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October 28, 2005, 1:28 pm

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Her name is well deserved, as she’s the daughter of Insanity and Fear.


She appears as a tall, deathly pale young human woman, with short black hair, and hard, cruel eyes.  (There may be some initial confusion if there are vampires common.)  Despite this, most people don’t pay much attention to her.  This, of course, suits her just fine.  She looks somewhat sickly, but she’s much, much tougher than she appears.


Phobia is the daughter of the demons Insanity and Fear.  When the demons were running amok, before they were bound into the Tanglewood Box, they had both possessed humans, and… well, the results are self-explanatory.  Phobia is half-demon, and half-human.  She is not immortal, as her parents are, but her expected lifespan is possibly on the order of millenia.  She was too young to prevent her parents from being bound into the Box, and later could not find the hiding place of it.  But once the Box is found, perhaps by foolish adventurers (who will almost certainly open it), she will make it her business to find and destroy the thing, to release her parents, and nothing short of her death will stop her.  She is skilled in black magic (necromancy), and has some of the innate traits of her parents.  She has an affinity to all things evil, and is a skilled manipulator.  Unlike her parents, the Tanglewood Box, or either of its predecessors, has no effect on her, nor do items that work strictly on demons or strictly on regular mortals.

Roleplaying Notes:

Phobia has a definite sadistic streak, and takes after her parents.  She likes to sow terror and drive people mad, preferably at the same time.  Although she rarely is physically involved (she likes to set things up like a chain of dominoes, trigger it, and then sit back and laugh while everything goes to Hell), she really has no objections to, say, killing and torturing people herself.  It is possible that she could orchestrate several plots, manipulating the villains’ activities from behind the scenes, and no one (including the villains) would have a clue she was doing it.  (She may appear to be one of the villain’s henchmen or minor lieutenants, and her involvement is only revealed very much later, if at all.)

While her parents are more powerful than her, Phobia has centuries of experience that they don’t.  She will be drawn to her parents if they escape the Box, and the three of them could quite possible plunge the world into an everlasting nightmare, full of poor, deranged souls, given enough lead time.  She would make a very good Shadowy Maleveolent Figure, Evil Overlord, or what have you.

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Comments ( 3 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

December 10, 2002, 20:27
Heres a plot idea: The heros are recruited by a wizard (its actually an illusion, or Phobia just polymorphing herself) to get to the tangleweed box before another group does, and bring it to him/her to find another hiding place. Imagine the consequences of success... The heros won't get much treasure, but at least will learn not to trust strange wizards. Then of course, what will they do with phobia? Make her a box?
Voted valadaar
April 26, 2007, 10:41
I'm assuming that its her human part which makes her care a whit for her parents?

In any case, an interesting NPC that could easily do well as a subtle baddie. I might avoid the Goth appearance though - normal people might overlook it, but PCs given the description are going to make assumptions - possibly correct ones.
Voted Moonlake
June 12, 2013, 21:25
A good NPC write-up for a Behind-the-Scenes villain.
*Commented on for the Commenting Challenge

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       By: Monument

When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.

To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.

It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.

The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.

It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.

GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).

Encounter  ( Forest/ Jungle ) | July 14, 2005 | View | UpVote 2xp

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