View Full Version : NPCs for Asianloft

2007-04-09, 10:35 AM
At another board I go to, the board members there have taken on a project to create an alternative Asian themed domain for Ravenloft. (not being happy with what is currently existing, they've decided to scrap that and start anew.)

I've been asked to help come up with some Chinese NPCs (being one of the few native Chinese speakers there) and I thought it would be fun to brain storm them here while I get some feedback from everyone. Keep in mind, not all of these characters are meant to be optimized, but it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate any advice to that end.

For now, I'm going to stick to core since I only have the SRD in my access right now.

But anyway, here goes.

Kong Li (Base: Confucius)

LG Human level 12 Cleric
(Domains: Law and Knowledge)

str 8
dex 10
con 13
int 17
wis 22 (25)
cha 16

feats: (7) Iron Will, Leadership, Negotiator, Persuasive, Martial Weapon Proficiency: Yu Jian (Long Sword), Extend Spell, Empower Spell

skills: diplomacy 15, knowledge (politics) 7.5, knowledge (nobility) 7.5, knowledge (religion) 12, knowledge (history) 12, ride (horse) 3, concentration 15, intimidate, perform (orator) 7.5, sense motive 9, spellcraft 10, profession (scribe) 4

Lawful Long Sword +1, Bamboo Book (Holy Symbol), Cloak of Resistance +2, Periapt of Wisdom +3

Kong Li is an elderly man in his 60s whose wisdom has made him one of the foremost thinkers of his time in terms of political thought and philosophy. Much of his political thought focuses upon the belief that with proper etiquitte and civility brings justice and order to a society and he along with many other scholars like him formed the era of a hundred schools.

While a competent magistrate and a good policy maker, his influences go far beyond that of his own administration and stems in his ability to inspire and teach his students. Historians often cite him as being the first great teacher to be named within their history.

Many believed that it was through his teachings, that civilization was able to rebuild itself from a war torn era of constant strife. Through the use of social protocols, etiquitte, and tradition, Kong Li developd a system of ethics that emphasizes upon knowledge, fairplay, generosity, trust, and ultimately honor.

His detractors often cited that his teachings made numerous assumptions about the nature of man and some even found it to be very naive.

Despite how many believed him to be a wise and powerful man, no ruler has ever incorporated his teachings into their administration as they felt that the art of state craft often requires those in power to act in ways that ran against Kong's teachings.

By the time of Hua Gao Zu (The Qin Shi Huang equivalent in the setting), his school of thought though pervasive in society, has all but lost a majority of it's official records due to the great literary purge Hua Gao Zu undertook to ensure ideological hemogeny.

Yun Chang (Base: Guan Yu)

note: for the purpose of this post, a Guan Dao is being treated as a halberd

Lawful Good Human Fighter 13

str 22
dex 15
con 16
int 12
wis 13
cha 18

feats: (16) weapon focus (Halberd), weapon specialization (Halberd), improved critical, power attack, mounted combat, ride-by attack, spirited charge, leadership, iron will, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization glaive, Great Cleave, Combat Reflexes,

Skills: (78 points total) Ride 16, Intimidate 16, Handle Animal 16, Knowledge (history) 5, knowledge (military) 16, Bluff 7, craft (caligraphy) 3, perform (weapons) 2

Equipment: Blue Dragon (Keen Shocking Burst Halberd +5), Light Fortified Chainmail +3, Book of Chun Qiu

Yun Chang is a tall, statue-esque man in the prime of his health. His cheeks flushed with an unusual amount of life while sporting a beautiful mane of a beard. (Rumor has it he has gone to great lengths to take care of his beard and it's a source of great pride) While his skills as a warrior and a general is formidable, it is his charisma as a war leader, his honor and fierce loyality to his king and his fearless display in the face of adversity that makes him one of the greatest heroes of his time.

There has been considerable controversy as to whether or not this reputation was ultimately the cause of his pride, hubris, and downfall.

Probably most famed for his prowess on horse, he is also in possession of the famed "Red Hare" steed, a horse of with pure red fur and a temper to match. With this mighty steed, he has led countless charges into the ranks of his enemies, inspiring fear in his foes and courage in his allies.

more to come, hopefully.

2007-04-09, 11:15 AM
If I remember correctly, Ravenloft doesn't really have any high level heroes, and even most of the darklords aren't far above mid levels. You may want to scale them down to around level 6 or only take them to about level 8 and make them henchmen of the darklord. If you go with the henchmen or even make one of them the darklord, the Dark Powers have a habit of twisting good intentions/motives, so they could have started out shining heroes and fallen (perhaps even unknowingly) into the depths of evil.

2007-04-09, 11:53 PM
Yeah, I have to agree that these seem quite high powered for Ravenloft and have Adventurer Class Levels. I think you need to produce a bit more fluff about them, as well. Sounds like an interesting project, though. Who's the Domain Lord?

2007-04-10, 12:19 AM
Lvl 14
Monk 2/Sorcerer 3/Englightened Fist 9 Cast as a 10th lvl sorcerer, 14th lvl caster level
1: Combat Casting
3: Practiced Spellcaster Sorcerer
6: Ascetic Mage
9: Superior Unarmed Strike
12: Improved Natural Attack
Monk 1: Stunning Fists
Monk 2: Free
Wear a Monkís Belt, your unarmed damage is 2d10. With Greater Mighty Wallop increases it it to 8d8. Improved natural attack 12d8

Important Spells
Overland Flight, 5th lvl
Greater Mage Armor, 3rd lvl
Greater Magic Weapon, 3rd lvl
Greater Mighty Wallop, 3rd lvl
Wraithstrike, 2nd lvl
Blood Wind, 1st lvl

You appear as an old frail man, but in reality your are a monk who has mastered the use f fists in a magical wuxia kung fu like style. Your fist can literally break walls (due to Greater Mighty Wallop making each attack do an average of 54 damage + GMW + Strength), additionally you donít even have to engange in melee. Blood Wind allows you to attack with your unarmed strikes as thrown weapons (as a DM describe it as you are forcing the air with your fists into a deadly force that attacks someone as your fists would).

2007-04-10, 12:26 AM
Hrrm, I wonder what a Lao Tzu sort of character, in touch with the various forces of the land, would feel about Ravenloft. Being attuned to the natural forces of the world, the pushes and pulls of Yin and Yang, as well as the Five Elemental Processes, I'd think a lesser man would go insane just from casting the yarrow stalks.

What would a Lao Tzu sort of character have as a class, anyways? A Diviner? Druid? I'm afraid I don't know of too many deeds attributed to him other than writing a book and riding off to the west on a water buffalo.

2007-04-10, 08:58 AM
Yeah, I have to agree that these seem quite high powered for Ravenloft and have Adventurer Class Levels. I think you need to produce a bit more fluff about them, as well. Sounds like an interesting project, though. Who's the Domain Lord?

As long as they aren't filling the generic guard #16 and generic barkeep #3 roles within the domain, adventurer class levels would most likely be very appropriate. It's just that the number of these levels is making them at least as powerful a middling dark lord. And there's two of them. Even with dark lord powers, if they can find an ally or two of even comparable power, why do they not just take out the domain's ruler? Assuming they know both who and where he is, of course.

If I remember correctly, the leader of the Gundarak rebels fighting against the forces of Strahd is only about level 5. Ravenloft is generally supposed to be a low powered/level campaign setting (at least for players).

2007-04-10, 01:12 PM
yeah, just checked some of the resources, you guys are right. these guys are a little too high leveled. I'll have to go back to the drawing board and take out some stuff. Most of these characters will fill roles like high power generals and aristocrats though, so they're not going to be "generic guard that just HAPPENS to kick ass".

Well, it's not just a single domain though, it's an entire core with several domains in them.

I can't reach that forum right now at work, but if anyone is interested, it's in the "Fraternity of Shadows" general forum under "Asianloft" or "Oriental Gothic settings" thread.

There are several Dark Lords that have emerged for the setting.

The most high profile one though is an undead Qinshihuang (aka, the first emperor of China). His story is that unto his death, his mages cast a spell upon his tomb to make sure that nobody gets in... but also that nobody gets out, including him. So when he rose from the dead, he found himself trapped within his own elaborate tomb for 1000 years.

Lao Tzu, I would argue, is completely up to your interpretation of him.

If you want to emphasis his taoist influences as someone who believes in formless structure, the druid would suit best. But if you want to look at him as a political theorist, perhaps a cleric with aspects of Good and Nature would be better....

though, it is an interesting thing to consider.

2007-04-10, 02:50 PM
Other the level disparity between them and the other denizens of Ravenloft, those do seem like good characters, especially for folks of high influence.

2007-04-10, 03:20 PM
Interesting... but I would keep in mind that, in addition to the general grittiness of the setting, Ravenloft has a corrupting influence on that which it touches. For example, good ol' Uncle War, Guan Yu, should be different. Maybe he serves the emperor a bit too unquestioningly, or he is renowned for his brutality. (Isn't there a famous chinese general who, when told that if he attacked the other force his father would be boiled alive, said "send me a cup of the soup."?) High level characters are exposed more and more frequently to "Dark Gifts" - perhaps his unnatural strength and vitality is a byproduct of this?

For an asian themed campaign, you might consider the Rokugan system of taint rather than the devil's bargains which continually pop up in the more western literature themed dark gifts; I believe a form of the taint rules is in the SRD for reference.

Qinshihuang, the immortal emperor, is a good choice for an enemy... but can he really do much locked away in his tomb? I like the idea of clay soldiers slowly pulling themselves out of the mud to attack people he dislikes.

Confucius and Lao Tzu work better as mythic figures than actual NPCs who are meetable and killable...

Is Tibet a valid part of this Chinese world? Because I can think of a number of Wushu-esque NPCs who could serve. The imperial minister who was a former monk, but who fell to vice, as an example - they had him in Iron Monkey (a rather unexceptional kung-fu flick recently that as far as I can tell is a chinese Robin Hood tale). As I recall he had poisonous palms and a prediliction for shark-fin soup.

2007-04-10, 03:40 PM
when I get home I'll post up a link to where the majority of the works have been posted so you guys can get a better read out of it.

But for now, let me trying to respond as best as I can.

yes, I agree with the corruption effect. However, I felt that such influences should be more subtle and I'm currently working up a version where ultimately pride leads to his corruption.

By the way, the general you're talking about is named "Liu Bang" (pronounced Liu Bong) who was at the time fighting Xiang Yu for the throne of China right after they toppled over the Qin dynasty. (which lasted a grand total of 15 years after Qinshihuang first created it) He later goes on to defeat Xiang Yu and establishes the Han dynasty.

As for Qinshihuang, while he does not exert a lot of direct influence over people, his influence is still strong felt throughout his own domain. the thing is, his tomb has became sort of a defacto necropolis by virtue of all the undead that lives there. The exact wording of the curse was that "no man, no woman, nor children shall ever step foot into or out of this tomb". Eunuchs, who sort of fall in between is technically allowed to have access to some parts of the tomb. And these Eunchs act as primary contacts between Qinshihuang and the outside world.

I'll expand on this when I get home.

edit: I'm not sure if they've done an actual domain specifically for Tibet. But I don't see why not.

2007-04-10, 03:59 PM
Great. I am looking forward to it. Given the direction this is going, though, maybe it should be in Homebrew?

2007-04-11, 01:11 AM
In the Han dynasty many wealthy people would be buried in funerary suits made of jade scales, which were beleieved to ward off corruption. I've always thought an undead "jade mummy" would make a cool horror monster-- especially when you consider jadite has a tensile strength greater than steel, making it good armor.

2007-04-11, 08:41 AM
I must apologize, I haven't been able to get to a comp last night after I left work. So, no link yet. Hopefully I'll have it up for you guys to look at by tonight. Also, I'm trying to convince some of the guys there to put the stuff into a wiki so referencing the material would be less laborious.