You know, from what I recall, the Baudelaire siblings weren't this... vicious.

Quote Originally Posted by Violet Ruskin
Her Ladyship Violet Ruskin

abilities
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LE human hexblade 3/paladin of tyranny 2/marshal1/fatemaker1/talon of tiamat 10/uncanny trickster 3

str 8
dex 12
con 14
int 16: draconic, abyssal, infernal
wis 10
cha 16 (increases here)


Belle of the ball
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Violet was growing weary of debutante balls. Once more, she smiled and waved at the young lady blossoming into womanhood before all of her high society friends, enemies, acquaintances, and all that lay in the no man's land between. She had a conversation she must have had a hundred times over with the girl's parents about what their plans were now, and if they had their eye on any particular man to ensnare on her behalf.

As Violet expected, she received the expected non-answers, buttressed with bricks of propriety and secrecy. However, it was appended with something she didn't quite expect.

"Well, truthfully, we'll be satisfied if we can keep her away from that dreadful viscount for the night," said Lord Waugh.

"Oh?" said Violet without moving her eyebrows.

"That's former viscount, dear," said Lady Waugh.

"How exactly did that come to pass?" Violet asked. This was beginning to arouse her curiosity.

"Oh, well, not in any way that can be discussed in mixed company, let's just say." Lord Waugh punctuated this with a well-intentioned elbow to Violet's side.

"I see." But the truth was, she didn't see. Far too many conversations for her liking ended this way; stymied by her sex. "Where is this so-called former viscount?"

Lady Waugh covertly pointed him out to Violet with her eyes. He was engaged in a dance with a young lady who looked as though she would rather be doing anything else. He was facing away from her, so she had a poor view of him, but could at least admire the quality of his wig with the opera glasses she'd been clutching in her hand the entire night, glad to at last have found a use for them.

"Well, then, I suppose I shall have to see for myself, shan't I?" she said, the words thick and cloying between her cheeks.

Lady Waugh forced a laugh, but looked genuinely uncomfortable.

"Don't say we didn't warn you, my dear," Lord Waugh said with a wink, and with that, Violet was rid of the proud parents.

She'd had about enough of high society for the night, and was determined to find what this man had done to distance himself from it. Perhaps there was hope for people like her after all.

Violet made her way across the dance floor until she was upon the viscount and his quarry. She tapped his shoulder, coming away with a hand sticky with flakes of face powder that had settled there over the course of the evening.

He turned his head slightly and replied with a mere quirk of his eyebrow which had been plucked nearly into oblivion and then redone with a dark, black pencil.

"Do you mind if I cut in?" She gave what was supposed to be a sympathetic look to the girl in question, but judging from her reaction, Violet had missed the mark somewhat.

She left without a word. This elicited a titter from the viscount.

"A bit unorthodox, that," he said. Violet had forgotten the unseemliness of a woman interposing herself in between a couple dancing. She thought she'd been doing her a favor.

"Well, it looks like we have something in common then, viscount."

She took his hand and he her waist.

"It's former viscount now, I regret to say."

The music slowed and she allowed herself to press closer to him, close enough to see the pockmarks under his thick, white makeup. The room was oppressively hot, and the odd bead of sweat was making its way from his natural hairline nestled somewhere under his voluminous wig down to his neck, where she could see a slice of his natural skin, almost as pale as the powder showing through.

"I gather you're here to fish for details on my sordid past."

Violet allowed herself a small smirk.

"What ever gave you that impression?"

"You're the first one to deign to speak to me all evening. I'm sure your curiosity has gotten the better of you. Surely you were told my misdeeds were not to be discussed in polite society."

Violet scoffed. "Mixed company, but I'm beginning to see a certain pattern in what topics both of these things keep from me."

The viscount wet his lips, and Violet was close enough to smell some form of exotic spice on his breath.

"If we were in more forgiving company, all would become clear to you. Allow me to help things along," he said.

With that, the hand the viscount had on her hip slithered to the small of her back and she found herself looking at the proceedings of the dance upside-down as he dipped her deeply as a Spaniard.

There was a muffled gasp that surged through the room as the viscount helped her right herself. Violet regained her breath from being tilted so far back and felt a flush being brought to her cheeks quite against her intention.

As the viscount had doubtless planned, the crowd respectfully averted their gaze from them after their display and the pair were able to make a hasty exit unburdened by their usual symphony of goodbyes.

They came to a coach that opened for them when the viscount snapped his fingers. A footman helped Violet up the stairs into the belly of the coach, and she repressed a shudder as she brushed his pallid flesh.

The viscount scrabbled in after her and tapped the outside of the coach with his cane.

"Where is it we're going?" Violet asked.

"Somewhere I can lay myself bare for you, my lady."

The blush in her cheek deepened as she realized they still had not yet been properly introduced. There was something of a thrill in the sense of anonymity she enjoyed at the moment.

They arrived in relative short order and the viscount disembarked first, helping Violet down and sparing her the touch of his sallow footman.

A placard hung outside an iron gate that now swung open and freely in the wind. "Fais ce sue tu voudras," it read.

"Do what thou wilt," the viscount said, anticipating her first question, but not her second.

"You haven't yet answered me. Where are we?"

"My home away from home. If you like it, yours as well."

The two of them trudged up the steps and the viscount banged on the door with a large brass knocker. They were let in by an impeccably dressed young man in a waistcoat.

"Sir is bringing company today?" he said with a condescension even Violet found unbecoming.

The viscount laughed again the way he had at the dance. "Indeed sir is." He produced a coin between his fingers with a gesture of his hand and slid it into the man's waistcoat pocket. They left their coats with him and made their way into a large study in front of a fireplace.

"Are you sure it's all right for me to be here?" Violet asked unsteadily. This place looked like a gentleman's club, and while she couldn't say she'd ever been in one herself, this would match up rather admirably with the accounts she'd heard.

"You worry too much," he said as he slumped into an overstuffed chair. His wig lagged behind, and Violet was surprised when instead of settling on his head, it remained in perfect stillness in the air above him.

She made a small noise of shock, and the viscount tilted his head up slightly.

"Ah. Cholmondeley, you can show yourself now, you're among friends."

A small, red-skinned devil appeared in the air, clutching onto the viscount's wig, his tiny leather wings beating like a hummingbird's to keep his portly body aloft.

" 'bout time. Couldn't deal with much more'a that not seen and not heard stuff."

Violet collapsed into the chair opposite the viscount. While this wasn't the first she'd heard of devil, having had a weekly lecture on them in church, and having heard many an evil deed blamed on their corrupting influence, this was the first time she'd actually seen one.

"Is this why you lost your title?" she said once she'd regained her composure.

The viscount shrugged. "Something like that." He made a small gesture with his fingers and Cholmondeley returned with two snifters of brandy, their weight throwing him off balance in the air. The viscount had his hand outstretched awaiting the glass as the devil set it comfortably between his fingers. Violet needed more convincing.

"Oh, there's no symbolic gesture here, my dear. It's just the sort of news I thought would be best handled over a brandy."

Violet took the glass in a trembling hand and began to drink.

"You see, like yourself, I grew weary with the oppressive nature of the society we live in, so I thought it might be rather a better option to seek out like-minded individuals. It would allow me to get away from it all on occasion. After all, there's only so much of the high-society crowd one can take."

Violet nodded and set her glass down, only to find Cholmondeley spiriting it away.

"What is it you do here?" she asked.

The viscount shrugged. "Whatever we like. Away from the prying eyes outside, of course." He gave her a look Violet could only describe as predatory, but for some reason couldn't say was entirely unpleasant.

Now that she was less overwhelmed, she was able to take in the decor. There were a few expected boar heads and the like pinned on the wall atop mahogany plaques. However, alongside it were curios Violet hadn't seen among her fellows' journeys to the mystic Orient or elsewhere.

She nodded with her chin and, feeling extravagant, even allowed herself to point to direct the viscount to the object of her curiosity, a five-headed dragon rendered in brass.

"What is that queer little thing?"

The viscount broke into a wide grin.

"I knew from the start you were the right choice, my dear." He stood and walked over to it, admiring the craftsmanship on each of its segmented necks, the metal almost seeming to change color under Violet's gaze.

"You're aware of the current popularity of blasphemy in certain circles," he said dully. She was, of course, but had never heard it discussed in so blunt a manner devoid of the socially expected shock and horror.

"But there are only so many black masses one can attend before it begins to feel just as much an obligation as what we're trying to get away from. So we had hoped to perform a new method of worship. One so antediluvian that it's come all the way back 'round to being novel again," he continued. He stroked under the statue's chins and Violet could swear she saw them undulate ever so slightly.

"We've discovered this primitive deity here, originally from Mesopotamia. The five-headed Tiamat; queen of the dragons or something to that effect. From our best guesses, each of her heads represents some differing form of vice. We've experimented in front of it in every way…"

He and the statue made eye contact with Violet at once. She felt a shiver of something nothing like fear going through her spine.

"…but one."

The viscount threw down a handful of bright purple dust he must have produced while Violet was looking away. In front of the statue, a five-pointed star inlaid with a goat's head that looked more confused than malevolent blossomed into being. It pulsated with a glow that was more calming than terrifying.

The viscount extended his hand and gestured to the circle before him. "May I have this dance?"

Violet strode towards him and pulled open his shirt. "You may indeed, sir," she said with a smirk.

The statue looked on approvingly.

They lay in a pool of crumpled finery, catching their breath together in between breaths of opium.

"You weren't really expecting anything to happen, were you?" Violet asked as she gestured at the statue with the viscount's pipe.

"One can hope. Besides, it's all about new experience," he took it back and blew a smoke ring around one of the dragon's necks, "as is life, I suppose."

The earth beneath them shook in a way much more literal than the earth-shaking that had just transpired between them.

The statue moved in a much more overt way, flapping its little bronze wings and landing in between them in the center of the goat's snout. As it did so, the crude outline in chalk or whatever the viscount had scratched on the floor began to change from a confused goat into a fearsome dragon. The floor cracked and groaned along the lines drawn in it, and from each point of the star, a scaled head rose from the earth. A broad, flat body followed it, capped off by four squat, powerful legs. A thick, sinuous tail the size of a python slithered out after it and coiled lazily behind the beast's body.

"Looks like you've bitten off more than you can chew, little ones," it said in five voices that, though harsh and grating, were decidedly female.

The viscount crawled away and went for a fire poker. He made no motions back towards the dragon. It must have been simply to make himself feel better than to actually defend himself.

Violet wanted to take a step back, but found herself paralyzed with awe in front of this beast, no doubt the real Tiamat.

"I see that my rituals are a game for you. Revering the carnality I've granted to your species is indeed a way to summon me forth. But it appears you do not fully grasp the gravity of the situation."

Violet shook her head.

"I understand you've grown dissatisfied with your current title in your mortal society. A ritual has been performed, so you are indeed entitled a boon, if one at a price."

The viscount cleared his throat, but Tiamat's tail lashed out and pressed its tip against his lips.

"You're well beyond redemption, you vile degenerate. There's nothing you have left to sell to me." The viscount shrugged.

"You on the other hand will serve as my emissary as penance," she said to Violet. "It should give you a decidedly different circle than the one you run in now."

Before she could speak her protests, Tiamat's claw touched her shoulder and drew blood. Violet gasped as the trickle of blood snaked around her neck and shoulders, changing hue as it went until she had a pattern of five colors around her neck and shoulders, a representation of Tiamat's heads bobbing and weaving with her pulse, which was racing.

Tiamat withdrew her claw and let out five deep chuckles.

"There now. You enjoy your work, my lady," she said mockingly. "I'll be watching." With that, she sunk into the earth just as suddenly as she came. The ground closed up around her, and the ground was marred only by the goat's uneven stare once more.

The tattoos on Violet's naked skin, however, remained. The viscount came out of the ball he'd curled himself into in the corner and touched one to make sure it was real.

There was an insistent knock on the door outside the study.

"Viscount? Is it safe to come in yet? What the devil are you doing in there?"

The viscount clapped his hands giddily and bounced towards the door, not bothering to dress himself.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. I'll leave that to our newest member…" the viscount threw open the double doors and Violet saw a gaggle of other club members, men and women alike in varying states of undress. She remembered the viscount still did not yet know her name, so figured this was as good a time as any to begin her new life.

"The former Lady Violet Ruskin," she made a mock-curtsy, clutching handfuls of invisible fabric in her hands and drawing it to her naked thighs, "talon of Tiamat."


Build
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{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Hexblade 1|
+1
|
+0
|
+0
|
+2
|bluff 4, concentration 4, diplo 4, intimidate 4, know (arcana) 4, tumble 4 |Ordered Chaos, Force of Personality|Hexblade's curse 1/day

2nd|Hexblade 2|
+2
|
+0
|
+0
|
+3
|bluff 1 (5), concentration 1 (5), diplo 1 (5), intimidate 1 (5), know (arcana) 1 (5), tumble 1 (5)||Arcane resistance

3rd|Hexblade 3|
+3
|
+1
|
+1
|
+3
|bluff 1 (6), concentration 1 (6), diplo 1 (6), intimidate 1 (6), sense motive 1, tumble 1 (6)| Dragonthrall|Mettle

4th|Paladin of Tyranny 1|
+4
|
+3
|
+1
|
+3
|know (nobility/royalty) 5, sense motive 1 (2)||Aura of evil, detect good, smite good 1/day

5th|Paladin of Tyranny 2|
+5
|
+4
|
+1
|
+3
|diplo 2 (8), sense motive 2 (4), tumble 2 (8)||Divine grace, deadly touch

6th|Marshal 1|
+5
|
+6
|
+1
|
+5
|bluff 2 (8), diplo 1 (9) intimidate 3 (9), never outnumbered|imperious command|skill focus (diplomacy), minor aura (motivate charisma)

7th|Fatemaker 1|
+5
|
+6
|
+3
|
+7
|UMD 10||Take-charge appeal

8th|Talon of Tiamat 1|
+5
|
+8
|
+3
|
+7
|bluff 2 (10), intimidate 2 (11), social recovery||Breath weapon (cone of cold)

9th|Talon of Tiamat 2|
+6/+1
|
+9
|
+3
|
+7
|bluff 1 (11), intimidate 1 (12), timely misdirection, spellcraft 2| snatch trophy|Voice of the dragon +2

10th|Talon of Tiamat 3|
+7/+2
|
+9
|
+4
|
+8
|bluff 1 (12), intimidate 1 (13), spellcraft 4 (6)||Breath weapon (line of acid)

11th|Talon of Tiamat 4|
+8/+3
|
+10
|
+4
|
+8
|bluff 1 (13), intimidate 1 (14), spellcraft 2 (8), false theurgy||Keen senses

12th|Talon of Tiamat 5|
+8/+3
|
+10
|
+4
|
+8
|bluff 2 (15), intimidate 1 (15), tumble 3 (11)| bloodsoaked intimidate|Breath weapon (cone of corrosive gas)

13th|Talon of Tiamat 6|
+9/+4
|
+11
|
+5
|
+9
|bluff 1 (16), intimidate 1 (16), tumble 4 (15)||Immunities, voice of the dragon +4, energy immunity (fire)

14th|Talon of Tiamat 7|
+10/+5
|
+11
|
+5
|
+9
|bluff 1 (17), intimidate 1 (17), sense motive 4 (7) ||Breath weapon (line of lightning)

15th|Talon of Tiamat 8|
+11/+6/+1
|
+12
|
+5
|
+9
|bluff 1 (18), intimidate 1 (18), sense motive 4 (11)|master manipulator|Keen senses, frightful presence

16th|Talon of Tiamat 9|
+11/+6/+1
|
+12
|
+6
|
+10
|bluff 1 (19), intimidate 1 (19), sense motive 4 (15)||Breath weapon (cone of fire)

17th|Talon of Tiamat 10|
+12/+7/+2
|
+13
|
+6
|
+10
|bluff 1 (20), intimidate 1 (20), sense motive 2 (17), timely misdirection||Dominate dragon, voice of the dragon +6

18th|Uncanny Trickster 1|
+12/+7/+2
|
+13
|
+8
|
+10
|bluff 1 (21), disguise 5, intimidate 1 (21), sleight of hand 5|wanderer's diplomacy|Bonus trick (assume quirk), favorite trick (never outnumbered)

19th|Uncanny Trickster 2|
+13/+8/+3
|
+13
|
+9
|
+10
|bluff 1 (22), disguise 5 (10), intimidate 1 (22), sleight of hand 5 (10) ||Bonus trick (second impression), favorite trick (social recovery), (advance talon of tiamat)

20th|Uncanny Trickster 3|
+14/+9/+4
|
+14
|
+9
|
+11
|bluff 1 (23), disguise 5 (10), intimidate 1 (23), sleight of hand 5 (15)||Bonus trick (conceal spellcasting), favorite trick (conceal spellcasting), tricky defense, + 1 spellcasting, (advance talon of tiamat)[/table]


Spells per day
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{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th

7th|-|0|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|-|2|0|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|-|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|-|3|2|0|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|-|3|3|1|-|-|-|-|-|-

18th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

19th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

20th|-|3|3|2|0|-|-|-|-|-[/table]


Spells known
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{table=head]Level|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th

7th|-|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

8th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

9th|-|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

10th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

11th|-|3|2|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

12th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

13th|-|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

14th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

15th|-|4|3|2|-|-|-|-|-|-

16th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

17th|-|4|4|3|-|-|-|-|-|-

18th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

19th|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-

20th|-|4|4|3|2|-|-|-|-|-[/table]

1s: charm person, disguise self, sanctuary, expeditious retreat
2s: invisibility, spider climb, resist energy, eagle's splendor
3s: haste, suggestion, protection from energy
4s: charm monster, stoneskin



playtips
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5
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You're something of an odd duck at this level. Ordered chaos serves to allow you to be considered non lawful for fate maker while retaining a lawful alignment to retain paladin's abilities (most importantly divine grace and aura of despair)

Divine grace and arcane resistance give you 2xcha to your saves vs spells. Divine grace applies to stuff that's not spells as well, and force of personality adds cha another time to mind-affecting effects. your base attack is respectable, but your cha is your real strength. take out your enemies socially with a carefully placed word, your competence in this regard will only improve.


10
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you have your minor aura up, and now receive your charisma bonus an extra time on all charisma-based checks. you're pulling double-duty with staples like bluff and intimidate. never outnumbered is online so you can demoralize large swaths of enemies at a time.

skills take a detour for your fate maker level (to provide spells for talon of tiamat. better to lose levels from a 10 lvl class than a 20 level one) and you sink all of your points into UMD. why?

10 ranks + 2 synergy from 5 in arcana + 4 cha (base) + 4 cha (motivate cha) = 20.

you can use wands for stuff that's not even on your list without a roll from now on. congrats! all it took was one level's skills. your cha is big and mean enough too thanks to fate maker's take-charge appeal (16 + 1 from lvl 4 + 1 from take-charge appeal = 18)

social recovery and timely misdirection are both up, enabling you to get more mileage out of bluff when something goes awry. make use of imperious command. if possible, turn it on within 10 feet of enemies to aura of despair can debuff their saves against it by a further -2.

you're in the SI proper now and have two of your breath weapons and voice of the dragon handy. you're slinging intimidates with:

13 (ranks) + 2 (synergy) + 4 (cha) + 4 (motivate cha) = 23, hard to beat for an equal CR'ed challenge.


15 (sweet spot)
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you've finally got your incredibly sweet fear aura and are rocking a DC 23 save against it. remember to stack it with demoralization via never outnumbered and imperious command to ruin your enemies. your immunities and keen senses are up and you have two more breath weapons, so be aware of them in your repertoire since they allow you to vary your attacks somewhat.


20
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uncanny trickster? in my talon of tiamat? why?

well, unlike many other classes, there's something that's actually keyed off your class level:

frightful presence (10 + class lvl + cha) and breath weapons (10 + class lvl + con)

since this isn't a cha based check, your marshal aura doesn't help beef up the DC. however, uncanny trickster advances talon of tiamat's class features at lvl 2 and 3, allowing you to have your maximum class lvl for the two equations function as 12 instead of 10, getting you better dcs.

talon of tiamat also progresses spell casting at even levels, so at 12, you gain another level of casting, enabling you to nab 4th level fate maker spells, which are pretty good.

it gets you a whole ton of skill tricks and lets you use your best ones more often than normal, so that's something good too in addition to its larger amount of skills.


Sources
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cwar- hexblade
srd- pally of tyranny
minis handbook- marshal
planar handbook- fatemaker
draconomicon- secret ingredient
champions of ruin- snatch trophy, bloodsoaked intimidate
drow of the underdark- imperious command
complete scoundrel- uncanny trickster
cityscape web enhancement
phb2- master manipulator, wanderer's diplomacy