Stonedeath is a goblin assassin, but much more than that. His new form allows him to scale walls, fight with uncanny agility, and above all that; he has a hatred for adventurers.
Goblins are rarely encountered on their own, away from their clans or tribes. It is part of their culture to congregate as a pack, even more so, a horde. Stoneshadow is an exception, although once he was a part of an underground tribe that served a demonic master the goblins called Klick, his real name was much more difficult to say, nearly impossible in the goblin tongue. This demon appeared as a giant insect, like a locust that had been infused beneath the shell of a beetle.
Stoneshadow had not always had this name, once he was a runt, born last of his brethren and most likely he would have died. It so happens that several adventurers had entered the deep caverns, their mission was known to all, to destroy Klick and his minions, the goblins counted among them. Stoneshadow, sought the safest place he could; the throne room of his demonic master. There he hid among the shadows and awaited his doom.
The adventurers made short work of the demons final guardians and then Klick fell to their holy blades and magic. Stoneshadow slipped and fell, then recognizing his own doom he began to beg for his life. Before he could utter a word, a flash came from the mage and darkness took him.
Stoneshadow came awake slowly, dazed, confused, and barely able to move. His body laying inches deep in a pool of demon blood, his mouth full of the foul substance. Then he saw with a new light, the cavern was lit up and he could see as if it were completely lit, no shadow existed that his sight did not see into, his eyes felt strange and he could actually see behind him with some effort. Standing he realized that he had a new set of arms, slipping and falling on weak legs, the pain began to set in. Stoneshadow fell to the ground, the blackness over taking him once again.
Stoneshadow felt the vibration of the earth, footsteps. His eyes flew open looking far down the hall he could see some of his tribe coming. He could feel their footsteps in the earth. The other goblins fled from his strange insect-goblinoid form; to them he must look like some sort of abomination, his exoskeleton of green and black covering most of his body but allowing free movement.
It did not take long for Stoneshadow to accept his new form, two extra arms, wide vision, and the ability to sense tremors on the ground. He became a spy and assassin for those who could pay for his services. He also reveled in destroying or nearly destroying groups of so called heroes that trespassed into the underground caverns he called home.
Years have passed, Stoneshadow has been blessed with a long life also, maybe some side effect of his change. He has taken to venturing to the surface and hunting whatever takes his fancy.
Very little of Stoneshadows goblin side remains, his face remains nearly goblin like but his eyes are far from goblinoid; jet black with a yellowish iris. He looks to most as a humanoid insect, streamlined and built for agility. His black and dark green exoskeleton covers most his vital areas, both camouflage and armor.
Stoneshadow has acquired a great deal of wealth and has spent almost all of it on expensive equipment to make him more efficient. He will usually have special gear as his mission needs, if he is on one. These days he acts as an assassin. The non-magical gear he carries changes but he usually has a shortbow and a quiver of arrows, he has usually prepared poisoned arrows beforehand, and he also may carry special arrows if the circumstance requires it. Sometimes he may carry a blow gun with fine darts to strike in silence. The small darts from the blow gun may just feel like an insect bite when struck, he will usually use this to deliver poison against mages in large groups.
Bloodrot: This dagger causes wounds to become infectious. Healing is Â¼ as effective against wounds caused by the blade. If the wound is not fully healed in 24 hours it will become infectious and begin getting worse causing additional damage until healed. This additional damage is also difficult to heal, again only Â¼ as effective. He uses this dagger during hit and run tactics when heroes cannot return to the surface for healing.
Falter: Falter is his other dagger, usually used paired with Bloodrot (remember he has 4 arms). Falter causes anyone damaged by it to lose all hope and become afraid of their surroundings. It only affects those that it injures; this effect can last for several minutes though. Targets that are hit multiple times by the blade become hysteric and panic out of fear. Stoneshadow will usually strike out against mages and healers with the blade.
Stoneshadow strikes from the shadows, preferring to hit and run utilizing his natural climbing ability which is akin to that of a spider or insect. He can climb nearly any surface, save glass or something exotic, as if it were normal ground.
Stoneshadow will not ever fight toe to toe against a larger or stronger opponent and prefers to take out the weaker ones first, using speed to evade the larger ones and escape. Stoneshadow has no honor and cares nothing for stabbing in the back, using poison, or using others to get what he needs; he will take hostages and use whatever he can to get an edge.
Remember, that Stoneshadow is much smarter than the average goblin and smarter than most humans when it comes to stalking and murder.
Stoneshadow may shadow (follow) a group to watch them, even for days sometimes. He will try to get every single advantage he can. He will learn their tactics and fight in a way to overcome them.
Stoneshadow is a coward through and through, if confronted with too much to handle he will flee. He will always try to inflict some sort of lasting damage to his enemies before he flees.
Stoneshadow, if captured will do whatever he has to in order to survive. He will divulge information, rat on his employers if he has any. Anything to save his skin, he will even go right to begging for mercy and creating lies about how he was forced into servitude and he will guide them to where they need to go. He will escape at the first opportunity and try to kill those that captured him.
Stoneshadow is meant to last over a few encounters and add some spice to a game. He is not really meant to have a great deal of depth. He is meant as an encounter, not as a main antagonist. He might be a guide for a short time before he can escape. I have used him in several adventurers, he is kind of like my Boba Fett in games. He is in the background and the characters even capture him, but he is too valuable to just kill, he knows a great deal and will share it willingly to live.
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? Responses (8)-8
-1 for being an assassin.
-1 because he seems a bit cliche.
+1 for the interesting weapons
+1 because you are making am effort to create things for the Citidel.
+1 for the interesting backstory.
I love cliche, but I like to make something cliche a bit original. I have people in forums say that is cliche and this is cliche... You would probably have some pretty boring games if you did not include something cliche. I don't think the bread and butter of a campaign should be cliche, but if you didn't get cliche sometimes players would take you for a Taratino or a M. Night Shammy (cut it short not gonna look it up to spell) GM... where everything is purposely not cliche just for the sake of avoiding cliche... then all your players are always looking around what is cliche all the time. I like to keep 'em guessing.
Weapons and Items are probably my forte... NPC's are not.
Stoneshadow could be a great encounter for the right group of players, striking from the darkness and vanishing again into the night in a series of cat-and-mouse exchanges as he and the PCs stalk and ambush each other. In this way, he could reward those characters that aren't overspecialized, the rogues and generalist mages that do more than just dish out damage.
Some parties would hate an elusive foe like him. Players who prefer a foe they can go toe-to-toe with would find him frustrating.
He really cries out for a worthy patron: A vile and depraved villain to contract for the Stoneshadow's services. Painted simply as a mercenary killer, Stoneshadow is missing a major part of his character development.
His hatred of adventurers is understandable, but would be more useful if it were more specific: How does he display this inner hatred? Does he go out of his way to kill adventurers, and how far? He seems too practical to devote himself to vengeance wholeheartedly. ('There's not a lot of money in revenge...')
As a mercenary, I could see him finding a patron on the same side of a conflict as the PCs, but then deciding that his nominal allies are just too irritating to work with.
Not sure I've seen a spider-goblin-assassin before, so I'm not going to call this cliche. He's quite interesting!
He could play an excellent bit-part in a larger adventurer for sure.
yep, not a cliche as I see it. I like the tone of your subs MindForge. I get a nostalgic, 'old-school' fantasy feel when I read them. Certainly an interesting adversary for PCs.
The old school part probably comes from the fact that I am old school. Started at 7 years of age, literally bred to be nerd - I never had a chance. I also try to infuse newer gaming theory and ideas into my stuff. I actually am a subscriber to the best Game Theory blog I have ever found, you can check it out on my LJ (live journal) (Mindforge - Barbarian's and Space Aliens?)
I am really into a lot of classic fantasy too, I derive a lot of stuff from that... especially Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft... but also so many more from that same generation, the fathers of sci-fi, horror and fantasy IMHO. Well, anyway I am rambling and far off topic.
This post wasn't actually trying to be old school, just the opposite with this one. In a lot of newer RPG's I am seeing attempts to purposely break the 'stereotype' and 'cliche', that to me is what cliche is now. I mean dark elves that go good and come to the surface is a perfect example of a cliche breaker - in it's time of course. Now that is considered cliche... I like finding cliche and going with it if it feels right, then trying to alter it in subtle ways to really make gamers or readers think. I believe that to purposely change something that is good because it will be cliche is wrong; fantasy is all about cliche.
go REH! go HPL!
(dont forget about the highly under-publicized Fritz Lieber :D )
I am similar in many ways, especially when it comes to subtly tweaking cliches. Salut!
As to the old school comment, I meant that more from an overall review of your combined works, perhaps not from the perspective of Stoneshadow per se.
We want more MindForge!
Nice Assassin! I also second Wulf about the patron. That would add some depth to this characater. Personally, though, I really like the back story, and love the idea of his death in a pool of demon blood to find himself transformed on awakening. I will probably use that idea, although it may not be with a goblin/insect.