Last year, we brought you ten races, four templates, and well over twenty monsters. This year, in order to try to keep things fresh, we’re introducing something new to the mix. This year, Exotic Encounters is also your source for new NPCs. These articles will feature a specific NPC with a description, background, and plot hook that make them easy to drop into any game and feel like a fleshed-out character, but they also feature a stat-block that fits a rather common archetype, and could easily be used to substitute for a similar character. For example, today’s character is Lord Darvoss, and you’ll get to read all about him below, but if you just need a stat-block for a CR 8 noble (of the type you might see dueling it out against Zorro, for example), then you can drop the name and his stats fit just right.
As always with Necromancers of the Northwest, every stat-block comes with a minimum of one unique special ability never seen anywhere else, and today is no exception. But why not check it out for yourself?
This tall, thin man has short dark hair and sharp, brooding facial features. He is dressed in blue finery with white lace frills and gold trim, and walks with the confident air of a man who is used to being obeyed. When he speaks, his voice is like a commanding bark, immediately drawing one’s attention straight to him.
LORD DARVOSS, AMBITIOUS NOBLE CR 8
Male human rogue 3/swashbucklerACG 5
LE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +9*; Senses Perception +10
AC 19, touch 15, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +3 Dex, +2 dodge)
hp 50 (5d10+3d8+5)
Fort +3, Ref +11, Will +4
Defensive Abilities charmed life (3/day), defensive stance, evasion, nimble +1, trap sense +1
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 shocking rapier +13/+8 (1d6+11* plus 1d6 electricity/18-20)
Ranged composite longbow (+2 Str) +10 (1d8+2/x3)
Special Attacks panache (3), sneak attack +2d6
Str 14, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 16
Base Atk +7; CMB +9; CMD 24
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Skills Acrobatics +9, Appraise +7, Bluff +17, Diplomacy +14, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (nobility) +12, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Sleight of Hand +14, Stealth +9
SQ deeds (derring-do, dodging panache, opportune parry and riposte, kip-up, menacing swordplay, precise strike, swashbuckler initiative), rogue talent (honeyed wordsAPG), swashbuckler finesse, swashbuckler weapon training +1, trapfinding +1, wealthy
Entourage solitary or escort (Lord Darvoss plus 4 bodyguards [fighter 5])
Gear +1 shocking rapier, +2 leather armor, cloak of resistance +1, composite longbow [+2 Str] with 40 arrows, potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of displacement, potion of gaseous form, pouch with 18 gp.
Boon Lord Darvoss does little that is not in his own best interest, but for those in his employ, he can provide basic provisions worth up to 1,000 gp, and for valued agents, he is willing to pull strings and hire famous lawyers in order to circumvent legal troubles that arise on the job.
Defensive Stance (Ex): If Lord Darvoss has not moved since the beginning of his last turn, he gains a +2 competence bonus to AC.
Snide Remark (Ex): Whenever a creature misses Lord Darvoss with a melee attack by 5 or more, Lord Darvoss can sneer and mock their combat abilities as an immediate action. If he does, he must make a Bluff check (DC 10 + the attacker’s Hit Dice + the attacker’s Wisdom modifier). Success indicates that the target is shaken for 1d4 rounds by Lord Darvoss’s biting words. This has no effect on a creature that is already shaken.
Wealthy: Lord Darvoss is very wealthy, and as such has twice the normal amount of gear for a heroic NPC of his level.
*These numbers assume Lord Darvoss has at least 1 point of panache remaining and should be reduced as appropriate if he uses up all his panache pool.
Lord Farbin Darvoss is an exacting, unforgiving man. Born the youngest son of Lord Bilfred Darvoss, he never quite fit in with the rest of his family: his father and brothers were bound for the knighthood, and divided their time evenly between battle, merrymaking, and grand boar hunts. Farbin considered his family simple, and watched as the family estate began to corrode due to mismanagement. He was neither shocked nor particularly saddened when his oldest brother Percy died in a hunting accident at the age of 15, nor when his other brother Sandovar was killed in a petty border skirmish two years later. When his father died a year after that (after getting a bone lodged in his throat at a feast), Farbin officially inherited his title, and gained hold of the Darvoss estates.
Lord Darvoss takes his title very seriously, and considers himself the steward of his family’s title, estates, and good name. As such, he has devoted most of his life to increasing the status, importance, and wealth of the Darvoss household. While he prefers to do this through shrewd trading and political maneuvering, he is certainly not above criminal activities—including blackmail, bribery, kidnapping, and even murder—in order to get what he wants, provided that he has a reasonable chance of keeping the entire affair quiet. His dedication to his family name has paid off, and the Darvoss estate has tripled in size, and increased in wealth over tenfold.
Currently, Lord Darvoss is pursuing two major avenues of increasing his position and power. The first is arranging an alliance with a neighbor, Lord Grangill, to attack a mutual neighbor, Baron Ygromir. The baron’s forces are too great for either lord to be able to defeat individually, but together, Darvoss is confident that they could easily rout the baron and each take choice land holdings from him. Unfortunately for Darvoss, Grangill is old and wary, and rightly fears that if he were to agree to this scheme, that Darvoss might turn on him next. Lord Darvoss’s other current pursuit, and one that he has been after for a very long time, is to gain a seat on the Council of Lords. His family held a seat here long ago, but it was lost to the Feverik family generations ago in a gambling debt, giving the Feveriks two seats on the council, and Darvoss none. Try though he might, he has yet been unable to beg, plead, or demand a seat. It may not be long before he turns to more drastic measures in order to get a current holder to surrender what he seeks.