Monday, December 20, 2010

Gygaxian Democracy #6: 37 Villains

More Gygaxian Democracy

Here are 37 villains--not just foes, but arch-schemers.

I rolled up random traits for each one using Jacquays' "Central Casting".

All you have to do is pick one and make it make sense. Elaborate in any direction that will make the villain usable and interesting--including tying one villain to another.

Making it goofy is easy--a manticore with a mold allergy is already goofy. Making it not goofy is harder...

1. an unusually intelligent, independent eye of dread born in a bar, serves a harvest god

2. blubeard, a drunken pirate king, someone important died when he was born

3. mad king from a foreign land, left hand is scaly claw

4. a young witch betrothed in a political marriage to be consummated upon reaching age of majority

5, a red drider queen living peacably among humans

6. immobile whispering statue* (crow tattooed on face) knows magic

7. eel medusa (married)

8.albino (intelligent) flail snail who serves an infamous master

9. pudding, skilled at math, controls animals has adopted a young human

10. Chasme with mind control powers served by a gobiln

11.seahag who lusts after luxury

12. fishwife who is an informant to a higher power

13. goblin attempting to end his life of villainy skilled at duelling

14.maggot naga with healing abilities

15. (ordinary) naga once enslaved and forced to bear children

16. sorceress medusa whose lover's parents were slain by an artist

17. nephilidian vampire queen who serves a baron as part of a complicated wager

18. unicorn-head guy who is a friend of a much older character

19. mind flayer whose ally died of a disease

20. demon who will inherit a kingdom if it can first produce an heir

21. giant centipede with excellent hygiene

22.vampire vengeful and EXTREMELY (rolled it twice) angry

23. depressed white elf sorcerer

24. white tiger rakshasa female w/ a phobia about magic

25.manticore with a vulnerability to mold

26. succubus with an unconscious physical tic

27. necrophiliac slaad

28. marilith allied to a half-elf

29. eye of fear and flame that's also a baron

30. beholder served by a cat

31. an orange eye of the deep

32. lich who was told to seek out his sibling companion by a mysterious voice (my guess is the sibling is the eye of fear and flame)

33. demilich obsessed with a half-elf rival (same one marilith is allied to?)

34. Glasya (from MM2)--who is allied to her second cousin

35. jubilex-allied to a dragon

36. demogorgon--a marquis

37. tiamat--served by an serpent

*courtesy of greypumpkin's response to the last Gygaxian Democracy post


Adam Dickstein said...

Oh I gotta do this one! The Eye of Fear and Flame is my favorite undead in D&D.

29-Baron Rathorn Val-Volgus is a shrew businessman, a brilliant tactician and an astute student of Headology.* He also died sometime ago though no one in his employ is currently away of this.

When a fire in his keep killed his beloved wife and only heir, fear of his own death somehow absorbed a portion of the flames into his eye. While Val-Volgus perished that day in the traditional sense he lives on as an Eye of Fear and Flame.

His only living relative is a mage who, unbeknowst to him, is not living at all but who has become a lich.

He runs the thieves guilds of several towns in his jurisdiction and focuses on obtained material wealth and hiding his, um, condition.

Adam Dickstein said...

Sorry, for those unfamiliar with 'Headology'...

The Cramp said...

7. eel medusa (married)
The commoners of the northern islands have a saying, “what the sea wants, the sea shall have.” She of the rocks, sister of the tide, bringer of the red moon. The Medusa of the stone coast is called by many names, but was given as Oona, and taken as Allister. Her husband, 4th of the Allister Clan, caught her as she bathed on the black rocks at the eastern reaches of his family fishing grounds. He took her, believing her to be a Selkie out of her skin, she trapped in her human from out of the sea. Horrified to find that he had a horror of the deep, and not a maid of the sea in his grasp he hid her away from her home in his family's tower. Now at the eve of his death, his enchantments weaken, and Oona Wronged-by-Allister, has sworn bloody revenge against his lands and people. His crimes are grave, but how many must be made to suffer because of his deeds?

(Evidently, Eel Medusa are really fucking dangerous.)

Anonymous said...

Ever since she slew her first sailing crew, the sea hag Ilixea has been jealous of the opulence of the surface-dwellers. The captain's quarters alone were more riches than she'd ever seen, and purloined books spoke of grand castles and majestic palaces, all far grander than her dank underwater cave.

Determined that such luxury should not be denied her while the lesser beings of the world (e.g. humans) reveled in it, Ilixea took what was, for her, the most natural path to acquiring riches: make someone else collect them for her.

Her first attempt to make others undertake the work and risk on her behalf ended badly. She seduced a pirate king, hoping to make him shower her with his purloined wealth. It went well enough until the ship's wizard, suspecting something was amiss, took matters into his own hands. One dispel magic later, Ilixea's charm was broken, and her disguise undone. She barely escaped with her life from the wrathful captain and his wizard.

She took more from the encounter than she'd bargained for, however, and soon after the ill-fated seduction, found that she was pregnant. Possessing just enough maternal instinct to discard the son she bore on the shore-line, instead of eating it as she would have done with any other human baby. The same day that she gave birth, she tracked down and killed the child's father, the pirate king she'd seduced months previous, in revenge for his impregnating her and not falling for her scheme.

Refocusing her sights to her fellow undersea denizens, who were far less likely to have meddlesome allies to help them, Ilixea continued to weave her magic to make others get her what she wanted. After years of manipulation and many charmed servants who died stealing goods for her, Ilixea's only remaining servant is the eel-medusa Triane. Triane has been charmed by the sea hag so often that she now believes that she's in love with Ilixea, and considers herself to be married to her.

Anonymous said...

However, Ilixea's original plan would unexpectedly bear fruit from its initial failure. The child of the pirate king she'd abandoned would grow to become a pirate king himself, far greater than his father. Taking the name Bluebeard, he'd been leaving a trail of mayhem in his wake as he pillaged, plundered, and raped his way across up and down the coast. Ilixea learned of this recently when one of his victims, a fish wife named Kleigh, reported the activities of Bluebeard to the sea hag. Kleigh had long been one of Ilixea's charmed servants, kept under her spell to report if the people in her village ever found out about Ilixea's existence and tried to move against her.

Bluebeard, for his part, has begun to have disturbing dreams about a hideous hag, demanding that he dump half of the booty he's collected into the sea in tribute to her. "After all," cackles the crone in his dreams, "I gave you life, so this is little to ask in return." Bluebeard, of course, has done no such thing, and has turned to drinking in desperation to try and blot out the nighttime visions.

It hasn't worked, however, and worse yet, lately a strange eel-haired monster has been attacking his crew at random, killing several of them. The hag in his dreams says this will continue until he pays her proper respect with a tribute, and Bluebeard is beginning to grow truly desperate.

It's that desperation that's led him to put out a call for adventurers, hoping they can solve his problem. He's promised generous shares of his booty to anyone who can slay the eel-haired monster and quiet the hag who haunts his dreams. But are the PCs willing to aid such a villainous figure, and can his promises be trusted? How will they slay a foe that can disappear into the depths of the sea? And why is that fisherman's wife watching them so closely?

Jim said...

30. beholder served by a cat

Maloc has always been a bit eccentric. Sure, he has eye powers, but he also is a self-trained mage. Years ago, he cast Find Familiar and was bound to Mr. Mouser, the tabby cat. (He kind of looks like this -- -- you can see a distinctive “M” on his forehead)

Maloc is desirous of power, but he also (being lawful) wants to operate within the systems and structures of civilization. This is difficult for an eye tyrant, so he has created a persona, that of the young wizard “Mallick”. He uses Polymorph Self (his only 4th level spell) in dire emergencies, but mostly he uses various human slaves as his proxy (via the use of his Charm Person ray).

At all times, Mr. Mouser is near to his puppets (or at his side) keeping a watch on the proceedings...

Adam Dickstein said...

23. depressed white elf sorcerer (Note: I am unfamiliar with the 'White Elf' subspecies of Elf so I'm basing this on the 'Pale Elves' of my own setting - based on but not identical)

His is called Neverlight by the few he speaks to who than speak to him. An Elven Sorcerer or so they say from the White Elves of the Chalk Barrow Hills. Yes, one of them. All dead you say? Perhaps. Stories tell that he is the last of his kind. He saved himself from the destruction of his home and his people by the casting of a most rare spell, bestowed upon him by Epoch, The Time Teller.

As legend has it the temporal elemental known as Epoch gave Neverlight the ability to go forward in time. Forward to an age where his people are extinct and his realm is dust.

Now Neverlight spends every waking moment, every coin, every ounce of his power to reverse the effect. He would rather go back in time and die with his loved ones than live here, in the now, a relic. A fool out of time. They say he controls a secret organization of wizards, mystics and strange creatures all in fear of him and all striving to help him achieve his goal. Among the menagerie in his employ is an intelligent, albino flail snail whom he sometimes rides as time is of little concern.

He is also immortal and unaging. Every forward he creeps through the years but never back to where he wants to go.

Unknown said...

6. immobile whispering statue (crow tattooed on face) knows magic.

Ok I got excited apparently. I'm trying to reinvigorate my creativity with these Gygaxian Democracy's (thanks Zak!).

Ancient, undiscovered books speak of a being called 'The First' - The entity that breached the barriers between the 3rd dimension and those beyond, allowing slivers and trickles of sinister, maddening energy to permeate all of the souls and objects of this universe and its worlds. The First subjugated ancient man, crippling his mind and castrating his soul so that his curious intellect and troublesome creativity would not impede its studies and ministrations. For aeons, mankind, his enemies and his allies were but slaves to The First, silently screaming their despair into their own empty minds and driven further into servitude by its echoes.

The First, after torturous and uncounted millennia, finally appeared satisfied or bored with its research and left our universe abruptly. Fearful and alone, the starved and wretched remnants of life was left to remake itself under the terrible influence of whatever strangeness had slipped through to our existence, creeping about sowing malevolence and corruption.

Most of this is speculation, of course. The texts could not detail the time of The First, for such was the state of life that no records were kept and what happened cannot and should not be discovered... But after millennia, chroniclers began to write on bizarre, rugged pages with ink from extinct sources. They wrote of The First, in horror and awe. They wrote of how it flew on black wings and spread its malice with talons of pure darkness. They wrote of the hard, angular protrusion from which it spat forth its annihilation and chaos, sounds of pure agony. The shapeless darkness, always clawing at the edges of your thoughts, raping and scattering them with unrestrained malevolence. And they wrote of his legacy: they wrote of Magic.

Somehow, life overcame the darkness he left behind. Somehow, life pushed it back and back and closed the rifts. But they could not be rid of it. Shadows of it remained, and shadows of it raked at the boundaries of everything. Haunting energies that man began to challenge. Energies that man began to trick and manipulate. And not only man.

But soon, history implies, civilisations were established while the books were not so ancient and certainly not at all undiscovered. Secretly, men began to study The First, from the aeons old grimoires that were despised by all sane men. These men conspired to find one another and share their discoveries, forming blasphemous cults and plotting a new subjugation so that they could begin to embrace and understand some of what made The First so powerful.

Statues began to appear. Beautiful statues, perfection of the ages art, expressions of mankinds innermost thoughts and feelings. In trading hubs and wild forests alike, statues began to appear, each with a single avian feature. Something dark, something offensive, but always distinctly avian.

Records from the time following have never been located, and what is written here is what has been discovered in fractured caves, written on the tarnished and corroded remains of indestructible materials. Theories vary wildly, but most assume that the civilisation of that time came to a violent end long long ago. What became of the cult and the implications of the statues are argued endlessly between philosophers, historians, sorcerers and madmen.

... more to follow

Unknown said...

And now: The stunning resolution!!

The truth is, the cult was discovered. That small score of twisted men and the powerful magical vessels that were the statues of The First almost overcame the armies and mages of a thousand cities. The magics involved were of such magnitude that only the most powerful or most isolated aspects of life survived. In the last days the cultists were on the verge of defeat. 8 heroes from across the world hunted the cult, destroying their statues, mindless with vengeance and awesome with power. Nothing remained of the civilisation. The cult was routed by the might of the champions and in desperation they unleashed magics that would lock their souls and knowledge into their statues. The magic went awry and tore away parts of their souls and minds, and in turn tore away parts of everything that existed. The cultists were no more, and the champions weakened and half dead from the chaos. The conflict was over, yet the final statue remained.

Within, it contains pieces of everything. The scattered pieces of the cultists minds, the most powerful force in the statue, slowly began to reform, joining with one another and sharing their magic. It contains the remnants of world crushing power and the components of all creation. The only hint of sentience belongs to The Cult Of The First, slowly reforming, the individual threads thrashing and clawing at one another until some dominance is established. The whispers of these men, in languages not spoken since before there was a moon and in phrases not even understood then, creep forth in darkness. Madness strikes as the words fall, but some day, someone may have the will to withstand their strangeness and the horrible gift of understanding them...


I think I just wrote a campaign. Sorry.

Marc said...

4. a young witch betrothed in a political marriage to be consummated upon reaching age of majority.

Ambroggio Costa, most honorable merchant prince and Duke of Pontia and Trevere, has always wanted the lands and vineyards of his neighbour, baron De Lucca. What the duke wants, the duke has to have it, so he has passed the last twenty years trying to get those lands.

As he knew baron De Lucca would never sell his ancestors' lands, duke Ambroggio has done his best to secretly undermine the baron's businesses so as to end up saving his economy for a little price: his lands. Needless to say, duke Ambroggio has been successful but the agreement comes with a little "extra": in order to get the vineyards, he has to marry the baron's daughter, Marzia, when she comes of age.

Marzia is a pretty 15 year old girl who shares the secret of all the De Lucca females: magic and madness run through her blood. Unbeknownst to the baron, his wife and daughters have been preparing Marzia to be the weapon of their revenge against duke Ambroggio. This teenage, cute faced monster will stop at nothing to make his future husband's life miserable in all it's aspects... and has something nasty prepared for his soul too, just in case he would be able to get to die before she's done with him.

Seth S. said...

9- Thousands of years ago, Lord Cyril, the kingdom's treasurer master of numbers, went exploring in the Lost Man's Catacombs where it is said you can find things that appear no where else. What's more likely to happen is you are eaten by the monster's that live there. Which is exactly what happened as Lord Cyril searched for the Final Algorithm, a mathematical formula that is said to make complete sense of the world and bestow those who understand it with manipulation of reality itself. He was devoured by a purplish black ooze with not much intelligence.

But as this pudding ate away at the Lord's flesh, it began to think. Despite not having a brain it seemed to gain some of Lord Cyril's and with it, the Lord's love of numbers and math. But alas, the ooze had no way to record its calculations so it used its natural acidic properties to form its thoughts into the very earth itself. This had an effect on a large scale and over time the pudding had altered the tunnels of the Catacomb's so that they resembled math problems. Simple at first, but with growing complexity as the slime learned its craft.

Like Cyril, the slime searches for the Final Algorithm, but more so for the joy it would bring him than the power. And though he has yet to find it, he has developed a few formulas with various powers of his own. He can now predict the behavior of lower intelligence entities which he uses to manipulate the animals and monsters in the surrounding area to aid in his search. About 20 years ago, one of his servant's raids returned with an infant boy. The slime realized the potential of such a being and has such decided to raise him like a son. This young man has developed his 'father's' capacity for numbers and works with him in his calculations. Since he is able to record their findings on parchment in a much faster way, their progress has has increased exponentially recently and they are certain the Final Algorithm is not far away...

Unknown said...

Haha awesome. The Final Algorithm had better not involve gas chambers or sauerkraut...

liza said...

(Please forgive my crappy english)
Jaldabaoth (20) is a lesser demon, the only survivor of the infernal army with which the Things from the Pit tried to invade the Middle Realities. When the Immanent Powers defeated the Things and sealed the hole they had made in the universe, Jaldabaoth fled the battle and wandered the world for millenia, becoming a minor character in various mythologies. However, the ambitious Jaldabaoth is tired of his errand life and has concocted a plan.
After aeons, the Pit’s seals have weakened and the demon can contact again with the Things bibbling at the bottom of the universe. Their former master, acknowledging him as their only surviving pawn, have promised to forgive his defection and to crown Jaldabaoth as ruler of the dark empire that surrounds the Pitt… on one condition: he must produce an heir, the prophesied Messiah of the Pit who’ll release the Things from their prison.
This is harder than it seems, for no known female of the known races can survive the lethal lustiness of the demon. Established in the Annular City on the edge of the Pit under the guise of a wealthy slave trader, Jaldabaoth buys each day scores of ill-fated concubines for his Palace of the Tremulous Flesh, a harem the size of a city. His last hope now resides in Lamyah (15), the only surviving female of the ancient race of Nagas, who has give birth some surviving child-monsters for Jaldabaoth.
Time is running out for the demon. Desperate, Jaldabaoth fills Lamyah with his attentions and gifts, gradually falling under her influence. The intrigant Naga, known as the Slave Princess, is expanding her network of intrigues on the Annular City thank to the most successful of her surviving sons, Prosobranco,(8) an albino flail snail with extremely decadent customs. Lamyah fells that she soon will bear the Messiah of the Pit and have her owm plans for him and for the empire… plans that not include Jaldabaoth.

Chris Lowrance said...

In modern parlance, she is severely OCD, in the least. It's why she became a maid - with no family she had to make money somehow, and with her condition she certainly couldn't hold down any other job. It isn't that clutter bothers her - it's people, and animals, and the things that come out of them. The sick glistening wetness of their eyes, the grease and sweat secreted from their skin... and worse. The loathsome properties of her own body are a daily torment. She eats and drinks as little as she can, to minimize the disgusting after-effects, and her skin is a constant bright red from being scrubbed raw.

Unfortunately, the Baroness took notice of her newest servant's odd ways. Always the type to enjoy making smaller things suffer, she called for the girl during a dinner party and forced a kiss on her. When the girl recoiled, the Baroness grew enraged. She ordered her chained within a box, where the guests took turns spitting on her before it was nailed shut, carried into the garden and buried.

However, one guest stood aside and merely watched during all this. It isn't that the disguised demon (take a pick from this list) was sympathetic to the maid - it just saw an opportunity. As the girl, now insane from her ordeal, began to suffocate in her grave, something crawled into her ear and whispered in her mind.

There were no survivors in the shattered mansion. The dried-out husk of the Baroness was spotted impaled on the top of a tree. And then the nearby town was obliterated. And the next. And any villages or homesteads between. All in the direction of the nearest city. And those who had read from the oldest texts spoke in hushed tones of the return of the Cleansing Worm.

Chris Lowrance said...

(It's obvious once you read it, but for clarity mine was 21)

thekelvingreen said...

3. mad king from a foreign land, left hand is scaly claw

The king is a puppet. The hand is a parasite which has taken over the king's mind, hence the impression that he has become mad, for he is literally not himself.

King Facusnit was once an adventurer who slew the Lizard Lord of the Southern Swamps and who eventually gained the throne of a small but stable kingdom. While not a famous ruler, he was popular and well-liked, and on his fiftieth birthday, he received gifts from all over the world. One was a preserved reptilian claw, complete with a card with only the words "For Memory" written upon it.

The next morning, Facusnit ordered his armies to begin training for war. He gathered his most trusted warriors and spies, and sent each on a mysterious quest. People began to notice that there was something wrong with the king's behaviour, and others noted that there was something wrong with his hand.

The claw belongs to the Lizard Lord, and has been magically grafted to Facusnit's arm, in place of his own hand, of which the whereabouts are unknown. The Lizard Lord is taking his revenge on the man who slew it, while also using the man's resources to scour the world for the rest of its body, for when the parts are reunited, the Lizard Lord can live again!

Or something.

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

Here's a couple of sympathetic villains:

4. a young witch betrothed in a political marriage to be consummated upon reaching age of majority.

Caera Misal is a beautiful 17 year old witch. She was taken from her clan's land in the Mountains of the Surpharr. She is betrothed to the Marquis of Haldirazzt (Not the Demogorgon one). Haldirazzt is a three-quarters-orc, with a taste for northern humans. She will be his 6th such wife. The others have lasted from two months (the first wife) to a year (the fifth). Caera had just begun learning magic when she was taken by the slavers. As such she has little control over it, and knows almost no spells. She is in telepathic contact with the formerly enslaved Naga Sss'lini N'aan, who is sympathetic to her predicament. However, Sss'lini is quite mad as a result of her captivity, and will kill any male she sees, unless she makes a succesful Will save (DC 35) no matter what side they are on.

DukeofOrange said...

3. mad king from a foreign land, left hand is scaly claw

Long ago, the lizard armies of Ssvithiss-Tor ravaged the kingdoms of far off Ghanurine. Many thousands were killed, and the kingdom would have been overrun where it not for the mighty sword of the warrior king Kellak Sten III. In single combat he slew Ssvithiss, the serpent lord and smote his wrecked corpse from atop the ramparts, where all could see his triumph. But this was a pyrric victory, for in the battle the Kings hand was wounded and set with the slow necrotic poison of his horrible serpent adversary. No magic could delay of purify the venom, and so the hand was amputated. Still the unclosing wound continued to rot, bleeding profusely, for there was only one flesh that could resist the bite of Ssvithiss-Tor. And so the King was saved by the hand of his most hated foe, forever a reminder of his hollow victory. No attempt to convert the flesh to that of a man would succeed, and the serpent-flesh began to infect his blood. Even his seed was corrupted so, for his son, and grandson, and so on for many generations were all born with the serpenthand of Ssvithiss-Tor. In recent years a latent curse has arisen in those who bare this mark of shame. Nightly they are plagued by visions of their ancestral foes, rising from their beds to slay hallucinatory adversaries. Kellak Sten XXVI, reigning king of Ghanurine has embarked on a great crusade against all of scalykind in a effort to remove his family's shame, but his scalemares are growing worse, and he often refuses to sleep. Edging on insanity, thirsting for revenge against a foe who cannot provide it, Sten sees allies of the snake in every town, every alley, every shadow. Woe be to those upon whom he places blame!

Jack said...

A Maggot Naga with Healing abilities....

Love it.

Trent_B said...

Oh FYI, I have only just realised that my #6 guy has an asterisk. Given this new (to me) information, I definitely did not create a canon option. I literally just D30'd it and rolled a 6.

Sorry if I stole/ruined anyones thunder!

Still... I like the statue description and I think it kinda fits..? With some tweaking? Oh well!