New Big Baddies


#1

So I’m working on a campaign for the benefit of my daughter that ultimately will span a lot of published d&d worlds, incorporating a ton of stuff, but starts on Athas.

I’m trying to figure out who would make a good campaign-spanning villain/foil, coming from a place of taking a somewhat secondary character and spinning them into something greater.

Along those lines, Future-Tithian would be a sort of mentor figure. Some ideas I have:

Sacha of Arala. The first champion manages to resurrect and re-embody himself. Rajaat is no more, but Sacha can surely meet and exceed his old master’s ambitions and plans.

Athrialix Denestor. The former psionics professor of Tyr and would-be sorcerer-king. He’s smart enough to know he’s swimming with the sharks (actual sorcerer-kings, the order, etc), but has the potential power and acumen to make it big.

Liumakh. I’ve actually toyed with the idea of Liumakh being a ghost of a clone of Sacha, and his plans are primarily for the destruction of the former champions and freeing of Rajaat, focused primarily on Nibenay, because Nibenay was the one who “created” the Hollow and cyst that traps Rajaat’s remains. It’s all about names (Sacha being a form of diminutive for Aleksandr, and Liumakh being a Ukrainian name).

Temmnya Shom. She does make a play for Tyr in that newish novel, is a total snake, and comes from the creepily decadent House Shom. Her dad was a total reformer until he became patriarch, after which he turned into creepy uncle professor creeper teaching decadence 101 at a community college. One could argue that he was just corrupted by power and decadence. Or one could argue that House Shom has some more otherworldly secrets that corrupts its family heads.

Siemhouk. This kid is a totally sociopath and snake. The old 2e material had her as kind of a personality-less autistic tool of her father, but the city under the sand novel has her as a much more interesting political power to be reckoned with, and utter sociopath. Her dad intends to use her in his dragon progression, but there’s no way she intends to keep playing 2nd fiddle.

Sadira. Let’s say the prism pentad doesn’t turn out the way it did, and she utterly succumbs to her defiler ways. Let’s go with that version, and up her desire for power to the nth degree.

Any other ideas?


(Andrea Ferrari) #2

Even the “canon” Sadira seems to be one willing to do anything “for the greater good”, and also she’s quite power hungry. For instance, she didn’t gave back Ktandeo’s Cane to Nok.

That easily can make her a villain, somethink akin of a Sorcerer King like Hamanu or The Oba (they sorta want the well-being of their city, but are willing to do amoral things to achieve that).

I don’t remember if ALL the 20 Spirit Lords of Ur-Draxa were destroyed in the Cerulean Storm. One (or some) of them could’ve survived.


(Stuart Lynch) #3

One potential group of antagonists would be the Dragon Warriors of the Iron Citadel in the Ring of Fire. Even if the Lord Warrior (their nominal leader) was killed when Rajaat was released, the Warriors might have escaped and set up shop elsewhere. If they rallied any survivors of Ur-Draxa they could have a sizeable and well equipped force which would be a match for even the elite forces of the remaining SKs.

Another interesting idea would involve the Order. The Psionatrix Affair split the Order in two, but who’s to say that every member wanted to let bygones be bygones. Imagine a single renegade member of the Order, thought killed in Dasaraches, working behind the scenes to assemble a force of mind controlled and influenced pawns. A triumvirate of renegade Order members working together might be nigh on unstoppable.


(Felix Gonzalez) #4

Dregoth?
He has his planar thingy, he could literally be on any world.

XD So late. Lol


#5

Any creature capable of using magic getting hold of the defiler metamorphosis knowledge would be a significant threat. Imagine a fiend or some kind of elemental lord manipulating that knowledge somehow.

Of course there is also the potential for dream sequences or time travel where the party faces Rajaat himself or any of the Sorcerer-Kings, or their toadies, in obscure environments, such as a Cleansing War battlefield, etc.


#6

Aside from those mentioned here’s some options for the SMs/Lords that don’t get a lot of major time due to storyline:

Sielba/Cielbia: The twins may still be sharing Cielbia’s body and trying to get Sielba into her own. They have access to a uncontrollable portal in the ruins of Yamaruke.

Kalak: His body disappeared, it possible the uncontrolled energies sent him to another realm where he plots to use defiling magic on the unsuspecting inhabitants to attain full dragonhood and return to Athas at the head of an army.

Daskinor’s Shards: They could be spread far and wide by this point. There is a faction that is working to gather all the shards across the mulitverse and reintegrate them with their creator. Maybe he went crazy when he accidentally stumbled into the ability to access all the multiverse - at once.

Elemental Lords: Trying to reconnect the Athasian elemental planes to the rest of them, attempting to contact the elemental gods for each plane and the other elemental lords to win support to destroy the paraelementals once and for all.


#7

Wait where is there mention of Cielbia? Was that content from Deadlands we never got released?


#8

I think that’s fan homebrew, not canon.


#9

That was my first instinct as well, it just sounded like something that would’ve been in the secrets of the deadlands supplement we never got. The Daskinor shards suggestion alluded to some of the unreleased material for the Prison State of Eldaarich so I wondered if SeruZmaj had been playtesting the material for both settings.


#10

Cielbia was an attempt to reconcile Lynn Abbey’s Rise and Fall of a Dragon King with the current setting.Cielbia Sprite Claw.

I made her into a twin of Sielba, always competing with her but the two would stand together against any outsider. The sprites managed to imprison her much like the dwarves got Egendo (Faces of the Forgotten North), but with the added element that if Sielba got to close she would be sucked into the prison as well. Cielbia has been trying to get out ever since.

When Yamaruke was sacked Hammanu got her soul (from the Return of a Sorceror-Queen by Daniel Bandera), the body was grabbed by her templars/cultists and her mind jumped to her twin’s body (an old fail safe they set up in case they were killed and could not return to the Pristine Tower).

I ran a follow up adventure to Return of a Sorceror-Queen that involved the PCs joining the cultsts (they weren’t exactly good guys), tracking down the prison Southwest of the Dead Lands (B6 at The Ghost Rivers if you are using maps from http://ds.daegmorgan.net/), battling through a bunch of undead sprites and humans from Cielbia’s army, freeing Cielbia and reuniting Sielba’s mind, body, and soul. They became Sielba’s templar’s (her sister is not connected to a vortex). Their goal before before we had to end the campaign was to get Cielbia started on the transformation to a dragon, raise an army, and get revenge.

It could tie into your campaign as far as planar travel due to the unknown portal from the Return of a Sorceror-Queen. Every year it changes which plane it’s connected to with a 77 year cycle.

As a note, my own SMs tend to be much higher level then the Athas.org versions (40s, low 50s, and 58 for Dregoth, 60 for Borys and Rajaat), The prisons that the cleansed races eventually created to capture some of the Champions only have two ways out, either somebody from the outside must find a way to break the spell or the prisoner will eventually be released after their magic and psionic powers are sufficiently drained. Epic power levels are required to power the prison with the prisoner losing 1 level every 100 years until they reach level 20.


#11

That makes a lot of sense, I never read Rise and Fall of a Dragon King. Like most every setting that’s been around for a decade or three Dark Sun has some contradictory lore and it’s always really fun to see how different GMs choose to reconcile the lore or invent new lore whole cloth.

In the interest of actually contributing to this thread though since I’ve derailed it more than enough. I actually used my own unique villains for a campaign set prior to the Freedom campaign. It was an entire religious organization revolving around the Sun. Long story short, just because there are no living gods on Athas doesn’t mean people don’t believe in deities. They just tend to base their deities around an element, para-element, or in especially unusual circumstances a druidic group.

(I also depict the Sorcerer Kings as not being too adversarial with clerics, the templar keep a constant eye on any churches and clerics have a very short leash in the city states, but they aren’t killed on sight as long as they don’t oppose the SKs. Though certain cities outlaw rival faiths if the sorcerer monarch is creating their own false god)

The Solari are quite possibly the largest organized faith in the Tyr region. The sun clerics receive immense amounts of divine power and grand boons and in exchange they need to follow only two basic rules. Convert as many to the Solari as possible as they too shall receive Sol’s blessing and oppose the servants of the elements/para-elements whenever possible. On one hand the Solari aren’t actually that bad, their “god” grants his followers notable resistance to his punishing rays and the immense divine power he grants his many priests ensures the faith is well equipped to repel raiders and beasts. The Solari are often even very patient and polite when seeking to convert others and won’t press the issue too hard if it’s clear they won’t change your mind. They offer humanitarian aid to everyone under their protection and all things considered they can seem like one of the best things that’s happened to Athas.

The problem is that they normally only help those that pledge themselves to Sol. Otherwise they will express their grief and regret at your unwillingness to embrace Sol’s guiding light and inform those in need that they are pledged to only offer the resources of the Solari to other Solari. This isn’t too bad, but the issue is the Solari are something of a carrot and stick group. If a settlement refuses to convert they may find accidents begin occurring around town more often, raiders and monsters grow more common, a fire breaks out in a home or field, a well is contaminated. The Solari have the men to drive off the bandits and monsters, the Solari have hard working pious souls to fix your home, the Solari have priests far more powerful than your dour earth follower that can purify the well, if only your town will forsake their false earth god and embrace Sol’s guiding light.

If this doesn’t work or isn’t an option and the Solari feel they can get away with it they will outright sack entire settlements and enslave the population to work on Solari settlements while they take every opportunity to convert them to Sol’s guiding light. It is worth mentioning the Solari are neither blind nor stupid (at least the ones who make any decisions aren’t) and they will not pursue their agenda with a one track mind if it benefits them to take a different approach. They primarily just send missionaries into the city-states as well as personnel to attend to any churches they may be permitted to own where they can oversee worship and provide aid to the faithful. They know full well conflict with even the weakest sorcerer king would spell utter disaster for the faith and earn the ire of the remaining city states. Additionally the Solari have made alliances of convenience with organizations they have no love for if the gains are worth it. This is why they have been able to swallow their bile and assosciate with paraelemental faiths on occasion as well as tolerate the existance of the templarate and even follow all of the templarate’s rules and demands. However, Sol help any unfortunate templar that encounters the Solari beyond the influence of his city-state. Pride is a sin the Solari indulge in all too often and the templar violate that pride all too often.

In the end the high priests of Sol all have their own personnel agendas and desires and each of them is a very high level thanks to Sol’s generosity. The only thing Solari high priests have in common is they are all willing to follow Sol’s dictates in exchange for the vast power he grants them both through divine power and through their influence over their fellow Solari. This perpetuates the organization’s agenda, for as the Solari grow in numbers both Sol and his high priests benefit.

For the record I made a notable religion for every element and para-element if folks are interested in the others. The four elemental faiths each have their own core belief on how Athas can be made a better place for everyone. The four paraelemental faiths tend to more actively focus on what their “god” can do for you the individual.


(Joshua Slane) #12

What is this Return of a Sorcerer Queen? I’ve never heard of it and I can’t find anything about it on Google.


#13

There was a thread that actually has the whole thing typed up in a series of posts. Here you go.


(Joshua Slane) #14

Sweet, thank you. I will check it out.


#15

I copy and pasted from older online materials, but the Return of the Sorceror Queen is quite good. What I like about it is that it can provide a whole new annoyance to Urik to their East.