Wednesday, August 1, 2018

GvM: The Wizard's Household

This is a post about Wizards in the Those who Know setting, which I've written about before.  Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.  You don't necessarily need to read those, but it would certainly be helpful.


The Blessed Slaves   

There is no such thing as a common Wizard.  Like Dragons or Demons, each one is unique and terrible in their own way.  As such, most Wizards set themselves up like Kings, assembling vast estates full of servants, slaves and beautiful people, to attend to their needs and tell them how great they are.  Some Wizards must build these over a lifetime, cobbling together enough money to pay their servants and enslaving Xenos with clever enchantments, but others inherit them from their predecessors, with their servants being from a clan that has served the Wizard's family for ten generations.  Though in the case of the former, harsh measures such as enslavement are rarely required.  There is no shortage of people who wish to serve a Wizard, because Wizards can do things no one else can.  Fatal or chronic diseases vanish before them, creditors disappear with a mere word from the Wizard, even government officials and heads of state can find themselves backing down or issuing specific orders at the Wizard's request.

Wizards give lavishly to their friends and allies, usually due to their own abundance, and occasionally, pity for the small, insignificant mortals crowding around them.  This generosity, along with a Wizard's natural power and how Wizards can live up to 5 times the average human life span (89 years) makes them seem like demigods to their followers, who usually regard them with superstitious awe and offer them unconditional loyalty.  Many Wizards revel in this attention, some going so far to establish cults of personality around themselves, though most don't stray into actual worship.  Some have claimed to be great prophets or in touch with God or Gods, but most don't bother with such simple manipulations.  Why trick someone to get something when you could merely ask, and have it handed to you?  Additionally, some Wizards do their best to maintain their humility, which usually just makes their followers love them even more.  "Look, he rides in coach so he can be closer to us!  Our Lord truly is kind, is he not?"

But while a Wizard's household is composed of musicians, cooks, tailors, maids and other servants, when things get dangerous, and they always do, as even a modest Wizard has many foes, they summon the martial component of their Household.  These are the Wizard's bodyguards, their security detail, and their personal hit-squad.  For the Mightiest of Archmages, the martial part of their Household can resemble a small army, but most Wizards do not need so many protectors.  Instead, they find a few platoons and a menagerie of freakish horrors sufficient. 

If your players have offended a Wizard, or if a Wizard needs something in the area, yet they don't have the time to come themselves, send one of these.  Roll once on the Mageling Table for a leader or generate your own, then roll once on the special units table and once on the Troops table.    


Magelings

These are humans blessed with significantly more ability then any normal man.  While they are mere candles to the flame that is the Wizard, they vastly exceed all but the most blessed of Humanity.  They cluster around Wizards, and usually have some relation to the Wizard, being a second cousin or something like that, a lesser genetic branch of the Wizard's clan. They can cast a few spells, but they do not embody magic like a True Wizard.

Each Mageling has the base Statblock of either a Level 5 Fighter, Level 5 Wizard, or a mixture of the two.  You can generate your own by rolling on this table here, but instead of the weapon the table suggests, give them something gruesome or a really cool gun.  Additionally, on the first post I made about Wizards, I suggested rolling up conventional spell for them.  For Magelings affiliated with a specific Wizard, I would recommend rolling for the Wizard's spells, then distributing those spells among the Magelings of the Wizard's household.  Of course, if you do not wish to do this, merely select one from below. 

Mageling Table:

1d6

Erwin Dust, the Bubble Astronaut (Magic-User/Fighter)


Dust is a bookish, perfunctory man in a strange, semi-organic spacesuit of his own design.  He leads from the front, trusting his suit to protect him from most things.  And it is quite strong, virtually bulletproof and giving him the strength to crush a man's head like an eggshell.  He is also a Magic-User of some note, with the spells Anti-Gravity, Stone to Dust, Steel Intangibility, and Feather prepared.  His spellbook is engraved on the surface of a large piece of lapis lazuli that hangs around the throat of his pet cat, Rupert, which accompanies him everywhere. 

Erwin Dust's troops wear jet-packs that enable them to fly for 1 minute in normal gravity, and freely maneuver in zero-g.  They also carry glass bottles full of gasoline, which they light and throw at their foes.  Dust then usually casts Anti-Gravity, making the gasoline float and fill the air with bubbles of burning fuel.

Besides his spellbook, hanging around Rupert's throat, Dust also has his organic space-suit, which functions as a suit of full plate with a bulletproof vest built in.  This suit is likely to be destroyed in any battle with Dust, but it self-repairs, provided it is immersed in blood, alcohol or high-fructose corn syrup.

Laura Rotti, the Plaguecaller (Fighter/Assassin)

Rotti is a woman, wearing a brightly colored sundress and straw hat over a dark blue, skintight catsuit.  She will usually try to approach potential foes as an ally or person to be helped, rather then fighting outright.  She is clever, avoiding direct engagement in favor of sneaky tactics, such as hit-and-run attacks, surprise attacks, and ambushes.  When she wishes to, she can cause any person she touches to become infected with a disease.  Her current favorite disease to give people is called Rotti Pox (she named it) which causes 1d6 damage on a hit, followed by -2 to do anything for the rest of the day.  From there, it makes you weep blood and pus from all your orifices, and kills 90% of its victims within days.  There is no cure.

Laura Rotti's troops are all infected with Rotti Pox.  She uses her ability to keep it incubating forever, so they never feel the symptoms.  However, anyone else infected with this disease will not have her help, unless they agree to obey her, and probably do something to prove their loyalty to her.  Those who engages them at close-range or melee will have to make a save for each successful attack.  On a failure, they get infected with this disease, from say, a drop of blood hitting them on the eye or something like that.

Rotti, besides her catsuit, which acts as armor and is almost impossible to see at night, also has a scoped sniper rifle, a blowpipe with poisoned darts, and a dozen claymore mines (3d6 damage for 30', save for half) that she can rig up to use for ambushes.  The spells Summon Plague and Speak with Dead are tattooed across her back. 

Dex Milan, the Man without Fear (Fighter)

Milan is a human, wearing a suave suit and mirrored shades.  He appears totally reasonable and calm, and is a ruthless negotiator.  But if it comes to fighting, he will prove himself a terrifying opponent with his superhuman strength and speed. His primary weapon is a pair of revolvers with lacquered wooden handles named Europa (white oak) and Africanus (teak-wood handle).  He also the ability to hypnotize someone by staring into their eyes (takes a full action, save negates).  Anyone struck by one of his bullets gets a +4 penalty to their save against his hypnosis.  He prefers not to kill people who annoy him, preferring instead to hypnotize them and take their stuff, before leaving them in a strange place with no idea how they got there.

Dex Milan's troops are hypnotized into perfect obedience, so they will fight fearlessly with no regard for pain or tiredness.  Milan, besides his prized pistols, also carries a pair of butterfly knives that act as throwing knives.  His sunglasses are magic, and have the spell, Hypnotic Laser engraved on the inside of the lenses.   

Madelaine Ashton, the Horror of Beverly Hills (Fighter)

A grisly, ghoulish woman with a damaged face and a body covered in healed wounds, scars, burns and the like.  She dresses like she's from 1955 and carries a chainsaw as her primary weapon.  She delights in pretending to be normal, before whipping out her saw and chopping someone's leg off.  She scorns people for suffering pain, fear or death, nothing which she feels anymore.  She regenerates at a freakish rate, regrowing limbs in minutes and healing smaller wounds in rounds.  She is also immortal, and cannot die unless the diamond set into her sternum is torn out.  If this is not done, she will be fine, but might require someone to sew her legs back on.  

Madelain Ashton's troops carry smoke bombs and flash-bangs, to silence or confuse enemies so Ashton can get close to her.  One of them will also have a tear gas launcher, which they will use to drive back and throw off the aim of opponents.  Ashton will charge ahead through the gas, irregardless of whether her mortal troops are following or not.

Besides the diamond set into the center of Ashton's chest, she also carries her chainsaw, a gold wedding band, and some light outerwear (a poodle skirt and white blouse, and probably nothing else).

Elijah (Norris) the Electric (Fighter/Magic-User)

Elijah Norris is a legend made manifest, a modern-day folk tragic hero.  Norris is a hero to the downtrodden, never hesitating to help someone in need.  He serves his master out of loyalty, as the Wizard who owns him saved him from a neglectful family and an indifferent foster care system.  Despite this, however, he is a good person, noble and honest.  He fights with honor and will spare the life of those who seem courageous and noble.  However, those who are evil or support an evil system will find no sympathy from him, though he won't kill them just for that.  Norris is a skilled warrior, fighting with a metal staff that calls down lightning from clouds, though he must be outside to use this.  He is also a Magic-User, with the spells Shocking Blow, Incapacitating Grip, and Tesla's Retort prepared.  These spells are engraved in the surface of the gold Rolex that his Master gave him as a gift.

Elijah Norris' troops are very loyal to him, and will not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to save him.  They also carry leaf-blowers full of metallic dust, which when spilled on someone, makes them take +1 damage per dice from electrical sources.

Norris carries his metal staff which is magic, and his spells are stored on his solid gold watch, which acts as his spellbook.  He also makes art out of scavenged bits of metal.  He will usually have 1d6 pieces near him, each one which would be near Norris and worth 1d100*10 dollars to a discerning collector. 

Kang the Metal Wizard  (True Wizard)

Kang is actually an apprentice Wizard, currently in training to become a full Magus.  He is arrogant, unconcerned by the actions of mortals.  If you actually wound him, he might be amused and fight you seriously (50%) or he might fly into a rage and pursue you to the ends to the Earth (50%).  Kang can control Metal with a thought, reducing guns to useless hunks of steel with a gesture from his hand, and turning swords into shards and splinters with a cocky smile.  He is not particularly hardy, but he is intelligent and ruthless.  If threatened with the serious possibility that he might die, he will retreat.  He cares nothing for honor, the only thing that matters to him is victory.

Kang's troops worship the ground he walks on, and regard him like he his the younger brother they never had.  They will protect him with their lives.  This isn't based on any charm or compulsion, though it might seem like that.  They actually genuinely love him.  They wear metal plate mail, which allows Kang to use his power to pull them out of danger or blunt the effects of attacks against them.

Kang carries a staff given to him by his master, a ring that indicates his lineage and family, and wears robes of tightly coiled wire, mostly steel, but with some copper, cold, silver and platinum threads interspersed throughout.  All three are fabulous treasures, though trying to sell them would be tantamount to admitting to murdering Kang, which would probably lead to a family of offended Wizards and a small army appearing on your doorstep, ready to kill you, all your friends, anyone involved in the sale, anyone who witnessed it, anyone who might have known about the murder or sale, down to anyone who ever sold you pizza.

Special Units table:

1d6

1- Golem: A lumbering construct of meat, metal or stone.  Inscribed with holy words.  Its life is connected to either a talisman embedded in its body somewhere, or to the holy words engraved upon its head.  You will need to scrape off part of the words to change its meaning, or tear off the talisman.  Doing the former will change the Golem's instructions, while the latter will cause it to de-animate.

2- Bound Demon: Some lurching thing from beyond the stars that the Wizard has bound to his service.  Intelligent and Insane.  Likely resents the Wizard for enslaving it, and will possibly give you hints about how to deprive the Wizard of its services as it tries to pull your legs off. 

3- Elder Undead: Some greater, more intelligent Undead, such as a Ghast or Mature Vampire.  Accompanied by a scraggly retinue of 1d3 lesser Undead of the same variety, such as a throng of hungry Ghouls or a bunch of fledgling Vampires.

4- Animated Monstrosity: An animated object of significant size, such as a car, wood chipper, heavy machine gun, farming combine, etc.  Will start each combat pretending to be a non-magical item that the common troops are merely lugging around or riding in.

5- An Ooze
: A pile of multi-colored Jell-O that moves and dissolves any organic material that it touches.  Immune to bullets and blunt damage.  Can be hurt by sharp damage (slashing/piercing), fire, ice and anything that dehydrates, such as salt.

6- 2 Werewolves.  These Werewolves have a 50% of having this ability from the fur belts they wear, which allow them to transform into massive wolves at will.  If not, they require moonlight or a magical substitute, and will carry a source of artificial moonlight with them.  Werewolves are immune to all damage not from magical sources or silver while in Wolf form, and while magical sources can hurt them Wolf form, only silver can kill them.  Everything else is merely and inconvenience.





Troops table:

1d6

1- 1d6 Toxic with 1d8+1 Skags.  Toxic have guns, Skags have clubs, big knives, or two-by-fours.  Toxic will pretend to be Skags.  If all the Toxic are killed, the Skags will lose all cohesion and revert to their instinct to feed.

2- 1d8+1 Changelings.  Fight like level 1 Assassins/Thieves.  Use sneak attacks, surprise.  Shapeshift into people you might not attack on first sight, before revealing their true colors.  Carry daggers and swords of titanium.

3- 1d10 True Undead.  Fight intelligently and fearlessly.  Have no fear of pain or death.  Don't get weapons, but will steal them from you if they get the chance. 

4- 1d8+2 Human Mercenaries.
  On loan from Blackwater or some equally effective PMC.  High AC from body armor, helms and gas masks.  Each has a submachine gun.  They use excellent tactics, employing cover, running you over with cars, flashbangs, etc.

5- 1d6 Bound Spirits.
  A swarm of lesser Ghosts that are bound to a particular object or person.  Resent their enslavement.  Fight by ripping parts of your soul out with spectral claws.  Cannot be hurt by non-magic weapons or effects.  Can be killed, but will return to life if the object or person they are bound to is not destroyed.

6- A swarm of Gremlins.  Tiny, metallic sprites that hunt at the Wizard's command.  They will steal the bullets out of your guns, take the rings off your fingers, and stab you with poisoned needles or knives dripping with hallucinogens.

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