|#1humanbingJan 05, 2007 10:09:05||I present to you two NPCs from the Drakov family tree: Vigo Drakov, and (in a later post) Yuri Mitrovic. I also humbly ask for your opinions and feedback about their backstories and characterizations.|
My Black Box has been sitting there collecting dust and I thought it would be good to crack it open and do some work with it. I especially liked the bloodlines and family trees in the back of the book.
I decided to try to work out a new campaign villain for the Drakov family. My PCs will suffer in the Falkovnian work camps, and then also be sent to the Lekar Central Prison to fight in gladiatorial matches and also submit to the capricious whim of Vigo Drakov, the Falkfuhrer of the Kerkerministerium (Prison Ministry).
Vigo Drakov doesn't appear in the original Black Box set, and it appears that he is intended in part to be a possible illegitimate child. There appear to be hints that he was actually sired by an outsider - perhaps the Gentleman Caller?
I decided to make Vigo Drakov the most dangerously violent and sadistic of all the Drakovs. Vlad Drakov and his legit sons all are cruel and merciless, but Vigo outshines them all insofar as he may actually be certifiably insane. He has entirely unpredictable mood swings and ranges from verbal taunting to out-and-out deadly assault in the blink of an eye. He initially impressed his father with his penchant for violence and sexual depravity, but as he aged and grew more physically powerful than his brothers, his father recognized a crisis in the making.
Things came to a head during a Falkmeet in Aerie with Vlad Drakov and his sons present. Incensed by a perceived snub from Mircea Drakov, another son of the Konigsfuhrer, Vigo drew his dagger and pinned Mircea's left hand to the table before assaulting him viciously about the face with his bare hands. Although the other Drakovs and retainers were able to pull Vigo off him, a simmering hatred brews between the legitimate Drakov sons and Vigo. The affair was hushed up as a drunken beerfest brawl.
Nobody spoke of the unnaturally deep gouges and wounds that Vigo somehow managed to cause in Mircea's face and neck with his bare hands.
Vigo Drakov was put away in the Lekar Prison, installed as its Falkfuhrer, and conveniently hidden from sight. There, he is able to indulge his sadistic tendencies without attracting too much attention. Every so often, he presents the most resilient slaves and captives to his father for entertainment, a move that still impresses his father enough to keep Vigo politically safe.
Vigo, when he's mentally lucid enough to think, is starting to have suspicions about his parentage. It is well documented that his mother died in childbirth. However, some close to the source have told him that his mother went insane before giving birth to him, indulging in various acts of torture and eventually grievously assaulting her previous children. Vigo inherently knows this to be true, as he has deep memories of holding children's heads underwater and tearing at their tongues and throats.
The truth is that Vigo is an Unholy Scion (as described in the Heroes of Horror book - a template that awards various unholy powers for being sired by a fiend and a mortal female). Vlad Drakov is not his father, and he suspects this. He is still too depraved to mount any concerted investigation into his roots, but the knowledge he does have is enough to torment him. He believes that if he only knew his father, he would find a fellow being of power that would view his natural tendencies as a benefit, instead of a social shame.
Stats to come shortly, when I finish them.
|#2humanbingJan 05, 2007 12:44:29||Vigo Drakov, Kerkerführer of Lekar Central Prison|
Male Human Unholy Scion (evil, native outsider) Fighter12/RaptorKnight3; CR 18; Size M (6'6"); HD 15d10+41; hp 128; Init +3 (Dex); Spd 20' (armor) or 50' (mounted); AC 34 (touch 20, flat-footed 31); Base Atk 15/10/5; Grapple 19; Atk Longsword melee +23 (1d8/17-20)+9 or Hawkbows ranged +18 (1d10/19-20), or unarmed melee +19 (1d4)+4; melee and natural weapons are evil aligned, and do +2d6 dmg vs. good opponents; Face/Reach 5'/5'; AL CE; SV Fort 13, Ref 8, Will 7; Str 18, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 17, Wis 14, Cha 18.
Skills and Feats: Handle animal 21, Ride 17, Intimidate 21, Sense motive 13, Bluff 12, Climb 11, Swim 10, Jump 10, Listen 11, Spot 11, Survival 5, Move silently 12. Gains +2 to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks to Falkovnians. Exotic weapon proficiency (Hawkbow), Weapon focus (Hawkbow), Weapon focus/spec (Longsword), Rapid reload (Hawkbow), Mounted combat, Trample, Leadership, Improved critical (Longsword), Mounted archery, Ride-by attack, Spirited charge, Animal affinity.
Special Attacks: All melee and natural weapon attacks are considered evil-aligned and do 2d6 extra dmg. vs. good creatures. Can rage as per barbarian twice per day: (+2 to melee hit and damage, +30 hp, +2 Will saves, -2 AC, lasts for 13 rounds). Ride by attack allows him to keep moving after a charge, and Spirited charge allows him double damage with melee weapons from horseback. Mounted combat allows him to roll a Ride check against a single attack that would have hit his mount, to see if he deflects it. From a distance, he can fire one Hawkbow (two bolts on one attack roll) per round and reload the same round as full action, and he only gets half-penalty for moving mount (-2 for double move, -4 for running).
Special Qualities: Already failed one powers check - allows him 90' low-light vision (in addition to his innate 60' darkvision), but he develops a craving for biting and chewing human flesh. (Not yet cannibalistic, but it's not far off.) Unholy Scion abilities: + Cha bonus to AC deflection; unarmed attacks function as 1d4 claw weapons, although hands do not visibly change; familial charm (useless, as mother is dead); Can cast 3/day Charm Person, Protection from Good, Major Image, Poison, True Seeing, Unholy Aura. Can cast 1/day Desecrate, Enervation, Dominate Person, Baleful Polymorph, Animate Dead (HD x 4), Unhallow, and Harm. DR: 10/good and magic. Fast healing 4. Darkvision 60'. Immune to poisons and mind-affecting spells and abilities. Resistance to acid/cold/electricity/fire 5. Spell Resistance 25.
Languages: Falkovnian, Mordentish.
Possessions: Full plate +2, Large steel shield +2 (usable mostly on foot, as he cannot use it along with the Hawkbows), Longsword +3, Hawk helm, Bloodhawk figurine.
Tactics: Vigo Drakov is a superb horseman and falconer, and prefers to keep his distance from his enemy at first, sending in his Bloodhawk magical item, while using Hawkbow attacks. If pressed, he will engage in long, strafing charges with his longsword, trying for a critical hit (which would threaten triple damage or even higher). On the ground, he uses his shield and will often Rage to mow down opponents.
|#3humanbingJan 05, 2007 13:15:48||So much for the Falkfuhrer Vigo Drakov. I'd initially statted him as a Fighter 12/Raptor Knight 2, for a total of 14 levels. But then I read Heroes of Horror and thought he'd be a good unholy scion template too. That bumped his power right up to CR 17, which may be too high.|
Below, I have Yuri Mitrovic, the head of the Verstecktministerium (Covert Ministry) and Spymaster of all Falkovnia. Mitrovic has a parallel plot to Vigo Drakov in that he is sitting on a very important secret regarding his wife (and by extension his mentally ill daughter). The campaign is likely to progress with Mitrovic hounding the PCs through his espionage attempts, until the PCs make a breakthrough in discovering some secrets of his.
The PCs can then force Yuri to the bargaining table by threatening to reveal his secrets, and through his defection they can secure a chance to lure Vigo Drakov (who tortured them and who runs the Kerkerministerium with an iron fist) into an ambush.
Yuri Mitrovic is a medium-height man with jowly features, placid-looking eyes, and thinning dark hair. He is cleanshaven, with a slightly protruding jaw, and a quiet, unassuming demeanor. He was born a minor noble in Falkovnian affairs, and his childhood and young adulthood were unremarkable. At the age of 19, he joined the Falkovnian army's noble corps, or Edelkorps, as a swordsman. Although he served with dutiful loyalty, Mitrovic left the Edelkorps at the end of his required service. He next surfaced in the Verstecktministerium, or Ministry of Intelligence, where he put his language skills to use. Aided in part by his noble heritage and his quiet, unquestioning efficiency, Mitrovic rose in the ranks and eventually took over as the ministry's Falkfuhrer.
His current day-to-day operations consist mostly of managing domestic agents, in a campaign to root out the "Lost King" Gondegal. However, he also has sleeper cells passively reporting information from every domain that neighbors Falkovnia. He is particularly interested in Lamordia, as his daughter, Sonia Imlach, is interned there in a sanitarium.
Mitrovic is a calm man with an air of patience and politeness about him. The dark taint of Falkovnia has not touched him nearly as much as many other Falkfuhrers. However, this does not mean he is merciful or kind. He is concerned purely with efficiency, and will often devote many resources to win the favor of an informer. His favorite tactic is to flatter informers' egos by enrolling their children or other relatives in state-run boarding schools. This often offers the family some degree of respite from harassment from the army. Mitrovic then compels his informers to serve him by implicitly threatening their children. He is a master of mind games, often showing the parents how much academic improvement the children have made under his benevolence. He likes to turn children against their parents subtly, cultivating a sense that they are superior.
This paternalistic approach is yielding gains as the first generation of such children are reaching maturity, and the Verstecktministerium gains a new crop of devoted and well-educated servants. However, it is reflective of a dark secret: Mitrovic's former wife, Ireena Imlach, bore him a daughter, Sonia, who showed early signs of mental retardation. As Sonia reached her third birthday and signs of her mental condition became clear, Mitrovic prepared to execute Falkovnian law, which rules that all sub-human individuals become property of the state and must be surrendered. However, before he did so, he made a discovery that stayed his hand.
One of Mitrovic's side-projects upon assuming leadership of the spy ministry was to investigate the heritage of his wife. He had known for some time that her mother, Nadia Ruzich, likely had an extramarital affair. Mitrovic was concerned that this could damage his reputation if it became common knowledge. He was not, however, prepared for what he did find out - for an entire year, Ruzich had been a secret concubine of the Konigfuhrer himself, Vlad Drakov.
This discovery meant that his wife, Ireena, was very likely the daughter of Vlad Drakov, and therefore his own daughter, Sonia, was Drakov's own granddaughter. This heritage meant that, regardless of Falkovnian state law, Mitrovic could stand guilty of treason if he allowed a Drakov to go to prison. This placed Yuri in an impossible situation: he was required by law to turn Sonia over to the state for incarceration, but if he did so, Drakov could try him for treason. Fearing what might happen if she were discovered, he had her spirited away to a sanitarium in Ludendorf in Lamordia.
She assumed the name and cover history of Dagmar Leboyik, daughter of a Darkonian nobleman formerly of Lamordia. This cover story was perfect, because the real Dagmar Leboyik is long dead and her mother, formerly known as Petra Leboyik, is now a Darkon resident who has lost all memories of her life in Lamordia.
Combat: Mitrovic dislikes fighting and will try to escape from a dangerous situation by commanding his underlings to fight while he retreats. In a last-ditch scenario, he does have a potion of haste which he will drink and try to escape on foot.
Yuri Mitrovic, Spymaster of Falkovnia:
Male Human Aris4/Ftr4/Exp4; CR 12; Size M (5'8"); HD 4d8/4d10/4d6; hp 76; Init -1 (Dex); Spd 20' (breastplate); AC 18 (touch 9, flat-footed 18), up to +5 Combat Expertise; Base Atk +10/+5; Atk melee Falkfuhrer's Longsword +14 (1d8/19-20) no ranged; Face/Reach 5'/5'; SA Improved Feint; SQ none; AL LE; SV Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +11; Str 13, Dex 9, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 16.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +18, Decipher Script +8, Diplomacy +19, Forgery +9, Gather Information +19, Handle Animal +16, Intimidate +16, Knowledge Local +11, Know History +11, Know Nobility +11, Ride +9, Search +6, Sense Motive +16, Swim +6. Investigator, Leadership, Negotiator, Persuasive, Animal Affinity, Combat Expertise, Improved Feint, Weapon Focus Longsword.
Languages: Falkovnian, Darkonian, Balok, Lamordian, Mordentish.
Possessions: Falkfuhrer's Longsword +2, Light steel shield +1, Breastplate +2.
Note that Yuri Mitrovic appears in the Black Box bloodlines! He is technically related to Vlad Drakov, but only because his mother-in-law had an affair with the Konigsfuhrer.
|#4rotipherJan 05, 2007 15:37:00||Personally, I'd suggest modifying the nature of Yuri's dilemma about his daughter. I doubt if Vlad Drakov would have any problem with one of his byblows' offspring being imprisoned -- heck, he's surely had at least one of his legitimate sons executed for crossing or failing him -- and he likely won't be willing to admit that Ireena (a daughter, ergo useless) is his child at all ... especially if that means openly acknowledging that one of his grandkids could be born "defective". More likely, Vlad would simply have Sonia quietly killed the moment he learns of her condition, and then intimidate the family into keeping the matter hushed up.|
Other than that quibble, however, it's a brilliant idea. Kudos! :-)
|#5humanbingJan 06, 2007 0:17:01||Then perhaps Yuri Mitrovic's dilemma is that he genuinely cares for little Sonia, even though she is mentally disabled, and he doesn't want her to be fed into the grinder like all the other "underhumans" that the Drakov state demands.|
Further complicating this entire story is that the Darkonian noblewoman is Shayla Nin, who runs something of an adventurer's guild, and who is the patron noblewoman of the PCs. She suspects she has a daughter still alive in Lamordia, but never is able to get to the bottom of that mystery before she is silenced permanently.
Yuri Mitrovic is ruthless and calculating, and has stolen Shayla Nin's background for use with his own daughter. (Shayla Nin used to be Petra Leboyik and was once the mother of Dagmar Leboyik... that story ends sadly, with the mother fleeing to Darkon, then forgetting about her daughter, who eventually is killed and replaced in the sanitarium by Yuri's offspring.)
The PCs are the ones to unravel this mystery by blackmailing the Falkovnian diplomat sent to keep tabs on the girl, and then bringing Yuri out into the open as prey. Yuri will trade Vigo's life for his own and the girl's.
If the PCs choose to be merciful, they can deliver Yuri to Lamordia to be reunited with his daughter.
Either way, however, the PCs are unlikely to be able to let go of Vigo Drakov. The Unholy Scion is simply too powerful to let loose. There will likely need to be some sort of massive battle wherein he is killed. The campaign thus ends with two Falkfuhrers unseated (one killed, and one defecting) and thus delaying Drakov's next war campaign a few years.
|#6zombiegleemaxJan 13, 2007 8:04:26|
Then perhaps Yuri Mitrovic's dilemma is that he genuinely cares for little Sonia, even though she is mentally disabled, and he doesn't want her to be fed into the grinder like all the other "underhumans" that the Drakov state demands.
WOW. Consider yourself to have been ROBBED, good sir.
My campaign is currently undergoing the EtCR treatment; following that, the Grim Harvest trilogy (in the first act, I'll be introducing the ideas that form the basis for all this); then, in the likely outgrowth of the weakening of Darkon's borders, the PCs will head into Falkovnia to prevent the impending rise to invasion.
GREAT concept. Seriously.
|#7humanbingJan 14, 2007 8:14:42|
WOW. Consider yourself to have been ROBBED, good sir.
Thanks, Thig! The "swap-a-roo" concept where a spymaster "steals" a person's history for his own daughter is actually not my idea. It arises in John Le Carre's spy novel, "Smiley's People". There the Soviet spymaster has appropriated a peasant woman's daughter's identity for his own daughter, and the British intelligence head is able to manipulate the Soviet spymaster once they find out this piece of information.
Either way, I'm glad you like the idea. I am basing the conditions of Vigo Drakov's rule in part on North Korea's gulags (you can find an excellent online resource on this, compiled by a U.S. government commission, at http://www.hrnk.org/hiddengulag/toc.html ) and I'm basing Yuri Mitrovic on Le Carre's Karla character.
This also makes for a slight racial tension within Falkovnia, too. Yuri Mitrovic is a very Slavic character, very East European, with not much physical presence, but a very fearsome mental capacity for facts and numbers.
Vigo Drakov, however, is much more Carpathian-sounding. He's also something of a physical brute, throwing his voice, his opinions, and his violent judgment around like a hammer.
Of course, the two represent the opposite extremes of Vlad Drakov's rulership. One is a quiet diligence, harnessed to oppress the people through silent means, and the other is a highly visible brutality, that oppresses the people through very clear means.