Friday, September 18, 2015

The Secret NPC: Ephenia, Cursed Druidess

Here’s an NPC I thought up last year. The idea came to me as a question. What if a Warlock used Voice of the Chain Master to portray themselves as their familiar? It was my first quest in 5e where I introduced her as a witch living on a lonely island. She presented herself to the heroes as the pseudodragon, but was actually nearby and invisible. Originally, I thought it’d be interesting to have the pseudodragon occasionally turn up while the heroes were sailing around (this is the Pirates of the Aegean campaign), all the while the NPC was actually a member of the crew who went by the name of Swabs. This is what the players know about her from the campaign website:

After the battle with the Incandescence, a madwoman was found on board the Salty Lass swabbing the deck, presumed to have come on board from the other ship during the fighting. Her reply to everything is "Swabs the deck!" The crew laugh at her but leave her be as she takes on that onerous task. They have begun to affectionately call her Swabs.

Then some of the NPC crew mutinied and took the Salty Lass. Swabs later turned up in Haven, when the party’s sorcerer spotted her begging in the street. He kept walking by, as a selfish pirate would I guess. After that it was hard to really bring her back as a relevant part of the campaign. Anyway, here she is in all her glory.

Druid 2/Warlock 6
Medium Human, Neutral Evil

Armor Class 12
Hit Points 43 (6d8), Proficiency: +3
Speed 30 ft.

8 (−1) 14 (+2) 10 (+0)
12 (+1) 14 (+2) 18 (+4)

Saving Throws Int +4, Wis +5, Cha +7
Skills Deception +7, Dragonchess +5, Herbalism +5, Insight +5, Perception +5, Persuasion +7, Stealth +5, Survival +5, Thieves’ Tools +5
Senses passive Perception 15
Languages common, druidic, lanun sea tongue, primordial
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Spellcasting. Ephenia is a 6th-level spellcaster. Her
spellcasting abilities are Wisdom (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks) and Charisma (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks); +2 DC with Mind spells and -2 with Metamagic. She has the following druid spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): absorb elements, druidcraft, resistance
1st level (4 slots): fog cloud, speak with animals

Ephenia can cast 3rd level Warlock spells (2 slots) and knows the following spells:
Cantrips (at will): eldritch blast, gust, mage hand
1st level: charm person, dissonant whispers
2nd level: detect thoughts, invisibility
3rd level: clairvoyance, counterspell, major image

Affinities: Air 1, Force 2, Mind 6, Nature 2, Shadow 1
Warlock Invocations: Beguiling Influence, Mask of Many Faces, Voice of the Chain Master
Features: Actor, Awakened Mind, Circle of the Land, Entropic Ward Invocations, Otherworldly Patron (Lords of the Deep), Pact of the Chain (pseudodragon), Pact Magic, Resilient, Spellcasting, Wild Shape

Eldritch Blast. Ranged Weapon Attack: 2 beams, one or two targets, +7 (1d10 force damage), range 120 ft.

Ephenia was born to the Governor, and as the daughter of a man with ambition she was groomed to one day be married off to a most beneficial political marriage. However, she struggled with courtly etiquette and other skills becoming of a lady, instead preferring to spend her time in the woods. There she fell in love with nature and all things that grow. One day, her father, who paid close attention to the visions of the Undertow cultists and having benefited from them greatly, heard a message from the Lords of the Deep demanding the tender of the woods in exchange for a divine gift. He spared no resource searching the island for any person gifted with nature magic. When the Governor found it was his daughter he did not falter, taking her out to sea aboard his vessel whereby ritual sacrifice he left Ephenia drowning in the middle of the Aegean. Sinking ever deeper the Lords of the Deep visited her, offering her life in exchange for her soul. After a lifetime of trying to please her father, only to be left for dead for some lunatic’s visions, she jumped at the chance for revenge. Ephenia awoke on an uninhabited island. There she spent years in isolation, learning from the Lords of the Deep, with the hope of one day amassing such power as to be able to exact the perfect revenge.

She desires to leave her island, and helps some unlikely heroes in exchange for stealing the item her father thought was worth more than her life. She will stay with those that steal it, and watch it closely so as to observe its properties. She has created a persona, an elderly woman who has been touched by insanity, called Swabs, and will deceive all who intend to meet her with a half truth, saying she’s cursed by the Deep Lords, and now only appears to those in the form of a pseudodragon. She will communicate in the guise of the druidess using telepathy through her familiar to continue the farce.


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