Gale


Round 2: Create a villain concept

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

Gale
female half-elf rogue 5 / assassin 4

Description: A graceful figure stepping out of the shadows, a smile as if experiencing the highest bliss and the final thud of an arrow impacting in their chest. These are the last sensations of Gale's numerous victims. Gale is a killer not for gain or a cause, but for the intoxicating game of cat and mouse.

Some of these mice literally courted their demise. Gale is, on casual inspection, anything but intimidating. She carries no visible weapons and appears to be nothing more than a wench or entertainer - an image she fits perfectly with her preference for tight, slightly revealing clothes. Her easy smile, wicked sense of humor and shameless hints have made more than one boy lose his heart; her slim hips, silky chestnut hair and glowing jade eyes purchased several more lives.

Motivations/Goals: Gale considers most people fodder for her amusement. They are just fuel for the joy she only achieves by defeating someone fighting for his life. No lesser stake ensures they really give the struggle their all. She needs these triumphs, is addicted to them to the point of not seeing any value in another way of life.

She has no excuse for being a killer, no tragic event to shatter her soul. She needs none; murder is what makes her life more than an unending morass of boredom. She jokes that her goal in life is to get herself killed and is not too far from the truth. She wagers her own life as easily as she takes others'.

Occasionally a mark manages to evade her traps and ambushes long enough to earn a measure of respect in her eyes. She honestly tries to befriend these "worthy adversaries". Usually she barely evades just punishment, but occasionally her torture produced a twisted kinship in her victim. She treasures these "siblings" and casually experiments with ways to more reliably achieve this mental conditioning, so far without success.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:

* When a wealthy ally decided to invite the group to his estate, he expected them to be insurance during a risky business deal. Ironically, his caution made him a tempting challenge to Gale. The heroes handily defeat the initial assassins, only to find themselves both stakes and participants in a deadly scavenger hunt.

* Among the cruel Derro below the city Gale’s malice has gained her an unwelcome following. They begin emulating her games with great enthusiasm, but none of her vicious artistry. Considering them an insult, Gale offers the group an alliance. While killing her outright would make the world a better place, she has uncanny insight into the crimes. Can the group turn her away if using her might save lives?

* A young noblewoman recently joined Gale's "family" and now sets out to visit her enlightenment on the world. The heroes are to stop the maiden before she is caught and tried - and find the monster responsible for turning a sweet virgin into a sadistic killer.

Contributor

Initial Impression: Nicely-described, but looks like a one-note serial killer. Could be very useful in a crowded urban fantasy setting with lots of already-well-developed NPCs, but is there enough here to make her memorable? Doesn’t look like it.

Concept: Murderer who kills because they love cat-and-mouse chases and defeating their victim. Nothing new here. The “siblings” is a nice wrinkle.

Execution: Clear communication, tells the DM lots of definite things about the character, and describes her, at first glance, strongly. Aside from the siblings, the classic loner. Not memorable, nothing really colorful that inspires me (desirable, athletic female who’s a murderer? might have been shocking to the Victorians, but was an old cliché over forty years ago when I was young, and I’m not seeing anything new here). Solid adventure hooks.

Tilt: I read over the entry again and again, and always end up seeing this as a promising beginning that leads to a one-note villain: the murderess who enjoys hunting and killing her victims. No aims beyond that, no meat to her, nothing to make her a memorable villain. If she succeeds, the PC dies. If she fails, she’s gone, or just circling around to try a PC slaying again. After she fails a second or third time, she becomes far less impressive as a foe and very predictable; if she succeeds, the players haven’t really gotten to know her as a villain or enjoy any of the contests. As a “mystery woman” they have to hunt down because she’s killing others, she’s marginally more interesting - - but still not stepping out of too-familiar, too-one-dimensional territory. I want MORE. Tactics, recent successes, a Saint-like calling card left on the bodies . . . SOMEthing. Or I’m just not getting the spark of interest that I need, to make this character a memorable villain.

Overall: A disappointment. Too thin and hollow for “big” villain status, and nothing is done with the siblings/family idea that could have made this so much more interesting.

Recommendation: Not recommended for advancement.

Contributor

A serial killer with no reason or motivation for her actions. That's boring and unremarkable. That she's an attractive female instead of a male isn't enough to make this character noteworthy or villainous.

Rec: do not advance.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

"She has no excuse for being a killer, no tragic event to shatter her soul. She needs none; murder is what makes her life more than an unending morass of boredom. She jokes that her goal in life is to get herself killed and is not too far from the truth."

Yes she does need those things. Just wanting to kill people or die herself is just fatalism and a lack of moral compass. Its not villany.

Tell me how she actively plots against the PCs? You can't becasue she doesnt.

"with her preference for tight, slightly revealing clothes. Her easy smile, wicked sense of humor and shameless hints have made more than one boy lose his heart; her slim hips, silky chestnut hair and glowing jade eyes purchased several more lives."

That's not enough frosting to cover up the failure of this villain.

That is just not a Superstar villain per the terms of the contest.

I DO NOT recommend this villain advance.

The Exchange Kobold Press

This is a gloriously great assassin NPC with a nice name and good physical description, unburdened with elaborate backstory. She would make a fine lieutenant to a major villain. Unfortunately, nihilism and a nice smile aren't enough to make her a proper villain with longevity, motivation, and malice.

The lack of a rationale here seals the deal. Despite some truly fine phrasing and an ear for language, the design premise is faulty. I can't see a major villain role for Gale.

Recommendation: Not recommended. And it's a shame, because there's a lot of talent in this designer.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

I thank the judges for their comments and criticism. I would also like to request the vote of the public, and further comments are of course very welcome.

I will refrain from further comment in this thread until voting is closed, and instead take a look at the other villains.

Star Voter Season 6

This guy totally needed a trophy elf wife. If he's going to over-compensate, he might as well go all the way.

I like the "Death of a Salesman 2: Biff's Revenge" angle, but I agree that a specific slight would do wonders to liven up this submission. With a specific slight, you'd have this villain's villain. And that's an angle that develops plot hooks.


Yeah this strikes me as another one of those "Oh look, it's ... that guy," villains. We all love being capricious monkeys, but this strikes me as more of a thorn than an antagonist.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Reckless Ratings

Concept3
(Is this villain villainous?)
Content3
(Grammar, Format,Spelling, Etc.)
Coolness2
(Would my players be impressed by this? Am I?)
Credibility2
(Does the villain’s motives make sense?)
Clarity3
(How good a sense of how to stat this villain do we get?)

Scores out of 5 and completely based on my opinion only.
Total Score13

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

This one make me think of an NPC from Crimson Throne ... and she's not a villain there either, just a bit on the creepy side, designed to wig out the party. And it's a shame, cause I like this kind of NPC. Sorry.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

An unfortunate choice to provide no real reason as to how she got that way - a compelling past should be either implied or stated in a proper villain. The best villains are twisted by tragic pasts or their own desires, not just psychopaths causing havoc for the sake of 32 pages of adventure.

She seems like she'd fit in on a TV procedural drama, but not for a gaming adventure. Maybe as a one-off encounter for the PC that tries to pick her up in a bar.


There are many things which make me want to like this entry, I like the writing style and there are hints and promises of better stuff, but yes, this is rather straightforward assassin. Something I might use as a henchman, or after some rewriting as an actual villain, but as such, I am not happy.


I have to agree with the previous posters -- this is a great lieutenant for a villain, but not a major villain in her own right. There's just not enough beyond the standard serial killer to make her stand out as more than one or two combat encounters.

That said, your writing is very good, and I think that with a stronger concept, you would have been head and shoulders over many of the other entries.

CR

Star Voter Season 6

Pardon my post up above. I posted it in the wrong thread or the message board switched it. Disregard.

What I actually thought I had posted was that I didn't think she'd have many minions in her family, as they have to survive her death traps to attract her interest, but have to be captured for her torture makes them family. That's a fine line. And it affects her survivability, as rogues need sturdy flankers and lots of them.

And the whole intrigued by the party thing could work out very badly indeed as the "Scary Fan Girl" trope in all but an excellent DM's hands.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8

Kneejerk reaction:

Too much on the fact she's attractive turned me off from liking this one right out of the gate, I think I detect some contradiction from this too saying shes perfectly sane, she just likes killing people.

Reading it all:
Not believable, if a PC is "befriended" by her, meaning they get hunted and attacked and surviver her traps, they will not befriend her back.

This is not a sign of a normal person either. Hey I can't kill him, I like him, I hope he doesn't kill me when I try to say hello with my words and not arrows this time.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

I'll have to add myself to the unfortunate chorus. This is a well-described NPC and would make a good comic book, novel, or TV show villain where the reader/watcher can see her patterns and watch her character evolve, act, and do her murderous stuff over and over. The thing is, she doesn't have so much a personality as a pattern; she is a "method killer." I don't see enough for her to really engage with the PCs as anything other than a sexy killing machine.

The writing, though, is evocative and engaging. Just needed a little more depth or dimension.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

Thank you for your comments. I would really like to reply to some of them, but for now this is all I am going to say.

I would like to encourage you to vote for Gale. :-) And that is, I think, about as much as I am allowed to say at this point of time.


To make this villain anything more than a lieutenant for someone else, she needed something like details of possible interactions with PC's she comes up against amd recognises as 'equals'. Or something which makes the PCs hesitate before killing her once they have her cornered and bleeding to death.

Will this villain cause the PCs grief?
Assassins with their poisoned weapons and sneak attacks are a nuisance, yes.... But without some sort of broader background strategy laid out, usually only in one or two combats.
As a personal nemesis and reason for the start of a campaign - 'Okay. Roll up a bunch of first level characters. Right, they're all dead, killed by Gale... Now roll up their seven or eight levels higher siblings out to avenge them' there might be some use to her for an on-going game of cat-and-mouse, but otherwise there's not a lot of use for her that I can currently see.


2/10

Generic hot assassin chick. I seem to remember killing these by the handful in... every ninja video game I've ever played.

Liberty's Edge

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
This is a gloriously great assassin NPC with a nice name and good physical description, unburdened with elaborate backstory. She would make a fine lieutenant to a major villain. Unfortunately, nihilism and a nice smile aren't enough to make her a proper villain with longevity, motivation, and malice.

this is what i was going to say

she is great for a lieutenant , working for something tthat lets her have her fun

but she is not a real villaness.. not for more than one shot or small adventure, while i see her as areally atractive character.. she is just cover... not the content...


Further to my earlier post on this thread, after the seemingly effortless originality of the Abyssal Spurs in the previous round, I was hoping to see something equally interesting from you in this round. Gulga Cench has been the only obvious candidate for one of my votes in this round, and I am now going through the other entries again, prepared to give some benefit of the doubt to writers who were in my top five from the items round.
A little more creativity and originality (does Gale maybe have an obsession for collecting the buttons off the clothes of the victims she kills? does she have an unusual pet of some kind? does she insist on being paid in copper pieces if she ever carries out contract killings?) to give this villain a little extra character would have garnered Gale one of my three remaining votes.
I feel you may have missed a chance here.


Quite a well-written assassin, but there's nothing truly remarkable about her. She has the potential to be good, but, as others have said, she works far better as a villain's lieutenant than as a master villain herself. Unfortunately, there's nothing truly stand-out about this villain that makes me want to spend one of my four precious votes on her.

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

Not only was this villainess not very inspiring, but I was confused by the write up. For most of it, she seems to act solo. We get told of her "siblings", but it wasn't clear to me that they actually worked together ever. Then in the first plot hook, I guess she sends other assassins after the target for the PCs to kill first before trying herself. Where'd they come from?

Also, "she carries no visible weapons", but uses arrows to kill? Does she have an invisible bow?

I wasn't impressed by the fact that a) she's a hot waitress, and therefore no one would suspect that she's an amoral assasin, and b) that the last plot hook needs to mention that her latest victim/sibling is a virgin. How is her virginity relevant at all? It felt like that was trying to be titalating.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

Thank you for your feedback. Even though you are less than sanguine, I still request your votes.

I hope I can say this without breaking the rules, and ruining my remaining chances: You are right, and I would, had I the chance, use some of my wordcount differently.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Tetujin

JoelF847 wrote:

Also, "she carries no visible weapons", but uses arrows to kill? Does she have an invisible bow?

Hide (Slight of hand?) checks can be made to conceal items on your person, no reason she can't have a hidden bow.


Casey Smith wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Also, "she carries no visible weapons", but uses arrows to kill? Does she have an invisible bow?

Hide (Slight of hand?) checks can be made to conceal items on your person, no reason she can't have a hidden bow.
P. 71
Pathfinder Beta Playtest (Sleight of Hand) wrote:
...You can hide a small object (including a light weapon or an easily concealed ranged weapon, such as a dart, sling, or hand crossbow) on your body...

I would think a bow (unless you meant a hand crossbow or bow designed for a creature a size category or two smaller than you) is a little bit too big to count as a 'small object'.

Although there would be a certain originality to the idea of a human assassin with a composite longbow sized for a pixie, frantically plucking away at it as she fired off volleys of arrows.... :D

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

There's also the possibility of the bow being disguised as something else or hidden nearby as she evaluates targets. Or a new magic item, invisible bow. Or she could just stab with the arrows, Legolas-style.

These ideas are presented in the order of my personal preference. =0

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

Ok, as promised: Revision history and some commentary on That old blog I hardly ever update. I'll go through single comments tonight and reply to those I've got something to say. I'll probably post an updated version sometime tomorrow - unless by some fluke of the vote, I actually make round 3.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

Oh, and feel free to comment either here or on the actual posts.


Commiserations.

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