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Voeren van Premie, Herald of Than Aivel


Round 3 - Top 16: Design a villain

1 to 50 of 77 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 8

“Beneath the land lies the eternal sea from which all life came; in the deep, the forgotten rulers of long ago and yet to come wait while we, their disciples, prepare their approaching ascendancy.” -Voeren van Premie

History

Born a human fisherman in a small hamlet, Voeren van Premie was dragged beneath the waves but was rescued by aboleths which appeared angelic to his oxygen-starved mind. Saved from drowning, he was charged to prepare the surface world for the aboleths ascension. His loyalty sworn, they transformed him into the near-human facsimile of an elan, which granted him extreme mental powers and an unlimited life span. Following his return to the surface, this messiah introduced a new religion surrounding a being known as Than Aivel; promptly converting the small fishing hamlet of Fareweather to his new religion and transforming its people into elan priests, eventually becoming his mental thralls.

Description

Voeren van Premie is tall and tanned, with long wind-blown blond hair, appearing fully human except for his pupil-less sea blue eyes. He claims this as the mark of divinity and shares it with all his fellow priests. Dressing in voluminous and flowing robes of light green and blue hues, he walks as one used to the swells of the sea. Speaking easily, with a control hinting at the capacity to unleash the fury of the four winds and often holding back a temper as fickle as the ocean itself.

Goal and Schemes

Ultimate Goal: Once all the nation of Verindum falls under Voeren's sole dominion, Than Aivel and the other aboleth mages will cause the sea waters to rise and drown the surface world. Ascending as foretold saviors, all will serve and worship them while their disciples will be rewarded with wealth and power.

Although Voeren believes in the benevolent and divine nature of his aboleth saviors, he and his elan priests lack any true divine power. Instead they all train as psions, claiming their magics as a gift from their “deity” Than Aivel. To further his cult, he transforms loyal human followers and “converts” human detractors into loyal elan priests with the assistance of an aboleth mage while demi-human opponents simply disappear. Key to his overall success is the secrecy of the elans aberrant nature and creation. Therefore they infiltrate human society with the only outward sign of their true nature being their pupil-less eyes. Currently, elan priests travel across Verindum establishing temples in port cities, and zealots recruit other new followers while stamping out the old religions. All believers must become unquestioning followers of Voeren, living, dying and killing at his whim.

Adventure Hooks

The PCs come to Verindum from another land and find themselves persecuted for following old ways and become targets for forced conversion.

One of the PCs contacts, who was once vocally against the new religion, vanishes and reappears two days later as a priest who no longer remembers them.

Voeren van Premie, Herald of Than Aivel CR 15
Male Elan Psion [Telepath]6/Thrallherd 9
NE Medium, Aberration

Init +2; Senses Listen +5, Spot +5
Aura N/A

DEFENSE

AC 25 [+ 10 (+5 Breastplate) + 3 Deflection +2 Dex], touch 15 [+3 Deflection +2 Dex], flat-footed 23 [+10 (+5 Breastplate) +3 Deflection], incorporeal touch 25 [+10 Inertial Armor (augmented using 13 pp) + 3 Deflection +2 Dex]
(armor, deflection, Dex, natural, size, etc. alphabetical)
hp 49 (15d4+10 [+(2 hp*5 psionic feats) per Psionic Body])
Fort+9 [+5 +4 per elan Resistance (Su) as immediate action], Ref+11 [+7 +4 per elan Resistance (Su) as immediate action], Will+16 [+12 +4 per elan Resistance (Su) as immediate action]
Defensive Abilities Immune Spells or effects that affect humanoids only, such as “charm person” or “dominate person”; PR 26

OFFENSE

Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +12/+8 (1d6+5 bludgeoning) [with 130+ Power Points], Quarterstaff +11/+7 (1d6+4 bludgeoning) [with 80-129 Power Points], Quarterstaff +10/+6 (1d6+3 bludgeoning) [with 30-79 Power Points], Quarterstaff +9/+5 (1d6+2 bludgeoning) [with 5-29 Power Points], Quarterstaff +8/+4 (1d6+1 bludgeoning) [with 1-4 Power Points] or +6 Touch
Ranged Ranged Touch +9
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Power Points Per Day(221) [170 base + 2 elan + 49 bonus] (May not use more that 14 Power Points when manifesting a single power)
Powers Known(27)(CL 14th, CL 18th vs Power Resistance):

1st-Charm, psionic (DC 19 [10+1 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Mindlink, Inertial Armor, Missive, Sense Link

2nd-Brain Lock (DC 20 [10+2 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Read Thoughts (DC 20 [10+2 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Suggestion, psionic (DC 20 [10+2 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Ego Whip (DC 20 [10+2 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will)

3rd-Crisis of Breath (DC 21 [10+3 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will Negates, Fort partial), Empathic Transfer, Hostile (DC 21 [10+3 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), False Sensory Input (DC 21 [10+3 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Psionic Blast (DC 21 [10+3 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will)

4th-Dominate, psionic (DC 22 [10+4 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Modify Memory, psionic (DC 22 [10+4 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Schism, Correspond

5th-Metaconcert, Mind Probe (DC 23 [10+5 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Power Resistance (DC 22 [10+5 Level+7 Ability], Will (harmless)), Psychic Crush (DC 23 [10+5 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), True Seeing, psionic

6th-Mind Switch (DC 24 [10+6 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Will), Disintegrate, psionic (DC 23, Fort)

7th-Crisis of Life (DC 25 [10+7 Level+1 Psionatrix +7 Ability], Fort), Decerebrate (DC 24, Fort), Evade Burst

TACTICS

Before Combat Augmented Inertial Armor, Power Resistance, Schism, True Seeing, psionic
During Combat
Round 1: Attempt to dominate the primary fighter while Believers engage party in melee, use second mind to manifest Charm Person, psionic on a secondary fighter
Round 2: Command fighters to attack other party members, or if primary made his first save manifest Psychic Crush, use second mind to manifest Crisis of Breath on secondary fighters who made their save
Round 3: Manifest Decerebrate or Crisis of Life on the most powerful caster, second mind manifests Brain Lock on a secondary caster
Morale Too important to his cause to be simply taken out by normal adventurers, Voeren avoids melee combat at all costs. If injured from a distance, he will use Resiliance (Su) to reduce the damage until he is in serious danger, then he will use his Boots of Teleportation to teleport to his primary temple in Fareweather. If cornered into melee and damaged, he will use Resiliance (Su) to reduce the damage to a survivable level and then use his Boots of Teleportation. If ultimately trapped in melee combat, he will use his quarterstaff and remaining powers to try and charm PCs or mentally call allies for aid.
Base Statistics Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 13, Cha 10

STATISTICS

Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 24 [Base 18 + Headband +6] , Wis 13, Cha 14 [Base 10 + Cloak +4]
Base Atk +7/+2; Grp +6
Feats 1. Light Armor Proficiency, 1B[Psion]. Combat Manifestation, 3. Medium Armor Proficiency, 5B[Psion]. Inquisitor, 6. Negotiator, 9. Psionic Body, 12. Psionic Meditation, 15. Power Penetration
Skills Autohypnosis +10 [+9 Ranks +1 Ability], Bluff +22 [+18 Ranks +2 Ability], Concentration +18 (+22 defensively), Diplomacy +26 [+18 Ranks + 2 Negotiator +2 Synergy (Bluff) + 2 Synergy (Sense Motive) +2 Ability], Gather Information +11 [+9 Ranks +2 Ability], Knowledge (psionics) +25 [+18 Ranks +7 Ability], Profession (fisherman) +2 [+1 Rank +1 Ability], Psicraft +27 [+18 Ranks + 2 Synergy +7 Ability], Sense Motive +31 [+18 Ranks +2 Negotiator +10 using Inquisitor feat +1 Ability], Spot +5 [+4 Ranks, +1 Ability], Listen +5 [+4 Ranks, +1 Ability], Search +11 [+4 Ranks +7 Ability], Swim -3 [-6 Armor Check Penalty +4 Ranks -1 Ability] (+3 without armor [+4 Ranks -1 Ability])
Languages Common, Draconic, Undercommon, Elven, Dwarven
SQ Naturally Psionic , Repletion, Resiliance, Resistance
Combat Gear +5 Glamered Breastplate (28,050 gp) [25,000 (+5 enhancement)+2,700 (Glamered)+150 (masterwork)+200 (base)], +1 Psychic Quarterstaff (37,300 gp) [35,000 (Psychic)+2,000 (+1 enhancement)+300 (masterwork)+0 (base)]Other Gear Headband of Intellect +6 (36,000 gp), Psionatrix of Telepathy (8,000 gp), Boots of Teleportation (49,000 gp), Cloak of Charisma +4 (16,000 gp), Ring of Protection +3 (18,000 gp), 3 potions of Cure Moderate Wounds, 1 potion of Cure Serious Wounds

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Special Ability (Ex/Sp/Su)

Greater Dominate (Ex): At 7th level and higher, a thrallherd does not have to pay 2 additional power points when she augments psionic dominate to affect animals, fey, giants, magical beasts, and monstrous humanoids. This reduced point cost does not increase the save DC of the power as if she had spent the additional power points.

Naturally Psionic: Elans gain 2 bonus power points at 1st level. This benefit does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.

Psionic Charm (Ex): At 3rd level, a thrallherd adds psionic charm to her powers known (if she doesn’t already know it). Once per day, she can manifest psionic charm at a reduced power point cost. The cost of psionic charm is reduced by the thrallherd’s level, to a minimum of 1 power point. The effect of this power is still restricted by the thrallherd’s manifester level.

Psionic Dominate (Ex): At 5th level, a thrallherd adds psionic dominate to her powers known (if she doesn’t already know it) Once per day, she can manifest psionic dominate at a reduced power point cost. The cost of psionic dominate is reduced by the thrallherd’s level, to a minimum of 1 power point. The effect of this power is still restricted by the thrallherd’s manifester level.

Repletion (Su): An elan can sustain her body without need of food or water. If she spends 1 power point, an elan does not need to eat or drink for 24 hours.

Resistance (Su): Elans can use psionic energy to increase their resistance to various forms of attack. As an immediate action, an elan can spend 1 power point to gain a +4 racial bonus on saving throws until the beginning of her next action.

Resilience (Su): When an elan takes damage, she can spend power points to reduce its severity. As an immediate action, she can reduce the damage she is about to take by 2 hit points for every 1 power point she spends.

Superior Dominate (Ex): At 9th level, a thrallherd does not have to pay 4 additional power points when she augments psionic dominate to affect aberrations, dragons, elementals, and outsiders (in addition to the creature types mentioned in the greater dominate ability). This reduced point cost does not increase the save DC of the power as if she had spent the additional power points.

Thrallherd (Ex): (Shepper van Vorm 14th Level Elan Psion [Shaper]: Thrall, 135 1st Level, 13 2nd Level, 7 3rd Level, 4 4th Level, 2 5th Level, 2 6th Level: Believers) A thrallherd who has just entered the class sends out a subtle psychic call for servants, and that call is answered. Essentially, the character gains something akin to the Leadership feat, but with some important differences.

Those who answer a thrallherd’s call are not referred to as cohorts and followers, but rather as thralls and believers, respectively. They do not appear because they admire the character and want to serve her, but because a hidden psychic resonance connects the thrallherd and her servants.

As with the Leadership feat, a thrallherd has a Leadership score that determines the highest-level thrall and believers she can attract. A thrallherd’s Leadership score is equal to her character level + her Cha modifier + her thrallherd level. (Note that her thrallherd level is counted twice.) This score is not affected by any of the modifiers mentioned in the Leadership feat.

As with the Leadership feat, the called thrall’s level is limited, even if the character’s Leadership score would indicate a higher-level thrall. Unlike with the Leadership feat, the level limit of a thrall is equal to the character’s total level minus 1 (not level minus 2, as is true for cohorts).

A thrallherd cannot take the Leadership feat; if the character already has it, the feat is lost and replaced by this ability; those who were previously cohorts and followers go their separate ways, and those who are more mentally pliable show up later to take up roles as thralls and believers. A thrallherd’s first thrall and believers arrive within 24 hours of her entry into this class; likewise, lost thralls and believers are replaced within 24 hours.

Use this table instead of the one with the Leadership feat to determine the level of a thrallherd’s thrall and the number of believers of various levels a thrallherd can attract.

Voeren van Premie had the following ability scores before racial and leveling adjustments using the elite array:

Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 12.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

My first impression here is that I'm glad you've continued to advance in this competition, as each round sees improvement. The writing here is much stronger than on previous submissions, so whatever you're doing keep it up.

I am all for aboleth-related plots, as the development of the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting will show soon enough. So I appreciate this angle and was immediately interested in your take on the subject.

I find myself appreciating another aspect of the submission, altogether, and the more I think about it the less I seem to care about the aboleth.

I actually like how you handled psionics.

I am not a huge fan of psionics. Not just as a rules system, but as a concept in line with fantasy. I'm not so single-minded as to assume that psionics _can't_ exist in my campaigns, but I am perhaps single minded enough that I don't assume that they _should_. Frankly, the idea of memorizing another whole subsystem of the game is rather daunting, and if I'm going to use it in a campaign it's going to be for a damn good reason.

And the idea of a false religion with temples popping up everywhere and a weird, unearthly cult with "weird magic" strikes me as a damn good reason to use psionics in a campaign.

I've been playing D&D since the early 80s, and I can count the number of times that's happened on one hand.

So kudos. I really appreciate that, and I especially appreciate it coming from a contestant who is perhaps not viewed as a fan favorite at this point.

Winning this contest means absolutely kicking ass each and every time. The contestants that continually push themselves are going to be the ones to advance round after round.

Look, because you've convinced me to take a more serious look at psionics, I've also got to take a closer look at elans and the rules and such, and I need to take a closer look at your stat block. I'll get around to that later, but right now I feel pretty good about this submission and about the caliber of contestants we have in RPG Superstar.

Judging this contest has been a really fun experience for all of us.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Impression: Wow. And this one I mean in a good way. Psionics, and I like it! Now that is impressive. I love the aboleth conversion to elan story and the psionic powers. I'm with Erik on this. Good villain, good conflict, good design. My gut says BIG keeper. But I have to do some reivew of this material, since I am not that up on my psionics to make sure you did things right. But this is a good one in my book, no doubt.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Word count: 485.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

I'm torn here. On the one hand, yes, you have made psionics cooler or at least more logical in a fantasy context than they usually are.

On the other hand, I'm shocked we got any psionic entries at all.

Since 1st Edition AD&D, psionics have always appealed to a minority of the player base. So to stake your entry on a rules subsystem that only a minority of the voters are likely to enjoy seems to me like a big creative risk. But it's not just you, it's also Clinton Boomer. I'll be very curious to see whether voters reward or punish the move into the less-traveled sections of the SRD.

Be that as it may: you've done a good job here, with a spreading cult of aboleth and false priests. That's whole campaign right there, and their leader almost makes me want to pick up the XPH again. I'd say that's success right there, when you are drawing the majority into the use of expanded rules.

Recommended for Top 8.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Villain Concept (name, title, is it actually a villain?, design choices, playability?): A
The Good: How in the world did you make me like psionics? I know. I love the aboleth abduction/false religion theme. That is just great. You have a big idea here and you delivered on it. Great conflict. Great villain.
The Bad: Didn’t see any.

Stat Block Execution (proper content, proper format, good math, generally mistake free?, not abusing word count?): B+
The Good: Looks solid, but I am not as up on my psionics as I should be and might not see mistakes. Nice work on the believers and thralls.
The Bad: I wish you had just written out the tactics instead of using that stilted technique you used. I also have to admit I can’t just eyeball the psionics stuff like I can a normal stat block. I could have missed things here. I don’t know.

Description (quality of writing, hook?, theme?, organization, contains all mandatory content—physical description, motivation/goal, scheme/plot?): A-
The Good: Great backstory. Very good writing. You aren’t Boomer, but that was good stuff.
The Bad: I think you should have left some text for after your stat block, but for some reason it isn’t as big a deal for this entry in my view.

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor and setting?): A-
The Good: Grabbed me. Not my absolute favorite, but very strong.

Overall: A-
Excellent villain with a great back story and good conflict that could be the centerpiece of a campaign.

The elemental quiver was fun and Saran was a neat idea. But I really think you have brought it up to the next level with this submission. You are improving and that is a real credit to how hard you are working in this competition. You’ve got the goods. I hope to see you in the next round.

Strongly RECOMMENDED for Top 8

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I love psionics and am happy to see you do something that at least in my experience is unique and different with cults and aboleth and incorporating psionics to mimic divine intervention.

Well written. Liked how you choose some very good powers to make Voeren survivable. Like WB said, you could wrap a campaign around this...very nice.

Love the backstory too. I can't wait until those goody-goody pallies or priests use detect lie or zone of truth to find out what V. is really about only to get truth when he explains his vision...

Osirion Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've read through ten so far and this is the first to really make me think... Its got my vote.

Like the judges, don't really care for Psionics but like the use of it here. Very good job!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 8

Thank you so much guys. I tried to not disappoint you this time.

I feel that each round I must earn these votes, and this time is no cake, but I do appreciate your praise and votes of confidence. I do have to say this round was tough for me in regards to life otherwise, so that makes it worth it to me.

Thank you judges, and thank you readers for your vote when the time comes.

I will post design choices, reason, and explanations following the close of voting.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka SmiloDan

Yeah, this reminded me of that drow House in Menzoberranzan during the Time of Troubles in the Forgotten Realms that still had magic powers because they didn't worship Lolth (LLoth?) as clerics, but served her as psionicists. They just pretended to be clerics in public. So when everyone else lost their priestly mojo, the psionic-based House was able raise their stations in life.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Spar

This (and that Boomer kid) are the first time I have EVER wanted to use psionics. Kudos indeed. Vote garnered and earned!

WC


I am SO happy this contestant is continuing with an always unique approach, and is willing to take risks...thanks, judges, for those kudos for all the creativity you have stimulated by conducting this competition...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Yes! Yes! Continue the psionics call out the thrallherds, convert the judges!

Qadira

SmiloDan wrote:
Yeah, this reminded me of that drow House in Menzoberranzan during the Time of Troubles in the Forgotten Realms that still had magic powers because they didn't worship Lolth (LLoth?) as clerics, but served her as psionicists. They just pretended to be clerics in public. So when everyone else lost their priestly mojo, the psionic-based House was able raise their stations in life.

Yeah, and we all know what happened to House Oblodra when Lolth returned in all her dark glory ;)

Joseph, it must be a coincidence, but if I had made it to round 3, my villain could likely have been an elan, too. And as it turns out,you and Christine are the two people getting my vote for sure. Great work, man!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh man. I’m with the judges, I don’t really like psionics, but I really like this entry! Good work. It’s kind of a pity (to me) that two of the entries I’ve liked the most conceptually so far I would need to totally rebuild if I wanted to use them in my campaign – which doesn’t use psionics.

Very good concept, good villain, good basis for a whole campaign here. The language is still a little clunky in parts, but an improvement on the country entry. I have to say I really don’t like the villain’s name, but that is probably just me.

A brave use of psionics. This is the third entry I’ve seen that uses them, and they all seem well used, and fairly integral to the villain concept (as much as I can judge). I hate to say it though, but if I’m stuggling to narrow down my top 4, a non-psionic entry may just get the edge, due to usability and me being able to better understand the stat block and abilities.


This is the first one I've looked at, so I'm not ready to decide just yet, but, even if I don't vote for it, VERY well written, Joseph. As said [several] times already, it actually makes psionics pretty damn cool looking.

And on another note, even if someone didn't like the psionics portion, I've found that sorcerers make good substitutions for psionic characters. I've cracked a few pre-made adventures and changed psionic NPCs to sorcerers, as I don't have any of the psionic books. Anyway, the point is, even if I wouldn't use the psionics portion, the basic story is AWESOME. I've always loved aboleths, so it was a pleasent surprise to see that you used them.

Bottom line: Definately going to my "top 4" list this round.

Osirion

Again, this is another one of those "everyone loves it but I don't" entries. I don't get the motivation of the aboleths here. Aboleth, for me, means a pretty specific thing--hatred and disdain for surface dwellers and an inherant knowledge of their own superiority. I don't see them saving some village kid like Flipper, or changing him into a super elan to start a false religion. If they could flood the area, they likely would.

If they ran into a dying kid, they might turn him into a skum...or they might just watch him die with a certain dispassionate satisfaction. I don't see the benefit to them of this cult or by sharing powerful aboleth abilities with humans unless (like with the Runelords of Thassilon) there was a pretty solid deal in place and the aboleths felt sure they were getting the best end of it.

I think that was the brick wall I ran into and couldn't get much beyond it. Maybe if it was some other kind of evil force backing the new cult--but yeah aboleths just seem too unlikely. I just can't take the plunge. Eh.


Joe,
I really feel of your three enteries this is the best one. The story is captivating and could easliy be the central part of campaign. I feel the villian would be engaging and difficult at the same time.
I love the use of psionics as I have played several psionic characters
and have seen first hand the real value of them in a campaign. I want to thank the judge's for recognizing the risk you took in making a psionic character and rewarding your excellent effort as well. For the judges to say they don't care much for psionics and then say your character was so well written that they are interested in psionics now! This shows how much the judges value your highly creative and well written character.! GREAT JOB, Joe!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Since 1st Edition AD&D, psionics have always appealed to a minority of the player base. So to stake your entry on a rules subsystem that only a minority of the voters are likely to enjoy seems to me like a big creative risk. But it's not just you, it's also Clinton Boomer. I'll be very curious to see whether voters reward or punish the move into the less-traveled sections of the SRD.

Yeah I am one of those people.

Psionics in general just seems to me to be a cop out for not liking the the current magic system.

I dont know, I'm just not feeling the psionics thing.

When I first started to read the stat block and saw "Herald" i was like "dang someone turned Silver Surfer into a fantasy guy, but read that was not the case so I am glad about that!!!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Quick thoughts:
-1 for psionics (it's just me I guess, but I hate them)
+1 for aboleth tiein because they're cool

The big weakness here is why are people converting to this new faith in the first place... May be because I'm unclear on the elan thing. In any event, seems "OK" but not compelling to me.


I'm of the same mind as the previous 2 posters and Grimcleaver. Here's a villian who basically works for someone (something) else. Do the PCs expose him as false, with his 'conversions' being mental dominations? Do the PCs destroy him and the other priests, and run the risk of religious persecution route?

Again, maybe its the unfamiliarity with the psionics, but I can't see running this guy, or his scheme.

If the judges are looking for strong, original, knowledgeable fantasy writing, though, this qualifies as a strong entry.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

Well, this one wins the 'most like my planned submission' award. And then I find that pathfinder may have some aboleth twist in the next however-long. So I guess I won't be requesting permission to submit there. Grrr!

On to your entry: I think this is your best writing of the three rounds, and I think you make Voeren come to life. While I wonder how many times the PCs could confront him before they ended him (his focus on avoiding combat will invariably hit a snag as PCs are good at preventing that sort of thing), or at least uncovered a significant clue, he has his uses and can, if need be, turn an entire community against the party, creating still more problems and questions. For this reason, he is a good villain. One of few this round, I think.

I don't know psionics well-enough to critique your numbers, but I am in agreement with the judges in that I usually disdain psionics, but your use as a substitute for divine magic is compelling. That the PCs might be able to tell the difference after a few encounters might really get them intrigued, and having them chased down by crazy villagers in this cthuhlu/bodysnatchers kind of hybrid makes for a great scene.

Good work, in my top four at this point.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Sheyd

This is some good work and again you've made me want to reconsider using Psionics. I'm not certain I'll vote for this one yet but it is on my short list.


I've finished reading all the round three entries now, and while I'm going to let things digest a little before committing my votes, on first impressions this is my favorite of the villains presented. I'm a psionics devotee, but I've never cared for elan. I don't see what their niche is. Where is their hook? So while some readers are responding, "Oh, so that's why you'd use psionics," for me the little lightbulb going on is, "So that's how you use elan!" Creepy! And these elan actually feel like they could live up to their categorization as aberrations.

Moreover, the hook for using Voeren is very powerful. Reading the entry, you can see the outline of a whole adventure based around this guy, and his followers, and his town. But the focus of the entry clearly remains on Voeren. Nicely done.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

The unscrupulous Dr. Pweent wrote:

I've finished reading all the round three entries now, and while I'm going to let things digest a little before committing my votes, on first impressions this is my favorite of the villains presented. I'm a psionics devotee, but I've never cared for elan. I don't see what their niche is. Where is their hook? So while some readers are responding, "Oh, so that's why you'd use psionics," for me the little lightbulb going on is, "So that's how you use elan!" Creepy! And these elan actually feel like they could live up to their categorization as aberrations.

Moreover, the hook for using Voeren is very powerful. Reading the entry, you can see the outline of a whole adventure based around this guy, and his followers, and his town. But the focus of the entry clearly remains on Voeren. Nicely done.

I agree with you here, and maybe it's because I also like psionics: This read more like a good construction of the use of an elan as a villain/character more so than psionics as a rule set.

Joseph, I was kind of meh on the Elemental Quiver and Saran, but I really like this entry. Props for going psi in my book, and I like the false cult angle. The writing is also a good step up from earlier entries. Good job!

(And that's the last of the entries. Not sure who I'll vote for, but I am going to bed!)


I adore this entry. The only gripe I have about it is the last name of the villain... Primie reminds me too much of the slang term for a prematurely-birthed baby... That is, unless the name is pronounced Pree-mee-ay...


Hm. I really liked Saran. This one, though... I dunno.

Reading this, I found a few run-on sentences, and just awkwardly formed sentences... the editor in me wanted to grab a red pen.

But then I remembered it's all about the idea, and this one did fit well. A religious cult that actually doesn't involve divine magic at all is a great twist, in my book. And the Elan connection is also good - especially the adventure hook about the guy who forgets about his previous opposition. Very "body snatchers".

I was gonna jump on you for the NPC being an Aberration, but then I realized that Elans are Aberrations. Completely forgot that. Whoops.

So, while I didn't really find anything that was bad about this entry (it is, actually, pretty good), it didn't "click" with me. I'd never use this guy in one of my campaigns. Sorry. :P


I'm with the Doc. From beginning to end, I have a sense of this villain's motivation and plan for dominance. I _love_ the hook of a character who is converted and forgets his party. I understand the complaints about the fact that he's an aboleth, and maybe his race would be a roadblock to publishing this villain in an adventure; however, to me the race is a minor issue compared to all the great work on origin, motivation, strategies, and stat block, all of which were the main hurdles for this stage of the competition.


Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I didn’t care for your previous two entries, but this one gives you total redemption. Superior effort!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber

There's a TON of conflict running through my mind regarding this entry.

I need to preface this by saying I'm a huge Call of Cthulhu fan, and still own my copy of the AD&D boxed set Night Below (which features aboleths as the boss villains). Your entry presses my buttons, to be sure! Having said that...

Blame it on ADD or inability to catch subtleties, but I barely got through the first several sentences of your entry. I stopped reading after a few lines. The initial text just didn't GRAB me the way some of the other entries did. It was...bland (I was going to say dry, but it oozes with mucuous-like slime). :-) As Erik says, you buried the lead a bit too much. I lost my interest in reading the entry the first time through.

I actually had to read Wolf, Clark and Erik's posts to understand the depth and nuance of the rat-bastardliness that was being presented here...again, mainly because I didn't even bother finishing to read your entire entry.

Once I re-read the entry....YEAH, baby! I wasn't bowled over by the use of an elan, but I'm not afraid of adding some psionics to my game.

Civilization 4 (the best PC game EVAR!!!11one!eleventy-eleven11!!) has a "mod" called Fall from Heaven. There is a religion (read: "cult") in that mod called the Octopus Overlords. Your entry immediately reminded me of that group.

Also, any villain that has expandability and reusability is a terrific addition to a DM's arsenal. Cults fit that bill to a T.

Lastly, Goodman Games published two resources that offer a half-aboleth template: The Adventure Begins and Blackdirge’s Dungeon Denizens. They call it an abollar. I realize that, within the constraints of this competition, you may not be able to use that template but it seemed such a PERFECT fit with your entry I thought I'd bring it up in case anyone wanted to pursue that idea.

I have to contemplate whether this is vote-worthy or not. Not going to be an easy task, as I had to rely on someone else's posts just to "get it".

It's also kinda sad that this looks good because nearly all of the other entries just don't have villains in them. I wonder if I'm impressed by this entry because I'm so underwhelmed by the other entries...? Your item and country didn't do a lot for me--are we seeing you improve, or is this a fluke?

I'm having a difficult time commiting to a vote for this...there is another entry that I'm eyeballing....

Meantime, please accept my praise in the form of me 100% *yoink*-ing this idea for my own use.

Good luck!

Osirion

I am a strong believer that psionics have no place in D&D. You provide a compelling counter-arguement.

The last name is a bit weak for the reasons another pointed out, but it is better than the names in Saran (which I liked, but did not vote for).

I'm voting for this one. There is a villain here with goals and a plan in motion. Will the PCs stop him or become part of the cult? Only time will tell...

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I'm with a lot of the others on psionics - I have nothing against them, but getting a handle on the existing magic system is bad enough, without adding an entire duplicate with subtle twists. I still remain blissfully unaware of at least half of the spells out there in the myriad of sourcebooks, and have completely ignored many of the alternate spellcasting classes to avoid exploding my poor brain when I'm preparing for Friday nights (hexblade and wu jen, I'm looking at you).

That said, one of these days I'm going to bite the bullet and throw them in, and a scenario like this one may be just the way to do it.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Darkjoy

Being Dutch ,I really dislike the faux-Dutch name(s) you've adopted here.

I'll come back to mull things over.....

Taldor

I can't believe I have to do this on my coasting round, but PRO/CON list!

Nota Bene: Stat blocks are the least useful thing in a D&D write-up for me. About 75% of the D&D material I own is used with a different system anyway.

Pro:

Psionics. I love 'em, but they're only awesome in very specific niches in D&D. This is one of 'em.

Aboleth. Illithids aren't open content, so you went with the next best thing. I kind of wish Illithids weren't product identity, because I want to see a shadow war between the two true Lovecraftian monstrosities of D&D, done by a GOOD company. um. But that's a different rant.

Apocalyptic Cults are fun. They can support a whole campaign if structured properly (more on this in the con list, sadly.)

Cons:

The scheme. Why exactly do the Aboleths need to convert everyone to Sciento... er, Than Aivelism before flooding the world? It's bad comic book grandiose, which is, ironically, good, but also bad comic book nonsensical, which nudges it back into the bad.

The cult. Okay. It's realistic in a lot of ways, but I don't see any evidence of "boss monsters" - D&D players in my experience expect a certain escalation; this just moves us up to higher class level minions, then the villain. I dunno. This is a weak con, but it just niggles at the back of my brain. I just feel like if there was a summoning, or a scheme within the scheme involving, like, sahuagin/gelatinous cube hybrids, or Troblin racial paragons or something I'd like the cult better. Something silver age-y to go with the larger "convert everyone and then flood the world" scheme.

Neutral:

I was about to tear into you for Elan and Thrallherds, but damned if they're not right there on the site.

hmmm. Actually writing down what I liked and didn't like really clarifies things. Despite not liking either of your two previous entries, I might have to vote for this one.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

My main issue with this one is naming. I see this:

Voeren van Premie, Herald of Than Aivel

And I immediately think, "okay, so we've got a vampire, and he's a minion of some fallen angel or something."

Then I get an enslaved minion of an aboleth. Love the concept, but the motivations and hooks are a bit iffy due to the aboleth superiority thing. And I completely hate the names - the names sound like Ravenloft, not Lovecraft.


If I were to use this villain in my campaign my players would probably fall over laughing, just because of the name. No matter how good the rest of the entry is.

We're Flemish (Dutch speaking part of Belgium) and the name is cleary a combination of some words from my language.

Voeren is a place in Flanders, quite well known in Belgium for some disputes over languages rights between the Flemish and French speaking population. It's also a dialect word (a verb) meaning to carry around.

Van is a common prefix in Flemish last names meaning From (e.g my last name is Van Daele meaning From the Valley).

And Premie roughly translates as Bonus (something you get for doing your job well or the amount). It can also be the amount of money you have to pay to get an insurance policy.

So the name could be translated as 'To Carry Around From Bonus'.

I'm sorry but this totally kills suspension of disbelief for Dutch speakers, specifically those who live in Belgium. Granted, there are not that many people here that play D&D, but I really dislike it.

I've seen this done a few times in RPG products and it always breaks suspension of disbelief. The only time it was fairly cool was with R. Pett's Kaboutermannekin in the STAP adventure path.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Taurendil wrote:
If I were to use this villain in my campaign my players would probably fall over laughing, just because of the name. No matter how good the rest of the entry is.

Here's a crazy idea.

I mean, this is really wackko, but try it on for size:

You're the DM.

RENAME the characters for your game.

Yes, yes, I know....that's a revolutionary idea.

But you really can do that, you know.

Osirion

Hideously Deformed wrote:
Taurendil wrote:
If I were to use this villain in my campaign my players would probably fall over laughing, just because of the name. No matter how good the rest of the entry is.

Here's a crazy idea.

I mean, this is really wackko, but try it on for size:

You're the DM.

RENAME the characters for your game.

Yes, yes, I know....that's a revolutionary idea.

But you really can do that, you know.

Rockstar entries should not force you to. This one will on several counts. This is a RPG Rockstar contest, therefore none of the entries should have naming issues.

The name is one of the reasons I almost didn't vote for this entry. If more of the other entries had been stronger, it probably would have been the killer for me.

Names are important, whether or not you can change them as the DM.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013 aka exile

The name got me everytime I looked at it, but for different reasons than those already stated. Every single time I saw the word "Premie", I could not stop thinking of Cabbage Patch Kids Premies. Nothing strikes fear like a doll of a premature baby. That said, I absolutely dug the rest of the entry...enough so that it gets my fourth and final vote.

Chad


This is a solid workman effort. It's not all that original, and it's best point is an excuse to logically work psionics into a game. However, that doesn't really fall under the evaluative worth of the villain itself. This is a stock Lovecraftian villain with not enough meat to really sink my teeth into it.

It's a good entry, but unlike the judges, I have to go with a top 4, not a top 8. I just don't feel inspired by the entry.

Lots of the ones people are pointing out as true villains are leaving me empty because they lack concrete details that separate them from their stock heritage. In the end, it's the same story here.


cappadocius wrote:

Why exactly do the Aboleths need to convert everyone to Sciento... er, Than Aivelism

Ha ha! But good question.

Unlike many people here, I have no strong feeling about psionics one way or the other. They have their place and when used well can really add to a game. As others have said, this is great example of psionics used well.

My problem is that I hate aboleths. I think they're dumb and overused. I've never understood why people think they're so cool. I wish they weren't in the SRD so I didn't have to hear about them so much. I have no logical reason for hating them. I just do.

But I think I could get over it if I had an answer to cappa's question.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

How about to gain willing servants rather than mind conrolled ones for the world to come?

This is strange, being the psionic fiend, I feel i have to explain why it's not in my top four.

A little background: I had a 2E psion, neutral good. Herbalist, fought with a chain with a peace symbol on it, wore tie died priest robes and followed 'The Great God Garcia' Jokey concept, but I ran with it. To Marcus, Garcia was a god of peace and enlightenment, not a fever induced hallucination. He's also a distorted mirror to Voeren.

The name didn't bother me, as others have said, I'll change it. The Elan didn't bother me.

What bothered me was he's not a villian to me, he's a pawn. He's working for someone else, and is just a limb. Slaughtering his minions won't set him back, in a few days he's up to full strength again. That's part of the reason DMs hate Thrallherds. Thralls/Believers are like Doritos.

The four I voted for I did because I saw them as villians. King of the hill, top of the heap. They don't work for anyone except themselves. Even Seskadrin, though he follows a power, is working to build his kingdom, not someone else's.

Who's have thought that we'd have a psionic something that Clark liked but it didn't gel for me? Sorry Mr. Yerger, I'd use him as an anti-Marcus, but don't feel he's a 'villian' in what I'm lookinf for.


Hideously Deformed wrote:


Here's a crazy idea.

I mean, this is really wackko, but try it on for size:

You're the DM.

RENAME the characters for your game.

Yes, yes, I know....that's a revolutionary idea.

But you really can do that, you know.

Of course I can. And that's just what I would do. But as someoe else pointed out, I shouldn't. If were to read an adventure (path) or campaign setting with this guy as a major villain it would be annoying because to me it actually means something quite silly and nonsensical.

It would be as if had submitted an entry for "Cincinnati Babyshower".


Notes to self: Human Elan Psion changed by aboleths. Don't like the name reminds of a premature baby premy? Also don't like the god's name "Than" because I kept reading it as "than". Aboleths rock but this is a bit too Cthulhu for me. Psionics as fake divine magic is cool and similar to my own zealots.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Darkjoy

Taurendil wrote:
Hideously Deformed wrote:


Here's a crazy idea.

I mean, this is really wackko, but try it on for size:

You're the DM.

RENAME the characters for your game.

Yes, yes, I know....that's a revolutionary idea.

But you really can do that, you know.

Of course I can. And that's just what I would do. But as someoe else pointed out, I shouldn't. If were to read an adventure (path) or campaign setting with this guy as a major villain it would be annoying because to me it actually means something quite silly and nonsensical.

It would be as if had submitted an entry for "Cincinnati Babyshower".

Furthermore, Cumaevo (country by Laurens) got beat up on because of the name. So by that standard we are not wrong to reject this effort.


One thing that bothers me as a DM, if I were to purchase a pre-made adventure, or campiagn, and it invlves psionics, what could I do as a back up. Some of the older editions jhad contingencies to using psionics. This is a major move for a large portion of the D'n'D population, the switch into psionics.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

No dissection from the Watcher, and I usually am not short on words.

Innovative thinking!

You pulled off something cool and original without resorting to shock value gonzo. And I'm getting sick of "wacky" getting rewarded. That metality has hurt other contestants in my opinion. But on the other hand, a few others need to stretch themselves. That's neither here nor there.

I've never considered psionics either, but I'm just not inclined to let that get in the way of me considering it on it's own merit.

Good job, you just got one of my votes. This is a villain, and a worthy one too.

Taldor

Watcher wrote:
You pulled off something cool and original without resorting to shock value gonzo. And I'm getting sick of "wacky" getting rewarded. That metality has hurt other contestants in my opinion.

As long as elemental items are going to be considered "Superstar" items, I'm going to do everything in my power to get the wackiest darned thing in the competition promoted to the next round.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Scoutdaley wrote:
One thing that bothers me as a DM, if I were to purchase a pre-made adventure, or campiagn, and it invlves psionics, what could I do as a back up. Some of the older editions jhad contingencies to using psionics. This is a major move for a large portion of the D'n'D population, the switch into psionics.

I'm not dissing you Scott.. just so you know.

But yes, this entry almost certainly does require psionics to be part of the campaign background.

Wolfgang had a similiar concern I think. With the utmost respect to you and Wolf, I say that shouldn't matter.

Psionics are OGL? Then the conversation is over as far as I am concerned. There were no stipulations that someone couldn't make a psionic villain for a psionic campaign.

That's part and parcel with judging something on it's own merits. He wasn't restricted, so you can't hold it against him. Granted it might be damn harder to make anybody like a psionic villain over a villain that fits the evaluators standard way of thinking, but I think this guy pulled it off.

Right now, I'm of a kind of "stay within the rules" mind set. I didn't care for how some requirements were held to be of such paramount importance that other requirements were practically overlooked or skimmed at best. HOWEVER, that sword cuts both ways, and in this instance, it cuts in this contestants favor. If Psionics are OGL, it would be wrong to hold it against him just because it's psionics. Otherwise you've set him up to fail but not outlawing psionics to begin with.

Granted Mr. Contestant, I'm not sure I would try the psionics trick again next round, but you're getting my vote this time.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

cappadocius wrote:
As long as elemental items are going to be considered "Superstar" items, I'm going to do everything in my power to get the wackiest darned thing in the competition promoted to the next round.

I'm out of the loop Capp, you got a beef with the elemental stuff?

It's fine if you do, I'm just making sure I understand.

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