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NPCs
Major
Criminal/Espionage
4.22
9 Votes

39xp


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Comments: 9
Ideas: 1
Rating: 4.2222
Condition: Normal
ID: 1055

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Updated:
August 16, 2007, 12:15 pm

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Ria Hawk

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Scarabomantus

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A brilliant and driven man, he has emerged as a major merchant from the sands of Aviansis (the hard lands of the Aviontix). He has other goals beyond mere successful merchantry. He does not want to take over the country, he wants the world… for the good of everyone.

Special Equipment:

And I quote, "The use of magical items makes one weak, as one becomes dependent upon them and less dependent upon their own mind and skills."

This does not mean he does not have an occasional item around for emergencies or to make certain plots work (most common is anti-scrying circles).

Appearance:

Scarabomantus is not the most impressive of figures. He is shorter than average, slight of build, and bald. His skin is tanned and weathered from his youth. He is not handsome, but has a presence… a charisma that is notable. His eyes are his most distinctive feature: they are brown, sharp, and shine with an intelligence that is somewhat unnerving.

(Google some images of an older Ben Kinsley when he is not playing Ghandi, if you want a better feel for him.)

Background:

Scarabomantus started life among the nomadic peoples of the harsh Aviansis region. He and his tribe moved among the great ruins left by the Aviontix, a once proud civilization, one of the first Human civilizations on the planet.  His people often raided the caravans that crossed their lands. Like many of his people, Scarabomantus became well read, reading the many books and buying more (The nomads have a history of scholarly pursuits).  Unlike many of his peoples, he travelled beyond the boundries of his Kept (tribe) and into the cold lands. 

This started him down the road that made him what he is today. He saw the best and the worst of the rest of the world.  He saw new art and learned new things. He saw nobles, priests, and rich peoples oppress their poorer laborers. To finance his journies, he traded goods… starting his economic empire.

After a time, he was sickened by what he saw happening in the world. Even spending his considerable personal fortune on alieviating the woes of the world would not solve the problem. The problem was the society itself. He needed to act against the very structure of things.  Knowing that those in power would be against such changes, he had to act secretly and with great cunning.

Over the years he had befriended many. Some were those he had aided. Some were those who were of a like mind. Others were agents who he paid to carefully watch his competitors. Utilizing this web of people, and honing their agentcraft, he began to wield them to make changes. Utilizing them, some hired minion, and a garish costume, he tried his hand at villiany. While it was not successful, it was very enlightening. He now realizes that he is playing chess on the scale of the world.

For decades now, he has plotted, planned, and excuted a number of "campaigns". Each one centered on overthrowing/ disrupting existing oppressive societies/ governments/ religions. He is doing all this for the "good of all people", to liberate and improve the life of all peoples. Only under enlightened central guidance can the woes of the world be resolved. He will conquer the world (while possibly destorying a small part of it) to save the rest.



Roleplaying Notes:

An Epic Villian. If the players encounter something less than an epic plan, they must of encountered a small random element of a plot.

Note: Most of his plots are political/ social in nature. Every now and again, robbery/ crime is the motives. He then funds his other activities through those and gives the rest to the poor.

Scarabomantus enjoys Chess, Go, and Krymosi (a chess like game played in his homeland). He does not find the game itself that interesting, just what it reveals about the thinking of his opponent. He of course is a master in all these games. He is an master tactician and stratician. His plans are well thought out, intricate, and he has planned for 98% of all contingencies. He always has an escape route and a distraction around to prevent heroes from following him. If something goes off plan, he will often abandon a plan, retreat to safety, and plan anew, rather than risk proceeding foreward.

His intellectual prowess and noble purpose has allowed him to create a web of agents using espionage related ideas and techniques undeveloped before the early 20th century on our world.  Blind Drops, Cypher codes/ embeded messages, double blind recruitment, and so on are commonly used. (I recommend GMs read some works on spycraft before running him). Normally his agents are minimally involved in any scheme, as hired minion are used.

No one ever sees Scarabomantus, or can connect him to anything. Normally his orders are sent by messenger (pigeon or trusted agent through a blind drop). If he is present, he often takes on the role and guise of a masked villian, often a meglomaniac (The Dark Hood, The Green Claw, or some pulpy sounding villian name(He is a careful plotter, not a fantatic. If one aspect goes south, he retreats to along well planned escape route, drops clues that shows the blame on others, and walks away, to try again another day. The mask villian his minion know is normally a meglamantic facade, carefully crafted to hide his identity.

Sometimes he has a trusted agent be the Masked Villian, as they are bigger, stronger, and more impressive than Scarabomantus.

PCs should never find him or catch him. It would be like stopping The Batman or Sherlock Homes/ Professor Moriarty. They can continue to stymie his plans. If they do so arfully, he will sometimes send them letters (under the masked psuedonym) or holiday presents. If they are in a personal crisis, he will sometimes send condolence letters and tell them that he is putting his own plans on hold until they can put their affairs in order (which is a lie, but it sounds good). Sometimes he will play a game of chess with them by post. Of all things, Scarabomantus is unfailing polite.

He is also passionate about his beliefs. He believes that all men should be treated fairly. That food and goods should be more evenly distributed, that a large gap between "classes" is a crime against the people. He does give wealth and assistance to the poor though his personal and ill gotten wealth. He is not so naive as to think that common people will not be harmed in his scheme. However when compared to the number of downtrodden and oppressed who die every day due to scarcity and the greed of the upper classes, it is nothing.

"Ah Mastern Lorning, it is nice to see you again."
Here is a foe who has cunningly disrupted a number of his plans. He gets yueltide presents sent to the winery, which freaks out the entire Hand organization.

The Don of Caraguis is a man he actually respects. While he appears to be a well meaning dupe of the elitist and empowered elite, the man has a great intellect and courage. He has stimed his plans any number of times, even connecting several seperate plans back to him. The man has retired from the game now, desperately hiding from his ex-foes. As not to worry him, Scarabmontus no longer sends presents.



Additional Ideas (1)

Plot idea: I was just thinking about Scarbmontus being approached by Order of Serpenthia. He would be torn. He would see the advantage of being immortal, yet he could see these ancient self centered puppeteers keeping the status quo. He would not attack them directly, after all he would like the secret. But could he manipulate some waundering types (i.e. player characters) into fighting them for him? Perhaps he will set the PCs up to fail, so he can swoop down and become a hero in the order. And if he fails, then his ideals are served. It is a win win. I do know, once he achieve immortality, he would turn on this organization so fast... destroying all those ancient corruptors... and utilize the technique for the "superior good" of humanity.

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2006-05-26 05:36 PM » Link: [1055#15867|text]
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Comments ( 9 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

MoonHunter
November 21, 2004, 13:38
0xp
WOAH! Someone rated this a 5/5 before it was even done.
CaptainPenguin
November 22, 2004, 21:12
0xp
Do I really need to tell you that MoonHunter, our own personal Ubermensche, has earned a...

5/5!
Barbarian Horde
December 21, 2004, 15:10
0xp
Lets hope it is not done then. It is off to any awesome start!
Voted Ria Hawk
January 29, 2006, 22:36
1xp
I may have mentioned before how much I love Shadowy Malevolent Villians. Here we have a Shadowy Villian, who is not Malevolent (although one might make a case for misguided). And I absolutely adore villians who aren't in it for thier own gain, or just to be evil, but that really think they're Doing the Right Thing. Also, depending on the class of PCs that encounter him: will they fight him... or join him? And given his tendency to play the puppet master behind the scenes, the odds are fairly high that he could manipulate the PCs into accomplishing some of his goals (after all, what is the group most likely to topple a government?) He would fit in very well with some of my characters, several of whom would be sympathetic to his cause, if not his means. Well, I am going to use him, somehow.
And I think this deserves a Hall of Honor...
MoonHunter
January 30, 2006, 1:04
0xp
Thank you. I appreciate that.
Voted wildcorn
January 30, 2006, 6:10
3xp
The character is appears inconsistent to me. If I could hazard a guess, I think you've taken the methodology of Professor Moriarty, with the ideals of Che Guevara, but the mix isn't so good.

These three critisisms deal with Scarabomantus as the villian:

1) There is little motivation to fight such an enemy. Unless your greatly benefitting from the status quo, why fight someone who is trying to ensure that everyone is treated fairly? Its like fighting against Robin Hood.

2) If he is never seen, his plans are epic in detail and meticulous in construction, and he always has quick escape routes planned, how are players ever to come to suspect him of anything? And don't tell me thats the point, if the players aren't to know he is operating, he might as well not be.

Perhaps he needs some signature crime traits?

3) You never mentioned what he does with the stolen goods, other than more campaigns. What a campaign is, in undefined (Assasination? open war? Guerilla war? Terrorism?). If his campaigns have collatoral cost, does he try to minimize it, or does he believe "ends justify the means". Does he give money to the poor, or secretly fund public works in poor areas? Or does he just keep the money all the money for future campaigns?


Can you give us some examples of how you would fit this character into a story line - remembering please, that the PC's must be able to determine that he is behind the plot, and being consistent to the character you've laid out.
MoonHunter
January 30, 2006, 15:34
1xp
Actually it is more Ra's Al Ghul or Magneto. However since he does not have super powers or immortality, he has to use Moriarity-esk tactics. Yes, he is on the side of the oppressed, but he is not a nice man. And he thinks very long term...

1) So, There is little motivation to fight such an enemy?

Okay: What if Scarbomontus could "save the world", make it an utter paradise. All he would have to do is kill off about 30% of the land's (if not the continent or the world's) population . He would see that as a small price to pay. Would you or your characters? What if the number was closer to 80%?

Since Religion is a primary tool of oppression, he decides to destory all the various temples by causing them to wage holy war against each other. Of course, innocents might die in the process... but it only shows that the religions were evil anyways. Then he and his will raise an army of people who are righously against such slaughter and destroy the remaining ones.

Perhaps he can find an artifact of ancient evil which will banish all the Gods from the world. Of course that eliminates any clerical healing, but religions are tools of oppression.

He might put together a bitter war between two countries, allowing their "slightly more enlightened neighbor" to take on the "winner". Since Nobles and their Lackey's do most of the fighting, that will eliminate most of them. Of course, there will be loss of innocent life... but it is a small price to pay for centuries of peace and prosperity?

Maybe he will simply cause an explosion at the royal corronation killing all the noble guests and high priests. Sure the son of the King is a nice guy, but you really can't trust nobles.

Sure we will steal the entire treasury and distribute it to the poor and un noble. Of course, the king will no longer be able to pay his army and his enemies will attack him, crushing his country. It serves him right for overtaxing the poor and those who work for a living. (Even if the taxe rates for this country are no better or worse than any others).

Yes, he is really a nice guy. He means well. He thinks really long term.
And Hitler was a vegatarian and painted watercolors.

2) If he is never seen, his plans are epic in detail and meticulous in construction, and he always has quick escape routes planned, how are players ever to come to suspect him of anything? And don't tell me thats the point, if the players aren't to know he is operating, he might as well not be.

Carefully constructed plans seldom fall apart. And just because you "get away" does not mean a) the plan wasn't foiled and b) the people foiling it do not know approximately who you are. And if you are doing investigation and such, every plan leave fingerprints. And there will be a suspicion that one many comes through. He is not a dime store villian to be tossed away after one foiled plot. Oh no, the PCs will encounter him throughout the campaign.

Think: Good Spymasters are seldom if ever caught. Just look though the anuals of espionage. Then I want you to thin Blofeld. They will get close to him eventually. Holmes got to Moriarty after all. Of course, your PCs are probably not as good as Holmes or Bond or Batman either.

If Scarabmontus is not central to the campaign, then they could

3) You never mentioned what he does with the stolen goods, other than more campaigns. What a campaign is, in undefined (Assasination? open war? Guerilla war? Terrorism?). Yes, and more.

Does he give money to the poor, or secretly fund public works in poor areas?
Yes he gives that which does not need to fund the campaigns away.

If his campaigns have collatoral cost, does he try to minimize it, or does he believe "ends justify the means". Yes, minimizing it is the idea, but as long as it is effective in the end. Remember, this is a "villian" or antagonist. He is not the protagonist of the story. That is supposed to be you and your characters.
Voted Strolen
September 12, 2012, 13:13
0xp
I like him. A good man behind the curtain...that you will never see. He could even be dead and people can still blame him for things that are going on...without knowing who they are blaming exactly.
Voted valadaar
June 18, 2013, 20:16
0xp
This fellow could easily serve a couple of roles, perhaps both mentor and foe.

He's an archetype, and a useful one.

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