Sunday, April 22, 2012

"By the Iron Boots of Gorslaug!"

Whilst the possession of a class, or classes, by the traditional "monster" races is no longer any great shock, I feel that the use of this device should be a distinct rarity. A classed monster is, should be, at least, a shock. Something that not only surprises the players (and player characters), but also something that forces a rethinking of the encounter.

Whether this rethinking causes long-term issues, philosophical quandaries, or a mere tactical reevaluation depends solely on the choice of the DM. Encountering an ogre fighter is a far different dilemma than encountering an ogre paladin...

Given my own idiosyncrasies, I lean towards the more startling and unusual. I prefer the classed monster to be a character unique in its own right, and since it is a special case, I desire it to be a special challenge. An ogre fighter is merely more powerful, an ogre fighter who is questing for a lost artifact in order to save his clan/smash the fortress of a heroic/villainous crusading order/bring about ruin to the orcish hordes/dwarven realms is a very different beast. As a result, I tend towards crafting quasi-opponents. These being characters that might combat the player characters, but are not necessarily destined to do so.

In accordance with this idea, I present a quick sketch of Morvidus ap Rivallo, a quickling necromancer.

More amoral than evil, Morvidus is brilliant, devious, and sly. He lacks the basic understanding, common to humans and demi-humans, of moral behaviour and, as such, can fit in well as a scheming villain who's ultimate goal will bring ruin to civilisation. Doubly so, since his class provides him the ability to manufacture unquestioning minions. However, he can also fill the role of the dubiously accepted ally. He'll find any paladin or cleric to be more baffling than obnoxious and can provide information or assistance in dealing with a truly evil foe.

He stands a mighty 2 feet, 3 inches tall and possesses the characteristic lean build of his kind. His skin is pale from hiding in haunted woodlands and libraries of dubious ethics which, combined with his black hair and lambent green eyes, gives him the appearance of a short and sinister apparition. His attire is as close to "villainous musketeer" as one is comfortable with, and, yes, that does include the waxed mustache and beard.

As his statistics will vary depending on his chosen role, I choose not to include them save to make note of two items he normally carries. These being a ring of water-walking and the dagger of ill-fortune (a long sword in his small, yet capable, hands). This latter item is of but a +1 enchantment, but also forces those struck to make a saving throw versus spells or be afflicted by a curse that causes them to suffer a -1 penalty on all saving throws for a full week.

The title of the post is his most common oath (which he may use profanely or not, as the mood strikes him) and possibly one of his goals (they being the footwear of the first and mightiest redcap).       

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