So I have a half-elf player who plans on having the Siberys Mark of Storm. She was raised with pirates and is, herself, a pirate and treasure hunter. When her mark manifests, I'm trying to figure out how House Lyrander will react. My assumption is that the first course of action would be to try and convince the heir to join the house officially and bring her into the fold, teaching her their ways. I'm certain that this is something the character would immediately rebuff. What would their response to such a rejection be? Heirs of Siberys are powerful and dangerous to have running about unattended. Would House Lyrandar eventually come to the point of hiring, say, Phiarlan of Thuranni to assassinate a rogue Heir of Siberys?
I doubt they would go that far unless the PC were actively working against the house in much more direct of a manner than just raiding the occassional shipment.
I mean, this PC represents the absolute pinnacle of Lyrandar power, the rarest of the rare. Its far more likely that if they couldn't talk her into joining up officially they would work to start attatching strings to her left and right so they could control her.
Assassination certainly wouldn't be the first option. And I don't know that I'd even want to run a campaign with the constant threat of an assassination against on of the PCs playing a big part. What I'm thinking is this, though:
The PC is a pirate. She has raided Lyrandar ships in the past. Now she has the ability to outperform almost any Lyrandar heir she encounters. What strings do you attach to her? How do you control someone that is in direct conflict with your business and now carries an advantage. More over, she's bad press. There's a rogue Lyrandar pirate roaming free stealing from ships and causing trouble? Something might have to be done. And fast.
Mind you, the plan for the character is to transition her from simple pirate to legendary hero. So, she may ultimately be far less of a threat than Lyrandar may initially think. And that certainly solves the problem. Plus the party has a patron that is trying to keep them a well-kept secret (so long as it suits him to do so).
So they can't match her in a direct confrontation, what about the other aspects of her life? What is she going to do if her port of call is suddenly wracked by terrible storms that her Mark only seems to intensify?
Does she have loved ones? What happens if the House manages to convince them to become well-kept scions of the house, on the condition that she joins. They could all retire to luxury in Stormhome, she just has to stop attacking the House and do some PR for them. Or maybe they disappear entirely and everytime she attacks Lyrandar interests, one of them turns up, quite a bit worse for wear.
Circulate a bounty among her social circle, not for her, but for anything she has. Have people constantly taking her possessions and attempting to rob her of her pirating conquests. Heck, just have someone take her favorite comb. And that dirty glass she never even cared about until it came to her attention that she no longer has any others. Or take what no sailor can live without: her booze.
Think of Lyrandar as a storm descending on her home. She might be able to survive just fine, but that storm will easily destroy everything else. There are many ways to destroy a woman, and Lyrandar has the resources to explore every one of them.
You are also grossly overestimating the effectiveness of that mark, IMO.
The syberis DM does not grant the powers of the other marks, and at most lets her cast Storm of Vengeance twice a day. Once a day if she hasn't finished maxxing out the PrC.
Yes, it is a powerful spell with a huge area of effect, but it's duration is very limited. 10 rounds, thats 1 minute. And she can only do it once, maybe twice a day. Given that this PC has to be pretty darned powerful just to take the PrC in the first place, its not like the house would be trying a full frontal assault on her with reasonable force to begin with. Effectively, her mark doesn't matter as far as how she would be attacked outright.
House Lyrander would definitely be trying to control her through indirect means.
You said she was raised by pirates, so direct threats against her family probably won't mean much, as her family would be the pirates she's with. You could always ruin her name though. Get another member of the house to impersonate her and start raiding villaiges, killing innocent people, etc. Turn the tide of public opinion against her until even her fellow pirates (that aren't literally on the ship with her to know better) refuse to deal with her or her crew. Or start tracking her movements and attack any place she visits after she leaves, so that everyone fears to come close to her because they know death and destruction always follow behind her. Or start bribing all of her contacts to be informants and traitors to her cause. Make it so she can't trust anyone because every last pirate in the sky is taking bribes to stimey her every chance they get.
If you can't attack someone directly, you attack their support base instead. Cut off their access to fresh supplies, harry them with small losses until they are in a Death by 1,000 Cuts scenario. Instead of trying to fight her in the way that uses hitpoints and dice rolls, fight her ability to live the lifestyle she wants to live.
While I suspect you are aware, be careful before you start targetting NPCs the player has a bond with. You are giving the wrong signal, namely that caring about the world is a bad thing that can be exploited by the DM to force the player into a situation he does not want to be in. Furthermore, if Lyrandor really had that kind of resources, why the hack do they tolerate piracy? The fact is that they are a business and at some point the costs outweight the benefits. Besides, it is not as if she ever has been part of the house and honestly betrayed them nor is she telling the whole world she is a member of the house.
I would imagine that once they learn of her existence, they would check her records. If she is a vile murderous pirate, they would just keep an eye on her until her actions draw their ire, but that would be through normal piracy and not the mark. It is not as if Lyrandor acts enmass to the Bloodreavers and similar brutal pirats. If she is a general respectable pirate, stealing, but not murdering, and shown to be at least somewhat trustworthy, they are likely to approach her in secret with a few missions that test her mettle and trustworthiness. They might not even mention they are part of Lyrandor. Once she and her crew have proven to be at least somewhat reliable, they might approach her with an actual offer sweetening the deal with a powerful elemental ship a rich salary for her, her crew, her loved ones and jobs of her liking. If she refuses, so be it. Keep offering, especially when she could really use their help (for example when she really needs help against those bloodreavers she angered). Help her through little ways. Show her the friendly face of the house and how such an alliance could benefit her as well. For example, let Lyrandor learn about a plot against her by a rival pirate gang and warn her, free of charge of course
Mind you, all of this assumes they even learn of her existence. Granted, hiding a Sybernis mark is not easy, but nor is its detection automatic. Ask your player what she wants. Obviously, the character is well aware that the mark is going to draw a lot of attention. Would she want to show it? But also as a player, does she want it to become the focus of a sideplot of the campaign? Or does she want to keep it to behind the scene stuff? In the end it is her character, and doing anything drastic with a PC should never be done without that player's concent. Sometimes a player makes his PC an orphan because he does not want the hassle of parents, sometimes it is an open invitation to do something with it. Just make sure you as a DM knows what it is
Any power House Lyrander doesn't have directly, they have a shipping empire that can more than afford to hire House Deneith mercenaries.
And actually its a Spellcraft check to ID a mark, but that includes knowing what abilities it has. I would not require a check at all to go "Yup, thats a Dragonmark. No idea what it does, but thats definitely a Dragonmark on a half elf. Must be one of them thar Lyranders."
In retrospect, I was, perhaps, exaggerating the effectiveness of her mark. I'm biased in that I read the Draconic Prophecies trilogy and had an image of Gaven stuck in my head as how the Siberys marks should act. And I suppose that stuck with me. After reading the Legacy of Dhakaan trilogy, I'm more aware of how a house is willing to deal with rebellious Heirs of Siberys. My player is planning on taking a number of classes and feats to expand her storm-related capabilities, but ultimately I think you're right; there would be little reason to send assassins after her unless she did something so extreme that it was necessary to protect the House as a whole.
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