12 August 2007

The Vampire

It occurs to me that, as the "boss villain" lurking in the bowels of the Sea Wyrm, the vampire Rant Strongale deserves more than just a cursory mention.

In keeping with my guiding philosophy, in which the DM must always have an answer for the question "how did this GET here?", I think I owe you a little background on Mr. Strongale. Rant was Captain of the Sea Wyrm when he was asked to carry a sealed cargo (as you'll have seen from the log page provided in the dungeon description) between two magi. The chest contained the Orb of Undeath, and it slowly began consuming his crew. They all eventually died and rose again as undead. As the highest-level member of his crew (his chirurgen, Ronath, was only slightly less experienced), Rant ended up coming back as a Vampire. He spent centuries haunting the lonely paths of the northern woodlands, governing his the tiny undead army forged by the Orb from his dead crew, and adding to it slowly, usually by attacking travellers on the Nordvej.

Since the founding of Bornhavn, however, he has had a larger array of potential victims at his disposal, an inviting target that led him into plans to overwhelm the town.

And he would've gotten away with it, too...if it weren't for those meddling kids.

* * * * *

Rant Strongale

(Human Ftr 5 / Sorc 1 / Vampire, medium undead)

EL 8 (EL 10 with minions)

Stats: 6’1”, 188 lbs, c. 1050 yrs old
Hit Dice: 6d12 (41 hp)
Initiative: +7 (+3 Dex, +4 Imp Init)
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 24 (+1 Dex, +6 Nat, +7 MW Half-Plate)
Attack / Full Attack: MW Heavy Mace +9 melee / Slam +9 melee
Damage: MW Heavy Mace 1d8+4 / Slam 1d6+4 and energy drain
Face/Reach: 5’x5’ / 5’
Spec. Attacks: Spells, Domination, Energy Drain (2 lvls), Blood Drain, Summon Vermin, Create Spawn
Spec. Qualities: Undead traits, Alternate form (Bat), Damage Reduction 10/Silver&Magic, cold/electricity resistance 10, gaseous form, spider climb, fast healing 5, vampire weaknesses
Spells (0:4/5, 1:2/3): (0) Detect Magic, Light, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation, (1) Animate Rope, Endure Elements
Saves: F+4, R+5, W+5
Abilities: S 18, D 15, C-, I 12, W 16, Ch 16
Skills: Bluff+9, Climb+10, Hide+11, Listen+17, Move Silently+11, Ride+11, Search +9, Sense Motive+11, Spot+17
Feats: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Exotic Weapon (Bastard Sword), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword), Weapon Specialization (Bastard Sword)
Languages: Common (very old dialect), High Elven, Orcish
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Treasure: Orb of Undeath, +1 Bastard Sword, Scroll of 3 spells (Blindness, Darkness, Bestow Curse)
Equipment: MW Half-Plate (Elven design), MW Large Steel Shield

Undead: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning and disease. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain or death from massive damage. Will save against Strongale’s Domination, and Fort save to regain lost levels, is DC 16.

Personality: Strongale is thoroughly corrupt and hates everything about the surface. He is aware of his relative weakness and has waited this long to move against the town out of fear of being found out and destroyed. But now he has brought enough corpses close to the Orb to create a powerful undead army, and he means to take the town.

Appearance: Strongale normally wears finery looted from traders and travellers. However, he keeps his half-plate armour propped on top of his coffin, so that he can assume gaseous form and reappear within his armour in only two rounds. The armour is of an ancient elven pattern, light, heavily figured and engraved, and with fine gilding here and there – although it is filthy, mouldy and reeks of the grave.

TACTICS: Rant intends to have his zombies attack civilians to cause panic and try to split the party into smaller groups. Skeletons and ghouls and ghasts and the powerful wights will attack the party directly. Rant will cast Blindness on the most powerful cleric or wizard, and will attempt to Dominate the most powerful fighter. Less powerful Wights will attack civilians to create more wights quickly (in 1d4 rounds), and will bring them into the fight as fast as possible. He will use Gaseous Form to escape if necessary.

If he is not destroyed, Rant will do everything in his power to prevent the party from escaping and returning to blow his cover – including bringing down the mud tunnel to trap them. If attacked in his lair and not destroyed, he will counter-attack at the earliest night-time opportunity, using as many of his undead as are left, and having his wights produce more copies of themselves from the townsfolk. If his coffin is destroyed, he will flee to his spare, which he keeps in the crypts under the Chapel in File’s Mansion.

* * * * *

Note: The above description reflects Rant's abandonment of his +1 bastard sword and MW Large Steel Shield during the Battle of File's Mansion. He replaced his missing weapon with a MW Heavy Mace from the armoury aboard the Sea Wyrm.