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The Gentleman Knave


Round 3 - Top 16: Create a villain stat block

1 to 50 of 62 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
RPG Superstar 2011 aka Ignotus

The Gentleman Knave
Portrait: 10
Description: At the mention of the Gentleman Knave, ladies swoon, peasants cheer, and merchants glower. Tall and dashing, this honorable bandit is the terror of Taldor’s highways and the toast of its taverns. In secret, however, he is a traitor loyal to an enemy nation, and his plans will see Taldor burn.

Motivations/Goals: The Knave was born Acton Venarys, in Qadira. Descended from Taldan nobility given as hostages after the last war, Acton dreamed of reclaiming the Venarys lands in Taldor. When he traveled there, however, the Grand Prince refused to hear his suit, and the nobility ostracized him. Furious, Acton swore to see Qadira humble Taldor.

Today, as the Gentleman Knave, Acton lays the groundwork for a Qadiran invasion. From his base in the Verduran Forest, the Knave disrupts trade and travel, provoking and exhausting Taldor’s men-at-arms. He spreads stolen wealth amongst the poor, growing his legend and inviting brutal reprisals against the peasantry. He undermines popular lords by framing them or their men for bloody crimes. The Knave’s ultimate goal is to foment an uprising against the aristocracy. With Taldan forces occupied by an insurrection, the Knave’s high-ranking Qadiran allies will push for a swift, devastating invasion.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:
- One of several fabulous gemstones stolen by the Knave from the merciless Count Galanos turns up in a nearby village. The PCs have only days to recover the rest before Galanos burns the village for its “defiance.”
- The Lion Blade Menas Dimitrion suspected the Knave’s treason, and entered the Verduran Forest to find proof. He never returned. The PCs are commissioned to find Dimitrion.
- Serfs calling themselves the Knave’s Men have seized the town of Faldamont, threatening to execute local nobility if the army intervenes. Can the PCs prevent the Knave’s machinations from causing a massacre?

The Gentleman Knave CR 9
Male human rogue (rake, APG 134) 10
CN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +5; Senses Perception +12
=====Defense=====
AC 25, touch 16, flat-footed 19 (+5 armor, +5 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 shield)
hp 78 (10d8 + 30)
Fort +5, Ref +13, Will +5
Defensive Abilities evasion, improved uncanny dodge
=====Offense=====
Spd 30 ft.
Melee +1 rapier +13/+8 (1d6+1/18-20)
Ranged shortbow +12 (1d6/x3)
Special Attacks sneak attack +5d6
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th)
2/day – vanish (DC 13)
=====Tactics=====
Before Combat: Unless surprised, the Gentleman Knave casts shield before fighting.
During Combat: The Knave and his band of thieves prefer to strike quickly and disappear. In pitched battle, he challenges noble opponents to single combat; if refused, he targets spellcasters. He feints and uses bravado’s blade. The Knave is merciful unless his secret is threatened – then he fights to kill.
Morale: The Knave flees immediately if badly outnumbered. Otherwise, he fights until another day triggers, then retreats with vanish. If cornered he surrenders graciously, planning to escape later.
=====Statistics=====
Str 10 Dex 20 Con 12 Int 14 Wis 8 Cha 14
Base Atk +7/+2; CMB +7; CMD 23
Feats Combat Expertise, Dodge, Improved Feint, Iron Will, Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +18, Bluff +18, Diplomacy +18, Disguise +15, Escape Artist +18, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (local) +10, Perception +12, Sense Motive +12, Sleight of Hand +13, Stealth +18, Use Magic Device +15
Languages Common, Kelish, Goblin
SQ bravado’s blade, rake’s smile, rogue talents (another day, befuddling strike, major magic, offensive defense, surprise attack)
Combat Gear potion of cure serious wounds (2); Other Gear +1 mithral shirt, +1 rapier, shortbow, belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +1, entertainer’s outfit, wand of disguise self (27 charges), wand of shield (39 charges), 297 gp

Cheliax Contributor

Congratulations on reaching Round Three. My job is to comment on your character concept, not the rules. Also, I’ll leave typos and low-level writing issues to the mercies of the other judges.
I’m hoping to see villains with a compelling motivation and clear goal. I’ll try to point out both strengths and weaknesses before making a simple yes/no recommendation. Good luck in the voting!

On the surface, the description of this character is a bit tired, but the reveal that he’s actually a traitor rounds him out. I like the incident of his motivation and wish only for a little more detail on why the Grand Prince refused to hear his suit. That’s not a deal-breaker, but it sure would add depth to the knave if his ultimate goal included either personal revenge against the prince or else regaining his rightful lands. He’s potentially a sympathetic villain, my favorite kind. Or if the prince had a good reason to refuse his suit, but the Knave doesn’t see it that way, even better. Gray area is the sweet spot sometimes.

The hooks are okay, but they’d bet ten times better if they were linked to a clearer goal for the Knave. Simply causing trouble isn’t worthy of a great villain. He should have an endgame.

You have been weighed and measured:
I vote a cautious YES to advance this one.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Alright, Sam...welcome to the Top 16! You should realize by now the competition gets pretty fierce in ever-escalating intensity from here on out. And that's no different in how the judges review your stuff at this stage of the game. So I'm going to dive under the hood a little and mark through this thing like I'd do if I were an editor. My comments are mostly going to come instream as I review things, and please take them as constructive criticism. I've spoilered them for length:

Spoiler:

First, let's examine your choice of villain. A rogue with the rake archetype? Interesting. You're basically reinterpreting the Robin Hood legend by giving him the outward guise of someone robbing from the rich to give to the poor, when in fact he actually is a terrorist fomenting unrest to topple the government...but not in a way that elevates the downtrodden of Taldan society. No, this guy wants to see the whole nation burn and conquered by the same Qadiri hostage-takers who held his family for so long. It's got elements of Stockholm Syndrome and I like it.

Looking through your descriptive text, everything flows well enough. Like Dave, however, I would have prefered to see you round out the knave's motivations and plot hooks a bit more. As written, it still feels like there's not quite enough there to really drive home the depth of his villainy as much as I'd like to see. And a fair amount of the writing actually uses some pretty tired tropes with the "ladies swoon, peasants cheer, and merchants glower" bit. I think you could have conveyed the same information, but in a newer and more innovative way.

So, let's move on to the stat-block. This is fairly solid work. The hit points look off to me. Should be (10 x 4.5) + 30 = 75 hp by my count. Or, as Paizo's starting to do now with classed NPCs without racial Hit Dice, perhaps it would be 10 + (9 x 4.5) + 30 = 80 hp. Either way, I don't see it as 78 hp. So, something's off. Also, your shortbow needs an interative attack (should be +12/+7). You need a concentration value for your spell-like abilities. Your languages need to be alphabetized. And you can't take major magic as a rogue talent until you've also taken minor magic. And your wands need to be listed among your Combat Gear rather than your Other Gear. That's because consummable stuff that might see play in an actual combat should always be listed as Combat Gear. Everything else, so far as I can tell, looks in order.

The knave's tactics are very workmanlike. Certainly appropriate, just not especially enticing in any major way. With this type of villain there's probably not a whole lot you can do to jazz him up in this area, but I would have liked to see some other gear besides a wand of disguise self and vanish to aid his escapes. Give me something that would make for a memorable encounter with him instead.

So, for the purposes of this round, I'm going to assess each villain according to concept, evocative description/flavor, appropriateness of the applied archetype, interesting/villainous tactics, and mechanical execution of the stat-block. So, here's how I'd rank this one:

Spoiler:

Villain Concept: Good
Flavor Text: Average
Appropriate Archetype: Good
Interesting Tactics: Average
Stat-Block Execution: Average to Good

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: While not necessarily as flashy as some villains could be, this rogue has the opportunity to affect a campaign at multiple levels...both socially and combatively. He's got long-term plans. He's very useable. And the stat-block requires minimal adjustments to make it viable.

As such, I do RECOMMEND this villain design to advance to the next round. But I also believe you'll need to raise your game and lead with something more potent in the remainder of the competition if you advance. Best of luck in the voting.

Contributor

I was a little disappointed with the "Robin Hood" aspect of this villain, but his motivations made up for that--Robin Hood may have stolen from the rich and given to the poor, but he wasn't doing it to cause chaos in the land and make it vulnerable for its enemies to destroy it. So that's a clever twist.

Numbers that are part of magic items (weapon enhancements, cloaks, and so on) are part of the magic item's name, and should be italicized just like the rest of the item name.

I'd like to see what sort of clever twist you can put on a more original idea. I'm not knocking the Robin Hood aspect, I'm saying your end result is much cooler if the concept you start with is already cool.

Paizo Employee Developer

Hey Sam! Congrats on making it into the top 16. I'm approaching all of this round's entries with a developer's eye, as the man who will ultimately be developing the winner's Module and the top 4 contestants' Pathfinder Society Scenarios. So let's assume you're one of those four designers and this is a villain you base your adventure around.

I was originally put off by the robin hood aspect here, as that's not so much evil as simply chaotic, and generally seen as good. Then I got to the motivations and I see where you're going with it. Still, I'm not sure a single robin hood in the Verduran Forest is going to have the ability to spurn the whole nation into revolution, nor weaken Taldor's southern defenses enough to bring about a Qadiran invasion.

It also seems a little strange to me that he'd have any loyalty to Qadira, since they were his family's captors for generations. I get the spurned noble wanting to get revenge for being denied his title, and think that fits Taldor really well, but not the alliance with Qadira. If this were the concept of a villain you wanted to base an adventure on, I'd probably ask you to focus more on Taldor's northern neighbor, Galt, for a nation for the Gentleman Knave to ally with. They at least have a history of rebellion against the aristocracy that could fit well with his ultimate goal, even if they lack the stable standing army to mount an invasion once chaos fell upon Taldor.

Overall, I'm lukewarm on the concept. I like the deception of appearing to be a man of the people when in actuality he's setting them up to be punished for their defiance and playing them against the nobility for his own gain. I wish the political aspect of it were less jarring, though, as I don't think Qadira was the right choice.

Now, looking at the statblock, I see a few issues, though I'm leaving the rebuilding of the statblock to others.

First, we don't include iterative attacks in BAB.

Second, you've got the shield bonus from shield already calculated in, which is fine, but since this is a dispellable effect or there's a chance he won't get the spell off, there should be a "Base Statistics" section of his tactics block. You should also specify that he casts the spell from his wand by utilizing Use Magic Device. Since there's a chance he might fail and there are charges involved, the GM should know to make the rolls and track the spent charges.

Chosen languages aren't alphabetized.

The "+1 rapier" in his Melee line should be italicized, as it's a magic weapon and the shortbow should have an iterative attack.

You can't take Major Magic without Minor first.

I'm not quite sure what "fights until another day triggers" means. You mean he fights until his daily spell-like ability recharges? I don't know about your game, but in mine, most battles don't even move into their second minute, much less their second day.

In the end, I'm not completely sold on this. There's nothing here screaming for me to suggest not voting for it, but I'm also not completely sure this is ready for the prime time. I'm going to defer to the other judges and the voters on this one. Best of luck in the vote.

CEO, Goblinworks

Summary: 3 Points
Recommendation: Recommended for advancement

Sam my approach to this round was as a brand manager. I'll leave the detailed mechanical analysis to the others. If I were in charge of the product this villain would appear in, I'd be thinking the following:

Did you follow the instructions?

You picked a human character who is showing some positive emotion. I think you captured that essence in the submission.

1 Point

Is this villain memorable and will it add value to my IP?

The terrorist robin hood thing is great. I think this is a worthy edition to the setting. He could be around a long time, ramping up from minor troublemaker to serious threat over the passage of years.

1 Point

Does the villain's concept make sense within the IP?

His motivations are poor though. With the others I think the backstory is a bit confused and lightweight. There's word limit issues to be sure, but it may have been better to come up with something better. Some readers will have such a problem with this kind of thing that they'll have a hard time using the villain as a result.

0 Points

What's the twist? (All great villains have a surprise within them)

I guess the twist is that he really is a terrorist. PCs might be inclined to see him as a robin hood type figure and play into his schemes unwittingly and that's always great for a campaign; unintended consequences of player action leads to interesting drama.

1 Point

Paizo Employee Designer

Howdy. I’m Stephen, and I will be one of your guest judges for this round of RPG Superstar. I’m looking at the stat block purely based on what I consider fun or interesting to run. I have a little experience with that. That means the villain should be evocative, clear, effective, and big extra credit points go for interesting. There’re a lot of good villains out there, yours needs to stand out is some way.

I love me some Robin Hood. I’m a big fan of Knaves. But this guy is a tad…well…boring. Your stat block is well done, his tactics are good. But this guy just lacks a good hook.

I feel like I see a version of this guy in about every other adventure. Maybe every third adventure.

I do not recommend this one for advancement. Good luck in the voting, Sam.

Star Voter 2013

I like this guy: he's a classic with a twist, he works with a variety of PC levels (minions for early, hunting him for middle) and there's combat and social encounters to play with. I agree that you needed to indicate an end game in the Schemes section, as I'd love to see a "stop an invasion" ploy, save the Great Prince, or court intrigue scenario here. With his stat block, you needed something to save him from a simple charm person, as a first level mage is going to have a 40 percent shot at taming him. And I too would like something more entertaining offensively from a rake, given that he's going to be used in a swashbuckling way.

So, this one made the first cut. I'll read the rest to see if it gets my vote. Good luck!

Star Voter 2013

Mark Moreland wrote:

I'm not quite sure what "fights until another day triggers" means. You mean he fights until his daily spell-like ability recharges? I don't know about your game, but in mine, most battles don't even move into their second minute, much less their second day.

Not sure if you missed this but, in case others did:

PfSRD.org wrote:
Another Day (Ex): Once per day, when the rogue would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by a melee attack, she can take a 5-foot step as an immediate action. If the movement takes her out of the reach of the attack, she takes no damage from the attack. The rogue is staggered for 1 round on her next turn. Source: Advanced Player's Guide

Andoran

The task was to create a villain -- not create an evil villain.

You took a risk here by playing against type and I think you did very well with it. His motivation is believable and clear. This has the foundation for a great NPC foil with a lot of "replay value". I can easily build an entire campaign arc around this guy.

I voted YES for this one.

*thumbs up*

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

The Knave is one of my favorites this round, I think. The writing in the backstory is quite good, and I like the twist on the Robin Hood trope that he actually is working to destroy innocents and foment rebellion. I can see PCs playing along with him for a while until the real atrocities start up. The major magic issue's been covered already, but beyond that I like what I'm seeing.

I will probably vote for this entry. Votes are tight, but I'm really enjoying this character.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014

The Gentleman Knave was my number one selection for this round. An evil Robin Hood that wants to overthrow the government is kind of standard. But what I liked about this guy, was he wasn't doing this to gain power for himself. He wants to make the Prince pay for the slight against him and he doesn't really care about how he humbles the Prince. Yes, the Gentleman Knave helps the peasants, but to manipulate them to his needs.

I could easily use this character as the beneficiary for a low level group. When they later find out the his true motivations and secret frame jobs, they must take care of him themselves.

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

I like this better than the one I just read with the same portrait. Not to exciting, but enough of a hook, and I like that he's got his own version of the Merry Men to fight alongside him. He comes off as a "Song of Ice and Fire" twist on Robin Hood, and that's not a bad thing, if not staggeringly original either. Frankly, the quirky, novel villains get a bit old anyway.

Adding this to my "maybe" list.

Osirion

I love this guys motivation and goals. Awesome intrigue-laden story hooks really make this one sing for me.

I'm also impressed to see a non-spellcaster, who gets some good plot-affecting mileage out of social skills, as it's a bit more common to make the big bad evil guy some sort of spellcaster.

Star Voter 2013

It took me a while to get over the Robin Hood parallel, but I'm glad I did. This is a cool concept that could see use in lots of different types of adventure, whether based on subterfuge/politics or just bringing a villain to justice the old fashioned way.


I basically saw "V" for Vendetta + Robin hood.

I mean, I really like the twist on Robin Hood, and think this is probably the most well executed concept so far. I think it could have a bit more depth, and it will take alot of clever GMing to get it to work right. I don't see many parties accepting the challenge out in the open like that when they could group up and kill him.

That being said, could you imagine how awesome he'd be with a bit of adaptation for Kingmaker? He strolls into town and starts some trash talking about the PCs (possibly as an event) and openly challenges their rule of the stolen land or their honor and swings it into an honor duel? I see alot of potential for this kind of character. The hooks need work, but I'm ok with that. I think this author may have some valuable input when it comes to pitching an idea for a campaign setting. So definately a +1 on my end.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I find him most impressive. His mechanics are an exact match for his description, and I love a villain that I can use to interact with my PCs on a regular basis. I also love Chessmaster-type villains, which he clearly falls into.

As others have pointed out, Major Magic can't be picked without Minor Magic. This does make unable to use his vanish tactics. Such an oversight is a big issue.

However, the strength of the concept makes me want to adopt him into my campaign. I will almost certainly vote for him!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Unremarkable Robin Hood with decent twist. Could use some supporting cast.

Recommended.

Regards,
Ruemere

Osirion Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

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

This guy is not one of the coolest villains around, but the concept is solid and I can easily see him as a straightforward villain with an unexpected connection to a greater thread as well as a possible ally betraying the PCs trust - depending on the moral outlook of the group.
Voted.

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

Picking on my poor Taldor.

Actually making this character Chaotic Neutral is a perk in my book. He's sowing chaos, but (may) have a legitimate reason. While I'd like the reason for the rejection of the title, the open ended allows the GM to give a good reason ("I'd love to give you land and titles, but your land is now called Andoran.") or a bad reason ("Oh, those lands? well they were rewarded to my political croneys when I needed to raise money for that lovely statue of me in the square.")

Such things add to the 'sandbox' atmosphere we see promoted by Paizo.

Also by making him CN, we avoid the 'detect evil' 'smite evil' plot hamstringing. He's also one of those villians who has the potential for 'loving to hate'.

Taldor

This villain actually screams "Kelsier" from Mistborn to me, more than Robin Hood. That's a good thing, since Kelsier rocks the house as one of my favorite fantasy characters. But it also sets a very high standard for the Gentleman Knave to match up to, and I'm just not sure if he makes it. I think the "merciful unless his secret is threatened" bit hits me wrong -- I'd prefer it if, as a villain, he was a bit more sinister. Kelsier without a shred of conscience.

Andoran

I guess my thing with this is, the guy's not necessarily a villian at all.

I assume that there are plenty of good people who simply dislike the Taldanese government for whatever reason. For those people, This guy is a hero.

I guess I'm just not sure that being a revolutionary equates to being a villian. Of course, I guess it could...

The execution here is good, it's just a shame that the concept is so two-thoudsand-and-late (as Fergie would say).

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

Jeremiziah,

If I wasn't already voting for this, I'd vote for it now just because you felt the urge to cite Fergie. :P

Andoran

Matthew Morris wrote:

Jeremiziah,

If I wasn't already voting for this, I'd vote for it now just because you felt the urge to cite Fergie. :P

See? Them chickens jackin' my style.

:-p

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

The revolutionary rogue isn't lighting the world on fire with originality, but the fake Robin Hood/secret terrorist angle is a fun twist. I don't think it too unbelievable that he would have sided with his long-time captors, either, though Mark may be right that Galt would be a bit more natural of a fit for his revolutionary tendencies.

The thing is, this is a villain that can't quite make up his mind about whether he's an anarchist or a terrorist. Does he just want revolution, or does he REALLY want the entire nation to crumble? If his goal is overthrow of the aristocracy, then Galt would be a natural ally.

However, if his goal is the wipe-out of Taldor, then Qadira really IS the best choice, since they have the resources and motivation to actually make it happen, which Galt doesn't.

Does he want to punish EVERYBODY, or just the nobles? There are indications in both directions, but I think a clearer focus on one goal or the other would have helped give this guy definition. He could be pursuing both goals, but one needs to be a step along the way to the other. If he's out to foment revolution, I think CN works fine. If he's out to foment war and potential massacre from a sneak attack invasion, he might be drifting more towards CE or NE.

I like the hooks as it gives you a definite sense of how to use this guy; I think his prime motivation needs a little clarity. Overall, though, I like him.

BTW, for those asking about what "fights until another day triggers" means, it is referring to the another day advanced rogue talent (APG, p. 131). When that ability triggers, THEN he flees.


I would use him as "ally" of the party.

After helping them on occasion and building up their trust, he asks for help in destroying a "demon corrupted" church of Sarenrae, that is not actually corrupt at all...
He then asks for help in killing a "tyrant" and freeing his prisoners,
He concocts a storey that the prisoners at an asylum are actually political prisoners and that they need to be freed...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

At first I was thinking that this was going to be your run-of-the-mill robin hood cheese. I'm glad to see that it is not. I like that when the government says he's a terrorist, they're right. I think you could have done a lot with this angle though. It would have been great to have your hooks be anti-government + betrayal rather than simply anti-terrorist. In order to pull this guy off, the PC's need to start to believe in him, even work for or with him, and then realize that he is the horror his enemies claim him to be. Without invoking this reaction from the party the whole schtick falls apart. If the PCs see the problem from an objective third-party point of view he becomes just another anarchist. Riots, you need commoners to riot on his behalf when the PCs take action against him.

This is well executed, but his m.o. and the way he interacts with the party is far more important than his background and needed much more "screen-time" than it received.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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

I can totally see the party working with this guy for a long while and then having the moment where they go "Holy crap we've been helping the bad guy for weeks!!!"

In fact, I think I'm going to set that up in my game this Friday.

Thank you very much!

Oh, and by the way, this was one of my top three. I think it is really pretty clever :)

Shadow Lodge

Sam,

I honestly didn't like either of your other entries (the item and the monk), but this villain is one of the best of the bunch. Excellent job!

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I love the twist that he really is a traitor and not the kind hearted bandit.

vote given. good luck.


I like the character, but not so much as a villain. Again, I could see the PC's teaming up with this guy to help overthrow an oppressive government (as long as the party wasn't too lawful).

Excellent character, but as a villain, I'm not sold. He almost seems...kind of noble.

But the write up was excellent. All parts of the entry were well done.

Probably won't vote for it as a villain, but you have some skills creating good NPC's.

Taldor

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Um, I think the Judges need to get together on this. Neil keeps saying Iterative attacks are missing and need to be included and Mark keeps saying that Iterative attacks are NOT supposed to be included in stat blocks where they are.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Tim Statler wrote:
Um, I think the Judges need to get together on this. Neil keeps saying Iterative attacks are missing and need to be included and Mark keeps saying that Iterative attacks are NOT supposed to be included in stat blocks where they are.

Iterative attacks need to be included in the Melee and Ranged lines of a stat-block. They don't need to be included in the BAB line.

Taldor

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Ahhh, I see where I misunderstood. Flag withdrawn.


I think the Qadira connection works very well, I have thought of similar plot-lines between Qadira and Taldor myself. Criticism that it is unbelievable he would turn against the previos enemy of his country (which threw him to the ditch when he returned) just doesn´t hold water by my book. Qadira may very well have treated him decently as a prisoner, given he was ´nobility´, and the rejection after years (?) of ´captivity´ would cross one´s heart much more than the actions one would expect of a warring state... Certainly I don´t think there´s much moral superiority re: how either Taldor/Qadira uses war for glorious conquests (just Taldor tends to lose), so in that situation, seeing Qadira as closest to his interests in perfectly reasonable. It can be over-looked how often traitors DO develop in real-life for much less dramatic reasons, not to mentoin ´Stockholm Syndrome´ (which doesn´t really apply here IMHO, but still).

The main thing agasint it, was that my immediate reaction was ¨Villain? Maybe if I were Taldan aristocracy, but otherwise, let the vice-duke-high-famuzzins taste their due´. But of course, any Villain might seem attractive to SOMEBODY, so that´s not SO bad, and certainly causing chaos and general mayhem with disregard to the general publics well-being (though beyond his Robin Hood schtick, which may or may not be completely an ´act´, I didn´t get that he wsa interested in endangering the common man if that was avoidable - his beef was with the ruling class after all, and he probably thought the common folk wouldn´t be any worse off under Qadira than Taldor).

I´d say you definitely have my vote again this round... And that´s saying something, because I doubt I will be ENTHUSIASTICALLY voting for more than 4 this round. So good job!, and best of luck next round!!!

EDIT: I think it´s very amusing that you chose the same image as Artus did for his Vastrius... Incidentally, I´m seeing you and him as going all the way to the final round, you both seem to have a subtle touch and understanding of game play and story...

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I like this. It is a solid character that not only provides an interesting plotline but si also likely to come into conflict with the PCs at the end of the adventure when all becomes clear somehow.

Your stat block execution could have been a bit better considering that you picked a rather uncomplicated NPC, at least compared to some of the other entries.

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

I think, in addition to being totally derivative, the Knave is unplayable by a GM. Sure, he can be dashing and deceitful and have the support of the people who don't know what he's really up to, but in a lot of games, I see him as unable to influence or threaten the party.

I think there's decent fluff here, and although I prefer the souls of my villains to be black as my wardrobe, the idea of a CN kidnaping victim brainwashed to return to Qadira's embrace is acceptable for a villain. But then we need to know more about his Qadiran contacts, we ought to know how this guy can challenge the PCs over a longer period of time. He's a good villain in that your PCs could hear about him for onths before geting involved with him. He's not a very good villain in that he's singly dimensional, and fodder for a team of PCs. Plus, if the aprty helped influence ocal poltiics to get him his land back, would he turn his back on Qadira and embrace the suport of an adoring public once he was their lord? I prefer villains that cannot be unmade into heroes with just a decent Diplomacy check.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Standback

Sam,

Best of luck with your villain entry! Here's my thoughts, written before I've read anybody else's.

Concept: A daring choice - the social villain, the trickster. Trickster characters are enticingly glamorous, but notoriously difficult to tie down to concrete plotlines and mechanics.

You do a very nice job with this - his target of fomenting hatred between Taldan nobility and the commonfolk is a simple, intuitive one that will be easy to work into a game; not relying on any convoluted ruse that would take years to set up.

My biggest concern here is that I'm concerned the Knave himself may have too easy a time being removed from his schemes' real action, and covering his tracks. If he just gets some independant firebrands rallied up, he doesn't need to lift a finger further himself. But I feel like this is an issue that can be solved fairly easily, if given the chance to describe a full adventure.

Plot Hooks: These are fine; I think you could have come up with hooks that would be less straightforward, and that might come at the Knave from different angles (your 1st and 3rd hooks are nearly identical). You'd want different stages here - first becoming aware of the Knave's false persona, then simultaneously exposing the truth and being forced into the middle of the nobles/commons battles. After that, all kinds of climaxes present themselves, possibly involving publicly exposing the Knave; quelling the rebellion (or leading it - don't want to leave 'em oppressed!); dealing with the Qadiran invasion. You've got real gold here with storytelling possibilities; I think it's a shame you don't spotlight that some more.

Mechanics: I like that you seem to be focusing on encountering the Knave along with his men, as a matter of course in Taldor, rather than a final BBEG battle. I don't get the sense that a climactic battle with this guy would be very exciting - it's what he does on the way that's interesting; the climax is unmasking him, and halting his schemes.

Use of Archetype: Very appropriate. This actually threw me at first, because I didn't remember the archetype, and my familiarity with the "rake" term is a Don Juan-type, a lascivious man of loose morals. I didn't see how getting women into bed was central to the Knave's concept - so very confusing! Then I re-read the archetype, which focuses precisely on the social skills the Knave would obviously be using all the time. I like having this character as a slick-talking rogue, as opposed to some ranger-ish Robin Hood type - that's exactly the type of distinction you want to make between Robin and the Knave.

Use of Portrait: Good match - a natural for the concept.

All in all, very nice. I could definitely see a campaign featuring this guy as a villain. I'm still wary about the actual detail of working him in, but as I've said, even here there's plenty to work with. It'd definitely be cool to see an encounter with the Knave next round. Also: you competing.

Wishing you lots of luck! :)


If you mix the Robin Hood myth with the historical Vlad Tepes, his ulterior motivations actually make quite a bit more sense. And the potential for greater violence and mayhem to topple over who had wronged him and reclaim what he believes may be rightfully his (from his own perspective).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Is he exceptionally good at expectorating?

Seriously, though, I pretty much love this on every level, particularly the tone set by the opening lines. Way to go.


Sam,
Your concept is great and your execution is solid. He isn't multiclassed or especially complex in build, and I really like that. I really enjoy this villain, even if I don't really care that much for another dashing rogue. Alternatively, this villain uses that aspect of his character for a deeper, truer evil, and I like that very much. Burn Taldor to the ground!

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Nicolas Quimby wrote:

Is he exceptionally good at expectorating?

Seriously, though, I pretty much love this on every level, particularly the tone set by the opening lines. Way to go.

ABSOLUTELY one of my favorite movies. Huzzah!

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I had to chuckle at the reinterpretation of the Knave's actions from their classic predecessor, though there's little sign of deeper plans for PCs to discover.

I believe major magic requires minor magic as a prerequisite.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 aka The Leaping Gnome

I kind of like this guy. I'm not 100% sold that he's a villain and he's a bit boring but that's ok.

It looks like the judges caught the mechanical issues I saw (they seemed fairly minor anyway). When voting is over I'd be curious to know how you came up with 78 hp, at first I thought you might be using the alternate rogue favored class option for humans from the APG (pg. 23, +1/6 a new rogue talent per level) but you only had the five rogue talents. That would have left you with four hit points or skill points to play around with but you only put three into hp so I don't know…

I suppose if this guy were originally 9th level that stuff would have made sense (maybe you boosted his level and forgot that stuff?).

Nonetheless, I can see how a DM could use this guy.

Well done.


Spoiler:
You are the first to get a go from me. I feel bad about not going into detail like I did with the first day of voting, but I hope my vote makes up for my laziness.


Sam Zeitlin wrote:

The Gentleman Knave

Description: At the mention of the Gentleman Knave, ladies swoon, peasants cheer, and merchants glower. Tall and dashing, this honorable bandit is the terror of Taldor’s highways and the toast of its taverns. In secret, however, he is a traitor loyal to an enemy nation, and his plans will see Taldor burn.

Motivations/Goals: The Knave was born Acton Venarys, in Qadira. Descended from Taldan nobility given as hostages after the last war, Acton dreamed of reclaiming the Venarys lands in Taldor. When he traveled there, however, the Grand Prince refused to hear his suit, and the nobility ostracized him. Furious, Acton swore to see Qadira humble Taldor.

Today, as the Gentleman Knave, Acton lays the groundwork for a Qadiran invasion. From his base in the Verduran Forest, the Knave disrupts trade and travel, provoking and exhausting Taldor’s men-at-arms. He spreads stolen wealth amongst the poor, growing his legend and inviting brutal reprisals against the peasantry. He undermines popular lords by framing them or their men for bloody crimes. The Knave’s ultimate goal is to foment an uprising against the aristocracy. With Taldan forces occupied by an insurrection, the Knave’s high-ranking Qadiran allies will push for a swift, devastating invasion.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:
- One of several fabulous gemstones stolen by the Knave from the merciless Count Galanos turns up in a nearby village. The PCs have only days to recover the rest before Galanos burns the village for its “defiance.”
- The Lion Blade Menas Dimitrion suspected the Knave’s treason, and entered the Verduran Forest to find proof. He never returned. The PCs are commissioned to find Dimitrion.
- Serfs calling themselves the Knave’s Men have seized the town of Faldamont, threatening to execute local nobility if the army intervenes. Can the PCs prevent the Knave’s machinations from causing a massacre?

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you (somehow) missed it so far, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness means both the mortals falling off the plank into the lava at the same time, balance is something a succubus weighs herself on against a sack full of bloody archon feathers to check that she hasn’t been overindulging this month, and logic means that it’s never the succubus at fault – always the incompetent idiot of a second-rate hairdresser who is incapable of living up to a succubus’ expectations. Oh: And always remember it’s a succubus’ privilege to change her mind without any warning…
;)

If a sister succubus seduces this villain or a key henchman and things take their course… Well is this villain likely to be good around a young alu-fiend?
He's ruthless about his image, and I doubt he considers he could afford to have a demonic temptress and a child she's borne him anywhere in that carefully cultivated picture.
The best a succubus could hope for for herself and any daughters she had of him would be to be a 'kept' secret mistress - but even then the levels of secrecy Acton's likely to insist on are going to be *highly* stressful.

Should a succubus tip off any organisations as to the identity, location, and/or activities of this person?
Whilst it's evident that any children from such a relationship would likely pose problems for Acton, I'll put word around the Abyssal Ladies of Romantic Inclinations at our next guild meeting, in case any of my fellow succubi are interested in him purely from the point of view of 'fun'. The 'ambitious dashing anarchist with a charming smile' angle may interest one or two of them.

How much money would I lend this person?
I'd go up to five thousand gold, to be repaid within three months, but I doubt he'd need to borrow money from me. If he requires funds he can just go out and rob a couple more merchant caravans.

Other comments? (including fruitcake rating where appropriate)
Whilst it seems likely to me that this man is working with some in Qadira, it's not actually spelled out if he is or just who he might be working with if that is the case. He might even be one of the Satrap's personal agents who are known as 'the Peerless'...

Rating on the Gulga-Bracht supersuccubus scale of villainy:
5 (villain with plans for modest mayhem)

Further Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (still with half an eye on Lord Orcus) would once again like to clarify that mortal voters should probably rely on more than just her own (impeccable) assessments in making up their minds on how to vote. Thank You.


I like this villian. There was a good backstory to his motivations and goals.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka surfbored

Sam Zeitlin wrote:
The Gentleman Knave

I don't care much for the name, it sounds like the title of a romance novel.

Maybe I would like it more in the form, "Acton (The Gentleman Knave) Venarys", or "Acton Venarys, The Gentleman Knave"?

Sam Zeitlin wrote:

Description: At the mention of the Gentleman Knave, ladies swoon, peasants cheer, and merchants glower. Tall and dashing, this honorable bandit is the terror of Taldor’s highways and the toast of its taverns. In secret, however, he is a traitor loyal to an enemy nation, and his plans will see Taldor burn.

The paragraph starts off cliche, but the last line saves it and suddenly I'm interested. In fact, what felt uninspired at first now seems more like a smokescreen to catch me off guard.

Sam Zeitlin wrote:

Motivations/Goals: The Knave was born Acton Venarys, in Qadira. Descended from Taldan nobility given as hostages after the last war, Acton dreamed of reclaiming the Venarys lands in Taldor. When he traveled there, however, the Grand Prince refused to hear his suit, and the nobility ostracized him. Furious, Acton swore to see Qadira humble Taldor.

Today, as the Gentleman Knave, Acton lays the groundwork for a Qadiran invasion. From his base in the Verduran Forest, the Knave disrupts trade and travel, provoking and exhausting Taldor’s men-at-arms. He spreads stolen wealth amongst the poor, growing his legend and inviting brutal reprisals against the peasantry. He undermines popular lords by framing them or their men for bloody crimes. The Knave’s ultimate goal is to foment an uprising against the aristocracy. With Taldan forces occupied by an insurrection, the Knave’s high-ranking Qadiran allies will push for a swift, devastating invasion.

HOLY SMOKES! An ex-noble hostage bent on reclaiming his birthright by pillaging the rich and exploiting the poor?!? The smells like a reoccurring villain if ever there was one. The line of good vs. evil is blurry and anything can happen!

Sam Zeitlin wrote:

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:

- One of several fabulous gemstones stolen by the Knave from the merciless Count Galanos turns up in a nearby village. The PCs have only days to recover the rest before Galanos burns the village for its “defiance.”
- The Lion Blade Menas Dimitrion suspected the Knave’s treason, and entered the Verduran Forest to find proof. He never returned. The PCs are commissioned to find Dimitrion.
- Serfs calling themselves the Knave’s Men have seized the town of Faldamont, threatening to execute local nobility if the army intervenes. Can the PCs prevent the Knave’s machinations from causing a massacre?

There is virtually no end to the adventure possibilities with this villain. Open ended and richness to be had for all!

Sam Zeitlin wrote:
[STAT BLOCK]

Frankly, you've already won me over, even if your stat block was terribly flawed, I'd forgive most problems and just fix it myself. But I don't have to. Jumping straight to what is most important to me as a GM (the tactics)...

Sam Zeitlin wrote:
Before Combat: Unless surprised, the Gentleman Knave casts shield before fighting.

Thank you! Too many other villains are casting multiple spells and or quaffing potion after potion before combat starts, but that feels like GM metagaming to me. A single spell or one potion is all that should be allowed.

Sam Zeitlin wrote:
During Combat: The Knave and his band of thieves prefer to strike quickly and disappear. In pitched battle, he challenges noble opponents to single combat; if refused, he targets spellcasters. He feints and uses bravado’s blade. The Knave is merciful unless his secret is threatened – then he fights to kill.

Ha ha, what will the PCs do when challenged one-on-one!?! Also, excellent "escalation path".

Sam Zeitlin wrote:
Morale: The Knave flees immediately if badly outnumbered. Otherwise, he fights until another day triggers, then retreats with vanish. If cornered he surrenders graciously, planning to escape later.

I think I would even "force" him to be captured (maybe more than once!), just so he can escape once the PCs guards are down.

Proof that villains can be great without being evil, crazed, or bloodthirsty.


A solid entry and good use of a stock fantasy character to create not only a twist but villain with a fairly immediate series of adventures. I like that the concept or stat block forgoes flash and goes straight to the point.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Having finally gotten around to reading the others, I'm going to go ahead and give this my personal "best in round". It's intelligent, subversive and political; it's dramatic, hammy and fun; and the writing and execution were excellent.

As much as I like this, I'm going to resist the urge to go point-for-point on all the criticisms (many of which have already been addressed, and/or are clearly rooted in different taste), but there was one I found interesting and have to address:

Neil Spicer wrote:

And a fair amount of the writing actually uses some pretty tired tropes with the "ladies swoon, peasants cheer, and merchants glower" bit. I think you could have conveyed the same information, but in a newer and more innovative way.

I totally respect this point of view, and Neil isn't the only one to express it, but for my own money I disagree. I found that bit to be a deft and genre-savvy use of tone, and think that trying to say the exact same thing in a "newer and more innovative" way would have just fallen down into mediocrity.

What Sam wanted to convey here is that this character is (or is portrayed as) a total ham. Swaggering, larger-than-life, Gaston meets Robin Hood meets Tyler Durden. And that's not the kind of message that you can pussy-foot around; if you're intentionally avoiding bold and hammy language then you're probably not getting the point across.

Again, only my opinion as an amateur observer, but as far as word-slinging goes I think this guy really knows what he's doing. Sometimes it's best to just say it.

The only thing I personally don't like is the name. It's so cheesy that I expect it was intended to be ironic, which totally gives away that he's a villain. I mean, think about it: if he really WERE a gentleman, and could be described as an archetypal knave, would you still call him "The Gentleman Knave"? Of course not. It would be a bad name.

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