Gulga Cench, Scion of Cyth-V’sug


Round 3: Create a villain stat block

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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

Dude..I am making that villian next year...

It's a long way off and I have a toothache....youmight have to remind me. : }


"GROBANZ THE MASTER (Chelaxian)
Male human Commoner 20
NE Medium humanoid
Init +0 ; Senses Perception +20
==DEFENSE==
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
hp 52 (20d6+-20)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +5
==OFFENSE==
Spd 30 ft./x4
Melee Warhammer +10/+5 1d8 20/x3
==STATISTICS==
Str 11, Dex 10, Con 9, Int 22, Wis 9, Cha 11
Base Atk +10, Cmb +10
Feats City Born (PFRotR 13-14), Skill Focus x11(villainous plan) (PFB 94)
Skills Craft (villainous plan) +95, Craft (deathtrap) +29, Escape Artist +9, Intimidate +17, Knowledge (the planes) +26, Perception +22, Perform (oratory) +20, Profession (advocate) +22, Sense Motive +19
Languages Abyssal, Chelaxian, Common, Infernal, Thassilonian
Combat Gear Warhammer
Other Gear Armor & Shield, Weapons

"

Scarab Sages

Jason Rice wrote:
To be fair, I think the most commonly ignored rule is the use of material components. Most games I've played, it's just assumed the spellcaster has 'em. They never have to buy or search for them (unless there is a listed GP value), and no one ever tracks if he runs out.

Actually, that's not an ignored rule in 3.5. Anyone with a spell component pouch is assumed, by the rules, to have any material component that doesn't have a gp cost. It's in the description for spell component pouches :)


Jason wrote:
This does get me to my primary issue with this monster. I am not 100% convinced that the fiendish template makes for a good fit here. It forces some rules elements onto the creature that do not make much sense (Claw attacks?!? really?!? from what appendage?!?). Add this to the fact that it has a fair amount of gear (although it does list a harness, I just have trouble figuring out where it keeps its scimitar), and we end up with a monster that is kinda hard to visualize.

Just think of how much fun it will be to see what the artists come up with. Over-the-top Golarion action at its finest. Heavens, Gulga could inspire his own line of products to compete with Cthulu. (!)

Gulga Cench, the swashbuckling otyugh spell-casting monster from a world of madness.


As has been raised on one of the other threads, creatures with racial HD currently only receive 1 Feat plus 1 for every three racial HD (Beta page 296); Gulga Cench has 6 racial HD = 3 feats, 13 HD from class-levels = 7 feats, and 5 of his class levels being Wizard levels he gets 2 further bonus feats.
These total 12. I cannot account for the last of his 13 feats, unless the new rule 'Scion of Cyth-v'sug' feat has been awarded for some reason as a bonus feat...

:(

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

Gulga was one of my faves from last round, and therefore, I'm not concerned that there weren't major changes made, since he rocked already. I did like the small changes, giving him a named organization and going mystic theurge. If I had to nit pick something, it's that he still has 2 more wizard levels than needed. Why not go wiz 3/clr 3/MT 7?

Great job on the stat block. I only found a few little issues. First, in his spells section, when you're showing his touch attack bonus, I don't think the weapon focus tentacle should apply there. A natural attack isn't the same as a touch attack. Just like a human caster would need weapon focus touch instead of weapon focus unarmed strike if they wanted the bonus to their touch attacks. Second, his bonus spells/spell like abilities from specialty school and domains are mixed in his actual spells. The SPAs should be separate, and the bonus wizard spells should be identified. You should also somewhere state that he's a universalist wizard. Finally, how's he have mirror image as a 3rd level cleric spell???!

I liked his tactics quite a bit. The high level half-fiend abilities cover for not having higher level spells, and the mix of buffs and versitility in spellcasting give him lots of options, which is good. I do have to agree with some previous posters that he a) should have dispel magic and b) should have gone with divine power instead of discern lies (which could be a scroll for the times he needs it). I particularly liked the invisible silenced familiar trick. I also loved the morale section - it's a lot more devious and creative than simply "at some low amount of hp, the bad guy runs or teleports away".

While the new feat is fine and fits the theme (I don't have a problem with the 2 spore powers, especially when the telepathy is pretty weak powerwise), it's missing the sexyness of the rest of your entry. I guess that you just didn't want to make Gulga so overpowering compared to the competition. However, this is a ruthless fight to the death; bring it on and don't take it easy on your fellow competitors! You know they'll do their best to leave you in their dust if they can!

Oh, and you've certainly got my vote again this round, in case it wasn't clear.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

JoelF847 wrote:
Oh, and you've certainly got my vote again this round, in case it wasn't clear.

Thanks, Joel. I'm making a list of everyone's questions so I can come back and answer when the voting ends. Very good feedback from everyone. I really do appreciate it.


Joel:
Pathfinder Beta Mystic Theurges can to a certain extent use 'spare slots' from one side of spell-casting to prepare spells from the other.
Basically, being a 4th level Mystic Theurge, Gulga can prepare 1st level arcane spells in second level divine slots (and first level divine spells in 2nd level arcane slots) and 2nd level arcane spells in 3rd level divine slots (and 2nd level divine spells in 3rd level arcane slots) in addition to normal means of preparation.
(See Combined Spells (Su), in the Mystic Theurge entry on Page 13 of the Beta prestige clases download.)

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

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Joel:

Pathfinder Beta Mystic Theurges can to a certain extent use 'spare slots' from one side of spell-casting to prepare spells from the other.
Basically, being a 4th level Mystic Theurge, Gulga can prepare 1st level arcane spells in second level divine slots (and first level divine spells in 2nd level arcane slots) and 2nd level arcane spells in 3rd level divine slots (and 2nd level divine spells in 3rd level arcane slots) in addition to normal means of preparation.
(See Combined Spells (Su), in the Mystic Theurge entry on Page 13 of the Beta prestige clases download.)

You're absolutely right - I completely forgot that new MT power!


Tactics Review:
Incapacitate. Summon Vrocks. Take to air and pelt battlefield control spells such as black tentacles from the wand and other effects.
Fairly solid tactics, and some thought has been given to use of the familiar too.
The lack of metamagic is slightly exposed; Gulga could be more dangerous with a metamagic rod of Quicken so that he can get off two spells in some rounds, or a spell and do something else, but those things are expensive....
The escape plan which involves hanging around to hear what PCs are saying after the fight is apparently over is novel (at least to me) and seems somehow very much in character.

Congratulations to Gulga Cench. You have secured my third vote for Round 3 with the stylish staying to eavesdrop part of the tactics.


William Senn wrote:


Actually, that's not an ignored rule in 3.5. Anyone with a spell component pouch is assumed, by the rules, to have any material component that doesn't have a gp cost. It's in the description for spell component pouches :)

So it does. Thanks for pointing that out. I've always ignored that rule, for every edition of D&D, and I just assumed I was still ignoring a rule. Turns out I was actually following a rule. Heh.

Is this the same in Pathfinder Beta? I hope so.

Note to developers: Can we have an index in the back of the next book? The Beta playtest (I have the PDF version) doesn't have one. The Glossary and Table of Contents are great, but an index would be very helpful in looking up minor rules. Thanks.

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

Taliesin Hoyle wrote:
GROBANZ THE MASTER

Seriously. I'm doing it. The whole thing. And I'll make it rock.

Somehow.

Scarab Sages

Jason Rice wrote:
Is this the same in Pathfinder Beta? I hope so.

Yep :)

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

Jason Rice wrote:
I've always ignored that rule, for every edition of D&D, and I just assumed I was still ignoring a rule. Turns out I was actually following a rule. Heh.

I've played with you. I could see how you'd be surprised you were following a rule.

: }


Jason Rice wrote:
William Senn wrote:


Actually, that's not an ignored rule in 3.5. Anyone with a spell component pouch is assumed, by the rules, to have any material component that doesn't have a gp cost. It's in the description for spell component pouches :)

So it does. Thanks for pointing that out. I've always ignored that rule, for every edition of D&D, and I just assumed I was still ignoring a rule. Turns out I was actually following a rule. Heh.

Is this the same in Pathfinder Beta? I hope so.

Note to developers: Can we have an index in the back of the next book? The Beta playtest (I have the PDF version) doesn't have one. The Glossary and Table of Contents are great, but an index would be very helpful in looking up minor rules. Thanks.

The Beta Playtest DOES have an index. It's just that it happens to be a rough one which was compiled by a messageboard poster and put on *this thread* where nobody ever seems to notice it.

Despite being posted in time for Christmas and a thread linking to it having been posted on the Announcements board by the same poster...
Sigh

The hyphenated versions posted on the Beta Reference thread give a proper idea of the indentation structure.
There is a combined index, but if you're not on the private email list (repeatedly posting variations of the basic infomation seemed a bit over the top) you won't have seen that.


Steven T. Helt wrote:
Jason Rice wrote:
I've always ignored that rule, for every edition of D&D, and I just assumed I was still ignoring a rule. Turns out I was actually following a rule. Heh.

I've played with you. I could see how you'd be surprised you were following a rule.

: }

LOL

Just for that, you're not getting my vote at Iron DM this year. (Of course, I've never actually sat at your table, but that's beside the point).


Thanks Charles Evans.

However, I still hope the "non-playtest" version will have it when it comes out.


Jason Rice wrote:

Thanks Charles Evans.

However, I still hope the "non-playtest" version will have it when it comes out.

I'm fairly certain that the matter has been raised in one of the Tuesday night chats, and there was a confirmation that the final version will come with index... :)

Scarab Sages

JoelF847 wrote:
If I had to nit pick something, it's that he still has 2 more wizard levels than needed. Why not go wiz 3/clr 3/MT 7?

The only reason I can think of is to get a bonus Wizard feat.

Whether that is better than 2 more levels of cleric casting, and MT abilities, I wouldn't like to say. I certainly wouldn't do it with a PC of mine.

JoelF847 wrote:
When you're showing his touch attack bonus, I don't think the weapon focus tentacle should apply there. A natural attack isn't the same as a touch attack. Just like a human caster would need weapon focus touch instead of weapon focus unarmed strike if they wanted the bonus to their touch attacks.

I think it should apply. A creature with Weapon Focus in their unarmed strike (or natural tentacle attack) is faster, and can spot more openings to lash out and plant one on his target, whether that be with a non-lethal slap, lethal punch, monk flurry, or a fistfull of magical energy.

JoelF847 wrote:
Second, his bonus spells/spell like abilities from specialty school and domains are mixed in his actual spells.

Yes, these should be kept separate, in case the DM wants to shuffle things around (maybe for a rematch?). Knowing which choices are compulsory helps a lot.

JoelF847 wrote:
I do have to agree with some previous posters that he a) should have dispel magic and b) should have gone with divine power instead of discern lies (which could be a scroll for the times he needs it).

With his reduced caster level, relative to the PCs likely to oppose him, Dispel Magic is not the great equalizer. However, that would be meta-gaming, as he should not be counting on only meeting opponents of an 'appropriate' APL, and so should have this as a back-up for dealing with his regular clients. At the least, it could blow a few potion or wand buffs off the PCs.

JoelF847 wrote:
I particularly liked the invisible silenced familiar trick.

Oh, yes, let's attack four different ability scores at once! <slurp>

And attach yourself to the enemy, so he can't move away and cast.
Priceless.

JoelF847 wrote:
While the new feat is fine and fits the theme (I don't have a problem with the 2 spore powers, especially when the telepathy is pretty weak powerwise), it's missing the sexyness of the rest of your entry.

I see the effect being like that of vrock spores, as it seems to be implied that a vrock was his fiendish sire (see his preference for summoning multiple vrock, rather than a single level 8 creature. This may be for sentimental reasons, rather than just a 1/3 chance of getting access to a Dance of Ruin...).

One question; does he then gain telepathy with an enemy he targets with this spore attack? And would it be one-way?
This makes for some very interesting possibilities, if he hides and overhears the PCs plans...

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

The touch attack definitely should not benefit from Weapon Focus.


Go Neil, go.

Not certain if I'd use this in a game - although I am running an Age of Worms adventure path and it might make a very interesting "substitution" along the way. (Insert evil DM laugh).

The spores ability sounds vaguely familiar to me (Calling on the spirit of Evan. . .)


With regard to the next round, if you want to stay Gulga Cench themed for a lair, I can see three options.
1) Present a lair (he may have several, under various cities) or the 'headquarters' for Gulga Cench.
2) Present a 'safe house' for some of his Azure Consortium minions.
3) Present the lair of one of his or his organization's enemies, which PCs might be cajoled/inveigled into raiding for him at some point... (Such a lair may have anti-otyugh defenses, hence the reason for the hiring of the PCs....)

Just my couple of pennies for whatever they're worth at the current exchange rate... :)

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

A real disappointment, from a contestant with very strong entries thus far :(

With an already complex stat block based on last round, I'd rate it a better idea to dial back (dropping a class or template), rather than create a messy stat block by combining 2 classes, a prestige class, and a template. As I mentioned in the past round, he won my vote inspite of the template, and the stat block this round makes me reaffirm my misgivings - half-fiending something just makes it a mess, giving the stat block far more options than it can use. And if there was ever a time to strip off the gratuitious wings and claws the half-fiend template gives, this was it.

Good design is not throwing the kitchen sink into the stat block - it's a solidly executed concept, that is ideally friendly to space at the same time. A foe with too many options is a waste of space, space that could be put to use advancing the product. All that in my opinion, as I realize this entry has its fans.

The feat's not bad - it's a shame it is overshadowed by the stat block.

I suspect you'll come through to the next round despite the poor reception by some of the voters. Just my two cents!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I really do appreciate the feedback, Russ. And I understand your reasons for passing on Gulga this round. Thanks for taking the time to comment...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I just wanted to pop in and say Gulga got one of my votes.

The awesomeness of the accomplished aberration is astonishing.

That said, this round, I was overwhelmed a great deal by the sheer volume of his attack options. Two spell lists, a spell-like list, a class feature list, gear, a familiar, and otyugh species attacks. I'm flailing! I am acutely absent in the acumen of this adept abomination, and would be lost without your excellently written tactics section. Those few paragraphs are a lifesaver and would allow me the ability to act as the astute anomaly with aplomb and aptitude.

I have no idea how I'd handle a second encounter though... wouldn't want the heroes getting too familiar with his tactics. o.o

Still, the stats are accurate for our auspicious anathema as our adjudicators appraise. I hear complaints about how difficult it would be to rebuild him, but they don't suggest the numbers are off, just overcomplicated.

When you get right down to the vote, a rock solid character concept has a lot of momentum for me, and I anticipate attending additional acts of this appealing atrocity. Since fortunately, the tactics combine with the stat block to keep him usable, I can vote for him without guilt. In fact, the alluring abnormality is the first avatar to absolutely attracted my aye.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Wow...I must say, that's some awesome alliteration.

I'm currently crafting a lengthy response to the judges' comments and anticipate doing the same for those who posted questions or feedback here in the thread. I haven't seen an official "green light" from Vic or the judges for us to comment on our villains. And, honestly, without knowing if I made it to the next round...and without the rules for Round Four and what they might preclude us from saying about our villains in relation to their lair...I'll hold off for a bit longer before replying to everyone.

Regardless, thanks for your vote. And your entertaining post!

--Neil


Congratulations on making Round 4... The otyugh's fiendish masterplan to drop unassumingly back into the ranks and maneuver for a good flanking position proceeds....


...Looking forward to seeing Gulga's responses, and if anyone dares attempt to design his lair next round now that he has viciously slaughtered his former muse ("NSpicer").

:o !

~LD

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

*BEEP!*

"Neil can't come to the phone right now. He's hard at work designing a map and lair writeup for another villain. If you leave your name and number, he'll try and get back to you as soon as he can..."

*BEEP!*


“Neil can't come to the phone right now. He's hard at work designing a map and lair writeup for another villain. “”
... Gulga will be jealous. (!)

Good luck on your upcoming difficult labor!

~ LD.

Star Voter Season 6

Congratulations on your success!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

While I have some downtime here at the office, I thought I'd post something to fill the void that will inevitably occur as I go into lockdown to crank out the best possible villain's lair. First and foremost, I'd like to once again say a big THANK YOU! to the judges for their hard work, critiques, and feedback. I offer up the same to all the voters for sending me on to the next round. I recognize I probably took a step back in Round Three and I'm going to apply myself to make up for it by turning up the heat for the homestretch.

So far, I only found the time to respond to the judges' initial feedback. Hopefully, my explanations about the design decisions I employed with Gulga should answer some of the other questions many of you raised later on. Once I get my lair finished and submitted, I'll come back and provide a more thorough response to everyone.

In the meantime, here you go...

The Round Three Judges wrote:

Clark Peterson: The design concept of your villain was going to bring some complexities. Last round, those were hidden because there was no stat block. Not so this round.

Jason Bulmahn: Two spell casting classes and a template that gives spells is just a bit much.
Wolfgang Baur: ...the sheer weight of mechanics rarely does much for me. This is especially a problem at higher levels of play, where monsters have so many choices and templates and class levels just add to it....I know some gamers love the template+class level+special new twists. I'm just not one of them.
Sean K Reynolds: The math is solid and I don't spot any errors....you chose a really, really difficult creature to stat up, and you did it correctly. Kudos to you for that one!

I understand the points you guys have raised here. To explain myself, I specifically chose this villain...and the inherently complicated stat-block accompanying it...to try and show I can manage that part of the design process. Is it the most ideal, publishable villain for an actual adventure? No, it's probably not. I can certainly recognize and respect everyone's opinion on that. Personally, I really view Gulga as more of a villain inherent to a campaign world than a set of statistics to include in an adventure. But everyone wanted to see his stats based on Round Two, and I felt it would be a huge disappointment if I dropped him and tried to spin an entirely different villain for Round Three. Folks wanted to see if I could do the math for such a complicated stat-block...and frankly, so did I! And so that's where I focused most of my attention...perhaps to my own detriment looking back.

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
I am not 100% convinced that the fiendish template makes for a good fit here. It forces some rules elements onto the creature that do not make much sense (Claw attacks?!? really?!? from what appendage?!?).

Actually, I really like how the half-fiend template elevates the otyugh. It's absolutely vital that something like that come into play, or you can never give an otyugh a high enough Intelligence to pursue wizardry...or make for a very believable villainous mastermind. We don't have a lot of other options (template-wise) to achieve that effect using just the 3.5 SRD. If something like Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary or the Tome of Horrors had been available, I might have used something else. But, in all honesty, Cyth-V'sug's parasite and fungus portfolio just cried out to me for joining a half-fiend template with an otyugh from the muck and filth of the sewers. So, I really liked the synergy for the concept, story-wise.

Mechanically, I also like the half-fiend template for what it provides Gulga. He needs hands. The template gives him claws...and I probably stretched the template to interpret that as "extra" arms. I hoped that would be looked upon as more "innovative" than contentious. And I wanted to use those clawed hands, not so much for melee attacks as the ability to grasp and manipulate objects with something other than his tentacles. I envision him kind of like Doctor Octopus (in more ways than one). Three legs, two arms with claws, two writhing tentacles, and a pair of wings. All in all, I think he'd make for an intimidating sight...a unique encounter...and hopefully with enough combat options (as complicated as they may be) to assure his survivability...and thus, a role as a recurring villain instead of a one-time fight.

In addition, the half-fiend's boost to his Intelligence gives him the ability to become a wizard...but not just any wizard...specifically, a wizard from the universal school with access to hand of the apprentice for added manipulation. I think that's important, because he can also draw and wield a weapon...a Large weapon, actually...and do so from 30-foot range, even while flying above a battlefield out of reach of most opponents. I think that provides an added appeal to him...as well as another combat option that lets a monstrous wizard like Gulga stay out of a direct fight, while still heavily influencing it from above. I gave Gulga a "masterwork harness with scabbard" in his equipment, because I suspected people wouldn't understand the Large scimitar among his listed melee attacks. Basically, Gulga has a custom-fitted leather harness that he dons...with the help of his tentacles, claws, and hand of the apprentice...which contains a scabbard for holding his scimitar. He then can draw that weapon and fight with it as the favored weapon of a priest of Cyth-V'sug. So that's what all that involved. And even though it's one more combat option to layer into the complexity, I felt like it fit Gulga's character.

Lastly, as a lot of people noticed, Gulga takes a hit in terms of his caster level as both a wizard and a cleric. And, frankly, even if he was just a single-classed wizard or cleric, his monstrous Hit Dice already elevate his CR to such a level he'll be behind any dedicated spellcasters or PCs he might face. To me, the half-fiend template was the perfect equalizer for that situation. That's because the spell-like abilities gained from being a half-fiend use his total Hit Dice to set their equivalent caster level. And the ability to hit a party with a CL 19th horrid wilting or destruction puts him right back on par with opposing PCs or spellcasters. Meanwhile, the actual spells provided by his classes (i.e., wizard and cleric) are really there to serve as enhancements to his half-fiend powers...and not as his primary abilities in an encounter. Even so, I specifically chose arcane and divine spells for Gulga that would 1) protect him, 2) elevate the DCs of his spellcasting, or 3) hit PCs with an effect against which there was no saving throw that would weaken them in order to lower their threat to Gulga and make them more susceptible to follow-up spells. I felt like all of that would serve to power him back up to an appropriate CR, despite being well behind in spellcasting ability than anyone he'd normally encounter.

So, I apologize for that very long-winded explanation. And I don't mean to come across as argumentative with anything you guys pointed out about Gulga's design. I agree with almost all of it...and completely understand why you see him the way you do. All I really want to convey is that, for me, the half-fiend template brings together all of the things I needed to make Gulga better at playing out his villainous role. So, in that regard, I'm very pleased with the ability to string those things together in the mechanics of the 3.5 and Pathfinder Beta rules...and how Gulga turned out. I would seriously use him in a game...maybe not as a combat encounter...but more as a roleplaying encounter initially...and save him as a high-level battle way down the line. By which time, everything's going to be complicated, including the PCs and any other high-level spellcasting villain I might throw at them. So, why balk at using Gulga? ;-)

The Round Three Judges wrote:

Wolfgang Baur: The feat annoys me. Feats should do one thing, or perhaps two related things. This grants telepathy plus a combat damage bonus. Not related at all, really.

Jason Bulmahn: The rules element here wants to be a template...badly. Since we did not allow templates for this rules element, I can see that author tried to shoe horn one into a feat, which does not really work in this case.
Sean K Reynolds: I think the feat is lessened because your villain can already do so much; on a guy who can sing, dance, play piano, paint, fly airplanes, climb Mount Everest, and build a house out of scrap wood, being able to train animals isn't that impressive. I think the ability is fine, it just pales in comparison to what the villain can already do.

I'll admit, I really struggled with what to do with my new rules element. All of the things I wanted to do (e.g., stuff involving designer diseases, spore-crafting, genetic manipulation, etc.) all required more than 300 words to define the item creation feat necessary to do them...and still be able to provide an example of what they could create. I checked JD's Brew Fleshcrafting Poison from the Second Darkness AP for inspiration, but the item creation feat for something like that took up 200+ words. So, I had to fall back to a more generic feat using a lower word-count. I wasn't happy with how it turned out...and knew it might not come across as "wow" as it needed to be for RPG Superstar.

Also, to address Jason's point, the feat actually wasn't meant to be a template. I wasn't trying to shoehorn that into the design. Instead, I borrowed an example from the feat you guys used for Lamashtu's Mark (pg. 56, "Burnt Offerings"). It provides both a skill bonus/penalty (+2 Intimidate, -2 Diplomacy) and a combat mechanic (Charisma ability damage on a smite-like attack vs. non-evil opponents). So, I felt like there was some precedent for the design on my new feat. I agree that it came off kind of weak in comparison to everything else going on with Gulga. But I tried to use it as the basis for a couple of flavor-related things...

One, the neo-otyughs and otyughs from the game's past had telepathy as an additional ability. So, the telepathic spores part of this feat were meant to help bring that back...not just for otyughs, but rather as an example of Cyth-V'sug's fungal community and shared awareness among all creatures tied to him.

Secondly, whereas the telepathy effect is tied to the spores, the combat element is meant to draw upon the parasite part of Cyth-V'sug's portfolio. The parasites basically feed off the victim of the "smite" attack, drawing away some of his/her sustenance and resources. So I consciously wanted the feat to combine those elements because of how Cyth-V'sug incoporates them. It's there for a story purpose as well as a mechanical advantage. Is that template-ish as Jason described? Yeah, I can see why it would be viewed that way. And, at this point, if I had it do over again, I probably would use a template to describe something more elaborate for "scions of Cyth-V'sug"...or wrap it up in a prestige class instead. I just didn't start out with that in mind.

Clark Peterson wrote:
...you didnt even attempt to edit or focus so much as a word of your submission. Now, maybe yours was justified. It was clear we all liked Gulga just how he/she/it was/is. So change wasnt warranted necessarily. But with feedback from Ed Greenwood, Sean and Wolfgang, was there really not even a word to change?

Actually, I did. And I think even you acknowledged I played around with some of the text. I am such an analytical, detail-oriented person that I pored over every bit of the feedback provided by Ed, Sean, Wolfgang, and yourself...as well as what Jason Nelson, Christine, and many of the other contestants from last year and the voters had to say about the initial concept for Gulga. So, I did read it. I just didn't glean a lot of recommended changes from what everyone said.

Ed called the adventure plot hooks "obvious and pedestrian" but felt like the schemes/motivation section more than made up for them. You called them "surprisingly weak" and graded me only a B+ in the mechanics execution of my concept. So that's an area I specifically targeted for revision. Unfortunately, I still suffered from the same word-count deficiency that caused my adventure hooks and plot to be so sparse last round. I clocked in at 500 words in Round Two. So, to try and beef up the adventure hooks, I actually cut one of them so I'd have enough words to revise and round out the others. Still, it came off weak. I know it. I just couldn't find a way to chop out the other components of Gulga's background to do them better.

Clark Peterson wrote:
...even an entry that is well recieved in the prior round is expected to grow and improve. Your biggest enemy may be your prior success.

I have to admit, I came to a point during Round Three's design and all throughout the voting process questioning if it wouldn't have been better to have either: 1) left some holes in Gulga's Round Two design so I could show more growth in fixing them...or 2) abandon Gulga entirely and create a whole new villain so I could show growth and improvement without being tied to what I'd already done. So yeah, that worried me a lot. I had to lean on the stat-block and the new rules element to try and carry me. I felt like I executed the complicated elements of the stat-block pretty well...but the rules element was weak. And I seriously doubted if folks would still support Gulga. Apparently, they still did. And I'm greatly appreciative of that.

Clark Peterson wrote:
I think you took your foot off the gas pedal this round...

It's obvious that I certainly took a step backwards this round...no doubt. I think that's a lesson well worth learning in this competition, though. And I'll try to make it up. I pledge to do whatever it takes in future rounds to do so. Pedal to the metal indeed...

A sincere thanks for all you guys do,
--Neil

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Okay. With some downtime from putting together and submitting my take on a villain's lair, I came back and waded through everyone's comments. I focused on the questions you guys asked that I hadn't answered yet (or that someone else hadn't sufficiently answered for me already). As such, I mashed my responses altogether in one long post in tribute to Gulga's exceedingly lengthy and complicated stat-block. ;-D

If there's something I left out, feel free to drop another note here and I'll answer when I can. Now, on with the replies...

Several people discussing Gulga's multiclassing wrote:

Montalve: ...my only complaint would be...too many classes, I understand the cleric/wizard...but adding Mystic Theurge is a bit too much...

Ernest Mueller: ...by splitting between mage and cleric he's pretty underpowered for a CR17.

I knew there would be opposing viewpoints about the Mystic Theurge angle. But really, I did it to help catch his spellcasting level up to his overall CR. In addition, I also wanted to advance his overall Hit Dice so he could take advantage of the higher-level spell-like abilities provided by the half-fiend template. That's what really undoes most of the "underpowered" worries in relation to his CR. When you can cast a 19th CL blasphemy, horrid wilting, destruction, and summon monster IX as a CR 17 creature facing a probable 14th level adventuring party...that's some serious mojo. And if he stacks a few of his minions around him (who are mostly rogues with ranged sneak attack capability) after using black tentacles to grapple PCs who have already been weakened (no save) in the Str department by blasphemy, ray of enfeeblement, and even unholy aura, an encounter with Gulga could very capably become a TPK event.

Gamer Girrl wrote:
I was expecting more Illusion spells in his spellbook and daily mem'd lists....I was really surprised not to see disguise self anywhere.

I actually debated about giving him disguise self, but upon re-reading the spell's description, I noted it can't be used to change your body type. That means Gulga would remain an aberration and I wasn't sure if he could really pull off much with a disguise illusion. So, I figured the area effects of a silent image with ghost sound or ventriloquism while Gulga remains invisible could accomplish much the same result to keep his identity secret from his underlings or business partners. Basically, he uses an illusion of a humanoid guildmaster to keep his minions in check. And at his next level of spells (6th), I expect he would take veil, permanent image, and programmed image. I could have jumped Gulga higher in class levels to go ahead and represent those spells in his repertoire, but as many folks pointed out, he was already a super-complicated, high-level villain. And, in the interests of keeping his CR down, I opted not to pump him up any further and leave him something to shoot for down the road.

A few folks discussing Gulga's treasure allotment wrote:

Gamer Girrl: I was also a bit surprised at the value of his treasury ... he's a CR 17 villain with a CR20 price value, unless that's been changed from the Beta book?

roguerouge: The Beta book lists treasure values for NPCs on page 338. Gulga has the gear of a heroic 19th level NPC.

Yep. I wanted to make sure I did Gulga right. I gave him the gear of a 19th level NPC because he's a 19 HD creature.

ericthecleric wrote:

The attack bonuses seem too low for a creature of that CR, so I’d have advanced the otyugh +8 aberration HD, which would also require a size change; this would have meant that the class levels would also have all been non-associated, so to make full use of the non-associated levels I’d have also added a 6th-level of mystic theurge.

It's funny you bring this up. I actually considered going this route. I had the otyugh Hit Dice advancement example in the back of the Monster Manual staring me in the face the whole time. But I wanted to keep Gulga's size at Large rather than Huge, because I figured most of his sewer tunnels would struggle to accommodate a Huge creature...much less a Large one of such girth.

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:
I didn't think Gulga would be as high of a CR as he is...if I make use of him in my CotCT game it might have to wait until the PCs have concluded the AP.

I dabbled with the notion of keeping Gulga at a lower CR. But, to accomplish the things I needed him to be able to do, I had to ramp things up a bit. I questioned myself at times about it, but I had other people pointing out his low caster-level...the extra hit he took by multiclassing as a wizard/cleric...and so on. So, ultimately, I decided on using Mystic Theurge to help catch his wizard and cleric caster levels up to one another...and to widen his access to more powerful spells. I justified it in my mind by imagining Gulga as more of a campaign-spanning villain than a BBEG waiting at the bottom of the sewers for a single adventure in a campaign arc.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
I was hoping to see some nod to this in details regarding the construction/nature of the spellbook....The spellbook didn't even make the gear list....You're in for a beating from Gulga for stealing from his gear the spellbooks he prepares his wizard spells from and the divine focus (holy symbol) he uses to cast his clerical spells.

If I were doing Gulga's lair, that's probably where you'd find references about the construction/nature of his spellbook. In terms of stat-blocking, I followed the examples of previous high-level spellcasters from the Pathfinder AP's. It's listed right after his gear, as a single grouping, not specifying number or type of spellbooks. But the omission of his holy symbol is definitely my bad. I should have remembered that.

Alex Handley wrote:
The scimitar seems pointless....Gulga is not ever going to be a great melee combatant due to Theurge and Wizard levels. This loss could be compensated for by the Divine Trinity (Divine Favour, Divine Power and Righetous Might at higher levels), granted but otherwise, he'd be better spending his feats and gear elsewhere, I think (or at least not burning a feat on it and using a mace or something). Outside of Pathfinder/SRD, I'd replace that with Practised Spellcaster (probably ditto with Alertness or Weapon Focus).

The scimitar is meant to be used "at range" via hand of the apprentice which under Pathfinder Beta rules is really quite powerful and reliable. Also, many of Gulga's favorite spells are meant to impose penalties on his opponents...some which affect AC. As a result, it makes them a bit easier to hit. Regardless, I do like your ideas about the "Divine Trinity"...and particularly divine power. I definitely should have considered swapping out discern lies for that. Good call. The discern lies was added for flavor more than anything. It's something to assist with managing his far-flung enterprise.

As for the Alertness and Weapon Focus feats, I carried those over from the base otyugh. I could have respent them differently to further optimize Gulga, but in the interests of staying true to his species, I just felt like those were "racial" feats moreso than choices made during advancement. Despite some of the nitrous min/max'ing I layered onto Gulga to bring him up to par with a CR 17, I'm actually very anti-min/max in my preferred playstyle. So I steered away from some of the better options at times in his design for that very reason.

Alex Handley wrote:
No Dispel Magic. *slaps Gulga's tentacles* No. Bad caster. ANY caster of 5th level or higher should always have as a matter of principle some dispel capability, even if only a scroll or two.

That's a fair point, too. I could have worked in a dispel magic somewhere, even if it was just on a scroll or wand.

Alex Handley wrote:
I question his eagerness to go toe-to-toe in melee sans flight as he stands without some better buffs.

Actually, that didn't concern me too much. Most of his melee combat is done via touch attack spells like shocking grasp, vampiric touch, chill touch, spontaneous inflict spells, and so on. If he hits, he can start an immediate grapple and constrict. All while flying off with you somewhere, if necessary. That's why melee isn't something he'll shy away from. Even if people managed to hit him up close, they'd could wind up suffering the added effects of unholy aura, furthering draining their strength and making them easier to grapple, pin, etc.

cwslyclgh wrote:
I LIKE complicated villains that have a a lot of tricks in their arsenal... I can completely understand how that can make them harder to sue in a single adventure where they can't bring their full talents to bear, but as a DM it gives me much more flexibility with how I use them later on

Thanks! That's exactly what I wanted to provide with Gulga...enough things he can do to be utterly flexible in how a DM runs him against a party of PCs...whether in combat or simply as a roleplaying encounter.

Steven T. Helt wrote:
I didn't mention this before, but 700 pounds seems light for a 9 foot tall quadraped with lots of girth and long tentacles.

I basically scaled-up the typical otyugh from an 8-foot diameter and 500 lbs. By increasing his diameter to 9-feet, I layered on an extra 200 lbs. I figured that was a fair assessment without breaking out the laws of physics. He's got an extra pair of arms with claws, two wings, and an extra foot of girth. Other than that, he's got a great big empty gullet like any other otyugh, which he fills with many, many pounds of fresh meat whenever he can.

Steven T. Helt wrote:

-If he attacks with just the scimitar, he gets reiterative attacks, meaning +16+11. I use those numbers because my eyes glazed over and I couldn't find where it should be higher (+10 base +4 STR +3 enh -1 size).

Actually, no. He only fights with his scimitar by using his hand of the apprentice ability. That means he only gets one attack. And he uses his INT modifier rather than STR both on his attack roll and damage.

Steven T. Helt wrote:
You have fiendish fungal otyughs. You have drugs, diseases, and networks of sewer-dwellers building an empire under every major civilization they can. And this is the new rule you choose?....I don't like it's dual function (I would prefer a series of fungal feats that do different things, like the heritage feats of the last few 3.5 books), and I don't like how tightly tailored it is to your concept. Make a feat that many can use. Make its use and accessibility more broad, and then comment that it is common among the favored of Cyth V'sug. Chosen feats have their place, but I prefer design that fits into multiple game worlds without much shoehorning.

That's a fair criticism. I worried over whether people would "get" the new feat...or even care for it, given that it's limited to followers of Cyth-V'sug. As I said earlier in response to some of the judges' commentary, I used Lamashtu's Mark from "Burnt Offerings" as precedent for this type of feat. And, given that Lamashtu is a god-like demon, as well, it just seemed natural to try and do something similar for Cyth-V'sug and have it apply to Gulga...as well as many of the aberrant otyughs he's breeding.

Dreamer wrote:
Writer to writer, I think we share a penchant for verbosity. You write well enough that most of the time you can get away with it. But if you can find that best-friend editor you mentioned to help you be concise and let you know when to say when and when to take it up a notch, it will only benefit you in the long run.

Very good advice, Dreamer. Thank you.

Jason Rice wrote:
I am suprised that Gulga Cench is a wizard. Sorcerer would have made more sense to me, especially with the new pathfinder bloodline coolness (Aberrant? Abyssal?).

I looked at all of those options as possibilities, too, when statting out Gulga. I prefer Wizard for multiple reasons. First, many of the abilities provided by the aberrant and abyssal bloodlines for Sorcerers already duplicate abilities granted by the half-fiend template (e.g., natural claw attacks) or the base otyugh species (e.g., reach with tentacles vs. an aberrant's long limbs). In addition, a Sorcerer's spell-choice limitations (even with the upgrade in Pathfinder Beta) wouldn't be enough to define Gulga's capabilities with magical research. I think Trevor ran into this problem with casting Bracht as a Sorcerer and it's something I very much wanted to steer clear of...

Jason Rice wrote:
Finally, I'm not clear on how he is experementing on other otyughs to make them more intelligent. Polymorph doesn't change mental stats. Neither does your new feat, and even if it did, I wouldn't call spending time with someone an experiment. You said he had "arcane knowledge of transmutation to enhance the average intelligence of the otyugh species", but I don't see it. I know the focus of this round was the stats, so perhaps you could address this in a later round? You teased us with a promised ability, and I'm still waiting for the payoff. I think it was a mistake to not make that the focus of your new rule.

That's a very valid point. I wanted to define something about that using the "new rules" portion of Round Three, but 300 words just weren't enough to do it justice. If I were defining Gulga's lair or including him in an official adventure, I'd probably try and include a sidebar detailing more about his activities in that regard.

JSL wrote:
To me the point of this round of the competition is whether the candidate can take his or her concept and stat it according to the appropriate 3.5/PF rules. This isn't the pretty, touchy-feely part of RPG design that is being tested here. This is "can you do the math?" and "can you apply the rules correctly?" and "can you dot every 'i' and cross every 't' in the technical side of the job?"

That was very much what I focused on for Round Three, because I wanted to address everyone's earlier concerns about whether I could handle the "math" for something as complilcated as Gulga's stat-block. Folks had also mentioned my need to do better with the rules aspects of design as far back as the magic item round. And, last year, the villain round had included stat-blocking with concept...and seeing it split apart for this year's competition made me view it as "the focus" for Round Three. So, that's what led me down the path of focusing on rules-fu more than revising Gulga's concept.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
As has been raised on one of the other threads, creatures with racial HD currently only receive 1 Feat plus 1 for every three racial HD (Beta page 296); Gulga Cench has 6 racial HD = 3 feats, 13 HD from class-levels = 7 feats, and 5 of his class levels being Wizard levels he gets 2 further bonus feats....These total 12. I cannot account for the last of his 13 feats, unless the new rule 'Scion of Cyth-v'sug' feat has been awarded for some reason as a bonus feat...

The last feat is Martial Weapon Proficiency (scimitar), which Gulga gets for free as the favored weapon of Cyth-V'sug under Pathfinder Beta rules. So, for those concerned about how Gulga chose to spend his feats, he didn't burn a slot on that one. He got it automatically.

Light Dragon wrote:
Heavens, Gulga could inspire his own line of products to compete with Cthulu. (!)

Now that sounds like fun! :-D

Joel Flank wrote:
If I had to nit pick something, it's that he still has 2 more wizard levels than needed. Why not go wiz 3/clr 3/MT 7?

That's a very good question. And I've been dying to explain that one for awhile. I considered exactly what you've laid out (i.e., Wiz 3/Clr 3/ Mystic Theurge 7). But, instead, I wanted to take him up to Wiz 5 so he could 1) pick up the bonus Wizard feat, because I wanted to use it to round out some of his Item Creation, magical research-oriented feats; 2) advance him far enough so he'd gain the ability to speak with his stirge familiar; and 3) pick up the extra bonus spell for a 4th level wizard at the same time.

Those are my primary reasons. And again, I wasn't looking to min/max Gulga at every point in his design. I wanted to go some different directions at times for flavor rather than the most optimal choice. To me, being able to converse with Memorymaker trumped the perfect Mystic Theurge progression for story reasons and maximum use as a villainous mastermind. He can send off the stirge to spy and have it come back and give him a perfect description of what it observed.

Joel Flank wrote:
in his spells section, when you're showing his touch attack bonus, I don't think the weapon focus tentacle should apply there. A natural attack isn't the same as a touch attack. Just like a human caster would need weapon focus touch instead of weapon focus unarmed strike if they wanted the bonus to their touch attacks.

I went back and forth on that one. I actually tried to find a ruling on whether a Weapon Focus bonus with a natural weapon would apply to touch attacks, but didn't see anything one way or the other. So, for posterity's sake, I included it. My justification was that a sorcerous monk holding the charge on a touch spell could likely use his Weapon Focus (unarmed strike) to deliver it since touch spells indicate you can activate them as part of a regular unarmed attack. So, for me, Gulga's Weapon Focus (tentacle) feat would be the optimal method of delivering touch attacks because of their added reach (i.e., 15 feet). I liked that image...

Joel Flank wrote:
Second, his bonus spells/spell like abilities from specialty school and domains are mixed in his actual spells. The SPAs should be separate, and the bonus wizard spells should be identified. You should also somewhere state that he's a universalist wizard.

I started to do that as well. But the spell-like abilities in his stat block already distinguish a different caster level for his half-fiend SLAs. And I had to split his wizard and cleric spells under his Prepared Spells write-up as well. Originally, I wrote it up with his wizard and cleric SLAs mixed in with the half-fiend SLAs with different CL's...but it made the stat-block even more horrendous from a readability perspective. And, since I hadn't seen an official stat-block method of distinguishing the bonus spells granted by Pathfinder's cleric domains and wizard schools, I decided to go out on a limb and roll them up under his Prepared Spells. Regardless, I should probably have indicated them with an asterisk and explanation, though. Ditto on the indication that he's a universalist wizard.

Joel Flank wrote:
I particularly liked the invisible silenced familiar trick. I also loved the morale section - it's a lot more devious and creative than simply "at some low amount of hp, the bad guy runs or teleports away".

Those were both very conscious design decisions on my part. I wanted to make all his minions (including his familiar) a part of his world. And that includes combat. I've always liked the notion of a wizard using his familiar in combat when it makes sense to safely do so. Thus, the Improved Familiar to gain a stirge that can literally drain and weaken your opponent...deliver touch spells...and just hover invisibly and silenced to prevent enemy spellcasters from breaking out their best spells, just makes perfect sense to me for a mastermind as devious as Gulga.

The same rationale came into play for Gulga's preferred method of retreat. I just didn't want him to turn tail and run. I wanted him to trick his opponents into thinking they'd won...then immediately go into information-gathering mode to eavesdrop and learn more about them...i.e., why they came hunting him, how weakened they are after the initial fight, and so on. Basically, he would learn all he can and then follow up on that information to bring the fight to them again when they're the least prepared for it. Because that's how Gulga operates...he's as vicious and devious an opponent as you'll ever find. Or at least, that's how I wanted to portray him.

Snorter wrote:
One question; does he then gain telepathy with an enemy he targets with this spore attack? And would it be one-way? This makes for some very interesting possibilities, if he hides and overhears the PCs plans...

LOL! Oh no...they're onto me!

I actually contemplated giving the feat that very same power in lieu of the draining parasitic smite attack. And, if I had it to do over again, I might swap it for telepathic eavesdropping that lingers for a little while. That way, he could horn in on any active message conversations a character might be receiving...sending spells...etc. I'd probably even say it would grant some kind of insight bonus to Gulga's AC as he'd be able to anticipate his opponent's next move...or maybe an opportunity to move past them in the iniative order the following round or something. Very devious thoughts are now entering my brain again...Mwha-ha-ha-haaaaa!

Samuel Leming wrote:
I really want to see what you can do in the next two rounds and want to see what you can do with a full module. You've got one of my votes.

I really appreciate your vote. And I would love the opportunity to show what I could do with a full module. Please keep me in mind for future rounds. The only way I'll have a shot to show my full adventure idea is to make the Top 4.

Thanks,
--Neil


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If nobody else says it, thanks for providing all the feedback to everyone, Neil! (And congrats for getting through!)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

ericthecleric wrote:
If nobody else says it, thanks for providing all the feedback to everyone, Neil! (And congrats for getting through!)

No problem, Eric. I want to be as thorough in my reponses (or is it longwinded-ness?) as I try to be with my design work. ;-D

Thanks,
--Neil


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

And finally here it is:

Gulga-Cench[b][/b]

I hope you like it Neil! I sure enjoyed drawing it :)

Liberty's Edge

well if there were any reasons to fear the damnable evil genius... seeingit face to facejsut does the trick :P

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hugo Solis wrote:
I hope you like it Neil! I sure enjoyed drawing it :)

That is absolutely phenomenal, Hugo! Amazing! I love the detailing you put into your sketches. His claws and feet look spot on...and all the spikiness to his tentacles and eyestalk look great.

Only one quibble, though...and this is more my fault than yours...but his wings are supposed to be separate from his tentacles. The way I wrote him up originally, I described them as hanging from his tentacles. But later, during Round Three, I revised it so the tentacles and wings would stay separate. That way, he can fly and grapple at the same time.

Other than that, though, this picture still absolutely rocks! Way to go! Thank you!

--Neil


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
NSpicer wrote:

Only one quibble, though...and this is more my fault than yours...but his wings are supposed to be separate from his tentacles. The way I wrote him up originally, I described them as hanging from his tentacles. But later, during Round Three, I revised it so the tentacles and wings would stay separate. That way, he can fly and grapple at the same time.

--Neil

Urgh, that's a mayor fail... I'll see if I can correct it later on, for right now I have to focus on other commissions... Sorry about that Neil

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hugo Solis wrote:
Urgh, that's a mayor fail... I'll see if I can correct it later on, for right now I have to focus on other commissions... Sorry about that Neil

It's no biggie, Hugo. That's still some good monster illustrating there! I'm ecstatic with it!

--Neil

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

NSpicer wrote:
Hugo Solis wrote:
Urgh, that's a mayor fail... I'll see if I can correct it later on, for right now I have to focus on other commissions... Sorry about that Neil

It's no biggie, Hugo. That's still some good monster illustrating there! I'm ecstatic with it!

--Neil

YOu should be. It's beautiful. ... I mean, terrifying. ... I mean 'terrifyingly beautiful'. ... Or something.


Round 3, 2011, (Teaser) Calibration Post

Neil Spicer wrote:

Gulga Cench, Scion of Cyth-V’sug

Male half-fiend otyugh wizard 5 / cleric 3 / mystic theurge 5

A devious sewer dweller labors in darkness to deliver an army capable of conquering the world in his demon lord’s name.

Round 3 opening Disclaimer here:

Question 1:
This villain probably doesn’t care too much about his minions and their relatives. On the other hand (and this may require a good deal of imagination on the part of some mortal readers), there are some succubi out there who might actually… (In the interests of what passes locally for good taste, I’ll leave the rest of that thought unwritten and let any readers who feel the need to do so go away and scrub their mind with whatever substances or spells they feel appropriate.)
Anyway, getting back on track, he might be a bit of a stickler for some things, but in certain (appropriate) circumstances, I envision this villain being quite an indulgent fellow.

Question 2:
No. Well maybe an interested patron or two of the arts. The possibilities of otyugh culture would surely intrigue some such personages.

Question 3:
Whilst I couldn’t imagine this fellow actually needing assistance of this kind, I’d be more than happy to fund any arts projects that he has, and not even be in too much of a hurry to get repayment. He has social connections with a demon-lord after all…

Other comments? (including fruitcake rating where appropriate)
This is basically just a calibration post, but there's a lot of stuff I could wax lyrical about regarding Gulga Cench at this point. Suffice it to say that he's no fruitcake, however.

Rating:
4

Further Disclaimer here:

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