas the Poisoner over the long years. Eventually all assassin guilds stopped accepting these bounties after a series of dead assassins and guild  leaders every time a bounty against him was pursued. The point had been explicitly made throughout their ranks many years ago, and none of the remaining assassin guilds would ever dare accept such an offer now. 


A Difficulty Check of 25 reveals this much: The other lesser mystery was that while many of the victims of Thomas the Poisoner were indeed killed by a verifiable use of poison, quite a few were rumored to have died by less conventional means. Those individuals who took special precautions against the use of poison were usually still found just as dead.  Some people speculated that Thomas the Poisoner only killed people who had committed a crime of deadly violence against an innocent. This was hard to confirm in most cases, but it was certainly fairly clear that quite a few of his targets were widely acknowledged as brutal and cruel by those who knew them.



Description: Describe the villain's appearance and resources.  -
Thomas the Poisoner looks like a fit white haired older man who has a penchant for wearing white clothing such as a white hat, a formal summer weight jacket, a white pressed shirt and white pants or shorts depending on the weather.  The powers that be have granted him access to Thomas' Isle, which is also called the Isle of Death.  It is a tropical island which exists in a separate planar pocket away from most of the prime material.  On the isle is a compound where Thomas' minions work and live in a peacable manner.  All of his minions have been trained to kill in some way or another.  Many of them have other skills besides, and they come from a large variety of humanoid races.  The isle also has a lighthouse tower which serves as Thomas' residence.  The Tower exists concurrently in an associated position on the plane of shadow.  It is only by crossing through the plane of shadow that Thomas' Isle can be reached through shadow gates controlled by "Balinac" a powerful spiritual being.


It is at this shadowfell side of the tower that Thomas "interviews" the spirits of the wrongfully slain with the intent of discovering their problems with passing on to the next "stage" of existence.  His lighthouse tower beacon in the shadowfell beats red in the same rhythm of a heartbeat, and draws these unsettled spirits.  Thomas exists himself only in spirit in this shadowfell tower.  To other spirits he seems a physically substantial glowing white robed figure, but he is faint, hazy, and mostly immaterial to those who can not see spirits who travel the shadowfell in physical form.


Thomas' primary recourse in recruiting the player(s) to work for him is that he can offer to return their spirits from the shadowfell to the prime in a new physical form.  Yes, Thomas has created the MMORPG equivalent to a respawn point.  Even better, the character can keep their personality, but change their race and class if they choose as Thomas can prepare any kind of humanoid body they may reasonablely choose to inhabit.  If they like what they were already, then Thomas can bring them back in a "clone" of their original form.  Thomas himself can simultaneously possess and operate up to 42 of these forms at one time if he desires.  Thus although it is possible to kill his physical form while he is "working" the job, it is impossible for anyone shy of a god to put him down permanently as long as his deal with the Raven Queen lasts (she'll persist in not moving him to the next stage as long as she finds him useful and amusing).


Encounters: Describe one or more scenarios in which the villain tempts the heroes.


The most common ways for heroes to first meet Thomas are as follows:
1) If they have wrongfully and unjustly killed an innocent, then Thomas may come in person (or send one of his minions acting in his name) to eliminate that player.  This is not too likely a situation for good aligned party members.
2) If the player(s) have been unjustly killed, then they may find themselves in the shadowfell in spirit form, and drawn to Thomas' lighthouse.  Thomas will listen to their story, and offer to bring them back to life in exchange for some return services he wants handled.  Yes, the characters will be recruited to become assassins.  They will have to first help out some other spirits to find justice for their deaths before they are allowed to seek justice for their own deaths.


Thomas will explain his five core rules to the players if they accept the deal being offered:


Thomas holds up his right hand with his fingers extended, “First I must explain some of our, let us say, restrictions.”
Thomas curls in his thumb, “Rule one. We never deliberately take the life of an innocent.”
Thomas curls in his index finger, “Rule two. No matter how much time it takes, once we determine that our suggested target is guilty of intentionally harming an innocent we take the job, and ensure that justice is served. There is no backing out once a job is accepted. However, we do acknowledge that justice is often best served by many ways other than death. If another way of serving justice is better, then we never kill our target. Only in extreme circumstances do we actually bring about the demise of the target.”
Thomas closes his middle finger, “Rule three. We never inflict collateral damage. Only the intended target is dealt with. We are efficient, effective, and clean in the execution of our task. This is one of the reasons poison is used as the preferred method of death. It is carefully administered so as to only impact the intended target.”
Thomas closes his ring finger, “Rule four. We don’t work for money, political ideology, or revenge. We work to bring the guilty to justice. We especially don’t interfere in the course of national politics unless it is very clearly to bring the guilty to justice.”
Thomas closes his pinky finger turning his right hand into a fist, “Rule five.  You may not even allow death to stop you."



Motivations


Conversion: Thomas wants to change one or more of the heroes’ goals to accomodate his own agenda.
Greater Good: Thomas wants the heroes to commit one or more "evil" acts (assassinations) for what he considers a greater good (helping spirits to move on in the afterlife).


Temptations


Favor: Thomas offers to bring the player(s) back to life and to assist them in seeking justice for their death.
Influence: Thomas has a relatively large amount of influence with the Raven Queen, and can seek favors from her occasionally.
Lore: Thomas knows the secret which allows dead spirits to possess new living forms, and offers information about how to achieve this to the player(s) after they have finished their service.
Power: Thomas wields influence with the Raven Queen, and can prevent a character from permanently dieing, or easily re-kill a character which has broken the deal with him.
Pleasure: Thomas' tropical island has a top notch grandmaster martial instructor, some fine quisine, and is an unspoiled tropical paradise.
Restoration: Thomas offers to resurrect the player(s) as often as necessary until their deal is complete.
Second Chance: Thomas offers the player(s) a chance to receive justice for their wrongful death.


Aftermaths


Enemy: The heroes gain the enmity of the demon god Orcus as they have joined the cause of the Raven Queen.
Friendless: The heroes may lose powerful allies if they choose not to come back in their original form since they will not be recognised as who they were.
Sacrifice: In pursuit of their goals one or more heroes could be captured, if this happens, then Thomas will make sure they are killed by remotely disconnecting their spirit from their borrowed body before they can reveal his secrets under torture.
Servitude: Thomas gains dominance over the heroes since their options at the time of meeting him are follow his goals, or proceed on to the Raven Queen for passage to the next life.

Designer's notes:  The inspiration for Thomas the Poisoner has been part Victor Von Frankenstein,  part Dr. Moreau, part Mr. Roarke, and part Prospero.  Visually and vocally I envision him as portrayed by Malcom McDowell (my forum avatar), but concept wise he is pretty much an original.  For more about Thomas the Poisoner, you'll have to read my book from Myth/Logic Press "Thomas the Poisoner - Tales from the Reading Dragon Inn - Book 2"  (Shameless Plug) which should hopefully be available on Amazon and Borders online by 1st quarter 2011.

zmortis draws first blood!
zmortis draws first blood!

@zmortis:  I would point out that normally for a DM's competition you're looking for a monster stat block, which is a lot different to read and use than a players stat block.  I'm not judging this one, but it might do well for your score if you reinterpreted the character into a monster block for the purposes of the competition.  

Other than that, it looks like an interesting character or patron for a group of PC's and certainly hits a lot of the optional elements.  Good stuff.  
In reply:

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Just to clarify, this character is envisioned as an NPC instead of a monster.  As such it follows the character build rules instead of the monster build rules.  I will accept a point downgrade if modern 4E DMs have problems running full NPCs, hehe.
Just to clarify, this character is envisioned as an NPC instead of a monster.  As such it follows the character build rules instead of the monster build rules.  I will accept a point downgrade if modern 4E DMs have problems running full NPCs, hehe.



Per 4E rules, NPCs do not have character stat blocks.

It has nothing to do with having trouble running it, it's simply not part of the game system to ever have anything but PCs being built with PC creation rules.  NPCs have their own rules, that are much more similar to monsters than they are to PCs.


(Not a judge, don't really care, I just found your attitude abrasive and wanted to correct your facts).
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
ELZEBEL, SOUL REAPER CHERUB

Character Description and History


Elzebel was once a lesser angel in service to the Raven Queen.  While in the Raven Queen’s service, Elzebel was essentially a meek and lowly servant dedicated to performing menial tasks.  However, Elzebel’s primary occupation, under the Raven Queen was to ferry the spirits of children into the realm of the Raven Queen.  These tasks dedicated to Elzebel, and other lowly Angels like Elzebel, were essentially the most easily performed and deemed unworthy for more powerful beings to which these tasks would normally be given to.


 At one point, Elzebel was mistakenly tasked with recovering the spirit of a young girl unknowingly cursed by a group of death cultists.  This curse corrupted Elzebel and caused it to question its identity and its need to continue in service to the Raven Queen.  It began to take on the identity of this young girl, which had been twisted by wicked rituals.  This curse was also enough to mark Elzebel to a group worshipping Orcus.  They summoned Elzebel to the material realm, but made a horrible mistake in the summoning and were unable to bind Elzebel to them.  Elzebel was freed into the world and was without a master.


Elzebel began to develop an Identity of its own and began take on much more wicked characteristics.  Elzebel began thinking of itself as a young girl.  However, Elzebel realized her own weakness; she would not be able to contend with the many powerful entities throughout the world.  Hoping to gain more power, Elzebel made a demon pact with Orcus, who was more than happy to accept a former Angel in service to the Raven Queen as a new follower; he also recognized the unique power that Elzebel possessed, an ability to wield the souls which she once was bound to guide.  Orcus considered her a unique opportunity to exploit.

STAT BLOCK FOR ELZEBEL, SOUL REAPER CHERUB


Elzebel, Soul Reaper Cherub                Level 3 Elite Controller
Small immortal humanoid (angel, shapechanger)                 XP 300
Initiative +4 Senses Perception +7; dark vision
HP 120; Bloodied 60
AC 20; Fortitude 15, Reflex 17, Will 20
Saving Throws +2
Speed 6 Fly 1
Action Points 1

Traits
Change Shape
    Elzebel can change its physical form to take on the shape of any small child of any race.  It can even take on the form of specific individuals.  When Elzebel changes its shape, it leaves behind a pair of small wings on its back, which it usually conceals under its clothing, but a character can attempt an insight against Elzebel’s bluff check with a +20 bonus to its bluff check.


Death’s Pull Aura  *  10
    Allies within the aura gain a +1 bonus to all defenses.  Enemies within the aura have a -1 penalty to all defenses.

Encounter Powrers
Summon Reaped Spirits * Free action
    The first time Elzebel acts on its turn, it summons 8 Reaped Spirits (+1 additional Reaped Spirit for every level Elzebel has gained beyond 3rd) into the spaces around it.  If the Reaped Spirit cannot occupy one of these squares, it fills the closest feasible square.  Each of these spirits grants XP as normal minions do and should be accounted for when building any encounter involving Elzebel. 


Standard Actions
Soul Spite 
    Range 10;  +8 vs. AC, 1d10+3 damage; any living character damaged by this is weakened (save ends).


Soul Touch
    +7 vs. Will, 1d10+3 damage; any living character damaged by this attack is weakened (save ends).


Soul Bind  (Charm) Recharge 5 6
    Can only target weakened characters.
    Ranged 10;+8 vs. Will; the target is stunned (save ends).  Elzebel can only use this effect on one target at a time.  A new Reaped Soul appears in a space adjacent to that character that appears identical to that character in every way.  This Reaped Soul acts under Elzebel’s control during her turn.  If the target ends the stun effect, this Reaped Soul disappears.  If this Reaped Soul is destroyed before the character saves vs. the stun effect, he or she immediately drops to 0 HP and falls unconscious and must save vs. death on his or her turn. 


Triggered Effects
    Soul Discharge  *  Free Action
      A Reaped Spirit dies.
      Range 10; +7 vs. Will, 4 damage 


Alignment Evil   Languages Common, Abyssal, Supernal
Skills Religion +10, Bluff +12, Insight+10, Diplomacy+11
Str 14 (+3) Dex 15 (+3) Wis 18 (+5)
Con 14 (+3) Int 16 (+4) Cha 20 (+6)


 


RELEASED SPIRIT STAT BLOCK 


Reaped Spirit                                       Level 1 Minion
Medium natural animate (undead)                 XP 25
Initiative +3 Senses Perception +1; dark vision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion
AC 16; Fortitude 14, Reflex 15, Will 14
Immune disease, poison, resist necrotic 5
Speed 6 Fly 6


Traits
Reaped Chains
     The Reaped Spirit can never move more than 10 squares away from the Elzebel.  No effect can cause a Reaped Spirit to move more than 10 squares away from Elzebel.  If Elzebel moves so that a Reaped Spirit would be more than 10 squares away, it immediately is pulled so that it is within 10 squares of Elzebel.  When Elzebel dies, the Reaped Spirit disappears.


Soul Flitter
     A Reaped Spirit is not affected by any type of area affect attack including blasts and bursts.

Standard Actions
Harass  *  At-will 
     +5 vs. Fortitude; 4 damage
Soul Ray  * At-will
     Range 10; +5 vs. AC; 3 damage 


Alignment Unaligned   Languages -
Str 14 (+2) Dex 13 (+1) Wis 15 (+2)
Con 14 (+2) Int 13 (+1) Cha 14 (+2)


Elzebel’s Motivation


Orcus granted Elzebel several boons.  The first of these boons was the ability to change her shape in order to fit in among the diverse populations of the world, but this ability was limited in its scope, restricting her to taking the forms of only children; however, in order to maintain this boon, Orcus required that she continuously seek to pull others into darkness and evil.  This boon became Elzebel’s purpose for being.

After many years of being very successful in her quest to convert good people to evil, Elzebel once again caught Orcus’s eye.  His experiment had been working out beautifully.  He granted Elzebel another boon which would allow her to expand her power even further; every time Elzebel could subvert and tempt an individual into not only turning away from the path of good, but also convince them to kill an innocent or a friend, Elzebel would be gifted with the soul of the deceased.  Every soul bound to Elzebel in this way would allow Elzebel to quickly grow in Strength.

After being granted with this, the latest boon of Orcus, Elzebel became a very small, but influential player in the turn to extinguish any existing points of light throughout the world.  Elzebel became wholly motivated to turning good people against not only innocents, but also close friends.  This began Elzebel’s pursuit of power.


Elzebel’s Appearance


Elzebel always appears before others as a young waif or an orphan of an appropriate race in the region to which she inhabits.  She most often takes the form of a small human girl.  The form she uses frequently appears to be no older than five years old; she has short brown ragged hair, sometimes wound in ponytails.  She has freckled cheeks and is missing her two front teeth.  Although this form is her usual modus operandi, she is quickly able to interpret what form would appear cutest to any particular target.  She wears mostly rags and attempts to cover the two small black wings on her back; when asked about it, she insists that she was whipped or otherwise abused and that she cannot remove them.


If Elzebel is forced to engage in combat, she attempts to maintain her chosen form as long as possible, but when all those involved in the encounter have seen through her disguise, she reveals her true form.  Elzebel looks like a small sexless toddler.  It has curly black hair and its face is hardly discernable.  It has two little glowing black orb-like eyes and its mouth looks as though it has been sewn shut.  Elzebel’s fingers and toes can bend backwards and forwards a full 90 degrees in each direction.  The more powerful Elzebel has become through its pact with Orcus, the more it appears gruesome and undead.  Each level that Elzebel gains wilts Elzebel’s skin and turns it dry.  Elzebel speaks in a very whiny, shrill voice when in this form. 


Elzebel’s Personality


Elzebel is extremely cunning and wily.  She is, in many ways a leech.  She clings onto powerful good characters, appearing helpless and in need of protection.  She delights greatest in finding dimwitted clerics and paladins, worshippers of good deities who simply are incapable of seeing through her disguise.  She attempts to appear cute and childlike at every possible opportunity, often posing temptations to players in very childlike ways.  In her favorite form, she talks with a lisp, caused by lack of her two front teeth. 


Temptation Encounters with Elzebel


Covert Temptations


Elzebel seeks to tempt characters in one of two ways.  Her favorite and most productive approach is to work her way into a group of good individuals.  Her appearance, personality, and speech all allow her to quickly infiltrate a group of players.  Once she has joined a group and put under their protection, she begins her temptations slowly. 


Elzebel tries to maintain her childish appearance through her temptation.  She begins by tempting the players with things that appeal to basic human nature, or through things that she could actually accomplish.  She might start out by offering the players favors such as menial services, like cleaning or cooking in return for them hurting someone that she hates, but never claiming overtly that the individual in question has wronged her in any way (unless of course that claim would be true).  She may also attempt to tempt the players with pleasure; she might try to convince the players to take a very cold stance against slights, suggesting that hurting an individual who has committed even the smallest slight against the player “would make you feel good, wouldn’t it?”  She very cautiously encourages infighting by attempting to convince the character that she has formed the closes bond with that another player in that group has been doing things that are “unusual” or “weird”; she may also claim that the person is scary or that she thinks the individual might try to hurt her; she tries to convince players to seek vengeance for these kind of actions, by killing the player involved.


Overt Temptations


On some occasions, Elzebel acts overtly to subvert characters and push them towards evil.  She does this very rarely, but when feeling secure, or influencing characters well below her level in power (i.e. she feels secure that if things came to blows she could easily defeat the players involved), she will openly admit to being a “Servant of a Death Lord”.  She explains the time she spent in service of the Raven Queen.  She gives great details about that experience and all the souls she has ferried into the kingdom of the Raven Queen throughout this occupation; however, she never admits to being an acolyte or servant of Orcus.  She makes very certain to choose her words carefully in order to convince the characters that anything done upon her Request would be in service of “one who holds power over death” or that the players have been “chosen” to fulfill this purpose; she reassures the characters that “she will take very good care of the soul of the departed” and that the soul will “find its rightful place through her care.” When tempting characters in this way, Elzebel has several very potent offers to the players. 


She may offer the players a very overt favor in return for killing a weak innocent.  She gains even greater pleasure in killing children and will offer and actually follow through on any favor within her power of granting.  Elzebel also has offer to a good deal of wealth (equal to the gold that would be granted by slaying).  She may offer to give a character gold or even a powerful item in return for killing a weak individual (always of at least the level of the player to whom she is making the offer).


Using Elzebel in a game


Increasing Elzebel’s Level


Elzebel is a character that quickly grows in power throughout the game.  The second of the boons granted to her by Orcus allows her to level up very quickly.  Every time she subverts an individual, turning them towards evil and convinces a player character or NPC to kill an innocent individual, or a friend, Elzebel gains an additional level.  The monster statistic block above represents Elzebel when she gained her second boon by Orcus and marks the beginning of its exponential growth in power.


When Elzebel gains a level through the use of this special power, she increases all her defenses by 1, her attacks by 1, and the damage of her powers by 1 point, she also increases her hit points by 16.  Adjust her XP as an Elite creature of her level.  She gains an additional stat point in charisma every three levels.  Her skills are adjusted as such.


In addition, Elzebel’s Reaped Spirits also level up.  They each increase their defenses and attacks by 1 every level, and increase their damage by 1 every two levels.  They remain minions regardless of their level.  Adjust the XP granted for each of these creatures as minions of that level.


Killing Another Player


If Elzebel is ever able to convince a player to kill another player character (something she is always actively attempting to bring about), she absorbs the soul of the player that is killed.  A player’s soul which has been bound to Elzebel in this way cannot be resurrected through normal means.  This soul must be forcibly removed from Elzebel through a powerful magic ritual; even if Elzebel is killed, the souls remain bound to her immortal essence.  The Ritual is found below –


Unbind Soul


You call out to the ether and try to wrench the soul of your companion from the wicked entity that has bound it.


Level: 5                             Component Cost: 100 gp
Category: Binding             Market Cost: 500 gp
Time: 4 Hours                   Key Skill: Religion
Duration: Instantaneous 


When performing this ritual, you must burn candles in a circle around a part of the individual’s corpse.  Afterwards, you must sprinkle diamond dust on the character equal to the component cost of the spell.  The component cost of this spell changes based on the level of the entity the soul is being wrenched from; an entity of Paragon tier requires 1000 gp, and an entity of Epic tier requires 10,000 gp.


Once the ritual has been conducted, the soul is immediately wrenched from Elzebel; this ritual only serves to unbind that soul from Elzebel; the player must still be resurrected as per a Raise Dead spell in order to be put that individual’s soul back into its body.  In addition, Elzebel loses one level when the Unbind Soul ritual is successful, but she immediately becomes aware of the location and the caster of the spell and makes every attempt to take vengeance out on this individual.  The time frame for Raise Dead begins as soon as the Unbind Soul ritual is successful. 


Battle Encounters


Elzebel is very rarely in the company of Evil beings.  She sees no point in keeping such company as being in the presence of already Evil beings can grant Elzebel no benefit.  Most likely, a combat encounter with Elzebel happens when either she has been discovered as a wicked and mutated Angel in service of Orcus, or, she has corrupted the people in her following to the point where she can no longer gain any benefit from corrupting them further and killing those individuals would grant her some form of advantage. 


Although Elzebel is an Elite Creature, she is always capable of summoning to her at least 8 Reaped Spirits, and even more every level beyond 3rd.  Elzebel is almost always played as a solo encounter.  The minions she summons are significantly more powerful than others as they cannot be damaged by area effects.  Under rare circumstances, Elzebel may attempt to pit two groups of good aligned characters against each other.  She may wield her Reaped Spirits in such an encounter to push it in a particular direction. 


Optional Elements Used


Motivations
Debasement:  Elzebel desires to push good aligned characters toward evil in order to maintain its ability to shape change and in order to continue to receive boons from Orcus.

Infighting:  Elzelbel covertly tries to turn party members against each other.  She uses her powerful charismatic abilities and her excellent ability to lie in order to convince incredibly good, but slightly witless characters, that some other member of the group poses some threat to her or if true, has harmed her in some way, she may say “that person being here hurts me” a vague expression which insinuates that physical harm has come to pass.  She whispers urges to that player to seek vengeance on that player. 


Warmongering:  Elzebel uses similar tactics to turn players against unwitting NPCs and other innocents.  She uses her cunning to subvert player morales, slowly at first, and more blatantly when she believes she has pushed them very close to the edge or when she believes she is much more powerful than the players. 


Temptations
Deception:  Elzebel makes claims that are always in part the truth.  She convinces players that it might feel good to hurt someone else.  She urges them to hurt individuals whom she hates, leading the players to believe that the targeted individual is someone who may have abused or harmed her, which may sometimes be true.  If she overtly tempts the characters, admitting to be more than she seems, she always enforces that she serves “a lord of death”, providing a true history of her exploits with the Raven Queen, and any action done by Elzebel’s request would “be done at the will of the one she serves.”  She may use language that insinuates that the players have been “chosen” to commit this deed. 


Favor:  Elzebel offers very basic favors when she is acting covertly to debase and encourage warmongering.  She may offer powerful favors when dealing overtly with players. 


Pleasure:  Elzebel tries to convince the players that the deed that they commit will actually bring them pleasure and will feel good. 


Wealth:  Elzebel tempts playesr overtly with wealth, offering them gold and riches in return for harming innocent weaklings. 


Aftermaths
Promotion:  Elzebel always tries to get players to prey on those weaker them themselves.  Elzebel does not urge players to defeat powerful enemies, but rather attempts to convince them to harm the weak, especially commoners and defenseless innocents.  Whenever she is successful, she gains a level.  Because her targets are always weaker than her, when she grows stronger, she is always stronger than the individual targeted. 


Sacrifice:  If a player character is killed as part of her temptations, that player character’s soul is bound to Elzebel and a powerful ritual must be used to wrench that soul from her immortal essence even after she has been destroyed.

I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

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D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

YAY!  I finally make my return to this competition after over a year.  It is good to be back!  Gotta love it.  Enjoy.  Cool
I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

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D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

The philosophical discussion continues:

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I will stand by my willingness to "break" 4E rules by using a Non-Player Character (aka a Player Character build used by a DM) as opposed to a humanoid race monster (in this instance a Shadar-kai monster).  This is how this "villian" is envisioned, and I am perfectly willing to take the point deduction for "breaking" the rules for PC "opponents" in this competition.  This villian is not envisioned as a direct opponent for the PCs in game play, but only as an NPC who attempts to subvert the goals of the PCs while they are caught between a rock and a hard place.  You could effectively remove the stat block above, give him 10 hit points, a 1000 defense, resist everything 100 and regen 10 per round, and achieve the same desired result.  The "villian" as designed can be thwarted, ignored, cheated, or even temporarily defeated, but never ultimately put down for the count.

I know this breaks the "rules" of "everything is a monster that can be killed" in 4E.  For the sake of story I think it is worth breaking the rules to create an interesting story twist for the players.  That is kind of the point of creating a subversive villian that the characters can't just trample over in the course of seeking loot.  This is not intended to be a combat encounter monster.  The stats are essentually superfluous as the NPC will not attack the characters, they will simply refuse to help them if they make a nuisance of themselves.

The encounter is a Role Playing encounter.  The characters have died, they are in spirit form in the shadowfell without abilities or equipment, and Thomas is willing to hand them a get out of death free card which comes with certain conditions.  That is the essence of a subversive villian.  He's looking for some quid pro quo, and willing to leverage some PCs caught in a tough spot to get it.  This doesn't make him a nice guy, but it does make him a reasonable one (and more subversive due to his entirely reasonable approach).

If this makes the subversive villian unplayable because 4E insists everything be readily killable by a PC party, then so be it.  I will not cry about losing this competion over lost points for "breaking" form.  I will hope that some DMs can see the potential here, and find something in my idea here which they can use in their own campaign, even if they need to modify it to meet the rules for monsters.

As far as attitude is concerned, I have not done any more than explain my position.  If that is having a bad attitude in someone's opinion, then they are certainly entitled to that belief.  I simply feel I am trying to communicate my thoughts on the issue in a clear manner without creating unnecessary personality conflicts.  I also do not presume to be able to convince anyone of my "rightness" in terms of proper 4E conventions.  I simply am willing to let my entry stand as it is.  If that guarantees I lose the competition, then I really haven't been hurt by it have I?

@zmortis - i think they read your entry as trying to say that they don't understand the rules.  it may not have been your intent, but it can be read that way.  I agree with your position in all honesty.  I find it easier to play NPC's exactly the same as characters, mainly, because I often take off the DM hat and give it to another player and I simply pick up an NPC (which is rolled the same way as any other character) and play it.  I don't see why a DM can't decide to do this in his game.  However, the assertion you were making is about how the rules are read, and the assertion was wrong (despite being grounded on perfectly logical, and maybe even correct judgment).

I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

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@shinobicow A very impressive entry on your part.  I think Thomas would be glad to pursue a the Raven Queen's bounty against Elzebel. 

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I concur that I am applying logic over formal interpretation of the 4E rules.  I certainly have no problem with opponents being designed as humanoid monsters, I just object to the concept that the only way opponents for players can be designed is as humonoid monsters.  I find that a fairly limited way of looking at the issue, especially with characters which began their life on the PC side of the fence, and transitioned to the NPC side as they become "meta" beings in a campaign. 

Perhaps I am wrong for allowing these "meta" NPC beings to exist in the structure in 4E.  However, as a DM and long time player of pen and paper RPGs I find that role playing interesting villians/opponents for the characters is more important than building a series of uninteresting combat foes.  It is certainly possible to make a villian which is both interesting in Role Play and combat.  However, this particular villian had it's genesis from PC, and I feel it would be "jumping the shark" to suddenly have it lose all of its PC abilities when it became a humanoid "monster".  Thus my use of the classic definition for NPC which is no longer supported by 4E.  I am not pretending to be presenting the proper kind of 4E monster here.  I am using a classical NPC definition in this case.  If this makes me "wrong" under 4E, then I admit my inferiority, and my willingness to be penalized for my inferiority.  I have no problem with it. 

However, I do think there are some interesting characteristics, and some "meta" game issues at work here.  What happens with PCs who have outgrown their original campaign setting?  Must they all undergo monsterization, or is there a possibility of a second life under the classical definition of NPC.  As a DM I don't like to waste useful and interesting characterizations because the current 4E rules don't allow DM character builds. 


I hope this helps.