I'm preparing to launch my own Carrion Crown campaign as DM soon, and frankly, this thread has thrilled me! It is a project I've wanted to do for a long time, and have already read the whole Path for my own
I am shocked, though, that no one named the most obvious parallel to Adivion to me. Adrian Veidt, AKA Ozymandias from Watchmen was also born a genius from a fortunate family, cleared his studies with ease and boredom, and left to discover the world in hopes of discovering something or someone worthy of his unparalleled talent. Along the way he dilapidated his own fortune, only to prove he could rebuild his empire by himself. Our Adrissant did spend his family's riches on his obsession, yet it hardly seems to create any inconvenience in his endeavors. But most tellingly, when Veidt finally discovered somebody whose accomplishments and talents sparked his interest, his only peer was alas gone since millenias: Alexander the Great, probably THE greatest conqueror the world has ever seen. Finally, Veidt has also a great, but terrible plan that makes him the villain of his story, albeit in a more nuanced way than Adivion's goals and means of necromancy.
*gasps for air*
With that said, I feel interpreting AA similarly to Veidt is completely accurate to the character, or at least to the way he is written in the book. I don't care that the AP expect him to be undone after drinking his own mixture, if I can conclude book six with "I am not a fairy tales villain! I took the elixir myself five minutes ago" *Effects kicks in* (Or better yet, he teleported out with it, drinking it in his own estate while talking to the PCs through real-time illusions. Whatever I can devise.) I'll be a happy DM.
On the other hand, I dislike having him tied TOO closely to the Lorrimor, and by extension, the party, before the adventure begins. He and the late Professor will have known each other at some point, because they were both among the best and naturally spotted each other's talent. Petros Lorrimor was described as a good judge of character (hence being responsible for gathering the party in the first place), and a younger AA would have been less careful in showing his true colors. The Professor would have tutored him a while, but ultimately did not condone his penchant towards necromancy, and cut contact with Adrissant. Sadly, had the Professor not lost sight of him so early, he might have seen his pupil's mere unhealthy curiosity become something sinister, and thus could have avoided many tragedies- namely, his own.
In more recent events, Adivion would have been careful not to leave clue for the Professor to find, as it would have alarmed him and brought unwanted attention, but otherwise he didn't care all that much what happened to him though.
He might have been more familiar with Kendra, though. I saw them engaged in a few stories in this thread, but I'd like to make my own version. In the few years Adivion studied under the Professor, he courted with his daughter, whom he met by chance at the University. They actually became briefly engaged, yet when he appears at the funerals, she treats him coldly, and clearly does not wish his presence. If successful at a somewhat hard diplomacy check on the issue, she merely says bitterly: "I *bore* him."
Cue laughter, but it would actually be a real insight of Adivion's true nature. He's got Kendra, and most people around him, completely figured out, and has little interest in the average person, as described in the AP. Actually, Kendra's resentment only bothers him because it is "frustratingly predictable". His fondness of Kendra was, and still mostly is genuine though, and his affections are the reasons why he ultimately told her his opinion of her. Although she is a well-read, intelligent woman, she lacks the "true spark of genius to stimulate him as a peer".
Both father and daughter are aware of the other's falling out with Adrissant, but neither were quite willing to discuss it, so they only vaguely knew the reasons.
On another, final topic, many people, as I will myself do, had the PCs meet Adivion at the Professor's burial. I find interesting though, that nobody spotted the obvious thread: they meet him at the same event where they meet *each other*! The only common point between each PCs is that they all knew the same person. Now they share the same trait with the villain, too! What a coincidence!!
But what if it isn't? What if, had things been slightly different, had a CERTAIN GOD NOT DIED, Adivion Adrissant would have grown into a more caring person, and had still been left in Lorrimor's will, too? The party's characters aren't fully confirmed yet at this point, but should we have a Pharasmin cleric with us, I might drop hints that the party of 4 should have been fated to be a party of 5 instead, and that the last member has been lost to darkness...
I hope somebody read this, as I am quite late to the party. Though, if I start my own campaign only now, there is hope some others might too.