At the very first look, I was afraid this was going to be another bumbling old mage who was forgetful and very powerful. Instead I find an interesting character with other than violent plans, such as the curio cabinet and the job of being an economic advisor/mage. I enjoyed reading this post Monument.
There is room for improvement, his history is a little vague and that is the only thing, IMO that keeps him from being a 5.
While he is an interesting old man, especially due to his demeanor that lets him ignore stuff he does not want to do (like blowing people to pieces), there are a few concerns I'd like to voice:
*Does his little game not cost him more time than it actually saves?
*What is his history? As it stands, he 'was and adventurer and sat at a non-descript council'.
I think that it would be beneficial to the post if you elaborated the way why he withdrew from worldly doings, why he is such a kind man when, as we know, power corrupts, where he got his awesome power, etc.
*Does a mage HAVE to be able to level armies to be interesting?
Ok character akin to Gandalf, Elminster, Merlin, and a myriad other old mages from many different settings. Indeed every setting is bound to have at least one; it is only logical that, in magical fantasy worlds, there are some who strive for magical power. These people most likely attain such power upon reaching old age.
Good write up, though old mages are "easily supplied and in low demand". Good work on the curio cabinet. Such personal twists are cool to have. 3/5 Go to Comment
Hmmm - not quite what I expected - but I must say that on the whole I like this character - he's an ideal GM plot device
I like that he's a lot smarter than he appears, making out that he's an absent-minded dullard in order to achieve his goals, although I'm sure at least some of the locals will have caught on (I wonder what he thinks about that - and how he reacts to it)
One gripe - I never liked the idea that a single character could be powerful enough to level an entire army with a mere wave of his hand - that is, I'm afraid, the very definition of a munchkin
Overall - great character, but i feel I must downgrade him slightly for being too powerful - 4/5 Go to Comment
The idea of the "wave of hand army destruction" was to indicate "extreme power" without going into the system specific details. It was exaggeration, of course, it would take longer than the simple wave of a hand, but it wouldn't take long for this guy to reduce a massed formation of grunts into a smouldering pile of ex-soldiers.
For what it's worth, in the D&D system, a single extremely high level wizard is MORE than capable of killing literally thousands of mooks. Trust me, I've seen it happen(in game, no less, our 7th level wizard killed 126 mooks in a matter of rounds, now, knowing that a 1st level wizard has a hard time killing anything, scale that up to 20th level or so along an exponential scale).
If you are doubtful that it's possible, just thumb through the high level wizard spells in the D&D rulebooks, which tend to be used on more powerful opponents, and consider what they would do to a massed formation(ala army) of less powerful opponents. Cloudkill in particular is extremely deadly to mooks, just as an example.
However, since I wished to avoid the details that were system specific, I simply left it to the imagination. Go to Comment
I find it curious that you're terribly interested in his background, so much so that it clouds your vision of the character itself. As far as his background goes, he was "an adventurer", and all the things that adventuring entails, he's done it, the stories are, quite frankly, less than important, and would be well outside the scope of a single NPC description.
The thing that *IS* lacking, of course, is a description of the Ethe Council of Elders, but unfortunately, I don't really know where to put that. Items? It is a "thing", I suppose. NPCs? It's a group, not an individual. Plots? There's a lot of play you could get out of a council of elders, of course, but it's not a plot unto itself. Settings? I would have to say, this is the most logical one to me. Any suggestions for including this particular background element would be appreciated(ie where to place it).
Of final note, this particular NPC's background was not important to the storyline of our game. He just didn't deserve spending a gob of time on. The only thing of any importance pertained to the Ethe Council, details of which was specifically left out of this description as being superfluous to the character as he is NOW. Right now, he is no longer even affiliated with the Ethe Council, having retired(no bad blood, no blackmailed retirement, nothing nefarious, he just simply retired). So, there's not much more to say about THAT either.
I will happily write up a description of the Ethe Council, but honestly, it's pretty boring stuff: a group of older, wiser, democratic style advisors who run a particular city-state in our campaign(the PC home town). Think "U.S. Cabinet" and you've got it. Go to Comment
A cruel, evil, nasty little trick to pull on your players - I love it - just gotta use it someday
Having got that off of my chest - on to the serious critique
The absent minded wizard is a bit of a cliche, but in this case that's not at all bad since such a character always acts as a good start point - somebody to create trouble without actually having to be a "bad guy"
Regarding the recovery of spell components, personally I'd deemphasise the hack-n-slash at little (after all the party is certainly not at full combat strength so throwing a heavy battle at them is probably a little unfair).
You could easily cause just as much confusion, and of course GM amusement, with cryptic clues (like the Hags' Eye thing, which I really liked BTW) or belligerent NPCs who either don't believe the PCs' plight or don't see why it's any of their business.
You could even have Vendawen entirely forget what one or two of the components are - he remembers that he needs something but he just can't seem to recall what it is - the PCs now need to do a little research of their own to reconstruct the spell for him - doesn't help of course that the only PC who can get access to the magical libraries is the party's stupidest members (who happens to be riding in the mage's body) - he, he, he
BTW - I would LOVE to see the write-up for Vendawen - just how powerful is he - and just how absent minded
How did this end up with a 2/5? I love it, it has so many possible avenues of adventure, with plenty of room for the GM to add things in without lacking in details. It fit really well in my campaign, so I ran it not long after I read this post. Despite making my PC's rather angry at first :) it ended up being a lot of fun. They all enjoyed the challenge, as well as being randomly jumbled up in each other's bodies. Definately not your typical quest!
Per your request, Vendawan the NPC, added the link to this page. I gave clues as to the supposed absent-mindedness, and some examples, but I only gave the vaguest indication of his power, given the preference to avoid system specific details.
I removed *MY* implementation of the adventure as superfluous to the plot itself. Your suggestions are good ones, especially about the forgetting the components entirely. The problem *I* ran into was that the "fun" of their situation was over after their second combat, they were just getting irritated that they hadn't taken care of the situation yet. I had to pay it off quick(get them back in their bodies), so there were only two combat encounters(and a bunch of role playing ones, maybe 6 of those). For what it's worth, I found the role playing encounters to be MUCH more enjoyable for both the players and myself. The combats were arduous, to say the least.
Perhaps I could write up another plot simply about the hags eye(which got removed with my implementation). For those who hadn't read that part, the wizard sent them to look for a "hag's eye", which the players assumed was to be plucked from the skull of a hag, but in actuality is a scrying device that hags create. The wizard was not very clear about the precise nature of the hag's eye, and nobody thought to ask. The misdirection served to extend the adventure quite significantly. Go to Comment
A Cloak of Shadows that causes mushrooms to grow in its own shadow. A crouching theif might find himself in a ring of poisonous toadstools, an interesting thing for a sentry to find after the thief has left hiding place.