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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Just listened to the song 'Misery' by Soul Asylum and it got my thoughts flowing.

    Suppose a BBEG has a factory or company set up to make money or otherwise profit from the misery of others? Not necessary literally, but the big thing is that every minute that he's got his factory set up he's either hurting people, polluting the world, or making weapons/stuff for other villains in the world. Or he's just out to make money and doesn't care how many lives he ruins in the process.

    What could he make? (feel free to propose some kind of cheese that exploits the rules)

    How would his actions hurt good people?

    How would they help other evil people?

    And, how would a team of adventurers go about stopping him and how would he protect his setup?

    Assume that the setting has various good and evil kingdoms/nations and that this guy is running a "legitimate business" that is either operating under the radar of any good aligned nations, is working with evil aligned ones, or is exploiting a good aligned nation that's too weak to resist him.


    Ideas I can think of:

    1). Producing Liquid Pain - Book of Vile Darkness has Liquid Pain that can be extracted from a sapient being who is being tortured. One dose can either be used as a highly addictive drug and sold for 100gp or be used to provide 3 or so xp for crafting magic items. The extraction methods are expensive and time consuming so the Factory Owner would likely have to have multiple loans or other ways to get money to get the starting funds for the equipment... then be really cheap with expenses and try to get as much money as possible from the resulting product to pay for the equipment.

    Destroying the equipment not only stops his operation but totally ruins a huge investment and leaves the guy with no way to pay off the debts. Expect him to go through any lengths to protect his stuff, most often taking hostages or threatening loved ones of the adventurers.

    2). Lycanthrope Hides - I read about this from this board when someone talked about their game. A group of people captured lycanthropes to skin them for their pelts. However, lycanthropes turn human when they die so the gang has to skin the lycanthropes alive before killing them. Also, have some tied up and force them to bite innocent people to spread the curse.

    Best course of action: Kill the gang members as efficiently as possible.

    3). Zombie Factory - Making zombies for other necromancers to control. Normally it takes 50 gp or so of onyx gems to animate a zombie from a corpse. But with the Fell Animate metamagic the spellcaster can make a zombie out of any creature they slay with the appropriate spell.

    Thus, a team of fighters or thugs gather living people or animals to the factory and beat them to within an inch of their life (either 0hp or -9 or so) then a spellcaster slays them with a low-level metamagiked spell. Use pearls of power to replenish used spell slots and make the most of each days worth of spells. Or the spellcaster just sleeps alot.

    That would result in people being captured and kept prisoner, regularly beaten and forced to wait for eight hours until the spellcaster replenishes his spells to zombify them. The zombies are then sent off to other necromancers or nations that make use of undead labor. This zombie company makes money by selling zombies for cheaper than the others (they might even sell them to other zombie companies who pocket the onyx gems they are supposed to use to animate long-dead corpses).

    4). A meatpacking plant - Basically a normal meatpacking plant as it was in the early 20th century and written about in The Jungle. Unsafe working conditions, low pay, poor sanitation, wage slavery (if not outright slavery in a fantasy setting), or possibly including sapient beings in the product (even if largely by accident).

    Could add all sorts of hazards to the factory like green slime to dispose of animal parts (or evidence), brown mold to provide refrigeration, plenty of workers with sharp implements if fighting breaks out, and various animals that might be dangerous.


    Plus there could be magical or mundane pollution as a result of crafting factories.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    tcrudisi's Avatar

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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    When I opened this, I thought it was going to be on 2nd ed. revised of World of Darkness' Werefolf: the Apocalypse.

    Actually, the Pentex: Subsidiaries book would be a very good one for you to get ideas from, as that is exactly what Pentex does with all of its factories. Different system, sure, but it would get you started with the right ideas.
    Thank you Ceika for the wonderful Avatar avatar!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    The BBEG is an alcoholic for a particular type of brew which is distilled using souls... ...and its a very rare drink to make. Solution? Mass-manufacture it and he keeps all the booze for himself.
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    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

    I started my first campaign outside of an abandoned mine, just as soon as a meteor storm from the moon hits.

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    BridgeCity's Avatar

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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Monsters Inc. comes to mind. The whole 'screams as electricity' idea. Maybe he has worked out a way to harness the very essence of misery and can use it to boost spells or power certain things?
    Last edited by BridgeCity; 2010-11-21 at 03:59 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    He manufactures and sells all the skull-chalices, bone-thrones, and human-skin-bound books that the world's other BBEG's use. He even does custom orders for BBEG's who want, say, elven body parts uses, or those of the would-be-heroes the BBEG just crushed.

    He has a brand. The marketing looks like that for BCBG but is called...well you know.
    Last edited by ffone; 2010-11-21 at 05:32 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    He has organized a city-wide organization known as the Happiness Club. Its members operate under the delusion that Happiness is a finite resource within society, and that by "stealing" the happiness of others, their lots in life can be improved.
    As such, "competitions" are held, where achieving goals or objectives awards the member "happiness points". These points are an entirely abstract concept, but the leader sometimes sets up (seemingly) miraculous strokes of luck- a member with a high score might suddenly find money on their doorstep, or something they desire comes to them easily.
    In reality, the leader is using the organization as muscle, spies, and as a crude assassins guild. He uses blackmail, and directs his members to abuse and stalk victims unless they pay or provide him with money or a service.

    If it wasn't obvious most members of the happiness club are the poor, the lonely, the diseased, and the insane. The people that fill out the bottom of society... they are drawn in with promises of happiness and friendship, and are indoctrinated into believing that the happy, successful people around them have "stolen" their happiness from them. But, by working together as a group, the members of the happiness club can accrue points and steal back the happiness that belongs to them...
    Last edited by Chrono22; 2010-11-21 at 06:17 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Instead of supernatural stuff, you could go the Captain Planet route.

    Basically, the factory just makes pollution. Clean water, nutritious foods, and non-renewable resources are fed into the factory, and horrible toxic sludge is pumped out the other side (into a river that supports the livelihoods of countless people for the many miles that it flows down to the ocean).

    Everyone just assumes they provide some valuable service because, hey, why else would they be allowed to stay in business? Regardless, no one the PCs ask is capable of telling them exactly what the factory produces.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Well, any factory that produces weapons. That's basically what weapons are for, hurting others.

    Or sealing away elder evils, but those tend to be custom pieces, not factory-made.
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    It doesn't so much as demean the celestial monkey's existence, so much as fulfill it. Without the ability to be summoned to set off traps, retrieve objects from dangerous situations, and all and all be a party's guinea pig, the Celestial Monkey would languish in obscurity in the MM and do nothing more legendary than eat celestial bananas.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Using advanced magics, the BBEG begins to mine the ocean floor in the southern gulf of the continent, intent of obtaining a rare but highly toxic magical substance. Due to his own carelessness, this substance spills out and begins to spread through the ocean, destroying the ecosystem of both that area of the ocean, and the nearest land mass. The BBEG is unapologetic.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    AstralFire's Avatar

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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Quote Originally Posted by tahu88810 View Post
    Using advanced magics, the BBEG begins to mine the ocean floor in the southern gulf of the continent, intent of obtaining a rare but highly toxic magical substance. Due to his own carelessness, this substance spills out and begins to spread through the ocean, destroying the ecosystem of both that area of the ocean, and the nearest land mass. The BBEG is unapologetic.
    ooh! ooh! I have the perfect name! She's Hayley Burton, Bastard of Petersburg.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Totally Not Evil Bob's Discount Orphan Smile Farm! Buy Today!
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nyarlathotep's Avatar

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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Quote Originally Posted by tahu88810 View Post
    Using advanced magics, the BBEG begins to mine the ocean floor in the southern gulf of the continent, intent of obtaining a rare but highly toxic magical substance. Due to his own carelessness, this substance spills out and begins to spread through the ocean, destroying the ecosystem of both that area of the ocean, and the nearest land mass. The BBEG is unapologetic.
    For double misery points you could make that same substance easily obtainable from the desert or tundra with little to no harm to others, but the land is expensive enough that the BBEG goes for the ocean instead.
    Level 3 feat: improved monster class pimping

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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Warlawk's Avatar

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    Default Re: "We could build a factory that makes misery."

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrono22 View Post
    He has organized a city-wide organization known as the Happiness Club. Its members operate under the delusion that Happiness is a finite resource within society, and that by "stealing" the happiness of others, their lots in life can be improved.
    As such, "competitions" are held, where achieving goals or objects awards the member "happiness points". These points are an entirely abstract concept, but the leader sometimes sets up (seemingly) miraculous strokes of luck- a member with a high score might suddenly find money on their doorstep, or something they desire comes to them easily.
    In reality, the leader is using the organization as muscle, spies, and as a crude assassins guild. He uses blackmail, and directs his members to abuse and stalk victims unless they pay or provide him with money or a service.

    If it wasn't obvious most members of the happiness club are the poor, the lonely, the diseased, and the insane. The people that fill out the bottom of society... they are drawn in with promises of happiness and friendship, and are indoctrinated into believing that the happy, successful people around them have "stolen" their happiness from them. But, by working together as a group, the members of the happiness club can accrue points and steal back the happiness that belongs to them...
    That's a pretty neat idea.

    I also second the idea of using ideas from the Pentex Corp from White Wolf's Werewolf line.

    Now, in my homebrew world I've been tinkering with over the years there is a very small emerging nation that is made up of intelligent free willed undead (Actually a new race with similar functionality to Warforged). The base that they were created from is Ghouls, so they are flesh eaters. This presents problems for any race that actually wants to fit into the nations of the world of course. So they have brokers who travel and purchase fresh corpses. If Grampa just died they will buy the body, hold a small ceremony for the family, then cart the body back home to be served (Minor magic of Gentle Repose on the cart to keep the food fresh). Aside from the taboo of flesh eating, it's actually a great option for poor peasants. They get paid, and they get rid of a body they really had no good way to dispose of.

    Now, perhaps your BBEG runs a meat packing plant that is mostly legit even though it suffers from the problems you listed in the OP. The BBEG has a few people in the plant that are his through and through, and he uses them to process kidnap victims which he then sells to a corrupt food collector of the ghoul nation. He specializes in races that are not common in the region and sells them at good prices as a delicacy. Depending on the type of campaign you have, there is both the investigation and buttkicking of the BBEG as well as potential social/political issues with the corrupt official who was buying this stuff as the ghoul nation is trying VERY hard to actually go legit and be an accepted nation.
    A man who dies fighting with his principles intact dies in glory. To expect enemies to follow the same code of honor defiles that honor, reducing it to a set of arbitrary rules.

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