Derinogen, Aristocratic Mage


Round 2: Create a villain concept

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9 aka Zynete

Derinogen, Aristocratic Mage
Male human aristocrat 2/wizard 8
Description: Derinogen is a wizard of moderate power that appears to be a handsome Taldan male in his mid-thirties. His short dark brown hair is rarely ever out of place and complemented by his short-trimmed goatee. He is always dressed in fine regalia with an elegant rapier at his side and is coated in so much perfume that it is likely that you shall detect the fragrant aroma that surrounds him long before you ever see his face.
All of this is a façade that hides the death he has caused to maintain his status among those around him. Secretly he is taking several types of medication to augment his limited natural abilities. In the process of discovering which would be beneficial to him, many were killed and maimed while being used as test subjects for more deadly substances.

Motivations/Goals: Derinogen has been starved for attention for most of his life, but was devoid of the natural talent that would lead people to care about anything he accomplished. The progress made with training moved too slowly for him, so he began turning to elixirs, potions, and ointments to substitute for actual skill. To insure his own safety from negative effects he first tested enhancements on unsuspecting people causing few deaths and left several others crippled. He succeeded however and soon he was all that was talked about among the upper class in the city. He was more eloquent when delivering speeches, more graceful displaying his dueling ability, and just more interesting.
However, unless he continually improves he quickly becomes yesterday’s news. So while he attends the balls and other fashionable events in the city, he continues to find new ways to enhance himself. This was his primary reason for studying the exceptional art of wizardry. He wished to magically augment his form and mind in tandem with his other medicinal supplements.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks: Several men have been bribed by Derinogen to use a small town nearby as a test bed for various alchemical concoctions that the mage is currently curious about. This has caused most of the town to seemingly contract various illnesses. A few have already died as a result and many more are likely to die if the source of the illness isn’t discovered and stopped.
Derinogen is currently seeking out test subjects that he can hold in his home and perform more extensive tests on. He has already kidnapped and killed a small number of peasants for previous experiments. His latest captive is a NPC close to the PCs and if the ally is not saved soon there will be another casualty to Derinogen’s vanity.
Derinogen knows or thinks the adventurers have found out that he has been using elixirs to improve his abilities. If they reveal this Derinogen’s reputation among his peers would be devastated. He intends to have the party dealt with before that happens so they do not interfere any of his upcoming engagements.

Contributor

Initial Impression: A believeable mid- to low-level villain with clear motivations. Nothing exciting but very deployable. Hey, wait, where’s the real meat?

Concept: Not wildly original, but a useful campaign idea.

Execution: Minor language glitches, but fairly clear communication. The problem here is insufficient roleplaying detail of Derinogen himself (is he an iron-self-control, calculating, superb-actor type, or a lot less than that?) and a design that puts all eggs in one basket: those elixirs, potions, and ointments that continually augment the mage’s abilities but about which we are otherwise told nothing. Where does he get his knowledge of the formulae for these wonders? Where does he get the ingredients? Are there side-effects? Flaws? Has no one even begun to suspect what’s going on with all of these deaths? Adventure possibilities hinge on all of these things - - but we get nothing. It’s like opening a nice-looking, wonderfully-smelling pie and discovering there’s no filling in it.

Tilt: I’d like a few swift sentences that take me “inside the mind” of Derinogen so I know who he is, rather than looking at him from outside. I need to know how to run him as a DM. More than that, I REALLY need to know more about specific elixirs he still has or is seeking, if he has any “false” or “trap” elixirs waiting for the overly-inquisitive, and who works for him procuring the ingredients for making the elixirs, et al. Does he need a constant supply of adventuring bands, so he can use a new bunch to slaughter an older bunch once they “know too much” about him? What sort of special quaffs has he saved up for a big escape or big fight, once someone corners and confronts him? SOMETHING regarding all of this should be here!

Overall: A motivation and overall insecurity of character that rings true. We have the makings of a real rat here, but get no glimpse “behind the mask,” and nothing that grabs me as a DM trying to set up a campaign. . Given only what appears in this entry, I’d put Derinogen to work as a secondary, background villain, ready to rush in and seize potions and elixirs from the lair of a primary villain as the PCs defeat that bigger baddie.

Recommendation: Recommended for advancement for deployability, but only JUST. These are the bare bones of an idea, not a villain really ready for prime time, yet.

Contributor

I like the idea of a mostly-noncombat aristocrat villain who uses alchemy to make up for his shortcomings. I'm just not sure what he's making up for, and how. Not eloquent enough, and using Charisma pots? Not a good swordsman, and is using magic oils or Dex pots? The submission refers to "continual improvement" but doesn't explain what he's improving at.

I think if we had more info about him, we could have some better plot hooks. His motivations are "attention" and "keeping up with his peers." If there was something more substantial there, like "trying to win the hand of the countess so he can bolster his dwindling family fortune," or "trying to get into the king's inner circle to discover some secret about the reason for his disgraced father's execution," that would help give the GM tools for playing this character.

Rec: I'm lukewarm, want to check the remaining entries before making a final decision.
Update: There are other entries that I like better, so I do not recommend this one for advancement.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Initial Impression: Oooo, an interesting low level villain. Neat!

Word Count: 498.

Concept (name, title, is it actually a villain?, overall design choices, playability): A-
The Good: I like the “compensates with alchemy” angle. This is a villain. He has been pushed to the breaking point and has done some bad things and will continue to do them in his pursuits. This is a great low level villain in my view. The “small town as testing ground” is cool and is just the right scope for a low level villain.
The Bad: This may sound strange, but I think he should be LOWER level—say Wizard 5 or so. I think Wizard 8 is a bit too high.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, quality of mandatory content-physical description, motivation/goal, scheme/plot, presence of any disqualification criteria): A
The Good: Well-written. Good motivations. Interesting. I can play this guy and I can see story arcs from him. Unlike others, you got me into his head. I think I can tell stories from what you gave me. The hook of the friend who is captured is a perfect way to get the PCs on a collision course with this villain. And, again, the “test village” angle is perfect for this low level stuff.

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor and setting): A
He hooked me with his testing and death and façade. He is urbane and evil. This is a fun low level villain that breaks the mold of the cliché crime boss or wererat sewerlord or slaver. He is putting a whole village at risk for his motives and he must be stopped or a friend of the PCs will die.

Overall: A-
A very good low level villain who, strangly, would be even better a bit lower level!

Recommendation: I DO recommend this villain submission for advancement.

From the guy who brought us the hurricane gloves, which I thought were fantastic! I hope people rally behind this villain. This is the kind of villain people should want. Not everyone has to be Darth Vader. Good luck!

The Exchange Kobold Press

This is a mad scientist in medieval drag, and I guess he's not that convincing to me. His lack of talent made him a villain? How is that a strong motivation? It doesn't make a lot of sense to invest in all those potions to impress his peers. He could probably be buying loyalty directly and work as a more effective villain.

Add to that, he's a social climber. It's villainous, I guess, but I don't see the big heroism here. Will the PCs care if he wins the respect of the wealthy?

Yes, the party saves some peasants from his kidnapping and his clearly evil tests in Act 1. And then there's no Act 2, because once his reputation is devastated and his resources are gone, he's done as a villain. His reputation is in tatters, and then...

Not clicking for me, and I usually like the mad alchemist types.

Recommendation: Fine for a single adventure, not seeing the longevity or depth here. Not recommended to advance.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Demiurge 1138

I like the idea of vanity and envy as motivations for a villain, but Derinogen isn't doing much for me otherwise. And I was a big fan of the hurricane gloves, too...


Okay, first villain I've seen.
As far as villainy goes, the callous disregard for others is what seems to be the principle feature. I could imagine him sneering at his social inferiors - especially any 'ruffian' PCs. More roleplaying information would have been nice, to give DMs suitable directions on just how to really use him to get under the skins of PCs.
With regard to the Golarion setting, and Derinogen's interest in potions/elixirs, I'm surprised you didn't mention Sun Orchid Elixir which it seems obvious to me that he'd be interested in obtaining supplies of, but perhaps you don't have access to the Campaign Setting or Gazetteer.

Would this villain cause the PCs grief?
Hmmm. Maybe. But some additional direction for how he would interact would have been handy.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

I have to agree with the comments that this is a good start, but just not enough to go anywhere with. As a GM, I'd have to do a lot of work to get him ready and know what he'd do. That's just missing from here. Sorry.

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

Con:
I think dropping his level, to really hit home he is a failure, would have been an amusing twist. I didn't find him engaging enough to really see him in the spotlight delivering his fatal soliloquy as he quaffs his final master piece seconds before anyone can stop him.

Pro:
Your hurricane gloves still kick ass, and I really was hoping to see a villain using those gloves here in some Chuck Norris level action. I think that colored what I was hoping to see, I haven't yet hit 5 yes's so it could still happen based on your great idea in round one for me.


I really like the fact that this is a villain who is willing to commit reprehensible acts for trivial gain. Right there, you've done a lot to convince me that this is a truly evil person. It would be nice to get a better idea of how he is trying to improve himself, but then again, by leaving it open you arguably make it easier for GMs to slide him into their own campaigns.

I think this villain does a great job of being a lower level threat -- he's suitably evil to be worthy of the PCs attention, but his plotting can be limited to a scope that is workable in low-level campaigns. Well done.

CR

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

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

Reckless Ratings

Concept4
(Is this villain villainous?)
Content3
(Grammar, Format,Spelling, Etc.)
Coolness3
(Would my players be impressed by this? Am I?)
Credibility4
(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 Score17

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

No one pays attention to him so he turns to wizardry to become exceptional. This is tired, and doesn't motivate me to add him to my campaign at all.

Imagine that your campaign has concluded after an epic fight, and you're in that phase where poeple are sharing memeories, or asking questions about how the campaign developed, and you tell your players "He was ignored as a child, so he became a wizard villain to be invited to parties."

It just doesn't do it. Sometimes, you should start at the end. What will wow your players and motivate their characters to seek justice? Who will they love to hate?

Then build your way back to a beginning that challenges his development and see what he has to overcome.That will give him character and you plot points.

Something to consider. This guy doesn't pass muster, but with more thought and a different approach, he might have.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

grab: maybe
useful: no

vote: no


Hum.

There is good material here but "so what does he actually do?" is not answered satisfactorily and the wow-factor is lacking...Boots of Levitation of villains; usable but not Superstar.

I agree with Clark; I'd like to have this character even lower level.

Designing Hurricane Gloves still counts as a plus but I probably find other entries to vote this round.

Liberty's Edge

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Yes, the party saves some peasants from his kidnapping and his clearly evil tests in Act 1. And then there's no Act 2, because once his reputation is devastated and his resources are gone, he's done as a villain. His reputation is in tatters, and then...

and then you have a very mad and desperate villain hiding himself and preparing to unleash his formulas in the same city that now reviles him... I can see him using whatis left of his fortune sending minions to poison the waters, murdering those who try to heal or curethose he infected

he has advanced to suchstate of knowledge in alchemy becausehe has perfect his knowledge in poisons and illness...

I doubtedabit, but Greg is right,noteveryone can be Darth Vader... and for a low level villain who can come with some extra strenght after refining his knowledge and without powerbase he would fall into further degradation and stopping atnothing to get a revenge on those who destroyed them...

considering this and the Hurrican Gloves i am inclined to vote for you Blazej... I jusr need to read 20 more entries... but unless i meetvery good things I believe I have my 4 votes.

Star Voter Season 6

Just a point: this guy qualifies for craft: alchemy, as well as the brew potion and brew fleshcrafting poison feats. That's going to open up a lot of options for a stat block.

I like the ripped from the headlines feel: performance-enhancing drugs, pollution, tests on human subjects... A very modern feel.

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

A few of the word choices give me pause reading this. For example, I'm not fond of "appears to be..." as a word choice, and that's right in the first part of the hook. I'd rather be shown than told, if that makes sense.

I love the doping aspect. It breathes life into the lab wizard archetype, and I'm intrigued by the possibility of crippling side effects that need to be masked by further potions.

I like the implied irony that he thinks he has no skills, but is a master of brewcrafting. I wish it had been called out a bit more directly, though.

Of the villains, this is one of the ones I see as being most useful in something other than a brief encounter. The build-up to finding an insane alchemist can be played out over a long period, and made all the better if Derinogen's been involved with the party before - possibly as an outside investigator, though that's a bit of a cliche.

I'd recommend doing away with the cloud of perfume. It's like a "kill me" sign on a villain.

This one has one of my four votes for the round. I want to see his stats :)

Marathon Voter Season 9

Mmm and alchemist, written compitantly with strong motivations.... you get a vote for certain.


I like this one. Clear, simple backstory and motivation. Not too cliche, not too over-the-top.
I'm not sure he could hold his own centrally in a campaign, but would make a good gateway villain.


3/10

A good kernel of an idea that could have been very Nip/Tuck but instead just got boring.


A strong albeit unfinished villain. This one has the "There's-something-not-quite-right-but-I-couldn't-put-my-finger-on-it" vibe, until it's too late. A villain that's all about vanity and self importance. He will never be satisfied with just "15 minutes of fame", it's all or nothing! A valid and workable character. I do agree about dropping the level a bit to mirror the characters desperation.
Over-all, nicely done, though my recommendation to the creator for his next submissions is to break out the shoe polish, rag and buff your entry until it shines!

Side Note: A scenario,
After being defeated, Derinogen makes a hasty retreat! Unfortunately, he drops a pair of suspiciously looking gloves...hmmm, could they be...nah! /DM Grins...

Verdict: Adequate enough for next round.

TL

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

I'm kinda so-so on this guy. I avoided reading it til near the end because I just didn't like the name. On reading it, he's okay. I agree with Clark and others that he would be even better at about half his current level, where his frustrated wannabe schtick would ring more truly. The adventure hooks feel almost there, but I have to question what his alchemical stuff actually does (mechanically speaking), what it is that he's trying to get better at by using them, and exactly how BAD of a guy this really is. I can see it, but it's like through a bit of a mist that washes him out. I think he's a usable villain (in fact, I can think of a plot hook using him right now), but I don't think he's a Superstar villain.

Still, I think he's probably just barely good enough to advance and you may blow us away with his stat block.


roguerouge wrote:

Just a point: this guy qualifies for craft: alchemy, as well as the brew potion and brew fleshcrafting poison feats. That's going to open up a lot of options for a stat block.

I like the ripped from the headlines feel: performance-enhancing drugs, pollution, tests on human subjects... A very modern feel.

Whilst from a Paizo source, I don't think that the Brew Fleshcrafting Poison feat is in one of the sources allowed by the Round 2 rules.

It remains to be seen if the Round 3 rules will open the rules up or not.

Although I don't think that that has any impact on the effectiveness of this entry in this round... :)

Star Voter Season 6

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
roguerouge wrote:

Just a point: this guy qualifies for craft: alchemy, as well as the brew potion and brew fleshcrafting poison feats. That's going to open up a lot of options for a stat block.

I like the ripped from the headlines feel: performance-enhancing drugs, pollution, tests on human subjects... A very modern feel.

Whilst from a Paizo source, I don't think that the Brew Fleshcrafting Poison feat is in one of the sources allowed by the Round 2 rules.

It remains to be seen if the Round 3 rules will open the rules up or not.

Although I don't think that that has any impact on the effectiveness of this entry in this round... :)

Hm. I've been putting adventure path stuff under "Published content from Paizo's Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting," but perhaps I've been wrong about that fact.

For those that care about this stuff, there's also:

"Q12: Can I create new abilities, feats, spells, powers, items, or rules for my villain?

No. This stage of the contest is about story, not about mechanics. Resist the urge."

Edit: this was put forward by another poster in another thread.


Ah. I read the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting reference as meaning specifically only material from the Campaign Setting book, and not Golarion material generally. (Such as the drow fleshwarping from the Pathfinder Adventure Path line.)
But it doesn't impact this entry in this round, so far as I can see, and the rules may be more generous in the next round as to permitted Paizo source material.


Not quite sure of my overall impression - I found him boring, but intriguing at the same time.

I think the entry would have been greatly helped by something along the lines of a "pending breakthrough", ala Dr. Jekyll formula.

Star Voter Season 6

roguerouge wrote:


For those that care about this stuff, there's also:

"Q12: Can I create new abilities, feats, spells, powers, items, or rules for my villain?

No. This stage of the contest is about story, not about mechanics. Resist the urge."

Edit: this was put forward by another poster in another thread.

Official word is that the above means that he can create new abilities, feats, (alchemical) items... but that he can't give us the mechanics for them.


This is a good villain, to my mind, and his low level really isn't a problem. He is different from the normal sort of villain, in terms of his motivations, and so on, but I don't really get that clear a picture of him.

After culling the initial list down to 22 by eliminating those entries that just didn't work for me, I went back to re-read those that remained. Sad to say, I didn't remember what this one was about until some way through, so I guess it didn't stick in my mind. When I have four votes to spread among 32 candidates, that's enough to cut you out, I'm afraid.

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

Overall, I liked the low level alchemist thing, but the entry as a whole was lacking. I would have really liked a long term goal other than, I want to be better. That's the same boring PC goal that too many players use as a justification for adventuring. I also agree that some master super-elixir that would catapult him from a wannabe to a powerhouse would really make him a long term threat and/or give the PCs a stronger reason to try to stop him.

I also had a hard time getting over awkward phrases and grammar, such as "and is coated in so much perfume that it is likely that you shall detect the fragrant aroma that surrounds him long before you ever see his face." Don't say "it is likely that you shall detect" just come out and say he's coated in strong perfume that "is smelled before you're close enough to see his face." Also, in your first plot hook there's major passive voice "Several men have been bribed by Derinogen" instead of "Derinogen bribed several men" and the second plot hook has "Derinogen is currently seeking" instead of "Derinogen is seeking." If you had cleaned up all of the longer than needed lines, you could have fit another sentence or two in to tell us more about him.

This one's in the middle of the pack for me. I do hope you advance though, since your gloves were great and the villain came close.


Well, Derinogen was the first entry I read, and after a roll-off has turned out to be the villain which gets my fourth and last vote. The roll of votes has proceeded:
1st Gulga Cench (the only obvious vote-winning entry for me)
2nd Lord Jeroim Borloz, the Diamond Dragon (on the basis after much searching that it was the most effectively written entry for me)
3rd Bracht Darkhouse (on the basis of the recommendation by Christine Schneider)
4th Derinogen, Aristocratic Mage (roll-off after following the remaining villains being narrowed down to a final list of six with not much overall to differentiate between them)

To add to my earlier comments on the subject of Derinogen, I find that plots which require the abduction of someone close to a PC annoys some players, and simply leads to the next character they roll up being a loner orphan with no friends or relatives, who is suspicious of everyone - and sometimes has the side-effect of trouble with party interactions.
It is a cliché which causes problems in some groups.

But you have just scraped my fourth vote, so congratulations on your entry, and good luck with the next round, if you make it.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka kid america

Congratulations Joshua on making it to the RPG Superstar Sweet Sixteen. (applause, applause, applause)

Keep up the good work.


Hmm, so the villain who got my last vote made it through to the next round.
Congratulations on making the last 16, Blazej.


Congratulations Josh! You got in top 16. On to next round. Now go and astound us! :-)

TL

Star Voter Season 6

Congrats!

I'm guessing your new rule will be expanded alchemy rules. Love that.

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