And here we go! In no particular order, our contestants.

First up, Marx "Orthopoxia Vulgaris"!

Spoiler: Marx "Orthopoxia Vulgaris"
Marx “Orthopoxia Vulgaris”
CE Tauric Elven Hound/Phrenic Medusa
Assassin 2 /Psion 3 /Ballisteer 9 /Cragtop Archer 4

Ballisteer found here

There is a lawless region in-between the very ordered and structured kingdoms of Whatever and Uneed. This lawless region has been beset upon by a number of terrible maladies; the orthopoxic disease, where young officials, particularly hardworking and earnest men and women of society, will suddenly burst open in a spray of their viscera, as if an invisible beast exploded from within their bodies. Many of the victims of this disease are incredibly stressed, so both Kingdoms have legislated mandatory recreation and limited work hours, which seems to have stayed the virulence of the mysterious illness. This is quite an affront to the High Caste nobles, who can now do little to increase in power. Further, many of these untimely deaths have resulted in myriads of slaves from one of the kingdoms, (we all know which) running away and staging small resistances. Squashing them has become quite costly, and the loss of 10% of the field labor has led to food shortfalls of such a magnitude that we’ve had to ration the proportion of food available to the lower classes. Historically, this has been fine, but paired with the apparent lack of effort the nobles are displaying due to fear of the disease, the underclass have become quite restless, some even colluding with the slaves! What terrible times we live in.

Further, there are reports of a ragtag collection of miscreants assembling in the mountainous passes between the two kingdoms. The kingdoms best spies and special forces claim that there is a guild of thieves being collected by a leader known only as “Marx.” There are scant reports of what this Marx character looks like, but it is said that he is an anarchic centaur that sold his soul to the fiends. Other reports are that Marx is a Yuan ti anathema who rebelled against it’s god to instead follow a philosophy that he learned through consorting with Slaad death masters. None of that would matter much, as Marx seems unconcerned with interrupting trade between the two kingdoms…and we have bigger domestic problems to sort out first.

-Excerpt from the final letter that high lord Wintermoon,
penned before the orthopoxia disease took his life.

Campaign notes:
You will need two lawful kingdoms, at least one of which condones slavery. Between these two kingdoms you need about a two week ride through craggy forested terrain. I strongly suggest giving Marx a CN Skulk Druid as a Lieutenant who prescribes to the same worldview as Marx. This will allow for fell conspiracy use with awakened songbirds. A goliath Cragtop Archer would make sense in her retinue, as would a low level psionic artificer who esteems intellectual freedom (who probably does some outlawed far-realm stuff). Marx also needs a few thieves guild go-betweens who are steadfastly loyal to her, even if it is because they know (not believe) that she can kill them at any time from any distance. Marx has the most dramatic effect in a low Psi campaign. Marx is particularly susceptible against locate city bomb hi-jinx.

Character Background:
Clawing her way out of a shallow grave from the body of what she now assumes was her mother, Marx was born with no idea of her identity or her own backstory. A few years later, after being taken in by githzerai psion, she was able to unravel that she was the result of an experiment performed on an enslaved medusa, probably blinded and enslaved by the neogi. Living with her mentor, an assassin and tracker of some local renown, Marx was given some instruction on building psionic talent and how to develop her creeping around skills. When her mentor met his end due to an infected wound he sustained in a battle with a tainted slaver, Marx was once again alone in the world.

The Build:
Str 17 (Base 10, +7 elven hound racial bonus)
Dex 20 (Base 13, +7 elven hound racial bonus)
Con 15 (Base 12, +3 elven hound racial bonus)
Int 19 (Base 15, +2 phrenic +2 medusa racial bonus)
Wis 19 (Base 14, +2 phrenic, +3 medusa racial bonus)
Cha 17 (Base 8, +4 phrenic, +5 medusa racial bonus)

If stat increases occur, apply them all to intelligence.

Mechanical Premise

Remember when you were a kid, and you thought it would be so cool to use a knife made of ice to kill someone. The police would never be able to find you because the murder weapon melted. (Apparently empathy is a learned behavior). That kid grew up to be this monstrosity. This build uses some exact RAW wordings to facilitate this effect.

The assassin death attack reads:
Spoiler: Death Attack

If an assassin studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (assassin's choice). While studying the victim, the assassin can undertake other actions so long as his attention stays focused on the target and the target does not detect the assassin or recognize the assassin as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the assassin's class level + the assassin's Int modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim's mind and body become enervated, rendering her helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the assassin. If the victim's saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds. If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the assassin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.

Look at this reading carefully, the attack doesn’t need to be a melee attack. It simply needs to be made with a melee weapon. The melee weapon that I have chosen is the javelin. Although technically, it is a ranged weapon, it can be wielded as a melee weapon. If you’re DM is skeptical of this reading, you have a few options: 1.) Take weapon proficiency (javelin; used as a melee weapon), 2.) Take weapon group proficiency (spears and javelins) (UA), or 3.) take weapon focus javelin and tormtor school (DotU p.57). These options require taking an additional early fighter or psychic warrior levels. Otherwise, use flaws...or get rid of ability enhancer, replacing it with fell conspiracy, and change "weapon proficency (javelin as melee)" to weapon focus (javelin) and take tormtor school in the HD 21 feat slot.

Great! now you can make a ranged death attack. But what if you wanted to make a ranged death attack from far away?

That’s where cragtop archer comes in: by using your assassin 1st level spell “sniper’s shot” and pairing it with the far shot feat, you can make death attack from extremely far away.
Spoiler: Sniper’s Shot & Cragtop Archer abilities

Sniper’s shot: Your next single ranged attack (if it is made before the start of your next turn) can be a sneak attack regardless of the distance between you and your target. Swift action casting time, lasts 1 round.
Arcing Shot (Ex): A cragtop archer of 3rd level or higher can fire a high, arcing shot to gain greater range with her projectile weapon. Any time the cragtop archer can fire a projectile weapon in an area with at least 40 feet of clearance between her position and the ceiling (or any other overhead obstruction, such as a forest canopy), her maximum range with the projectile weapon is fifteen range increments rather than the normal ten range increments.
Horizon Shot (Su): From 4th level on, a cragtop archer can seemingly hit targets as far away as the horizon as easily as she can hit something nearby. As a full-round action, the cragtop archer can make a single attack with a projectile weapon. This attack is made with no penalty for range, though it still has the same maximum range as a normal attack by the cragtop archer. This ability can be used in conjunction with any ability that extends the range of a projectile weapon, such as the Far Shot feat or the cragtop archer's arcing shot ability.

All of this requires that the DM allows an attack with a melee weapon being used as the ammunition for a projectile weapon. As you can see, this requires the use of a projectile weapon that isn’t a javelin. The Icechucker from Frostburn comes to the rescue:


Icechucker: The icechucker appears to be a large crossbow at a casual glance, larger even than a heavy crossbow. Its launching mechanism is designed to fire large shards of ice (usually icicles) rather than regular crossbow bolts. You draw an icechucker back by pulling on a thick lever on the underside of the weapon. Loading an icechucker is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. If icicles aren’t handy to load into an icechucker, it can also be used to fire a javelin, dealing the same damage. The icechucker has a range increment of 30’.

But, perhaps the DM in charge of this game isn’t that liberal. No worries. Throw anything comes to the rescue. This feat allows you to throw a melee weapon with which you are proficient with a range increment of 20. Load your icechucker with your javelin and throw the entire thing.

With far shot, that range increment increases to 45’. Paired with arching shot, that means that the character can hit something 15x45 feet away =675 feet. Once he can afford the distance enhancement, that increases to 4,500 feet away.

Now, it is really hard to hit a person from a mile away because of cover and concealment rules...but don’t worry about that so much. Because 3.0 has a fancy little prestige class called the ballisteer, which is basically the soul bow minus the soul knife! It was never updated, so it stands. With this class, you can make ammunition that you shoot from a ranged weapon be invisible, explosive, and teleport through concealment and cover!
Spoiler: PHASE SHOT!

Phase Shot (Sp): By expending 3 power points per shot, the ballisteer causes his ammo to phase and move through the Astral Plane. His shots ignore most natural and magical barriers, and his target is denied any armor bonuses it may have had. The target also loses any Dexterity and dodge bonuses if the ballisteer is attacking from a concealed position. This power also allows you to shoot targets through opaque walls, but the target gets total concealment against these attacks. Phase shot does not allow for sneak attacks unless the ballisteer could make a sneak attack without using phase shot. This is considered a teleportation effect and can be blocked by powers and spells that affect those. There is also a chance something occurs to the shot while it is on the Astral Plane: Any attack roll of a natural "1" or "2" is an automatic miss, and the shot is lost. This ability is applied as the attack is made.

Seeing as how your ammunition is a melee weapon, it can trigger the assassin’s death attack, and seeing as how you’re using a projectile weapon to sling the melee weapon based ammunition you can invoke the crag top archer’s ability, and seeing as how you can imbue that ammo with extra effects, you can use the ballister’s manifested abilities to assassinate anyone from nearly a mile away. The problem with doing all of this is line of sight.

To cover these line of sight bases, you have fell conspiracy, which allows a message spell between yourself and your allies. You also have clairvoyance or sense link as a manifestable power. If you have extensive geographical knowledge, a grid coordination system, and spotters, you can have a line of sight to your victim. Your spies use the message spell to report the targets to you using your predefined grid numbering system. You use clairvoyance on that region. Draw a bead for three turns and send an invisible exploding phasing javelin through the astral plane to kill them in a single hit. So long as you have pp, every 18 seconds, someone might die.

Now, if your DM really doesn’t like you using a melee weapon as ammunition that you shoot from a projectile weapon. You need to buy a bayonet for your icechucker and get the returning property put on it in addition to the distance enhancement. This turns your projectile weapon into a melee weapon with which you are proficient. You can now use it with throw anything. If you load the javelin into it, you can charge it with psionic stuffs, and although the chucker itself cannot bypass any cover, the ammunition inside of it can, which leads you to a weird rules conundrum…which can only be solved by paying a gnome to invent a “weapon flinger” for you. Retrain your exotic weapon proficiency: icechucker if this is how you have to do this. If this DM also doesn’t allow retraining, well….fine, I guess the build don’t work so good.

And so, putting it all together. This character can make your PC’s faces explode from a mile away with invisible ammunition. Over and over again…

…actually only a few times a day…unless, of course, they find some cognizance crystals and a wand of sniper’s shot.

The weakest part of this technique, besides the lack of PP, is the low DC of the death attack (DC 16 for many levels). The best way to lift this DC is to boost the daylights out of this character’s Intelligence. You will also wants gloves of endless javelins.

The absolutely necessary magical gear is: icechucker with distance enhancement, intelligence boosters, cognizance crystals, a wand of sniper’s shot, a wand of near horizon(CM), and gloves of javelins.

Note: This build can be made to work with a simple human, but the abilities don’t come online until level 20. And unless you use flaws, you won’t get to add craven and zen archery into it for more punch. But you could totally destabilize an entire kingdom. (Just add martial rogue and more psywar levels…)

Monstrous Humanoid, psionic subtype
Tauric (SS p. 133) elven hound (ROW p.189) / Phrenic (XPH) Medusa

Spoiler: Tauric thoughts

The cheese with this template never ends. The CR is listed as “base creature +1.” The “base creature” is defined in the template as the animal half. This means that you can make a CR 2 creature with any amount of HD you want. The CR of the “base humanoid” is irrelevant. I chose medusa and elven dog because it got me enough feats and skills to hit the ground running. This arrangement is super sweet because the CR for the phrenic template doesn’t increase the CR of the entire creature, just the medusa half, which is totally subsumed by the template’s “as base creature +1”

The weird thing is that the template turns you into a monstrous humanoid in the end. So you can nest your tauric villain within a tauric villain. All at CR 2. My prelim research identified some other candidates for this cheese. All of the following are CR 1 animal/,magical beasts/vermin with more than 1 HD that fit into the specs for the template. If you ever do nest tauric species together, you can bring in the heavy hitting magical beasts after going through a two humped camel gateway. Your DM might just ignore you for a week…
MM1: riding dog, giant ant, giant bee, medium monstrous centipede, scorpion, and spider. The light horse, pony, mule, donkey (all of which you can modify the stats and speeds of with CoV)
FB: Snowspider
SSt: two humped camel
City of Splendor: Waterdeep: Watch spider
RoW: Brixashulty & Elven hound
Dragon Magic: phynxkin (Pounce Yo)

The following are some of the other monstrous humanoid candidates that I considered:
Sarrukh (SK), Abeil Queen (MM2), Spellweaver (MM2) Armand or Gulgar(MM3), Zern (MM4), Yuan ti (any of em), and paragon human, chitine (MoF).

Just imagine the tauric watchspider/tauric shedu/tauric titanic crab of legend/spellweaver! CR 2 sorcerer 20+ with a bunch of cleric casting…

This race grants Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Intimidate, Move Silently, Spot, Balance, Hide, Jump, Listen, Survival, Swim as class skills. With 2+int points to spend per HD, with a x4 bonus for the first HD. This race grants 8 racial hit dice and a natural armor bonus of +4. The speed is 50.

Skill bonus: Elven hounds have a +4 racial bonus on Balance, Hide, Jump, and Swim checks, and a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks. Elven hounds have a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent. I’m not entirely sure if the scent quality remains on the creature, but it’s marginally useful at best.

The race grants proficiency in all simple weapons as well as short bow, dagger, and apparently, snakes…Which I will try to optimize at some point in the future “Dual snake wielding medusa!” I’m thinking totemist…anyway, back to the matter at hand.

This race has Immune to sleep, low-light vision, dark vision 60, resist enchantment, Scent, sprint (move 5 times speed during charge 1/day). This race also has a charisma based petrification gaze attack that targets all within 30’ (DC=10+1/2HD+Cha mod) as well as a Constitution based poison: initial damage 1d6 Str, secondary damage 2d6 Str (DC = 10 +1/2 HD + Con mod). 

CR Level Class BAB fort ref will Skills feats Class Abilities PP
2 0 8d8 racial hit dice 8 4 7 6 Bluff 5, Diplomacy 2, Disguise 5, Intimidate 5, Move Silently 8, Spot 8, Balance 5, Hide 8, Jump 5, Listen 5, Survival 8, tumble 1(cc) Track(bonus), Dodge (1), mobility (3), exotic weapon proficiency (icechucker (FB))(6) Racial skill bonus. Poison. Petrifying Gaze.
Immune to sleep, low-light vision, resist enchantment, scent, sprint,
3/day defensive precognition, 1/day force screen, 3/day empty mind, mind thrust, 1day body adjustment, brain lock, 1/day aversion, blast
3 1 Assassin 1 8 4 9 6 UMD 6, decipher script 1, tumble 2 point blank shot (9) Sneak attack +1d6, death attack, poison use, spells, 3/day intellect fortress, 1/day psychic crush, 1
4 2 Psion 1 8 4 9 8 knowledge religion 4, knowledge geography 1, knowledge local 1 psionic shot (bonus) Bonus feat, Seer Discipline, 3 psion powers known 3
5 3 Psion 2 9 4 9 9 tumble 5 1/day psionic dominate, 5 psion powers known 7
6 4 Psion 3 9 5 10 9 tumble 6, profession cartography 1, concentration 3 Weapon proficiency (javelin as a melee weapon)* (12) 7 psion powers known 12
7 5 Ballisteer 1 9 5 12 9 concentration 9 throw anything (CW), psionic sidestep (web) 1/day energy current, tower of iron will, Psionic Sidestep, Throw Anything. 12
8 6 Ballisteer 2 10 5 13 9 climb 6 invisible shot, Psychic warrior manifesting level 1 13
9 7 Ballisteer 3 11 6 13 10 climb 10, concentration 11 mountain warrior (RoS)(15) 3/day psionic teleport, ethereal shot, Psychic warrior manifesting level 2 15
10 8 Ballisteer 4 12 6 14 10 concentration 15, UMD 7 energy shot 17
11 9 Ballisteer 5 12 6 14 10 concentration 19, UMD 8 1/day fission, incorporeal shot, Psychic warrior manifesting level 3 19
12 10 Ballisteer 6 14 7 15 11 UMD 10, decipher script 3 far shot (18) Pinpoint shot, Psychic warrior manifesting level 4 23
13 11 Ballisteer 7 15 7 15 11 Profession cartographer 5, survival 10 1/day ultra blast, explosive shot 27
14 12 Ballisteer 8 16 7 16 11 Gather information 3 improved psionic sidestep (web)(bonus) Psychic warrior manifesting level 5, improved psionic sidestep 31
15 13 Ballisteer 9 16 8 16 12 Gather information 5, knowledge geography 2 Fell Conspiracy (EoE) (21) Psychic warrior manifesting level 6, phased shot 35
16 14 cragtop archer 17 10 16 12 survival 12, spot 10, Hide 10 Adept climber, far sight 35
17 15 cragtop archer 18 11 16 12 survival 14, spot 12, concentration 20 Strike from above 35
18 16 cragtop archer 19 11 17 13 Hide 12, knowledge local 3 ability enhancer (death attack) (SS) (24) Arching shot 35
19 17 cragtop archer 20 12 17 13 knowledge local 5, profession cartographer 7 Horizon shot 35
20 18 Assassin 2 21 12 18 13 UMD 16, decipher script 5 +1 save against poison, uncanny dodge 35

*See Mechanical Premise above.

Assassin Spells

1st Level: Snipers Shot (SpC), Ebon Eyes (SpC), Instant Search (SpC)

Psion Powers:
1st Level: Sense link, Urban Strider (RoD), Deja Vu, Call to mind, Missive
2nd Level: Clairvoyant Sense, Object reading, Psychic Beacon (MoE p.105)

Psychic Warrior Powers
1st Level: Call Weaponry, Channel the Psychic Dragon (DM p. 77), Synesthete, Chamelion
2nd Level: concealing amorpha, Animal affinity

Spell and Power notes:

Sense link is used on an underling who shared the fell conspiracy near where Marx is hiding. If the underling sends a message, Marx will link to the underlings sense’s and use their eyeballs to aim a snipershot enhanced phase shot exploding death attack on the intruders.

Instant search is used rarely on those missions where Marx is intruding on a premises to retrieve an item (like a kings crown or such). Ebon eyes is there to pierce magical darkness; stupid Drow… Synesthete is there to handle fogs.

Urban strider, concealing amorpha, and chamelion are all used for city intrusion. With urban strider being a manifester’s spider climb. The Body Adjustment Psi-Like Ability (PLA) is used for intrusions over water (typically at night or during fog).

Object reading, Psychic beacon, Synesthete and the Scent ability are all used for tracking important people that Marx wants dead.

Deja Vu is rarely used and saved for flat footed opponents that are within real (not remote) viewing of Marx. Usually a preferred tactic for Marx to get away using her high speed.

Marx dislikes using psionic dominate seeing as it is very akin to slavery, and only uses the power to turn direct threats to herself onto others or to otherwise end an immediate threat. Marx is intelligent and eloquent enough to make most non-lawful folks to at least empathize. Ultrabalst, however, Marx is fine with opting for. For her, it’s better to be dead than out of control of one’s destiny and she extends that courtesy to her opponents.

Psionic Teleport allows Marx to get close (within a mile of her target) and to return to a safe base of operations.

The Fission PLA, paired with cognizance crystals, allows Marx to make two death attacks on either single or multiple targets.

Character Notes:

Marx is a Radical Anarchist Nihilist. Marx sees all sentient life as having a drive to impose order on a chaotic universe in order to hoard it’s power for themselves. This desire causes a dis-unity with fate and destiny that leads to dysfunction. In a conversation, Marx will point out that the Gods don’t actually care about their followers except as a means to an ends: to play stupid games with other gods that are just extreme passion plays no different than what semi-human nobles do.

Marx will point out how systematized government is a force multiplier that ultimately benefits one being at the expense of all others. This power imbalance, to Marx, as been so systematized that even the gods themselves, (who Marx views as extensions of the collective will of the people) perpetuate this injustice on reality itself. She’s even whispered to herself at night, “Change the people, change the gods, change reality.” If Marx counteracts some of the power imbalance, at least locally, she would not only be in defiance of the same artificial order that created an abomination like herself, but that she could actually create reality ripples wherein all of the multi-verse’s existence will re-equilibrate around truer ideals: Nothing actually matters, and that struggle and pain are unfair corruptions of a pure universe, so why can’t everything be good for everyone? Therefor, barriers to pleasure are the highest sins that one creature can impose on another. Given enough power, beings start taking the maximum potential pleasure that a creature can obtain and hoarding it for themselves. Marx sees herself as a Robin Hood in this regard. Because of this, occasionally she spies on common people in nearby kingdoms using clairvoyance, and after watching for a bit, she “frees” them by killing their abusive husband, landlord, boss, wife, or whathaveyou, as a type of guardian angel of vengeance. For the poor, these are freebie hobbies that she uses as opportunities to learn more about the local culture, relationships and to hone her assassination skills. For the rich, they need to contract a local thieves guild and pay for an assassination, which she’ll subcontract from them using a go between.

To Marx, the entire multiverse is in disharmony right now. To her, it is because there is an arbitrary order imposed on the raw fabric of existence. This idea is reinforced by her experience of turning life to stone, which she describes as entering a being through their eyes and stacking each part of their essence in neat little piles, with the heaviest bits weighing down the squirmiest bits so that all motion in their being stops. Because of this perception of petrification, Marx wears semi-opaque crystal goggles to protect others, opting to use this supernatural power only when her life is threatened, and even thereafter she feels hypocritical and often self atones through a couple day long bender of drug use.

Marx will attempt to keep from killing children and slaves. But not at great personal risk. Marx targets ostentatiously wealthy, especially if the adornment with wealth has little practical purpose. (She’d target a person in mundane golden plate mail before she would target a person with elven chain mail +15)

Write ups:
So when the PCs encounter Marx, it will be either to solve the problems of the kingdoms involved, or to petition her to solve the PC’s problem for them. The sweet spot for Marx is at CR 19. But PCs can interact with her at any point before then. At CR 6, she is psion medusa assassin who is for hire. At CR 15, she can use phase shot, and is the leader of her own assassin’s guild. Her guild operates as a tyrannical Co-op, with 10% of all gains going towards her personal wealth acquisition (she always spends her money on upgrading gear and hiring/bribes) and 70% of the rest of the wealth is perfectly evenly distributed. A 10% finders fee is given to those that secure marks.

At CR 19, Marx is probably well known as the world’s greatest assassin, with the ability to get within a mile of a target and plink away at them with an assassin’s death attack. The knowledge of this assassin will only be known to assassin tribes and thieves guilds, but they will won’t know exactly her race or all of her abilities, other than her marks wind up untraceably dead.

Further, she has developed a plan to destabilize the two most powerful lawful kingdoms on her continent in hopes that she can foment a movement to create a worldwide fear of power acquisition at the expense of others. She has chosen a spot of craggy mountain forest in-between these two kingdoms. She develops an intense knowledge of the land and a longitude Latitude grid system and distributes maps to her underlings of what their patrol regions are.

Even if her direct overlording isn’t directly acknowledged by the public at large as hers, the orthopoxia vulgaris disease is acknowledged as being the worst plague either kingdom has ever seen. Even the poor workers in the fields work less hard for fear of “catching it.” The fact that the occasional abusive husband/uncle/wife randomly has his/her face explode from the “disease” [really an invisible exploding phase shot poisoned javelin] really helps to keep the fear up. Although it is the political keepers of power that Marx slays most often. Slave traders and owners stopped using the routes through this pass between the two kingdoms because the “disease” is at its worst along the crags. Those trade caravans rather take an additional 4 week round about route.

Campaign Design:
One of the more horrifying ways to run a Marx campaign is to give the PCs the job of escorting officials that are on Marx’s kill list. The officials hire NPCs who also have access to disease removal, thinking that the orthopoxia is just a disease. As the PCs move throughout the two week treck, Marx uses her grid system using animal or low level hidden spies to fell conspiracy messages back to her to get into place to make death attacks. Depending on how OP the group is, I suggest not targeting any PCs with the instant death attack, but if your PCs have raise dead and the like, go for it. Marx has limited PP per day, and thus can only kill off 3 or 4 of the officials and their retainers at a time. With each event being an opportunity for the PCs to using magic or tracking to discover the true nature of the disease. If you stack the escorting job enough, you can kill a few people a day at random. If the PCs don’t figure enough out by half way, the rest of the magistrates will want to hustle the rest of the way.

If an unrelated bandit ambush occurred at the same time, that would be a great red herring.

Following the 3 clue rule, you could have one of Marx’s spotters have what looks like a super expensive map with the patrol grid on it, maybe with a descriptor of the next grid’s sentry pencilled in. Certain killers in the group might be able to identify the weapon based basis of the disease, or those with super spot/psicraft checks or astral tracking abilities can see that some teleport effect is responsible for the deaths. Lastly, clairvoyance is a traceable power, so perhaps that can tip them off. If the PCs split up, thinking that just the magistrates are what the targets are, have a messenger from Marx meet them in the middle of the road and tell them, “You are just hired help. The disease doesn’t want you. Go home to your spouses and to your health. Drink mead. Be happy.” If PCs don’t comply, Marx will attempt to pick them off. If she clairvoyantly saw them fight (bandit raid) she will take off her goggles after the first round of combat. Before combat, she will kill any PC using her particular trick, particularly those that own slaves or those that violently or sexually mistreat others. If she loses more than 25% of her hp, she attempts to psionically teleport away.

The other campaign design around marx is to need her to finish an assassin job, but they need to do the pre-prep. They need to infiltrate the castle and deactivate the teleportation blocking device. So that Marx can do her thing. If she is at CR 15 during this mission, her range is greatly reduced, and thus she will need to get within 450’ of the destination. I suggest an ocean’s 11 type scenario, with skill checks dominating the play, until something goes wrong and PCs need to fight their way out of some jam.

Spoiler: SOURCES

Web = Ballisteer, Psychic Feats