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Infamous Adversaries: Ischadra, Grandmother of Assassins (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 3 ratings)

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ISCHADRA, GRANDMOTHER OF ASSASSINS—CR 14, advanced soulbound doll assassin 10/inquisitor 2

A horrifying new Infamous Adversary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

She wears the guise of a doll, a child-like construct of porcelain and wire, but cold sentience seemingly teems in her empty eye sockets. She stares with an eery mute silence, giving you a moment for your brain to adjust to what it is seeing. A doll given life, bestowed with an ancient weapon of vengeance and purpose. With an inhuman leap her blade buries deep in your throat. As the last of your lifeblood spills her words take form in your mind, and you know why the Grandmother of Assassins has come.

Infamous Adversaries contains: one ready to use villain, complete with equipment, a rich background including motives, history, personality, network, resources, lair, tactics, morale, advancement options, a quote, plot hooks to easily insert them into your campaign, local lore, full color art and a vibrant description. The Infamous Adversaries characters are designed to challenge an entire party; not just in combat, but also through less direct methods requiring careful planning and confrontation.

Contained within is 26 pages of original TPK content including a full depiction of our Infamous Adversary, plus original short fiction, a new deity (Naelib, Lord of Murder), and faction (The Ebon Hand), several supporting cast characters (ever wonder what a Grandfather of Assassins was like?) and monsters (the all new Spectral Host), plus our personally designed Hero Lab files for use in customizing our characters and content in your campaigns!

Give your players a reason to hate again. You can blame it on us...

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Product Reviews (3)

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***** (based on 3 ratings)

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TPK Games brings the creepy quality at the highest level

*****

This pdf is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving a total of 21 pages of content, so let's check out!

Ischadra, the latest addition to TPK Games roster of truly vile NPCs in the Infamous Adversary-line is one of the creatures that can be considered a true joy to behold - her downright creepy full-color cover artwork might seem disjointed when compared to her title, but the introductory, first-person narrative that gives us a glimpse into her demented personality already makes sure that we're in for a disturbing, creepy ride indeed!

So who or what was Ischadra? Once, she was a mortal woman, serving the god of murders as his very best executioner and guild mistress. Then she died and a cadre of mages wanted to use her and a strange prophecy to gain control of her erstwhile organization of killers - alas, something went terribly, horribly wrong and the free-willed spirit in its soulbound doll body proved to be impossible to control. Exacting bloody vengeance, the risen murderess extraordinaire in her new doll-body returned to her fold, guiding an organization of murderers as a demented boogeyman that even assassins dread. It should be mentioned that an awesome, creepy nursery rhyme is included in the introduction - narrative gold for the DM and a great tool to evoke a creepy atmosphere!

In her most basic incarnation, Ischadra clocks in at CR 14 as an advanced soulbound Doll Assassin 10/Inquisitor 2 and is an uncommon foe to say the least - her size alone as well as her construct nature make the grandmother of assassins an intriguing foe to say the least and if you also take e.g. tactical options like her shapechanging sword and immunity to dusts of sneezing and choking into account, we get a foe that can be considered not only intriguing, but generally damn cool.

Even better, similar to Rite Publishing's Faces of the Tarnished Souk-series, we get advancement options in this installment of "Infamous Adversaries" - a CR 17 and even a CR 20-version of Ischadra, (with more Inquisitor-levels), making sure that the hard-to-kill mistress remains a threat for your PCs. 4extensive plothooks provide different ways to integrate Ischadra in your campaign - from demented prophecies of vampire oracles speaking of dead child-saviors of the murder-gods faithful to subdued allusions to potential entwinements with the dark tapestry, should you so be inclined, to straight up meeting the thing in action, Ischadra is guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine of your players.

What makes Ischadra more intriguing, though, is her network and strange affection towards children - helping the stragglers and underdogs, she might actually help you - but she never forgets and failure thereafter will never be an option. Worse, her insidious network of orphans might actually mean that innocents will willingly defend the creature that might drive them insane with its telepathic ramblings, should it choose to do so.

The supremely-crafted being is not where the pdf stops, though: Instead we are also introduced to her best pupil and quasi-friend/repair craftsman, her current keeper and the swarm of undead, ghostly children are rather disturbing, neat allies.

Speaking of allies: Naelib, Lord of Muders and patron deity to Ischadra (think a cross of Norgorber/Zon-Kuthon) and his Order of the Ebon Hand get a detailed write-up and, even better, the latter a BUNCH of statblocks: From the lowly CR 1 Acolyte, to the CR 6 (3 class-,multiclass characters, btw.) Assassins, CR 9 masters and the current CR 15 leader, which might be considered an NPC of himself and two unique items, we get a bunch of great additional content.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, apart from a minor formatting glitch, I encountered nothing to impede one's enjoyment of the pdf. Layout adheres to TPK Games' 2-column full-color standard and the piece of full-color artwork depicting Ischadra could be on a movie-poster- NEAT! The pdf comes with a printer-friendly version, full herolab-support and a vast array of different hyperlinks that make using this pdf on tablets etc. rather easy. The pdf is extensively bookmarked. Ischadra is one of the NPCs that is simply a joy to behold Tom Philips and the team of TPK Games have created a villain that is simply awesome to read - captivating, well-written prose, a concept that has "horror" written in bold letters on it, multiple incarnation and a whopping 6 additional statblocks and 2 advancement options leave nothing to be desired and cementing TPK Games' Infamous Adversary line further as one of the top-lines for villainous characters. The standard is high and I look forward to seeing whom we'll meet next! Seeing my lack of anything to complain about and the coolness of the character, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars, just short of the seal of approval due to the minor glitches.

Endzeitgeist out.


Creepy in all the right ways

*****

The latest Infamous Adversaries line addition is by far the best so far, and quite frankly, is going to be hard to top. This is one seriously creepy, nightmare inspiring NPC to unleash upon a play group. Ischadra, Grandmother of Assassins is a soulbound corpse doll....yeah, let that sink in....a doll, that kills. Now, we're not talking Hollywood cheeze here, no freaking Chucky dolls, oh no, this little lady was crafted from the skin of corpses, she was built to house the soul of killer resurrected for the purpose of trapping her within this construct....shame for the clerics who performed the ritual that she was better than they were. I've been patiently waiting (OK, almost patiently) for this book since I first saw the cover art awhile back, and I'm happy to state, this character does this artwork justice. She is everything twisted and wrong you could ever want as a GM, seriously. A timeless assassin honing her skills through out the generations hiding in plain sight as an ugly little doll. Communicating telepathically she bonds with children she chooses for various reasons, either to train to eventually hand over to the assassin guild in whom she is in league, or as a cog in the vast information network she has built, or even to use a child as her means of gaining entry to a target. This little lady is so not one you want to ever offend, ever.

As always the TPK guys bring forth not just one incarnation of their adversary of choice, this time giving us CR 14, 17 and 20 versions of Ischadra. And yes folks, even an immortal killer doll needs a support cast, and oh what a support cast she has. The demented doll maker, and part time homicidal maniac, Japareth, who operates as a trusted friend and combat medic (hey, she might break a part, lol)...
or Noni, the little girl who currently carries around this demented toy. Example stats are given for no less than four different levels of assassin for the faction known as the Order of the Ebon Hand. Keeping tabs? We get a killer doll, a psycho dollmaker, the kid who currently carries the doll, the faction to whom the doll is aligned, sounds like a pretty good package deal, right? Well, there's more...how about the God of Murder, yeah, hows that for more? An NPC, her support cast, a new faction and a new deity to add to your campaign world. Need more? Not a problem, how about hooks, Ischadra's seriously pimped out pigsticker, what you assumed she killed with a typical off the rack kind of blade? NO! Her's is all kinds of ugliness, wrapped up in a sinister illusion...and let us not forget her soulstone, that which allows her to exist in the first place. Any GM worth their salt has encountered and dealt with a soulstone (or something very similar) by now, but how many of us have handled one personally blessed by God of Murder himself, hmmm? Oh yeah, she's that kind of wicked, blessed by her god, literally.

I could get into the editing issues, of which I saw truly only a few minor things...some justified text areas could have benefited from a condensing or text spacing to avoid huge space gaps....The Spectral Host statblock has it's header bar in the middle of the italicized descriptive text....and the occasional spell name that should probably be italicized ( I think there were two, total). But honestly, two words non italicized (not an issue when you consider the words are both in the right section and anyone can look at them and realize what they are), justification causes spacing issues, pure and simple. I personally hate them, but I understand it happens, and doesn't change anything regarding content...so, out of the three things I listed that leaves one actual screw up, and that was a header for a statblock ending up in the middle of that statblocks description....alright guys, put out your hands, I'm gonna have to smack you...no, no, I'm sorry it had to come to this, but take it like men dangit!

Seriously, a solid character design, and that's what products like this are all about. Giving us, the consumer, something to not only challenge our players, but scare the living crap out of them. And yes, there are Hero Lab files to support everything in here, so for the Hero Lab users in the house, there is much love here.

Final thoughts on this are a resounding yes, you must show Ischadra some love and buy this, otherwise she might come visit you next. A well earned 5 out of 5 guys, and a must have in the arsenal. Well done!


An RPG Resource Review

*****

This is the stuff nightmares are made of... a large doll come to murderous life, communicating telepathically with its victims even as it sends them into the hereafter.

Opening with a short piece of fiction, spookily written in the first person from the standpoint of Ischadra herself, there's a lot packed into these pages: fiction, the assassin herself, her companions, plot hooks, new monsters and more. The story itself is chilling, nightmarish, melding revenge and misplaced trust into true horror. There's also a neat children's rhyme you can insert into the traditional playground fare of your world wherever this nasty little assassin operates.

This is followed by comprehensive notes on Ischadra, including a detailed stat block which is (if you are reading onscreen) hyperlinked to the Pathfinder SRD website. Her backstory is equally comprehensive, and if you want to have assassination a major threat in your world you could do a lot worse than adopt much of what is written here as well as incorporate Ischadra herself into your campaign. This section rounds out with suggestions for how Ishadra could advance along with your campaign: initially presented at 12th level, she is also given at 15th and 18th level so that she may 'grow' as your characters do. HeroLab files are provided for those who use it, another handy feature of this product.

Next come some plothooks for how she may initially feature in your game. Once there, she'll likely be back... at least, unless the characters somehow manage to destroy her. Any of them provides plenty of scope for ongoing adventure, and it would be possible for you to weave more than one into an ongoing assassination-based plotline. Characters wishing to undertake research are provided with copious snippets of lore that they can discover depending on their skills and die rolls, and you are also provided with a 'supporting cast' of various cohorts and associates who may also be encountered when Ischadra is around.

For those who like new stuff, Ishadra's personal weapon and her soulstone are detailed, along with the Spectral Host - have fun terrifying unwary characters with them! There is also a new deity, appropriately the God of Murder, along with details of his faith, and an organisation of assassins, the Order of the Ebon Hand, who couple religious motivation with a keen eye for cash and a thoroughly unpleasant pleasure in their work! Prime adversaries to send chills down anyone's spine... The work rounds out with sample members, both rank & file and leadership, for you to use.

There's a lot here for anyone who likes an edge of horror, or who needs access to competent assassins who are, shall we say, more than mere mercenary technicians.


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