NPC concept: Gwidog-Sha!; or, a level-inappropriate encounter


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Gwidog-Sha! is a sorceror. He was born plain old Gwidog, and then after he developed sorcerous powers he added the -Sha! It doesn't actually mean anything. He just thinks it sounds cool.

Gwidog's father is very minor nobility. He's worried about his son. The boy has been acting strange, and now he's run off! He asks the PCs to help. This works best for if the PCs are midlevel, say levels 5-8.

The trip to find Gwidog turns into the hook for a *completely different adventure*. Like, in order to find Gwidog they have to travel through a village, and the village turns out to be run by demon cultists, or is paying tribute to a dragon. Or they go through a forest, and they're attacked by an owlbear that's been enraged by a poison wound, because poachers. Or they walk into the middle of a war between loggers and treants. You get the idea. There should be roughly a module's worth of stuff between them and Gwidog.

But! From time to time, someone will /mention/ Gwidog-Sha! And, oh yeah, he can throw fire. And he can turn people into his followers. Have ordinary people, peasants and such, seem vaguely impressed and fearful of him. This works best if the adventure is taking place in a backwards region where folks are not very sophisticated. Anyway: having battled their way through two or three sessions of craziness, and possibly having leveled up, the PCs finally will encounter Gwidog-Sha! He is a sorceror and he's used his powers to take over a village...

...and he's CR-3. Like, if the PCs are 6th level, he's 4rd level. Gwidog-Sha! is a weedy young man with a scraggly beard. He wears garish robes of pink and orange (he designed them himself and they clash rather horribly). He can indeed throw fire -- Burning Hands -- and can dominate minds -- Charm Person. He yells a lot about how it's his natural right to dominate lesser minds and bring a new order to the world, where the innately superior (like himself) are seen as the natural rulers they are. Well, he yells a lot about everything. When he gets really excited his voice cracks and he sprays a bit of spittle.

Gwidog-Sha! isn't evil -- he's CN -- but he's arrogant, thin-skinned, and stupid. He has low Int, extremely low Wis, and a crippling case of Dunning-Kruger Syndrome. He truly believes that he's one of the greatest sorcerors of the age. Obvious rejoinders will bounce off his near-invincible self-assurance. Sure, he doesn't throw more than a few spells right now, but that's just because he's /perfecting/ them. With just a bit of study and practice, soon he'll be summoning demons and blasting giants with fireballs. He just hasn't gotten around to it yet, is all. No, you're confused.

Dealing with Gwidog-Sha! is left as an exercise in roleplaying. Arguing with him is almost impossible. On the plus side, manipulating him, especially through flattery, is absolutely an option -- he literally has a negative Sense Motive modifier. Or the PCs can just knock him out, tie him up, and drag him home. Cruel DMs may have him squirm loose from his bonds at an interesting moment -- say, when the PCs are in a delicate negotiation with a powerful monster for passage through its territory. "Why are you bargaining with this brute? Behold, I shall burn it to ash!"

Obviously this is the sort of thing that will work better with some groups than others; season to taste.

Doug M.

Stop making such wonderful plot hooks! I don't have the time to run all of them...

Take him as a Cohort. Lol.

This is one of those NPCs that's designed for the DM to have fun. Don't make him so annoying that the PCs kill him, nor so obnoxious that he stinks the place up or stops the fun train.

But within those limits, vamp it up. Ever been infuriated by someone online being just unbelievably stupid, and unbelievably smug in their stupidity? Turn that around, and mix it with a dash of Dr. Dinosaur from Atomic Robo ("I am a genius. By definition all of my plans are brilliant!"), and have fun with it.

Doug M.

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