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Varrush, Master of the Palace of Abundance


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a villain concept

1 to 50 of 59 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Varrush, Master of the Palace of Abundance
Male Rakshasa Monk 8

Description:
Varrush is a malicious earthbound spirit of vice and corruption. In his natural form, Varrush is a lean, leonine creature. His flesh is the pale yellow of desert dust, and his shaggy mane falls about his shoulders in dirty-brown dreadlocks. His eyes, orbs of unreflective tar, lack any hint of mortal empathy. A sharp cinnamon scent hangs upon him, a mere taste of his numerous excesses.

His primary visage is that of an athletic human of mixed descent, a noble known for hosting lavish events in his palace deep in the badlands of southern Qadira. Visitors to his fortress find luxuries and sensual pleasures both exotic and otherworldly. Nearly a thousand slaves toil endlessly in the palace’s kitchens, spice gardens, and pleasure halls.

Motivation/Goals:
Like others of his kind, Varrush hides a bestial, hedonistic malevolence behind a veneer of order, calm, and physical perfection. He tempts people of influence with promises of wealth, pleasure, power, or obscure knowledge. He welcomes them, joins them in their pleasure-seeking, and uses their influence to extend his own. His machinations typically bring these doomed souls to misery and ruin.

Varrush approaches his own vices – wanton excess, sensual indulgence, and the subtle corruption of others – with near-religious fervor. For him, these are meditations to rehearse until perfect. Like-minded disciples journey to his palace in search of wish fulfillment. Most find their way into the ranks of his criminal organization. Others find only misery, enslavement, or death. A lucky few find paradise.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:
From his fortified palace, Varrush commands a network of spies, dervishes, drug-dealers, prostitutes, and sand-pirates. He is content to build wealth and influence through traditional means: kidnapping, banditry, and extortion. Grudgingly tolerated by the Qadiran government, Varrush has of late begun to forge alliances with power-hungry aristocrats in many lands, Taldor in particular.

Early on, Varrush can emerge as a shadowy presence behind criminal enterprises with which the PCs find themselves at odds. Following are some suggestions on how the PCs can encounter the rakshasa directly:


  • While adventuring in southern Qadira, the PCs investigate a shimmering palace in the distant foothills. As guests, they can experience the pleasures of the palace and its welcoming master. A dangerous social game ensues, where the PCs must prove themselves worthy of his interest, lest they become the rakshasa’s newest victims.
  • Varrush’s dervishes ambush a high-ranking ambassador’s caravan along a trade route. The PCs must infiltrate his palace and free the dignitaries from enslavement.
  • Varrush invites renowned combatants from many nations to attend a festival of sensual excess and brutal blood-sport. The rakshasa might contact the PCs directly or they may need to procure an invitation as a way of getting close to their elusive adversary.
  • The rakshasa has emerged, pursuing a vendetta personally. Guards interrogating a terrified criminal inform the PCs that Varrush is in the vicinity. The characters must find and defeat him before he disappears.

Contributor

Initial Impression: A rakshasa, presented as this “classic” creature should be (and all too seldom has been, in published RPG lore). No more and no less.

Concept: Nothing original here, just a rakshasa thoroughly and lovingly described. (Gotta love a villain you can smell.)

Execution: Strong, effective descriptive prose that packs a lot of detail into smooth narrative. A lot of ground is covered with ease.

Tilt: Not a wrong note struck here; this villain is detailed into “life” and well-linked to adventuring possibilities and to the setting.

Overall: Strong, capable execution rescues a villain that doesn’t have originality added into the mix. Overall guidelines for how Varrush operates make up for a lack of detailed adventures or unique and fresh schemes, quirks, or motivations.

Recommendation: Recommended (albeit in a slightly lukewarm manner) for advancement.

Contributor

This is a good description of a rakshasa. I like the feel of him.
But I don't see his goals tying in with his plots very much. His goals are... the pursuit of pleasure? Extending his influence? Corrupting others? And he accomplishes these by... running a criminal organization of bandits and kidnappers. I can see the cycle of "get money to buy more slaves and indulge in more things" but it seems to me like there would be better ways of accomplishing your goals if you were a nearly-invulnerable magical shapechanging outsider.

I guess that's really my problem with this villain: there's nothing about him that really requires him to be anything other than an evil human. And that makes me feel this villain isn't living up to his potential.

Initial recommendation: lukewarm, will follow up tomorrow after reviewing all the rest.
Update: There are other entries that I like better, so I do not recommend this one for advancement.

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

To me, the highlight of this submission is the setting--its the palace of abundance. That is the thing I want to know more about. And I don't think it is a good thing that the setting is cooler than the villain.

Frankly, he's a pretty generic (though well-described) rakshasa stuffed into a cool palace. Here is why I think the submission falls down: in the end, it doesnt much matter if Varrush is a cleric or a monk or a human or a rogue. Its the palace that matters. Did you even remember he was a monk as you read the submission? I didn't.

Overall: C+

Yes, this is an excellent write up of a rakshasa. But I see this as a named monster doing what he would ordinarily do. That stuff is what rakshasas do. Making him a villain doesn't really add anything else to him. To be consistent, this guy isn't much different than the vampire that we dinged for just being a monster. Or the bone devil who was really cool but not a villain. Mr. Greenwood in that thread rather eloquently said that you don't reward a creature for following its nature. So the bone devil and the vampire got dinged. I think our rakshasa here is doing the same thing and should similarly be dinged. The difference is Varrush has a cooler pad.

If this was "design a lair," I would say advance. But it isn't.

I DO NOT recommend this otherwise nicely detailed rakshasa villain advance to the next round.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

I'm going to disagree with the other judges and say, there's enough here to say that Varrush would make a great long-term villain. His goals are selfish ones rather than world-shaking, but spies, drug-dealers, prostitutes etc are all useful minions, and he has thousands of them.

I really like a villain who owns a big chunk of a society, and Varrush has that. He's going to take a lot of work to bring down.

Yes, I would prefer a darker or even slightly cliched goal of seizing power or the like, but it's not necessary. Corrupting the good, destroying nations and turning everything into the pursuit of pleasure are all villainous motives that work well in Golarion. Indeed, if he had just been given a connection to the Runelords, we'd be set.

Recommendation: Recommended.

Star Voter 2013

There's several things to like about this villain.

* Sand-pirates! How can you go wrong with sand-pirates!
* As a monk with this base race, he'll have double-plus defense and mobility, ensuring his ability to become an ONGOING villain.
* The first adventure hook is VERY unusual in DnD: you're the mouse to his cat. You meet the big bad when you're low or mid level and you have to prove yourself entertaining enough to last until you can escape. Very 1001 Arabian Nights feel to it.
* The infiltration adventure is not frequently done and presents many temptations for PC over-reach. Rescue these slaves... but what about all these other slaves? A recipe for a party to bite off more than they can chew... in a good way.

I'll be voting for this one.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

I'm tempted (which I'm sure Varrush would love), but I agree with the sentiment that he's basically just a rakshasa. That's the sort of thing that rakshasas should be doing anyway. Which makes me like him... but doesn't make him really stand out. I'll come back to it.


This one didn't jump off the screen at me, but I'll admit my own bias against the "Arabian Nights" tone and setting. As the judges said, the motives are well done, and his setting and position in it are good. That said, he seems to have been slotted into it and his race and class seem to have little to do with it. There doesn't seem to be a major connection between who he is and what he does.

To be honest, I'd be more interested in playing him as an NPC who could aid the PCs but would threaten to sully them through even brief interaction. There's a lot of roleplaying potential, but I don't know that he's a villain to which I'd gravitate.

CR

Andoran

I think it's extremely well written.
I see an "Enter The Dragon" plot, with the pc's engaged in a set of duels to the death in his palace and whatnot.


I don't really care that Varrush is entirely typical of his kind. Other, more innovative, entries failed to present an interesting and memorable villain. Where those entries failed, I believe that you succeeded.

Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Cons:
I saw his class, monk 8, and wondered where the monk[ey] business was going to come out. No martial arts hidden in there? No tiger in the grass ambushing? Aww man. Let down.

Wait - you tricked me, what's so evil about this guy again? Damn your soothing prose.

Pros:
Anytime I read a description that includes more than just visual description, yours having olfactory as well, I nod in pride. Even if you stole my long running cinnamon stick addiction, I will let it slide as I never played at your table.

Bonus points for using 'leonine', I had a feeling what it meant, but looked it up to be sure.

Bonus points for submitting a villain with subtle adult flair.

I may not vote #1 but this is one I'll come back to in the final tally.

Good Work.

Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Reckless Ratings

Concept3
(Is this villain villainous?)
Content4
(Grammar, Format,Spelling, Etc.)
Coolness4
(Would my players be impressed by this? Am I?)
Credibility3
(Does the villain’s motives make sense?)
Clarity3
(How good a sense of how to stat this villain do we get?)

Scores out of 5 and completely based on my opinion only.
Total Score17

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

While not special apart from being a rakshasa, Varrush is the most well-written and most villainous entry of the nine I've responded to.

It is a bit of a whiff to not add some monk flavor to the rakshasa. I envision an ancient martial art among the hsapeshifting outsider, where the art of illusion and corruption blend into a martial form that bears deceptive strikes and maybe bleeding damage. Maybe a kata that adds to his caster level or DC of illusion spells.

But despite what your missing, you've got a villain. And that's something no one else has so far. I'll be back to read Varrush if the no-villain trend continues and I need a fourth guy.

Osirion Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I love this Rakshasa, and he will make it into one of my various campaigns.

This is my Number #3 vote.


I was all happy with this until one of the judges pointed out that the setting was cooler than the villain, and I realized that that was what had gotten me into it. Admittedly, where he makes his home imparts quite a bit of his personality, and the whole entry is incredibly well-written, but there are other entries I'm more curious to see move on.

Good job, though!


His home drew my initial interest, like many others, but Varrush is well described and detailed as well. However, I wouldn't mind additional clarification regarding his motivations; his goals are somewhat typical of a rakshasa, and while that makes him a decent villain almost by definition, it also makes him a rather generic villain.

I could see myself voting for this entry at the moment; the others I've read up to this point have left me somewhat disappointed. But I can also see this entry knocked out of my top four very easily.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

I like rakshasa for a number of reasons, and I love the setting he's in. But despite how well-written he is, he's playing totally to type, so that he could be any rakshasa ... I wanted more. But I do love the writing :)


I have to agree with Sean Reynolds that I do not think this one should advance. While your quality of writing is certainly high, it's the execution of your idea that I have a problem with.

the main concerns are these:

1) You made him a monk (and a level 8 one at that), yet he surrounds himself with excess and carnal pleasure. That doesnt sound very monk-like, and by level 8, he should have more self discipline than this.

2) As pointed out by several others, the coolest thing about him is his house.

3) The CR of the villan DOES NOT match the goals of the villan. I mean cripes! If I'm not mistaken, he's CR 17 (possibly higher), yet his main concern is petty kidnapping and his next "high"? This is not the kind of things that a CR17 villan is concerned about.

I don't mean to sound all negative. I certainly enjoyed the description of his lair, and you seem to be a quality writer. It's just that I don't think you fully thought this villan idea through.

Cheliax

Jason Rice wrote:

3) The CR of the villan DOES NOT match the goals of the villan. I mean cripes! If I'm not mistaken, he's CR 17 (possibly higher), yet his main concern is petty kidnapping and his next "high"? This is not the kind of things that a CR17 villan is concerned about.

Just to correct you here, Varrush isn't CR 17. Monk's not an associated class for rakshasa, so you add 1 CR for every 2 Monk levels, making him CR 14. The fact that this leads to fairly silly stat blocks in some cases is another matter entirely..

I think I would have liked this villain more if I hadn't recently played a Paizo adventure involving rakshasa, one of them a monk. I don't know if the writer of Varrush has played or read the adventure in question, but if he has, I'm feeling a certain lack of originality there. And since I don't know if he's coming to this new or being influenced, I feel I have to use my votes elsewhere.

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

Does it grab me? yes / No
Can I use it? Yes

End result: maybe

Star Voter 2013

Jason Rice wrote:


the main concerns are these:

Since I really like this idea, I'll respond to them.

Jason Rice wrote:
1) You made him a monk (and a level 8 one at that), yet he surrounds himself with excess and carnal pleasure. That doesnt sound very monk-like, and by level 8, he should have more self discipline than this.

Eric deals with this issue in several ways. First, he's a slaver, which at least indicates a bent towards domination. Second, he's compartmentalized his business and his pleasures, which is the very definition of a Lawful character. Third, he likens these pleasures to meditations, which to my mind suggests a ritualistic approach. Fourth, he hosts a blood sport martial tournament. Isn't that the very definition of evil monk since, oh, Mortal Kombat?

Jason Rice wrote:
2) As pointed out by several others, the coolest thing about him is his house.

I don't get this objection. His submission is one of the few that details the lair... and the lair is extremely important in defining the villain. If you stick Varrush in the suburbs of Andoran, doesn't it change who you think this guy is on a deep level? I know that it does for me. Varrush is thoroughly placed in his setting without being bound to it (alliances with Taldoran nobles). That's a good thing.

You get two things for the price of one with this submission: a playable villain that expands a playable setting.

Jason Rice wrote:
3) The CR of the villan DOES NOT match the goals of the villan. I mean cripes! If I'm not mistaken, he's CR 17 (possibly higher), yet his main concern is petty kidnapping and his next "high"? This is not the kind of things that a CR17 villan is concerned about.

Your CR is wrong. As one poster pointed out, it's a non-associated class, so that dumps it down to CR 14. And Rakshasas play about 2 CR below that, due to their lack of offensive capability. So, he's really about a CR 12. And that's the level where you have villains with "Take over the kingdom" ideas, not "let's blow up the world" ideas.

Star Voter 2013

Ninjaiguana wrote:
And since I don't know if he's coming to this new or being influenced, I feel I have to use my votes elsewhere.

Well, he only has 99 posts. I'm approaching 1000, and that's not an extraordinary number. I don't know if that helps you any.

Also, I don't think it's valid to vote against this submission on that reason. The rules for combat maneuvers like Trip, Disarm, and Grapple are VERY different in Pathfinder now from the 3.5 rule set that supported that monk. That is going to highlight the differences between the two rulesets: a good thing, and one that will allow him to show off his rules-fu in the next round, should he get the chance.


nice, well done rakasha, but it lacks the originality that i want to see in a superstar item so i doubt i will be voting for it.

Cheliax

roguerouge wrote:

Well, he only has 99 posts. I'm approaching 1000, and that's not an extraordinary number. I don't know if that helps you any.

Also, I don't think it's valid to vote against this submission on that reason. The rules for combat maneuvers like Trip, Disarm, and Grapple are VERY different in Pathfinder now from the 3.5 rule set that supported that monk. That is going to highlight the differences between the two rulesets: a good thing, and one that will allow him to show off his rules-fu in the next round, should he get the chance.

I acknowledge that, but I'm afraid I'm torn. I don't want to vote for this submission just to compensate for the fact that I may have an unfair bias against it, and I don't want to refuse it my vote on the grounds of an unfair bias. But I can't really tell if my lukewarm response to Varrush is purely because I feel like I've seen it before, or for a more valid reason. In the end, not voting for it feels like the better option to me.


Very smooth writing but nothing new or inspiring. This is the kind of villian I would expect to see (and have seen) in a published module. (which is not an insult at all). After it said "as other raksaha's" I expected a big twist like, "except this one is really into collecting the skulls of balors" or something that would make him shockingly different than other Raksaha's. Good luck, your entry was a pleasure to read.

Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Jason Rice wrote:


1) You made him a monk (and a level 8 one at that), yet he surrounds himself with excess and carnal pleasure. That doesnt sound very monk-like, and by level 8, he should have more self discipline than this.

Just because I have a few levels of Rogue does not make me a thief, nor need levels of paladin to be a fighter with a holy agenda.

I don't mind the straying from the lawful path, he might not be a "monk" he might be a bar fighter, a pugilist, or just some kind of wrestler. I dislike the stereotypical association with a mechanic name[class] and the character.

I just really wanted to see a blurb of text about why this guy is a monk still. Still bummed.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I agree with those who feel that the lair description serves to flesh Varrush out, rather than overshadow him. This is why set designers have a job: to reflect a person's personality and goals by that person's environment. What do we know from that description? He keeps slaves. He's wealthy. He pursues a hedonistic sort of pleasure. He's isolated. Probably more that I'm missing from memory.

Now, could all of that have been said without reference to his home? Yeah, probably. But it's his home and his base, so it's a marvelous way to characterize him.

I'm not totally sold on the monk angle, but "near-religious fervor" in pursuit of pleasure justifies it, I think, enough for story-and-mechanics purposes.

Nice work!
-S


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Best writing of this round. Solid and earthy, with great character. I totally disagree with those who call this creature typical or ordinary.

Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Vote cast, you made the list.

Star Voter 2013

Mike Speck wrote:

What do we know from that description? He keeps slaves. He's wealthy. He pursues a hedonistic sort of pleasure. He's isolated. Probably more that I'm missing from memory.

I understand. Take a look through wikipedia on the history of cinnamon. (The judges DID say last round that contestants should assume Google-fu from their judges and voters.) That reference to his activities becomes much more interesting. It's like saying a villain likes orchids--a whole range of associations opens up just from that flourish.

Cheliax

He's a villain right enough, but I don't see him being all that special. I feel that making him a rakshasha was added to just drive home the point that he's a villain because from the description given, it doesn't really play into his motivations.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

Stands out above the pack this year. I'm not sold that this guy is more than just another hedonistic rakshasa, though, and I'm a bit concerned that this may be riffing a bit too much from the rakshasha details in Escape from Old Korvosa. Still, even with that adventure, it is an underused foe, and I approve of it being used in a manner consistent with the creature.

I'd like more meat on why he is a monk, and more on using him as more than a shadowy manipulator (I realize there's hooks that involve him directly, but they don't tell me *how* to use him).

Staying in the "maybe" pile for the time being.


I'm reading the entries in order, and this one appears to be the most skillfully written so far. Even though there was nothing crazy-new in regards to the take on a rakshasa, I still found myself engaged. There's nothing wrong with revisiting a common archetype if it's done well. I think part of the problem with some of the other entries is that they went too far to appear unique, leaving us alienated.


Varrush is far too reminiscent for me of other rakshasas, detailed in Pathfinder products recently. I could have been hooked in with a nod to that along the lines of 'Varrush correpsonds regularly with his distant cousin Vimanda', but instead I get lots of description about a palace....
And the Qadiran government tolerates him, even though he's in league with nobles from Taldor - WHY???? Is he some sort of part-time spy for the Qadiran government? If not why are they putting up with a highly visible guy (a pleasure palace is hardly a discreet lair) who hobnobs with the aristocracy of their loathed rivals/northern neighbours?
This entry has touches of fine descriptive detail, but leaves me with too many unanswered questions I'm not convinced that the writer has even thought about.

Will this villain cause the PCs grief?
Uh, maybe, but like some of the other villains of this round, Varrush seems highly sedentary. It seems most likely to require a case of the PCs 'stumbling' on him, rather than his actively interfering with them. Unless a political angle gets involved.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Varrush is far too reminiscent for me of other rakshasas, detailed in Pathfinder products recently. I could have been hooked in with a nod to that along the lines of 'Varrush correpsonds regularly with his distant cousin Vimanda', but instead I get lots of description about a palace....

My thought as well. The villian is very well fleshed out though (more-so than many others). I'm on the fence with this one.


Ninjaiguana wrote:
Jason Rice wrote:

3) The CR of the villan DOES NOT match the goals of the villan. I mean cripes! If I'm not mistaken, he's CR 17 (possibly higher), yet his main concern is petty kidnapping and his next "high"? This is not the kind of things that a CR17 villan is concerned about.

Just to correct you here, Varrush isn't CR 17. Monk's not an associated class for rakshasa, so you add 1 CR for every 2 Monk levels, making him CR 14. The fact that this leads to fairly silly stat blocks in some cases is another matter entirely..

Would you mind letting me know where the "Associated Classes" are mentioned? I don't want to come off as sounding confrontational. I am genuinely curious. As I look at the DMG, the only reference I find is to PC or NPC classes (page 37), and Monk is definitely a PC class. I'll admit that I haven't read through the entire "Pathfinder Beta" PDF. I've gotten to page 141, so this reference to "Associated classes" may be new to the Pathfinder system.

Also, Roguerouge:

I think you are confusing Challenge Rating (CR) with Encounter Level (DMG, Page 48). I would agree with you that the difficulty of any particular creature depends on other factors than their CR, but I respectfully disagree that this particular submission should be easier because Rakshasas "play" below their CR. If anything, it should be MORE difficult when compared to similar creatures. Three of the four adventure hooks require that the PC's enter the "pleasure palace", where they will be surrounded by hundreds, possibly thousands, of Varrush's servants, allies, addicts, and like minded individuals. This is by no means an easy encounter.

As to the question of if this creature should be a monk, the 1st sentence of the Monk class in the PHB spells out the essence of a Monk for me. Those who "...who pursue personal perfection..." Somone who is a "spirit of vice and corruption", who has "numerous excesses", and who enjoys "wanton excess, sensual indulgence", is just not capable of becoming a monk. It's not a question of Lawful/Chaotic. They don't have the time, patience, self discipline, demeanor, or desire for the type of training required. I just come away feeling that the levels of Monk were given to Varrush because the author devised some cool ability/rules combo between his race and class, and wanted to show it off. It doesn't make any story sense to me, and why should it? It was never explained. Being the host of a Blood-Sport competition does not make one a monk.

Again. Eric (and Ninjaiguana and Roguerouge), I dont mean to sound completely negative, and it's not my intention to go on a rant. I was just stating an opinion, and defending my position on this submission. I'll admit that I might have missed something with a Monk not being considered an "Associated Class", but I can't find the reference. I would greatly appreciate it if you let me know where that is.

I do think that I would vote for this submission if, as someone else pointed out, it was a round dedicated to designing a lair. It's not. Eric shows promise in his writing, but we are tasked with "voting for your favorite villan." Eloquent writing doesn't equate to a well designed villan. Varrush just isn't doing it for me.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

Jason Rice wrote:


Would you mind letting me know where the "Associated Classes" are mentioned? I don't want to come off as sounding confrontational. I am genuinely curious. As I look at the DMG, the only reference I find is to PC or NPC classes (page 37), and Monk is definitely a PC class. I'll admit that I haven't read through the entire "Pathfinder Beta" PDF. I've gotten to page 141, so this reference to "Associated classes" may be new to the Pathfinder system.

Monster Manual, the chapter on advancing monsters.

Non-associated classes are something of an art more than a science--rarely is it spelled out what specifically is or is not associated. Monk, however, doesn't bolster the rakshasa's strengths (spellcasting, crazy DR) very much. Besides, we have a precedent. Pathfinder 9 has a monk rakshasa NPC with the levels in monk counting as non-associated in terms of its CR.

Andoran

Erik I love Varrush description and how you developed him... as much as I loved the Lens of the Runethief...

but I see just another Rakshasa.. that is what Rakshasas do, nothing special besides this... considering what the Rakshasas of Korvosa do that make them unique, Varrush is found lacking...

I am still looking for my 4th vote...

Osirion

He gets bonus points from me for being a Monk. Villains who are evil clerics, sorcerers or wizards (and, these days, druids), feel overdone to me, and the idea of a Rakshasa hedonist surrounded by his acolytes and dancing minions is neat.


Demiurge 1138 wrote:
Jason Rice wrote:


Would you mind letting me know where the "Associated Classes" are mentioned? I don't want to come off as sounding confrontational. I am genuinely curious. As I look at the DMG, the only reference I find is to PC or NPC classes (page 37), and Monk is definitely a PC class. I'll admit that I haven't read through the entire "Pathfinder Beta" PDF. I've gotten to page 141, so this reference to "Associated classes" may be new to the Pathfinder system.

Monster Manual, the chapter on advancing monsters.

Non-associated classes are something of an art more than a science--rarely is it spelled out what specifically is or is not associated. Monk, however, doesn't bolster the rakshasa's strengths (spellcasting, crazy DR) very much. Besides, we have a precedent. Pathfinder 9 has a monk rakshasa NPC with the levels in monk counting as non-associated in terms of its CR.

I think I may see the problem...

...My group only recently converted to 3.5. I have a 3rd edition Monster Manual (3.5 is hard to find now), and the only thing the 3rd edition Monster Manual says is that creatures that aquire a class "follow the rules for multiclassing described on page 55-56 in the Player's Handbook. The creature's character level equals the number of class levels it has, plus the total Hit Dice for such beings..." "...The monster's class is always it's favored class" No mention whatsoever of associated classes.

So, it's simply a rules difference based upon which system you are using (Pathfinder is marketed to, and compatable with, both systems).

There is no real reason to buy a 3.5 monster manual right now, if I could find one, as I intend on buying Paizo's "Pathfinder Bestiary", which should become the "official" book once they are out of Beta playtest.


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

2/10

A generic rakshasa that sounds like every other rakshasa in the world. Declaring a villain a mastermind doesn't really make him more interesting.


This is the first submission in the villain round that I've commented on. I will agree, it is a generic Rakshasa, however, I LIKE that it's a generic Rakshasa. Sometimes adventures are going to have generic monsters, classes, or locales. They can be generic if they are presented in a well written or interesting manner. This submission has done the job in my opinion. While the monster class combination may not be the most original the presentation is well done, it's obvious a villain and that may be enough to get a vote from me.

Not to argue about the CR rules, I do find it curious as to the objection that the pursuit of pleasure and financial gain isn't something that a CR 17 villain would focus on. I have to ask why not? He's obviously powerful, and obviously a threat to more than just the PC's (other adventurers, the flow of money through cities and countries). I think one reason I like this villain is he's motivation isn't ultimate power, or vengeance. It's nice to see a villain well presented that isn't clutching at the cliche's that are usually present.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

I want to thank everyone who has posted comments, good or bad. Your critiques are very helpful, not just for this one entry, but for trying to establish an idea of what the Paizo crowd is looking for.

Remember, a vote for Varrush is a vote for not having to stat up a high-level rakshasa monk yourself. Think of what else you could do with those free hours!

Cheers!

-eric

Star Voter 2013

Jason Rice wrote:

Also, Roguerouge:

I think you are confusing Challenge Rating (CR) with Encounter Level (DMG, Page 48). I would agree with you that the difficulty of any particular creature depends on other factors than their CR, but I respectfully disagree that this particular submission should be easier because Rakshasas "play" below their CR. If anything, it should be MORE difficult when compared to similar creatures. Three of the four adventure hooks require that the PC's enter the "pleasure palace", where they will be surrounded by hundreds, possibly thousands, of Varrush's servants, allies, addicts, and like minded individuals. This is by no means an easy encounter.

I'm quoting James Jacobs, who argued that Rakshasas should be CR 8 in the Curse of the Crimson Throne. Take it up with him.

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

This entry is very well-written, evocative, provocative, probably some other kind of -vocative... I like him. Yes, he is the Rakshasa-iest Rakshasa on the block-shasa, but is that a bad thing? I was actually just thinking today that I would like to see someone submit a villain with no class levels. Take a monster, an intelligent one, and make the monster a villain without resorting (as I did last year and lots of other people have done) to templates and class levels to make him a villain. All that stuff is window dressing. The villain is about what he is and what he does.

Take Smaug, for example - as presented in the Hobbit, he's really not much of a villain. He is an absolutely fabulous monster, brilliantly drawn to life, and he could be a villain. Certainly if you look at it from a historical context (as Thorin would, since he was but a wee bairn when the dwarves fled Erebor when Smaug arrived) he WAS a villain. By the time Bilbo and the dwarves get there, though, Smaug has pretty much retired from villain to named monster (and from there to dead, but that's beside the point). He sleeps in his cave on his giant mountain of treasure, and he doesn't do a darn thing unless somebody comes along and pisses him off by messing with his stuff, and then he goes and eats them, lays waste to everything nearby, and then goes home and goes back to bed.

Glaurung, on the other hand, from the Silmarillion, is a dragon who is every inch a villain.

The point is, this entry is the closest we've really come to that. Yes, he has monk levels, but they are almost entirely irrelevant to his villainy. You hand-wave his hookers and blow parties as his perverse form of monkish meditation, but it's really not necessary. He's a rakshasa, and that gives him plenty to work with. Just let him be a rakshasa, give him villainous motives, villainous plots, schemes, goals, and personality that directly intersect with the PCs.

Yeah, he has a swingin' pad, but the real fun comes when he and his minions leave the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club and go out into the world and meet the PCs head-on. I think your entry could have used a little more heft there (though I think there is enough). I don't know if I like this one enough to get in the top 4 out of 32, but I like it a lot and I hope you make it through.

P.S. Some of this entry reminded me of my final-round adventure proposal, what with the swingin casino/resort in the middle of the desert. If you liked that one, I'd say excellent choice of source material! :)

Star Voter 2013

Yes, monks have a long history of the denial of the pleasures of the flesh.

But I can very much see EVIL monks going for the opposite, instead of the cliched bloody self-flagellation. In real life, mystics used flagellation, starvation, and sleep deprivation to achieve altered states of consciousness... so, really, the end result of this guy using intoxicants is the same.

And I call shenanigans: how is this hedonism so different from a Drunken Master? That's an accepted prestige class in both 3.0 and 3.5 AND sourced from a very fine movie!

I think you should reconsider voting against Varrush if the hedonism issue is a main concern.


How does an avowed hedonist maintain the kind of bodily discipline required to be a monk?

Star Voter 2013

QXL99 wrote:
How does an avowed hedonist maintain the kind of bodily discipline required to be a monk?

The same way that dwarves are not all alcoholic bums? By having a +14 Fort save.

Also, you'll note that this building up a tolerance approach fits nicely with... Purity of Body (4th level), which makes you immune to diseases (and perhaps addictions.) And it's building towards... Diamond Body (11th), which makes you immune to poisons, which include alcohol and other intoxicants.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka JoelF847

I liked this entry a lot after reading all of the previous ones alphabetically. This one was a villain that you could use for a whole campaign if you wanted. Yes, he's pretty stereotypical for a Rakshasa, but he's got a good playground of minions and plot hooks and evilness: slaves, drugs, and sand-pirates. I have to admit, I want to know more about the sand-pirates than I do about Varrush. I kept thinking of Jabba as I read this entry, and that's a good thing. At the same time, it's not a complete clone of Jabba.

At the rate the entries are going, this one is the first I'd really consider voting for. I was also glad to see a non-pc race finally show up.

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