Henrietta "Hetty" Miller, Murderous Midwife


Round 3: Design a villain

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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 8 aka Iourn

HENRIETTA "HETTY" MILLER, Murderous Midwife CR 3

Female Human Expert 1/Rogue 3
LE Medium-size humanoid
Init +5; Senses Listen +8, Spot +5
Aura none

DEFENSE

AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 13
(armour +3, Dex +1)
hp 15 (4d6-4)
Fort +0 [base +1, Con –1], Ref +4 [base +3, Dex +1], Will +3 [base +2, Wis +1]
Defensive Abilities evasion, trap sense +1

OFFENSE

Spd 30 ft.
Melee masterwork dagger, piercing or slashing +5 [base attack +2, masterwork quality +1, Str +2] (1d4+2) [base weapon damage, Str +2]
Ranged hand crossbow, piercing +3 [base attack +2, Dex +1](1d4)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks sneak attack +2d6

TACTICS

Before Combat Hetty will not fight a fair fight; she prefers to flee and fight again at a time of her choosing (see Morale). She will secretly follow her target(s) and work out the best place for an ambush, perhaps laying clues and rumours to lead them into a twisted labyrinth of narrow alleyways that she is intimately acquainted with. If she cannot manage that, she would set fire to her mark's home or dwelling, and hope to pick him off in the ensuing chaos.

During Combat Surprise round: Hetty attacks, inflicting sneak attack damage on her target. Round one: Hetty would hope to win initiative, and attack the same target again if it is still standing. Round two: Hetty would hope to withdraw, having killed her target. If the target still stands she would stay or leave depending on how wounded the foe is, and how close his allies are. She would have planned her escape route in advance, and use the terrain (narrow alleyways, abandoned tenements) to stay one step ahead of pursuers. It would be her intention to pick off a larger party one by one.

Morale Hetty knows her physical limitations. If discovered before she can sneak attack, Hetty will flee. If she spends more than one round facing two opponents, she will flee. If faced with more than two opponents, she will flee. Only if she is fighting to defend her family of stolen children will she fight to the death.

STATISTICS

Str 14, Dex 13, Con 8, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +2; Grp +4
Feats Improved Initiative, Open Minded, Skill Focus (Profession, Herbalist)
Skills Bluff +9 [+2 Cha, +7 ranks], Diplomacy +10 [+2 Cha, +4 ranks, +4 skill synergies], Disguise +4 [+2 Cha, +2 ranks]*, Gather Information +10 [+2 Cha, +6 ranks, +2 skill synergy], Heal +8 [+7 ranks, +1 Wis]*, Hide +8 [+1 Dex, +7 ranks], Knowledge (Local) +8 [+3 Int, +5 ranks], Knowledge (Nature) +7 [+3 Int, +4 ranks], Listen +8 [+7 ranks, +1 Wis], Move Silently +8 [+1 Dex, +7 ranks], Profession (Herbalist) +13 [+3 Int, +7 ranks, +3 skill focus], Sense Motive +8 [+7 ranks, +1 Wis], Sleight of Hand +8 [+1 Dex, +7 ranks, +2 skill synergy] Spot +5 [+4 ranks, +1 Wis]; additional +2 to disguise checks when using disguise kit; further additional +2 skill synergy to Disguise checks when Hetty knows she is being observed, and tries to act in character; addition +2 to Heal checks with her healer's kit.

Note, the ten skills selected as class skills for the level in Expert were: Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Heal, Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Nature), Listen, Profession, Sense Motive and Spot.

Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Halfling
SQ trapfinding
Combat Gear hand crossbow, hand crossbow bolts (10), masterwork dagger, masterwork studded leather armour; Other Gear disguise kit, healer's kit, midwife's tools, potent herbs, tonics and drugs for her work.

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Sneak Attack (Ex) If a Hetty can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Hetty's attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when she flanks her target. This extra damage was 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. It is currently +2d6. Should Hetty score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.

Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, Hetty can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual -4 penalty.

Hetty can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. She must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. Hetty cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Trapfinding (Ex) Hetty (in common with all rogues) can use the search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20. Because Hetty has no ranks in the disable device skill, she cannot attempt to disarm or bypass magical traps (at least, not successfully).

Trap Sense (Ex) Starting at her third rogue level, Hetty gains an intuitive sense that alerts her to danger from traps, giving her a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps, and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. These bonuses would rise to +2 should Hetty reach sixth level as a rogue, to +3 at 9th level, to +4 at 12th level, to +5 at 15th level, and to +6 at 18th level.

DESCRIPTION

The young mother could feel her life bleeding from her. She reached out, desperate for one last touch of her baby. Hysterical in death. Wheezing painfully, the midwife leaned her grotesque bulk over the crib and lifted the newborn from its sleep. She muted the infant's cries against her corpulence. "There, there," she soothed, "You are safe. You are my child now."

Henrietta Miller was bedridden for most of an unhappy childhood. Timid, naïve and disabled by obesity she was ridiculed and hated. No detractor was more vitriolic than Hetty's father, who saw her as a constant reminder of the wife he lost. Only infants treated Hetty without prejudice, and she vowed to dedicate her life to their care.

Hetty's father mocked her aspirations, and in the heat of the ensuing argument Hetty stabbed and killed him. In murder came epiphany, and Hetty realised her parents were to blame for her broken life. She was determined that no child should suffer as she had.

Hetty does not see herself as a midwife: she is a judge. The women who come to her for succour and relief are weighed in the balance – do they deserve this child? To those she deems worthy, she is a charming and compassionate companion. To those she deems lacking, she is a horror.

Ideally, Hetty will use her skills to slip a newborn a tonic that will make it appear dead. When the grieving parents have accepted her platitudes and departed, she awakes the child and takes it as her own. If she cannot be subtle, then she will be murderous. She will not risk being discovered. Hetty is not above taking a child, and burning the parents to death in their home to cover her tracks.

Sixty stolen children live at the old mill, in the industrial warren where Hetty grew up. She frightens them from the real world with tales of its evil. The children love and trust her implicitly, she is their mother after all. It has been five years since she started this course, and the oldest are becoming curious of the outside. What happens when 'her children' prove as fallible as their parents?

The PCs could meet Hetty while attending a pregnant companion, NPC or cohort. This would personalise the horror of what is to come. PCs are likely to consider Hetty as little more than colourful comic relief at first. She would be very wary of PC clerics.

If the PCs succeed in rescuing the stolen children without killing Hetty, the midwife becomes a very different type of villain. The PCs would have taken her family from her. She would not rest until she returns the favour.

Hetty is designed as a foil for first or second level adventurers; against a higher level group she should remain two levels ahead of the PCs. From level six she multiclasses into assassin to heighten her skills, and use spells (such as nondetection) to fool PC spellcasters.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Now here's an unusual villain that could easily fit on the same bookshelf as Sweeney Todd or Lizzie Borden. That's both the strength and weakness of Hetty Miller. I'm not sure you made the best call for a D&D villain.

Starting with the name, it's clearly something from the real world, which pulls me out of the fantasy elements right away. I think "Hetty" helps it, though, as the nickname is uncommon. But you're already fighting uphill to get this villain into a typical campaign.

The choice to do a low-level villain is commendable, and the swarm of urchins loyal to mother gives Hetty a powerful base of unexpected supporters. However, the design decision to keep 60 children isolated from the world seems like a mistake. Why aren't the older ones supporting their mother somehow? How does she feed 60 mouths? How does her extended family work into the story?

The hooks for PCs are also fairly faint. Most adventurers won't have a lot of pregnant women around on their adventures. I like Hetty's evil background and judgemental motives, but .... Well, she's a fairly small-scale villain whose victims are infants and mothers. That's vile, but it's hard to translate into a story hook. I wish you had done more with Hetty's abducted children, who would make interesting mid-tier minions, or provided a stronger hook for PCs to become involved.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Initial Impression: this is a very good low level villain. Tie her into some campaign story arc cult and you have a great low level adventure. The name is a bit wonky--jars you out of the fantasy milieux--but not horrible. I like the immediacy and the tension--the kids are about to start getting out. That is conflict, that is adventure, that is drama. That is a villain. There is content here that draws the players in. It's entries like this that make me glad we didnt do a CR range for this round. I guess I disagree a bit with Wolfgang.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Word count: 495.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

On a technical note, you seem to be slipping from tense to tense in the Tactics section. In the Before Combat we've got the future tense (which is weird--it should be in present tense). In the During Combat section, the "Hetty would hope to win initiative" business, which seems like a weird theoretical discussion of what "might" happen. The point of that section is to tell the GM what _does_ happen from round to round, so the present tense is the appropriate choice. This whole "would" business is very off-putting.

In addition to the problems with tense, the round-by-round instructions are so obvious they're like spinning wheels. "She hopes to survive. If her enemy is still alive, she attacks. If not, she doesn't." The advice isn't really very helpful. In part that's because you've chosen a villain with such a small number of options in combat. In this case it's probably best to just say "Hetty prefers to attack from surprise, inflicting sneak attack damage when possible." The fact of the matter is that she's rarely going to kill an evenly matched opponent with one sneak attack, so the business about her "hoping to withdraw" and the note about her planning out an escape route is a bit of wankery that isn't really needed. This part just seemed lazy to me, and since it's so close to the front of the submission it just bummed me out before I got much of a sense of who Hetty is and why I should care about her.

I would have been much better disposed toward this submission--and much more forgiving of the sloppy language in the tactics section--had I read the last bit first and invested something in the character. The writing in this section isn't perfect, but it's got considerable strength and conviction behind it, and I think you're on much surer footing when telling a story than when talking in game-speak. You've got to learn to apply the former skills to the latter (and to know when to leave well enough alone and just present the standard rules in the standard way without embellishment).

In the end, we've got a demented midwife. My sense is that that makes for a more interesting story than an RPG encounter, though, and I'm not exactly rubbing my hands together hatching diabolical plans of how I can embroil my adventuring party in the wild schemes of midwifery.

Don't get me wrong. I think the whole stolen baby idea is a decent one and I think you've pulled the story part of it off artfully (the bit about drugging the babies was a stroke of genius), but I'm unsure of whether this is the stuff that (fantasy RPG) dreams are made of. While I am pleased to see something other than another template layered on a variant class layered on a monster layered on psionics, I am a little underwhelmed by the scope of your villain.

I do like the idea of the building filled with kids, but 60 seemed like an awful lot of them. Too many, probably, for one "comical" midwife to keep in check. I think you could get away with the same idea with a third or fewer of that number without sacrificing the fairy tale/City of Lost Children vibe you've got building here.

That vibe is actually more interesting than your villain herself, in my view. This is a good submission, but I am not thrilled by it and I can't give it my endorsement to advance into the next round.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Villain Concept (name, title, is it actually a villain?, design choices, playability?): B
The Good: I really like the concept of the evil midwife. She goes from bad guy to villain with the details about the 60 stolen children and their possible discovery or interaction with the outside world. There is a good built in story and conflict. The concept of a low level villain is a good one and this one fits the bill, though it does make for some difficulties (see below). Unlike Erik, I was rubbing my hands hatching diabolical plans of how to use her. I find her very playable.
The Bad: Name. It is too real world and jars me out of the fantasy suspension of disbelief–though I appreciate it is likely a design choice that you made: see how much evil hides behind such a simple and nice name. Though I appreciate the idea (if that was your idea) it doesn’t quite work for me. Also, because you selected a low level villain, you had some issues that others didn’t–basically, boring tactics and attack regimen. What CR4 or lower villain really has much to offer there? It is a “design problem” that any low-CR villain has, but a Superstar would address it. Instead of fluffing up the obvious tactics, you needed to grapple with that “hole” in your submission. I thought perhaps listing the children as minions, or some control over the children would have filled that hole nicely. That should have been a part of the villain concept, in my view, and it wasn’t. Wolfgang addresses this well in his comments.

Stat Block Execution (proper content, proper format, good math, generally mistake free?, not abusing word count?): C+
The Good: Solid, but not that sexy. In my view, though, the test of the round for the stat block is not the sexiness of the stat block, it is execution and I thought your execution was generally good (other than the writing of the tactics).
The Bad: The writing in the tactics section was very poor, as Erik detailed. I had a long comment written, but he mostly covered it. I echo his suggestion: don’t dress up what is simple. Plus, as mentioned above, a low CR villain is not going to have a very sexy stat block. I am not holding that against you, but you needed to look to see if you could have spiced it up somehow. The biggest draw back is that, while you didn’t stumble, you also by choosing a relatively simply villain didn’t give yourself much chance to shine.

Description (quality of writing, hook?, theme?, organization, contains all mandatory content—physical description, motivation/goal, scheme/plot?): B-
The Good: I think you included description, motivation and plot. Some people fell down on this and you did not. I really liked the feel of this villain. I thought you captured her “villain-ness” in a good textual passage (though I didn’t like its placement, see below). Good theme. I think that, other than the tense issue, the choice of where to position the text and the tactics in the stat block, your writing has gotten better over the rounds.
The Bad: Like Erik, I noted some serious tense issues. They really stood out. A Superstar would have done better at this level. Also, I think at the very least the quote should have come before the stat block. I didn’t really get hooked by this entry until I got to the description. I think you made a poor presentation choice by putting all the text second. I had hoped that everyone learned that lesson from the last round. Surprising, because your last round submission made such good use of the “quote up front.” I’m surprised you didn’t do it again. In fact, I even specifically used your round 2 submission to stress how good the intro quote idea was.

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor and setting?): B
The Good: I liked this idea. I felt the low CR villain to be a good, bold move (not gonzo or cheesy on purpose). Clean, simple, usable.
The Bad: Did you give yourself enough chance to shine?

Overall: B-
A clean, creepy, low-CR villain with some good conflict and play potential, marred by some writing issues and a decision to wait to hook us until after the stat block. Did Neil do enough to overcome the inherent problems with a low-CR villain?

RECOMMENDED for Top 8, but with some reservation.


I think this one sounds like it could be a good villian for a short horror story, but the links to PCs are pretty week. As a DM I could come up with a few things, but I think a "Superstar" villian should have a less tenous connection to the average adventuring party. That said, I'm on my fifth villian and this is as good as any of the others I've read.

El Skootro

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

How creepy! Thank you.

One aspect of this villain is that the encounter is not clear-cut. Even if the PCs are of a high-enough level to easily kill Hetty in combat, I'm not sure that's the right idea. There are kids here. Orphans, some of them, and they love her!

Wheich means that if the party does kill her, in front of the kids, there's going to be some payback down the road.

I think the judges are right, when they say that sixty kids is a little much for one monstrous midwife to handle. (Ask my sister, who has, ah, three.) But rather than cut down on the number of children, I'd give her some sort of assistance, maybe some simple golems, or undead teenagers, or meenlocks. They can also act as a defensive line to buy the climactic encounter a little more time.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Its got you thinking, though, didn't it? Thats what it did to me...


At first I didn't buy into this at all but your writing won me over. I think the "Miller" part of the name is off-putting (even though I am sure one could argue that any fantasy setting has plenty of 'millers') but for some reason the name "Hetty" seems to fit exactly.

Also I was surprised to see you didn't go for an Oliver Twist feel to the character. With 60 children, the older ones could care for the younger and a small army of pickpockets would be an easy hook to draw PC's into conflict with "Hetty".

All in all I think you pulled it off, an amazingly deep CR 3 villain.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Kudos to submitting a plausible low-level villain. I like the lost children feel, but think, like others that this could have been better explored in terms of protective minions of the Mother figure.


I'm a little over half way through, and this is my favorite concept so far, but there's definitely some issues. Beyond stat stuff, which I'm only wieghting about 25%--and that's just a basic 'can I use this against the PCs and not have them laughing about teh battle?'--I still get the nagging feeling that this is the twisted henchman that leads you towards the true evil and that's not quite what I wanted from these entries.

But I adore the concept and story execution.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 8 aka unfettered

Clark Peterson wrote:
Its got you thinking, though, didn't it? Thats what it did to me...

More than any other entry, I think the emotional response from this entry will split the voting public.

You're probably in the next round as a result.

Good job.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka SmiloDan

I love the name of this villain. It sounds like a throw-away name that a DM would come up with on the fly. So when the PCs see this big fat midwife, they won't be initially suspicious. They'll just think of her as scenary. Then when they hear about low infant mortality rate, the bad luck and "accidents" that new parents suffer, and track down the culprit, they'll be shocked that she's been under their nose all along.

Also, she performs one of the quintessential roles of any great villain: she forces the PCs to make a difficult choice. Do they kill the mother of those all those children, or do they let a serial killer go free? If they DO kill her, who will take care of the children? If they DON'T kill her, will she get to keep the children? Will the original parents want their kids back? What if they don't? What about the kids of the slain parents?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Spar

I like this villain. I like her a lot. It must be the fascination I have with Victorian England, but I do like her. Now, is she worthy of a vote. I'll let ya know when I am done reading the others, but she is on her way.

WC


Although the number of "babies" was really high (I have 2 lil' monsters myself...dude, do you have kids? 60? Geesh.), I love the concept. Its a great urban villain to provide a great challenge to low level characters. It beats the "go defeat the goblin chief" routine I've run into. If you’ve got a party with a rogue and a bard, this villain is perfect...druid and ranger not so much. A friend of mine has a thieves guild in his campaign that uses orphan children as its low-level thieves, so that would’ve been a good explanation for what the children do in their spare time.

This reminds of a comic or fairy-tale villain, but I can't put my finger on it.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

I think she fits wonderfully in Freeport.

Liberty's Edge

I have to say, but....Rosey Crucifixion would be a better name...
now I gotta read the entry.

Liberty's Edge

The entry was creeeeeeeeepy. Definitely unique, definitely a messed up villainess.
Up there with the lady from Misery, I'll wager.


I have read all of the submissions and Hetty is my favorite. She is novel and has a clearly-defined goal that is not difficult to understand. It would be easier for a DM to determine how Hetty would react to a given situation than it would be for a non-human foe. This makes for easier play.

The writer said that Hetty seems comical and good for laughs. This is the kind of thing that would allow her to interact with PCs without them being on guard. If Hetty is played as a simple-minded person then the PCs are likely to underestimate her. She makes an inane joke and then proceeds to the mother-to-be's room. The rest of the people in the house will answer questions about her with "Oh, that's just Hetty." What better villain than a trusted one?

Sixty children is too much. Good suggestions have been made for having the older children acting as helpers, thieves etc...If Hetty places an older child as a helper in a home she could gain information through the child. Sherlock Holmes paid street urchins to be his eyes and ears because no one took notice of them.

A good DM could work Hetty into any number of roles aside from combatant. She represents a chance at foreshadowing that many villains do not. They will know who she is and what she does. They will also know that the community trusts Hetty and that they. There is also the complication that attacking her in the midst of her brood.

When they finally go out to confront her someone will break down and say "Won't somebody please think of the children" in a Mrs. Reverend Lovejoy voice.

Liberty's Edge

You should sell cars, Bill. That post just sold me pretty well.
I'm at 4 of 16 read, so I have a ways to go, but that was an excellent and powerful summation of things.


As a SM just starting a group of newbies to the game, a villian like Hetty is exatly what I'm looking ofr, without a doubt she'll be showing up at my table in a couple of weeks.
And while I may not agree with his choices about Hetty's charges, A small bit of personalization will clear that right up. THe grammer in the Tactics did bug me, I don;t really want to read that right before a combat, or during it for that matter.
Hetty is a perfect villian for a short horror campiagn, she even has offers of advancement, although I don't know how that fits in with the story, (a midwife assasin?) The fact that she can show up 4-5 levels after they have defeated her, and she can still cause the Pc's all sorts of grief is a wonderful way to provide and insure that the choices that Pc's make in one part of the game effect them latter, instead of a oneshot villian; they show up, fight, and Die. Heck, event he children she's raising could become Pc allies or antagonists depending on how this adventure goes.


I really hope to start a new campiagn in January, and Hetty is the only V so far to be certain of an appearance.


Notes to self: Child stealing midwife that thinks she's doing good by saving children from bad parents. Love it, fits perfect with my gaming style. Creepy, has army of kids living in her hideout - Very cool idea. Execution good (not great).

Dark Archive Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

"Henrietta Miller was bedridden for most of an unhappy childhood. Timid, naïve and disabled by obesity she was ridiculed and hated. No detractor was more vitriolic than Hetty's father, who saw her as a constant reminder of the wife he lost. Only infants treated Hetty without prejudice, and she vowed to dedicate her life to their care.

Hetty's father mocked her aspirations, and in the heat of the ensuing argument Hetty stabbed and killed him. In murder came epiphany, and Hetty realised her parents were to blame for her broken life. She was determined that no child should suffer as she had."

I love the idea of a simple low level villian, but I have a huge problem with the back story as it reminds me too much of a certain Black Robed Wizard named Raistlin Majere.

Hmmmm, could this be the mid-wife that served Raistlin's mother.....?

Liberty's Edge

This is what I was looking for in a villain – or at least hoping someone could do well. Low CR, all phb (well ok, except for the level in an npc class) – and I think this entry has done it well.

Very creepy – I could see Hetty fitting in very well in The Styes or somewhere similar, a good villain for an urban horror campaign.

I agree with some comments that the 60 kids under 5 seems a bit extreme and not that well though through – and it might have been cool to do something more interesting with the kids, have some fanatical minions amongst them or something. But generally I think this is well done.


Quick Thoughts:
+1 for being low CR, shows style IMO
+1 for being well written
-1 for being a tough sell to get PCs into (and it not being a "speed bump" encounter).

Though I like her, I guess I'm looking for a villain that's more than the end of a short Dungeon adventure. She relies very heavily on no one detecting her deception; she wouldn't stand up 2 rounds to even a first level party if they decide to unload on her.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

I think Hetty will end up getting an honorable mention from me. I like creepy, and nothing adds to drama like rescuing kids, so players are going to feel rewarded. But Hetty is a villain very limited in scope and ambition. While I would drop the urchins to the 11-14 range (I think clearly sixty would have the paladins out looking for her en masse), I would also let them get older and scrap the part about them wanting to get into the world. She needs an able-bodied boy to help defend her. And maybe a latent sorcerer, who ultimately burns the alleys down and forces the PCs to save everyone they can - except poor Hetty.

But in any event, Hetty is very fragile, even at CR3, and as presented, she is working alone and has no real safety net. She also has no ambitions other than drugging mom and baby and taking care of the poor infant 'corpse'. A great villain to me can show up several times in the campaign, and take actions directly against the party. Hetty is disturbing, but not dangerous.

I am okay with mature disturbing subjects in games, but I am surprised no one has mentioned the sensitive nature of the material.

Good luck on making top 16, and a fine effort.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I didnt mention it because she doenst hurt the children.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Sure. I guess cinematically there's a few moments' diturbing thought (when she poisons or cradles the supposedly dead child), and I am just fine with such a horrific moment. But that would hit a lot of us right where it hurts, and we gamers are a callous, desensitized lot!


Yeah, I liked this one. Low-level CR is great, of course. Loved that.

I also liked how she had a good side - if she deemed that parents were going to be good, she was a great midwife. I like my villains to have a human side, and I can understand how this villain's mind works. That's really cool.

The tactics section was a bit weak, though. Didn't like that. I did like how you kept the stat block simple. I mean, CR 3, it's easy to keep things simple, but I still like how you paid attention that. Good work, I must say.

The fact that she is overweight, and has something involving children, had me thinking that she ate the children. I'm so glad you didn't go that route. This is so much better, that she keeps kids in an old mill (and her last name, "miller", fits that - very middle ages of you, where the last name of a person signified what trade they were in. So, while one particular judge complained of the real-world significance of the name, I see how you just tried to trace this back to the middle ages. Good form, old chap!)


Mm, nasty low level villain...she is pretty hard to keep as a villain and not just a story point, and needs some work (60 is indeed too much) but I do like her. Even the name which indeed has delightful throwaway sound to it...

Liberty's Edge

I haven't really felt the need to post much (or, really at all, other than one other time) during this contest although I am LOVING it and LOVING reading them! This contest has to be the coolest idea and the most interesting thing I've seen from a game company in a long time. Thanks for that Paizo folks!

Anyway, I just have to make one point, or echo it really, since others have said it already.

The name for this villain just kills it for me. Henrietta Miller just rips me out the fantasy world and plops me in the grocery store or something. I'm really sorry, because I know how much work went into this. But ... Henrietta Miller? It's up there with Bob the fighter, or Bad Guy Jones in my mind.

Darth Vader is a cool name.

Gandalf the Grey is a cool name.

Henrietta Miller is a high school math teacher's name.

On the up side, I though the Shroud was just about the coolest, most original magic item I've seen in a LONG time!

Scarab Sages

I think this entry suffers from introducing the villain just a tad too early in their career.

If changes were made so that the oldest kids were entering their tweens and helping with the younger kids or doing things to bring in money, then 60 kids would not be as much of an issue. If she's been doing this for 10 years, that averages to 6 kids stolen per year, which is a low enough number in a city or large town to not be noticed. Having the oldest be 5 or 6 means she has been stealing 10 to 12 kids per year and that becomes noticable.

Plus, if you push Hetty up to 6th level, she can take Leadership and with a 15 CHA plus "fairness and generosity" and "has a stronghold, base of operations" that gives a value of 11 [6+2+1+2], giving her 6 1st level cohorts, i.e., the oldest kids. They are loyal and will move to block the PCs to save their "mom". What do the PCs do about that? Heck, what do they do with 60 kids who likely hate them after the PCs stop Hetty?

Of the two little old ladies, Hetty is the easiest fix. Now does that get a vote...


Heathansson wrote:

You should sell cars, Bill. That post just sold me pretty well.

I'm at 4 of 16 read, so I have a ways to go, but that was an excellent and powerful summation of things.

Thank you. It just so happens that I have a lovely Honda Accord that is yours for a song. Hopefully, you don't have normal-sized hands....


I've gone through about 75% of the entries and this is my favourite so far. The name needs some improvement. Great stuff!


Everyone's downing the name, but I disagree. Its a good "human" name if you're running a game where people have last names.

I think the point of this villain (could be) that villains come in all sizes. There are the monumental, earth-shattering Sauron/Darth Vader/Voldemort variety villains as well as your common, ordinary wacko fat woman who steals babies style villain. If she had a name like "Gorgorth the Wretched" then who in their right mind would hire her as a midwife? I think the common name is part of the camouflage that makes this villain so interesting.

Someone also brought up an interesting point about her "children." What will the paladin or a fighter in the group do when he's confronted with having to fight a child that is erroneously fighting to the death to protect his or her "mother?" Most gamers are indeed very callous, and this would a great way to give "good" characters a stark lesson on the true nature of good and evil. If the paladin just wades through killing her minions to only find out he's no longer considered "good" by his deity or church would be a stunning campaign aftermath.

Sometimes evil is "buhwahhhahaha kill 'em all" style evil; sometimes evil are misguided intentions gone horribly wrong. This is a villain who became what she is through abuse and neglect. Unlike all of the other villains in the contest, she's also the most capable of redemption. Maybe she needs to be executed or imprisoned for her horrible crimes, but it would be interesting twist if the players sought her redemption. After all, that's what makes Return of the Jedi compelling. After all of the evil Vader did (including butchering a room full of children), he was able to reach a measure of redemption by Luke. That makes for some great "role" playing instead of "roll" playing.

It got my vote, anyway.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Just a comment to all the people who don't like the name of this villain... she IS a miller. Her hideout is in her family's old MILL. Henrietta is an odd choice, but I like it, especially changed to "Hettie."

But Miller is perfect. Actually, I can see my players figuring out that she's the villain, and she goes into hiding, and they say "Where would she go?" They look at the map and see an abandoned mill... and when they get there, the whole story comes together.

Not that I think it's a required clue to the plot, but it's a piece of the puzzle that helps unify the story.


Rambling Scribe wrote:

Just a comment to all the people who don't like the name of this villain... she IS a miller. Her hideout is in her family's old MILL. Henrietta is an odd choice, but I like it, especially changed to "Hettie."

But Miller is perfect. Actually, I can see my players figuring out that she's the villain, and she goes into hiding, and they say "Where would she go?" They look at the map and see an abandoned mill... and when they get there, the whole story comes together.

Not that I think it's a required clue to the plot, but it's a piece of the puzzle that helps unify the story.

Good point. I had noticed the miller/mill, but failed to note it while I was making my post.

Liberty's Edge

bcgambrell wrote:
Rambling Scribe wrote:

Just a comment to all the people who don't like the name of this villain... she IS a miller. Her hideout is in her family's old MILL. Henrietta is an odd choice, but I like it, especially changed to "Hettie."

But Miller is perfect. Actually, I can see my players figuring out that she's the villain, and she goes into hiding, and they say "Where would she go?" They look at the map and see an abandoned mill... and when they get there, the whole story comes together.

Not that I think it's a required clue to the plot, but it's a piece of the puzzle that helps unify the story.

Good point. I had noticed the miller/mill, but failed to note it while I was making my post.

It IS a good point but, normally during the time period in history D&D is more or less assumed to take place in, names like this were more like titles. They morphed over time to become actual last names. So, Hettie the Miller would be more appropriate than Hettie Miller to my way of thinking. Same with Smith. Olgar the Smith I can buy; Olgar Smith ... sorry, but it doesn't work for me. Balia the Cooper works; Balia Cooper just doesn't. No matter how you slice it, to my ears it just sounds too darn modern and mundane.


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?

But really, I have no problem with the name. Humans in my settings tend to have real-world names (or fantasy variations of real world names). As someone previously mentioned, it has the sounds of a throw-away name, which is perfect for this sort of character. It lets her go about her business unnoticed by the PCs.

I'm noticing that Neil is not a fan of black & white moralities, and I approve.

Contributor

I just have to make one comment.
My 2 year old has a Winnie the Pooh toy phone. You press a certain button and the phone rings followed by Pooh's voice saying, "I should like to talk to Piglet (or E'or or Tigger or what have you)." When I got to the tactics section and read all of the "Hetty would hope to this" and "Hetty would hope to that", all I could hear in my head was Winnie the Pooh reading the tactics to me. That lost me. Sorry.


She's evil, she's creepy, she's a pitiful creature in a way. The name fits the character (or a DM can easily change it to reflect the campaign's flavor). A great villain for a dark story-driven game.

It doesn't ring 'D&D' to me, though. Not as a party nemesis. Having your PCs following around pregnant women all the time ain't the makings for a glorious adventuring career.


Iourn wrote:

HENRIETTA "HETTY" MILLER, Murderous Midwife CR 3

Female Human Expert 1/Rogue 3

You stood out from the pack by virtue of having gone with a creation at the low end of the CR scale. I'm not sure leading with the stat block was the best choice. Some flavor text might have helped.

This is very much a villain from a land off the beaten path. So you have an evocative concept that may not interest a lot of D&D groups (who after all want to kill things and take their stuff not rescue children). The writing is fair. I found her very creepy, so this is one to come back and look at again.


Nicknaming her "Hetty" was brilliant, and I think takes a lot of strain off the name (I may be biased, though, because I tend to use old English style names in certain countries in my games).

I really like the design choice of a low CR villain. To some extent, it's a cheap trick, but no other contestant had the chutzpah to try it. I don't think you completely succeeded: her ability to be dropped in a campaign is very limited. Like I said on other entries, if there was a solid paragraph at the end of this submission which gave a series of solid hooks / motivations / whatever, it would be an easy vote.

However, I'm still won over. The more time I spend thinking about the entries, the more I like Hetty. She beats her obvious competition handily (the hand collector) in my mind, and she is both creepy, motivated, and fleshed out.


Solid idea but you presented it rather poorly.

How in the world does a kid in a typical fantasy setting get to be anywhere near fat enough to be labled 'disabled'? How did she manage to get 60 kids without anybody noticing, or care for them all for that matter? What possible reason could she have to attack the PCs, when in all likelyhood she's the one who will be tracked down?

It's just not cutting it for me.


bcgambrell wrote:

I think the point of this villain (could be) that villains come in all sizes. There are the monumental, earth-shattering Sauron/Darth Vader/Voldemort variety villains as well as your common, ordinary wacko fat woman who steals babies style villain. If she had a name like "Gorgorth the Wretched" then who in their right mind would hire her as a midwife? I think the common name is part of the camouflage that makes this villain so interesting.

Getting strange looks here for LMAO for the thought of "Gorgorth the Wretched, the village midwife". Something out of Monty Python.

Yes, I liked the name too.


magdalena thiriet wrote:
bcgambrell wrote:

I think the point of this villain (could be) that villains come in all sizes. There are the monumental, earth-shattering Sauron/Darth Vader/Voldemort variety villains as well as your common, ordinary wacko fat woman who steals babies style villain. If she had a name like "Gorgorth the Wretched" then who in their right mind would hire her as a midwife? I think the common name is part of the camouflage that makes this villain so interesting.

Getting strange looks here for LMAO for the thought of "Gorgorth the Wretched, the village midwife". Something out of Monty Python.

Yes, I liked the name too.

Yeah...I went through several iterations before settling on "the Wretched." I batted around "the Corpulent" or "the Butterball." However, "Wretched" just had a "Gorgorth" type feel.

Incidentally, Gorgorth is a name I made up for the common cold. It is a running gag with a friend of mine that people would be more concerned about spreading diseases if diseases had scary sounding names. "Sorry, I can't come over. I came down with a touch of Ergonath the Pestilent after eating some bad Chinese food." No way you'd let someone in your house if they told you that. "Cold" or "flu" just doesn't sound as scary.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

The more and more I think about Hetty, the more and more I like her. Yes, she does have issues, but she'd be a great villain in many ways for a 1st-level game. The problem is, as presented, she's not going to be capable of challenging a party past 1st level. A real villain should stick around for more than the couple sessions that it would take to get to 2nd level. You give us ideas on how to advance her, but I think you needed to do more.

As others have said, 60 children under 5 years is a bit much. If the age range was wider, then we could have some older kids helping out not only with the younger kids, but also with defending their mother. This would have given Hetty much more staying power, and hence, much more capacity as a villain.

Your entries have shown real creativity in a creepy sort of way, which I absolutely appreciate. I hope you make it through this round so I can see what your next entry brings.


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.

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