Lyell, Deacon of Ash


Round 3: Design a villain

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Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Cody,

I really liked your Hound Master Cavalier archetype and I'm happy to tell you that I'm voting for Lyell, Deacon of Ash. I'm looking forward to what you might have in mind for round 4, and I'm hoping to give you the opportunity to present it to us for consideration.

Good Luck!

~Dean


Cody Coffelt wrote:

Lyell, Deacon of Ash

Description: Lyell stands tall with a dour expression on his chiseled face. A thick robe parts to reveal his gray armor, on which smolders engraved Osiriani glyphs. When he draws his sword of ashen flame, his shadowed eyes gleam with fel intent.
Motivations/Goals: Lyell was raised under the tutelage of a madman. Once, his father was a cleric in the thrall temples of Geb, until his handsome features attracted the attention of Countess Qeket, a Blood Lord. After the vampire consumed him, she threw the shattered man aside. Months later, the countess returned to dump a pale, squalling infant in his lap. Over the years, Lyell's father instilled a hatred of Gebbite society within the boy. Together they summoned demons, with whom pacts were made and powers of chaos bargained. Lyell became a dark figure, one who seeks to crush the foundation of undead rule. To break the structure of Geb the antipaladin has gathered others who would revel in anarchy. The Blood Lords shall know their place, or the country will burn.
Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:
--Under Lyell's command, his gathered minions have begun kidnapping and destroying Blood Lords. The Lords would pay a hefty reward to have this seditionist stopped.
--Lyell has acquired one of the harlot queen’s relic-organs. From his fortress monastery he is using it in an unholy ritual to cripple Queen Arazni. A Knight of Ozem wants the item captured before Arazni’s servants reclaim it....

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you (somehow) missed it so far, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness means both the mortals falling off the plank into the lava at the same time, balance is something a succubus weighs herself on against a sack full of bloody archon feathers to check that she hasn’t been overindulging this month, and logic means that it’s never the succubus at fault – always the incompetent idiot of a second-rate hairdresser who is incapable of living up to a succubus’ expectations. Oh: And always remember it’s a succubus’ privilege to change her mind without any warning…
;)

If a sister succubus seduces this villain or a key henchman and things take their course… Well is this villain likely to be good around a young alu-fiend?
This villain and his father *summon demons*. That is usually a bad sign - generally speaking we prefer to turn up unannounced and certainly without any of those bothersome summoning circles - but, and there is a ray of hope here, they summon demons to make pacts and bargain with them. That hints that at least they appreciate the true position of things sufficiently to show us proper respect.
I suspect though, that if a succubus becomes involved with this organisation, there will be a certain amount of quid pro quo involved. She'll be expected to serve as a spy-mistress, or in the capacity of a social or diplomatic advisor. Or possibly in some much less exalted position.
All of which leads us exactly where? Well the answer to my original question is that it will doubtless depend on how the mother fits in and is respected as to whether an alu-fiend will receive appropriate treatment.

Should a succubus tip off any organisations as to the identity, location, and/or activities of this person?
This is a Tricky Question. Whilst the goal of bringing violent revolution to a country (however diminished in artistic gore it may be with undead on the receiving end) is laudable (just as long as a succubus isn't expected to be on the front line unless she's an eccentric martial enthusiast) and there are certainly a number of organisations which could quite enthusiastically assist Lyell's cause, more people knowing about him mean more mouths to potentially blab and get word to the leaders of Geb, thereby posing a problem to his schemes. It depends: Is Lyell Operating In Geb Or Not? This isn't clear from the informer's report. If he is based in Geb itself (or in a neighbour such as Nex about whom suspicions may still linger with the attendant spies entailed by that), I'd say on balance no; if Lyell is operating in an area where Geb isn't expecting serious trouble from, it may be worth putting him in touch with other organisations whose leaders aren't too prejudiced or up-tight about a band whose leaders associate openly with demons.

How much money would I lend this person?
Given the duly deferential treatment of demons indicated in the report, upto ten thousand as a personal favour. Maybe five or ten times that if the intended war effort against Geb required it, and some particularly juicy inducements were put out up front or offered as part of any repayment scheme. There's a particularly dread libram in the paper doily field I've recently heard about (The Little Blue Book of Discrete Paper Trimming) which originated in Minkai a couple of thousand years ago that I'd love to get my hands on a copy of for my library...

Other comments? (including fruitcake rating where appropriate)
I’ve double-checked with my sources, and the last they heard, the Harlot Queen of Geb is a lich, not a mummy. So unless she's a very peculiar lich, I have no idea what that nonsense about ‘relic-organs’ is about – unless it’s a trap set by the Gebbite authorities to draw dissidents out to attack a fictitious weakness of their Queen. You know that reminds me of a pit-fiend seventy thousand years ago who pretended that his life force was connected to a collection of butterfly specimens...

Rating on the Gulga-Bracht supersuccubus scale of villainy:
6 (minor warlord or equivalent)

Further Disclaimer:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus (still with half an eye on Lord Orcus) would once again like to clarify that mortal voters should probably rely on more than just her own (impeccable) assessments in making up their minds on how to vote. Thank You.


I like the concept. I like the use of the anti-paladin class. I think it's a cool villian.

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

An enemy of the vampire lords, striving for well-justified revenge, should make things nice and morally complex for PCs who might be asked to go against him. I don't really understand his title "Deacon of Ash" and trust it's not just a Blade Easter egg. The descriptive text could have used another editing pass.

He has a couple of the obvious antipaladin-slanted items from the APG (the benefit of his dastard armor could have been mentioned in Tactics or elsewhere to help the GM) and the author's own magic item, which .. should work fairly well for him, on review, as an escape/recovery item.

Maybe he could have picked better equipment for slaying vampire lords rather than beating up paladins and good clerics, who must be fairly rare in Geb.

Star Voter Season 6

Considering that the problem with villains in published materials is how the PCs are going to interact with them enough to hate them, but not get killed in the first act either, I don't really see a problem with a villain that the PCs start working with/for, then rebel against later in the campaign.

Scarab Sages

I just want to say that you are among the TWO contestants that I really hope get into the top 4. Great job so far and good luck!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka surfbored

Tikael wrote:
Jerry Keyes wrote:
This whole paragraph paints a portrait in my head like a picture slowly coming into focus; and then I hit the misspelled word and was jerked back into reality. Please spelchek. +1
What misspelled word?

fel = Medical term for Bile

fell =
–adjective
1. fierce; cruel; dreadful; savage.
2. destructive; deadly: fell poison; fell disease.

So, did "his shadowed eyes gleam with bile intent" or did, "his shadowed eyes gleam with fierce intent"? The latter, I think.

True, bile is gross and bitter, but it doesn't really seem like the implication here. Regardless, it was a small and forgivable mistake (I still gave a +1).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jerry Keyes wrote:


fel = Medical term for Bile
fell =
–adjective
1. fierce; cruel; dreadful; savage.
2. destructive; deadly: fell poison; fell disease.

So, did "his shadowed eyes gleam with bile intent" or did, "his shadowed eyes gleam with fierce intent"? The latter, I think.

True, bile is gross and bitter, but it doesn't really seem like the implication here. Regardless, it was a small and forgivable mistake (I still gave a +1).

Fel is the source of the word "fell" (and the word felon), and fel is used very commonly as the spelling especially in the fantasy and gaming domains. Fel is the middle English spelling but since it is so common a spelling in this specific area (fantasy gaming) I would say it is not a misspelled word but instead using a different form of the same word.

Shadow Lodge

Tikael wrote:
Fel is the source of the word "fell" (and the word felon), and fel is used very commonly as the spelling especially in the fantasy and gaming domains. Fel is the middle English spelling but since it is so common a spelling in this specific area (fantasy gaming) I would say it is not a misspelled word but instead using a different form of the same word.

AFAIK, I've only seen "fel" used in such a way in WoW (felwood, felhound, fel orcs, fel cloth), and in which it has its own in-world meaning (demonic magic).

Meanwhile, D&D tends to use "fell" (Fell Drain, Fell Flight, Chasuble of Fell Power)

Scarab Sages

Cody You received a vote from me for Lyell, however, it is more of a vote for what you did in the past than Lyell as a Villain. I really liked the Houndmaster and was looking forward to what you would do here and well...
The Name is great love it Deacon of Ash
The Race/class mix, Dhampir Anti-paladin is cool in s Drizt, Drow ranger kind of way.
The motivation explanation.... Ah sigh, just not for me. I Love Geb but this guy almost works as a twisted Hero to me... Just not getting Super Villain.
Good Luck next round I hope you make it.


Old English
[edit] Alternative forms

* felo, felu, fæle

[edit] Etymology

Proto-Germanic *fali- (“wicked, cruel”). Akin to Old Frisian fal, Old Dutch fel "cruel, wrathful, bad, base", Danish fæl "hideous, disgusting, ghastly, grim".
[edit] Adjective

fel

1. cruel, wicked
2. fierce, savage

Works for me.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka surfbored

I don't think anyone is arguing that the word "fel" doesn't exist. It might even have a good history of use, but it falls into the same category of "colour" vs. "color". Both are right, one is better.

It's possible to be too clever with words and break the rhythm of an otherwise perfect turn of phrase.

In any case, I think this sub-thread is detracting from the entry a little so I'm going to try to stop commenting on "fel". :)

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka Benchak the Nightstalker

Jerry Keyes wrote:

It's possible to be too clever with words and break the rhythm of an otherwise perfect turn of phrase.

For more on this subject, see Irides from two years ago :D

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

Thanks again for any votes and comments. I am following along and appreciating everyone one of you and your discussions. Still not able to make any comments, but I've seen this second page and didn't want you to feel left out of thanks. :)

Shadow Lodge

Hey friend.

I really like all your submissions so far and you got my vote for this round also.

I just wanted to point out that the only lacking features that i found on your villain wore better plots/asventure hooks. I agree with the judges that this is definitively a villain who would team up with the pcs for a time but as Stephen Radney put it, thats ok.

I think thats the main streng of this villain, he is a sort of tragic hero. He would fight along side the pcs againt a commum enemy making them question their moral judgments on a "isnt the goal more important then the means? style" to turn on them on the final showdown. Because the pcs are to soft-heated and mercifull and dont have the courage to do-what-must-be-done or because he discovers that the commum enemy is actually his mother (and his father lied to him all his life).

Well at least thats how im goindg to use this guy on my next caimpaing. :P
Very good work man, good luck with the votes.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Merck wrote:

Because the pcs are to soft-heated and mercifull and dont have the courage to do-what-must-be-done or because he discovers that the commum enemy is actually his mother (and his father lied to him all his life).

Well at least thats how im goindg to use this guy on my next caimpaing. :P
Very good work man, good luck with the votes.

Heheheh

Not my players.

Give them an opportunity like this to turn to the dark side and they'd embrace it whole-heartedly.

There will be no "enemies" like this in my campaign ... my players are way too amenable to "the ends justify the means" :)

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I carefully weighed my decision to choose Lyell over the sane derro because I thought both would make good choices for number eight of my villain votes. Despite the appeal of an over-the-top final encounter with a derro floating in a gelatinous cube, I believe the moral dilemmas raised by your villain clinched the vote. As mentioned before, he has deliciously long-term campaign potential - but that needs to be made more explicit in your description. To be quite honest, the derro would probably make a better villain in a 32-page adventure. However, I believe your potential to stretch the possibilities within a GM's campaign beyond one adventure make you a worthwhile candidate for the end game. I also believe that some of the commenters might be justified in saying that this villain is a bit stereotypical (a dhampir anti-paladin), but the context of trying to take down a LE nation counteract this critique to some degree. That being said, push the limits of gonzo a bit more. Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

I chose to create a dhampir antipaladin for a few reasons; It is a classic villain which had yet to show up in the Superstar, I wanted to show I could create such a villain and make them new and interesting without the boring standard tropes. Both the dhampir and antipaladin are from new books and have neither have received much light in AP's or modules, this gave me a chance to showcase them together. The combination allowed me to have a villain with a gritty past, and be sustainable in a fight with many options.

Regarding "fel", during my research I found it spelled both ways for the current meaning. None of my draft readers mentioned it, and I didn't give it a second thought. Updating the villain now, I would add an extra "l" to prevent de-railing.

Details on Lyell's dad are scarce, because his dad is not the focus of this villain. I left him intentionally vague so that someone who wanted to utilize the character could fill in the blanks how they saw fit. Once thing I didn't like about the Stag Lords background is that his dad was a pre-statted up villain living in his basement. Any PC's I've had fight him considered it to be a let down and were just left puzzled, especially after a climatic clash with the Stag Lord.

I also did not go into detail about how he knocked up a vampire, these details are left vague with the dhampir race. Just like half-orcs, it is not explained exactly how these creatures come to be.

I believe one mistake I did make was the general feel I get from Geb. While the country is Lawful Evil and run by undead, everything I have read about it leads me to believe it is now fairly peaceful. The different entries on Geb go out of their way to state that most living creatures can wander around unmolested, be they good, neutral, or evil. Only the thralls are preyed upon like cattle. Except for the few undead who break the rules of their society.

Thus it was my mistake to create a character who wants to destroy this country. Like several people say, "why don't we just side with this guy?" and at first, it's not clear why you wouldn't want to. I tried, perhaps too subtly, to create a villain who would go to any length to bring ruin on this country. Set had an excellent plot hook where Lyell sets about systematically slaughtering the living among the populace so current order would collapse.

With my first plot hook I wanted to bring up the moral quandary, "How much are our characters willing to be paid by evil people, to stop someone who is threatening them?" This could have lead to two outcomes; one, the party brigns the fight to Lyell and the adventure is against him. two, the PC's decide to join Lyell and help bring down a few Blood Lords before they realize just how evil he is and that they're working for the Joker, not Batman.

My second plot hook I had hoped to be a little simpler to understand. The lich queen is stated as having powerful relics filled with her organs and these can be used to control her. They are also being hunted by the Knights of Ozem so they can bring her a final rest. One of those Knights decides that getting a relic from Lyell will be easier than retrieving it from the Queen. Since her minions are after it as well the adventure becomes a bit of a race to see who can get to Lyell first. I even dropped a tid bit of where the location could take place. Unfortunately the geography of Geb is very...vague... and none of the natural features are named or else I would have said his monastery was within the mountain range to the best of the cities.

One of my big goals with Lyell was to create a villain who was not, "Evil because he's crazy" or "Evil just to be evil". I wanted him to have a purpose, a goal, and a motivation for what he does. I wanted the reader to understand him as a characters, not as a rabid dog that needed to be put down. One of my friends joked that I should have included a line that said simply, "Lyell eats babies." Perhaps I should have had such a blunt statement exemplifying his villainy.

Onto the stat block. Here I did make a few mistakes which I am terribly embarrassed by, others not so much. I searched through all of my available material to find a paladin stat block to refer to, no luck. So I was flying blind. The best I had was the compressed stat block of the Iconic from Council of Thieves. I should have noticed from the couple clerics I looked at that they included their deity. Leaving off the crit range made my cheeks flush. I'm not sure detect good is actually a spell-like ability since it has two functions and one of them is a distinct variation of the spell. I did make a mistake with bonus spells as I carried the 2 from cantrips over to 1st level spells since antipaladins don't have cantrips, oops. I listed Smite Good under SQ since that's where it is for the Iconic, but it is a compressed stat block so my reference was not the best.

For HP, I'm not sure how it's wrong. He has a PC class so shouldn't it be;
10 for first level, 44 for 8d10, 18 from Con, 9 from Toughness, and 9 from favored class? All creatures who have a PC class receive max hitpoints as per the FAQ (source). Antipaladin is a variant of paladin so it qualifies.

For his CR, I was working off of JJ's post here and unfortunately forgot completely about the Exceptional Resources special ability. The only time I've seen that is with Karzuug who was from 3.5, and that was a long time ago. This is a mistake which I humbly accept, my apologies.

Perhaps my biggest embarrassment is his wealth. Even with Exceptional Resources, he is 10k over. Now for a CR 9 villain that's probably not a big deal, but for this competition it is a mistake. One that I know I made because I was probably looking at the crafting cost for his ring, amulet, and belt. A subconscious mistake from playing too many wizards. If you halve the cost of those it drops him back into the correct wealth. That's a mistake I will not be making again.

I feel that some understood what I was trying to do, and others just didn't see it because I left out, "Lyell eats babies."

Thank you very much, everyone. Once again I greatly appreciate all of your feedback and your votes. I'll do my best to make Round 4 one you won't soon forget.

PS. If there are any other questions feel free to ask them and I'll reply soon as I can.


Cody Coffelt wrote:


PS. If there are any other questions feel free to ask them and I'll reply soon as I can.

Don't have any questions, Cody, but I am definitely pulling for you. I like your style. ;)

Good luck with the next round!

--DP

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