Henrietta "Hetty" Miller, Murderous Midwife


Round 3: Design a villain

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This villain is amazing. I went to bed thinking about her last night, and when I woke up, I had my next campaign planned out. First of all, she's a real (crazy) person. She's not some boring demon that kills for the sake of killing, or your run-of-the-mill drow trying to reconquer the surface world. She's a human being with human emotions, and she's got a painful history driving her actions. The name is great. Henrietta Miller is exactly the kind of name I'd expect to hear in an old medieval town, and "Hetty" perfectly evokes the "everyone's favorite fat midwife/family doctor" imagery.

The one mark against her: combat. "If faced with more than two opponents, she will flee." Except for the occasional rogue who might be scouting ahead, when is she ever going to come up against fewer than four or five adventurers? That said, flight is definitely her course of action, and frankly, if she wants to be a villain, she needs to stay alive for more than one encounter. Besides, she won't always be fighting alone. She's got a small army of five year old rogues and warriors (who spend most of the day out stealing food for brothers and sisters) to fight for her. And there's that latent sorcerer that ancientsensei mentioned. Perhaps the child discovers his magical ability while throwing a tantrum over the "mean people hurting mommy!" Oh, the kids. Beautiful moral ambiguity. The party's going to have to a few difficult decisions there.

This has my vote without a doubt.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I don't know what to do with this one. I like the story, creepiness, and writing. I think the biggest issue is that she is TOO low a CR villain. While I think she could be a bit of a challenge for a 1st level party, CR 3 isn't really enough for even the major villain of their 1st adventure - especially as a solo. She either needs a few more levels, some older kid minions, or some REALLY good traps, poison, and terrain to help her in the final combat.

As much as I do like her, I don't think she gets my vote, though I hope to see you make the top 8, because I really liked your other two entries.

Sovereign Court

As a participant in two midwife assisted home births let me bluntly say that this is not how midwifery works. Perhaps in a fantasy world, but not in reality.

Simply put, midwives work by reputation and word of mouth. Someone who has "lost" sixty children, even over a score of years, in a magical society, is just not going to get any work. Some might even suppose her to be cursed.

The basic flawed logic of this entry denies any further consideration. Perhaps the intent of a low-level villain was good, but some basic research would have revealed that the premise really holds no water.

No, no, and further, no.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Now this is something different.

The stat block's impressively short compared to the other entries. It would almost have been worth playing on that by cutting down the Sneak Attack text.

She's a very, very ugly character without being a high-level encounter.

Some things I didn't like: the hand crossbow, "would" used a lot more than necessary and the amount of description that sneaked in to the Tactics entry. Nevertheless, there's a good chance I'll keep this.

Marathon Voter Season 9

That...is amazing. A true villain for any horror campaign. Wonderful!

Silver Crusade

Douglas Smith 33 wrote:

As a participant in two midwife assisted home births let me bluntly say that this is not how midwifery works. Perhaps in a fantasy world, but not in reality.

Simply put, midwives work by reputation and word of mouth. Someone who has "lost" sixty children, even over a score of years, in a magical society, is just not going to get any work. Some might even suppose her to be cursed.

The basic flawed logic of this entry denies any further consideration. Perhaps the intent of a low-level villain was good, but some basic research would have revealed that the premise really holds no water.

No, no, and further, no.

Though the text is really good and the concept is just as nice, I must agree with Douglas: Hettie would not work as midwife, with her reputation.

...
But you'll have my vote anyway. I like the idea. ;)


I can't believe people can't find a way of including this character in a game: especially in a campaign. You've got plenty of time to introduce a pregnant character, whether it's setting up PC developing an existing NPC or introducing a new character. Any of your PCs written in that their parents died? Did they give details of how and why? If not you've got a great way in. Did they know they had a younger brother or sister? This has so many ways in it is perfect.

Hetty is someone your PCs could meet months before she even becomes an enemy. I love the potential of this villain, especially for the scope she has in growing further. Many posts have suggested alterations and adjustments but that just adds to the effectiveness of the character. Frankly every DM I know already has their major villain planned. It's usually the main motive for the campaign being written. Low level villains, especially those that keep on giving are fantastic introductions. Unless you're running a game with purely one-dimensional PCs then this is a must.

Some valid criticisms made but nothing that detracts from the overall superbness that is Hetty Miller.

Personally the name would work well in my campaign setting. So many DMs have voiced this opinion that I feel it would be harsh to hold this against the creator.

Best so far!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Enkhidu wrote:

This is one of those entries that makes me smile, because its pretty much what I was planning on submitting had I gotten past the first round.

Try this for a Hetty twist: Hetty is actually a hag, and this has been her MO for decades (though the frequency is far less). Her oldest? They are now powerful merchants, politicians, and adventurers in their own right, and are loyal to a fault. "Grandmummy," is never far from their thoughts, and more often than not they do her bidding (knowingly or unknowingly). Presto! You get a seemingly innocuous woman protected by her community, with a horde of however-powerful-the-DM-decides NPCs at her beck and call. The fact that the threat level grows with the PCs level makes Hetty a viable long-term villain.

This is a really wonderful idea - a fine extra-feature added to an already wonderfully disturbing villain.

I used a Night Hag in a similar role: a disguised nurse-maid to the pregnant re-married mother of a PC. While the real BBEG of that storyline was the creepy, aristocratic step-dad with designs on having a powerful Unholy Scion heir, the Nurse was the most horrid part of the adventure.

I think that it speaks very well of this entry that it is sparking so much "Oh, and this is what I would do!" in all of us.


I like her. A crazy low level villian who can be incorporated into almost any campaign. Hetty gets one of my votes.

P.S. I realled like the mechanics and incorporating that single NPC level for all the various hit die benefits without increasing the CR.


jakoov wrote:

Though the text is really good and the concept is just as nice, I must agree with Douglas: Hettie would not work as midwife, with her reputation.

...
But you'll have my vote anyway. I like the idea. ;)

60 children of more or less same age bracket is too much, let's say 10-15 children, ranging from ~10 years to newborn.

There might have been more but let's consider current situation...

In Middle Ages approximately half of the children died before age of one, so infant mortality higher than now is expected. No doubt some of the children raised by Hetty have died too, though with her high heal skill children raised by her possibly have better chance of surviving that normal...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 8 aka Iourn

I really wasn't expecting to get this far!
Thanks to everyone who voted.

Now that the voting is over can I please say something that has been burning a hole in my side for the last week...

SixTEEN. It should have been sixteen children in Hetty's little club, not sixty. It was sixteen in every draft. Quite what possessed me to write sixty is anyone's guess.

Of course, now everyone's going to say they only voted for her because of the ridiculous number of sycophantic infant minions right?

Neil.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Neil,

Very good job. Congrats on top 8. I loved your shroud. Had issues with Vramire. But I thought Hetty was great. Frankly, choosing a low CR villain was risky--but honestly I thought more people would try it as a way to stand out. You wound up being the only real contestant to occupy that space, which I think worked to your advantage. But I dont think you advanced because of that, I think you advanced on Hetty's design. I said in the instructions for round 3 that the voters here were savvy enough to know the difference between a well designed CR3 villain and a poorly designed cCR15 one and I think you just proved I was right :) And I like being right. Good luck!

Clark

The Exchange

Keep on winning.

A British Superstar would be the best. But only if you earn it. One or two of the others are ahead of you in the race at the moment I think.

Cheers

Paizo Employee Managing Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I voted for this one because it was a low level villain. Thanks for that.


Iourn wrote:
SixTEEN. It should have been sixteen children in Hetty's little club, not sixty. It was sixteen in every draft. Quite what possessed me to write sixty is anyone's guess.

This goes to Erik Mona's point about editors. ;)

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I don't know if anyone else reacted like this, but I found myself reaching for my Ravenloft books with an evil grin.

Masque of the Red Death... now there's an idea...


Of all of these, I dig this one the most. First for the fact that it's low-level AND expandable. Second because it can make you AND your players get into it.

It would be cool to see a high-level version, complete, only to see how the writer would take us.


I know this might be moot at this point, but I just started reading through these and thought I'd add a little variation.

I think it would be interesting if Hetty's poison she was slipping to the young kids was Ghoul blood or some other undead turning toxin. The children die, and then rise from the dead 1d4 days later as undead servants. Think about that. You eliminate the need to care, feed and control the babies because they're now undead and they become fearsome opponents, especially in numbers. Perhaps behind it all is some twisted necromancer. Just a thought that popped in my head when I first read this submission.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

mythfish wrote:
Marc Radle 81 wrote:


Henrietta Miller is a high school math teacher's name.
And who is more villainous than a high school math teacher?

Hey....from a guy who has been, until very recently, a high school / college math teacher.


As referenced before, this villain is not earth-shaking - but it is exactly why it works for me. I would have voted for this villain hands-down. While everyone else wants Sauron, Neil designed Gollum.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Ran this with a Class reassignment: Adept. I ran her as a throwaway, background NPC in an obviously incidental 'comic' side story of trying to find a mid-wife after one of my 'no storytelling hooks' player's in-game, preggers sister goes into labor. Oooo, nobody but her speaks the local languages (think Charades). Long story short, the mix of spells worked quite well and she managed to kill the sister and steal his heir. He is peeved beyond belief and I'm cooking up a chain of encounters to sift into the adventure chain as he searches for the babe.

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