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Mystaran Villain Challenge

by John Calvin

Hi all, I just participated in Paizo's RPG Superstar 2009 contest, and although I didn't make it past the preliminary round I did quite enjoy myself. I thought we could do something here as well - although not a contest per say (because I don't have any prizes to offer), I thought we could participate in a sort of design challenge.

In addition to stimulating our own creative juices, this might be a good way to inject some fresh adventure seeds into Mystara. So the challenge I'm proposing is to come up with an original villain concept for the world of Mystara. The rules are as follows (I'm basically pilfering Paizo's round 2 rules for designing a villain with a few modifications):

Design an original villain for the world of Mystara in 500 words or less. Villain entries should be in the following format:
Gender, Race, Class

A description of you villain goes here.

What drives your villain, and what are their main desires and goals.

Adventure Hooks:
List how the PCs can become involved with the villain.

Villains should be more than simply evil NPCs. They should be proactive in fulfilling their desires and goals and not simply react to the PCs. They should be more than one trick ponies, and should be memorable adversaries for the players to face. In short, the goal of this exercise is to create those bad guys you love to hate. Mystara needs more Bargles, and Ludwigs, and Thars, and Barimoors!

Come on people, I know you have it in you!

Zetacaalpa, Seer of Ages
Male awakened giant snake half-green dragon cleric

"I have it on good authority that this will be a most prosperous venture."
"But what about the Atruaghin? Even if you could get them to allow mining efforts on the Great Escarpment, the concessions you would have to make would narrow our profit margins by too much. I don't understand how we can pull this off."
"Funny thing that... seems most of the savages have fallen ill... victims of a most unfortunate plague. We can cut them out of the deal entirely."

An enormous snake with malachite scales and bony horns covering his face and spine, Zetacaalpa is the size of a small building. Folded amid his coils are giant bat-like wings and the yellow fires of desire burn deep from within his lidless eyes. One can never tell if the giant snake is staring into the future or gazing into the core of one's soul. Zetacaalpa constantly whispers his own name, whether in private or giving an audience to deserving supplicants.

Zetacaalpa is a seer and peers into the future, divining events for individuals in return for offerings and favours. Many Thyatian and Darokinian merchants come to him for advice on their entrepreneurial endeavours. Zetacaalpa is secretly a servant of Atzanteotl, and all of his prognostications are designed to further that immortal's goals. Born in the land of the red sun, Zetacaalpa followed his master's whispers through the earth's crust before finally emerging in the borderlands of Darokin.

The Seer of Ages has been prodding his supplicants into continuously more callous acts of violence against lower class citizens and foreigners and is slowly pushing many regions towards rebellion and revolt. His main goal is to see Darokin at war with as many of her neighbours as possible. Once this is achieved Zetacaalpa will bring forth the city of Oenkmar from the depths, ruling it in Atzanteotl's name. Besides the unknowing dupes that Zetacaalpa coerces into doing his will, the creature has a cult of fanatic followers devoted to carrying out its will.

Adventure Hooks:
- The southwestern defenders of Canolbarth forest have disappeared. Zetacaalpa's minions have killed the local elves and he has goaded several merchants into profiting from this by harvesting the forest. If they aren't stopped it could mean war between Darokin and Alfheim.

- A great winged serpent (Zetacaalpa in disguise) has been inciting the Atruaghin to go to war with Darokin for atrocities perpetrated upon them, both real and imagined. His true form must be revealed to the tribesmen before they commit their forces to war.

- Rivals of House Umbarth are slowly disappearing, their caravans being attacked and their goods stolen. Agents in Umbarth are perpetrating these atrocities and sending their rivals back to Zetacaalpa to be sacrificed on Atzanteotl's alter.

- As Zetacaalpa performs the sacrifices necessary to raise Oenkmar from the depths, his agents race across Mystara gathering the artifacts to make it possible.