|Douglas Muir 406|
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The Lord of Life is a religious leader. In appearance he's a slender, attractive young man with a shaven head. He wears white robes and sandals and is surrounded by beautiful people. He's not affiliated with any known god. His doctrine is sparse and vague, and he has few rituals and no holy symbols. But what he does have is the ability to raise the dead. And not just the recent, intact dead! No, the Lord of Life can raise those who've been dead for decades. He can bring back the departed from an incomplete corpse, a skull, a fingerbone, or a mere handful of dust.
Furthermore: the Lord of Life seems to have unparalleled mastery over both arcane and divine magic. He regularly casts very powerful arcane spells, but he also conducts rituals that give the same results as high-level clerical and even druid spells. In fact, the Lord of Light seems to have a spell ready for pretty much any situation.
The Lord of Life leads a group called the Servants of Life. The Servants are cult-like, but they haven't broken any laws and don't seem to be committing any obvious evil. However, the Lord of Light's ability to bring back the dead has brought them a lot of attention, very quickly. He'll do this for much, much less money than the fees usually charged by the churches. In fact, he's been known to bring back the dead for just a few hundred gp, or even for no money at all. He'll also do occasional cures and Lesser Restorations, but the recovery of the dead is his main event. He does this exactly once per day, at sunrise.
If you want to talk to the Lord of Light, you must go through one of his two assistants: a breathtakingly gorgeous woman named Lucia, and an older man with a limp and a baleful glare named Skotos. Anyone who throws a detection spell will find that Lucia detects as moderate good, while Skotos detects as moderate evil. If this is pointed out, Luce will say that Skotos has suffered terribly, and that Life embraces all.
Visitors are encouraged to join the Servants of Life. This involves shaving your head, putting on white robes, and learning some fairly simple rituals. Strict obedience to the Lord and his immediate subordinates is required. There's a feast every night and the food is actually excellent. There's a lot of group hugging. The group -- cult? -- has purchased a large property (they don't seem to be short of money) and members spent a certain amount of time cleaning, decorating, gardening and the like. The locals consider the Servants eccentric and somewhat suspect, but must admit they pay their bills and cause no problems. PCs might encounter the Servants as wallpaper, harmless eccentrics who talk a lot about Universal Love and the benefits of an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet.
Inspired by [url]this post over at All Sorts of Critters[/url].
So the Demon Lord Haagenti has some good boons, especially on his Evangelist track. The peak boon there includes the ability to create very cheap potions of True Resurrection. Yes, really. At 16th level you can crank those out once/day for a mere 350 gp. Oh, and you also get immortality in an eternally ageless youthful form -- which means you still get age bonuses to mental stats, but don't suffer any penalties to your physical stats. Pretty sweet!
The Lord of Life is a 16th level Evangelist of Haagenti. His base class is wizard -- the Spell Sage archetype, to be precise. That means he can cast cleric, druid and bard spells up to 3X/day, subject to certain limitations: it takes two wizard spell slots, and the casting time is greatly increased. Still, it's spontaneous casting of ANY spell from those three spell lists. Also pretty sweet.
So True Resurrection normally costs 25,000 gp. This guy can cast it for a mere 350 gp. That means he can subsidize his little commune, charge far less than the rival churches for casting clerical spells, and still have money to burn. That said, money isn't really what he's after. He'll take modest cash payments from ordinary supplicants, but he's really interested in people who are powerful -- class levels, political clout, you name it. Those get their resurrections cheap or free, and then basically get brainwashed in return. The Lord of Life casts like a 15th level wizard but with access to all bard, cleric and druid spells below 9th level; he also has a succubus and a mesmerist on call. Dominate, Suggestion, Geas, Alter Memory, the succubus' Profane Gift, you name it. Unless someone has an *amazingly* high Will save, they'll be turned inside out for useful information and then reprogrammed.
Oh yes, the assistants. Lucia is a succubus / bard 4, and Skotos is a Mesmerist 8/ Demoniac 2. Demoniac isn't actually a great choice for a Mesmerist, but Haagenti has granted him the Hideous Urges corruption and also a Demon Talon in place of his left leg. Skotos believes he'll eventually be transformed into a demon. Meanwhile, Lucia is the beautiful, kindly face of the Service of Light. She casts Misdirection every day, which is why she pings as good.
Most of the cultists are neutral or good aligned commoners who have no idea what's really going on. Many of them had family members raised or diseases cured by the Lord of Light, so they're devoted to him, but not to the point of fighting or dying. There's one very sweet little old lady who's an Adept 6 or so, and Neutral Good; she's the target of the succubus' Misdirection.
There are two thug / mooks who do have some idea what's up. They're Ftr 5 / Rog 3 and they accompany their master almost everywhere. He cast Imbue With Spell Ability on them, so if trouble breaks out, they'll throw buffs on him and then get out in front.
The succubus, the mesmerist and the mooks have various duties, but protecting their boss is Job One. Note that a succubus with PC stats has a crazy high save DC, and if the mesmerist is in play that all just gets even worse. PCs who don't have access to mind-protecting magic are likely to get turned around fast. Kindly DMs may give advance warning -- "this NPC who went to investigate has shaved his head and is talking about how the divine energy of Life permeates the multiverse", or the like.
The LOL's base stats are something like Str 8 Con 10 Dex 10 Int 21 Wis 16 Cha 18. (Remember, he gets boosts to his mental stats for being Elderly, but takes no damage to his physical stats.) He also has a Profane Gift bump to Cha from the succubus. While it was tempting to put it on Int, he's not going to run the risk of a sulky demon ripping away half his brain on a whim. A 2d6+2 hit of Cha drain would hurt, but he can fix that in a day. His Will save is at least +13, so he's not too worried about her spamming Suggestions (though maybe he should be). Pretty sure he'll have an Int boosting item, so likely a working Int around 25 for casting purposes.
He walks around all day with Mage Armor and Magic Vestment on, so with his Protective Grace and a +1 armor item his default AC is 21 -- not much, but in just a couple of rounds he can boost that fast.
If it comes to combat, his preferred tactic is to stay behind meat shields (his AC and hp are not great) and throw save-or-sucks. He'll fight intelligently but will bug out the moment he thinks he's seriously threatened.
Plot seeds may follow, if anyone finds this interesting.