Drayden D'Arteros, Prince of Knives

Round 3: Design a villain

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Evil Space Mantis

Drayden D’Arteros, Prince of Knives
Portrait: 13
Description: Drayden D’Arteros, while Andoren by birth, left his homeland as a young man for the looser morals and more lucrative opportunities offered by the Shackles. By day, Drayden appears to be a prosperous merchant in his forties. By night, in his guise as the Prince of Knives, he runs, and occasionally participates in, all manner of illegal bloodsport. His loyal hound Koba remains at his side both day and night.

Motivations/Goals: While he remains in control in most situations, Drayden’s unhealthy obsession with bloodsport is slowly taking more and more control of his actions. His hat of disguise has so far let him engage in his bloody pursuits by night without his identity being discovered, but it seems inevitable that someone will discover his passion for violence.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:
- Andoren abolitionists have caught wind of the plight of the slaves used in Drayden’s illegal death matches and seek assistance in shutting his operation down.
- Word has trickled through the underground of the Shackles of a very special match coming up in the pit fights, one involving an abducted Pathfinder.

Drayden D’Arteros CR 6
Male human cavalier(hound master) 3/fighter(knife fighter) 4
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +5; Senses Perception +3
===== Defense =====
AC 20, touch 13, flat-footed 17; (+5 armor, +3 Dex, +2 shield)
hp 57 (7d10+18);
Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +2
Defensive Abilities parrying defence
===== Offense =====
Spd 30 ft.
Melee +1 dagger +12/+7 (1d4+8/19-20), and mwk dagger +12/+7 (1d4+5/19-20)
Ranged mwk dagger+13 (1d4+7/19-20)
Special Attacks challenge 1/day, pack tactics, tactician 1/day
===== Tactics =====
During Combat Drayden likes to start combat by using Dazzling Display to demoralize his foes. He then attempts to move in to flank with his hound Koba, maximizing the benefits of his pack tactics. He also mixes dirty tricks in to his attack routines, especially when facing multiple foes.
Morale Drayden will generally attempt to flee when outnumbered or reduced to 28 hit points or less, however, he will fly in to a rage if Koba is killed and will try to kill Koba’s slayer even if it costs him his life.
===== Statistics =====
Str 18, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 14
Base Atk +7; CMB +11; CMD 24
Feats Boon Companion, Combat Expertise(B), Dazzling Display(B), Improved Dirty Trick, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Precise Strike(B), Two-Weapon Fighting(B), Weapon Focus (Dagger), Weapon Specialization (Dagger)(B)
Skills Bluff +12, Diplomacy +12, Disguise +2(+12 with the hat of disguise), Handle Animal +12, Intimidate +12, Perception +3, Profession (merchant) +10, Sense Motive +8, Sleight of Hand +6 (+8 to conceal weapons)
Languages Common, Aquan, Goblin;
SQ braggart, knife expert, never caught unarmed, order(cockatrice), quicker than the eye, war hound
Combat Gear +1 chain shirt, +1 dagger, masterwork dagger (2), hat of disguise
===== Special Abilities =====
Knife Expert(Ex) Drayden gains a +1 bonus on all attack and damage rolls, and to CMB and CMD on disarm and sunder checks with daggers.
Never Caught Unarmed(Ex) Drayden gains a +2 bonus to all Sleight of Hand checks to conceal a weapon.
Pack Tactics(Ex) When Drayden and Koba are flanking the same creature, the Drayden’s flanking bonus on attack rolls increases to +4.
Parrying Defense(Ex) Drayden gains a +2 shield bonus to his AC when he is using a dagger in his off-hand, or has his off-hand free.
Quicker Than the Eye(Ex) Drayden gains a +2 bonus to initiative checks.
War Hound(Ex) Drayden is accompanied at virtually all times by his loyal war hound Koba. Koba is treated as a 7th level druid’s wolf animal companion.

Dark Archive Contributor

Congratulations on reaching Round Three. My job is to comment on your character concept, not the rules. Also, I’ll leave typos and low-level writing issues to the mercies of the other judges.
I’m hoping to see villains with a compelling motivation and clear goal. I’ll try to point out both strengths and weaknesses before making a simple yes/no recommendation. Good luck in the voting!

The description is fairly engaging, but it doesn’t speak to origin or impulse. Likewise, motivation/goals gives us more in the way of his tactics than Drayden’s internal life. What does Drayden want? Is he greedy? A risk taker? A sadist? These are unstated possibilities, toward which his “unhealthy obsession” and “passion for violence” is only a step. Building more on that would make him more compelling, but it’s a decent foundation.

I like the plot hooks.

You have been weighed and measured:
I vote a cautious YES to advance this one.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Okay, Ethan. You've made it to the Top 16 and the competition gets pretty fierce in ever-escalating intensity from here on out. That's no different in how the judges will review your stuff. So I'm going to dive under the hood a little and mark through this thing like I'd do if I were an editor. My comments are mostly going to come instream as I review things. And I'll spoiler them for length:


First up, let's talk about your choice of villain. You're going for both a knife fighter and a hound master? Okay, interesting pairing. This ventures into territory where one can swiftly start play-testing stuff to see how balanced it remains as various abilities have an opportunity to mesh. After all, a hound master with a cavalier's teamwork feats paired with a dual-wielding knife fighter might get pretty nasty.

So, looking through this guy's backstory, I like that he's a world traveler...and ironically from a nation that abhors slavery, yet he's all too willing to use slaves in the pit-fights he stages in the faraway Shackles. How deliciously villainous and decadent. I'm a little surprised by the hat of disugise trick while also saying his dog (indeed, his hound master companion) is always at his side. I'd think that might tip folks off to his real identity at some point. But not a big deal, regardless. He's got the means to slip in and out of various social functions and work his villainous magic. So, it's a good item to include for a non-spellcaster. It elevates the tools at his disposal. I'll agree with Dave, however, in that I think you could have tightened down your writing a bit and elaborated on his villainy. Despite some interesting plot hooks, you missed some opportunities to really knock this villain out of the park.

So, let's move on to the stat-block. First up, you've got some spacing problems in your class-archetype combos. Your hit points are miscalculated (should be 56 by my count, so maybe a typo?). And your Fortitude save should be +9. Good job on the rest of the early stats, as your melee and ranged attacks have all taken into account the knife fighter's bonuses and that includes the shield bonus to AC. I'm having trouble sorting out your ability scores, though. Even with a human's +2 racial bonus to any ability score, I can't come up with a Str 18 and Dex 17. You should be using an elite array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 for an NPC with class levels. So, something is off here and I can't find any magical gear or enhancements to warrant what looks like a +4 bonus to Dex, +4 bonus to Con, +2 bonus to Wis, and +2 bonus to Cha. That's how far off the math looks. And, of course, if you reset all those values back to what they should be, it alters a lot of the other stat-block elements. So, this revelation undoes some of my earlier kudos on getting so many of the stats right. You did crunch the numbers well for the ability scores you selected, though. And, your feats look right. Skills seem off a bit, but maybe I'm missing something (i.e., I've got you overspent by 3 skill points...maybe there's a class skill difference I'm not seeing?).

At this point, after making it through the remainder of your stat-block, I'm swiftly coming to the realization you've messed up the spacing on several of your parentheticals which ultimately saved you on word-count. You clocked in right at 600 words and if I separate out the archetype parentheticals smashed up against the class names and the "Disguise +2(+12 with the hat of disguise)" in the Skills line and "order(cockatrice)" appearing in the Special Qualities line, you'd be over word-count. In addition, you need to alphabetize your languages. Your gear is all level- and CR-appropriate. And, lastly, I'm not sure you needed to spend words on laying out all of the archetype abilities under Special Abilities. You actually could have saved a lot of words by eliminating that.

Lastly, in looking over your Tactics section, everything seems to fit. You're referencing both his own abilities and his hound companion. I'm a little surprised at how quickly he runs, though. Essentially, he's only willing to part with half his hit points before making a break for it. Though, obviously, he sticks around if his dog is in trouble.

So, for the purposes of this round, I'm going to assess each villain according to concept, evocative description/flavor, appropriateness of the applied archetype, interesting/villainous tactics, and mechanical execution of the stat-block. So, here's how I'd rank this one:


Villain Concept: Good
Flavor Text: Average
Appropriate Archetype: Good
Interesting Tactics: Average
Stat-Block Execution: Average to Poor

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: I'm kind of torn on this one. You've got some decent hints at villainy, but just didn't throttle them up all the way. And, you were mostly accurate with the numbers you included in the stat-block, only you didn't use the elite array for the ability scores, so that undermined everything.

Thus, I'm going to stay on the fence without making a recommendation either way. We'll leave it to the voters and see what they think.


Yep, that guy definitely looks like a skeezy fan of bloodsport!

Nice job on the hat of disguise keeping the identities separate.

Be more diligent about putting spaces before a "(" and after a ")" like in the class/level line and the Skills line. In the most technical sense, your word count would be 601+ if those spaces were in place, and you'd have gone back to cut two more words to stay within the 600 limit. I'm not going to ding you on the word count because I don't believe this was an intentional tactic.

You used "defence," the British spelling of "defense." Watch out for that one.

You need to use more active language in the Tactics section... "starts combat" instead of "likes to start combat," "moves in to flank" instead of "attempts to move in to flank," "attempts to flee" instead of "will attempt to flee," "flies into a rage" instead of "will fly into a rage," and so on.

I am interested hearing more about this villain, and the stat block is formatted correctly for the most part (though I haven't checked the math as Neil has, I'm just looking at if things are in the right place).

Summary: 1.5 Points
Recommendation: Not recommended for advancement

Ethan my approach to this round was as a brand manager. I'll leave the detailed mechanical analysis to the others. If I were in charge of the product this villain would appear in, I'd be thinking the following:

Did you follow the instructions?

Image matches description well.

1 Point

Is this villain memorable and will it add value to my IP?

I'm having a hard time reconciling this guy's mechanics with his backstory. He's got a lot of experience in working with others (cavalier) and a lot of experience in dueling (knife fighter), but his "thing" is organizing pit fights? Is that a villain?

How does one keep a very unusual hound at one's side constantly, yet avoid people noticing? Those must be Clark Kent's spectacles he's wearing.

I have no idea what the "Prince of Knives" looks like. What's so different about him that nobody connects him to D'Arteros?

0 Points

Does the villain's concept make sense within the IP?

He's a guy who arranges for pit fights in an area of the world where such are probably common. He apparently likes to fight in them too but wants to do so as an alter ego; OK, that seems harmless.

This all seems so small and petty to me. There must be thousands of guys like this scattered around the seamier areas of the world.

.5 Points

What's the twist? (All great villains have a surprise within them)

The twist is that the guy who sets up the fights and the guy who fights in the fights are the same guy? Vince MacMahon called, wants his schtick back.

Not superstar.

0 Points

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Hey Ethan! Congrats on making it into the top 16. I'm approaching all of this round's entries with a developer's eye, as the man who will ultimately be developing the winner's Module and the top 4 contestants' Pathfinder Society Scenarios. So let's assume you're one of those four designers and this is a villain you base your adventure around. What's my reaction when this comes in as your idea for a villain for your big adventure?

Well, you certainly picked a nasty looking villain. Let's see how you did with him! I'm immediately a fan of his name, but not his nickname. Prince of Knives is just sort of...blah. But I can look past that.

So he's into bloodsports? Ok, not too out of the ordinary among the pirates and scoundrels of the Shackles, but I can see how that's villainous. But his whole schtick hinges on a relatively cheap magic item? And he's got a dog with him all the time? Does it have a collar of disguise, or is someone (with a Wis 12) going to notice that it's the same dog? Needless to say, I'm not sold on his concept, but I could still see a decent adventure made around either of your included hooks.

Moving on to the statblock, I'm impressed by your ambition in using two archetypes, both from the last round of the competition. That said, you didn't cite the source of either, which would have used up a few more words and put you over the limit. Whenever you're using material in a statblock from any source other than the Core Rulebook, you need to cite it so GMs know where to look for more information.

I echo Sean's comments about extra spaces, Anglicized spellings, and active rather than passive tactics. In general, you should never use passive voice anywhere in your writing, but especially not in statblocks, where space is at a premium due to the special formatting restrictions.

Then you list all his archetype-granted abilities in the end, when a simple citation after the archetype name (as mentioned above) would have precluded these abilities needing to be reprinted, thus freeing up more words for you to write about your villain.

In the end, I'm not wowed by this one. I think you took a risk in making him a multiclass character with two archetypes designed within the confines of the contest, but the result is that he's more flash than substance. This submission could have really benefited from extra words to describe him and his motivations, and a simpler statblock would have given those to you.

Final verdict: I DO NOT recommend this villain for advancement to the next round. Best of luck in the voting.

Senior Designer

Howdy. I’m Stephen, and I will be one of your guest judges for this round of RPG Superstar. I’m looking at the stat block purely based on what I consider fun or interesting to run. I have a little experience with that. That means the villain should be evocative, clear, effective, and big extra credit points go for interesting. There’re a lot of good villains out there, yours needs to stand out is some way.

This guy has some pockets of interesting, and I like the irony that he’s addicted to bloodsport but will kill anyone who offs his dog, but in the end there is a lot of strange going on. The hat of disguise and the alias doesn't jive with his pooch. It doesn’t affect the dog, the dogs always there, I think someone will realize that Drayden’s is the Prince of Knives. I think I would much rather see a merchant so connected everyone knows he’s addicted to bloodsport, but no one feels that they should cross poor Drayden.

And after all, a bloodsport needs more than one player.

The mix of cavalier and fighter doesn’t do it for me either. It’s just rather bland, and the cavalier seems only to be there to give the man his pet.

I think you could have done a lot more with such an interesting cavalier archetype.

Good luck with the voting, Ethan, but I do not recommend this villain for advancement.

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

I can understand the judges' caution on this one. The fact that he's got an openly murderous alter-ego is cool, but the fact that he's so associated with a specific dog makes that a little weird. Then again, Batman had a dog that wore a mask so it couldn't be associated with Bruce Wayne's identical hound, so there's a weird sort of precedent there.

This is the second reference I've made so far to Silver Age comics in this round. It must be bringing out the crazy in people.

I am concerned with his seemingly arbitrary ability score array. If he's got higher than average scores, he should get a commensurate increase in gear and CR, as if he were a PC-level threat.

Despite these issues, so far this is my favorite that I've read. I'm not going to go ahead and pledge a vote, but he's got a fair shot at this point.

Love the portrait, by the way. Good choice.

Liberty's Edge

I really liked this one - much more than the judges did.

My only real problem with the villain was the dog. Here this guy is, stalking the night and changing his diguise nightly -- but always with the same dog at his side.

Might as well be wearing the same bumblebee shirt every night that gave Sting his nickname. "Same dog, different face" is too much of a give away.

I still liked this one a lot though.

This guys seems more like a secondary villain than a main villain, but I could see him as someone the PC's have to track down in order to get information to further the campaign kind of like a certain villain in a certain AP -->

Council of Theives

This one makes the probable folder

Star Voter Season 6

I'm not sure about this one yet. I do like the use of the hound master (my favorite archetype from last round).

I agree that the dog by his side renders the hat of disguise insufficient (though a nice touch) - why wouldn't someone ever recognize his loyal dog?

Being decadent is hardly grounds for being a villain.

Otherwise nice concept.

NOT recommended.


RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Isaac Duplechain

As a GM, I don't think I'd put this guy in my campaign. How would he get involved if the PCs don't seek him out?

Mechanically, I think it should be either-or with the two classes. Putting them both together gets a little muddled. It's just too much for me.

I doubt that I'll vote for this one. Sorry.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Evil Space Mantis

Hey look, the servers are back!

Thank you everyone for your feedback and support! I look forward to responding to your comments after voting has ended.

Star Voter Season 8

One of the hardest places to put a villain is in a city. He has to be nasty enough the players are willing to rock the boat in the city to take him out, but not so bad that 'normal' people would actively avoid or attack him too. Another large problem with city villains is having a place to handle them without putting players in a spot for breaking the law, or destroying parts of the city, as that can cause alignment issues and inter-party conflict when it may not be desired. More over such a villain is often one that has been in the city for some time and could be someone the players have already interacted with at lower levels, making difficult to get the level and CR for them just right. Nothing is quite as odd as a high level villain in a city full of much lower level people -- it breaks verisimilitude.

This villain is one I feel manages to get the balance for a city villain right. The players can run into him at lower levels without feeling horrible for not handling him immediately. He also provides a place that he can be handled in without throwing the city in chaos as well. Because of his level there is even a large number of choices into how to handle this villain: Evidence could be collected and used to turn him in to the town guard, he could force a fight with the players by kidnapping them, the players could come to clean him out, etc. There is an ease to introducing the villain and an ease to revealing his villain status that is very appealing as well.

He can easily play into bigger plots even -- a GM can easily set it up so the villain had been possessed or somehow dominated into his actions to help the main plot continue along as well.

I'm not so happy with the stat block though. While I understand why the hound wasn't provided it's a real pain to have to do myself, and should be included. The equipment list looks really rough, and I would have to adjust it to really make this guy work. The exceptionally low will save could cause immediate problems when a player casts a spell like sleep and his damage seems a bit anemic.

However those are some problems I have had with multiple NPCs as presented in APs and the like already and could attest to a difference in style and game theory as it does to a problem with your development of this villain.

The most important question is would I use this villain? The answer to that is yes -- he's easy to slip in, easy to work into an ongoing plot, and just as easy to allow the players to handle in the fashion they want to do so in.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6

I like the idea you're going for here, but agree with the judges that some of the choices you made to get there don't really jive. Two-weapon urban ranger essentially gets you the same thing, and allows you to play up the villainy buy favoring him against a particular race for his pit fights. A nice core concept but it seems there was an obviously better class/archetype choice to be made here.

Ethan Day-Jones wrote:

Drayden D’Arteros, Prince of Knives

Description: Drayden D’Arteros, while Andoren by birth, left his homeland as a young man for the looser morals and more lucrative opportunities offered by the Shackles. By day, Drayden appears to be a prosperous merchant in his forties. By night, in his guise as the Prince of Knives, he runs, and occasionally participates in, all manner of illegal bloodsport. His loyal hound Koba remains at his side both day and night.

Motivations/Goals: While he remains in control in most situations, Drayden’s unhealthy obsession with bloodsport is slowly taking more and more control of his actions. His hat of disguise has so far let him engage in his bloody pursuits by night without his identity being discovered, but it seems inevitable that someone will discover his passion for violence.

Schemes/Plots/Adventure Hooks:
- Andoren abolitionists have caught wind of the plight of the slaves used in Drayden’s illegal death matches and seek assistance in shutting his operation down.
- Word has trickled through the underground of the Shackles of a very special match coming up in the pit fights, one involving an abducted Pathfinder...


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:
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?
He's not likely to live long enough. Either he's going to try and fight someone or something in one of his matches that he doesn't have the skill to handle, or a group is going to catch up with him as he gets ever more reckless.
Although depending on the local inheritance traditions, a premature demise could prove highly beneficial to an infant daughter and her mother if he's been any good as a merchant...

Should a succubus tip off any organisations as to the identity, location, and/or activities of this person?
Oh yes. The Pathfinders, the Bellflower network, the church of Cayden Cailean... The list of organisations a succubus could sell this man out to in exchange for a future favour (or even just for the sheer fun of it) is extensive. And as part of any deal, it might be worth getting concessions as to the disposition of his personal effects and properties...

How much money would I lend this person?
Not one copper coin unless repayment at extortionate interest was guaranteed within twenty-four hours, or it was essential to setting him up for a violent and messy demise.

Other comments? (including fruitcake rating where appropriate)
This villain might actually be more entertaining once dead, if he comes back as some sort of ghost or spectre...
Fruitcake rating:
Slightly out of control bloodthirst earns him a rating of one currant bun.

Rating on the Gulga-Bracht supersuccubus scale of villainy:
3 (petty-crook 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.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

I quite like the concept here, and him being Andoren is a very nice touch. I'm going to look intoit in more depth after I sleep!

He's not a nice guy, but I'm not sure if "villain" really fits.

If he used his hound mastery to bully the citizens of a city and operate as more of an untouchable kin pin, then maybe that could work.

As is, he's just not evil enough to be a villain. I could even see him being an NPC that would be friendly with an adventuring group, as long as the group's alignment wasn't too good.

Why isnt this a cavalier/ rogue? Wouldnt he get so much more out of flanking with his hounds?

As a skeleton he's pretty decent, but it takes some work to make him villainous. That works against you, sadly. As a low level villain (say, a first level party) he works. Stat-wise he is close to CR 6, but with the multi-class I'd say he's more of a CR 5. His hound only has 19hp so against a competent 6th level party (or even 3rd level since he should be the most challenging encounter they face) that dog will fall quick. His damage and attack routine is very good for a CR 6, but those saving throws will get him stunned by a monk or glitterdusted/hideous laghtered to death. As a minor villain he works, but against a nearly competent group he won't be much of a challenge. A fair speed bump on a party's way to becoming famous and for that I'd say you did a fine job, but I don't believe you'll make it to the next round.

Good luck though.

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

My mind immediately went to Ace the Bat Hound when I saw comments about the issues with him having the same dog in both identities.

You've produced a serviceable villain here, sort of a low-rent Michael Vick. Good portrait choice too. He'd fit right in to Lower Korvosa.

I'd put this one in the middle of the pack for the round. My last entry to read, it wasn't a disappoint, but it doesn't rise above. Good luck making it to round 4!

I just didn´t get why it was portrayed that blood-sport, involving slaves or the unwilling, was illegal in the Shackles. I mean, MAYBE it IS technically illegal, but it seems the sort of place where if you want to do illegal things, you just need the power/money/prestige to convince people it doesn´t matter... Which he apparently has if he such a succesful ´merchant´ (which would seem to signify less-than-stellar morals, given he makes his living in the capital of the Pirate Fleet). It seems wierd to say he fled from Andoran´s morals, but then apparently needs to hide his ´immorality´ in a den of thieves and scoundrels... I mean, that COULD be a wierd personality trait, but I don´t think you played it the right way to make it work.

The aspect of being a CHALLENGING villain is also important, and he falls flat there... I mean, any but the most over-powered builds have the cards stacked against them in 1 vs. PC Party action economy, but the only ´bone´ you throw him is his dog, which just isn´t that big of a threat. Giving him a posse, describing ways he sets up RIGGED fights, etc, are all ways the environment would make encounters with him/his agents difficult for the PCs... but we don´t see anything like that... I agree with Hexcaliber here. Making the uber-est min/maxed build isn´t the most important thing, but thinking about challenging encounters (that intersect with RP flavor) IS important for a Superstar Villain.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6


This is the kind of villain that I’d love to run. But you redundantly elaborated on things that weren’t really that important, and didn’t elaborate at all on things that were. Such as what type of merchant he is. Simply saying he’s a Carpet Merchant or Wine Merchant would have sufficed, but now as a GM I’d have to create what type of merchant he is. The villain should come with this information.

I didn’t vote for you, as I wasn’t all that impressed with your other offerings. As such I cannot vote for you this round either. Sorry.

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

I am underwhelmed. He's not much of a go-getter as villains go.....get.

Erm, I mean he doesn't appear to do much. He buys slaves and forces them to fight. Okay...so if I'm combatting the seedy slave trade, he's a minor palyer I might have to go throgh to get what I want. I don't mind villains that are steps up to other villains, but this guy just isn't fleshed out.

I think multiclassing at this level is a mistake. Your abilties aren't compelling enough to challenge a party of his CR, and it eats word count better used giving my more details on why this a-hole needs to die for the good of all. What distinguished him as a villain? What's the connection between his seedy upbringing and his loyal dog?

I want a villain that screams "Use me tonight! You can't resist!" and I don't see it here.

I like the concept. It's a decent execution of the concept.

I think you should have made him a one-class villian instead of the multi-classing.

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

It's good to see a contestant running with the interest expressed by multiple knife fighter entries last round, then adding another Round 2 archetype was an eye-catching move. I think these synergise well enough, especially with very smart use of Boon Companion.

It's interesting to note that a hound master has a cavalier order. That could perhaps go further.

Are pit fights illegal in the Shackles?

Star Voter Season 8

He did take boon companion which will keep the first hound at his maximum possible level.

I like what you've setup for this villain. My impression is fairly vivid and memorable. I liked the inclusion of the hound master it just fits this guy very well. My main comment is I don't feel you went far enough in outlining his villainous goals. Right now he's a nasty piece of work but I would've like to seen more in his agenda. Still the core concept is great but I'm sitting on the fence for now.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback


Best of luck with your villain entry! Here's my thoughts, written before I've read anybody else's.

Concept: The callous dandy. A good trope to work from, and I think you do a good job with it - that fits the cavalier type, and the hound is very apropos - both to the noble danady, and to the master of the blood games.

I feel you're a bit unclear on the "bloodsport" - whether we're talking "murdering in the street for sport" or "combat games". (EDIT: OK, bloodsport seems to be an established phrase for fighting matches. I'm learning!) I'm pretty sure you're referring exclusively to the second, but I really don't see how he'd keep his identity secret as an organizer and participent. Especially with his dog tagging along.

My biggest concern is that this villain is not very active or threatening. I don't see how this villain kicks off a story arc beyond "this guy is bad; stop him." OTOH - maybe that's a perfectly servicable arc, for such a colorful instance of "this guy is bad."

Plot Hooks: This doesn't allay my concerns about Drayden's plot viability, but it does bring in a variety of elements, which is nice, and encourages Drayden to fit in more easily with wider campaigns. I also see some potential for Drayden as a cruel informant or contact person, in games that run in that kind of style.

Mechanics: Nothing major to comment on; the tactics look appropriate. His base stats look pretty high. I confess I'd expect less strength, somehow. 18 STR and 17 DEX is pretty harsh.

Use of Archetype: Ooooh, one of our ambitious double-archetypers! Both archetypes fit in perfectly with your concept; their role in the concept and in battle is very clear.

Use of Portrait: I'm not sure this is a perfect match - he seems somewhat older, and less physical, than I'd see Drayden - but it's a decent fit, and gets across some important emotion well.

All in all, this is a very solid entry. I feel like you haven't wowed me - you implemented a fairly straightforward character in a fairly straightforward way, and you haven't intrigued me or excited me about using him. That's a pretty serious flaw; OTOH, solid implementation is huge, and I really respect how many good and well-connected ideas you've woven together here. I think you did a really professional job with this challenge; the question is if you've brought the spark of excitement along with it.

Wishing you lots of luck! :)

Scarab Sages

Lots of comments regarding the difficulty of keeping his identity secret while accompanied by an elite, advanced, and presumably identifiable dog.

Which begs the question; does he actually need to hide his identity? Is pitfighting even illegal in The Shackles?

For Drayden to be worried about exposure, he'd have to be deep into some other villainy that would repulse even the Shackles-dwellers.

I watched 'Brotherhood of the Wolf' for the first time today (found it in a box of DVDs from when I moved house), which prompted me to come back and comment on this entry. If Drayden were to be setting his pit-beasts on the locals, wiping out his business rivals, or anyone in his path to political office, with the animals hulked-out and disguised, then that would set him beyond even the normal petty violence of the area.

Like Vincent Cassell's character from BotW, or Steerforth, from 'Hound of the Baskervilles', a surviving victim could have remembered enough to put the PCs on his trail. And to get more than hearsay evidence, they have to go below the fighting pits, where the 'Scooby-Snacks of Whoop-ass' are cooked up...

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